I'm back!! Thak you Cmk10! Can you use easy check in WITH luggage? The signs say it's for carryon luggage only.
Okay, United offers very nice and comfortable business class seats... if you aren't in the first row. On the 744, that's rows 7 and 23. The first rows have less room, in fact it's reduced so much that the legrest cannot extend out all the way... it hits the cheap plastic seat pocket. So at 6'2" I was a little crammed, and felt ripped off being 1 row from First! No matter I was excited to being to Croatia and Italy, espcially VIA
744. However, we did sit at the gate for over an hour. About 10 minutes after our departure time had "come and gone", as the captains on UA
like to say, our captain came on. Personally, I was disappointed to find the cockpit door closed when I came onboard, so he seemed like the older, conservative type. Actually, he sounded quite young over the airwaves. He explained that we were delayed because Heathrow does not open up until 6:00 AM
. This seemed odd, but he did sound legitamate about wanting to wait on the ground instead of in the air.
I never found out if this was true, a busy airport like Heathrow only opening at 6 am, but it seemed more likely that they were holding the plane waiting for some connecting passengers. Okay, thats legitamate too, except the crew never offered drinks for the hour and 25 minutes that we were waiting. Finally, at 25 after 7 pm, we pushed and headed out to Runway 30. Despite his closed door policy, the captain did turn CH
. 9 on.
Take off was smooth with a slow climb. We immedeatly turned east, over what looked like Centreville or Chantilly, and climbed steeper. Unlike normal Trans-Atlantics from IAD
, which headed straight for Baltimore, we headed out towards the Chesapeake. The massive 744 banked gently into the evening sky, above the warm and vast Chesapeake Bay. I THOUGHT from there out it would be a good flight.
ONBOARD UA918, N181UA, IN
Shortly after the seatbelt sign went off at 31,000 feet, and the massive jet leveled out, the crew began the meal service. Normally, it is my family's policy to bring our own food, but since it was International, we wrongly assumed the food would be fine. It wasn't that it tasted bad, it was that it was cold. After delegations between my parents and the purser, I chose the express meal. Basically, it gives you all the courses at once, so you can get on to sleeping and other things. The meal consisted of a seafood platter, beef filet with potatoes, salad, bread and cheesecake. Although the beef was good, it was room temperature. The salad was OK
, but I cound't tell if the tomato was old or sun dried. The shrimp was fine, but the crabcake was cold, and not appealing. So the food was basically bad only because the crew heated it early, rushed to get it out, and forgot to give us rolls, until several passengers reminded them.
Later, they began Ice Cream and coffee service. Being in the front row, one of the flight attendents began to offer it to us. Sadly though, the purser stopped her, and told her that we had the EXPRESS MEAL and therefore we could only have it if there was any left. The chocolate had melted into a pool when the same FA
served it to us, and the vanilla was the size of a golf ball, just sitting ontop of it... melted. NICE.
As usual, the In flight entertainment was good. I still don't understand why the 744 has communal screens in Y class, though. The selections were Be Cool, Million Dollar Baby, Hitch and something else. I enjoyed Be Cool, so I chose that one again. Unfortunatelly, unlike her promise, only Be Cool and Million Dollar Baby showed a second time. The other two were gone and I wanted to see Hitch.
I didn't sleep much, maybe for the last hour or so of dark. I remember the flight attendent asking me to close the shades though. I also remember her waking my father up, to ask if he wanted duty free! That was really rude.
Breakfast consisted of a cold croissant and some fruit. The crew also forgot the yogurt initally, and they had to be reminded to serve that as well. We descended and landed shortly after. I guess we came into 9, since we didn't pass over Downtown London. The landing was very smooth, and we arrived at about 6:40, about 40 minutes late. We disembarked at gate 321, and I forgot how awful Heathrow is. I would take the drab, dark, carpeted windowless midfield concourse at Dulles, over Heathrow's hot white peeling paint, dehumidifiers on folding chairs every hundred feet terminal any day!
Overall, the flight was okay, but certainly not what we expected, especially out for an international flight. Although the crew was not rude, they certainly didn't go out of their way to make you feel comfortable. They NEVER passed out water during the flight, you always had to find them if you wanted something, the food was served cold, incomplete and quickly, and I noticed the glasses have gotten alot smaller since the last time I flew UA (April). I do love United, but their service level has really dropped, and as a 1K member, I think we deserve better. As I stated, we lost our First Class seats from SFO in April, because the check in line was understaffed and too long. United really needs to take care of its customers better.
[Edited 2005-06-21 16:13:33]