United Airlines 80
Manchester (MAN) to Newark (EWR)
Wednesday 21 August, 2019
Total Flight Time: 6h 59m
Aircraft: Boeing 767-400ER
United Airlines offers a convenient daily flight between Newark, NJ and Manchester, United Kingdom. The daytime westbound flight leaves Manchester at 9:00AM, meaning passengers arrive in Newark around midday local time. This was ideal for me, as I was visiting New York and got to enjoy a good portion of my day exploring the city.
The flight is currently operated by a Boeing 767-400ER for the peak summer season, which was a new aircraft type for me and a niche aircraft of sorts, given that the only operators are United and Delta. The -400ER features a different wingtip design to previous variants of the 767 and a flight deck similar to that on the 777.
Boarding for today’s flight began slightly late, as the inbound aircraft arrived late from Newark. Gate agents kept passengers informed of the delay. When boarding did commence, the process was swift, despite being a full flight.First Impressions & Departure
I was greeted warmly at the door and directed to my economy seat in row 40. Pop music was playing as passengers settled into their seats. The seating configuration in United’s 767 economy cabins is 2-3-2, which I find preferable to the 3-3-3 or 3-4-3 configurations found in larger aircraft. I was flying on N78060, a 17-year-old aircraft delivered to Continental Airlines in 2002, which also features Economy Plus and Polaris class.
Although the aircraft was 17-years-old, it felt pretty modern and was equipped with decent-sized personal seatback TV screens, power outlets, USB power ports and Wi-Fi. Standard seat pitch is quoted on United’s website as 31 inches, along with a 5-inch seat recline. The seat felt comfortable enough for economy.
We pushed back from gate 210 around 30 minutes behind schedule and made our way to runway 23L for departure. We were airborne at 9:51AM.
As we climbed out, the international purser outlined the order of service, which would comprise breakfast and a pre-arrival snack, along with complimentary Coca-Cola products, coffee, tea, beer and wine. Cocktails were available for purchase. Shortly thereafter, the captain delivered his welcome PA, confirming a flight time of around seven hours. He anticipated an on-time arrival into Newark.Food & Drink
The breakfast service started promptly. Besides pre-ordered special meals, the only option appeared to be bacon and cheese omelette, which was served with a side of fresh fruit and a muffin. It was all rather underwhelming, and I’ve certainly had much better meals in economy on other airlines.
Also, as there was no pre-meal beverage service, I was only offered my first drink of the flight partway through my meal. However, United was about to redeem itself!
To conclude the meal, flight attendants handed out bottles of water, along with Stroopwafels, which I believe are something of a cult-favourite snack among United passengers? Suffice to say, the cookie was delicious! As if that wasn’t enough, I was also offered a third drink, so I requested a beer. The flight attendant reeled off a list of several to choose from, including craft beer. I opted for Goose Island Next Coast IPA. Very nice it was too!
The pre-arrival snack was served around an hour prior to landing and consisted of turkey and gouda on a pretzel roll. It was served warm and was actually quite tasty. I certainly preferred it to the disappointing breakfast.
So, how was the service overall? This being United, I figured modest expectations were realistic. And I think it’s fair to say the flight attendants were mostly going through the motions. Having said that, they were efficient and I appreciated their pace: the breakfast service started promptly after departure and the pre-arrival snack was served an hour prior to arrival. This meant passengers could maximise their time between meals enjoying movies or sleeping undisturbed.Hard Product
As mentioned above, the 767-400ER’s cabin was reasonably modern. The inflight entertainment content offered a decent selection of movies, TV shows and music, as well as a moving map. The aircraft also featured United Private Screening, United’s personal device entertainment, which I believe is accessed via the United app.
I ended up binge-watching four episodes of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, which kept me amused during my transatlantic crossing.Arrival
The first officer delivered a PA shortly into our descent. There had been a bit of chop during our flight and she advised us that the descent and approach would likely be bumpy. She anticipated that we would arrive into a cloudy Newark a couple of minutes late.
We made a firm touchdown on runway 22L and docked at gate B67 just before midday local time.In Conclusion
Overall I’d say this was a solid enough flight. The food was rather disappointing, but the entertainment was good and the aircraft itself felt more modern than I was expecting. The cabin crew’s service was nothing special, but it was at least efficient.
I can’t say I’d go out of my way to fly United (who would?!), but this particular flight was a convenient option for me and got me to my destination pretty much on time.