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Washington-London on United

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  • Washington-London on United

    I haven't written a TR in a looong time. Sorry in advance for no pics

    Airline : United Airlines
    Departure Airport : Washington Dulles
    Departure Time : 22:02
    Actual Departure Time : 22:45
    Arrival Airport : London Heathrow
    Arrival Time : 10:10
    Actual Arrival Time : 10:27
    Flight Number : UA 924
    Aircraft : Boeing 777 (N781UA)

    I arrived at IAD at around 8pm, giving me plenty of time to get through all of the usual procedures. The United check-in desks were nearly empty, and i queued for less than a minute before being asked forward by the man behind the desk.
    He was quite rude, and was extremely unhelpful when i asked a window seat.
    He handed me seat 35G. Possibly one of the worst seats on the aircraft.
    Security was easy to manage and i was through and into departures within half hour of arriving at IAD.
    I hung around for a while, people watching and generally bored out of my head, i got a coffee from starbucks and watched planes come and go.
    Then i saw a quite ugly 777 in the new UA-CO livery pull up at gate C1, as the very late UA933 from Frankfurt. While we waited for the aircraft to turn around, i made use of the free and fast wi-fi that is available throughout the terminal. Facebook, Twitter etc and before i knew it, boarding started. That was a quick turn around
    Boarding was a long and unorganized process.
    When it was my turn to board, the queue and rush of people trying to get on-board was fascinating, seeing as everyone had an allocated seat, they still wanted to be on first.
    I was greeted on by a kind crew(with an average age of about 6), and i proceeded back towards economy.
    One man was demanding that he needed a vegetarian meal, but he had not pre-booked online, or told anybody at check-in or the gate.
    The f/a arguing back at him "Jasmine", was really arguing back at him and eventually he shut up and sunk back into his Y+ seat.
    The plane was filthy, and the seats aisles were covered in wrappers and crap from the previous flight. 35G was cramped, and a large family were sitting to my left and in front so were shouting back and forth to each other.
    After boarding and the safety announcement, everything seemed rushed, the crew were up and down the aisles constantly all the way up to the runway, which seemed unusual.
    After waiting a while for take-off, we taxied onto the runway and powered up into the air.
    A smooth take-off and we climbed into the air quickly.
    I asked an f/a if there were any spare window seats around, and she said she would "have a look". About 40 minutes later she returned to say "41k", then she disappeared again. So i moved back to 41K and settled down for the 7 hours to come.
    After being in the air for about 2 hours, the crew started serving "dinner". Service was slow, very slow, so slow in fact i honestly managed to watch nearly an entire episode of Two and a half men before they reached me.
    Dinner options were Pasta or Chicken. I chose the Chicken in Marinara sauce, came with mashed potatoes, bread roll, a small fruit salad and cookies.
    The meal was actually tasty, considering its airline food, i would say one of the best.
    After this, the crew came swiftly around for trash a number of times.
    I fell asleep for about an hour but then awoke to the cabin in near pitch black darkness The crew were nowhere to be seen, for some reason most of the lights were off, apart from tv's and the occasional overhead light which i had never seen before, and the cabin was in complete silence apart from one guy snoring a few rows ahead.
    So again i settled for and watched some crap on the quite outdated PTV.
    Breakfast was served about 3 hours before we actually landed.
    It consisted of an Egg & Cheese bagel, a chocolate muffin and a strawberry yogurt. Also i got a coffee which was pretty good.
    The breakfast was good, and i watched outside as we over South wales and then over Bristol.
    We descended and we circled for 20 minutes over the area of Sunbury in London, then we made a loooooong right turn followed by an even longer left turn, which leveled us out over Central London. Amazing views of London.
    02 Arena, Canary Wharf, London Eye, Wembley, also Another small football ground with Qatar Airways adverts on top. When we approached the runway, it felt like we were swinging side to side and we hit quite harsh turbulence before we touched down. The actual touch down was smooth enough, and we were soon off the runway and taxiing towards terminal 1.
    The taxi took around 15 minutes and we parked up next to another United 777 at gate 54.
    Disembarking was quick compared to boarding and i was off within 15 minutes of the door opening. It was weird watching the f/a struggling to open the door, this is not a good thing clearly, and united should not put, i think they were 18 or 19 year old flight attendants on flights.
    Customs at T1 was a complete nightmare, and the queues were stupidly long. For the Americans going on holiday to London it was not a good first impression It was not just our flight, flights from Dublin, Manchester, Almaty,Brussels,Lisbon,Zagreb and Philadelphia were all packed in trying to get through customs.
    Eventually, i got through customs, and i headed through to the central bus station and got on a Picadilly Line tube to Covent Garden where my hotel was.

    Overall : United Airlines
    Punctuality : 6/10
    Aircraft : 3/10
    Crew : 9/10
    Food & Drink : 9/10
    Entertainment : 7/10
    Total : 7.5/10 for this flight

    People may have heard horror stories about United, and some may have had bad experiences personally. But they are changing rapidly, and i do recommend you try them again.

    Thanks for reading!!!