Review of United flight Edinburgh Newark in Economy

Airline United
Flight UA37
Class Economy
Seat 40A
Aircraft Boeing 757-200
Flight time 07:44
Take-off 15 Dec 23, 09:57
Arrival at 15 Dec 23, 12:41
UA   #69 out of 95 Airlines A minimum of 10 flight-reports within the past two years is required to appear in the rankings. 450 reviews
wmx.the.flyer
By BRONZE 1254
Published on 9th June 2024

Introduction


Welcome, everybody, to another Flight-Report! In this review, I will take you along with me to fly with United Airlines on flight UA37 from Edinburgh, Scotland (UK) to Newark, New Jersey (USA) in Economy Class on the Boeing 757-200!

This review will cover the airport experiences in Edinburgh and Newark, as well as the onboard hard and soft products.
 
For each aspect of the experience, I will rate it on a scale of 1 to 10. The final score for the full experience will be out of 100.


Booking the flight


This was the first flight of a five-legged multi-city round trip of EDI-EWR-LAX-SEA-YYZ-EDI, booked through United but with the LAX-SEA flight being operated by Skywest on behalf of United Express, and the SEA-YYZ-EDI legs operated on codeshare by fellow Star Alliance member Air Canada. A fare of GBP869/EUR1019 was paid for the itinerary. 


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I had specifically chosen to fly with United for the trip since the Boeing 757-200 was deployed on both the EDI-EWR and EWR-LAX flights, since I absolutely love the 757 which has become so rare outside of the US. While the experience prior to the flight had not been smooth with aircraft swaps and cancelled flights, none of them were affecting this particular UA37 flight segment, so I will not expand much on them until the respective reviews of those affected flights come out in the future.


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On to the seat selection: as United offers complimentary free seat selection for most of their fare classes, I was happy to secure a window seat. At the time of booking in late June 2023, I was pleasantly surprised to see that select rows in economy had a missing middle seat. Since the adjacent window and aisle seats were free for selection, I happily chose seat 40A towards the rear of the cabin. I believe this was a move by United to combat overweight aircraft by leaving some seats empty and not for sale, so imagine the shock when a couple months before departure, I found the middle seat in my row, seat 40B, as well as all other formerly missing ones in other rows, back available for selection. I just hoped that the seat remained open.


Expectations


With the 757-200 being my personal favourite narrowbody aircraft, I was really excited to fly on it. With United having retrofitted the vast majority of their fleet in the past couple years, I was looking forward to a comfortable and well-maintained cabin with modern and high-tech seats. As for the soft product, my expectations were a little milder, since US carriers are not generally known for excellent dining on board and amenities. Still, I expected decent food and drink, as well as the friendly service that the airline often prides itself on.


Departure airport - edinburgh edi


Welcome to Edinburgh Airport! I had stayed the night prior at the Hampton by Hilton airport hotel located just a couple hundred meters away from the terminal building. I watched, from my room at 07:35, my aircraft for today, N17139, landing from Newark as the outbound UA36 flight. It was around 8am, just over an hour before the scheduled departure time, when I headed to the terminal by foot.


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Transport to/from the Airport

For those not staying at one of the many airport hotels here, Edinburgh Airport is well connected to the city centre by road, bus, or tram. The A8 road, which connects Edinburgh with Glasgow, runs past Edinburgh Airport. Public buses, most notably the Airlink 100 service provided by Lothian Buses, runs every few minuted between the airport and the city, connecting the two in around 25 minutes. The Edinburgh Trams service also makes a similar trip toward the city centre, before continuing its journey to Leith in the northeastern part of Edinburgh. While Edinburgh Airport does not have its own railway station, nearby Edinburgh Gateway station is easily accessible through the tram services.

History and Current Operations at the Airport

Edinburgh Airport (EDI/EGPH) started off in 1916 as Turnhouse Aerodrome, serving the Royal Air Force during the First World War. The airfield was utilized for military use until after the Second World War, when it opened for commercial traffic in 1947. In 1977, the current terminal building was completed alongside the current runway (06/24), which was able to take pretty much all modern airliners including the Concorde back then. The current control tower was built in 2005. Edinburgh Airport currently serves 152 destinations with 33 airlines. Edinburgh Airport’s busiest year was in 2019, when it handled 14700000 passengers, making it the busiest airport in Scotland. In 2020 and 2021 with the COVID-19 pandemic, the numbers drastically declined, but are rising again as air travel bounces back. In 2023, Edinburgh Airport once again handled around 14000000 passengers.

Check-in and Bag-drop


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The check-in hall was rather busy for its size, though there was barely anyone checking-in at the United desks, since most of the others traveling on my flight had already done so, this being just over an hour before departure. Having checked-in online the night prior, I had already had my seat confirmed, though unfortunately the middle seat right next to me had been reserved by someone. The boarding passes came quickly after a document check, followed by a speedy self-serve bag-drop process.

Immigration

Following a quick escalator ride up to the second floor, I went through the immigrations process. This was really quick, being just a passport and boarding pass scan by an electronic gate.

Security

The security hall was jam packed with passengers, this being one of the peak departure times of the day. Still, Edinburgh’s security operates really efficiently, with workers tirelessly directing passengers to where they should be. I would have been through in around 10 minutes had the metal detector not sent my backpack aside for extra checks having created a false alarm from the green side of my SWISS A340-300 (HB-JMK) Aviationtag.

Airside


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Edinburgh Airport is laid out in a way such that every passenger is forced to walk through a twisting and turning duty-free hall, filled with luxury to necessity goods. Past that, is one long rather tasteless (and very European) hallway with select shops and restaurants on either side.


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Gate Area

I arrive at my gate, gate 15, which was getting prepared for boarding. There were plenty of seating areas, but in prime Scottish fashion, not very clean. Views of the aircraft were rather obstructed by an air-bridge. At this time, I received a text notification on my phone from United, saying that the flight would be delayed for around 25 minutes as refueling was taking longer than expected.


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DEPARTURE AIRPORT SCORES: 6/10


Flight and aircraft information


Flight Information

Flight date: 15/12/2023

Airline: United Airlines (UA/UAL)

Operated by: United Airlines (UA/UAL)

Flight number: UA37

Route: Edinburgh EDI – Newark Liberty EWR

Scheduled Departure Time: 09:25 (UTC)

Actual Departure Time: 09:57 (UTC)

Scheduled Arrival Time: 12:25 (UTC-5)

Actual Arrival Time: 12:41 (UTC-5)

Scheduled Flight Time: 08h00min

Actual Flight Time: 07h43min

Aircraft Information

Aircraft Registration: N17139*

Aircraft Type: Boeing 757-224 (Winglets)**

Engines: 2x Rolls-Royce RB211-535E4B

Manufacturer Serial Number (MSN): 30352

Line Number: 911

First Flight: 23/01/2000

Aircraft Age (as of flight): 23 years 11 months

Aircraft Delivered: 01/10/2010**

Seating Configuration: J16Y160

Aircraft Livery: United Airlines 2019***


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*While among the lower numbers when compared to other registrations in United’s Boeing 757-200 fleet, this aircraft is actually the third youngest one! This is because the first two numbers in the registration (in this case, the 17) have nothing to do with the order these aircraft were delivered in, rather, the final three numbers are the fleet numbers (in this case, 139). With the fleet numbers for the 757-200 starting from 101 from the 30-year-old N58101, my aircraft for today is actually the 39th out of the total 40 in United’s fleet. N26123, fleet number 123, the 23rd 757-200 in United’s fleet, was damaged beyond repair and written off in June 2019 after the 757 bounced on landing and veered off runway with main landing gear getting stuck in soft ground, damaging the fuselage around the nose landing gear.

**The suffix ‘24’ here is a Boeing customer code, with this one belonging to the former Continental Airlines. Indeed, this aircraft had been delivered fresh and new from its production site at Renton RNT to Continental on 03/02/2000 just 11 days after its first flight, and had operated with them until the USD8.5 billion merger on 01/10/2010, where all of Continental’s assets, including this aircraft, were transferred to United. Despite United’s own Boeing customer code being ‘22’, the suffixes of all ex-Continental aircraft in United’s fleet remain as ‘24’, since these are not affected by a change in ownership of the aircraft. Having been delivered to Continental without winglets, those were installed in June 2006.

***This United livery, unveiled in April 2019, was an evolution of the previous livery inherited from Continental during the merger in October 2010. This livery features a mostly white fuselage but with a wavy swoop of light gray along the belly, accented by a dark blue outline. A large blue font of the title UNITED in the same classic san-serif block letter design from previous generations of the livery takes much space on the forward section of the fuselage, though much bolder than ever before. The vertical stabiliser features the iconic Continental globe icon, painted in a very creative combination of different shades of blue. The background follows a top-to-bottom 3-colour gradient of the same shades of blue found elsewhere on the livery.
Notable aircraft with special liveries in the fleet are N14102, featuring the Her Art Here: New York/New Jersey livery designed by artist Corinne Antonelli, N14106, featuring the Her Art Here: California livery designed by artist Tsungwei Moo, and N14120, featuring the Star Alliance livery. I had been hoping to have the honour to fly on one of the special liveries, but luck has never ever been on my side when it comes to special liveries, unfortunately.


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Brief history of the airline:

United Airlines was initially founded on 06/04/1926 as Varney Air Lines, but became United Air Lines in 1931 after a merger with Boeing's and Pratt & Whitney's subsidiaries under United Aircraft and Transport Corporation. United was the first airline to introduce stewardesses in 1930 and was instrumental in developing the modern airline industry, being among the US’ most notable airlines. Throughout its history, United has undergone several mergers, the most significant being the aforementioned one with Continental Airlines in 2010, which created one of the world's largest airlines. United was also one of the five founding airlines of Star Alliance.

United Airlines now operates a vast domestic and international network from its main hubs of Chicago ORD, Denver DEN, San Francisco SFO, Houston IAH, Los Angeles LAX, Newark EWR, Washington IAD, and Guam GUM. United currently serves 362 destinations, of which 118 are international. These are spread throughout 48 countries across all 6 inhabited continents.
 
Not including regional and commuter subsidiary United Express, United currently has 955 aircraft in its fleet, making it the third largest in the world, behind fellow US carriers Delta (991) and American (968). The fleet includes, as of June 2024: 81 Airbus A319-100, 87 Airbus A320-200, 11 Airbus A321neo, 40 Boeing 737-700, 141 Boeing 737-800, 12 Boeing 737-900, 136 Boeing 737-900ER, 87 Boeing 737 MAX 8, 79 Boeing 737 MAX 9, 40 Boeing 757-200, 21 Boeing 757-300, 37 Boeing 767-300ER, 16 Boeing 767-400ER, 19 Boeing 777-200, 55 Boeing 777-200ER, 22 Boeing 777-300ER, 12 Boeing 787-8, 38 Boeing 787-9, and 21 Boeing 787-10.


Pre-departure


Boarding


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After the usual priority passengers, Business Class passengers, and Star Alliance status holders were called to board, it was my boarding group, since I was in the second last row after all. After a quick boarding pass scan, I was walking down the jet-bridge toward the aircraft. Boarding was done through door L2 for all passengers.

Welcome onboard

Two cheery flight attendants were stationed at the door to welcome passengers onboard. To the left was the 16-seat Business Class cabin, fitted with Collins Diamond seats that were refurbished earlier in March 2023. Turning right, I first walked through the Economy Plus section of the cabin, which featured Economy seats but with extra legroom, here mostly featuring a generous 37” of pitch. I snapped a quick picture of row 10, this should give you an idea of the legroom situation in Economy Plus, as well as how the amenities such as blanket and pillows, were presented.


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After having walked through the 7 rows of Economy Plus, I enter the main Economy Cabin which features a much tighter but still acceptable 31” of pitch. Unfortunately, the aisle was busy, and my seatmate was already in his middle seat 40B, meaning I did not manage to snap any pictures of the cabin and my seat then (my phone camera takes ages). Please accept these screenshots I took from United’s website instead.


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CABIN AND SEAT


Let’s take a look at my seat for the flight. Picture taken before de-boarding at Newark.


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Seat Details

Seat: 40A (port-side window seat)

Seat model: Aspire

Seat Manufacturer: Rockwell Collins (USA)

Row pitch: 30”

Seat Width: 17.1”

Seat Recline: 3” 

Class: Economy Class (Y)

Cabin: Main Economy Class cabin (rear section)

Seating Arrangement: 3-3

Seat Features:

4-way-adjustable headrest


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Retractable tray table which extends outwards


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10” HD touchscreen IFE display   


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Duo-headphone jack

USB-A sockets


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Universal AC Power Outlets 


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Literature compartment


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Individual reading lights

Individual air nozzles


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^*these, in fact, have not been retrofitted since the aircraft’s Continental days

A brief history on this seat:

This particular seat type was unveiled in April 2017 and put into service a year later in April 2018 when United retrofitted this seat type onto the Boeing 777-200. United was the first carrier to utilize the new seat model, named the Aspire, developed by Rockwell Collins. This new seat comes together with the introduction of the new Polaris business class seats (based on the Safran Optima) and premium economy seats (the Collins MiQ). The Aspire economy seat made its way onto United’s 757-200 in October 2019 first with N17105. Due to the width of the 757’s cabin, the new Safran Optima Polaris seats could not be fitted on the aircraft, hence the old Collins Parallel seats were kept, but with newer seat cushions and covers, as well as an updated in-flight entertainment system. My aircraft for today, N17139, received its retrofits in March 2023, just 9 months before the flight today.

Some of my thoughts about the seat:

Seat Comfort: The seat was well padded and comfortable enough to sit in. However, the leather material used to make the seat was not very breathable and a rather poor conductor of heat, so having sat down on it for so long, it got a little hot and stuffy.

Legroom: When seated upright, the legroom situation was okay with a very average 30” row pitch, though it certainly was not too spacious around my knees. Thankfully, the passenger in front did not recline throughout the flight, and neither did I during the flight, so not much more to comment there, but I do imagine the knee space would be reduced if any of those occurred.

Seat Storage: A very standard seat-back pocket which housed the in-flight magazine and waste bag. Under-seat storage was standard as well.

Recline: At 3”, the recline was rather average. Although I did not use the recline on this flight, I did on my connecting flight to Los Angeles as it was a night flight, and it was quite comfortable.

CABIN AND SEAT SCORE: 7/10


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^Look at the beautiful sunrise!


Taxi and takeoff


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We pushed back soon at 09:03 with the refueling having been completed on time after all, and the safety video started playing. United’s safety video starts off with their signature orchestral arrangement of George Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue. Rhapsody in Blue was adopted as United’s theme in 1980, having been used in advertisements, the safety videos, as well as in the Terminal 1 underground walkway at Chicago ORD. The safety video itself features scenes from many United destinations all around the world, such as Scotland, Peru, and Norway, while the background music features different cultural iterations of Rhapsody in Blue with respect to wherever each scene was filmed. I personally really enjoy United’s safety video and is among my favourites out there, it really captures the friendly spirit of United while being informative and not too fast or slow. Meanwhile, the ground staff looked a little glum in the cold and slightly wet Scottish morning.


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The two RB211s soon powered up and we started taxiing towards Runway 24, but held short on the ramp just toward the side of taxiway M at around M2, leaving enough space for other departing aircraft to pass by. The parking brakes were engaged and the engines were kept running, likely around 40-50% throttle judging by the noise emissions.


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The captain came on the PA and explained that the aircraft was unfortunately overweight for takeoff, so we had to burn off some fuel before departure. Having pushed back at 09:03, we sat there for a good 50 minutes until 09:53 with the engines rumbling away, before finally disengaging the parking brakes to taxi to the runway via taxiway A.


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We soon entered via D1, Runway 24, the south-westerly runway, and spooled up at 09:57 local time. We rotated and lifted off like a rocket after just 35 seconds on the runway, 32 minutes delayed.


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During the initial climb, the aircraft made a couple shallow turns to adjust to a heading of around 235° which we would keep to for the remainder of our secondary radar coverage over the UK and Ireland.


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Flight path


Now is a good time to take a look at our flight path. Our flight out of Scotland (UK) took us over the Irish Sea, Northern Ireland (UK, not to be confused with Ireland), Ireland, the North Atlantic Ocean, St Pierre and Miquelon (France), Nova Scotia (Canada), Massachusetts (USA), Connecticut (USA), and New York (USA) before we landed in New Jersey (USA). Unfortunately, we did not fly over Iceland and Greenland like this flight sometimes does, even though I had really wanted to. We cruised at 33000ft, 35000ft, and 36000ft. Note that a large portion of the flight over the North Atlantic was out of secondary radar coverage (hence no record on FlightRadar24). 


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Breakfast service


The after-takeoff meal service started around 45 minutes after departure. A meal tray was handed out to each passenger, consisting of a hot breakfast dish, a fruit platter, and a muffin. Single-use plastic cutlery as well as paper napkins and small sachets of salt and pepper were provided as well.


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Main Breakfast Dish: Omelette with Chicken Ham, Roasted Potatoes, and Creamy Spinach.


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In terms of presentation, this dish was actually really nicely presented, and very inviting. Even better, it tasted as good as it looked. The eggs were well done (exactly the way I like it) with a nice bit of golden brown, the chicken ham was tasty, the potatoes were crispy on the outside and smooth on the inside, and very well seasoned, and the spinach was creamy and delicious. All in all, a very enjoyable breakfast dish, with my only complaint being that the portions were a little too small.

Fruit Platter

On the side was a fruit platter, comprising slices of orange, bite-sized honeydew pieces, and a few grapes. All the fruits were quite fresh and enjoyable except for one slightly overripe grape. Excuse my forgetfulness in not remembering to take an individual picture of the fruits, but you can see it in the picture of the meal tray above anyways.

Dessert: Muffin


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On the side as well, for dessert, was a blueberry muffin. This was quite tasty though slightly dry. Still, a pretty enjoyable On the side as well, for dessert, was a blueberry muffin. This was quite tasty though slightly dry. Still, a pretty enjoyable muffin.

Drinks: Orange Juice, Coffee with Milk and Sugar, Bottled Water

When the drinks trolley came by, I asked for both an orange juice and a coffee with milk and sugar. The orange juice was poured around half full of the cup, which seemed a little stingy. Despite not tasting completely fresh, it was quite enjoyable. The coffee was presented with milk already poured into it, and I was provided two sachets of white sugar and a stirrer. The coffee was delicious and warming.


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After the meal service had concluded and the trays were returned, a bottle of water was handed out to each passenger.


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BREAKFAST SERVICE SCORES: 8/10


Amenities


Provided Amenities

At each seat during boarding was a pillow, a blanket, and a pair of wired earpieces. The pillow was in a very odd U-shape, and provided little support. The middle section was detachable, presumably to be utilized by some to be a neck pillow, but the scratchy cheap pillowcase would not have made it very comfortable. I would much prefer a more conventional pillow with a much more comfortable reusable pillowcase, since this pillow seemed really gimmicky. I did like the United branding on the pillowcase, though.


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The blanket came tightly packaged in a plastic wrap, but itself was not clean at all, with some strands of loose hair found in it, signifying that in no way was it cleaned prior to this flight. Cleanliness aside, though, the blanket was large and really comfortable.


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The provided wired earpieces worked quite well with delivering audio from the IFE system. I specially like how it utilizes just a single headphone jack, meaning that I could also use it for my own devices should I need to.


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A sanitising wipe was also handed out to each passenger before departure, which I used to wipe down my seat including the seatbelts, IFE screen, and the windows. Very useful in making the seat and its surroundings feel a lot more hygienic and safer.

Lavatories


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There are two lavatories towards the rear of United’s 757-200, both of which were pretty busy during the flight. Each lavatory came with a toilet seat (obviously), a sink with a mirror as well as a full-sized mirror, and a fold-down changing table. Counter space was rather limited, unfortunately. Both these lavatories were kept pretty clean throughout the entire flight considering how busy they were. The lavatories were stocked with hand wash, though no other forms of amenities such as facial cream were available.

OVERALL SCORE FOR AMENITIES: 7/10


Mid-flight snack service


Around 2 hours after the main breakfast service had concluded, cruising somewhere over the North Atlantic, the crew came around distributing a light snack. Each passenger (who was awake) was handed a small pack of crackers and a drink of their choice. The crackers were the Sour Cream and Chive Minis by The Blue Bay Baking Company. The crackers were small and pillow-shaped, though not quite as crisp or hollow as they would appear to be from the outside. They had a nice savoury sour cream and chive taste to them. A really nice light snack to satisfy anyone still feeling peckish after the breakfast service. Alongside the pack of crackers, I had a nice cup of orange juice, which was poured in more generous portions this time. Overall, this little snack service was a really nice touch by United Airlines.


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MID-FLIGHT SNACK SERVICE SCORES: 9/10


In-flight entertainment


In-Flight Entertainment system

Each seat came equipped with a 10” IFE touchscreen display, which was of pretty high definition. The content on demand was provided by the Panasonic eX3 system, and featured a very good selection of movies, TV shows, music, and games. 


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A really high-quality interactive map and information about the flight was also available.


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Since I spent the majority of the flight awake, I utilized the IFE system by watching two movies, Us and Get Out, both directed by Jordan Peele. I had watched both movies before but thought that it would be fun to rewatch them both. Regrettably, the video quality was a little, with both movies being very patchy and laggy; I could almost count the frame rate. Audio quality was okay. It was not the problem of these particular movies, or was it an issue that was limited to my screen, since many other passengers were complaining about video quality in their IFE systems as well. Not great impressions for a 9-month-new system…

!!!Spoilers below; click the Bonus to reveal


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Bonus : Click here display


Highly recommend both movies if you enjoy the suspense and thrill of such films.

Onboard Wi-Fi

Onboard connectivity on United’s 757-200s are provided by Panasonic Avionics’ Ku-band satellite Wi-Fi. A complimentary messaging plan was available for all United MileagePlus members, and supported messaging through apps like WhatsApp. However, this did not grant any form of uploading or downloading of files, which was a little unfortunate. More data-heavy social media apps like Instagram were unusable with this plan as well. I was rather intrigued by the paid options included a one-hour plan for high-speed connections for USD9.99 or 1000 MileagePlus miles, and a full-flight plan for USD23.99 or 2400 MileagePlus miles. I ended up getting the one-hour plan; the speeds were indeed pretty fast, and I was even able to track my own flight on FlightRadar24!


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Onboard Charging

On the underside of the IFE screen was a convenient USB-A port. A dual headphone jack was also found there even though United provides wired earpieces that require just a single headphone jack. Each row of 3 seats shares 2 Universal AC Power Outlets, found beneath the seats. (All pictured above under ‘CABIN AND SEAT’)

OVERALL SCORE FOR IN-FLIGHT ENTERTAINMENT: 5/10


Rest and sleep


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Once my Wi-Fi plan had run out, and I was getting a little sleepy due to having woken up rather early, I decided to take a short nap. Using my Qatar Airways Business Class eye mask, I was able to catch a little shut eye. I did not bother to recline my seat mainly because it was a daytime flight, as well as not wanting to cause a scene by annoying a horribly cranky British family of three in the row behind. Still, without any reclining, my nap of around an hour was really refreshing. It did help that the 757 itself was not too loud, and that the lower capacity of the 757 meant less human-generated noise (especially since there were no wailing babies within close proximity!). 


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Due to the absence of a dedicated crew rest area on the 757 for this transatlantic flight, a makeshift crew rest area was achieved by hanging some curtains over the starboard side of row 41, where presumably one crew member at a time lays down across the three seats to rest. This explains why seats 41D, 41E, and 41F were not available for selection.


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REST AND SLEEP EXPERIENCE SCORES: 8/10


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PRE-LANDING SNACK SERVICE


Around an hour and a half prior to landing at Newark, the cabin crew came round the cabin for the third (impressive for an 8-hour flight!) and final food and beverage service on this flight. This time, a more filling hot snack, as well as another drink of each passenger’s choice, was served. Distributed to each passenger was a Mediterranean Pizza Twist from Vibi Mediterraneo, which was essentially a rolled-up pizza. This flight’s edition had a Basil Pesto and Chicken filling.


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The pizza twist was really hearty and filling, and tasted quite a bit better than it looked. I do like the idea of having the pizza rolled up, since it saves space and makes enjoying them a lot easier and less messy. It was really piping hot when it was initially served, though, so holding it up for consumption was a little difficult at first. To pair with the pizza twist, I asked for another coffee with milk and sugar, which again delivered as expected.


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PRE-LANDING SNACK SERVICE SCORES: 9/10


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^Provincetown, Massachusetts, USA in the distance


Cabin crew


As we enter US airspace over Boston, Massachusetts, here are some thoughts and comments I have regarding the cabin crew on this flight.


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Service Speed and Crew Efficiency

Speed of the service on this flight were pretty efficient, though the breakfast service did take a while to start, commencing only around an hour after takeoff. Still, I cannot complain at all, always being amongst the first to get served in any of the three food and beverages services, being in a very good location where every service started from.

Service Attitude

The crew on this flight were in good spirits and were friendly. A few of the flight attendants were particularly lovely, being always smiley when interacting with the passengers.

CABIN CREW SCORES: 9/10


APPROACH AND LANDING


The aircraft slowly descended over the US suburbs and countryside. The aircraft, having been headed over a south-westerly direction, made a wide turn over Chester, Orange County, New York, which put us on a south-east heading towards New York City. Another turn, this time much steeper, over Wood-Ridge, Bergen County, New Jersey, would put us heading 207°, lined up with Newark’s Runway 22L. 


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During this turn, we were treated to some truly spectacular views of New York’s famous skyline, including the skyscrapers of Midtown Manhattan and Lower Manhattan, alongside a cameo of the buildings in neighbouring Jersey City. 


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In the distance, we could even see the Statue of Liberty standing tall by herself in the distance, though it could have been much clearer had the air in New York not been so foggy on this day.


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The aircraft touched down on Newark’s Runway 22L at 12:41 local time, 16 minutes delayed. 


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The aircraft vacated the runway via P2 and turned to taxi up taxiway P before crossing Runway 22R at taxiway G. 


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The aircraft then taxied along taxiway A around Terminal C before finding the gate almost at the very end of the airport, which was gate C134. 


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From here, there was a pretty good view of the tall buildings in Jersey City and New York City.


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ARRIVAL AIRPORT – NEWARK EWR


The aircraft came to a halt and the seatbelt signs were switched off. The jet-bridge was connected swiftly, and the doors were opened for disembarkation. Being of relatively lower capacity, de-boarding was a really efficient process, and soon I was heading down the aisle to door L1 (last passenger to leave the aircraft! I was in no hurry, since I had some 6 hours to spare before my connecting flight to Los Angeles), though not before snapping a couple quick pictures of my seat. Walking through the business class cabin, a flight attendant waved a friendly goodbye before heading up the aisle in the opposite direction. The cockpit door was left wide open with no one inside (wow the after-landing procedures had taken the pilots a really short time). Intrigued, I took a quick peek inside, and snapped a quick picture from outside before making my way off the aircraft into the jet-bridge.


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Once in the terminal building, there were some more views of our aircraft, though no less obstructed than back at Edinburgh Airport. And those clunky metal jet-bridges really are ugly.


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Immigration

After walking through some long hallways, I soon reach the immigration hall. Being a non-US citizen, I was made to queue up for the manual process. The immigration hall was not too packed, with my flight seemingly the only arrival at this very specific time. Still, waiting in line took a little while, maybe 15 to 20 minutes or so before it was my turn. 


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The immigration officer confirmed the validity of my ESTA (the USA’s e-visa) and my duration of stay before giving my passport a nice heavy stamp and letting me through the border.

History and Current Operations at the Airport

Newark Liberty Airport (EWR/KEWR) opened in 1928 as Newark Metropolitan Airport, making it the first major airport in the New York City area. Initially, it served as the busiest commercial airport in the world. During the Second World War, it was taken over by the US Army Air Corps for military use. In 1948 after the war, it returned to commercial service and underwent significant expansions to accommodate the growing demand for air travel. In 1973, the airport was renamed Newark International Airport and continued to expand its facilities, including the opening of the new Terminal B. The iconic Terminal C, primarily used by United Airlines nowadays, was completed in 1988. In 2002, the airport was renamed Newark Liberty International Airport in honor of the victims of the September 11 attacks and to reflect its proximity to the Statue of Liberty. Newark Liberty currently serves 184 domestic and international destinations with 30 airlines from its 3 terminals (Terminals A, B, and C), operating with its 3 runways (4L/22R, 4R/22L, 11/29).

Newark’s busiest ever year was in fact 2023, with 49200000 passengers, making it the 2nd busiest in the New York area behind JFK, 13th busiest airport in the US and the 31st busiest in the world. Like any other airport in the world, it saw a significant drop in passenger numbers during the COVID-19 pandemic but bounced back quickly to surpass its previous busiest year of 2019 in terms of passengers handled.

Baggage Reclaim

Since my transit at Newark involved immigration and entering the US, I had to collect my baggage at baggage reclaims before dropping them off again myself, even though it was checked-in all the way to LAX, before heading upstairs to get myself airside again for my connecting flight. My baggage came safely on the belt, and I quickly retrieved it. I will carry on with the experience in my next review, coming soon, of my connecting sector EWR-LAX.

Transport to/from the Airport

For those leaving Newark Airport, it is well connected to New York City and the surrounding areas by road, bus, rail, and AirTrain. The airport is conveniently located near several major highways, including Interstate 78 which connects to Jersey City, and the Interstate 95 which provide easy access to Manhattan via the underwater Lincoln Tunnel. Public buses operated by NJ Transit offer frequent services between the airport and various locations in New Jersey. The Newark Airport Express bus service provides a direct connection between the airport and Midtown Manhattan, with stops at Grand Central Station, Bryant Park, and Port Authority Bus Terminal, taking around 45 minutes depending on traffic. The AirTrain Newark is a monorail system that connects the airport's terminals with NJ Transit's Northeast Corridor and North Jersey Coast Line at the Newark Liberty International Airport Station, offering a quick and convenient link to New York Penn Station in about 30 minutes. Amtrak also serves the Newark Liberty International Airport Station, providing access to cities along the Northeast Corridor. Additionally, various shuttle services, taxis, and ride-sharing options are available to passengers, though prices may be steeper at times.

ARRIVAL AIRPORT SCORES: 6/10


Final ratings


Airports

Airports Experience: 6/10

Hard Product

Seat Comfort: 7/10

Sleep Comfort: 8/10

In-flight Entertainment: 5/10

Aircraft Cleanliness: 8/10

Aircraft Comfort: 9/10

Soft Product

Breakfast service: 8/10

Other service: 9/10

Amenities: 7/10

Cabin Crew: 9/10

OVERALL RATING: 76/100


Routing

  • UA37 - Economy - Edinburgh —> Newark - Boeing 757-200 You are here
  • UA2490 - Economy - Newark —> Los Angeles - Boeing 757-200 Coming soon
  • UA5272 - Economy - Los Angeles —> Seattle - Embraer E175 Coming soon
  • AC540 - Economy - Seattle —> Toronto - Airbus A220-300 Coming soon
  • AC806 - Economy - Toronto —> Edinburgh - Boeing 787-9 Coming soon
See more

Verdict

United

7.6/10
Cabin7.5
Cabin crew9.0
Entertainment/wifi5.5
Meal/catering8.5

Edinburgh - EDI

7.0/10
Efficiency7.5
Access8.0
Services6.5
Cleanliness6.0

Newark - EWR

6.6/10
Efficiency6.0
Access5.5
Services7.0
Cleanliness8.0

Conclusion

So, that was a look into my experience in Economy Class on United Airlines' Boeing 757-200 from Edinburgh to Newark!

This flight was certainly an enjoyable one, with the new seats being quite competitive, as well as really well thought out food and beverage services that ensure passengers do not starve onboard. The cabin crew were also friendly as well, reinforcing the airline’s branding and image of flying the friendly skies. The downside to the flight, however, has to be the in-flight entertainment system. While the selection of entertainment options was good, the system itself was malfunctioning with a laggy screen having trouble displaying video at a decent frame rate. However, expect this to be just an anomaly, and hopefully by the time of this review publishing, the issue has long been resolved. Overall, United Airlines’ Boeing 757-200 is a really enjoyable way to cross the Atlantic, with a cozy cabin and good hard and soft products, and is one I would recommend others to fly.

If you made it so far down, thank you so much! I really hope this review, as well as all my future reviews, can help you decide how you want to travel in the future. If you have any questions or, well, comments, do drop one down below! I am more than happy to read and respond to any comments my readers post down there.

Travel safe, and goodbye for now!

Related

7 Comments

If you liked this review or if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to post a comment below !
  • Comment 653082 by
    wmx.the.flyer BRONZE AUTHOR 50 Comments
    So close… Would’ve been perfect for flight 37’s review to be 37 minutes long. Alas, it ended up being 38, what a missed opportunity😅
  • Comment 653105 by
    COAirmag76 5 Comments
    Thanks for this trip-report, the UA flight between EDI and EWR has been one of my favorite routes due to the airline using the 757
  • Comment 653288 by
    KévinDC TEAM SILVER 6858 Comments
    Great report as always! I also love 757s and don't mind long-haul flights on them...though preferably up front, haha.

    the leather material used to make the seat was not very breathable and a rather poor conductor of heat, so having sat down on it for so long, it got a little hot and stuffy.

    Yeah, I'm not a fan of leather seats on long-haul flights for this very reason. I understand it's a more durable material for the airline but it just doesn't breathe, which isn't great for long periods.

    The Collins seats themselves look nice and modern, but UA missed an opportunity not also replacing the old bins and sidewalls when retrofitting cabins with the new seats. Just looks half done compared to DL, who went all the way on refurbs and have old planes looking brand new on the inside.

    I'm actually pleasantly surprised by the catering which looks rather decent for such a short TATL. UA catering is Y is usually pretty meh, so it looks like they're making some improvements.

    Thanks for sharing!
    • Comment 653479 by
      wmx.the.flyer BRONZE AUTHOR 50 Comments
      Thanks for the comment! The old cabin walls and overhead do look a little odd in contrast to the new seats, especially the old air nozzles and reading lights. I guess there’s not too much to complain about though since they are all holding up pretty strong and in working order. I too was quite surprised by the taste and quality of the food since I had boarded with lower expectations in this area, though the portions could’ve been a little more generous at breakfast.
      Thanks for reading!
  • Comment 653359 by
    Jett Tyler GOLD 377 Comments
    Thanks for sharing this! Its nice to see what United 757s are like on the limited run of Trans-Atlantic flights they do!

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