Washington Dulles - London Heathrow
Date: February 14, 2002
Scheduled Departure: 6:20pm
Scheduled Arrival: 6:20am
A/C type: Boeing 777
A/C #: N799UA
Seat #: 31C
I have to start by saying that I am a Flight Attendant for Southwest Airlines and have flown standby on many airlines. This was the first time in 8 years that I actually bought a ticket and had a confirmed seat. This was my 3rd time from IAD-LHR in the past year but my 1st flight on United. The last 2 times I flew Virgin Atlantic on a 747.
The line was very long at the ticket counter at IAD, but moved quickly. I made it through in about 25 minutes. The line at security wasn't too bad. I made it through security in about 15 minutes. Boarding was slightly disorganized. Nobody could understand the gentleman making the announcements so a huge line formed from the jetway door down the concourse. This flight was going to be completely full.
Once on board I was happy to see that although I was sitting in the middle section of the aircraft, I was in the 1st row of that section, so I had lots of leg room and no seat in front of me. Legroom is very important to me since I am 6'3. I have to say that I prefer the 3-4-3 set up over the 2-5-2. I'm not sure why, but it just felt tight to me to have 5 people in the middle.
The take off was very smooth. I have to say that I have always had very smooth flights between IAD-LHR. The seatbelt sign went off 20 minutes after takeoff and stayed off for the entire flight. The crew were pleasant and the service was nice. The food was awesome (I had the Chicken). I loved the cheesecake. After Diner, I wanted to fall asleep, so I turned on the movie "Glitter" staring Mariah Carey. It worked!! I was asleep within 20 minutes. I slept for quite awhile. The scheduled 6 hour 20 minute flight went by very fast. Landing at Heathrow was very smooth.
London Heathrow - Washington Dulles
Date: February 20, 2002
Scheduled Departure: 11:55am
Scheduled Arrival: 3:05am
A/C Type: Boeing 777
A/C #: N776UA
Seat #: 31B
The check in process and line at security was quick and efficient. The boarding process was much more organized than it was at Dulles. Once I was onboard I passed business class and was very impressed with the leg room and then I passed economy plus and I was still impressed with the leg room, then I got to economy!! YIKES!! When I sat down in my seat, my knees immediately touched the seat in front of me. I knew this almost 8 hour flight was going to feel much longer. We pushed back right on time. There were two very demanding woman sitting in from of me. They are the type of people who are never happy. They were talking loudly while the F/A was standing next to them in the isle trying to due the emergency demo. The F/A said, "All right ladies, listen up." They didn't pay her any attention and continued there loud conversation. The F/A stopped and turned to them and said in a stern voice, "Ladies, I need you to stop talking until Im done because you are distracting me!" The 2 woman immediately stopped their conversation. I had the biggest grin on my face. As a F/A I see this type of rude behavior all the time. If you fly all the time and dont care to listen because you've heard the announcements 1,000 times then just sit there quietly until the announcements are completed.
The crew was very friendly! We received great service. The food was great! I had the chicken again. The Legroom sucked, especially when the woman in front of me decided to recline her seat to dig sharply into my knees. I hate being tall!!!
I wish I was 5'8.
The First Officer made an announcement on take off that this was the Captain's last flight after 35 years of service. He was retiring and even had his wife on board for is last flight. I thought that was pretty cool. The seatbelt sign went on 3 times during the flight for about 15-20 minutes each time for some light turbulence, nothing major. Watched the movie "The Others" staring Nicole Kidman. Very good. I liked it a lot. I didn't feel like watching any more TV so I kept the Map on the rest of the flight. The flight felt like it went on forever. I hate head winds! Plus I couldn't fall asleep. We landed on time at IAD. Landing was very smooth except for the last 4-5 minutes of the flight. Little bumpy but still very comfortable landing. We received a water salute for the captain's last flight as we taxied to the gate. It was awesome!
Overall, I liked the 777 and I liked United Airlines. However, I LOVE Virgin Atlantic and will probably go back to flying them. The only reason I chose United for this flight was because the flight was very inexpensive and I desperately wanted to fly on the 777. I know this might not be the popular thing to say on this forum, but I love the 747 much better than the 777.
The last 2 times I flew Virgin Atlantic from IAD-LHR I was non-reving, so I paid almost nothing for my ticket and I was standy-by. They upgraded me once to premium economy and the second time, I was in economy. I had more legroom in Virgin's economy than in United's economy. Plus Virgin gave me a menu of all the food that was going to be served on the flight. They also gave me a bag full of goodies for the fight, such as sleep mask, ear plugs, socks, ect..
It appears that Virgin Atlantic is now operating the A340 from IAD-LHR instead of the 747. I am curious to see how I will like Virgin's A340 over their 747. Does anyone know the seating configuration of Virgin's economy section of their A340?