Kaitakfan From United States of America, joined Oct 1999, 1586 posts, RR: 7 Posted (11 years 7 months 1 week 2 days 1 hour ago) and read 8066 times:
This past weekend on November 8th my friend and I both standby passengers with United just decided to head back down to Sydney Australia for the weekend, to have a blast with a few of the girls we know, meet some more, and just make the best of the weekend.
We made plans to go on monday of that week. By thursday I was all set and ready to leave later that night after I finished my college classes for the day. The flight out to PHX, UA 1695 departing at 4:20pm to San Francisco was just the start to the trip. The 737 was still in the old white Shuttle by United, paint. I had seat 11A and my friend was in 11C. Right across from us a very attractive girl our age sat. So we begane making coversation. By 10 minutes into the flight she was sitting in the middle seat between us and talking. This would make the short 1 hour and 38 minute flight to SFO go by very fast! The service was just as you would expect from a money hungry United, drinks and snacks which was just fine. The evening arrival into San Francisco was beautiful... the sky was orange and purple with a few cirrus clouds to make the arrival on 28L very dramatic.
Following a 5 hour wait in SFO's international terminal we headed to our gate G94 where United flight 863 to Sydney Australia would depart at 11:15PM. We were called for our seats by 10:30PM and were very happy to see we had the row right by the R2 door in Biz class.
After boarding was finished we pushed back from the gate at 11:17PM and were on our way. The pilot was very kind and had channel 9 in operation to listen to ATC.
Half way down the taxiway to runway 28R we were given the following instructions "United 863 Heavy if we could get you to speed up just a bit, we would like to get you out to allow an inbound delta 737 to arrive" we responde back "Ok United 863 Heavy we will get moving for you". with that we began to speed up quickly. I have never gone so fast on a taxiway as we were going. about 25 seconds before we even turned to the hold short point for runway 28 left SFO tower called us again. "United 863 heavy winds 230 degrees 5 knts runway two eight left cleared for immediate take off". With that our pilot responded "Tower United 863 Heavy isnt even up to the hold short point, When we arrive there on my descretion we will commence our take off, if not I would like to hold" "United 863 Heavy roger, the 737 is currently on 5 mile final 28 Left" So with that the take off lights of our 747-400 flashed on and we quickly made the left turn onto 28 left. before we even passed the hold short line our pilot called the tower "Tower United 863 heavy just coming onto 28 left were going to go ahead and roll". Before we were even lined up the high pitched scream of the four pratts fired up and max thrust was delivered very quickly and we begane our take off roll. Just at that point, tower came back "United 863 Heavy thank you very much for your help, Delta XXXX caution wake turbulence, heavy Boeing 747-400 is just winding up now on your runway if you can please switch to runway 28R" After 54 seconds of racing down the runway the ever so fimilar upward flexing of the wing took place and we jumped off 28 left with authority!!! "United 863 Heavy contact Bay departure have a good flight" "Bay United 863 Heavy so long". And that was the end of the dramatic take off, and the start to the 14 hours and 18 minute flight to Sydney Australia.
The meal service on the flight was very very good! starters was salmon and salad. the main course i choose was a crab chowder which was very impressive in my mind! Dessert was a great cheese cake. After meal service I didnt bother to watch any movies. I would need the sleep since we would only be in Sydney for Saturday, Sunday and leave Monday. So I switched on the air show map on the PTV, got a bottle of water and went straight to sleep. The seats in United biz always seem the best to me and I get so much sleep in them. I managed to get about 5 hours of sleep before passing the equator. There we were got slammed with thunderstorms. Following the mid flight entertainment mother nature provided, I was back to sleep. 5 hours later I woke just passed fiji and the sun had started to rise.
about an hour and a half outside of Sydney, breakfast was served. A stuffed potatoe with scrambled eggs and sausage was also very good as well! After pounding down breakfast, I got my cammera out of my bag and prepared to get some approach shots coming into Sydney.
about 35 minutes out of Sydney Brisbane control gave us clearance to leave flt level 390 and begin our decent into SYD. the weather was just beautiful for our early morning arrival to SYD. We were then cleared to enter a left circuit approach for runway 34L. This allowed me to get excelent shots of Sydney Airport, Botany bay, as well as the mighty 747-400 wing all in one! after serveral left turns we were established on approach to runway 34L with a Qantas 737 right on our side for its approach to runway 34R. the first touch down was not to usuall. that brought out a laugh from me and being a smart ass I asked my friend and the F/a's sitting infront of us "did we land or were we shot down" . Second touch down was just how the first should have been.
We exited the runway and taxied to gate 55 for were we deplaned at 8:12AM Saturday. All in all flight 863 was one of the best international flights I have had.
Following customs we meet up with the flight crew and got approval from the captain to ride in on the crew bus to the hotel we all were staying at. The ride into town was great getting to sit with the 747 captain and talk about all of his flying career and about my flying as well. Captain Brian Wendt of United Airlines is by far a class act!!
Following our days in Sydney of drinking, and dancing with flight attendants from Air Canada and China Airlines as well as meeting up with Airliners.net's amazing photographers Craig Murray, Sam Chui and Craig's girlfriend Anna, we were all set to head back to SFO and PHX monday nov 12th on UA 862. The departure out of SYD was pretty interesting. Some bad weather had started to roll in just as we left the beer garden to board the flight to SFO. We had seats 26A and B for the 12 hour and 50 minute ride home. After a 50 second long take off roll we had to execute several turns to avoid the bad weather just above us. After the excitment, I was rather down in the dumps after leaving my favourite city on earth. So I drew the window shades shut and went straight to sleep after our excelent meal of Fish fillet and potatoes!
Arrival into SFO was just awesome!!! weather was very nasty and visibility was extremely low. After flying through the thick clouds for 15 minutes we finally saw the water 10 seconds before touch down on 28L. touch down was very smooth on the wet runways and we arrived our gate G101 15 minutes early.
After clearing customs 5 minutes after arrival we were told the news about the AA crash in New York. It seemed almost to unreal that it happend while I was enjoying the remainder of my flight! So that was a bad way to end the trip!
The flight to PHX UA 1499 was delayed 35 minutes due to the bad weather in SFO. After we finally pushed back from the gate we taxied out to runway 10 L for departure. the flight to PHX went by very fast since I slept the whole way.
Well I hope I didnt drive any of you insaine with the length of this trip report. But i do hope you all enjoyed my report of what it was like to fly down to SYD for just the weekend and back.
Kaitakfan From United States of America, joined Oct 1999, 1586 posts, RR: 7 Reply 2, posted (11 years 7 months 1 week 2 days ago) and read 7775 times:
Well I was smart this time around to have the monday off from school due to veterans day. This allowed me to sleep alot on monday. I have felt a bit absent minded since then, But not to bad at all. On oct 11th last month I did the same trip. I came back on monday and went straight to school from the airport. That was pretty foolish! However it was still very much worth it!! Im glad you enjoyed the report!
Kaitakfan From United States of America, joined Oct 1999, 1586 posts, RR: 7 Reply 4, posted (11 years 7 months 1 week 1 day 23 hours ago) and read 7755 times:
UAL brat,Yes non-rev all the way. My mom has been with United for a good few years now. So has my friends mom. out of 12 standby passengers listed I was the 3rd to be called for seats and my friend was 4th. Not a bad way to travel eh?
UALbrat From United States of America, joined May 2006, 2 posts, RR: 0 Reply 5, posted (11 years 7 months 1 week 1 day 23 hours ago) and read 7738 times:
Not a bad way to travel eh?
The ooooonly way to fly! Non-revved all the time until I got too old, then was able to resume a couple of years ago since my folks (both now retirees) got stacks of companion passes and had good seniority. Now, as I understand it, the companion passes are invalid, which is too bad since I was hoping to go to London for the weekend just after Thanksgiving...
Tbone202 From United States of America, joined Apr 2001, 169 posts, RR: 0 Reply 6, posted (11 years 7 months 1 week 1 day 22 hours ago) and read 7719 times:
Anytime you want to throw some free United Business or even economy tickets to SYD from ROC, feel free! Just a question, how many times have you done the SYD route? I would love to go to Australia sometime, how is Sydney?
KaiTakFan From United States of America, joined Oct 1999, 1586 posts, RR: 7 Reply 7, posted (11 years 7 months 1 week 1 day 20 hours ago) and read 7722 times:
Hey Travis! wish I could help you out. Since sept 11th UAL has no more companion ticket offers. What a shame! Well this is my 5th time back to Sydney. I have flown SFO-SYD 3 times and LAX-SYD 2 times. I will be going back to Sydey Dec 12th I believe on UA 815 this time around. That just shows how much I love Sydney. It really is the best city for a normal 19 year old guy to could go!! I never leave there feeling I didnt have a blast! I feel a bit depressed when I leave, but thats probably how everyone is! I hope you get down to SYD sometime! it is by far worth the expense!
Tbone202 From United States of America, joined Apr 2001, 169 posts, RR: 0 Reply 8, posted (11 years 7 months 1 week 1 day 20 hours ago) and read 7697 times:
I plan on going there during college. What airline do you recommend in economy class to SYD? Air NZ, Qantas, or United?
How do you get to fly in business class, or do you have a business class ticket?
Mcmahonsmr From United States of America, joined Dec 2000, 318 posts, RR: 0 Reply 13, posted (11 years 7 months 1 week 1 day 2 hours ago) and read 7619 times:
As I was reading your report I was trying to figure out how the heck you got into the J cabin as a student. I'm a student too and since I don't have people that work for an airline in my family J upgrades are not easy things for me to get. Lets just say that I have managed to get more upgrades than I am entitled too but I can't reveal my secret until the airline goes bust!!! It's not a US Airline either. US Airlines get their mileage programs straight! It was a great report....unfortunately you don't find any hot girls in business.....something I miss when I'm up there but that big seat makes up for it.
KaiTakFan From United States of America, joined Oct 1999, 1586 posts, RR: 7 Reply 14, posted (11 years 7 months 1 week 1 day 2 hours ago) and read 7626 times:
Getting into Biz class is simple. Having my mom with alot of years at United, senority is good, so I just search for the best days to go and I usually luck out. The last few trips I have made to SYD, and HKG, at check in, the agent has said how light the flight is today. Thats the best thing to hear as a standby! I have crossed the pacific 20 times now and have only flown coach once! I have really been lucky with my standby travels!
Salvation From United States of America, joined Jun 2001, 174 posts, RR: 0 Reply 15, posted (11 years 7 months 1 week 1 day ago) and read 7609 times:
Does United allow non-revs to sit in their first class suite cabin? I've noticed that when United non-revs write their reports, no non rev talks about getting a first class suite seat. I'm a dependent of a Delta employee and because they've canceled their international first class to become BusinessElite, the only choice we have internationally, is well...BusinessElite. If you've ever flown in United's suite, what's it like?
OH-LGA From Denmark, joined Oct 1999, 1430 posts, RR: 21 Reply 16, posted (11 years 7 months 1 week 18 hours ago) and read 7585 times:
If you read my profile, you'll find out I'm a Customer Service Agent (Gate Agent specifically) for SkyWest Airlines/United Express. I've been working there for... almost 10 weeks now. I just filled out an application, and sent it in. The day after I put it in the mailbox (at 5:30pm at that), they called me and set up an appointment for an interview. After that, some testing (drug and otherwise), and then they called me back and said I was hired!
I love my job... I enjoy it so much, interacting with so many different people, and I've made so many friends at work, 10 weeks later I'm still on Cloud 9
Yes, United does let non-revenue passengers sit in International First Class. Although, International First Class is the only class that you actually incur charges for (done through payroll deduction). There's a base segment charge, and then a charge for every mile travelled. This is for international routes only, if you happen to get an International First Class aircraft while travelling domestically, you don't pay a red cent There are also other requirements, which is the reason that most non-rev reports don't report on International First Class. For example:
- No non-rev (ie dependent) under the age of 18 is admitted to International First Class.
- Employee's parents (unless travelling with the employee) are not admitted either.
- It costs (non-revs don't really like to pay )
That cuts down a lot of people who write United non-rev reports that can possibly write a report about International First Class. We'll hope for the best that I'll be able to get it when I go to London at the end of December, but I've got odds against me (BP8C priority and current-day seniority, United isn't very nice to their UAX employees... but that's OK we turn right around and screw them the same way), if not... Business is OK too
Head in the clouds... yet feet planted firmly on the ground.
Leftseat86 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR: Reply 18, posted (11 years 7 months 6 days 6 hours ago) and read 7528 times:
Cool...but are there like college programs where you can intern at Skywest, or did you just apply?
I'd really like to do that in a few years, but I'll probably be living in LA, I know they have a pretty big operation there too. I have a friend working for UA as a dispatcher there too. What are the requierments for your job?
CcrlR From United States of America, joined Aug 2001, 2204 posts, RR: 1 Reply 21, posted (11 years 7 months 4 days ago) and read 7450 times:
That was a great article! I really liked when you met Craig, his girlfriend, and Sam. I wish I took a great trip like that and meet some spotters. I am going to meet one spotter mabye when I get a chance.
"He was right, it is a screaming metal deathtrap!"-Cosmo (from the Fairly Oddparents)
KaiTakFan From United States of America, joined Oct 1999, 1586 posts, RR: 7 Reply 22, posted (11 years 7 months 3 days 23 hours ago) and read 7462 times:
LGA that would have been pretty cool to know another A.net member heard my flight take off... Im sure you can easily tell by now when a 747 is going out. I guess we were one of the first heavies out that night. I know Singapoer, Eva Air and Cathay Pacific left a bit later then us. Do you get a view at all of the departing aircrafts from where you work? Well I am very glad to see you all enjoyed the trip report! I got a few more trips coming up in december. LHR, HKG, and back to SYD for new years eve... OH-LGA thanks for the non rev idea for new years! I hope you get to LHR like you intend! with luck on my side I can have more eventfull trips to write about again!