United Airlines: Rome to Washington Dulles, BusinessFirst

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United Airlines operates from Terminal 5 at Rome Airport. In order to reach this remote terminal you have to take a shuttle bus from Terminal 3. Luckily, the Hilton offers a shuttle for their passengers. Terminal 5 is located some distance from the other terminal at FCO, and provides a secure check-in. There were a large number of police around, outside the building, as well at the security checkpoints. American Airlines, Delta, USAirways, and ElAl operate from this terminal, as does United.

After a quick check-in I was went on my way to the security lines, which were pretty slow primarily as passengers did not seem to understand the requirements. After Security you board shuttle buses which transport you back to the main terminals.

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Terminal 3 is quite modern and after exiting the bus and going up an escalator you enter the shopping area.

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United use an Alitalia Lounge for their premium passengers, Star Alliance Gold and United Club members. There are lifts to the lounge which is on the ground floor of the terminal. Exiting the lifts you are faced with a choice of two lounges.

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The lounge is quite retro, and I only managed a couple of snaps before I was told to stop taking pictures!

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There was a small selection of food, self-service soft drinks and a barista serving alcohol and freshly made coffee.

The WiFi was fairly fast and there were sockets between the seats. I enjoyed my stay, although there is no natural light. I left a few minutes early to join the line for check-in. The flight was already operating late (due to late inbound aircraft), but further delays occurred due to a technical problem with the B767-300. 4 Air Marshals boarded before we did and ‘random’ bag checks were done before boarding, at the top of the jetbridge. The aircraft is a former United 767-300 refitted to Continental specs. This plane, it is worth noting has wider seats in BusinessFirst than the three-class 767-300 which have not been changed.

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We left very late, and the information was pretty patchy due at least to the very poor PA system. After boarding the Captain told us about a further delay.

The seats in Business First are 2-1-2 and I had seat 1D, at the front. They are lie-flat seats so there is not much of a problem from adjacent passengers moving around. The toilets are at the front, adjacent to Row 1 which could be a problem if you had the two window seats.

All of the food is served from the galley, rather than from carts in the aisle which makes it harder for the crew, but felt more like First Class than the usual UA service.

A starter and salad were offered:


A selection of rolls were also offered.

There were four choices of entree, including, Beef, Chicken, Salmon/Shrimp and Four-Cheese Ravioli. I chose the beef.

It was pretty tasty. United produced a cheese plate and Ice-cream sundae:

 

After watching a couple of movies, I napped and woke up as they were serving the second meal. Chicken Flat Bread Wrap which was fairly tasty.

We arrived so late in to IAD, that all the circa. 3pm arrivals had cleared immigration and customs. Global Entry got me through in two minutes and I was first at the TSA line. Unfortunately there is no TSAPre at the midfield terminal, so I had to rummage through the luggage to find the things the TSA wanted removed. Checking the United App on my iPhone, I found that I had been rebooked on the 10pm departure to San Francisco (arrival 1am) and then an early morning connection to Seattle the next day. As it happened my inbound aircraft had been chosen as the plane for my connection to Houston, meaning that I did not need to run to the length of the airport. In addition, cleaning the plane meant that it operated about 40 minutes late.

Not  bad flight, although stressful because of the cascade of delays.