Flight Log: United Economy 777-200 Chicago to Tokyo

Airline: United
Code: UA 881
Date: 11/20/2017
Route: ORD -> NRT

– Service of the FAs
– Great IFE collection
– I got an empty middle seat

– The Lunch
– Faulty IFE

– The Sandwich


I woke up at an unbelievable 5:30am in the morning something that, for me at least, is a feat. I have been trying to adjust myself into Asia/Thailand time so that when I arrive at 11pm, I can crash comfortably in the BKK airport.

I had arrived at ORD through the blue line, one of the many benefits of living in Chicago is that for about $2.25 I can take myself and my bag to both of the major Chicago airports.


If you use United in ORD, there is always the amazing light-work above as you walk towards the C-section departures

My general rule is to plan 3 hours for international and 2 hours for domestic, a rule which I should just consider breaking. Now that I can load boarding passes on my phone and I have access to TSA Pre-Check I was able to get to my gate in under 10 minutes. I had 2 hours and 45 minutes to kill so I wandered around and tried my best not to grab a quick beer before my flight, it is the morning after all 😛


I was bored enough to check if my bag can count a personal item, close enough I’d say

My flight did arrive, and the crowd was fairly small with plenty of empty seats. Curiously some of the exit rows was empty, some folks asked to move up a row but the flight attendants explained that was for Premium Economy. Personally I feel like that exit rows would need to be filled regardless and shouldn’t be something left to passengers who paid more.


My Chariot awaits…in Economy


The flight took off and was smooth for the majority of it with only a single instance of having the seatbelt sign on. I then turned to the IFE console.


Taken much later but it only took me 5 tries to get the map to show up

The console is in dire need of updating, I had to “double click” in order to select anything and even then the cursor trailed off to the other side of the screen if I wasn’t exact. That being said the content was plentiful, checked out some Marvel movies and tried watching the Simpsons. To my disappointment, the Simpsons just isn’t what it used to be, I guess same could be said for flying.

The seat however was pretty comfortable, it helped that I had an empty middle seat next to me. My seatmate across from me gave that knowing glance that we are indeed free to stretch out just a little bit more. I also got to test out my bag and sure enough, slides right down in front of me!


I even had room to prop my legs right up over the bag

Lunch was served upon reaching cruising altitude, the flight attendants took the time to make sure everyone was served and didn’t seem as rushed as some flights can be. In case you missed it, yes, they served “lunch”, which was pretty light.


It is econ after all

A single “brick” of fried rice (veggie or chicken), the chicken was okay, interestingly they had dark meat which is rare for US airlines to include. They also included a grain salad which wasn’t really explained. It was…a salad? I still felt like I was shot up with the carbs.

Soon after I finished doing my Simpsons marathon I managed to get some rest, the real MVPs were my fuzzy socks and eye mask. But even more so is the headspace app that United provides. Not even 5 minutes into the “sleep while sitting” course and I was ready to doze off.

After a quick nap I had woken up and began watching some more stuff on the IFE to keep myself awake and keep going. At this time it was early morning in Thailand, I had to adjust to that. But the view outside was nonetheless amazing! An older gentleman seated in the exit row was watching it upon waking up thinking he was seeing the Colorado Rockies. I got the chance to see his reaction when I told him we were indeed flying over Siberia 😀

Without a doubt, it’s beautiful


Midway throughout the flight they offered people a small sandwich with M&Ms, the quality was equal to any sort of grab and go sandwich. Mine had apple and gouda in it, the sogginess made it easier for the bread to go down at least, ugh.


At least I was sustained?

What I did enjoy were the flight attendants (FAs), they were extremely polite and kept up the mood. They even spent time during the flight offering water while walking up and down the aisles. Something which their Asia-based counterparts tend to do.

Eventually they began finishing up the service by providing breakfast which ending up being pretty delicious


Not pictured: me being oddly impressed

They had a choice between pancakes and a pesto/cheese omelet, I opted for the omelet which ended up tasting pretty good. It wasn’t a mysterious rubber blob like most economy breakfasts, though overcooked a bit, can’t blame them though.

Finally the plane landed and by having literally only a backpack I managed to bob and weave through the crowd and managed to exit while trying not to steal a business class amenity kit 🙂


Economy will always be that, “economy” and there is no way around it. However, for a US-based airline to do the little things like passing out water or distributing food at a pace that didn’t feel rushed made the difference to me. The flight crew provided a great flight even when the IFE and Food was lacking.



  1. Introduction: Thailand Thanksgiving
  2. Flight Log: ORD to NRT
  3. Flight Log: NRT to BKK
  4. Short Review: Boxtel BKK
  5. 7-11 in Thailand
  6. Train Night Market Ratchada
  7. Flight Log: DMK to CNX
  8. Playing with Elephants in Chiang Mai
  9. The Saturday Night Market in Chiang Mai
  10. Seeing and Staying in Bangkok