TPAC UA vs. NH Economy

Old Sep 21, 17, 4:18 am
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TPAC UA vs. NH Economy

Looking at some TPAC fares ex-LAX/SFO early next year in economy. Is NH economy worth flying over UA E(+)?

Price, aircraft (77W?), and fare class (K) appear to be the same for both routes.

I mainly credit discount economy to SQ, so I'd earn ~14k miles if flying UA, and apparently zero on NH. Approaching 41k on SQ this year so this flight would qualify me for *G through next August-ish.

Currently leaning towards UA since it's one less customs stop, *G qualifying flight, and will have access to E+ from Premier Silver.

I've never flown ANA before. The schedule is better and my parents gush about the service, though I've heard the seat referred to as a "knee crusher" before. Is the ANA experience really worth giving up 14k miles ... ?
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Old Sep 21, 17, 4:58 am
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Originally Posted by Polytonic View Post
Looking at some TPAC fares ex-LAX/SFO early next year in economy. Is NH economy worth flying over UA E(+)?

Price, aircraft (77W?), and fare class (K) appear to be the same for both routes.

I mainly credit discount economy to SQ, so I'd earn ~14k miles if flying UA, and apparently zero on NH. Approaching 41k on SQ this year so this flight would qualify me for *G through next August-ish.

Currently leaning towards UA since it's one less customs stop, *G qualifying flight, and will have access to E+ from Premier Silver.

I've never flown ANA before. The schedule is better and my parents gush about the service, though I've heard the seat referred to as a "knee crusher" before. Is the ANA experience really worth giving up 14k miles ... ?
United's 77W is 3x4x3 in economy, which I avoid. If ANA is 3x3x3, it would be my choice.

ANA service is much better than United (on average), but on a long haul in economy, seat comfort is the overwhelmingly important metric for me.
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Old Sep 21, 17, 5:18 am
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United's 10 abreast is going to very unpleasant even in E+ whereas ANA is 9 abreast. Not sure where the knee-crusher reference came from, they have a well above average 34 inch pitch

It's worth 14k miles to avoid United
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Old Sep 21, 17, 7:15 am
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Originally Posted by Polytonic View Post
Looking at some TPAC fares ex-LAX/SFO early next year in economy. Is NH economy worth flying over UA E(+)?

Price, aircraft (77W?), and fare class (K) appear to be the same for both routes.

I mainly credit discount economy to SQ, so I'd earn ~14k miles if flying UA, and apparently zero on NH. Approaching 41k on SQ this year so this flight would qualify me for *G through next August-ish.

Currently leaning towards UA since it's one less customs stop, *G qualifying flight, and will have access to E+ from Premier Silver.

I've never flown ANA before. The schedule is better and my parents gush about the service, though I've heard the seat referred to as a "knee crusher" before. Is the ANA experience really worth giving up 14k miles ... ?
Originally Posted by goodeats21 View Post
United's 77W is 3x4x3 in economy, which I avoid. If ANA is 3x3x3, it would be my choice.

ANA service is much better than United (on average), but on a long haul in economy, seat comfort is the overwhelmingly important metric for me.
Originally Posted by ajeleonard View Post
United's 10 abreast is going to very unpleasant even in E+ whereas ANA is 9 abreast. Not sure where the knee-crusher reference came from, they have a well above average 34 inch pitch

It's worth 14k miles to avoid United
Be careful when booking NH from the west coast: LAX/SFO-NRT is operated by their 3-4-3 77Ws, only LAX-HND is 9-across (2-4-3) for now. Of course UA's SFO-NRT is the 10-across 77W and LAX-NRT is the 9-across 789, so they're as bad as NH if not worse, but this kinda reduces the difference between the two airlines, especially with E+.

However it looks like the UA SFO-HND is switching back to the sUA 772 (3-3-3) in January/February (and then back to the 789 in March) so if that works with your dates/fares that might be an option as well.

Also the NH knee-crushers are I believe their intra-Asia 763s, but the 2-4-3 77Ws also have the fixed-shell seats (i.e. when you recline the seat slides forward but not back), which get pretty mixed reviews. Their 3-4-3 77Ws have the normal seats that actually recline.

Overall though — NH will have significantly better food and service, UA has wifi and much better IFE selection, seat will be a wash unless you're on LAX-HND, but getting *G and E+ on UA might swing it for me (especially if you can get SFO-HND on the 772)...

Last edited by truncated; Sep 21, 17 at 10:24 am Reason: forgot that NH 9-across 77W is 2-4-3 not 3-3-3
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Old Sep 21, 17, 8:38 am
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IME - NH Y food is as bad as UA Y food (if not worse, I posted photos in the past), but there is also less of it.

NH FAs will be traditionally polite. However, fixed shell seats and no E+ mean that I would opt for UA.

Now, in J there is no comparison.
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Old Sep 21, 17, 9:09 am
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I thought that the fixed shell seats were removed years ago....

OP, do you and your travel team have long legs? If not, NH is the winner.

I love NH and that they always treat me well. I can no longer say that about UA.

Last edited by WineCountryUA; Sep 21, 17 at 10:16 am Reason: merging consecutive posts by same member
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Old Sep 21, 17, 9:51 am
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Originally Posted by truncated View Post
Be careful when booking NH from the west coast: LAX/SFO-NRT is operated by their 3-4-3 77Ws, only LAX-HND is 3-3-3 for now. Of course UA's SFO-NRT is the 10-across 77W and LAX-NRT is the 9-across 789, so they're as bad as NH if not worse, but this kinda reduces the difference between the two airlines, especially with E+.
NH has 2 configs on 77W: 2-4-3 features hardshell economy seats, and 3-4-3 features regular economy seats.

In either case, OP will need to compare UA E+ 3-4-3 (or 3-3-3 on 787) with regular econ 3-4-3 or hardshell econ 2-4-3.
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Old Sep 21, 17, 10:23 am
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Originally Posted by hirohito888 View Post
NH has 2 configs on 77W: 2-4-3 features hardshell economy seats, and 3-4-3 features regular economy seats.

In either case, OP will need to compare UA E+ 3-4-3 (or 3-3-3 on 787) with regular econ 3-4-3 or hardshell econ 2-4-3.
Yeah my bad, SFO/LAX-NRT are 3-4-3 while LAX-HND is 2-4-3. I think if OP can get SFO-HND when it's operated by the sUA 772 (3-3-3) that's probably the best option...
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Old Sep 21, 17, 10:23 am
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Based on the OP's reasons for wanting to go with UA for *G and E+, I'd say these reasons alone are enough to pick UA. I've done both NH/UA TPAC multiple times, and I've grown to appreciate flying UA more. You're right that the service generally tends to be better on NH, but in Economy, I don't really find that matters much anyway. Economy food is about equal, and UA has a superior beer selection if you appreciate that. Plus with E+ access, UA is the clear winner with space. I find the AVOD to be better on UA too. Oh, and I usually find the NH cabins uncomfortably hot and stuffy.
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Old Sep 21, 17, 12:05 pm
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Originally Posted by pushmyredbutton View Post
Based on the OP's reasons for wanting to go with UA for *G and E+, I'd say these reasons alone are enough to pick UA. I've done both NH/UA TPAC multiple times, and I've grown to appreciate flying UA more. You're right that the service generally tends to be better on NH, but in Economy, I don't really find that matters much anyway. Economy food is about equal, and UA has a superior beer selection if you appreciate that. Plus with E+ access, UA is the clear winner with space. I find the AVOD to be better on UA too. Oh, and I usually find the NH cabins uncomfortably hot and stuffy.
I'd go with UA as well. IMHO the NH seats are much less comfortable.
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Old Sep 21, 17, 12:08 pm
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Originally Posted by truncated View Post
Be careful when booking NH from the west coast: LAX/SFO-NRT is operated by their 3-4-3 77Ws, only LAX-HND is 9-across (2-4-3) for now. Of course UA's SFO-NRT is the 10-across 77W and LAX-NRT is the 9-across 789, so they're as bad as NH if not worse, but this kinda reduces the difference between the two airlines, especially with E+.

Overall though — NH will have significantly better food and service, UA has wifi and much better IFE selection, seat will be a wash unless you're on LAX-HND, but getting *G and E+ on UA might swing it for me (especially if you can get SFO-HND on the 772)...
Oh interesting. LAX-HND (NH105/6) is the flight I was looking at. The midnight departure is slightly better than LAX-NRT in terms of fighting traffic. I didn't realize they used different seat configurations.

SeatGuru claims the 2-4-3 config is still 16.5" seat width though. Is that just a mislabeling from the 3-4-3 config?

Originally Posted by pushmyredbutton View Post
Based on the OP's reasons for wanting to go with UA for *G and E+, I'd say these reasons alone are enough to pick UA. I've done both NH/UA TPAC multiple times, and I've grown to appreciate flying UA more. You're right that the service generally tends to be better on NH, but in Economy, I don't really find that matters much anyway. Economy food is about equal, and UA has a superior beer selection if you appreciate that. Plus with E+ access, UA is the clear winner with space. I find the AVOD to be better on UA too. Oh, and I usually find the NH cabins uncomfortably hot and stuffy.
I flew UA1/2 last month and found the service and food decent enough. I liked the chicken and rice dish at least. Plus earning *G gets me into United Clubs; I fly through SFO enough that it probably beats sitting in front of Peet's for two hours each time.

Seems like most people here are leaning UA, so I'll probably stick with that (or maybe put my parents on NH and fly UA myself?)
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Old Sep 21, 17, 12:30 pm
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Originally Posted by Polytonic View Post
Oh interesting. LAX-HND (NH105/6) is the flight I was looking at. The midnight departure is slightly better than LAX-NRT in terms of fighting traffic. I didn't realize they used different seat configurations.

SeatGuru claims the 2-4-3 config is still 16.5" seat width though. Is that just a mislabeling from the 3-4-3 config?



I flew UA1/2 last month and found the service and food decent enough. I liked the chicken and rice dish at least. Plus earning *G gets me into United Clubs; I fly through SFO enough that it probably beats sitting in front of Peet's for two hours each time.

Seems like most people here are leaning UA, so I'll probably stick with that (or maybe put my parents on NH and fly UA myself?)
Seatguru is NOT reliable. Nor (with some exceptions) are the airline's own sizes an accurate reflection of actual seat comfort. The reason is that airlines will cheat by putting in non-existant arm rests, which means a wider seat cushion, but the actual space is smaller. Then (at least on UA) on the 77W they have taken 1" out of the aisles, which means you get bumped a lot more if you have an aisle seat (standard aisles are 19", on the 77W at 3-4-3 they are 18"). I think the only real way to look at it head to head so to speak is to look at the actual width per seat the plane's width gives, which is as follows for planes you might see TPAC with the A320/B737 shown to give some context as we have all flown them a lot:

-777 (at 9x) has 21.3"/seat
-763 (at 7x) has 21.2”/seat
-A320 (at 6x) has 21.2”/seat

-A330/330neo (at 8x) has 20.8"/seat
- A350 (at 9x) has 20.3”/seat
-747 (at 10x) has 20.2”/seat
-737/757 (at 6x) has 20”/seat

-787 (at 9x) has 19.8"/seat
-777 (at 10x, using 18” aisles as UA is, which is why they are so narrow) has 19.4”/seat

The difference in seat width is nearly 2", which unless you are small enough to join the circus, is - on a flight like on UA where there are likely to be lots of larger sized Americans - material.

I would give ANA the edge over UA (better food/service/booze offered for free/coffee) but I would buy strictly on seat comfort, and since ANA has 34" pitch so it is as good as UA is, that really is a question of the aircraft and its configuration.

This means taking a flights with the ANA LAX-HND equipment 777 (at x9 ) >>>> UA 789 (at 9x) >>>>> UA 77w (at 10x). In your case the ANA flight LAX-HND will be vastly more comfortable than what UA is offering.

P.s. You will earn PQM no matter who you fly as ANA miles count to *G. What you may not get is PQ$, unless - I think - bought from UA/ ANA. Unless you are buying from a third party consolidator, it is simply not an issue. The only loss in flying ANA is lifetime miles, which need to be on UA metal.

Last edited by spin88; Sep 21, 17 at 12:55 pm
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Old Sep 21, 17, 1:58 pm
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Originally Posted by spin88 View Post
I would give ANA the edge over UA (better food/service/booze offered for free/coffee) but I would buy strictly on seat comfort, and since ANA has 34" pitch so it is as good as UA is, that really is a question of the aircraft and its configuration.

This means taking a flights with the ANA LAX-HND equipment 777 (at x9 ) >>>> UA 789 (at 9x) >>>>> UA 77w (at 10x). In your case the ANA flight LAX-HND will be vastly more comfortable than what UA is offering.

P.s. You will earn PQM no matter who you fly as ANA miles count to *G. What you may not get is PQ$, unless - I think - bought from UA/ ANA. Unless you are buying from a third party consolidator, it is simply not an issue. The only loss in flying ANA is lifetime miles, which need to be on UA metal.
OP is crediting to SQ so an NH K fare earns no PQM...

Also if OP's considering NH105/6 — meal service is abbreviated on these redeyes: snack after departure and breakfast (significantly more substantial than the UA breakfast though) before landing... plenty of snacks available in the galley though.

Also if you're heading into Tokyo (usually) HND is way more convenient than NRT if that's a consideration as well.
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Old Sep 21, 17, 2:20 pm
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Originally Posted by spin88 View Post
I would give ANA the edge over UA (better food/service/booze offered for free/coffee) but I would buy strictly on seat comfort, and since ANA has 34" pitch so it is as good as UA is, that really is a question of the aircraft and its configuration.
Just asking, but have you actually flown the 2-4-3 77W that ANA flies on the LAX-HND route? I don't think anyone I've spoken with has ever associated those fixed-shell seats with 'comfort', regardless of width. And UA does in fact offer free booze, just limited to wine/beer, though.
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Old Sep 21, 17, 2:51 pm
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Originally Posted by pushmyredbutton View Post
Just asking, but have you actually flown the 2-4-3 77W that ANA flies on the LAX-HND route? I don't think anyone I've spoken with has ever associated those fixed-shell seats with 'comfort', regardless of width. And UA does in fact offer free booze, just limited to wine/beer, though.
I am 6' 1.5" and weight 215 lbs. I am NOT a small guy. I have flown those ana seats 7-8 times, and an equal number of times in ANA J, on these (2-4-3) 77Ws. I guess I never was bothered by the issue some people had with them (the claim that they are "hard") and I like people not reclining into me. ANA has 34" pitch and the seat is wide. I have taken the ANA 777 basically back-to-back with the sUA 777 (in 3-3-3) and do not have a seat preference (I like that these seats are higher in the back, the old sUA seats have more padding, but then the guy in front reclines into you, unless you are in a bulkhead). Here btb is what the ANA seats look like:



I don't think there is any reasonable dispute that ANA's food/coffee (even with UA now doing Illy) and booze selection/quality is better than what UA serves. Absent getting a micro-brew on UA (sometimes they are gone...) everything UA offers for free is low quality, and ANA will give you hard ETOH as well, including a decent scotch.

p.s. I should add that I have not flown ANA long haul in about two years (since they put 3-4-3 on the SFO-NRT flights) but I don't think anything has materially changed re their soft-product.
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