Was your birthday present a pre-booked flight or did you choose United? If you can, I would seriously consider re-booking with ANA or JAL. Their service is far, far superior to any US airline (I've flown them all to Japan), and it will give you a little taste of Japan even before you get there.
I have never flown a 777, though - when I last flew UA
and NWA to Japan, it was on 747's. ANA was also using 747's last time I went. JAL still uses 747's. My wife flew a 777 on AA
last time she went, and she said it would be the last time she ever flew American - and part of that seemed to be the plane (she said the seats were narrower than what she remembers flying on ANA 747's). I suppose it depends on how UA
has theirs configured. Economy plus shouldn't be too bad, though.
As for what to expect... expect a long, boring flight. You're somewhat lucky in that you're making a stop - personally, I'm a nervous flier so I prefer non-stops, but if I was a normal person I'd probably prefer a stop on a long trip like this. It won't seem like you're just hanging in the air forever. But still, I agree with the previous poster that said to make sure to get up and walk around whenever you can. Also, whenever you get the chance, make sure you accept whatever drinks UA
offers you - even if you're not thirsty. They didn't do this on my last UA
flight to Japan (one reason I no longer fly UA
) but usually most airlines (including UA
) will walk around the cabin every once in a while with water or tea or whatever. Always take whatever they offer. It's a health issue on a long flight like this (helps prevent deep vein thrombosis), which is why they do it - reduces their liability if you get a clot. It will also produce the side effect that you'll need to use the bathroom more often, which will force you to get up and walk around.
Ask for an aisle seat if you don't have your seating assignment already. You don't want to be stuck in a window seat for 12+ hours. On a trans-pacific flight, it's not about the view - it's about being able to stretch your legs out and get up whenever you want.
[Edited 2006-02-26 07:52:43]
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