For this week’s Matthew’s Meal of the Week, I remember my first international flight.
In September 2006 I travelled to Europe for the first time, a United 747-400 from San Francisco to London. I had just turned 20 and it was my first time leaving North America. I spent a month driving through Germany, Austria, the Czech Republic, France, Belgium, Italy, and the Netherlands. It turned out to be one of the best trips of my life.
> Read More: A Love Affair with United Airlines
Already a die-hard United loyalist, a friend graciously applied an upgrade to UA930, my SFO-LHR flight. It cleared just days before the flight — you have no idea how happy I was! I even snagged the last seat upstairs and ended up sitting next to an ExxonMobil executive.
The flight was just weeks after the liquid bomb scare so security was very tight, with secondary security checks upon boarding. The FAs were very matronly and clearly not amused by my photography. Eventually one asked why I was taking pictures and I explained that it was my first international flight. That seemed to calm them down, though they went from thinking I was a potential threat to just crazy.
Anyway, the flight departed SFO around midday and featured a lunch service followed by breakfast prior to landing.
The appetizer plate contained an assortment of crudités, cheese, and meats. Very tasty. A side salad and warm focaccia bread rounded out the first course.
This being my first international flight, I had no idea how bad airline steaks generally were and ordered one.
I remember being so thrilled to have a steak on a plane that I ate every bite, despite it being way too overdone. I also recall the potatoes and asparagus accompanying the meat were very enjoyable.
A choice of crackers and cheese or ice cream for dessert, though I was (grudgingly) given both. The cheese was unmemorable but the ice cream satisfying.
This plane featured United’s old barcalounger recliner seats and with a midday departure, I did not sleep much during the flight.
Somewhere over Ireland a hot breakfast was served; a cheese omelet covered in salsa, Canadian bacon, sausage, a croissant, and side of fruit.
While my first international flight experience was not as great as I would have hoped for, I still had a very pleasant flight with good food. It would be the first of dozens (and dozens) of long haul flights on United in the years to come.
By in large, meal service did not change at all until recently, with the introduction of Polaris.
> Read More: Sneak Peek at United Polaris