Abandon expectations all ye who travel.
The itinerary said breakfast.
That would be the itinerary printed directly from United Airline‘s emailed confirmation of our flights to and from England. Breakfast on the return flight, the document said.
That seems logical, right? Breakfast on an am flight out of Heathrow?
Well, on Friday morning — after getting up at 5:45 in order to reach the airport on time — breakfast sounded even better. Check-in and security had been slow, leaving not enough time for even a cup of tea.
“Would you like beef or chicken?”
“Beef or chicken?” the flight attendant repeated.
We’d reached cruising altitude, and the cabin crew was starting to serve the morning meal.
My husband asked about breakfast, pulling out our copy of the itinerary to show that’s what had been promised.
“Oh, we always serve dinner on this flight,” she replied.
Dinner. Beef or chicken to be exact, complete with salad, at 9 am.
Now, I’ll admit I can be a little picky about what I eat, but I like to think of myself as a good traveler, able to accept, and even enjoy, the little unexpected events of a trip. But I just couldn’t face either beef or chicken at that time of the day.
My husband D. couldn’t either, though he took a meal and tried to eat it.
What on earth is United Airlines thinking to serve dinner first thing in the morning? It would be different if they were following the time at the flight’s destination. But the US is five hours behind the UK so it was even earlier in Newark.
I’ve crossed the Atlantic many times — mostly on the same trip to and from England — on a variety of airlines and have never ever been given dinner for breakfast.
It’s always some little omelette or a breakfast sandwich or even a croissant. Not beef or chicken, no matter what that flight attendant said.
I made do with D’s roll and butter.
And a cup of coffee with Bailey’s. That I can drink any time.
Eventually, we arrived at the Newark Airport. I won’t go into details about our experience with the United Club there except to tell you we were turned away. We’d been worried our daughter S. wouldn’t be allowed in because she’s under age. Nope. Turns out S. wasn’t allowed in because we only had two passes. She would need one even if she was only two years old, the United gatekeeper said.
Except the passes state you must be twenty-one to use them.
Hmm … seems like United Airlines is having some communications issues.
Here is where I remind myself — and you — how important it is to keep things in perspective. Part of travelling is being able to roll with the punches, and I’d gladly trade a dozen breakfasts for a safe flight.
Besides, when the other flight attendant spilled juice on my arm, he gave me a complementary beer. And to be fair, I must admit our United flight to England was great, with probably the best flight attendants I’ve ever met. The head of the cabin crew actually greeted each and every passenger.
Still, next time, I’m packing my own breakfast.