I flew to London on United earlier this week. Here’s a brief review of the flight.
There was a number of flights I was considering for this trip. One was to fly via San Francisco and Frankfurt so I could try United’s new Premium Plus (premium economy) seat. But why add the extra stop and then the annoying FRA-LHR flight?
I also considered flying via Washington Dulles to sample the new expedited meal service. But why? Why add an extra stop and an overnight flight that is so short that even an expedited meal service doesn’t allow for a full night’s sleep?
So I chose UA923, the daily nonstop from Los Angeles to London. I just reviewed this flight a couple months ago, so this review will just share a few thoughts on the flight rather than a full-blown review.
When I arrived at the airport, boarding had already begun for my flight. But after quickly darting through PreCheck, I made a beeline for the Polaris Lounge. Honestly, it had been a long day and I wanted a cocktail before the flight. The gin basil smash is highly recommended. I wish I would have had time to eat dinner in this lounge and just go to sleep once onboard.
> Review: Full Review – United Polaris Lounge LAX
United Airlines 923
Los Angeles (LAX) – London (LHR)
Tuesday, April 09
Duration: 10hr, 45min
Seat: 6A (“Polaris” Business Class)
The Wrong Way To Start A Flight + Generally Poor Service
I already dedicated a post to this topic, so will just briefly mention that it is so easy for flight attendants to smile and greet passengers by name or say “welcome onboard” rather than say, with a glum look on your face, “First and second meal choice?”
Honestly, service was quite lackluster on the flight. This same FA handed the tablecloth to me instead of laying it on the tray table, handed me the meal tray instead of setting it down, and motioned for me to place my finished appetizer dishes on her tray (rather than getting them herself). She handed me my drink, handed me my beverage, and never smiled. The mixed nuts were not warmed.
When I woke up in the morning, I had to wait 25 minutes before she showed up to see if I wanted breakfast. I did not dare ring the FA call button out of fear of retribution. Seriously.
My seatmate asked for a mattress pad and another FA said he could not get it because the FAs were in the aisle with beverage carts. My seatmate sighed/groaned and the FA suddenly found a way to quickly retrieve them…he brought one for me too and almost flung them at us.
Meanwhile, the good-natured purser had a memory problem. I asked for ice cream and she went back to the galley to get some spoons, returned, and forgot to give me the ice cream. But at least she smiled and was friendly. I appreciated her.
Oh, and another thing. Dinner took 2.5 hours. That’s simply ridiculous. But hardly a surprise with this crew.
Honestly, the service was just bad on this flight. And while flight attendants cannot control the meals or Wi-Fi, they certainly can control their attitudes.
United has so much going for it. It must not let that be squandered due to poor service by lazy flight attendants.
No Wi-Fi, Great IFE
Wi-Fi was down for the entire flight. I kind of expected that and came prepared…all email went out prior to takeoff and the flight was timed to avoid the work day. That’s another reason I like this flight…it’s okay if the internet is down. That’s still rather sad, though.
But United’s IFE library always has something for me. For this flight, I watched Vice. Oh – My – Goodness … Christian Bale plays an amazing Dick Cheney. Such a fascinating movie which brought back so many vivid memories of my White House days.
Good Food, Ugly Presentation
United’s food may not look nice, but it remains tasty. The appetizer tray hasn’t changed and I appreciated the leafy green salad so much more than the cabbage that often appears in business class. The sugary, sweet dressing is not my favorite and wish United would offer a choice or bring back the oil and vinegar bottles. I don’t eat duck very often, but found the appetizer perfectly acceptable. As I mentioned above, the mixed nuts were not heated.
Here’s the menu:
And the food:
I was in the mood for pasta, so I ordered cheese ravioli for my main course. What ugly presentation compared to the nice bowls that used to be used, but no complaints about the pasta itself. In fact, I quite enjoyed it and thought the tomato sauce mixed with pesto sauce was a nice combo.
For dessert, I sampled all three selections: cheese, cheesecake, and ice cream. On the ice cream, I skipped all toppings.
Prior to landing, breakfast was served. Again, I quite enjoy breakfast on United and appreciated the omelet, Portuguese sausage, fruit, yogurt, but especially the warm and gooey cinnamon rolls. I know, not a healthy way to start the day.
United’s 787-9 2-2-2 is comfortable. Nope, it’s not very private but it is very comfortable. I generally choose bulkhead seats for larger foot cutouts and quickly fell asleep once I turned on the overhead air vent.
Despite the prolonged meal service I still managed almost six hours of sleep. That’s not bad at all.
I know this isn’t a positive review, but I still like United and will continue to hope for better crews and working Wi-Fi. I enjoy the bedding, always manage to sleep, and find the food is edible. Throw in the point/status and Star Alliance network and I’ll continue to fly United to London. Plus, the Polaris Lounge is great at LAX. But I do hope United will find a way to inspire its flight attendants to put forth a better effort.