After the third world experience boarding the aircraft, I wandered back to my seat 17L. United have configured their 777’s with 60 seats, spread across two cabins, with the first 30 between doors 1 and 2, and the second between doors 2 and 3. Mine was the window seat in the second to last row.
The seats are arranged in a formation where half are angled towards the aisle, and the other half are set apart from it somewhat, meaning they’re a little more private. Mine was of the latter type.
The seats themselves seemed very well laid out. There was a huge amount of storage available, both on the shelf to my left and in the cubby hole. The seating controls were fairly straight forward, although a couple of times I ended up knocking the wheel which controlled the recline with my elbow . However as a hard product, for business class, I thought it was very, very good.
The crew came around with pre-departure sparkling wine. I decided after all of the effort of getting on the aircraft that it would have been rude to say no. Unfortunately being United it was served in a plastic cup, but needs must.
However the crew seemed pretty chirpy and top-ups were willingly offered.
The captain came on the public address system to give us an update about our departure – apparently we were going to be sitting on the ground for another hour before we’d be able to leave, giving us a two hour delay all-in-all. Thankfully I wasn’t connecting anywhere, so didn’t mind, but I think there were quite a few passengers travelling onwards who would have had a number of issues.
However, eventually we were pushed back and the GE-90s spooled up and we were off into the air.
The service started with a hot towel – it was pretty thick and seemed of high quality. Food and drink orders were taken, and an aperitif was offered with some warmed nuts. It was real champagne this time, but must confess to not have heard of the house where it came from (and have temporarily misplaced the menu). It was perfectly pleasant and offered in a nice tumbler.
Shortly thereafter, the starter arrived, a decent quantity of salmon. More champagne or white wine was offered to go with it.
The main course wasn’t long later, a really tender beef short rib. Again more wine was offered and so I changed to red.
As seems traditional with the US carriers, an ice cream sundae was available for pudding.
I was pretty stuffed by this point so decided to have a little nap. The bedding available was really good, branded from Saks Fifth Avenue and just as good as the new-ish British Airways White company products.
They also had a number of additional items that are on request so tried the cooling gel pillow that was available.
For the next four hours I essentially passed out and awoke to the second meal service. This was a beef goulasch and a salad.
It wasn’t long after that before we touched down in Newark. My Global Entry helped speed me through the immigration and customs formalities and before long I was on the AirTrain to the railway station and on to Penn Station.
I have to say, I thought it was a little crazy going out of my way to fly of all airlines, United. However, it’s a very impressive hard product. The food and drinks were also very good, but perhaps the wines weren’t as good as British Airways or Lufthansa. Frankfurt is of course Frankfurt and shockingly awful, but I knew that when I chose to connect there.
When you know you’re going to get real Polaris, I’d have no hesitation in actively choosing to fly United. I think perhaps the seat is a smidge behind American Airlines ‘Super Diamond’ seat, but definitely better than their ‘Concept D’ seat on some of their 777s and 787s.
Of course, it’s miles better than British Airways Club World, it’s almost not worth the comparison.