Sponsor Message:
Aviation Trip Reports Forum
My Starred Topics | Profile | New Topic | Forum Index | Help | Search 
Big Plane, Short Flight, Flat Seat: SFO-LAX UA 777  
User currently offlineaal151heavy From United States of America, joined Jan 2005, 96 posts, RR: 5
Posted (2 years 2 months 3 weeks 2 days 19 hours ago) and read 8934 times:
Support Airliners.net - become a First Class Member!

Flight: UA595, San Francisco (SFO) to Los Angeles (LAX) (337 miles)
Aircraft Type: Boeing 777-222 (ER)
Aircraft Registration: N794UA (built in October 1997)
Scheduled Departure - Arrival Time: 8:21 am - 9:47 am
Actual Departure - Arrival Time: 8:20 am - 9:50 am
Actual Flying Time: 53 minutes



Flightaware tracking data


Every morning (since November 2011), United flies a three-class 777-200 between San Francisco (SFO) and Los Angeles (LAX) as a repositioning flight for a long-haul flight from LAX later in the day.

Naturally, I chose that flight when purchasing my ticket to LAX for the airline collectible show. In addition, being a Premier elite on United, there was a chance for me to score a complimentary upgrade that would allow me to try out, for the first time, United’s new lie-flat seats.

There was a couple potential snags. First, an upgrade is not guaranteed. Second, only half of the United 777 fleet has been converted to the new seats. It is unpredictable whether this flight would use the old seat or new seat aircraft. By default, the reservation system always shows the old configuration seat map.

See the new configuration seat map

First piece of the puzzle fell into place when three days before my flight, United’s mobile flight status page showed aircraft number 2894 (N794UA) – a new configuration aircraft – would operate my flight. All I needed now was for the upgrade to come through.

At 24-hours prior to departure, I attempted to check-in on-line. But I could not. I got a message stating check-in is not available for the flight. After some searching on flyertalk, I found out this happens when there is an equipment change and seating has not been updated in the system (makes sense since the aircraft has been swapped from the old to the new configuration). Unfortunately, not checked in, I will not be able to see where I was on the upgrade list.

I arrived at SFO under drizzly skies at 6:30 am, two hours before departure. Premier Lobby was busy but not crowded. I was able to walk straight up to an EasyCheck-in kiosk, where I was presented with the good news: “Because I am a valued customer, my upgrade is complimentary today”. Yes! The second piece of the puzzle was now in place. I brought up the seat map and was happy to see that I got the last window seat, 10K (there was still a good number of middle seats left). I later found out that 10A/B/J/K were rear-facing seats, which I wanted to try out. Everything worked out in my favor!

SFO's Premier Lobby, now rebranded as Premier Access.



Premium security line at Terminal 3 was relatively short; I made it through in less than 10 minutes without incident. My flight would depart from International Terminal gate G98. It was rather appropriate that my international configured aircraft was leaving from the International Terminal. It felt exciting walking to my gate in the beautiful wide airy concourse G, flying on a big plane to somewhere exciting. OK, just LAX…but still exciting. Not having flown from SFO all that often, I was surprised to see other United domestic flights (especially a 767-300 to Houston) also departed from concourse G on this early morning. I got to G98 and confirmed N794UA (in the now old blue/white tulip color scheme) would be operating my flight.

International Terminal departure board showed a good number of domestic destinations mixed with international.





Two views of 777-200 N794UA parked at gate G98.



The flight was lightly loaded. It was full upfront in First and Business, as one would expect, but about 120 or so seats remained available in Economy according to the standby screen at the gate. There was plenty of space in the hold room, not the madhouse that one normally sees on a full flight.

Boarding started at 40 minutes prior to departure. Surprisingly, the usual elite customers queuing up at the door to be among the first to board was non-existent. Neither was there a crowd swarming the gate. I have never seen that before! I casually walked up to the door and was the third person to board the plane.

Gate G98 about 10 minutes prior to boarding



Boarding was through door L2 (which meant I couldn't see the new First Class seats), and found my rear-facing seat stocked with a headset at the footstool and a large pillow and a bagged quilted blanket at the seat. Unfortunately, there was not a window next to my seat, which meant I had to lean forward to see out of the other two windows.

Rear-facing Business Class seats 10J/K



There was not a window next to my seat.  



I briefly explored the seat and got acquainted with the entertainment system. The 15.4-inch display is controlled by a handset at the seat. The system has a large selection of movies, video, and audio, all on-demand. For takeoff, I specifically looked for the map (found it with its own “Map” button on the main menu; not the “About this Flight” selection) and Channel 9 (Air Traffic Control audio). Since everything was menu driven by title instead of channel numbers, Channel 9 was harder to find. I found it under “Audio”, and then “From the Flight Deck” a page or two down. Magazine slots next to the seat contained the usual safety card (“B777 Premium” with the new United logo), Hemispheres magazine, and a Duty Free catalog. There was no at-seat storage – everything had to go up into the overhead bin.

Pre-departure beverage choice of orange juice or water was offered – I went with the OJ. Throughout boarding, announcements were made about Economy Plus seats – that if you wished to sit there, you had to pay extra. Apparently, Economy Plus was emptier than standard Economy in the back.



Looking ahead from my seat, it was the bulkhead separating Business and Economy Classes. Looking down the aisle, I face people in the first two center rows of Economy Plus. Looking across the aisle, I saw a row of people sitting in the center 4-seats, more people than one normally expect to see in Business Class. Sadly, in order to maintain capacity while making room for lie-flat seats, something had to give. As a result, United has an economy class like 2-4-2 layout in Business Class with narrow 20.5-inch wide seats (that’s only 2.5 inches wider than Economy seats). By comparison, United’s Business Class seats on the 747 and 767 are 23.5 inches wide (incidentally, the 747 also has a sardine class 2-4-2 layout on the lower level). 4-seat middle in Business Class is just not right.

Rant mode off.

Pushback from the gate was one minute early at 8:20 am. A live safety demo was performed in unison with the video safety demo. I have never seen that! It could be the video system in Economy was not working properly because the live demo never faced us sitting in the rear-facing seats. I should have looked behind me to see whether a live demo was also performed for those facing front of Business Class.

With the storm moving through the area, Runway 10 was used for departures. We made our way to Runway 10R at Intersection Quebec, a very short taxi from the gate. With just two other aircraft in front of us, hold time on the ground was minimal.

On the runway, the triple’s twin PW4090 engines roared to life with that familiar big-fan whine. With our light load, we made a quick run down the runway with a very spirited rotation. From the rear-facing seat, it was a roller coaster ride. It felt like someone was pushing my back causing me to lean forward with only my seatbelt holding me in. The at-seat magazine holder was not in the closed position, causing all the magazines to spill out. My seatmate and I had to catch them before they fell on the floor. He commented he has never flown backwards, to which I wholeheartedly agreed.

Now that we were climbing to our cruising altitude, I can finally give my seat adjustments a try. Seats are moved using electric motors by pressing and holding various position buttons on the control panel. I got myself into a very relaxing position where my legs were stretched out flat, the seat back slightly reclined, and my head resting on the nice soft pillow. It is amazing how comfortable a flight can be by just simply stretching and resting my legs. I looked for something to watch on my monitor. When browsing through each program, the display showed the program run-time along with remaining flying time, so that you know whether you will have enough time to finish the program. I chose an episode of Top Gear (the good BBC version) while we climbed to our cruising altitude of 27,000 feet. The seat belt sign went off but the pilot announced it would come back on again in a few minutes when we descend.

There was an unexpected snack service on this short flight. When I was presented with a warm scone in a bag, I thought I would get a like-sized scone. I was disappointed to find a miniature representation in that large bag. Later, drink orders were taken. I went with apple juice. After I finished it, I was quickly offered a refill.

The scone said: I wish I were bigger. Note seat control panel.



Beverage served in glass, even on this short flight.



As with all good things, it came to a quick end. We made our descent and I didn’t get a chance to put my seat in the full flat position to try out. I was too engrossed watching Top Gear – and I didn’t even finish the episode! I put my seat back in the full upright position by holding onto the green airplane button (as it was announced a few times), and I put my screen back on Map and audio back to “From the Flight Deck” to watch and listen to our approach to LAX.

The descend was a little choppy. View of the clouds and the wing going backwards certainly gave an interesting and unique perspective.

View out of my scratched window while descending for LAX.



We touched down on Runway 24R at LAX’s north complex, 53 minutes after takeoff. Just like takeoff, landing gave me a push from the back, though it did not feel as urgent as the takeoff. We rolled all the way to the end before making a long taxi across LAX to the south complex. We taxied past an USAF C-32A “Air Force Two” and a C-17 at remote parking (apparently the VeePee was in town), passing Tom Bradley International Terminal, Terminals 4, 5, and 6 before arriving at Gate 76 in Terminal 7. Short of the gate, we shutdown our engines, and the pilot announced to keep our seatbelts fastened while we get towed to the gate. We arrived at the gate at 9:50 am, 3 minutes late. In a little over two hours, N794UA will be on her way again, this time from LAX to Tokyo-Narita – stretching her legs, doing what she was designed to do!

While deplaning, standing up facing the back of my seat, I realized there was a light next to the headrest. I didn’t even notice it while sitting (but I didn’t need it). Someone walking past the rear-facing seats commented, “I could never fly backwards!” I would definitely do it again. It certainly gave a different perspective while flying and (for me at least) it was not nauseating, as most would assume.

I have heard on the 747, from the upper deck rear-facing seats, you get an excellent view of the engines and wing – that’s something I want to experience for myself while sitting there with my legs propped up, seat reclined in comfort!

N794UA as flight UA891 to Tokyo-Narita, rotates off Runway 25R leaving LAX's iconic Theme Building behind.



11 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineMSS658 From Belgium, joined Oct 2010, 2472 posts, RR: 15
Reply 1, posted (2 years 2 months 3 weeks 2 days 17 hours ago) and read 8681 times:

Hi

Great trip report, thanks for sharing!
I can only agree on that 2-4-2 layout in J. Just scandalous...


Greetings
Marc



Next trip report: Well worn A330s and Hassle free MUC transfer
User currently offlinejackowilkinson From United Kingdom, joined Oct 2010, 13 posts, RR: 0
Reply 2, posted (2 years 2 months 3 weeks 2 days 14 hours ago) and read 8432 times:

Nice report, 53 minutes on a 777  

I'm flying on the SIA 77W from Manchester to Munich later this year. Should be good  


User currently offlineThe777Man From United States of America, joined Jul 1999, 6403 posts, RR: 55
Reply 3, posted (2 years 2 months 3 weeks 2 days 8 hours ago) and read 7810 times:

Hi !

Nice report on the new seats flying rearwards on UA's new Business seats, something I did recently IAD-NRT and in fact in the same seat but on a different aircraft, N788UA.

Looking forward to your next report!

The777Man



Need a Boeing 777 Firing Order....Further to fly...T5, CI, MU, LX and LH 777s
User currently offlineLAXintl From United States of America, joined May 2000, 24325 posts, RR: 47
Reply 4, posted (2 years 2 months 3 weeks 1 day 22 hours ago) and read 7240 times:

Yeah I have done 595 a few times also. Usually turns to UA891 LAX-NRT.

Quoting aal151heavy (Thread starter):
4-seat middle in Business Class is just not right.

I dont see an issue with it. The product is great and I've never really felt clusterphobic or anything.

Anyhow - others have similar - look at BA Club World - they are 2-4-2 also on their 777 and 744 fleets.

IMO the product works very well and width has never been a concern of mine with it.

Quoting aal151heavy (Thread starter):
would definitely do it again. It certainly gave a different perspective while flying and (for me at least) it was not nauseating, as most would assume.

Yes sitting backwards gives you a different view. Reminds me of the military where most of the transport aircraft have rearward facing seats.



From the desert to the sea, to all of Southern California
User currently offlinednstevenson From United States of America, joined Mar 2011, 9 posts, RR: 0
Reply 5, posted (2 years 2 months 3 weeks 1 day 21 hours ago) and read 7114 times:

Thanks for the report. Couple of questions:

1) Was it awkward facing the economy plus seats? Seems like it might be a touch weird if you're laying flat, getting the golden treatment, and the econo+ passengers are staring at you.

2) The suit coat in your pictures looks odd - were your feet touching it at times? Was there any other place to store jackets?

Thanks,
Dave


User currently offlineroberts87 From Netherlands, joined Dec 2011, 909 posts, RR: 0
Reply 6, posted (2 years 2 months 3 weeks 1 day 14 hours ago) and read 6844 times:

Nice report! Always great to have 777 on such a short hop. I toyed around with the idea of booking this flight myself, when I was in the US last year, but didn't do so in the end, so nice to read about it now!

User currently offlineaal151heavy From United States of America, joined Jan 2005, 96 posts, RR: 5
Reply 7, posted (2 years 2 months 3 weeks 22 hours ago) and read 6365 times:
Support Airliners.net - become a First Class Member!

Thanks everyone for your comments!

Quoting dnstevenson (Reply 5):


1) Was it awkward facing the economy plus seats? Seems like it might be a touch weird if you're laying flat, getting the golden treatment, and the econo+ passengers are staring at you.

2) The suit coat in your pictures looks odd - were your feet touching it at times? Was there any other place to store jackets?


1) I can see on a long trip, you would be getting some stares from E+ passengers. But I think the curtain separating the classes would be drawn (it was not on this short trip).

2) Having the coat hook next to the TV is a poor design (it was my seatmate's coat, BTW). I almost stepped on it a few times with my shoes and it partially blocked his TV display, which he was not using. If it was a longer flight, I would have asked him to move it because I was afraid of stepping on it. Only other recourse is to coat check it with the F/A or throw it up the overhead bin like what I did.

Ben


User currently offlinebakersdozen From Canada, joined Nov 2006, 336 posts, RR: 0
Reply 8, posted (2 years 2 months 3 weeks 21 hours ago) and read 6346 times:

Weird layout? If the isle seat is in full bed mode does it block your access to the isle? Do you have to step over someones legs to get out?

User currently offlinemikesairways From United States of America, joined Oct 2003, 671 posts, RR: 0
Reply 9, posted (2 years 2 months 2 weeks 6 days 7 hours ago) and read 5832 times:
Support Airliners.net - become a First Class Member!

Nice report Ben - I was down there as well for the show. Saw the VP depart while up at the hill, quite a lot of hoopla involved. I'll be posting some pics from the Flight Path museum once I get a sec.

mikesairways



The red zone is for the immediate loading and unloading of passengers only, there is no stopping in the white zone...(Ai
User currently offline777ord From United States of America, joined May 2010, 456 posts, RR: 0
Reply 10, posted (2 years 2 months 2 weeks 6 days 2 hours ago) and read 5678 times:

Great TR! Glad to see a domestic report about the new J product on UA. Although a 53min version of it, still nice to see!  

User currently offlinegabrielchew From United Kingdom, joined Aug 2005, 3037 posts, RR: 12
Reply 11, posted (2 years 2 months 2 weeks 5 days 18 hours ago) and read 5422 times:

Nice to get a 777 on a short domestic hop - service looked adequate for N.America.

Quoting aal151heavy (Thread starter):
As a result, United has an economy class like 2-4-2 layout in Business Class with narrow 20.5-inch wide seats (that’s only 2.5 inches wider than Economy seats). By comparison, United’s Business Class seats on the 747 and 767 are 23.5 inches wide (incidentally, the 747 also has a sardine class 2-4-2 layout on the lower level). 4-seat middle in Business Class is just not right.

Well BA has had 2x4x2 in C for years - it just depends on how well you use the space.



http://my.flightmemory.com/shefgab Upcoming flights: LHR-JMK,JTR-LHR-WAW,MSQ-FRA-EZE,IGR-EZE-CUN,MEX-FRA-LCY,LHR-TXL-LHR
Top Of Page
Forum Index

Reply To This Topic Big Plane, Short Flight, Flat Seat: SFO-LAX UA 777
Username:
No username? Sign up now!
Password: 


Forgot Password? Be reminded.
Remember me on this computer (uses cookies)
  • Trip reports only! Other topics here
  • If criticizing an airline, express yourself in a dignified manner.
  • No adverts of any kind. This includes web pages.
  • No hostile language or criticizing of others.
  • Do not post copyright protected material.
  • Use relevant and describing topics.
  • Check if your post already been discussed.
  • Check your spelling!
  • DETAILED RULES
Add Images Add SmiliesPosting Help

Please check your spelling (press "Check Spelling" above)


Similar topics:More similar topics...
SFO-DEN UA 777 W/ Pictures posted Tue Jan 6 2004 02:17:03 by F9Widebody
BOS-LAX-SFO On UA, Plus DEN-related Misadventures posted Tue Jan 2 2007 19:52:04 by Yellowstone
SJC-LAX-LHR-FRA-CPH-FRA-SFO On UA/LH/SK With Pics posted Mon Oct 9 2006 23:32:57 by 3201
AA/UA CCS-MIA-SFO-MRY-SFO-LAX-MIA-CCS (+50pics!) posted Tue May 2 2006 03:34:43 by 797
UA SFO-LAX-NRT-BKK Y & C Class posted Tue Oct 4 2005 09:57:49 by Christao17
United (UA) TPA-ORD-SFO-LAX-IAD-TPA (PICS) posted Mon Jun 13 2005 22:14:14 by BRAVO7E7
DEN-SFO <> OAK-DEN On UA - 777 <> 737 W/ Pics! posted Thu Jan 6 2005 02:18:39 by F9Widebody
SFO-ATL UA / Really BIG Delay / ATL-SAV FL posted Tue Jun 29 2004 05:07:45 by JET1977
Crossing Two Oceans: AKL-SFO-MUC, NZ 777 & LH A346 posted Sun Apr 10 2011 02:06:58 by PlaneHunter
DL A330-200 Biz DTW-AMS, UA 777-200 Biz AMS-IAD posted Mon Sep 6 2010 15:37:46 by Transpac787

Sponsor Message:
Printer friendly format