I would like to start off with a bit of background leading up to this trip. One of my friends who you may know as DeltaSFO on the forums has moved to PDX to smash bags. As a result, it makes seeing him next to impossible, but I thought that it would be fun to go up to Portland to hang out with him for an afternoon. Some of you may or may not know that my dad works for United. With 13 years of seniority, getting on flights is getting easier for me. I was given the ok by my parents to take this little trip for an afternoon.
The night before, I checked loads on SkyNet which gave me an idea of how my flights are looking. I was to take UA388 and UA487. Both of these flights were scheduled to be operated by the Shuttle 737-500 with 8 seats in first, and 108 economy seats. These planes do not feature economy plus. Oh-well. The first flight was booked to be fairly full with only a few open seats, the second one was much much lighter.
The morning of the 2nd, I rose up from my night of no sleep. I checked the loads and noticed that UA388 had an equipment swap to a mainline –300. Whoopie! Economy Plus and a few more seats. I guess I’m not going to be left behind.
San Francisco International Airport
March 2nd, 2002
There was no line at the main security checkpoint. I showed the agent my travel passes and was instructed to use the far X-ray machine. I walked over there, and the screener from Argen-not-so-bright didn’t even notice me for a few minutes. She was chatting it up with some of her buddies. At least I didn’t get a fun little beep, and the dreaded second unit checks. I grabbed my bag and jacket and proceeded down through the terminal.
A bunch of my friends at SFO happen to work for SkyWest. As is customary with me now, I go down to the commuter terminal to say hello. Jenny, who was working at gate 87A agreed to let me down to see Anne-Marie. Thank you Jenny. I met up with Anne-Marie while she was eating her lunch. Erika was there too. We ended up chatting for a while, before I needed to go.
On my way out, I asked if Erika could check me in, and that she did. I got the usual security questions, and she told me to have a nice flight. Then I began my trek from the commuter terminal to gate 79.
As I got back to the main terminal, I noticed that the amount of people here had doubled in the forty minutes that I was absent. There was wall to wall people. Actually, it was quite nice to see so many people flying again.
As I approached my gate, I checked the window to verify that it was a mainline 737. Ship 9928 or N238UA was sitting at gate 79 ready to stretch her legs on the short PDX flight. Shortly after I got there, the plane was ready to board, people began lining up for the additional security screening, and boarding. I was called up to the podium and was granted seat 5B, a middle in economy plus.
United Airlines, flight 388
San Francisco-Portland Oregon
Departs at 10:55
Arrives at 12:33 (scheduled)
I got aboard the plane, which was clean and comfortable. Two flight attendants greeted me at the door. Both of them were wearing the new uniform. Rick, who was to be our purser had a dark navy blue blazer, with a light powder blue shirt, and a Regis Philben tie. I didn’t catch the lady’s name, but she was wearing the textured dress outfit. So far, they were looking pretty nice.
I took my seat in 5B, and placed my day bag under the seat in front of me. The passenger at the window, had his shade closed and was reading. I pulled out my book, and read a bit of it. One of the other flight attendants came around closing the overhead bins. He just had the shirt, tie and slacks on, not the vest and blazer.
On the sleeves of the male uniform, there is the united logo embroidered into it.
The bins were closed, and the door was shut. A woman of Asian decent with a very thick accent occupied the seat next to me. We began rolling at 10:54, one minute early. Rick, the purser began his announcements but as the plane’s engines started, he interrupted him self and had the f/as arm the doors. According to FAA regulations, before the plane moves from the gate, all doors must be armed, and passengers need to be willing to sit in an exit row. For those of you who do not know what arming the door means, it is to prepare the slides so that when the door is opened, the slides will blow.
We began our taxi out to runway 1R. At 11:05, we were up in the air. At the same time, leaving off of runway 1L, was a SkyWest CRJ probably heading to Santa Barbara. I was watching it climb out higher than us as took off. Eventually, SkyWest’s CRJ was out of sight, and we were climbing over downtown Oakland.
Channel 9 was available during this flight. After the seatbelt sign was turned off, the cabin crew began serving beverages. Since this is a mainline plane, passengers sitting in the first class cabin were offered beverages in crystal cups, while those in coach were given the can, a cup of ice, and a snack. Rick served the first few rows of coach as he was done with his service a few minutes after take off. The two Y class f/as came around starting with my row to serve beverages.
I ordered a diet coke, and was given the can. I chugged my drink, and kept channel 9 on during the flight. Glancing out the window, I saw snowy peaks and some lakes. I continued to read my book, and listened to anything that might happen on channel 9.
When I went to use the restroom, I was told by the purser who was in back, that I could use the one in first. Now personally, I don’t mind, but I think that it is defiantly not a good idea to have coach passengers in first for security reasons. There is no need for them to go up there. What was worse was that a line ended up forming by the f-class restroom. If I was the purser, I’d want the curtains closed halfway to act as a barrier to keep people from coach away from the cockpit.
The service concluded, and I watched out the window as we began our approach. There was a United A320 in front of us, and a United 757 behind us.
Our landing took up the length of the runway. We taxied past a Delta building, United buildings and past a bunch of other buildings until we came to a stop at gate E4 in the United concourse.
United Airlines, flight 487
Departs at 640pm
Arrives at 8:16 (scheduled)
I said bye to DeltaSFO, and I got on the plane. This time, the women were wearing the shirt and slacks uniform and the purser had a nice scarf. I put my stuff down, and walked back to the restrooms. I started talking with Lynn, one of the flight attendants until it was time to depart.
Once airborn, the crew offered us pre-poured beverages from the trays. Since this was a Shuttle plane, they more or less have to do Shuttle service. It wasn’t bad. It was cupfuls instead of cans. Big whoop! On a short flight, no one cares.
After the service, I went back to chat some more with April and Lynn. The flight was un-eventful and we landed early in SFO.
If you have any questions, comments or concerns, I’ll be glad to answer them.
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