Review of United flight Washington Los Angeles in Domestic First

Airline United
Flight UA2276
Seat 9L
Aircraft Boeing 787-9
Flight time 05:41
Take-off 13 Jan 24, 17:40
Arrival at 13 Jan 24, 20:21
UA   #69 out of 96 Airlines A minimum of 10 flight-reports within the past two years is required to appear in the rankings. 432 reviews
shivpilot14
By SILVER 802
Published on 14th January 2024

CHECK IN AND SECURITY


I arrived at IAD at around 3:40, about 2 hours ahead of my scheduled departure time, by taking the silver line metro. Whereas an uber ride can cost you over $50 to get to IAD, the metro will only cost you $2.00 on the weekend, and only take you a few minutes longer. It is very easy and convenient to use.

The metro station is across from the terminal and is connected via an underground tunnel.


photo metro-pic-1-82241

Once you get through the underground tunnel, you end up on the arrivals level of IAD, and you have to head upstairs to departures.


photo iad-arrivals-ramp-photo-95361

Once upstairs, you’ll find yourself in the Departures/ Check In area at IAD. All airlines check in at the same terminal at IAD. United uses the very last check zone at the end. Towards the entrance of the Terminal is the Economy class check in and Premier Access Check In. Towards the back of the terminal is the Polaris and Premier 1K check in (though a lot of people don’t know that Polaris and 1K is in the back, so that check in area is empty a lot of the time.)


photo premier-access-check-in-48577photo polaris-and-1k-check-in-21668

I quickly printed my boarding passes, and was on my way to security. The East security checkpoint is located just next to the United counters. The PreCheck lane is located a bit further down from there, just past the Air Canada and Turkish Airlines Check In counters.

There’s a separate lane for Precheck and Clear and Precheck. I have clear, and used the clear lane, so I was through in a few minutes.
United uses concourse C/D at IAD, so depending upon which concourse you need to get to, follow the signs and proceed to either the “moon buggy” to take you to D, or the train to take you to C.

Today, I was originally informed flight was flying showing flying out of C, so I took the train.


photo train-pic

the lounge: united club- c7


I want to preface this by saying one very simple, and well-known fact across the United network: The IAD C/D concourse is dark, depressing, and it in desperate need of a refresh. And the same goes for all of the United Clubs at IAD. They are all equally terrible, and if you’re considering using a day pass or one time pass here, or contemplating a long layover just to visit a United Club at IAD, do yourself a favor, and save your passes or your time. It’s really not worth it.

I visited because I have a United Club membership, and just wanted a place to hang out while killing some time. If I had more time, I would’ve rather gone to the Turkish Airlines lounge or the Lufthansa lounge in Concourse B, but I didn’t have quite that much time today.

Because my original departure was showing out of gate C7, I went to the Club located right next to Gate C7. 


photo united-club-entrance

As soon as I entered the lounge, I was notified of a gate change, to D21, but I decided to stay in the C7 Club for my stay, as this is probably the best United Club at IAD, but that’s not saying much…

When you enter the lounge, you’ll find a small seating area with a few tables and armchairs.


photo club-small-seating-area-pic-1photo club-small-seating-area-pic-2-98924

Just past that, the hallway divides into three smaller hallways, one that leads you to the bar, one that leads you past the coffee station, and another one that leads you past the food.


photo club-bar-picphoto club-food-area-pic

There is a selection of complimentary beers, wines, and spirits, but note that more premium selections are not complimentary. There were some cold food options- a small salad bar, some brownies and cookies, as well as some sandwiches and vegetarian wraps, and some soup. There were warmers that appeared to be for hot food items, but they remained empty during my entire visit.

Just beyond that is the main and larger seating area in the lounge, which features armchairs and some high-top tables.


photo club-larger-seating-area

I grabbed a seat near the window so that I could get some views of the tarmac, got a beer from the bar, and some snacks and settled in for my roughly 40 minute visit in this Club.


boarding


My flight today was operating out of gate D21, which was about a 15-minute walk from the United Club at C7. So, I left the lounge at about 4:35 for my 4:50 boarding time, and made my way through the dark and depressing concourse C/D at Dulles.


photo aircraft-pic

When I arrived at the gate, boarding began right on schedule right at 4:50 p.m.

For some reason while we were boarding, there were no flight attendants in the galley to greet us. Not really sure where they were… but anyways…


the seat


The 787-9 has 48 Polaris seats, split into two cabins: One larger cabin with 8 rows of 4 seats across, for a total of 32 seats (Rows 1-8), and one smaller cabin with 4 rows of 4 seats across, for a total of 16 seats (Rows 9-12).

The Polaris seats are arranged in a 1-2-1 configuration on the 787-9, offering every passenger direct aisle access. The odd rows face straight, and the even rows are at an angle. I always prefer the odd, window seats as a solo traveler for the most privacy. Though, couples should opt for the odd numbered middle seats in the middle so that you can be close together and lower the partition.


photo cabin-overview

My seat, 9L, is the bulkhead seat on the right side of the aircraft. The seat is a Polaris seat, but since this isn’t an international business class flight, there is no bedding provided. No worries! I brought my own neck pillow!


photo seat-overviewphoto ife-pic

The overhead bins on the 787s are massive, and have more than enough space to store any luggage that you may need to store in the overhead bins, especially if you’re in business class.

The seat has two windows, that are controlled by dimmer switches on the wall or in the IFE system. And this seat in particular offers excellent views of the engine!


photo engine-view

The seat controls are located next to the left armrest, with a wheel that allows you to adjust between fully-flat bed mode, and the fully-upright taxi, takeoff, and landing mode. You can also adjust your footrest, your lumbar support, and your recline with a lot of different combinations.


photo seat-controls

There is a faux marble countertop on the right side where you can set things on top of. Just above the countertop is the IFE remote control, the universal power outlet, a USB-A charging port, the headphone jack, and a small vanity closet where you can store a few things during the flight. I find this the perfect spot to store your toiletries and/or chargers.


photo countertopphoto vanity-cabinet

The seat is well padded, comfortable, and extremely private. You can’t see another passenger in the cabin unless you really start looking for them, and nobody else can see you. Which is what I love about the Polaris seats. On the 787-9, there are individual air vents above your seat, and an overhead reading light.

Unlike on my Polaris flights, there amenities at the seat, unlike the Polaris flights. Not even headphones, which is fine because I use my own Bose QC 35 IIs anyways.


pre-departure


No pre-departure beverage was offered today.

At 5:30, the captain came on to welcome us onboard to inform of us of our fast flight time of 5 hours, and our cruising altitude of 38,000 feet. He also told us that it’s pretty windy today with the various weather systems moving across the country but that he’d do his best to give us the smoothest ride possible.

United allows you to pre-order your meal beginning 5 days prior to departure, up until 24 hours prior to departure. I recommend doing this so that you can guarantee your first choice. Also, in domestic First class, there are more choices in the online options than what will be offered on board.

Unlike in Polaris, there are no printed menus, but I can give you a screenshot of the United website where I was able to choose, so you can see the options.


photo menu-part-1photo menu-part-2

I pre-ordered the “Ropa vieja beef enchiladas with Spanish rice and green chile sauce,” for two reasons: First, a few years ago, United had offered a Vegetarian Enchilada in First Class, and it was amazing. The best domestic first class meal I’ve ever had, to be honest. Second, my dad had this meal recently, and highly recommended it. So, I selected this in anticipation of a similar experience.

At 5:40, the flight attendant came around, to confirm our meal choices. Unfortunately, there was a mix up with the catering and they loaded a barbecue chicken instead of the enchiladas, so I was given that option or the option of manicotti or the Asian noodle salad. I’d had the Asian noodle salad previously, and did not enjoy it at all. So, I decided to stick with the barbecue chicken. Though, I was so looking forward to trying the enchiladas, but such is life…though, it’s important to note that the flight attendant was going around specifically to those who preordered the enchiladas in order to take care of this issue, and ensure that those of whose preselected the enchiladas were given priority.

At 5:43, the captain came on to tell us that they were all ready to go, but that they needed to finish up loading some cargo and that it wouldn’t affect our arrival time.

At 5:51, the boarding door closed. Apparently, there was a man yelling and cursing at someone in Economy and they had to remove him from the aircraft, so we had a few more minutes of a delay.

At 6:05, we started pushing back and the safety video played.


photo safety-video

the flight


After pushback, we began our taxi to the runway. During the taxi out, the flight attendant came by to offer everyone headsets. As I already had my own, I declined.

I also really love the mood lighting of the 787!


photo mood-lighting

At 6:22, we lined up on Runway 30 for our departure.


photo lineup-on-runway

At 6:26, we reached 10,000 feet and were well on our way to Los Angeles.

At 6:40, the captain came on to announce that we reached our initial cruising altitude of 32,000 feet.

At 6:50, the meal service began with the distribution of a hot towel.

At 6:55, the flight attendant came around to offe a round of drinks, and a ramekin of warm nuts. I went with a gin and tonic.


photo drink-and-nuts

At 7:21, my meal was served all on one tray with a salad and dessert included.


photo dinner

The barbecue chicken was excellent. It was extremely flavorful and had an Asian twist to it. It was honestly better than the barbecue chicken that I had in Polaris a few days ago. The dessert was a weird peach cobbler pie thing with blueberries and some ricotta cheese in it. It was a weird combination of flavors… so not too sure about that.
 
At 7:40, I finished my meal, and the flight attendant came by to ask me if I wanted anything else, and I declined, as I was fine. I then reclined my seat and settled in to watch a movie.

Somewhere along the way, and probably very shortly after that! I ended up falling asleep. I’m really not sure when. I must’ve been pretty tired, I slept for the entire flight! I really wanted to give a more comprehensive review, but sorry!


arrival


I woke up at around 7:49 pm local time in LAX, to the captain’s announcement that we were beginning our descent into LAX and that we would be touching down in about 40 minutes.

At 8:25 p.m., we touched down on runway 25L, and taxied into our gate, Gate 74, where we parked at 8:31 p.m.


photo touchdown

I made my way through the terminal, and downstairs to the departures level, where the hotel shuttles depart from.

See more

Verdict

United

9.1/10
Cabin8.5
Cabin crew10.0
Entertainment/wifi10.0
Meal/catering8.0

United Club (Gate C7)

3.9/10
Comfort5.0
Meal/catering2.5
Entertainment/wifi5.0
Services3.0

Washington - IAD

5.0/10
Efficiency5.0
Access5.0
Services5.0
Cleanliness5.0

Los Angeles - LAX

7.1/10
Efficiency7.5
Access7.5
Services7.0
Cleanliness6.5

Conclusion

Overall, this was a great flight in United First (Business class seat). The Polaris seat is extremely comfortable, and the food was excellent. The service was also really good on tonight’s flight. The flight attendant was attentive and offered me anything that I needed.

The only downside of this flight was IAD. The C/D concourse is terrible, and embarrassing for a United hub. Additionally, the United club situation at IAD is absolutely horrible. The clubs are dark, small, dingy, and dreary, and offer little in the way of amenities. It’s embarrassing for United, honestly that the DCA club is nicer than any of the clubs at IAD. So, for a United Hub, I would say that this concourse and these Clubs are I need of some major updating!

I cannot deny though, this lie flat seat for an almost 6 hour transcontinental flight is an excellent way to get from IAD to LAX, as opposed to the other 737s that operate this route on United!

Information on the route Washington (IAD) Los Angeles (LAX)

2 Comments

If you liked this review or if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to post a comment below !
  • Comment 642975 by
    KévinDC TEAM SILVER 6582 Comments
    Nice to have gotten a 789 on this route as I believe it's usually on Domestic 777s when it's a widebody.

    No pre-departure beverage was offered today.

    Shame, are PDBs pretty hit or miss on UA? As a oneworld flyer I know they're non-existant on AS and happen about 50% of the time on AA in my experience. So it seems like it's a general US carrier thing (probably excluding DL).

    Wow, there are a lot of pre-order options, though most are unremarkable. The Ropa vieja beef enchilada sounds interesting, but seems like a weird mix of two completely different cuisines (Caribbean and Mexican)

    The C/D concourse is terrible, and embarrassing for a United hub.

    Absolutely...I mean it's a literal trailer...a temporary structure that was only meant to last a year or two...and now it's been, what, 30 years?

    P.S. I updated the cabin to Business from Domestic First since the hard product is the Intl Business cabin if anyone's searching the database for what that looks like. And as you are likely aware, Domestic First and Business use the same Fare classes behind the scenes, it's really just a marketing thing for the soft product, which is indeed a domestic service. US carriers just need to be honest with themselves and just call Domestic First class what it is, Business class LOL. But yeah, generally try to base classification on the hard product first.

    Thanks for sharing!
    • Comment 642978 by
      shivpilot14 SILVER AUTHOR 7 Comments
      I actually fly this route quite a bit, and since January 2023, it's been the 787s or the Polaris configured 777-200s. Right now, its one domestic configured 777 in the morning, and then this 787 in the evening. But, next month that's going to change back to the domestic 777s again, I believe... So, I'm less inclined to fly it in the future to be honest.

      PDBs are usually offered on UA, but it's usually a choice of water or sparkling wine. I'm surprised that it wasn't offered this time. Especially since they came around for meal orders... but, oh well. I don't like the Sparkling wine they serve anyways, so I usually just go with the water, so I really wasn't missing much!

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