Not all direct flights between New York and the west coast cities are created equal. United runs a special service called ‘p.s.’ (premium service) between LAX and SFO to JFK. It’s a
Boeing 757 in a three-class configuration that only has 110 seats, which is way less than a 757 in a standard configuration. The classes are First, Business, and Premium economy. There is no regular economy, so you get the extra space included in the ticket. Typically the flights cost around the same as their non-PS counterparts, and all of the planes have Wi-fi and standard power outlets. Also given that there are less people on the plane as a whole it’s less of a scrum and a much more pleasant flying experience. So next time you are flying out west (or east) don’t book that similarly priced flight into Newark, book it into JFK and make sure it’s the PS service!
Note that Kayak doesn’t confirm that it is the PS service or not – you need to go through a booking process on United.com and it will tell you which plane it is before you buy. Some flights out of JFK with United are regular 737-800s. Yuck!