The best seats in business (first) class, United Boeing 757-200

By John Walton, May 2 2012
The best seats in business (first) class, United Boeing 757-200

Connecting from San Francisco or Los Angeles to a US or other North American destination on one of United's Boeing 757-200 planes? We've got the latest in our extensive series of guides to picking the best seats for your flight ready to help you choose the best spots on the plane. 

The plane

United has a total of four 757 layouts. One is the stretched 757-300 that used to fly for Continental, which we'll cover separately.

There are three 757-200 layouts, but one of those -- with four rows of BusinessFirst at the very front -- is very rarely used for domestic flying and tends to be found on trans-Atlantic and other long-distance international flights from the US.

That leaves two layouts that are most relevant to Australian business travellers, and you'll figure out which is which by the number of seats on board:

  • The first, United BusinessFirst, is the most commonly found: six rows of regular US domestic first class (which United calls BusinessFirst) recliner seats at the front of the plane, rows 1-6.
  • The second is the United p.s. (premium service) United Business offering that runs between New York JFK and San Francisco or Los Angeles. The business class offering here is recliner-style domestic United Business in rows 5-11, since there is also fully flat United First on board.

United BusinessFirst

In this domestic US first class -- more similar to domestic Australian business class -- you'll find six rows of recliner seats.

(We'd have expected this to be called "United First", but the airline's website clearly states that it's BusinessFirst.)

The best seats on the plane

1A 1B: these bulkhead seats have a bit of extra legroom thanks to a cutout in the wall ahead of them, and window passengers will have a slightly easier time picking their way out over the person in the aisle.

Aisle seats B + E: since the window seats have electrical boxes underneath, fans of being able to stretch their legs out fully should pick aisle seats.

The worst seats on the plane

1E 1F: there's less legroom in these bulkhead seats since there's no cutout in the wall ahead. Pick them only if you really value knee room over legroom.

Row 6: right in front of the lavatories and galley kitchens, these seats are likely to be noisy.

Window seats: as we mentioned above, there are electrical boxes under these seats so the space for legroom is restricted.

United Business — United p.s. flights

The cabin stretches from row 5 (which only has A & B seats, on the left hand side of the cabin -- that's how you spot you're on a p.s. plane) back to row 11.

The best seats on the plane

Row 9: these emergency exit row seats have a wealth of legroom. In addition to the legroom bonus, window passengers won't need to clamber over the aisle passengers to get out.

Row 5: this is also an emergency exit row, but it's closer to the lavatories and the galley kitchens, which may make for a disturbed flight if you're trying to get some rest.

The worst seats on the plane

Row 11: avoid these seats at the back of the cabin: they have a limited amount of recline and are only separated by the extra noise of economy by a thin divider.

Also in our Best Seats series


John Walton

Aviation journalist and travel columnist John took his first long-haul flight when he was eight weeks old and hasn't looked back since. Well, except when facing rearwards in business class.

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