I arrived at IAD at around 7:00 a.m., about 90 minutes ahead of my scheduled 8:30 a.m. departure. All airlines check in at the same terminal at IAD. United uses the very last check in 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.)
I wasn’t checking a bag, but there was not a long line for the Premier Access Check In, so I printed my boarding pass and was on my way within a minute or two.
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 passengers with both precheck and clear. Though, the Precheck line was much shorter than the clear line today. The clear line was wrapped around the adjacent wall. I don’t understand why people insist on using clear even when the line is longer- just because you have it- doesn’t mean you have to use it. The point of Clear is that its supposed to save you time in skipping the line, but if there’s a longer line for clear, then why use it?
I went through the regular Precheck line and was at the front of the line within one minute. I saw people still in the Clear line that were there when I first arrived, still waiting…
Security didn’t take long once through the line, I was done in a few minutes, and was on my way to the gate.
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, my flight was departing out of the C gates, so I took the train.
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 flight was departing fro gate C7, I went to the club located at C7, which is arguably the best United Club at IAD, but really not by much…
Because I’ve reviewed this Club about 3 weeks ago in a previous review, I won’t go into a review of it again, so I’ll link that review here: https://flight-report.com/en/report/65831/united-ua2276-washington-iad-los-angeles-lax/
My flight today was departing from gate C6 today, which was right next to the C7 Club.
I arrived at the gate a bit ahead of schedule, and was glad I did. It was a madhouse. I remember why I don’t like flying to Orlando. Don’t get me wrong. I get it families with children need to travel too, and I’m respectful and appreciative of that. But, this was a complete madhouse, and the passengers aren’t to blame. The gate agents blocked off the aisleway leading up to the podium and the lines where group 1 and 2 are supposed to be. So, you had no room in an already cramped gate area. We were all literally standing shoulder to shoulder… Then, when it came time to gate check bags and to board, it became… a scene that was just crazy. People rushing up, not moving out of the way for others because there was nowhere to go. I mean… when preboarding began and the wheelchair passengers couldn’t get through because there was no space to move, you know there’s a problem.
Ok, rant over. Sorry about that.
We boarded late at 7:55 a.m., about 15 minutes behind our scheduled boarding time.
We boarded through L2. Flight attendant was not friendly. I said a cheerful “good morning!” And she just stared at me. I wondered for a moment if I had spilled something on my shirt or something! I guess she’s not a morning person! (However, she redeemed herself later in the flight, I do have to say!)
The First class cabin on the 757-300 is arranged in a 2-2 configuration, and features 24 first class recliner seats across 6 rows.
I quickly found my seat, 6A, a window seat on the left side of the cabin, in the last row of the cabin. The seat features 38 inches of pitch, is 20 inches wide, and has 5 inches of recline.
The left armrest has a small cubby to store something like a phone or tablet. There is also a universal power outlet located at every seat in First class in the center console. The center console also has a faux black marble cocktail table.
In the right armrest, you’ll find your tray table.
There is a literature pocket in the seatback in front of you and ample room to store your personal carry-on item underneath the seat in front of you. However, there is no seatback entertainment on this aircraft, so you will have to download the United App to get free in flight entertainment on this flight on your personal device.
Additionally, what would’ve made this seat better is a tablet holder on the back of the seat in front, so that you can put your tablet somewhere at eye level. But, that’s non-existent.
This will change when United launches their new United NEXT interiors on all aircraft, meaning that all aircraft for United Mainline will feature seatback entertainment screens at every seat.
I will say this. The seat was filthy. This is evidenced by the used cup in the seatback pocket at my seatmate’s seat prior to him getting on board.
No clean plus wipes were offered upon boarding, so I asked the flight attendant who gave us our PDBs for one, and she happily and gladly brought one. She even noticed the dirty cup and removed it and apologized to my seatmate for it.
At 8:07, the captain came out to the first class cabin to welcome us on board and introduce himself. He told us it would be 69 degrees and raining, but that we would have a smooth flight. I thought that this was a really nice touch, and something I haven’t seen before personally, but have heard of it.
At 8:15, the flight attendant came around to offer us a pre-departure beverage of water or orange juice. I went with water.
At 8:18 a.m., the Captain came on to welcome us aboard and inform us of our flight time of 1 hours and 57 minutes.
At 8:38, we pushed back from the gate and then began our taxi to the runway.
At 8:55, we lined up for departure on runway 30.
At exactly 9:00, we reached 10,000 feet.
At 9:10, the in flight service started with the flight attendant coming around asking for drink orders.
United gives meals in First class for flights over 900 miles in length. This flight misses that cutoff at 759 miles, whereas a flight from IAD to nearby Fort Lauderdale would barely qualify at 903 miles.
However, even though a meal wasn’t offered, drinks are still complimentary, including alcoholic beverages, and a premium snack selection is offered.
I went with a coffee with Bailey’s Irish Cream on this morning’s flight, and selected a few snacks from the snack basket.
I reclined my seat, and settled in to watch a movie on my iPad. I always download movies ahead of my flights just in case the WiFi or IFE screens aren’t working. It’s always good to have a backup.
I didn’t feel like scrolling through the entertainment options and trying to connect to the WiFi to get to it, so I just settled in to watch a movie I downloaded on my iPad, Scarface.
At 9:34, the flight attendant came around to offer another beverage, and I declined.
At 10:00, the flight attendant came around AGAIN to ask if we wanted anything else. What an excellent service on this flight.
At 10:14, the captain came on to announce our initial descent into Orlando. We were instructed to open our window shades for landing, and boy am I glad I did! I had some nice views of the Eastern Florida coastline.
The flight attendant came around AGAIN to offer us a snack from the snack basket, and when I originally declined, she said “Oh, come on! You know you want to take some to-go with you!” So, I couldn’t resist and I took a pack of almonds to go!
At 10:49, we touched down on runway 17L, and began our taxi into the gate.
As we taxied into the ramp, I was reminded of how many widebodies United flies into MCO! It’s amazing. I spotted a 777-200 and a 767-400ER today! Wow!
We arrived at gate 35 today at exactly 10:55 a.m. for an on-time arrival.
I made my way off of the aircraft, to the train that would take me to the main terminal.
Overall, this was a decent flight on United in Domestic First class. The service was excellent, and the seat was comfortable enough for this 2 hour flight.
The only things that could make this flight better is if United had seatback IFE screens at every seat, which, to be fair, they are working on making that dream come true, so…
Also, the cabin should’ve been cleaner. I get that I shouldn’t expect much… but, a used cup? We have to have standards!
The other thing that would improve this flight, and any U.S. domestic first class flight is if a meal were offered. I’ve had European carriers offer a plated meal service on a one-hour flight before, so the U.S. carriers could do the same. It doesn’t have to be a hot meal, but it could be more than just a drink and a snack basket. Unfortunately, this is the standard on all U.S. domestic first class flights of this length.
Overall, it was a great flight, the crew was EXCEPTIONAL. I couldn’t have been happier with the crew today!