least load factor, first lie-flat seat
i was supposed to go [tooltip title=”” content=”San Francisco” type=”classic” ]SFO[/tooltip]-[tooltip title=”” content=”Los Angeles” type=”classic” ]LAX[/tooltip]-[tooltip title=”” content=”Washington DC – Dulles” type=”classic” ]IAD [/tooltip](and then on to [tooltip title=”” content=”Dubai” type=”classic” ]DXB[/tooltip] and [tooltip title=”” content=”Doha” type=”classic” ]DOH[/tooltip]). i think at the SFO-LAX flight was oversold so they called me up to the lounge desk and had me speak with a gate agent handling that flight.
she put me on a direct SFO-IAD flight on a three-class plane, in full-fare business (not just the upgrade bucket), meaning 150% PQM. (i was number one on the upgrade list for first, but they didn’t run it, and eh, i was totally fine with this arrangement).
this was the seat map about an hour before departure:
as it turns out, this was a one-off flight, i’m guessing for aircraft positioning (they don’t normally fly 777s on that route as far as i can tell), that held mostly people who were victims of a mechanical delay (cancellation?). i overheard a flight attendant say he was called at 4:30 in the morning, and at that time the manifest had 25 people on it.
in any case, definitely no complaints here, though the way you have to angle your feet to fit into that little pocket especially when you’re in flat mode is a bit awkward. but compared to my next flight (below), it was heaven!
i normally connect in Europe or East Asia, so this was my longest non-stop: IAD-DXB, twelve and a half hours, 7,069 miles, which i had to do in a middle seat : (on the exact same type of plane i just had with the sweet upgrade). i don’t know what happened to my aisle seat, but my guess is something changed when i got moved to that direct SFO-IAD flight. when i tried to board the computer responded with something along the lines of “PASSENGER NOT FOUND” at which point the agent did a lot of typing and out popped a boarding pass with 24B. i should have complained (DYKWIA?!), but he seemed harried and i got a big undeserved bonus from United earlier in the day (related to the flight mentioned above, not related to the upgrade) so i sucked it up.
it wasn’t too bad, especially since it was a long overnight red-eye so i was sort of sleepy and the movie options on the upgraded IFE were pretty decent.
shortest flight in a widebody plane
(maybe even shortest flight in a jet-powered plane?)
DXB-DOH, 238 miles. though this was a continuation of the IAD-DXB, pretty much everyone got off in Dubai so the plane was pretty empty.
(edit: i’ve done IAD-PHL at 135 miles, in a regional jet)