Flight Review: UA1 SFO-SIN in Economy

Taxiing at LAX aboard UA1
At the time, UA 1 was the longest United-operated flight in the world clocking in at nearly 17 hours. It helps if you approach this flight methodically and with an open mind.

We booked our flight early so the seat map was wide open. I put Tara in seat 27A since it is one of only two Economy seats in an exit row. United doesn’t consider it Economy Plus because the handle from the emergency exit sticks out a bit, awkwardly impeding leg room for taller travelers. Still, there is a large amount of legroom because it is an exit and Boeing placed a jump seat there so you can just about fit a small tent there.

The exit door didn’t bother Tara because she is shorter and she really appreciated the ability to get up as needed to stretch without bothering anyone else in the row. The other Economy Plus exit seats normally go for $200+ extra on this flight. Since the total cost of the flight round-trip was $440 each, I didn't think it made financial sense to upgrade.
Clear view of the center galley
including legacy Continental containers

I decided on 37L. I wanted a window to lean on and thought I would be more likely to have an open middle seat in the back. The theory worked up until the last minute when I ended up getting swapped to 27C next to Tara.

The legroom allowed me to stretch out on the flight while sleeping, which compensated for being near the lavatory and middle galley.

Flight attendants were respectful and didn’t make much noise beyond service. Most people also tried to minimize disruptions, but there is potential for it to be annoying depending on your fellow passengers.

We pushed back about 20 minutes late because of a mechanical issue. Apparently something had been fixed during the day, but there was a delay in paperwork.

Soon after takeoff the flight attendants came around for the first meal service. The choices were Thai chicken or a vegetarian dish. I went with the chicken, which didn’t seem very Thai. The chicken had a bit too much fat for my taste, but the rice was well seasoned as were the vegetables. I decided to hold onto my roll for later, which also gave the butter a chance to soften. The crew then came around offering vanilla gelato for dessert and small bottles of water.

United's Thai chicken dinner option
Tara fell asleep before service since she wasn’t hungry while I stayed up trying to sync to Singaporean time. Before the flight I went through the list of movies on United.com and wrote down the ones I was most interested in viewing. United has a large selection so I didn’t have any trouble finding something to watch. Halfway through my second movie (around 1:40am PDT) I started getting sleepy and stretched out to nap with my United-provided blanket and a sleep mask I snagged from a previous JetBlue flight.

I was woken up a few times, but overall it was okay and I fell asleep quickly. When I decided to get up I thought I’d slept only a few hours and started to get frustrated, but I was pleasantly surprised when I discovered I had actually slept for seven hours.

I missed when the crew came around with a mid-flight snack, but on takeoff the crew said they would keep it in the back for whenever we got hungry. I decided to take a walk back and grabbed a small ham sandwich. There were also apple and gouda sandwiches, but I decided to stay with a familiar option. I tried to get another bottle of water, but they ran out. Instead, the flight attendant expertly filled my previous bottle from the large containers without spilling a drop. Impressive.

United's egg breakfast option
After eating a sandwich of more bread than meat or cheese I resumed my movie from earlier and watched a third.

With around four hours left in flight and still tired, I decided to try sleeping again. It worked for about 90 minutes then the crew came around offering a second meal service.

This service, like the first, started at the front of the cabin and continued backwards. Although we didn't encounter any issues with menu availability, I think it would have been nice to start one service from the front and the other from the back to ensure everyone got a shot at their first selection.

United's pancake breakfast option
This time United offered a choice of pancakes or eggs. I wasn’t in the mood for anything sweet so I went with the eggs. United has been trying to add more seasoning to food since your taste buds shrink in the air. I definitely tasted (and appreciated) the heavy seasoning although the food wasn’t anything special. Strangely this meal also came with a roll, which didn’t strike me as breakfast food. Still it was a decent breakfast that hit the spot.

From there the crew handed out Singapore immigration cards and started to prepare the cabin for arrival. I appreciated they waited until the end to hand out the cards so we didn't lose them during the flight. After completing it, I decided to sleep some more and woke up as we were on approach into Changi. We arrived about 20 minutes late because of the earlier paperwork issue, but immigration was empty and we were soon on our way to baggage claim.
Flight Review: UA1 SFO-SIN in Economy Flight Review: UA1 SFO-SIN in Economy Reviewed by Brandon on December 07, 2017 Rating: 5

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