Lufthansa747 From Philippines, joined May 1999, 3201 posts, RR: 32 Posted (15 years 3 months 4 weeks 2 hours ago) and read 2500 times:
After about two days in the fantastic city of Sydney, it was time to take United's direct flight to San Francisco, namely flight UA862. I went to the check-in as soon as it opened about 2.5 hours before departure. I got seat 61B, the last window seat on UA's 747-400s. After that I cleared the security and made my way to the gates and found out that the gate had changed due to Ansett 747's late departure to KIX. So I went to gate 59 and witnessed an Air New Zealand special scheme 737-300 to depart for CHC. Also saw the two United giants quite a distance away from the terminal. Onle one of them was serviced so I knew that it would operate 862 and the other would fly to LAX later.
Soon a MAS 747 taxied to gate 58 and N116UA was towed to 59. It looked just great as it's one of the newest UA 747-400s. The boarding started well in advance and we were ready for pushback at 11.01, one minute late. I was more than pleased to find out that noboby came to sit next to me as UA's legroom on the 747 definitely isn't the greatest. I listened to channel 14 as we taxied to runway and took off from 16R. That was great but unfortunately they switched channel 14 to the regular programming (Top Pops) very soon. We were informed than ouf flying time would be 13 hours and one minute initially at a cruising altitude of 28000 ft and eventually at 39000 ft as the plane gets lighter.
Soon the meal was served and the flight attendant serving it to me was definitely the friendliest and nicest that I had ever had. Lunch consisted of macaroni salad, chicken and macaroni, a roll and biscuits and was actually very good. Anyway the size of it was probably half of Thai's or SIA's. Right after the service it began: very heavy turbulence that lasted about forty five minuted. I had no problem with it but some other passengers certainly didn't feel too good. Some two hours later the crew prepared the inflight duty free carts but put them away as the turbulence started again. This time it was even worse and the crew asked everybody to sit down to the nearest seat and they also took their seats. This lasted about half an hour.
After that turbulence the crew gave us the midnight snack boxes (SFO time midnight) and the second movie was put on. The box consisted of a sandwich, muffin, apple and orange juice, actually pretty good. After that I slept for a while and as I woke up it was soon time to serve the breakfast, a choice of cold or hot breakfast, I chose the omelette. Also from the cockpit was put on again as we started our descent to San Francisco International but they collected the headsets! It was very foggy in SFO area and didn't see anything till we were about to touch down on the runway.
Another UA plane, a 777 from TPE touched down right behind us. I collected by bag from the belt and went to the lineup for the immigration and customs. That didn't go quite as smoothly as in SIN, AKL or SYD. First I waited about an hour and then one of those really rude officers started to question me and again treated me like a criminal. That happens every time as I go to the states and also to all my friends. I understand that they ask you about lots of things but they could at least treat you like a human being.
After all that I enjoyed SFO for a day and took United Shuttle to Seattle and United Express to Vancouver. 2114 to SEA was operated wit one of those white "Shuttle by United" planes, namely N385UA. Beverage service only and from the cockpit wasn't on. At seattle I saw American's 777 to take off probably to NRT and also UA 777 to BKK via NRT. My express flight was operated by Skywest on an Embraer EMB-120, N162CA. The only F/A on that plane was funny, joking about a delicious afternoon buffet! Yeah right, almonds, biscuits and coke. Again this flight was very turbulent but we got to YVR on time.