April 1 may be known for April Fools' Day pranks, but the United 777s that dotted the tarmac at Sydney Airport
were no joke. Yesterday marked the first day for United's regular LAX
and SFO service to Sydney to be operated by all 777-200s, instead of the
older 747-400s. The last UA 747 to depart Sydney said "so long" on
March 31, and with it goes the worst plane to fly between the US and
Australia, in terms of passenger comfort and entertainment.
Our friends at Australian Business Traveller detailed
the change after it was announced, and noted that this means fewer
seats in all classes. Overall, however, the news is excellent for
travelers on the 14-hour non stop flights.
Having experienced both the 747 and 777 Sydney flights in the
last couple weeks, we can find only two minor downfalls to the swap:
1. The lavatory situation isn't as convenient on the 777 as on the
747. The 777's couple toilets in the back mean longer waits in less
2. Travelers flying in Business Class have no second floor to enjoy.
For the majority of flyers (aka everyone in Economy), here's a quick photo comparison between the two planes:
Despite all this, know that there are better options for
flights to Australia from the US. For example, Qantas runs A380s and
Virgin Australia has lovely 777-300ERs. If you absolutely have to fly United, however, now you know it'll at least be a little better than before.