A bit surprised to find hot food for breakfast at the United Club, although to call it "hot" is probably being a bit generous. The view from the outdoor patio is still lovely if you can visit while the gates are full of airplanes and the weather is nice, and surprisingly it was deserted, aka COVID-19 safety FTW!
Next stop was Washington DC's Dulles International Airport, where the IAD-AMM (Amman, Jordan) inaugural flight on United was about to depart. UA 525 was originally scheduled to be on a smaller 787 Dreamliner, the 787-8 configuration, but got swapped out that afternoon to the biggest 787-10 due to a mechanical issue with the originally assigned 787-8. That meant 16 more upgrades going through including mine, woohoo!
United went even bigger than usual for their inaugural service to Jordan. Lots of banners giving reasons to travel there, a better fod spread than I remembered on some of the previous inaugurals, and they even had one of the nearby gates closed so there was extra space for all of the passengers and dignataries in attendance. Highlights included Jordan's ambassador to the United States, Her Excellency Dina Kawar, a US deputy assistant secretary of state, United's managing director at IAD (Eddie Gordon), one other senior United person, and last but not least, Senior Vice President, International Network and Alliances, Patrick Quayle.
Boarding was a bit chaotic, as though you needed a reminder that United remains a work in progress for customer service. Found out last last minute that some high value passenger kicked me out of my window seat too, was obvious from how the international purser (Shauna) talked to him that whoever he was was a way bigger spender than I will ever be! But again can't complain because even a middle seat in business class sure beats riding in the back.
Lots of inaugural flight swag to go around, especially in business class. Special pajamas (all passengers got these), postcards/pins/folios, actual printed menus in Polaris, t-shirts for Polaris passengers, and a special note from Mr. Quayle himself. Plus in what was obviously a move to bring good PR, he helped the international purser serve drinks at dinner. All little things that add up to why inaugural flights are fun for airplane geeks.
Final surprises were that dinner was actually quite edible, even if it was a single course service, and they had cheese plates available for mid-flight snack. I know, such little things to get excited about.