Yesterday, I wrote a eulogy for United’s international first class product.
There, I promised to offer a report on my best first class trip of all time on United. There’s a difference, I think, between best and favorite. I have already written about my favorite experience in Global First, which was a flight from Frankfurt to San Francisco in the nose of a 747-400 with amazing service and excellent rest.
But since so much of the first class experience, even on United, is about food and drink, I would not call that flight my best. Instead, my best flight was a trip in 2015 from Washington Dulles to Kuwait City aboard the 777-200 in first class.
I was flying to Doha in order to take part in the first commercial A350 flight, but ended up stopping in Kuwait, Bahrain, and Dubai on the way.
What made this particular the flight the best? It wasn’t the seat. The seat was great, mind you. Spacious and comfortable, I slept like a baby for most of the flight. This was pre-Saks Fifth Avenue bedding, but United has offered great business and first class bedding for years.
It wasn’t the service either. Angel was sassy: I loved her. I bet non-U.S. passengers in the cabin (there were none, to my knowledge) would have been shocked at how casual she spoke to passengers. She was that aunt who likes to run her mouth and frequently enjoy a hearty laugh.
And while I may have preferred the professionalism of Sylvia and Anne from Frankfurt to San Francisco, Angel was an angel. I loved her and appreciated all the laughs we shared together during the flight.
It wasn’t the IFE or Wi-Fi, though the internet worked well.
What truly made this flight my best ever was the food. Let’s not kid ourselves: you can often enjoy a decent meal on United, but never something that makes you stop and ask whether you are really on an airplane. Until this flight…
The mixed nuts were not special. In fact, the cashews were Jeffed (broken). I will miss the silver bowl and frequent refills in Untied international first class, though.
The hot appetizer (empanada), tomato soup, and green salad were very tasty, but also not anything special.
It was the main course that made this flight my best ever in first class on United. For it was truly a first class entree. I ordered rack of lamb and never have I tasted something so good nor seen something so beautifully presented on United. The lamb was succulent, tender, flavorful, and cooked a perfect medium rare.
I enjoyed an excellent glass of Australian Syrah with dinner and appreciated the tulip on the stemware. The current globe logo has grown on me, but I still miss the tulip.
The meal was not over. Next came an excellent cheese course and the meal concluded with a decadent ice cream sundae with all the fixings.
This was an excellent meal. An excellent first class meal. True, there was no caviar or Krug, but this was something special.
I even wrote about it at the time.
After a tremendous rest, I woke up as the sun set over the Arabian desert for breakfast. The breakfast pictured below was a staple for years on United and at Continental before it. I never got tired of it…
As we began our descent into Kuwait City, Angel shook the hand of every passenger. We laughed about something else…I don’t even remember at this point.
I’ll miss United first class quite a bit. Flights like my journey from Washington Dulles to Kuwait helped to build my loyalty over the years.
What was your best international first class flight on United?