Flight Review: United Airlines Stuttgart (STR) – Newark (EWR), Business/First
United Airlines operates the only daily, non-stop flight from the New York City area to Stuttgart, in southwest Germany, and for travelers heading to this region it is the most convenient and fastest way to travel there from the East Coast.
With a BusinessFirst boarding pass in hand I took the five-minute shuttle ride from my airport hotel to Stuttgart Airport (STR), arriving at the premier access security lane at 8:30 am for UA153’s 11:10 departure. Within a few minutes I was making my way to the Lufthansa Senator lounge, where a nice breakfast buffet was set-up. Lufthansa is United’s Star Alliance partner, and code shares the flight.
Although the lounge offered no magazines, there was a full supply of American and British newspapers, free WiFi and no shortage of food and beverages. At 10:45 I went to the gate and boarded quickly using the premium line. On this version of the B757-200 the 16-seat, lie-flat, BusinessFirst seat configuration was four rows, 2×2, with all seats having on-demand entertainment screens, AC power outlets, padded headphones, an amenity kit, blanket and pillow. Champagne and orange juice was offered to front cabin passengers prior to take-off.
After a short taxiway, and with no air traffic, we were off the ground at 11:17, flying into a hazy, summer morning over the green hills and forests west of Stuttgart.
Shortly after levelling off a chilled appetizer of gravlax and loin cut salmon with wasabi mayonnaise and salad was served, followed by a lunch of beef tenderloin, spaetzle, carrots and zucchini. For dessert I passed on the cheese selection for a dish of ice cream. During mid-flight a basket of warm, fresh-baked chocolate chip cookies was left in the galley for premium cabin passengers, and a chicken tortilla wrap accompanied with fresh fruit and carrot salad was served prior to landing. A good selection of white and red wines from Europe, South Africa, Australia and California was available throughout the flight.
The only drawback to this 757’s BusinessFirst seat (or “pod as they are often called) was the narrowness of the feet area when the seat is in the lie-flat position. Although the length of the “bed” is a nice 76”, the bottom is poorly angled so there is little room for passengers’ feet when in the sleep position, not a big deal on UA153’s daytime STR/EWR flight, but for taller passengers it may be a bit uncomfortable during the eastbound overnight segment.
UA153 touched down at Newark Liberty International at 1:50 pm local time, 25 minutes early, with a flight time of 8 ½ hours. In summary, ground service at check-in and lounge access at Stuttgart Airport was fast and efficient, cabin crew service during the flight was excellent in all respects, aircraft lavatory was kept clean throughout the flight, and seat positions and entertainment system operated well. .
Review: Ron Bernthal