Friday, June 30, 2006

Airline Wine Report : Continental Airlines (Business) Class scores 62

This report uses the approach to scoring airline wine service described here.

These were the leading wines served in Business Class on Continental during June, 2006.

Champagne: Charles Lafitte NV $30
White wine: Chateau Lapugeau $14
Red Wine: Chateau Lalande, 2002 $8
Dessert wine: Quinto do Noval $10

Total Score: 62

I must admit that I have not flown Continental in years, and I based these scores on information on their web site. I had not heard of many of their wines and could not get prices on them. Usually, I regard an airline's Bordeaux wines as their "leader" but I could not get any information on their red Bordeaux.

This is the lowest score I have made since looking at this issue, and, based on this information, I would avoid flying Continental.

Incidentally, Continental uses the spelling Bourdeaux on their site. Everybody has typographical errors, but I suspect that this one reflects their interest in wine.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Mount Washington Pizza, Indian Cuisine

Mount Washington Pizza
1620 Kelly Avenue
Mount Washington
Baltimore, 21209

410 664 1111

For a Google map, click here.

If you asked me where you could get a good Indian meal to take away in Baltimore and I sent you to Mount Washington Pizza, you might think that I had not heard the question.

But the truth is that you can get very good Indian food from this busy pizza shop. They have good vegetable samosas ($2.25), but I find the meat ones ($2.95) a little bit dry.

The Shrimp Masala ($12.45) is very good indeed. Other dishes that I have enjoyed include Lamb Shahi Korma ($11.45), Lamb Vindaloo ($11.45), Chicken Korma ($10.95). The portions are enormous and rice is included. You can also get papadams ($1.00), Raita ($1.95), and Vegetable Pakora ($2.25).

You can sit down and eat, but this restaurant is not big on atmosphere. I usually call my orders in and pick it up.

They also seem to have a thriving business in pizzas, subs, and hamburgers, but the Indian food is so good that I always ignore that part of the menu.


Saturday, June 24, 2006

It's only a drink!

If you want to hurt a wine lover, interrupt a discussion about wine, and remind them that "it's only a drink." This will offend a wine lover very deeply; you will never be forgiven; and it will be decided there and then that you are a complete idiot.

At a certain moment in their lives, wine lovers have had a mind altering experience, and they make a vow to revere and honor this wonderful liquid for ever. (I almost wrote drink.) Imagine a friend that you have not seen for a long time, and when you meet you find (s)he has fallen in love. One of your first questions is how they met. So it is with wine. The Wine Spectator regularly publishes a column where they interview a celebrity who loves wine. The response is almost predictable, and it almost always goes something like this:

Well, I was a beer drinker, and then I was at this dinner given by Even More Famous Person. They were pouring Chateau Mouton Rothschild, 1959. [Robert Parker rates this with 100 points!] And that was a turning moment for me. And since then I have built a cellar with probably more wine than I can drink in my lifetime.

People sometimes ask me why I am so fond of Bordeaux in general, and of the wines of Pauillac in particular, and it all goes back to my own turning moment in about 1972. I had received one of my first pay checks, and decided to celebrate with a nice bottle of wine. So I went to Berry Brothers & Rudd in St. James's Street in London. A very helpful assistant talked to me about wine for about half an hour, and he finally sold me a bottle of Chateau Batailley, 1966.

And when I shared the bottle with some friends, I almost went into a swoon. I marveled at how fruit could be turned into such magical liquid. Like a drug addict looking to recreate that first "high", I live for the moments that approximate the taste of that Batailley.

Although this was certainly a good wine, it certainly was not a great wine. Batailley was classified as a fifth growth in the classification of Bordeaux in 1855, and it is generally agreed that it is consistent and reliable, bur not a wine that bowls you over. Like most wines in the Medoc, the vineyards are dominantly Cabernet Sauvignon (70%). The balance is Merlot (25%), Cabernet Franc (3%), and Petit Verdot (2%). But this was my first experience with serious wine on which I really focused my attention.

I was reminded again of the Chateau Batailley because I decided to spend an hour this morning browsing around that excellent bookshop in Columbia, Daedalus Books. I came across a really interesting book by Michael Broadbent, a Master of Wine, and for years the head of the wine department at Christies. The book is called, Vintage Wine, and it intrigued me because it collects notes accumulated through "fifty years of tasting three centuries of wines," and I wondered what he wrote about the 1966 vintage of Batailley.

Always dependable, certainly very good, possibly at its best in 1966 beause its comfortably fruity style enriches the leanness of the vintage. Still fairly deep; a leafy arboreal nose -- or perhaps it was the influence of Hugh Johnson's arboretum -- which opened up deliciously. Rich and moderately mouthfilling, with attractive Cabernet Sauvignon to the end taste.

Certainly it was not the 1959 Mouton, which he describes as "magnificence piled upon magnificence," but Chateau Batailley was the wine that changed my life, and I have been a devoted follower of the grape ever since.

Incidentally, in 1972, I paid 1.95 UK pounds for the Batailley, which seemed like an enormous amount then particularly if you consider that a pint of bitter at the time cost around 12p. So I was paying about the equivalent of 16 pints for my bottle of Batailley. Today a pint of beer goes for around 2.50 UK pounds, and Berry's sells half bottles of the 2000 vintage at 12.77 UK pounds, the equivalent of 25.33 pounds a bottle. So, even though we all complain about the price of wine today, it costs only the same price as 10 pints of beer, a bargain compared to the 1972 price! Interesting!

I would love to hear about readers' magical moments. What was the wine that turned you from being a wine drinker to a wine lover determined to spend the rest of your life in pursuit of that perfect glass? Or is wine, for you, just another drink?

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Mas Amiel Maury Cuvée Speciale 10 ans d'âge

It was the last day of a wonderful vacation. We had flown from the United States to Nice, where we rented a car. Then we went to Cinqueterre in Italy, where we met our dear friend, Mr. W. After about a week of wandering around Cinqueterre, we spent a few days touring Tuscany. We spent a couple of days in Florence, and then headed back to Nice.

I spent the last day of the vacation with my younger daughter, H, who was about 14 wandering around Nice. We spent the last night at the wonderful Hotel Atlantic. In Nice, we discovered a great wine shop, where I explained to the owner the wine I wanted to take back home to America. The wine should not be too expensive; it had to be interesting; and it had to be something that was not easy to find in the United States. At the time, I was interested in discovering sweet wines, but I was not especially interested in Sauternes because that is easily found at my local liquor store in Maryland.

The owner of the shop was a wonderful man and obviously passionate about wine. He seemed impressed that I liked some of the less famous but wonderful wines from France like Bonnezeaux. But his main concern seemed to surround H's eating habits.

I know you live in America, he said, but I hope you do not feed this child at McDonald's. I assured him that I did not, and he asked H what kind of food she liked, and when she admitted that she was partial to seared
foie gras, he roared in approval.

I will never forget this man because he really educated me by selling me a bottle of the Mas Amiel Maury Cuvée Speciale 10 ans d'âge, which I kept carefully stashed away until last Saturday.

Eat this with a very good chocolate cake, my new friend instructed. It is not often that there is a good chocolate cake on the table, a group of people interested in trying something completely different, and enough people to consume a full bottle of a fairly strong dessert wine. (Mas Amiel is 16.5% alcohol.) But all those stars were in alignment of Saturday, and we opened the bottle.

This wine is very different from almost anything I have ever had although if I were forced to compare it with anything, it would be Port. The wine comes from Maury, which is not far from Perpignan. Fermentation is arrested through the addition of grape spirit, which accounts for the high alcohol content. The grapes used are about 80% Grenache, and the balance is Mourvedre and Syrah. It starts life with a year in large glass demijohns, called bonbonnes, and then it goes into barrels for nine years. There is no vintage date on the bottle.

It had a mahogany color, a thick texture, and very luscious cherry flavors. There were also subtle cocoa, coffee, caramel, spice, and wood flavors, and you could still taste the tannins in this wine. It had a good long finish and the tast lingered on.

I have not seen this wine in America, but I believe that it can be found, and it costs around $22.00, which is a bargain for such a good and interesting wine. If you see it, buy it and then go and find the chocolate cake!

Le Mannequin Pis, Olney, MD

Le Mannequin Pis
18064 Georgia Avenue
Olney, MD 20832

301 570 4800

For a Google map, click here

Don't be put off by this dreary strip mall on the intersection of Georgia Avenua and Route 108. The front of this restaurant does not look like much, but, in many ways, this is the closest you can get to a real European restaurant in the Washington, DC area. Perhaps it is the combination of wonderdul food with something of a "take it or leave it" attitude, but once you are inside this restaurant you feel transported to another world.

It specializes in Mussels, which are cooked in 16 different ways plus a special of the evening. You get a kilo of them, and they are accompanied by delicious frites ($16.95). (The menu reminds you not to even ask for any substitutions.) For my main course, I had a delicious beef stew braised in Belgian beers with another order of the frites (($17.95). The others both had steak, which was also excellent (and served with frites!) The specials offered more adventurous food than we ate (skate, bison, etc).

An amazing finale was the pot au chocolat, which all three of us shared. It was dense, dark, rich Belgian chocolate, and totally magnificent.

We did not have wine, but chose terrific Belgian beers from their long list. (Alas, they do not have a draft beer).

The menu announces that they do not aim to cater for vegetarians or children although we did see some happy looking children here. They also say that they do not allow people to use cell phones in the restaurant. And another note in the restaurant apologizes for the high prices of drink, which they blame on Montgomery County.

This is a lovely restaurant. Highly recommended. The bill without tip for three including an orangina and three beers was $113.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Airline Wine Report : United Business scores 85

This report uses the approach to scoring airline wine service described here.

A more complete description of this flight can be found by clicking

These were the leading wines served on Flight UA925 from London (LHR) to Washington (IAD) on February 12, 2006.

  • Champagne: Duval Leroy NV $30
  • White wine: Laboure Roi, Chablis (Vintage not written on menu) $15
  • Red Wine: Chateau Lalande, 2002 $23
  • Dessert wine: Sandemans Founder's Reserve $17
  • Total Score: 85

This is in line with the score given to Virgin Atlantic, which got 82 for its Upper Class product. I had some difficulty figuring out the price on the Lalande, which I disliked. Also, the Chablis (delicious) was hard to price.

On this flight, I really did not like the Lalande very much, and find its description very strange:

"Bordeaux remains the emblem for elegant red wine and finesse is its hallmark. The 2002 vintage is a far better example of that ability than the more famous 2000 and 2003 vintages, and Chateau Lalande has crafted a powerful but stylish wine."

Despite the higher score, I think the wine esperience on Virgin would have been a better one because I think the wines seemed more cleverly and imaginatively chosen. It just shows the limitation of numerical scores!

Also, compare the scores with Singapore Airlines, which got 121 for its Business Class product.

Airline Wine Report : Singapore Airlines Raffles (Business) Class scores 121

This summarizes the wine served aboard a flight from the United States to Singapore (stopping in Frankfurt) in December, 2005. The class of service was Raffles, Singapore Airlines' brand name for its Business Class.

The score is based on the criteria described in this post. Over the next few months, I hope to collect data on more of the major airlines.

  • Champagne: Charles Heidsieck, 1995 $50
  • White Wine: Laboure Roi, Montagny, 2002 $26
  • Red Wine: Chateau Cissac, 1998 $28
  • Dessert wine: Taylor's Late Bottled Vintage, 2000 $17
  • TOTAL SCORE: 121

I found it a bit difficult to price the Montagny and the Cissac in the United States so I used figures from wine merchants in the United Kingdom. (This is not an exact science!)

I have often heard it said that the quality of Singapore Airlines in Business Class exceeds that of United Airlines in First. This score seems to support that position. United scored 116 in First Class while Singapore gets 121 for its Business Class. Singapore's First Class got 250.

The top scorer is Cathay Pacific in First Class with 280.

Airline Wine Report: Singapore Airlines First Class (SQ) scores 280!

I originally posted this with a silly mistake in the total. A kind reader corrected me. The revised score of 280 positions Singapore Airlines equal in first place to Cathay Pacific.

The following report is based on a flight SQ25 from New York (JFK) to Frankfurt (FRA) which I took on December 7, 2005. Comments on this flight can be found by clicking here.

Again, I am applying the same approach that I described in my earlier post. (Click here to see the approach.)

Champagne: Krug Grande Cuvee $140
White Wine: Joseph Drouhin, Meursault, 2000 $30
Red Wine: Cos d'Estournel, 1998 $60
Dessert wine: Warre's Twenty Year Old Tawny. $50


Singapore Airlines, which is often regarded as the "gold standard" for a First Class airline product scores a very good 280 This is oustanding, and it places SQ in first place equaling Cathay Pacific's score.

I really appreciated being offered Dom Perignon and Krug on this flight and enjoyed tasting them side by side. I concluded that I much prefer the Krug.

Leoville Barton, 2003 -- Found!

Some readers may remember that I put a bet on Chateau Leoville Barton (2003) becoming the wine of the year in 2006.

The Leoville Barton was released at about $75 a bottle, and, predictably, prices have doubled. But the Iron Bridge wine company had a case this morning.

Eight bottles have gone (I wonder where!), but if you jump on it you could get the remaining four bottles of what promises to be a wonderful wine.

For directions to the Iron Bridge, click here. (You definitely want to phone first to see that it is still in stock.)

For my previous comments on this wine, click here.

And if you get to taste this wine, please leave a comment. I would love to hear what you think of it.

Airline Wine Report : United First Class scores 116

The top wines served on a flight UA925 from London (LHR) to Washington (IAD) in February 2006 in United's First Class cabin included:
  • Champagne Deutz Brut, 1998 $49
  • White Wine Chateau de Davenay, Montagny, 2003 $25
  • Red Wine Bouchard Pere & Fils, Monthelie, 2002 $25
  • Dessert Wine Sandema's Founders Reserve Port $17

Note that the prices are my best guess as to their U.S. retail value. (Corrections are welcome. They are used to derive a score to help travelers figure out how seriously airlines are taking wine in the premium cabins.

Interestingly, United had almost a tradition of serving Dom Perignon in First Class back in the "good old days." Also, it was interesting to see that there was no red Bordeaux on this wine list. Almost evert First Class product offers a red Bordeaux as one of the options.

Using the same analysis Cathay Pacific, scored 280, and Virgin Atlantic Upper Class scored 82.

My method is provided on the link below:

Scoring Airlines for their wines in First and Business Class

And my report on Virgin is here.

Friday, June 09, 2006

Le Provence, Vienna, VA

Le Provence
144 West Maple Avenue
Vienna, VA 22180
(703) 242-3777

Mon-Sat 11:30am-2pm (L), 5:30pm-9pm (D), Sun closed

For a Google map, click here.

This small French restaurant in Vienna is a very nice place to have dinner. There is a fixed price menu for about $22 with a choice of fish (tilapia), chicken, and pork. Starters included Caesar Salad or soup. The soup was quite tasty, and the pork was beautifully presented with a delicious sauce. It was also surrounded by nice, fresh vegetables. There was a range of choices for dessert, including passion fruit mousse, creme caramel, creme brulee. I had the passion fruit mousse, which was full of flavor and beautifully presented.

There was a good wine list although many of them seemed rather expensive. (I think Chateau Gloria was priced at $85.) We had a louis Latour Ardeche and a Cote du Rhone.

The total bill, including tip, for a party of six with two bottles of wine was about $265. Recommended if you are in the area.

Best Western, Fairfax, Virginia

Best Western
3535 Chain Bridge Road
Fairfax City

Phone: 703-591-5500
Fax: 703-591-7483

I used to avoid Best Western hotels, but after staying in a couple of nice ones, my mind opened on this chain. Now, my mind has closed again. The Best Western website provides the following description of this property:

Welcome to the suburbs of Washington D.C. and the heart of Fairfax, Virginia. We are a boutique property in a quiet, peaceful setting with the largest outdoor pool in our area, which shines like a fountain in winter.

Admittedly, the pool looks quite nice. And they do provide wireless Internet service, but everything else about this hotel is not particularly pleasant. The rooms are dismal, and they smell of mildew. These motel-style rooms overlook balconies so that, if you open the curtains, everyone can see into your room. If you don't the room is dark and dreary.

There was a restaurant on the premises, but that has now closed so that you can't even get breakfast here!

The public areas are badly in need of renovation. The staff are not particularly friendly. When I asked them to credit my Best Western Gold Crown Account for the night, they told me that they would because I was "not paying for my stay." Now that is a wonderful incentive for the business traveler to return! And return to this hotel is something I would never do.

This is an expensive area. When I compared its prices to other hotels in the area, this hotel seems to be fairly reasonably priced at around $140 a night.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Airline Wine Report : Virgin Atlantic Upper Class scores 82

Using the analysis I applied to Cathay Pacific First Class, I scored the wine list from Virgin's Upper Class 021 in February 2006. (This is the London to Washington flight.) I gave the wine list a score of 82.

As I said in my earlier post, this is really not an exact science, but it is pretty clear that Virgin spends much much less on its wine than Cathay Pacific, which score 280.

Click here to go the article that describes my criteria for scoring wines on airlines.

Of course, this does compare a Business Class product to a First Class one.

Also, I could not get a US price on Berry's White Burgundy so I used the price at Berry's shop in London.

Finally, remember that this scoring scheme is like Oscar Wilde's auctioneer, who knows "the price of everything and the value of nothing." Berry's does an extraordinarily good job of selecting wines, and I am sure that you could have a very enjoyable wine experience on this flight.

Here are the wines, and my best guess at what the retail price would be in the United States.

  • Champagne: Laurent Perrier Brut nv $30
  • Red Wine: Chateau Lucas, Lussac-St. Emilion, 2002 $19
  • White Wine: Berry's Own Selection White Burgundy, 2003 $13
  • Dessert: Graham's Port $20
  • Total Score: 82

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Airline Wine Report: Cathay Pacific First Class scores 280!

This is the first airline that I have tried to analyze based on the criteria described here. And I have a funny feeling that no airline is going to beat this amazing score!

  • Krug Grand Cuvee ($140)
  • Puligny Montrachet Les Grandes Marches, 2002 ($25)
  • Chateau Lynch Bages ($85)
  • Ramos Pinto Quinta de Ervamoira 10 Year Old Tawny Port ($30)
(Wouldn't you have loved to be a passenger on that flight!)

Total Score for Cathay Pacific in First Class would be 280!

Bear in mind that very few airlines, if any, are going to get a score as high as Cathay Pacific, which offers about the best First Class service of any airline in the world. (Also, I took a wild guess at the value of the Puligny Montrachet.)

Monday, June 05, 2006

Scoring Airlines for their wines in First and Business Class

I have been reading wine and travel magazines for longer than I care to remember, and I have never seen anyone do a thorough job of analyzing the quality of wines that are served by airlines in Business and First Class.

In the next few months, I am going to put up a few airline wine lists and I propose a score that is based solely on price. Generally speaking, an airline will serve four classes of wine: Champagne, white table wine, red table wine, and a dessert wine.

What I propose to do is to take the most expensive wine in each category, get the best estimate of its retail value in the United States, add the four numbers together, and that will be the score. (If an airline does not serve Champagne or a dessert wine, it will receive zero for that category.)

Is this perfect? Not at all. For example, Virgin Atlantic is doing clever stuff these days. They have engaged the services of Berry Brothers and Rudd to select its wines, and many of the wines they serve are interesting wines from southern France. They are often wonderful wines, but the retail price is low so that will be reflected in the score I give.

Another flaw is that the plan is regrettably US-centric, but it is a world that I know. Also, the United States probably still offers a wider selection of wines than anywhere else in the world so it will be relatively easy to find the price although some wines will be hard to find at the retail level. (In Europe, it is hard to find good American wines, and countries that produce good wine tend to dominate their domestic markets.)

But at least it will allow readers to gain a general sense of how much an airline is putting into its wine selections. An airline that spends $250 on its top four wines is likely to be taking wine matters more seriously that an airline spending only $50.

Comments are invited as I would welcome the thoughts of anyone who can think of a better way of doing this.

I would love to hear comments on this approach.

As a matter of interest, when Bordeaux was classified in 1855, the only criterion used to rank the wines was price.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Sushi Sono, Columbia, Maryland

Sushi Sono
10215 Wincopin Circle
Columbia, MD 21044-3408
(410) 997-6131

For a Google map, click here.

Sushi Sono has one of the highest Zagat ratings for food in the Baltimore area. It also is in a nice setting down by the lake in Columbia, Maryland.

We went there for lunch. The menu is a relatively predictable lunch menu for a Japanese restaurant in North America. We started with very good miso soup with the tofu cut into tiny pieces. Then we all had bento boxes for the main course. I had California rolls, tempura shrimps and vegetables, and rice. The food was freshly cooked, and the service was friendly. My guests had similae boxes with triyaki chicken. All the lunch dishes were between $9.00 and $12.00.

This is a nice place for lunch, but there was nothing extraordinary about it. Perhaps I should return in the evening to give them the opportunity to really show off their cooking. Also, I am sure that tasting this restaurant's sushi would also provide that opportunity. In that respect, this is a somewhat incomplete report.

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Chateau de Fesles, Bonnezeaux, 1997

Two Botrytis-affected Loire wines in as many weeks! Life does not get much better than that. Chateau de Fesles makes a marvelous sweet wine, which we had it with an assortment of fruit pies.

Made entirely of Chenin Blanc, this wine is highly concentrated, but the balance of relatively high acidity keeps it fresh and lively. I last had this wine a couple of years ago, and it has become noticeably darker during this time. Just in case you wondering about its condition, it was stored in a wine refrigerator at a constant 55 degrees (12.77 degrees Celsius). There is some taste of apple, honey, and a wild flower perfume to this wine, and it was very far from fading. They say that you can easily keep this wine for 20 years and it just grows in complexity.

It is absolutely delightful, but, sadly, this was my last bottle of this precious liquid. Although this wine is hard to find and pretty expensive ($35 or so for a half bottle), I can think of no dessert wine that I have enjoyed more than this one. Outstanding!

I wish I had been able to taste it next to the to this wine:
Domaine de Baumard, Quarts de Chaumes, 2001.

Friday, June 02, 2006

Ridge Lytton Springs, 2000

Ridge Lytton Springs wine is very much an old favorite of mine, and it is a little different every year. The 2000 was made with 80% Zinfandel and 20% Petite Syrah. It has smoothed out with time, and is an exceptionally well balanced wine rather than a stereotypical "in your face" over-alcoholic California Zinfandel. It has notes of blackberries and dark cherries with relatively gentle tannins. The oak was present, but it was certainly not overdone.

It seemed like this (summer of 2006) was the perfect time to drink this wine. Priced at slightly over $30, I like to buy some of this wine every year. It always satisfies!

Non-stop flights from Washington (Dulles) to London

This was revised on September 3, 2006. Note that starting on October 1, the MAXJet flight will leave at 20:15 (8:15 in the evening.) Click here for details.

The traveler looking for a non-stop flight from Washington Dulles (IAD) has a variety of options. Here they are with a few comments:

Flight: BA 224 (British Airways)
Departure: 08:05
Arrival: 20:15
Flight Time: 7 hours 10 minutes
Aircraft: Boeing 777

British Airways offers four classes: First, Club World, World Traveller Plus, and World Traveller, which mean First, Business, Economy Plus, and Economy respectively. The First Class product is outstanding. Business Class offers a completely flat bed. World Traveller Plus gives you a significantly better seat than World Traveller, but there is no difference in the food and wine service.

It is rather nice to be able to leave the United States and arrive in the United Kingdom last thing at night, and frequently there seems to be great availability of this flight. Free drinks in all classes.

The serious shortcoming of British Airways is that, if you fly on a discounted ticket, they reward you with only 25% of actual miles, which means that you need to fly 50 times before you get a free ticket!

British Airways uses Boeing 777 on this flight, which is a good modern plane.

Flight: UA 922 (United Airlines)
Departure: 09:28
Arrival: 21:45
Flight Time: 7 hours 22 minutes
Aircraft: Boeing 767

The other morning flight. United has really become a little bit spartan during these troubled times, and they no longer server caviar and Dom Perignon in first class. Business class is OK although, unlike much of the competition, it does not offer flat beds. And you have to pay for drinks in Economy. Economy Plus gives you more leg room, but the seat and the food are the same. You usually do not have pay for Economy Plus as this is one of United's ways of rewarding its elite members of the frequent flyer plan, but they seem to be experimenting with charging passengers to sit in this area.

You earn miles in United's Mileage Plus program, and you can spend these miles on any Star Alliance flight. If you are Premier Executive you can earn a free transatlantic ticket with just 11 flights. (That is why I fly United rather than BA.)

The 767s are becoming a little old, and I see that as a disadvantage of this flight.

Sometimes I have found it easiest to get the deepest discounts on this flight.

Flight: UA 918 (United Airlines)
Departure: 18:03
Arrival: 06:20
Flight Time: 7 hours 22 minutes
Aircraft: Boeing 777

My previous comments on United apply here, but note that UA 918 is on a 777, which is much nicer than a 767. Economy seats on United's 777 at 2-5-2. Unless you get stuck in the middle of the center aisle, which has never happened to me, this turns out to be a pretty nice arrangement. For me, I dislike the timing of this flight because you cannot get a full day's work done and then travel, In other words, it combines the disadvantage of an overnight flight without the benefit of being able to do a day's work.

Flight: UA 920 (United Airlines)
Departure: 18:28
Arrival: 06:55
Flight Time: 7 hours 32 minutes
Aircraft: Boeing 767

Too early in the day, and a Boeing 767. Avoid this flight.

Flight: BA 216 (British Airways)
Departure: 18:35
Arrival: 06:55
Flight Time: 7 hours 20 minutes
Aircraft: Boeing 747

Although I have not taken this flight for some time, I am beginning to find 747s a little bit too old for my liking. And I don't like the time of this flight. Avoid.

First and Business Class passengers have the advantage of being able to use BA's wonderful arrivals lounge at Heathrow, and they can eat in the lounges at Dulles Airport before they leave.

Flight: VS 022 (Virgin Atlantic)
Departure: 18:40
Arrival: 07:05
Flight Time: 7 hours 25 minutes
Aircraft: Airbus 340

Virgin does everything a little bit differently. The Upper Class is quite an experience, but passengers need to remember that it is a Business Class product -- not First Class, although it beds are certainly comparable to first class beds, the food and wine are not. Two wonderdul features in Virgin's Upper Class are the on-board massages and the bar.

The departure lounges and arrivals lounges are outstanding

Passengers who accumulate miles on Continental and Singapore Airlines will be happy to know that this flight runs as CO 8242 and SQ 2522. (However, although you can fly on Singapore Airlines using United miles, they will not let you book flight SQ 2522 using Mileage Plus miles. A pity!)

Flight MY 200 (MAXjet Airways)
Departure: 19:30
Arrival: 08:30
Flight Time: 8 hours

This seems like a very interesting way to get to London, but I have never been on this flight. You pretty much get Business Class quality at highly discounted rates. The lowest available fare at the moment seems to be $2,503 including all taxes. Note that this flight arrives at Stansted Airport (STN) and not Heathrow (LHR). This is a disadvantage for travellers wishing to go to the West End or west London, but it could actually be good for people wishing to make connections on discount airlines like EasyJet to the rest of Europe. People on this flight get to use the Northwest Lounge in Terminal B. Reports say that there are some beverages, but little food.

I have never traveled on this flight, reviews of this flight can be found here.

Flight: UA 924 (United Airlines)
Departure: 21:53
Arrival: 10:00
Flight Time: 7 hours17 minutes
Aircraft: Boeing 777

Nice aircraft. Good frequent flyer plan. And you can do a day's work and then fly. This is the flight I usually try to take.

Flight: BA 292 (British Airways)
Departure: 21:55
Arrival: 10:10
Flight Time: 7 hours15 minutes
Aircraft: Boeing 777

The timing of this flight suits me, and I like British Airways. The only bothersome thing is their frequent flyer plan if you are flying on a discounted seat in economy. I have been on this flight all of BA's four classes. First was the best!

They also gave me a bottle of the delicious Louise Champagne from Pommery as a gift at the end of the flight!