Helen van Berkel flies on United Flight 2044, Newark, New York to Houston, Texas.

The airport experience:

No Wi-Fi and the toilets were distressingly far and few between. iPads and charging points were provided.

The plane: B777-200


On time: "We are having technical difficulties — fingers crossed." Not great words to hear from the pilot. Please have a plan that involves more than crossing fingers. Turns out they did: the "stuck chair" was fixed and we were nearly an hour late leaving.

Taking off: Boarding was chaos. Seats had been double-booked, someone refused to move, someone else was angry about the baby, the attendants lost patience. And we hadn't even left yet.

Fellow passengers: More than the usual complement of idiots. When the attendants say "sit down", sit the f*** down — how Idiot Two Rows Back even managed to stand as that thrust of power headed to the engines is a mystery. Behind me sat a pair of kvetching foul-mothed New Yorkers who spent most of the flight demanding "noxious humans" to control their bodily functions (presumably directed at the baby) and the rest quarrelling nasally among themselves.

Food: A small bag of mini pretzels and juice served without a smile.

Entertainment: A good selection of more than 300 movies. Cameron Diaz playing the usual somewhat ditzy unlucky-in-love character Cameron Diaz plays kept me mildly entertained. Until the system crashed. Twice. And we hadn't even left yet. Then the flight information graphic inexplicably turned to Spanish.

The toilets: Probably the high point of the plane: nicely scented, clean and well-stocked.

Would I fly this again? If I could sit in the toilet, maybe.