Review: United Airlines B777-2, Washington Dulles – Dubai

During the Gulf war, United Airlines used to serve the United Arab Emirates on a non stop from Washington Dulles non stop to Dubai, United Arab Emirates with continuing service onwards to Doha, Qatar. This flight benefited from the American civilian contractors working in the gulf Region that had to fly a US flagged carrier by government travel policy. Measuring in at 7,069 miles, it was my longest United Airlines flight ever taken.


This post is one chapter in our trip to the United Arab Emirates, Qatar and the Maldives on United Airlines and Etihad Airways. This trip was booked and credited to Aeroplan and Etihad Preferred Guest. For more information on how this trip was booked, please see our trip introduction here. For other parts of the trip, please see this index.

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Review: United Airlines, Washington Dulles – Dubai


United Airlines
Economy Class
IAD-DXB (Washington Dulles – Dubai Internationl Airport Terminal 3)
UA 976 – Economy Class (L)
6:35 PM – 5:25 PM + 1
Oct 4, 2012
Booked: Boeing 777-200
Flown: Boeing 777-200

We made it into the gate area during Boarding Zone 6. The United Maze dragon took issue with Ms World Traveller 73 using the Premier Access lane, despite both our Star Gold Statuses. Somehow with all the boarding pass switches, the status did not carry over to the latest boarding card. Despite her Star Gold Card in hand, the United dragon started to refuse boarding Ms World Traveller 73 the priority boarding lane. “We only go by what’s on the boarding pass.” she squaked… And “You weren’t here when boarding zone two was called” Ms WorldTraveller 73 protested, and protested enough that the gate dragon relented pretty quickly. Her skill of talking back to the carry on dragon police appeared to be easily carried over. Despite the mild embarrassment at a scene starting to develop, maybe it’s been a while since I missed a boarding zone call, but strange that boarding at your convenience seemed to miss so much common sense here – especially with a Star Gold Card in hand. 

Boarding Displays United Flight 976 IAD-DXB

This aircraft features the somewhat unusual backward facing Business First product. It’s unfortunately 2-4-2 configuration with four persons across in the middle which would be quite uncomfortable with no direct aisle access.

United Airlines Business First on Boeing 777-200

This had to be the longest flight that I had ever taken, at 13 hours and 20 minutes in duration. On board I was happy to see that United had upgraded their entertainment offerings to a full Advanced Video On Demand system. The system actually had a whole stack of movies, and it was actually better than the Lufthansa entertainment system in First Class on their Airbus 330 that I took in May.

Flight Path
United Advanced Video on Demand

It made the time pass by really quickly. 

The Meal: A Small Dinner, with a credit card promotion

Once underway, a beverage service was offered, along with a small dinner. Romaine Lettuce Salad with Tomato, Honey Dijon Dressing, Indian lamb tips with wild rice and a triple chocolate brownie. They’re getting creative with the USA credit card promotions however. They snuck this one in there . . .

Romaine Lettuce Salad with Tomato, Honey Dijon Dressing, Indian lamb tips with wild rice and a triple chocolate brownie

Duty free was offered on board, but restricted soley to Dubai bound passengers. Passengers to Doha were not permitted to buy any on board liquor due to legal restrictions of bringing in alcohol into the country.

After dinner, it was nap time as we passed along with this long journey.

The Second Service: Brunch

The second service was a quick fast food snack. I didn’t quite know what to make of it. Breakfast? Lunch? Either way, it went down quickly. I was pretty hungry after being ten hours into the flight and there wasn’t a lot of choice!

A ham and cheese bun warmed with tin foil

Our track at this point had us thankfully avoiding Iranian Airspace in a US flagged carrier. . .

Flight Track on approach to the United Arab Emirates

We touched town in the United Arab Emirates. We were continuing on with this aircraft from Dubai to Doha on a bizarre fifth freedom route. On arrival, we had a brief 90 minute stop in Dubai Terminal One. Although we as Canadians were not allowed into the United Arab Emirates without the appropriate visa at the time of our trip, we were allowed into the concourse.

We proceeded through a security check and went to go find the LH Senator Lounge. Unfortunately at 4 PM, the lounge was closed (operating hours 1800-0900hrs), and there were no real alternative available to us as Star Gold. Instead, we viewed the massive duty free in Terminal One. Anywhere with a gold coloured palm tree that’s indoors is a bit strange to see, but most eyes were on the shopping. At least for MsWT73…

Dubai Airport Concourse
Its unusual to see jewelry for sale on airport concourses
United Airlines on the Ground at DXB

Overall:

The United Airlines long haul flight from Washington Dulles to Dubai was made a little more reasonable thanks to advanced video on demand and our upgraded bulkhead seat. At some twelve hours, this was indeed a long flight. These segments would ultimately be the last long haul flights that we would take in economy class for a good decade thanks to travel hacking and frequent flier point redemptions.


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