But I guess I will. I recently flew roundtrip SFO-Beijing in first class courtesy of my employer. The flights were on-time and service was efficient. It was my first time in first class in many years. I have flown recently in business class on Qatar Airways and Cathay Pacific, and if United were to compete head-to-head with those 2 carriers (and probably Emirates and Etihad as well, from my experience), United would lose hands-down.
Here's what I mean:
-I wasn't greeted with a welcome drink (champagne for example), but rather I was asked if I would like a drink. I said yes, and it was served in a plastic wine glass. On the other carriers, a tray of drinks (champagne and juices typically) in crystal or at least proper glass were offered as soon as I was seated.
-The seat's electric reclining mechanism westbound didn't work. The flight attendants valiantly tried to fix it, but couldn't. So much for the flat bed. But I was given 15000 frequent flyer miles.
-On one of the flights the flight attendants were the oldest I've ever seen, easily in their 70's. That was confirmed when there was an announcement just before landing that one of the FA's was retiring after 49 years with United. Now, I'm not looking for cute stewardesses, but I do wonder if they would be up to the demands of a flight emergency. I credit the seniority system.
-The video entertainment choices were a fraction of what I've seen available on the foreign carriers. For example, there were 4 classic movies, and they were all Star Wars movies (don't get me wrong, I would consider Empire Strikes Back to be a classic, but a total of 4 classic movies? really?). Some of the TV series had multiple episodes, but maybe 2 or 3 max. I've seen entire seasons on other carriers).
-Food was good, but nothing outstanding. Sorry.
-The flight attendant didn't know what I meant when I asked for a single malt scotch. I had seen it on the outbound menu, so I knew it was offered. She went back to the galley and brought me the odd-sounding spirit (which was the right one).
-On the return flight, the menu was a photocopy of instructions to the flight crew (what to serve when, how to serve it). The flight attendant explained the menus were stuck in Chinese customs. That sure sounded odd. They've been flying this route daily for years.
Some of these sound pretty picky, but I would guess that people who fly first class are pretty demanding.