Danube Trip: Chicago to Brussels

Danube Trip: Chicago to Brussels
Danube Trip: Brussels Adventures and Getting to Prague
Danube Trip: Marriott Courtyard Prague
Danube Trip: Prague, Czech Republic
Danube Trip: Boscolo, Autograph Collection
Danube Trip: Prague to Nuremberg
Danube Trip: Viking River Cruise Boats – the Njord and the Bestla
Danube Trip: Nuremberg, Germany
Danube Trip: Weltenburg Abbey and Danube Narrows
Danube Trip: Regensburg, Germany
Danube Trip: Passau, Germany
Danube Trip: Wachau Valley and Göttweig Abbey
Danube Trip: Vienna, Austria
Danube Trip: Budapest, Hungary
Danube Trip: Hilton Budapest (Castle District)
Danube Trip: Budapest to Chicago

I took an early morning flight from Memphis to Chicago where I met up with my travel partner for the next two weeks.  She lives in the area so she picked me up and we had lunch with a mutual friend before returning to the airport for our evening flight.

Our visit to the United Club was the last day before one of the other clubs in a different concourse reopened after remodeling, so the club that was right across from our gate was absolutely packed.  It was so full that there was actually a line outside the club and people had to leave the club before they’d allow others in! We had some soft drinks but nothing to eat (not that there was a lot on offer) knowing that we’d be fed on our flight.  We couldn’t even fully enjoy the free wi-fi as the signal kept getting used by all the people in the club.

When it came time to board we only had to step across the hall to our gate, which was nice.  I was actually very impressed by all the lanes United had set up to separate the boarding groups and the boarding process proceeded in a relatively orderly fashion.

UA 972
Boeing 777
Seats 6J & 6K (BusinessFirst)

We entered via door 1L and proceeded through the galley to the far aisle before turning right through First Class and into Business Class.  United uses a 2-4-2 seating configuration in Business Class. I guess that middle section can actually be good if you’re traveling with several people but would be odd with strangers.  In addition, every other rows faces the opposite way.  So our seats faced forward but those in the middle beside us faced backward.  It was just weird. Our seats were the first row of BusinessFirst on the far aisle as we boarded.  In our seats were a blanket, a pillow and a set of headphones.


UA 972 BusinessFirst Seat 6J

The seat’s controls were intuitive, as was the entertainment controller.


UA 972 BusinessFirst Seat Controls


UA 972 BusinessFirst IFE and Footwell


UA 972 BusinessFirst IFE Controller

We got settled into our seats and before we knew it, we were taking off. After takeoff the amenity kits were distributed.  The cases were different than the one I’d received on my last United international flight, about 2.5 years ago.  I love the new cases.  They look much more professional and I’m certain I will make use of it later.  Inside were all the items you’d expect: toothbrush, toothpaste, a comb, socks, lotion, an eye mask and ear plugs.


UA 972 BusinessFirst Amenity Kit


UA 972 BusinessFirst Amenity Kit Contents

The menu was passed out and we made our dinner selections.


Prior to our meal we were given our choice of beverage (I chose ginger ale) and some warm nuts:


UA 972 BusinessFirst Ginger Ale and warm nuts

For starters our choices were:


I selected Caesar dressing for my salad:


UA 972 BusinessFirst Starters

The choices for the main course:


After not being impressed by the fish on my trip last year, I bypassed the cod.  The beef came with wasabi grits and I’m not a fan of anything spicy, so that was out.  Since it’s hard to mess up pasta, I had the ravioli:


And my friend had the chicken:


For dessert, the options were:


We both had the gelato and, as you can see, we didn’t enjoy it at all:


As our flight duration was a relatively quick 8h 10m, we went to sleep right after dessert.  Or we tried to do so.  These BusinessFirst seats were incredibly narrow.  Yes, I can stand to lose a bit of weight but even my shoulders rubbed the sides of the seat compartment.  It was better when sleeping on my side, as I prefer to do anyway, but I was very surprised at the lack of width.  Or maybe I’m just spoiled from having the huge seat on the Qantas A380!  My friend, who is both taller and broader than I am had a hard time. At nearly 6 feet tall she had trouble getting her feet to rest comfortably in the foot well area, though it probably would have worked better if she’d been willing to take off her shoes.

We slept off and on for about four hours before it was time for breakfast.  For an airplane breakfast, I was very happy with what was offered.  Fruit, cereal (museli) and yogurt along with juice and hot tea was a very satisfying meal for me.


We touched down in Brussels on time and began the next adventure of catching the train to the city center.

Categories: Award Travel, Star Alliance, United | Tags: , | 1 Comment

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One thought on “Danube Trip: Chicago to Brussels

  1. Fannie Acapulco

    I’ve two rules when I fly: 1.) Wear sturdy shoes & leave them on in case of a need to deplane quickly. 2:) Never eat fish at 35000 feet.

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