My trip to Rio was pretty ridiculous. I was scheduled to be on the ground only about 12 hours in total, with a travel time of about 16 hours each way. Probably not the most rational trip, but that just means it makes more sense to me. Flying via Houston in both directions I was fortunate to be on one of the United Airlines 767-400s that has been retro-fit with the new lie-flat seats up front and AVOD and E+ in the back. I was seated in coach for the long-haul segments (the short-haul upgrades did clear, but nothing particularly remarkable there) and I was very much looking forward to giving the new seats a try.
For the southbound segment I was seated in the bulkhead window seat and I had an empty seat next to me. The bulkhead offers up plenty of legroom and I generally prefer the fixed arm-rest in between the seats. The main drawback of this seat, as seen in the photo, is that the window is missing. It is possible to lean forward an look out, but that isn’t particularly comfortable for very long.
The food was rather awful – long-haul coach meals have suffered greatly in my recent trips – but it was enough to hold me over until the movie was over and I was ready to sleep, something that I did reasonably well with the space I had available, along with the pillows and blankets from both my seat and my unoccupied neighbor.
Speaking of the movies, I was very impressed with the selections available on the system. There were roughly 150 titles listed. Filtering out the multiple language listings of the same films there were still around 100 to watch and the collection spanned a broad range, from true classics (e.g. Breakfast at Tiffany’s and Casablanca) to more recent classics (e.g. The Princess Bride & Ferris) to a decent smattering of recent releases. It isn’t the absolute broadest collection I’ve seen on a plane, but it was more than enough to keep me entertained. I was also quite happy to see that there is a USB plug attached to the video screen. Charging my phone from there while I slept meant waking up with a full battery, ready to attack the day.
The return flight was roughly the same. I was still in a window seat in the E+ section but not the bulkhead. To me it felt like about the same amount of space overall, with the obvious difference of having a seat reclining into me. The food was similarly awful and the sleep similarly coach-induced.
I had a bunch more photos to share of the in-flight experience. Alas, I left my laptop on the plane at the end of the trip and when I returned 3 hours later it was gone. If anyone sees a used red Asus eee 10" with a gouge in the top cover on sale somewhere please let me know. I’m in the market for one.
Also, keep an eye out for a couple more posts from this trip covering the time I spent on the ground in Brazil. I may have only been there for 12 hours but I packed a whole lot of fun into the trip.
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