We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.
We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

British Airways 747 vs United 747 on LHR - SFO route

Berkeley
Level Contributor
47 posts
1 review
Save Topic
British Airways 747 vs United 747 on LHR - SFO route

Hi,

I'm planning to fly from LHR to SFO in late September and I'm not sure if I should go with UA or BA. Prices are similar and both airlines fly 747 on that route.

Which is better? I flew in BA's 747 about 5 years ago (to IAD) and wasn't impressed by the quality. It had really dated feel. My girlfriend's seat was moving in funny way (the bit you are sitting on) and it wasn't too clean.

How about UA jumbos? Are they good?

Romford, United...
Level Contributor
2,065 posts
22 reviews
Save Reply
1. Re: British Airways 747 vs United 747 on LHR - SFO route

Just returned SFO-LHR with United(Tuesday) and enjoyed the comfort and service they provided however much as I prefer them would suggest the BA flight as there appears to be question marks over the reliability of the UA Jumbos flying across the pond at the moment-my flight from SFO-LHR was fine however I understand the return flight had a problem which meant a return to LHR causing a 21 hour delay for passengers whilst a replacement became available, my understanding is that it is the second time this month from the UK

As LHR is BA's main base would expect there to be less chance of a long delay

Edited: 8:42 am, August 22, 2013
New York City, New...
Destination Expert
for Air Travel
Level Contributor
9,060 posts
48 reviews
Save Reply
2. Re: British Airways 747 vs United 747 on LHR - SFO route

You didn't say which class of travel you're looking at.

Berkeley
Level Contributor
47 posts
1 review
Save Reply
3. Re: British Airways 747 vs United 747 on LHR - SFO route

I'm flying economy.

Portland, Oregon
Destination Expert
for Air Travel
Level Contributor
28,193 posts
6 reviews
Save Reply
4. Re: British Airways 747 vs United 747 on LHR - SFO route

United's 747s are getting very old and the economy cabin wasn't updated when the first and business cabins were a few years ago. There's no in seat video on the UA 747s, so it's overhead screens only. That said, they are fitting streaming wifi which streams the AVOD for free and internet for a fee; you supply the wifi enabled device (laptop, iPad, etc). Currently wifi is installed on about half the 747s. United does have Economy Plus, which provides 3" extra legroom for an additional payment.

On other things, the food is so so. But I've had very good service from the flight attendants over the last two years. The reliability issue you alluded to is a concern, though generally speaking that's improved since they concentrated all (except two) routes out of SFO. I fly United a lot, though for long hauls I try to get onto the 777 when flying economy. But at the moment both LHR-SFO services are 747.

Berkeley
Level Contributor
47 posts
1 review
Save Reply
5. Re: British Airways 747 vs United 747 on LHR - SFO route

Thanks,

How about BA? Did they revamp interiors of their 747s recently?

Italy
Level Contributor
39,484 posts
207 reviews
Save Reply
6. Re: British Airways 747 vs United 747 on LHR - SFO route

I'm a BA fan so would always choose them over another carrier unless there was a big difference in price. We flew UA to Philadelphia and the fact that they only have the drop down screens for the entertainment was a big put off for me but you can check out the reviews of both airlines on the www.airlinequality.com website. Hopefully there will be some for the same route.

2 posts
Save Reply
7. Re: British Airways 747 vs United 747 on LHR - SFO route

I just flew United SFO-LHR after 5 years of using BA. OMG United is so much worse. BA has personal screens in Econony. None for United. United literally gives you a blanket and a pillow and some food. I asked the flight attendant for a face mask - no dice. Plus the seats are less comfortable. I don't know if the BA 747s have been updated since you flew them - they're definitely not the latest model - but the service is so much better I don't really care.

2 posts
Save Reply
8. Re: British Airways 747 vs United 747 on LHR - SFO route

Yes, my friend was on that flight, the cabin failed to pressurize so they spent a few hours flying around the Irish Sea dumping fuel before coming back to Heathrow.

Salisbury, United...
Level Contributor
7,625 posts
136 reviews
Save Reply
9. Re: British Airways 747 vs United 747 on LHR - SFO route

Advantage of BA is that if your flight was delayed at SFO you would be entitled to claim under EU/261. No claim if flying UA.

San Francisco...
Level Contributor
3 posts
8 reviews
Save Reply
10. Re: British Airways 747 vs United 747 on LHR - SFO route

Is BA the only airline that if you have bought Business Class tickets (SFO-LHR for about $5,100.00 each) that charges to reserve a seat more than 24 hours in advance? The cost? about $100.00 each way.