(text with photos can be found here:
Airline: United Airlines
Aircraft: Boeing 777
Route: Munich - Washington, D.C.
Date: December 2010
Since my girlfriend has moved to another location, it takes a bit longer to drive to Munich airport than before. Nevertheless, it was Saturday morning and I managed the appr. 150 kms in exactly one hour. Cold and snow on the side, but it was sunny and the highway free of ice and dry. Nice drive this morning.
I arrived early enough at 10:00 a.m., 90 mins before departure.
After a quick check-in I went to the Lufthansa Senator Lounge (even if you fly United First Class, you're not entitled to use the Lufthansa First Class Lounge) and met up with some buddies over there. Two of them flew Lufthansa, which was scheduled to take off 5 mins later than we, the other one flew with me.
What a nonsense! They call themself the leading alliance, but are not able to switch their flights and offer some more convenient connections? One earlier, one later? Which sense does it make to fly the same point to point route with two planes at the same time? One of the reasons for why I usually prefer Air France or British Airways on this route is the simple fact that I can arrive in Washington very early and have the possibiliy to leave IAD on the return flight late night. But that's airline policy. They must know what they do (even if it's strange by times).
We left the (crowded) lounge in time and went to H 48, far at the end of the terminal. Small surprise after boarding pass control: They waved to me and guided me through a non working X-ray. No additional security screening. It has made sense (for me), because the guy saw the golden envelope which showed that I had checked-in in Munich and obviously he decided that the central security is good enough. However, they also waved on my buddy, who had come from Dusseldorf. Seems like all First Class passengers could enter the plane without any additional security. Of course in the first moment I enjoyed this. But.... Didn't the 9/11 guys buy full fare First Class tickets to make sure they're sitting close enough to the front?
We entered the plane, stored our luggage and changed clothes to relaxing ones. After that we had some pre-flight drinks. Normally I do not drink any alcohol on board, but this morning they offered some orange-champagne mixers. After the third one they came to us and told us that they wouldn't open a new bottle before take off anymore. It seems as if they were afraid of getting someone drunk on board. We had to wait some more minutes to get a slot for departure, but with a 10 min. delay we finally took off and were on our way to IAD.
After take off new drinks were served and I returned to my standard coke. No alcohol from this moment anymore.
Appr. 1 hr. after takeoff meal service started. Everything tasted good, but not very spectacular. The chicken was juicy and soft.
After meal service I did what I always do in planes: streched out and had four wonderful hours of deep, relaxing sleep. For sleeping the old United First Class seats are perfect.
When I woke up we were already flying over the American mainland and when I had changed clothes again, we had already left our cruising altitude. Arrival 15 mins before schedule, which was not too bad. However, directly in front us a Qatar airways plane had landed and US Immigration was so slow. When we passed through after 40 mins our bags had already been delivered. We rushed out (SMOKE!!!!!).
The Lufthansa flight was also delayed for 15 min at departure, but it arrived at IAD appr. 20 mins past schedule and with all the new planes in front of them, my buddies left the airport appr. 1.5 hours later than me, although there was only a 5 min difference in timetable for landing.
To keep things short: It was a perfect flight. Nice flight attendants, good food and an old, but still perfect seat. Nothing to complain about.
Or to say it like that: Flying United Airlines First: Nice
Having good food, service and seat: Better
Paying with bloody cheap US Airways miles: Priceless