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UA Business Class: IAD-LHR-IAD (w/pics)  
User currently offlineFbgdavidson From United Kingdom, joined Oct 2004, 3706 posts, RR: 28
Posted (8 years 6 months 3 weeks 5 days 5 hours ago) and read 32767 times:

Route: Washington Dulles - London Heathrow (Terminal 3)
Airline: United Airlines
Flight number: UA922
Aircraft: Boeing 767-322/ER
Registration: N649UA
Seat: 05D (Business Class)
Distance: 3677 miles
Duration: 6hrs 40mins
Date: Thursday 9th February



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Photo © Nick Salmon
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Photo © Marcelo Fouquet De Biasi



This flight was the start of long planned vacation with my girlfriend to South Africa. We opted to fly from Washington to Cape Town via London to break up the journey and also so we could stop and see my parents briefly on the way back from our trip. The transatlantic legs were on United in Business Class with the flights to and from Cape Town on British Airways in First. I am going to post the BA flights in a separate report so keep an eye out for that.

When I booked the tickets themselves the cabin was very empty and so I went for 5A and 5B for the combined window seat and bulkhead experience but the day before the flight changed to 5C and 5D for the extra legroom. The flight was on the slightly inferior 767 product which offered one less inch in the seat width, but as I had booked one ticket with frequent flyer miles I had no option but to take this particular flight. It would also be my first transatlantic dayflight going eastbound, and my first longhaul in business class with anyone other than BA in about 13yrs so was interested to eye up the competition!

The journey itself began very early on Thursday morning; instead of driving to Dulles at an insane hour of the morning we opted to stay at an airport hotel, in particular the Hyatt Regency at Reston, about 5mins down the Dulles Toll Road from the airport itself. A very nice property in a little neighbourhood with a few restaurants, a multiplex cinema and an ice skating rink. More importantly we got free parking in their garage for the duration of our holiday thrown in  thumbsup  which saved us some time the following morning. The hotel shuttle ran at 45mins past the hour so we took the 6.45am option and were dropped off on the arrivals floor but in the vicinity of the UA check-in area. Coming up the escalator into the departure hall I was surprised how busy the place was, I wasn't expecting an empty barn but this was nuts! I was just thankful the UA Business check-in line was only about half a dozen people in length. Boarding passes were retrieved and luggage was scanned by the TSA so I could send it locked. Then it was off to join security where the line itself was rather well managed and in just a few minutes I was airside and amongst the last on the mobile lounge across to the C Concourse.

Although our flight was going from gate C1 the closest Red Carpet Club at C8 was closed for renovation, not a big deal thanks to the location of another much better lounge beside Gate C17. I managed to get a couple of drinks chits each to stash away for the future and the girlfriend and myself settled in with some fruit juice and thankfully disaster was averted as she managed to throw her tea in the opposite direction to where our bags were!

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United Red Carpet Club at Gate C17

In plenty of time for the flight my girlfriend went to change some US Dollars into South African Rand at a nearby Travelex. As a BA Exec Club partner I handed her my BA card in order to earn a few token miles. Alas the girl got so confused thinking it was some form of credit card and then said she had no South African Rand, never mind. We headed to the gate where we waited for the flight to board. The Air Marshals boarded soon after we arrived, it was so obvious who they were. All fairly tall, buff looking guys who showed some form of badge ID and then were escorted onboard by the gate agent! An announcement was made for those to surrender the I-94W forms and then boarding started with Global Service, First and Business Class folks. A short line formed and we headed down the jetway. Were welcomed aboard and directed to our seats.

The legroom in 5D was plenty, if not too much! I had to get out of my seat to retrieve anything from the pocket in front. We had a few interesting fellow passengers onboard, a lady in First Class who was welcomed by numerous kisses and 'mwahs' from the equivalent of the Cabin Service Director. A couple of other passengers in First Class had bags with UA Crew tags all over them, cementing my views that UA F is reserved for staff and a few elites upgrading! The other passengers (apart from the Air Marshals  Wink ) included a single lady in her fifties that was dressed from head to toe including luggage in black was in the seat across from me. She initially sat in the First cabin although was told she was in the wrong seat and sent back, she had a BA Silver tag with no UA tags, so was probably in a similar predicament to myself although had some serious problems with keeping her jeans in place, despite an enormous belt they kept slipping off her backside....not too pleasant! The rest of the Business cabin filled up to about 60% capacity.

The cabin services director (or person of equal stature in the UA hierarchy) came round and introduced himself to each of us and asked if we needed an explanation of any of the seating controls and if we did just to ring the bell and ask for him. Our amenity kits were handed out, they felt pretty cheap to be honest so I put mine away and then I got out my Bose headphones and my pyjamas to go and change into. At the time there was nobody to hang my jacket so I momentarily put it in the overhead locker, something that could have been a very expensive mistake! Menus were handed out and procedures finalised in good time for our departure. Drinks were also handed out and I took an orange juice. Looking at the menu my mouth was watering a little as we had been up since 5.15am and it was nearing 9.30am now and I'd not eaten a bean!

We headed for 1R and took off with a slight bank round to the north east and headed up towards New York City, the sky was perfectly clear which offered great views for those in window seats although it was a little turbulent for a while so were rooted to our seats. The CSD then came round again and asked if we had chosen our breakfast yet and what we were going to opt for.

___________________________

to begin

Your choice of yoghurt and breakfast breads served with


or

Fresh seasonal fruit plate

____

prior to our arrival


Fresh seasonal greens
Roasted garlic red wine vinaigrette or classic caesar dressing

____

main course

Applewood smoked bacon wrapped filet mignon with wild mushrooms

Oven roasted fingerling potatoes and sauteed green beans with shallots and almonds

Tilapia fillet with cornbread crust and pomodoro sauce
Wild rice with sauteed shallots and a broccoli, artichoke and pepper medley

____

dessert

International cheese selection

Stilton and Black Diamond Cheddar cheese

Ice cream


_______________________

My girlfriend and I both took the mushroom omelette and a drinks order was taken. We both opted for mimosas, after all it was the beginning of our vacation.

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Mimosas over Connecticut

At this time I decided to get my jacket down from the overhead locker so it could be put away but as I pulled at it my bag began to move. Very confusing until I realised that by some freak of nature the hook in my jacket had become entangled with the zip on my bag! I wrestled with it for about five minutes but looking at it made it even more confusing how it could have happened in the first place. I put the bag away as it was apparent that it would require a bit more effort to release it and breakfast was on it's way. At this point I thought the zip and coathook were the start of many freak accidents that were to plague my holiday!

Firstly a bread round was done, I opted for a croissant, then a fruit plate was brought round, personally I'm not a great fan of them so sat with it, sipping on my mimosa and nibbling on my croissant whilst my girlfriend buried most of hers and we swapped plates.

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Fresh seasonal fruit plate with croissant

The mushroom omelette then came and you are lucky to see a picture of it as I pretty much buried the thing in just a few minutes, must have looked a right animal but I was extremely hungry! It was rather good too. I was advised on Flyertalk the breakfast would be rather filling and I wasn't disappointed.

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Mushroom omelette with red pepper sauce. Sauteed potatoes with onions, pork sausages and crispy bacon

I tried to sneak a fork from the cutlery as it was cleared away so I could prize open the small gap where my coat hook had got stuck but got an admonishing look from the flight attendant as if to say, 'You fool, you saw three air marshals board this plane'  Wink I gave the flight attendants a few minutes to clear everything up and then went back to the galley with my bag and explained the situation, their view was to just cut it off but explaining the jacket cost £700 got them scratching their heads a bit more. They tried a strange metal device with a thin edge but that didn't quite work so they decided they were going to hack the zip of my bag. Eh uh, the bag is £300! Another FA became engrossed with this and fetched a tool from First Class and within a couple of minutes bag and jacket were separate! I was rather pleased and they laughed when I asked if possible to hang it up  Smile Soon after the CSD came around with the pink envelopes and as my girlfriend was a US passport holder she was offered one, as a UK citizen I get a nice welcome to my country without the need for flourescent envelopes  Wink

I went back and sat down and thought about how to pass the next few hours. After perusing the IFE guide, I decided against watching a movie, nothing on UA's stone age entertainment system grabbed me. I initially thought to recline the seat as much as possible and then thought the idea of these dayflights is to avoid sleep and then hit the sack upon arrival in London so fetched my music player from my bag in the overhead. I fired it up and listened to a few Paul Oakenfold mixes over the next few hours. I watched as we slowly crept across the Atlantic with strong tailwinds and the sunset got ever closer.

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The legroom in 5A & 5B. It had a few inches less than 5C & 5D

Due to UA's policy (or is it FAA policy?) of not shutting the curtains between cabins (rather odd in my opinion as it makes the aircraft feel all open) I was able to watch the First Class service quite closely. It appeared as though the CSD was playing a big role up front and was assisted by another male FA. However there were only a few differences on the 767 between First and Business; a slightly wider and more reclining seat that happened to restrict access to the aisle for window seat passsengers. I noticed a few tall champagne flutes being handed out and service was done from the trolley. From where I was the service looked extremely personal but then the people I could see were the staff so wasn't sure if that was the case or not. At least it looked like UA were trying very hard to differentiate First Class from Business on the 767 where the differences in the hard product were not so great.

During the flight I got up to go the bathroom a couple of times and noticed some of the seats on the right hand side of the Business cabin were used as crew rest and I managed to sneak a quick picture of the cabin. I was half expecting the trigger happy FAMs to wrestle me to the floor after taking this Big grin

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Business Class cabin on the United 767

Throughout the flight the FAs passed through the cabin topping up glasses of water without prompting. In some ways it works doubly well for all involved as it means less of the more expensive alcohol supplies are used up, passengers don't get drunk and become target practice for our armed friends about the cabin and also we tend to arrive in better shape....oh and our perceptions of United service is much increased. Am I too cycnical when it comes to these things?  Wink I think UA may have to revise how often the passings through the cabin should be done though as with the amount of water being used up I think the bathrooms were working some serious overtime. Have they considered the maintenance cost of this? Big grin

My girlfriend spent much of the flight watching numerous movies while I sat there awaiting the next course of food! I was getting rather hungry once more...

About three and a half hours after breakfast it was apparent the cogs went into action to prepare for dinner arrived. Our CSD, John, came around again, did the little crouching thing and described the various options to us (see menu above). I opted for the filet mignon and my girlfriend, the tilapia.

Of course the first 'course' was some hot nuts which were accompanied by Duval-Leroy NV Brut Champagne. The wine list was as follows:

______________________

featured wines

Champagne

Heidsieck Monopole Blue Top NV Champagne

Duval-Leroy NV Brut Champagne

White Wine

Laboure-Roi Chablis

Maison Henry Brochard 2004 Pouilly Fume Sauvignon Blanc

Geyser Peak Chardonnay 2004 Alexander Valley

Wente Vineyards Livermore Valley 2003 Chardonnay

Red Wine

Chateau Lalande Vielles Vignes 2002 Listrac Medoc

Chateau la Boutignane 2003 Corbieres

Bodega Norton Cabernet Sauvignon 2004 Lujan de Cuyo

Pedroncelli Three Vineyards 2002 Dry Creek Valley Cabernet Sauvignon

Beverages

Aperitifs, cocktails, spirits, liquers and beer

Sandeman Founders Reserve Porto will be offered during the main meal's dessert

STARBUCKS coffee will be available throughout the flight


_____________________


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Hot nuts and Duval-Leroy Champagne

Again the bread was brought round with salad, and I asked for a glass of the Norton Cabernet Sauvignon to go with my filet. I liked the way the dressing was done by spoon from a bowl, it felt a little more sophisticated than shaking a small bottle and pouring it on.

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Salad with bread, water and Bodega Norton Cabernet Sauvignon 2004 Lujan de Cuyo

The salad dressing, balsamic vinaigrette (not as printed in the menu) was wonderful. I just can't get enough of balsamic but the salad itself was a little disappointing. I'm not a great fan of salads with a huge proportion of lettuce, am more of a spring mix kind of a man but it tasted alright and I was hungry!

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Applewood smoked bacon wrapped filet mignon with wild mushrooms.
Oven roasted fingerling potatoes and sauteed green beans with shallots and almonds. A glass of Bodega Norton Cabernet Sauvignon 2004 Lujan de Cuyo


The filet mignon was pretty decent for airline food, the bacon around it was perfect and the red wine I selected went rather well with it. The potatoes were also done just right, not rock hard and not so soft they crumbled. A  thumbsup  for this one. My girlfriend who doesn't usually understand the reason I take photos and the like all of a sudden went nuts and remarked her tilapia was so good she was going to take a photo of it! Yikes! If my girlfriend says fish is done well it means it is good. She eats fish so much it isn't funny and to give this a good rating is a credit to the caterers!

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Tilapia fillet with cornbread crust and pomodoro sauce. Wild rice with sauteed shallots and a broccoli, artichoke and pepper medley

Dessert was then brought round...mmm ice cream. Who doesn't like ice cream??

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Ice cream

The only thing this could have done with was maybe a sauce to put on it, spooning it off a bowl from the trolley or something, much like with the salad.

After all this was done we were just coming in over Devon and Cornwall and since the meal service was over with I decided to go and change and basically prepare for landing. I peered out of the windows beside 5A & 5B as we slowly descended towards London. At this time the CSD came round and shook everyones hand individually and thanked everyone for flying with United today, he managed to say a different thing to everyone within earshot which made it feel much more personable. He then came around and by name presented a rose, or at least a rather pretty red flower to each of the ladies in the cabin. Not sure if it was a pre-Valentines day thing or if the crew usually hit on female passengers  Wink but it cemented my view that this chap in particular and his crew certainly made the flight for me and my girlfriend felt the same way.

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My girlfriend with the flower from the cabin services director

We circled just south of Heathrow and came in from the east on the southern runway, at least one of the benefits of arriving into Terminal 3 are that there is no need to cross and active runway, unlike the majority of my flights!

The aircraft pulled up in the back end of beyond in Terminal 3 about 30mins early thanks to tailwinds. It was a good 10 minute walk with no slouching to immigration which certainly dispelled any thoughts of deep vein thrombosis setting in!

My girlfriend beat me through immigration in the Fast Track lane and we headed down to baggage reclaim. As with the majority of my flights on Star Alliance airlines my bags were through amongst the first dozen or so. The only thing left was to withdraw some cash and wait a couple of minutes for the Hotel Hoppa to arrive. At this point I really felt the need to lie down. As I was withdrawing cash I was hassled by an Indian chap asking if I wanted an (illegal) minicab, one refusal should be enough but this guy was persistent. I headed over the Hotel Hoppa stop and the one we required came pretty fast. After about 10mins of terminal hopping we arrived at the Sheraton Heathrow, checked in to our Executive Room and were greeted with a nice bottle of wine courtesy of the manager.  Smile My girlfriend and I enjoyed supping it whilst laying on the bed as we got ready for bed. After all the next day we had almost a 12hr flight ahead of us!

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Bottle of wine courtesy of the manager at Sheraton Heathrow

Verdict: Have to say UA did pretty well on this flight and it surpassed my expectations. I was warned about UA in Business, the 767 product is inferior thanks to a 1" narrower seat but to be honest it didn't bother me too much. The food was pretty decent and the service was excellent, in particular the Cabin Services Director who gets a big thumbsup  thumbsup  If anyone knows the proper term for this guy then I'd appreciate it as I'd prefer to use native terminology.
Having said all the above I'd still choose BA over UA but my views of UA went up after this flight, UA just didn't have the X-factor that my BA flights seems to have. Read my report from the LHR-IAD leg to see if UA once again surprises me....or not.


"My first job was selling doors, door to door, that's a tough job innit" - Bill Bailey
43 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlineBMIFlyer From UK - England, joined Feb 2004, 8810 posts, RR: 58
Reply 1, posted (8 years 6 months 3 weeks 5 days 5 hours ago) and read 32767 times:

Ah, my favourite American Airline Big grin

Excellent report and pics  Smile

Thanks,


Lee



Sometimes You Can't Make It On Your Own
User currently offlineFbgdavidson From United Kingdom, joined Oct 2004, 3706 posts, RR: 28
Reply 2, posted (8 years 6 months 3 weeks 5 days 5 hours ago) and read 32767 times:

Route: London Heathrow (Terminal 3) - Washington Dulles
Airline: United Airlines
Flight number: UA919A / UA8183
Aircraft: Boeing 777-222/ER
Registration: N796UA
Seat: 14A (Business Class)
Distance: 3677 miles
Duration: 7hrs 45mins
Date: Monday 20th February



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Photo © Islam Chen
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Photo © Ingo Lang




I have to say I was looking forward to this flight much more than the outbound, somehow when I booked it I had managed to get a 747 and we pre-assigned two seats on the upper deck. I have to say upper deck 747 is the way to go unless you are in the nose, so much quieter, better service, altogether a better proposition.

The previous night my girlfriend and I had arrived from Cape Town and gone back to my parents house. They were trying to figure out what time our flight was, my father went onto the UA website and got utterly confused as it seemed the 919 on Sunday had been cancelled or not even left Heathrow, answers on postcard for that one. As it happened my father was flying out of LHR the same day as us but a little too early to warrant giving us a lift so it was up to my mother to take us. My father called a little too early for my liking saying the M4 was all backed up so my mother prized us out of bed with a tire lever (almost) and following a quick shower and breakfast we were off on the backroads, alas without incident and we arrived at Terminal 3 a shade over three hours before the flight went. At least we had lounges to make use of....

We made our way over to the UA check-in area, got the 'Business or Economy?' questioning over with only to head towards a short check-in line and were then asked where I was flying to today. I replied with Washington and a smile appeared across this woman's face. 'We are moving you onto the earlier flight' and the woman ran us across to the Economy desk and before I uttered a word told the check-in woman we were on the earlier flight leaving at 11am instead of midday. Did I get no say in this??? The woman typed away for about 30secs as I handed over my tickets and I tried to ask if we were on the 747 still. After she was literally too far through the process she replied, 'no 777'. Great!  Yeah sure As my girlfriend and I were on separate PNRs she processed us individually and gave my girlfriend a boarding pass for 13J. After processing me whereby it took a number of attempts to gauge where I was staying in the US she handed me a boarding pass for 14A....I'd have thought as we were checking in together it would be quite obvious we'd sit together! So I handed my girlfriend's boarding pass back and asked if we could sit together, she almost rolled her eyes at me as if I was being a complete pain in the backside and swapped us into 14A and 14B. Maybe this flight was really busy, at this point I didn't know. At least this check-in process was killing a fair part of the 3hrs, well now 2hrs we had before departure. Upon checking the boarding passes we had them for UA919 the day before. The lady had kindly circled the day and re-written the boarding time to 10.15am but I had my doubts about passing through security with a boarding pass for a flight the day before!!

We both headed upstairs and went to the Fast Track security line, I was amazed we were let through without question, the second incredible security breach in two days (to find the other you'll have to read my BA CPT-LHR trip report). Fast Track was, well anything but, we slowly snaked around for 10mins or so and then were almost given a good mouthing by the girl at the bag scanner, 'Didn't you see laptops out of bags?'. The fact I was using a laptop bag must mean I use a laptop doesn't it...well I don't but then I presume she must see dozens of people try to get away with it!

After stripping down and then putting our clothes back on my girlfriend and I headed to the London Lounge operated by SAS and Air Canada. It is head and shoulders better than the UA RCC and marginally better than the SQ SilverKris lounge which I couldn't be bothered to walk to! We headed upstairs to find it slightly different to as I remember. We took a seat upstairs and went to find drinks and a couple of snacks.

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The London Lounge operated by SAS and Air Canada

My girlfriend got an interesting thing with some peppers in it and some shortbread on the side, err nice combination there! And I went and got some orange juice and some delicious Kettle Chips, a few packs of course, can't get enough of them on longhauls! Surprisingly our flight said it was boarding though Gate 22 already, some 35mins before that printed on our boarding passes, so I went to the front desk to see if they had any different information. They advised that as Gate 22 was a fair hike and that we make a move in the next few minutes. We finished what we were eating and decided to stop by the Red Carpet Club and ask. They were going to make a call for us about 30mins before departure so we could board at the last minute. A shame we couldn't have stayed in the London Lounge as the RCC is pretty awful at LHR.

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United Red Carpet Club at LHR Terminal 3 (Picture taken on previous visit)

Our 30min window came and went and I just knew we'd be departing Heathrow about the same time as the 747 we were originally booked on and to rub it in we were in the Red Carpet Club  Wink Across from us were to guys talking about frequent flyer programmes, even though I do post on Flyertalk regularly listening to two guys talking about FFPs in person sounds so incredibly nerdy it isn't true!! Around 10.50am our flight was called and so we shuffled off down to Gate 22 right in the back of beyond, it almost felt like it was over the horizon!  Wink My first thought was we were the last to board as the concourse was empty and the only person at the gate was an Indian guy trying to blag an upgrade, 'for no cost you'll understand'. This guy was there for a couple of minutes and it was cringeworthy to listen to his excuses but he was rebuffed on the grounds there was insufficient catering. My girlfriend and I soon boarded leaving him there still trying his luck to find the cabin well....empty! It made understanding why the check-in agent separated us even more baffling! In the rear business cabin where we were seated there were only 7 passengers including us!

We both had some BA First pyjamas from out flight the day before so went and changed into them and took our seats in row 14. I handed my jacket to a French FA and asked if he could hang it up please to which he sneered at me! Is this actually part of the service on UA? It was nice to have an overhead locker each and as we sat down we noticed that one of the three windows was blanked out so we moved forward a row. A female flight attendant came back to offer us a drink and stood back saying, 'Oh that is so unfair, you must go back and change into your uncomfortable clothes'  Smile We both took orange juice and she started a little friendly chit-chat asking where we had got sunburned....err I mean tanned  Wink Menus were passed around which were as followed:

___________________________

to begin

Smoked halibut and goat cheese with sun blushed tomato

Chunky tomato compote

or

Fresh seasonal greens
Sun-dried tomato or Caesar dressing

____

main course

Filet mignon with roasted garlic demi-glace
Cheddar cheese mashed potatoes and Somerset style mixed vegetables

Roasted breast of chicken with sweet chili glaze
Green beans with sun-blushed tomato and mixed pepper risotto

Harmonica Provencal pasta with Parmesan cheese
Creamy mushroom, tomato and creme fraiche pesto with pine nut sauce

____

dessert

International cheese selection

Stilton and Roubiliac cheese

Haagen-Dazs ice cream
____

prior to arrival

Your selected entree will be served with assorted breads, clotted cream and fruit preserve

British tea service
Crayfish, sweet chili vegetable and chicken with basil sandwiches

or

Cheese plate with fresh seasonal fruit
Wensleydale with Cranberries and Red Leicester cheese

_______________________

featured wines

Champagne

Heidsieck Monopole Blue Top NV Champagne

Duval-Leroy NV Brut Champagne

White Wine

Laboure-Roi Chablis

Maison Henry Brochard 2004 Pouilly Fume Sauvignon Blanc

Geyser Peak Chardonnay 2004 Alexander Valley

Wente Vineyards Livermore Valley 2003 Chardonnay

Red Wine

Chateau Lalande Vielles Vignes 2002 Listrac Medoc

Chateau la Boutignane 2003 Corbieres

Bodega Norton Cabernet Sauvignon 2004 Lujan de Cuyo

Pedroncelli Three Vineyards 2002 Dry Creek Valley Cabernet Sauvignon

Beverages

Aperitifs, cocktails, spirits, liquers and beer

Sandeman Founders Reserve Porto will be offered during the main meal's dessert

STARBUCKS coffee will be available throughout the flight


_____________________

Considering we were meant to be amongst the last passengers on board it seemed like we were fannying around for ever and this was later explained as we were waiting for a last passenger to board. As there was another flight followingly shortly behind us why not offload them onto that one? After a considerable length of time our Indian upgrade blagger 'friend' came through the cabin...Economy bound. If he was at the gate all this time blagging an upgrade I'd have been tempted to offload the guy!!

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The larger Business Class cabin onboard the United 777

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The legroom on UA 777s in Business Class. Not bad for a dayflight

Amenity kits were handed out and eventually our last remaining passenger decided to join us so we pushed back. We had barely left the stand before another UA aircraft had taken our spot and we taxied around to depart on 09R. A number of aircraft were in line including a rather unusual Bahraini 747SP and I got a pretty good view of the various aircraft taking off and heading destination-bound, amongst this included a bmi A320, a Qantas 747 and our afoermentioned Bahraini friend.

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Bahraini 747SP

Our turn to depart soon came and the Pratt & Whitney engine beside my window came to life quickly taking us up through the clouds and banking around to the west bound for Washington. The seat belt sign stayed on for some time and soon after the motions began to get lunch served, this began as per usual with a drinks order and noting of our options from the menu. My preferred option of the chicken was gone, disappointing considering the loads on this flight, so I went for the filet mignon again, ordering a glass of Duval-Leroy champagne to go with it. Hot nuts were also distributed.

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Hot nuts and glass of Duval-Leroy champagne

My girlfriend didn't want all her nuts so I got a few extra and sat awaiting the first course, the smoked halibut. Bread then came around and I went for a floury white thing...

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Smoked halibut and goat cheese with sun blushed tomato.
Chunky tomato compote


The salad dressing was once again done from the cart and I went for the sesame dressing which ran their supplies down so my girlfriend went with Caesar. I have to say this was fantastic  thumbsup  thumbsup  One of the best starters I've had onboard before. I could have quite easily eaten three of these for my lunch, but after the salad and smoke halibut I decided to leave room for the filet.

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Filet mignon with roasted garlic demi-glace. Cheddar cheese mashed potatoes and Somerset style mixed vegetables

The filet itself was very good, a shame it didn't have the bacon wrapped around it like the outbound but the sauce made up for it. The mashed potatoes were pretty good and I nibbled on the vegetables leaving the courgettes  yuck  behind. Next course....Haagen-Dazs ice cream!

http://img226.imageshack.us/img226/3006/dsc026020ho.jpg
Haagen-Dazs Ice Cream

The chocolate ice cream in particular was rather delicious, definitely went down well with my girlfriend! Having flicked through the IFE guide before take-off nothing really caught my attention so I plugged my QC2s which had been on for most of the flight into audio channel 9, something I hadn't done before. It was interesting whilst we were over civilisation and a number of familiar callsigns came up including Speedbird 217, the morning BA flight to IAD that I wrote a report up for here a few months back. It seemed a lot of the chat was regarding 'Mallett (sp?) time'. I presume this is a mid-Atlantic waypoint as the various aircraft were saying they'd report when they would reach Mallett. Anyone with more info on that? I'd be interested to hear. Once away from Ireland most of the chat went dead but looking out the window it was clear we weren't alone. There were a number of aircraft on paths crossing ours and at one stage we were parallel with another aircraft probably just a few miles behind it as it's vapour trail was just below my window. After craning my neck for some time it was apparent we weren't catching it. If we were it would have made an awesome picture!

Channel 9 went dead for the most part and at one stage the guys just seemed to chat to each-other talking about winter sports, swapping email addresses and at one stage even playing country music across the waves!! I thought it was our captain playing a soundtrack whilst some important radio calls not destined for passengers ears were made but then some other pilots interjected with calls of 'Humpback Mountain' and the like! After a few minutes of mucking around an anonymous voice made the call to 'Cut it out guys' and the mid-Atlantic japers came to an end.

Meanwhile onboard the water bottle routine was done, filling glasses every few minutes to keep those hydrated. I listened a bit more to Channel 9 as we neared the Canadian coast and saw a US A330 come pretty close by. It stayed with us for some time, obviously on a parallel track.

http://img226.imageshack.us/img226/8759/dsc026034lk.jpg
US Airways A330 somewhere over the Western mid-Atlantic

I filled out my immigration forms and flicked through a number of magazines for a while including the ever amusing 'Elite Traveller' magazine. I'm not sure if people really take this magazine as a serious travel magazine or if it just an aspirational thing for people like me to laugh at. For a start it retails for $35 (pretty high considering the content is mostly adverts) and they have a regular feature, 'Private Jet Update' and this issue had a feature on yacht charter where the 'cheapest' available was $60,000 per week! Big grin The issue of Golf Digest I leafed through after I stopped laughing was a bit closer to my price range  Wink

The flight was rapidly coming to an end, these transatlantics seem to go by faster the more I do them...and before long we were tracking over Maine and down the Atlantic seaboard. We were over Boston and the pre-arrival snack was yet to appear. On BA I'm always a little cautious if we are at Boston and not got this over with so I went to the bathroom and changed. On my return I was asked about my selection. Much to my dismay they had once again run out of my choice, the English tea service, and so decided against having a cheese plate I wasn't keen on and prepared myself best for landing as our descent began. The FA seemed rather surprised by decision to take nothing asking, 'You want in on the cheese plate?'. I did take a glass of Sprite but found it incredibly annoying that of the three times I was given the option of meal twice I was rebuffed with other options!

http://img81.imageshack.us/img81/4026/dsc026063rd.jpg
Our Pratt & Whitney engine and the view of snow over Pennsylvania

Fortunately I had a bag of Kettle Chips in my bag so I munched on those while my girlfriend nibbled on the cheese plate. As soon as this was cleared away we descended pretty steeply north of Washington and I asked for my jacket back. It took some time and I thought they had lost it! Alas it just they got it confused with a crew jacket....that can't be a good thing!  Wink

We landed on 19R and taxied between the C/D Concourse and the G Concourse and parked right on the far corner. We disembarked pretty quickly and went to wait for a mobile shuttle to arrive. Once again the Dulles regulars were made apparent from everyone else as they went right to the end of the mobile lounge! The thing was so packed by the time the driver decided it was time to go and he drove like Mario Andretti which caused me to fall over!

The immigration hall was rather busy, a reason why I pick international flight arriving into Dulles in the evening if possible and so I waited in line while the passengers off Ethiopian Airlines, Aeroflot and Austrian waited ahead of me. INS officials were out in the hall waiting to shout at anyone who dared use their cellphones....Welcome to America  Wink My girlfriend got through the US citizen line rather faster than my efforts of about 25mins and I got through to find her waiting in an insanely long, and slow moving line. This couldn't be right!?! As it turned out she had mistakenly got in the transfer baggage line and so I went round to another line which was moving a bit faster and it was a matter of just a couple of minutes. For those transferring I'm sure it would have been faster to go landside and check in from the beginning and go through security again!

All that was left was to change some South African Rand back into US dollars and await our ride back to the Hyatt so we could get our car and drive home.

http://img225.imageshack.us/img225/9180/dsc026099on.jpg
The United Business Class amenity kit with Crabtree & Evelyn products

The bag itself felt quite cheap, especially the eyeshade and BA have just spoiled me with REN and Molton Brown products (they smell so good!) although the stuff in the bathrooms certainly kept my face hydrated throughout the flight.

Verdict: Following the outbound flight the return was extremely disappointing. Initially being bullied into taking the marginally earlier flight, in hindsight I'd have pushed not to. Give me the 747 upper deck any day of the week. The seat and the legroom were fine for a dayflight but I'd hate to try and sleep in one, especially after getting rather used to BA's J & F offerings. The service just didn't feel polished and upon arrival I felt in the future I'd push harder to keep my backside on BA.

More pictures: If you want to see more pictures than I posted here please see my Imagestation album from the flights.



"My first job was selling doors, door to door, that's a tough job innit" - Bill Bailey
User currently offlineJohnboy From United States of America, joined Aug 1999, 2591 posts, RR: 7
Reply 3, posted (8 years 6 months 3 weeks 5 days 5 hours ago) and read 32767 times:

Great report...can't wait to hear about your First experience to Cape Town!

User currently offlineBMIFlyer From UK - England, joined Feb 2004, 8810 posts, RR: 58
Reply 4, posted (8 years 6 months 3 weeks 5 days 4 hours ago) and read 32767 times:

Great read for part 2 as well. Big grin


Lee



Sometimes You Can't Make It On Your Own
User currently offlineTUGMASTER From Northern Mariana Islands, joined Jul 2004, 697 posts, RR: 9
Reply 5, posted (8 years 6 months 3 weeks 5 days 4 hours ago) and read 32767 times:

Great TR..looks like UA biz service is ok, but i think both UA & AA need to introduce lie flat seats/beds to compete with VS & BA across the pond.

rgds

Tugmaster


User currently offlineDSMflyer From United States of America, joined Jan 2006, 402 posts, RR: 0
Reply 6, posted (8 years 6 months 3 weeks 5 days 2 hours ago) and read 32767 times:

Quoting Fbgdavidson (Reply 2):
After a few minutes of mucking around an anonymous voice made the call to 'Cut it out guys' and the mid-Atlantic japers came to an end.

Hahaha! Great trip report and pics, I enjoyed reading it. That food looked really really good...Looking forward to reading about the BA segments as well! Too bad you didn't get the 747 on the way back to IAD though...

[Edited 2006-02-23 00:08:15]

User currently offlineRSW Sergio E From United States of America, joined May 2002, 18 posts, RR: 0
Reply 7, posted (8 years 6 months 3 weeks 4 days 22 hours ago) and read 32767 times:
Support Airliners.net - become a First Class Member!

Really enjoyed reading your report. Great pics too.

User currently offlineUAPremierGuy From United States of America, joined Oct 2005, 206 posts, RR: 0
Reply 8, posted (8 years 6 months 3 weeks 4 days 19 hours ago) and read 32767 times:

FYI, the Customer Service Director is termed the "Purser" in domestic lingo...


It's Time To Fly!
User currently offlineWheelsatc From United Kingdom, joined Oct 2004, 111 posts, RR: 0
Reply 9, posted (8 years 6 months 3 weeks 4 days 5 hours ago) and read 32767 times:

Once again another gratuitous, show off report all courtisey of Daddy's credit card! Not even a single aircraft registration.

Get a job man and stop living off daddy's credit card.


User currently offlineBRAVO7E7 From United States of America, joined Jul 2004, 1840 posts, RR: 17
Reply 10, posted (8 years 6 months 3 weeks 4 days 5 hours ago) and read 32767 times:

As usual, excellent report! I am happy that UA's service was good on the outbound. The roses that they handed out are certainly not normal, but a great gesture.

It is a shame that they did not have enough meals in C with only a few passengers. They typically do this, as to save as much money as possible.

Thanks for the excellent report!

Quoting Wheelsatc (Reply 9):
Once again another gratuitous, show off report all courtisey of Daddy's credit card! Not even a single aircraft registration.

Get a job man and stop living off daddy's credit card.

This was completely uncalled for.


User currently offlineFbgdavidson From United Kingdom, joined Oct 2004, 3706 posts, RR: 28
Reply 11, posted (8 years 6 months 3 weeks 4 days 4 hours ago) and read 32767 times:

Thanks for the comments!

Quoting Johnboy (Reply 3):
Great report...can't wait to hear about your First experience to Cape Town!

The report is just about finished, give me another hour!

Quoting UAPremierGuy (Reply 8):
FYI, the Customer Service Director is termed the "Purser" in domestic lingo...

Thanks  thumbsup  Some people did have a Purser badge but didn't realise this was the top dog

Quoting Wheelsatc (Reply 9):
Once again another gratuitous, show off report all courtisey of Daddy's credit card! Not even a single aircraft registration.

Get a job man and stop living off daddy's credit card.

Pity to hear that as I put quite a lot of effort into these reports. I'd quite like to hear quite as to why it is showing off. OK, so it is business class, so what?

Besides the flights were paid out of my own pocket. One was cash and the other was my own frequent flyer miles.

Please see beyond the '22yr old flying business class' and criticise elements of the report itself. Thanks  Smile

Quoting BRAVO7E7 (Reply 10):
This was completely uncalled for.

Especially as I included the registrations for both flights in bold in the first few lines of each part Big grin



"My first job was selling doors, door to door, that's a tough job innit" - Bill Bailey
User currently offlineWheelsatc From United Kingdom, joined Oct 2004, 111 posts, RR: 0
Reply 12, posted (8 years 6 months 3 weeks 4 days 3 hours ago) and read 32767 times:

'Especially as I included the registrations for both flights in bold in the first few lines of each part'

That is true, I missed those and I apologise. I stand by what I said though and although you may well have used miles where did they come???

It is all very well saying get over the 22 years of age thing but as your bio says, you are an ex student and do nothing so how do you manage to fly biz and first all the time, money has to come from somewhere! I feel alot of the time you are showing off.

Just my opinion.


User currently offlineA340600 From United Kingdom, joined Aug 2003, 4105 posts, RR: 51
Reply 13, posted (8 years 6 months 3 weeks 4 days 2 hours ago) and read 32767 times:

Quoting Fbgdavidson (Thread starter):
after all it was the beginning of our vacation.

Picking up some phrases already Wink

Another excellent report. The UA J product sounds better than I would have thought and the food looks delicious,

Sam Smile



Despite the name I am a Boeing man through and through!
User currently offlineBRAVO7E7 From United States of America, joined Jul 2004, 1840 posts, RR: 17
Reply 14, posted (8 years 6 months 3 weeks 4 days 2 hours ago) and read 32767 times:

Quoting Wheelsatc (Reply 12):
'Especially as I included the registrations for both flights in bold in the first few lines of each part'

That is true, I missed those and I apologise. I stand by what I said though and although you may well have used miles where did they come???

It is all very well saying get over the 22 years of age thing but as your bio says, you are an ex student and do nothing so how do you manage to fly biz and first all the time, money has to come from somewhere! I feel alot of the time you are showing off.

Just my opinion.

Even if this were the fact, so what? Would you not do the same if you were in the situation? This report has absolutely no sense of bragging in it, and is just very well written and informative. Again, thanks for the report.


User currently offlineBritPilot777 From United Kingdom, joined Apr 2004, 1075 posts, RR: 2
Reply 15, posted (8 years 6 months 3 weeks 4 days 2 hours ago) and read 32767 times:

Great Read!!

BP777



Forever Flight
User currently offlineTK787 From United States of America, joined Jan 2006, 4434 posts, RR: 12
Reply 16, posted (8 years 6 months 3 weeks 4 days ago) and read 32767 times:

Quoting Fbgdavidson (Thread starter):
Smoked halibut and goat cheese with sun blushed tomato.

That halibut looks a bit salmony to me.
Great report, thanks for sharing.


User currently offlineZRHnerd From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 17, posted (8 years 6 months 3 weeks 3 days 23 hours ago) and read 32767 times:

I dont like ice cream!!!


ok i lied Big grin

Nice reports!


User currently offlineLACA773 From United States of America, joined Nov 2004, 4017 posts, RR: 2
Reply 18, posted (8 years 6 months 3 weeks 3 days 18 hours ago) and read 32767 times:
Support Airliners.net - become a First Class Member!

Thanks for the great and very detailed report! I enjoyed them very much. Like me, I find you to be very observant and really do enjoy flying and the airline business. Customer service is the most important thing to "making or breaking" one's inflight experience. UA does try hard but it's nearly impossible to surpass BA's inflight standards though I feel UA is better than AA!. Did you find the catering on UA to be more plentiful than ClubWorld?

Quoting Wheelsatc (Reply 9):

What's up with you man?? Angry? I feel you're rudness is out of line and unacceptable. Perhaps you need an Ativan with that ale you're drinking??

LACA773

P.S. Does anyone know where you can buy the P and J class amentity kits for the various airlines? I like to collect them.


User currently offlineSNATH From United States of America, joined Mar 2004, 3239 posts, RR: 22
Reply 19, posted (8 years 6 months 3 weeks 3 days 2 hours ago) and read 32767 times:

Again, excellent report!

Quoting Fbgdavidson (Thread starter):
leaving the courgettes

Dude, what's wrong with courgettes?  yummy   yummy   yummy   Smile

Tony



Nikon: we don't want more pixels, we want better pixels.
User currently offlineJyatlantic From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 20, posted (8 years 6 months 3 weeks 2 days ago) and read 32767 times:

Wow, superbly detailed like always. One question...Did do notice if UA went by their "REVENUE FIRST" policy in offering priority meal choices to full-fare and elite passengers? I'm worried I won't get what I want since I'm traveling in F in June on miles.

Quoting Wheelsatc (Reply 9):
Once again another gratuitous, show off report all courtisey of Daddy's credit card! Not even a single aircraft registration.

Get a job man and stop living off daddy's credit card.

No.

Quoting LACA773 (Reply 18):
P.S. Does anyone know where you can buy the P and J class amentity kits for the various airlines? I like to collect them.

Yes, on eBay there are plenty. The older BA First Kits are the best.

[Edited 2006-02-26 02:38:33]

User currently offlineBRAVO7E7 From United States of America, joined Jul 2004, 1840 posts, RR: 17
Reply 21, posted (8 years 6 months 3 weeks 1 day 21 hours ago) and read 32767 times:

Quoting Jyatlantic (Reply 20):
One question...Did do notice if UA went by their "REVENUE FIRST" policy in offering priority meal choices to full-fare and elite passengers? I'm worried I won't get what I want since I'm traveling in F in June on miles.

Actually, UA has a very clear policy that they take meal priority solely by status. The manifest does not typically say whether you are paid, miles, or whatnot. All that counts is your status, and they should take your order by that. This is not to say that they will, as many FA's d not go by that procedure and just go front to back.


User currently offlineFbgdavidson From United Kingdom, joined Oct 2004, 3706 posts, RR: 28
Reply 22, posted (8 years 6 months 3 weeks 1 day 21 hours ago) and read 32767 times:

Thanks for the kind comments...in the most part anyways  Wink

Quoting A340600 (Reply 13):
The UA J product sounds better than I would have thought

That certainly was my impression. I was ready to come off disappointed but the IAD-LHR leg was surprisingly pleasant.

Quoting TK787 (Reply 16):
That halibut looks a bit salmony to me.

The girlfriend said it tasted a bit different to salmon. I wouldn't even know what smoked halibut looked like! But having Googlised it does look similar....

Quoting LACA773 (Reply 18):
Did you find the catering on UA to be more plentiful than ClubWorld?

About the same in terms of quantity.

Quoting Jyatlantic (Reply 20):
Did do notice if UA went by their "REVENUE FIRST" policy in offering priority meal choices to full-fare and elite passengers?

I don't think so. On the outbound flight we seemed to get asked for our meal choices first, being seated in the front of the cabin. On the way back it seemed as though most of the C class folks were in the smaller cabin in front of the galley and we were asked amongst the last, hence the lack of choices....I presume.



"My first job was selling doors, door to door, that's a tough job innit" - Bill Bailey
User currently offlineBRAVO7E7 From United States of America, joined Jul 2004, 1840 posts, RR: 17
Reply 23, posted (8 years 6 months 3 weeks 1 day 21 hours ago) and read 32767 times:

Quoting Fbgdavidson (Reply 22):
I don't think so. On the outbound flight we seemed to get asked for our meal choices first, being seated in the front of the cabin. On the way back it seemed as though most of the C class folks were in the smaller cabin in front of the galley and we were asked amongst the last, hence the lack of choices....I presume.

To add to what I said earlier, they may take food orders from front to back, but in the galley set priorities for the elite passengers. If they start with you in the front and you are not elite they may ask for your second choice, while not asking this to the 1K.


User currently offlineFbgdavidson From United Kingdom, joined Oct 2004, 3706 posts, RR: 28
Reply 24, posted (8 years 6 months 2 weeks 2 days 23 hours ago) and read 32767 times:

Quoting BRAVO7E7 (Reply 23):
they start with you in the front and you are not elite they may ask for your second choice

I'd have thought the fact there were only two choices for each course would mean finding out the second choice would be rather easy to deduce Big grin

FWIW, for some reason my girlfriends BP failed to print her elite status on it as she was flying on miles. Is her elite status still recognised in the galley and on the manifest? Whenever I've flown on BA award tickets my FF number and status have been shown on the boarding pass.



"My first job was selling doors, door to door, that's a tough job innit" - Bill Bailey
25 BRAVO7E7 : Well, most likely not. Usually, what is on the BP is what is on the manifest. Is she a Star Gold or UA elite?
26 Post contains images Boeing744 : Great report! Your style of writing is great for trip reports, makes it very nice to read. I look forward to your CPT report!
27 GSM763 : couldn't they come up with a better brand? Great report though.
28 LACA773 : Jyatlantic, Thanks for the information. I apreciate it and will do a search. FBGDavidson, Thanks again for the great trip reports. I really enjoy you
29 Paul : Hey Fraser you are one lucky SOB always in Business or First. But what a coincidence, I sat in the same seat on the 767 and had exactly the same meal
30 Alexchao : Great trip report. I enjoyed the pictures, too!
31 Post contains links and images Fbgdavidson : A miserable Star Silver Either way I'd have thought it'd be reflected on the boarding pass. BA First: LHR-CPT-LHR (w/pics + Video) (by Fbgdavidson Fe
32 Post contains links ATLflyer : Great trip reports! I am glad to hear that United is trying to improve their in-flight service. Currently their business seats are outdated, but Unite
33 Post contains images Mir : Figured I'd bring this thread back from the dead to answer this one (as best I can, at least). MALOT is an intersection that's often associated with
34 SiouxATC : Your jealous, plain and simple. Its none of your business how he pays for any of his flights so why dont you just lay off. Jerk. anyways Fbgdavidson:
35 Post contains links and images Fbgdavidson : Mir, thanks for the MALOT description! Appreciate it! My wife and I had a great time! It is a wonderful country! I wrote a report on my actual time th
36 777fan : Wouldn't worry about it if I were you - I've never had a problem with meal selection while traveling on miles or upgrade vouchers. 777fan
37 Post contains images N174UA : I remember the "good ol' days" in the '80s when I'd fly between PDX and ORD on either a DC-8 or DC-10. I rode in First (Dad worked for UA) and they'd
38 Crjflyer35 : Great report as always...love reading 'em! I remember my transpac flight from ICN to SFO in UA Business, had nothing but great comments about it, sad
39 Honcircle : Great trip report. The Avod on the United p.s. route in business looks better than the intercontinental avod.. You get a real good dvd player with gre
40 Post contains links and images Fbgdavidson : I think a lot of people enjoy the sundaes Last summer I flew JFK-LAX in AA F and had the whole sundae from the cart. It was one of my favourite parts
41 Post contains images EGBJ : Awesome report! Thanks!
42 UnitedNRT : Thank you for flying with United. We truly appreciate it and the trip report is very interesting! UnitedNRT
43 Tsaord : Jealous or something? Why can't he fly Biz when he wants despite his age?
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