Mother-In-Law’s First Trip to India: United Business Class Back to the US

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Emily:  Daraius had booked us on a United business class flight home for 60,000 United miles per person.  It only took us about 25 minutes to get to the airport from the Hyatt Regency hotel.

United Business Class Review

On Our Way Back to the US

The Delhi airport is very nice. It is very modern and clean & reinforces the cliche that India is a land of stark contrasts.

United Business Class Review

Outside Delhi Airport

There is lots of space to move around, and there are free carts to wheel your luggage.  In contrast, we had to pay for a cart at Newark airport!

United Business Class Review

Delhi Airport

It took us a few minutes to figure out where we needed to go, but eventually we found the way.

United Business Class Review

Pushing Our Stuff

The airport had a few shops before check-in which include an ATM.

United Business Class Review

Delhi Airport

There were two large browse elephant statues, and the little fellow looked so cute!

United Business Class Review


Daraius stopped at the Citi ATM to get some rupees before we left.  He knew he’d probably need them the next time we went to India!

After that, we ventured to the lounge.  My mom and Aunt Judi preferred some last minute shopping.  See, not everyone is enthralled by airline lounges!

United Business Class Review

Outside the Lounge

We took the elevator up to the lounge.  Since we were traveling on a United Business class ticket we could enter the lounge for free and help ourselves to the complimentary food and drinks.

United Business Class Review

Airport Lounge

The inside was like a regular US lounge.

United Business Class Review

Emily in the Lounge

There was a small office with laptop computers to use.

United Business Class Review


It also had an open bar.

United Business Class Review

Open Bar

The lounge had an okay selection of food (hot and cold).

United Business Class Review


There were sandwiches.

United Business Class Review


And there was a coffee and tea bar.

United Business Class Review

Coffee & Tea

There was even a massage room, but you had to pay for the massages.

United Business Class Review

Massage Room

But I did not see any attendants, and there was only a massage chair in a darkly lit room.

United Business Class Review

No Thanks!

So we quickly left the lounge and went back outside.  The airport had lots of shops and the seating looked pretty comfortable, too.

United Business Class Review

Delhi Airport Seating

We stocked up on some souvenirs.

United Business Class Review


I loved the little auto rickshaws, the three wheelers that are popular in India.

United Business Class Review

Little Auto Rickshaws

There was also a duty free shop.

United Business Class Review

Duty Free Shop

After shopping, we made our way to the gate, and went through another round of security.  Since this was a flight to the US, we had to go through a secondary screening.

United Business Class Review

Secondary Screening

We were happy to finally get on the flight!  We took a non-stop United flight from Delhi to Newark.  This was my first time on a non-stop flight from India to the US.  I was so excited!

United Business Class Review

Getting Ready to Leave

The United cabin was comfortable, and the seats looked new.  But the seats weren’t as big as a First Class seat.  But they did fully recline which was a big plus!

United Business Class Review

United Business First

It was a 14.5 hour flight, and I liked how we did not have a layover anywhere.

United Business Class Review

United BusinessFirst Seat

There was an outlet to charge your laptop, so Daraius could do work.

United Business Class Review

Power Outlet

And storage space to put your things.

United Business Class Review

Storage Space

There was a small fold out tray.

United Business Class Review

Fold Out Tray

And the seat converted to a lie flat bed.

United Business Class Review

Lie Flat Bed

The chair reclined into a bed and I enjoyed relaxing in it.

United Business Class Review

Emily Getting Ready to Relax

However, we did not get pajamas or slippers like we did in First Class or in business class on other airlines.  So we made sure to bring our own beforehand.

United Business Class Review

Emily Getting Ready for Bed

Daraius wore his new American Airlines pajamas.  He had a big grin at the thought of wearing American Airlines pajama on a United flight.  He’s such a boy sometimes!

United Business Class Review

American Airlines Pajamas on a United Flight

The amenity kits contained socks, an eyemask, earplugs, lotion, a comb, a pen, a toothbrush, toothpaste, flossers, and a mint.

United Business Class Review

United Business Class Amenity Kit

United Business Class Review

United Amenity Kit

In the kit were nice Philosophy brand cosmetics.

United Business Class Review

United Business Class Review

Soon enough, it was time for dinner.  For the main course, I got chicken with garlic mashed potatoes, red peppers, and squash.  The chicken was pretty good.  I liked the garlic mashed potatoes the best.

United Business Class Review

Chicken with Garlic Mashed Potatoes

Daraius got Indian food for dinner.

United Business Class Review

Indian Dinner

They served only three types of bread: bland stale white rolls, naan, and another type of bread.

After finishing our dinner, we had cheese and dessert.

United Business Class Review

Cheese & Fruit

The dessert was really good.

United Business Class Review


After dinner, I laid down to get some sleep.  Because it was 14 hour flight, I had plenty of time to sleep without feeling rushed through dinner.

I also managed to watch a movie, The Social Network, during my flight.  My mom and Aunt Judi watched Brave, about a redheaded Irish girl.  There were lots of movies to choose from!

Before we arrived, we had a snack that consisted of fruit and yogurt.

United Business Class Review

Fruit & Yogurt

Daraius got some Indian breakfast and a croissant.

United Business Class Review

Indian Breakfast

I enjoyed being able to sleep for a long time, but the service on the flight was poor.  Many times we asked what was being served, and the service staff kept saying “I don’t know” and “I have no idea” when we asked for descriptions of the food.  In contrast, the crew on all other flights have been able to tell us the the ingredients of the meals.

After informing them about my fish allergy, I was still served with a salad that had unknown fried pieces of food.  We didn’t know if it was fried bread, or fish, or something else, and neither did the server.  I played it safe and did not eat any of the salad.

There was also “self-service” cleanup.  The flight attendant came around with a tray and we had to load our dishes onto the tray.  They also had a hard time remembering who ordered what, and walked around with wine glasses and asked people if they ordered wine.  They did the same thing for the main course—they walked around and offered the dishes instead of remembering what the cabin had ordered!

But I was very thankful to be able to sleep – Business Class, no less! – on the flight and to visit India.  Soon we arrived in Newark, cleared immigration, and went to the United Lounge.

United Business Class Review

United Club in Newark

We grabbed some coffee and had our breakfast.

United Business Class Review

In the United Lounge

We then waited a few hours for our next flight, which was a non-stop flight to Kansas City (yay!)  It was a wonderful trip, and India is a great place to visit because of the mix of history, culture, and outdoor activities.  I can’t wait to go back!

United Business Class Review

United Planes

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32 responses to “Mother-In-Law’s First Trip to India: United Business Class Back to the US

  1. very cute wearing theAA pj’s on United…ur trip looked great lots of pics… hope u got some really good souvenirs

  2. too bad the service sucked. it ruins a big part of the experience. 🙁

  3. recently on UA flights, in biz class, i feel the FAs are just going through the motions… perhaps first class worth a go? yeah, ive got some serious #firstworldproblems

  4. @tri No need to apologise for “first world problems”. This is a first world airline, charging first world prices, whether in cash or miles. When UA charges that premium for Business Class, it’s only resonable that the person who paid it expects a level of service beyond what was described here.

  5. Any reason you didn’t go to the Lufthansa lounge with a United Business ticket?

  6. My husband and I are booked on a united business class flight from chicago to berlin via london. You mentioned that since you had business class tickets you had free entry into the lounge. Does that mean we will not have to use our 2 free lounge passes that came with our new United explorer card. How long are the lounge passes good for? If I don’t need them for this flight, I may want to sell them before they expire. How would I do that?

  7. @Hilde – sounds like you are flying United Business from Chicago to London, then London to Berlin on Lufthansa European Business. You will have lounge access included in your ticket — at the United Club in Chicago and the Star Alliance lounge in London Heathrow.

  8. Hah, my wife also couldn’t care less for lounges and would rather shop in the airport. Did y’all prefer the long nonstop to US followed by a domestic connection, or if it had been an option and you didn’t live in Kansas, would you rather have done something like ORD-LHR-DEL with the two shorter legs instead of one super long one?

  9. I already really miss Team Connie and Judy 🙁

  10. for some of readers who are planes buff, would you let us know what kind of aircraft of each segment. thanks

    • @dotti cahill – We did get some nice souvenirs and there may be some up for grabs soon!

      @Amol (@PointsToPointB) – We didn’t know about the lounge until we were by the elevators since the check-in staff didn’t tell us about the Lufthansa lounge. It was also getting late and we wanted to find Connie and Judi and take them to the gate, so we didn’t have time to go there.

      @Hilde – I believe the passes are valid for 1 year and your business class ticket should get you access to the Star Alliance lounges.

      @DBest – I prefer minimizing my connections when I’m traveling with others, so more non-stop flights are better.

      @Laurel – Perhaps one of them will be back soon!

      @choi – It was a 777 from Delhi and a regional jet from Newark to Kansas.

  11. Only 1 meal + fruit and yogurt on a India-US flight in business class? Yikes, United…

    In any case, I enjoyed this trip report, and I hope in the future you and Emily will keep splitting TR duties–always appreciate a female perspective since it helps plan trips for myself + the gf (since the chances of her reading a TR and/or helping plan are basically zilch).

  12. 60,000 miles can buy a business class from India to United States? I spent 50,000 miles to buy a economy seat from LAX ,CA to JFK, NY. I booked them few month before the departure date…. Other airline companies are same way,too. Is LAX to NY specially expensive? How can I spend less miles and get good seat? Please advice.

  13. @ MMS — I wonder why United sends people to the contract lounge. Maybe they don’t want to pay Lufthansa … they do the same in Mumbai, although with easy Star Gold, I’ve always just gone straight to the Lufty lounge.

    @ nobuko — MMS paid 60,000 miles for a ONE-WAY business class ticket from India to the USA at the saver level. You paid 50,000 miles for a ROUND-TRIP economy class ticket from LA to NYC and back, and most likely at the standard level, which is 2x the price of the saver level. Getting a trip at the saver level depends on which miles you use.

  14. United is so lame to not even give slippers in business class for a 14 1/2 hour flight. Service like that is why all of my United miles are used for booking flights on better Star Alliance partners, and I wouldn’t ever consider purchasing a United revenue ticket.

  15. Great trip report, guys!

    On a fashion note, Emily I love the purple top you are wearing in this entry’s shots. Where did you get it?


  16. I can’t believe how much the DEL airport has changed in the past 5 years…it looks AMAZING 🙂 I’ll have to go back just to see it – and my friends over there too of course!

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  21. @ Cranberry- Thanks! Glad you enjoyed them. I got the purple top at the Banana Republic outlet store about 8 years ago.

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  27. I am ashamed to admit that I force myself to fly the crappy United business class to India while better options are available cheaper or at similar prices, ONLY because pf the frequent flier status. I am on 1k and want to get invited to Global Services. It is amazing to see the kind of perks they get on US domestic flights!

  28. Darius, this is a question slightly related to United Business Class so perhaps you can advise me as I am VERY confused right now.
    We are booked on United Business Class tickets in a few days from Nashville to Genoa connecting through Charlotte and Munich. This was booked via The first flight is operated by US Airways and the latter two are Lufthansa flights.
    I assume we able to use the Business Class lounges (husband, myself and 16-year-old) but which ones? United’s, Lufthansa’s or is it US Airways’ since that is the origin of the first flight? My husband and I also have United’s credit card (separate accounts) as well as Lounge Club access.
    Have traveled business class before but we weren’t able to take advantage of the lounges previously because of a lack of time. But with these flights, we have very long layovers in Charlotte as well as Munich.
    Please help! Thank you so much, Linda.

    • @Linda – You should be able to use the lounge in Charlotte. I’d check the Lufthansa policy to see if you can get lounge access if your departing flight is in coach, but your incoming flight is in business.

  29. Thanks, Darius. Are you referring to the Munich to Genoa portion because we are in economy for that leg (boo, hiss)?
    We are in first class for the Nashville to Charlotte leg and business for Charlotte to Munich. Return trip is Munich to Houston via Frankfurt, all business class on Lufthansa.
    Had done some additional research since I posted above. Lufthansa also has different lounges because of the Schengen Agreement. Is this for citizens of those countries or to anyone who is traveling to those countries?

    • @Linda – Yes, I was referring to Munich to Genoa, but check on the Lufthansa website. The lounges in the Schengen can be accessed by anyone who has a valid passport/visa to enter the Schengen countries (even if you weren’t entering those countries).