Published on April 17th, 2012 | by Mark Chesnut

FLIGHT REVIEW: United Airlines Boeing 777-200 (Economy Class)

Now boarding: The United Airlines Boeing 777-200, ready for flight to Houston at Rio de Janeiro – Galeão International Airport.


Since its merger with Continental Airlines, United Airlines has rebranded former Continental aircraft and flights with the United name. During my recent flight aboard a former Continental route, I found service that combined elements of both airlines. So if you’re stuck in the back of the cabin on that next long Latin America flight, here is what you can expect. 

The check-in counters at Rio de Janeiro – Galeão International Airport.

THE FLIGHT: Rio de Janeiro – Houston Bush Intercontinental (flight time 9 hours, 30 minutes)

The departure gate area at Rio de Janeiro – Galeão International Airport.

THE DEPARTURE: Rio de Janeiro’s international airport is not the most impressive facility for international flight, which is of course not the fault of United Airlines. But check-in was speedy and efficient, and so was security and immigration processing (which in past years had taken me a long time to pass through). 

The economy class cabin of the United Airlines Boeing 777-200.

THE PLANE: The decor and color scheme is basically the same as when the aircraft carried the Continental name. For me, the 3-3-3 seating in economy class makes the center section more desirable, as there is less chance for feeling trapped by two people if you’re in the window seat, or being disturbed by two people if you’re sitting in the aisle (take an aisle seat in the center section, and there is only one person who’ll need to bother you to get out). 

The seatback video screen on the United Airlines Boeing 777-200.

The best features I found on board were the power outlets in between seats, the “wings” that provide added support in the head rest, and the video entertainment system, which included free headphones and offers a rather wide array of entertainment on demand, including TV and movies (both current and classic). 

Airline food: The airline meal served inflight on United Airlines between Rio de Janeiro and Houston.

THE SERVICE: The efficient cabin crew was best at keeping the passengers well hydrated, which is important on long-distance flights. A second drink service came soon after the first (which accompanied the meal), and cups of water were left at the back of the cabin throughout the night. They did, however, charge for alcohol, which some airlines don’t do. 

By the time the flight attendants got to row 42, where I was seated, they had run out of the chicken dinner option, so I ate the beef meal, which swam in rather tasty tomato-based sauce, and was accompanied by rice with raisins and peas, as well as salad, roll and pre-packaged chocolate cake from Bauducco, a Brazilian company (rather moist and not bad — I have quite a sweet tooth so like trying local brands).  

Morning airline meal: The breakfast airline food served by United Airlines between Rio de Janeiro and Houston airports. 

About an hour and a half before landing in Houston, flight attendants served a small breakfast that included a warm croissant with grape jelly and butter, as well as beverages.  

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About the Author

The founder and editor of, Mark has more than 15 years of experience as a writer, editor and manager. He's worked with some of the biggest consumer, in-flight and travel trade publishers that cover Latin America.

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