I intentionally travelled out to Newark, NJ from my home in Connecticut so as to get a direct flight to Beijing on United (as opposed to flying out of JFK on Air China, which is much closer to my home). Boy, was I disappointed! The plane appeared to be a very old configuration in which the Business Class seats were side-by-side, rather than the more recent pod set-up which I’ve experienced on all my trans-Atlantic flights. For a 14-hour flight, this was not good. There was no privacy, and the seat wasn’t very comfortable to sleep. Moreover, my seat appeared not to have been cleaned since the plane was first put into service, with food crumbs and God-knows-what caked into the crevices around the seating area.
Worst of all, the service was atrocious! As soon as the original meal service was concluded (which the cabin crew seemed to rush through as soon as the plane took off), I didn’t have a single stewardess come by for the duration of the flight (again, 14 hours long) to see if I wanted water or anything else, until the breakfast service just prior to landing. I had to get up several times to track down a member of the cabin crew to ask for additional water. What I found, each time I went in search was the crew either feeding their own faces or discussing when and where they might take a rest.
Finally, the selection of movies (critical on such a long flight) was mediocre at best.
All in all, a miserable experience, and I will surely avoid flying United ever again on such a long flight.