Trip Report: First time on United's new 777-300ER, in Economy, FRA-EWR
Having eaten a decent breakfast in the lounge in Barcelona, and then being surprised with an upgrade and a substantial breakfast on the flight to Frankfurt, by the time I got to Frankfurt I wasn't too hungry - but that didn't mean I didn't try out some of the offerings in the non-Schengen Senator Lounge anyway!
Here there was a flattened meatball, and a spicy shredded cabbage concoction. Not sure which cuisine these are meant to represent. There was also a vanilla bundt cake, and an interesting pear-banana-fig-chai smoothie from Innocent. It was called "Ein Zwei Chai," a cute name meaning "1-2-Chai" which rhymes only in German.
Then it was time to board the flight to Newark. I had been anticipating this journey with a combination of curiosity and dread, since it would be my first time on United's 777-300ER, a plane that's gotten a reputation for a particularly cramped Economy Class cabin. Basically there are now 10 seats across, in the same cabin cross-section where there are 9 seats across in United's older 777s.
Having read countless reviews online in advance, I nabbed an exit row window seat when I reserved the ticket. Importantly, it was the exit row in the rear cabin of Economy, not the exit row in the forward cabin where the seats are even narrower due to a bulge next to the door, and no window.
At my seat, there was a window that I could twist around and look out of. The seats were still narrow, though. Originally an average-sized man was sitting in the middle seat, and our shoulders definitely touched. But some musical chairs later, a petite woman ended up next to me, and she stayed pretty much within the airspace of her seat bottom and didn't even stray over the armrest. So it made for a comfortable flight!
Lunch was served with the ice cream all at once.
For the appetizer, there was a curried couscous salad, which was "wet" enough with a flavorful sauce to give some needed flavor and moisture to the otherwise dry field greens. I've never understood why United has always paired a dryish grain salad with totally dry field greens and no dressing.
For the main course, I chose the chicken, which turned out to be a wonderful Thai curry chicken. The coconut flavor was present, and the sauce was savory and a bit spicy. What was a big surprise were the flavorful vegetables hiding on the right side. There was a surprisingly exotic mix of greens and wood ear mushrooms, with a great sesame oil flavor. I quite enjoyed this dish.
For dessert, there was a Treacle Toffee ice cream, which was deliciously caramel-y and creamy, with crunchy bits on top.
I slept a decent bit, and when I awoke and walked through the galley, I found the mini breadsticks which they usually serve as a "first course" with the first meal service.
Before landing, there was the usual warm turkey and cheese sandwich which has been around for years and years. I had actually wanted to try the cheese sandwich which they sometimes offer for a change of pace, but the flight attendant didn't offer it to me. He only offered it to the girl next to me when she refused the turkey sandwich (she refused the cheese one too). I wasn't aware it worked that way? I felt awkward handing back my turkey sandwich as that seemed unhygienic, so I just went on and settled.
(As a side note, this particular flight attendant was a bit odd, as his belt sported a huge cut-out Nike swoosh logo. I'm pretty sure wearing logos of other brands would be prohibited by United's dress code?)
Sitting on the left side of the airplane with a window afforded great views of Manhattan as we flew parallel to it from north to south, to land at Newark.
Overall, this was a very pleasant flight, with window seat with direct aisle access, a lovely Thai curry for lunch, friendly service overall, and good views. I can't ask for much more in Economy!