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UA PS JFK-LAX In J, LAX-IAD-LGA In Y+ Lotz Of Pix  
User currently offlineTOMMY767 From United States of America, joined Aug 2003, 6584 posts, RR: 11
Posted (2 years 4 months 3 weeks 2 days 11 hours ago) and read 10552 times:

12/29/11

This is my first trip report. I visited my former home in sunny and warm LA for New Years Eve. This ticket was purchased with miles (37,500) and $80 for buying the ticket less than 20 days before departure.

Flight was scheduled to depart at 6:00pm sharp. I left my office at 2 Penn Plaza (right above MSG and Penn Station) at 3:00pm to take the LIRR to Jamaica and the Air Train shortly after that. Public Transit to JFK was extremely smooth and painless

http://i1071.photobucket.com/albums/u501/Tommy767/2011-12-29154832.jpg

Exterior of Terminal 7. Still with the Saul Bass logo in place. IMHO, an underrated terminal at Kennedy.

I smoked cig before walking into the near empty terminal. UA's ticket counters were pretty much dead. There was an SFO and IAD departure around the same time as my flight but that was a good 1.5-2 hours from the time I arrived. Upon check-in a travel option window appeared offering me a $369 upgrade to J. Well I had a few bucks lying around and being the insane airline enthusiast I am, I had to go for it. BTW: this is not the first time I have done something like this. I did this last year as well on PS to LA on 12/30/10  http://i1071.photobucket.com/albums/u501/Tommy767/2011-12-29161119.jpg

Hallway in United Club at JFK. Somewhat dated, but still very clean.

Security took less than 5 minutes. I'm a huge fan of the fountain in the security area by the staircase in T7. It's probably one of the most unique security areas in the US (beats the crap out of terminal C at EWR.) With so much time to spare and my J class ticket, I headed right for the UA Club. Agents at the desk scanned my boarding pass and welcomed me. I tried to play dumb and attempted to enter the First Class lounge but they calmly reminded me that I couldn't go in there. Later on after peeking through the glass by the business stations, I realized that the food offerings were just the same as the regular club. Boy, if I was a F class passenger I think I would have been a little taken a back by that!

http://i1071.photobucket.com/albums/u501/Tommy767/2011-12-29161157.jpg

View from Club. Note the United 757 in 'True Blue' colors below was NOT my plane. That was the 5:05pm departure to San Francisco.

http://i1071.photobucket.com/albums/u501/Tommy767/2011-12-29161944.jpg

Here is a pic of the snack offerings within the club. Cheese, crackers, fruit, veges, complementary booze. The bar tender was very nice and gave me as much wine as I pleased. The new ticket jacket is also pictured. Not as classy at the old F jackets but still stylish.

Time slowed down as I was anxiously waiting for my PS aircraft to show up. Always good to be excited before a flight as opposed to dreading one. Around 5:30pm the 757 pulled up to the gate in the globe scheme:

http://i1071.photobucket.com/albums/u501/Tommy767/2011-12-29173226.jpg

"Hey wait a second!? This isn't EWR!"

UNITED AIRLINES #525
NEW YORK/KENNEDY TO LOS ANGELES
DEPARTS: 6:00PM

I left the club and boarding started around 5:50pm. Just a tad later than expected. The line was quickly forming and many F, J, and elites were stampeding the smallish boarding area -- Typical of United elites. The gate agent made it very clear that she would call each group individually, starting with GS and working her way down. I believe since I was in Business I was the second group to be called. When I boarded, she remarked, "Have a nice flight, Mr. H" and I replied "Thank you" and walked down the jetway.

http://i1071.photobucket.com/albums/u501/Tommy767/2011-12-29180427.jpg

I settled into 10F (or was it E?) and checked out my comfort package that was on my seat. Pillow, wrapped blanket, and eye mask were all present. The cabin was immaculate -- extremely clean and spotless. Flight attendants at first glance DID NOT seem to be the nicest bunch. Another small incident that happened before departure is how a Y passenger had some sort of panic attack and said she couldn't sit in economy (for whatever reason I don't know.) She offered the cash upgrade to J and I think she denied it. Either way, I didn't really care.

http://i1071.photobucket.com/albums/u501/Tommy767/2011-12-29180932.jpg

FA's offered the obligatory glass of champaigne before departure (or water or OJ for the non drinkers.) Always a nice touch before a transcon. Menu's were also distrubed, featuring the new logo and a very 'Continental' type formatting. See the pics below:

http://i1071.photobucket.com/albums/u501/Tommy767/2011-12-29182113.jpg

http://i1071.photobucket.com/albums/u501/Tommy767/2011-12-29182126.jpg

Menu looks to be good. Options were already better than last year. Last year I recall that offered a bread bowl or something as one of the main courses (Really? Can Business Class really be dulled down to Panera Bread levels?) Anyway, the cabin lights were then dimmed and we hussled our way out to be number 1 for departure. For JFK during evening rush, I couldn't believe that we were first (Channel 9 was on.) The elderly 757 did it's insanely powerful takeoff down the runway and we were off into the night sky.

http://i1071.photobucket.com/albums/u501/Tommy767/2011-12-29190805.jpg

Service started right after take off. Hot towels, white wine, and warm nuts were served. Nuts were excellent, wine was premium.

http://i1071.photobucket.com/albums/u501/Tommy767/2011-12-29191801.jpg

Took this photo before the meal service started. United has some new programming on the CRT's featuring their new logo as a bumper spliced between programming and advertisments. I tuned in a little bit and it's definitely a transition from the programming they had around the same time last year.

http://i1071.photobucket.com/albums/u501/Tommy767/2011-12-29193154.jpg

Then the 'rush to sit' began for the F/A's. They were trying to serve everyone as quick as possible. I personally am not a fan of rushing people with cabin service, but oh well. The 1st course pictured above was very mediocre. The salad was actually very good but the so called "spring roll" was a giant embarassment. It was cold and practially unedible. The soy sauce served with it was almost frozen. I handed most of it back to the F/A as did the person who was sitting next to me. Not a popular dish. However despite the bad opening, the main course surely made up for it:

http://i1071.photobucket.com/albums/u501/Tommy767/2011-12-29195210.jpg

The beef short ribs (boneless) was as I call it, a never ending piece of beef. It was cooked perfectly and took me almost 30 minutes to consume. Now I understand that United has had some catering shake ups based on previous trip reports but let me just say that this beef was a step in the right direction:

http://i1071.photobucket.com/albums/u501/Tommy767/2011-12-29200526.jpg

Pretty good quality on the close up. The meat was tender and flavorful and just the right amount of gravy coated it. I chose the perscribed red wine to accompany my dish (EXCELLENT!) Also the veges were rather declicious as well -- garlic and oregano flavored. Now before I could REALLY enjoy finishing it I saw this thing run down the isle with the F/A's:

http://i1071.photobucket.com/albums/u501/Tommy767/2011-12-29201113.jpg

The "Continental" sundae cart complete with sundaes on it. I rushed to finish the beef so I could get a sundae before they were gone (or melted.) The potato pancake type things I left behind as they had clearly been nuked too much in the cooking process.

http://i1071.photobucket.com/albums/u501/Tommy767/2011-12-29200815.jpg

Saving the best for last! Strawberry, vanilla, and chocolate ice cream with hot fudge and a ton of whipped cream. Not as good as American's but better than Delta's for certain. Shortly after that the digi players were handed out. Not sure why they didn't distribute them after takeoff but better than than never i guess:

http://i1071.photobucket.com/albums/u501/Tommy767/2011-12-29202322.jpg

I was stumped. I didn't feel like watching a movie as it was about 2.5 hours into flight at this point so I watched a few episodes of Mad Men. Several Dewers on the rocks accompanied my viewing experience:

http://i1071.photobucket.com/albums/u501/Tommy767/2011-12-29211739.jpg

At this point the flight attendants performed their hide out act. People were getting pissed as many wanted refills on their drinks. I recall last year when I did this flight the F/A's were very attentive and served bailey's on the rocks to everyone after the ice cream, to which I passed out for 2 hours. Not the same this year. They also were cheaping out on the refills of scotch to which I didn't appreciate. Channel 9 came in handy later into the flight as we had some moderate chop to turbulence over ABQ center. I'm not a big fan of turbulence so when it comes I tend to drink up. Other aircraft in the area (Delta 1619 in particular) were feeling the affects as well. Gotta love Channel 9 for the ATC insight!

Right before landing we were offered cranberry orange cookies which tasted like crap (bring back chocolate chip please, thanks.) We landed in LAX on schedule but waited a good 20 minutes before we could get a gate (not fun.) Overall I enjoyed PS and would rank it something like this:

--GROUND STAFF (JFK): 10
--UNITED CLUB: 10
--PRE TAKE OFF EXPERIENCE: 10
--DINNER EXPERIENCE: 8.5
--FLIGHT ATTENDANTS: 7
--HARD PRODUCT: 10
--SOFT PRODUCT: 9
--ON TIME DEPARTURE/ARRIVAL: 10
--GROUND STAFF (LAX): 7 (waiting for the gate always sucks.)
OVERALL: 90.5%

http://i1071.photobucket.com/albums/u501/Tommy767/2012-01-03183533.jpg

Well done United! Part 2 will be in reply 2


"Folks that's the news and I'm outta here!" -- Dennis Miller
15 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineTOMMY767 From United States of America, joined Aug 2003, 6584 posts, RR: 11
Reply 1, posted (2 years 4 months 3 weeks 2 days 10 hours ago) and read 10505 times:

NEW YEARS EVE: HILTON CHECKERS, DOWNTOWN LOS ANGELES

http://i1071.photobucket.com/albums/u501/Tommy767/2011-12-31171409.jpg

Yeah pretty great. 82 degrees to top it all off. I unfortunately don't remember a whole lot about New Years Eve...whoops.

RETURN:
LAX-IAD-LGA on January 5, 2012

After an amazing 4-5 days in LA it was time to come back and face reality (half heartedly, of couse.) I flew an IPTE 777 to IAD and thought it was a fantastic refreshed product. Somehow I scored and got Economy Plus for free to IAD (does anybody know how this glitch happened.) Either way, it was a pretty good offering for economy. AVOD was free and didn't crash and I had a BOB pretzel turkey sandwich which was also not bad. Took a few pics:

http://i1071.photobucket.com/albums/u501/Tommy767/2012-01-04122632.jpg

During boarding. Not bad, huh?

http://i1071.photobucket.com/albums/u501/Tommy767/2012-01-04135315.jpg

Homer.


http://i1071.photobucket.com/albums/u501/Tommy767/2012-01-04150124.jpg

Mid Flight. Cabin lights were dimmed in Economy Plus, but kept on in regular economy.

http://i1071.photobucket.com/albums/u501/Tommy767/2012-01-04150207.jpg

Dumb and Dumber

http://i1071.photobucket.com/albums/u501/Tommy767/2012-01-04150224.jpg

Economy Plus legroom. Good.

Flight arrived on time and I walked half a mile to D where I boarded a shuttle america E170 to LaGuardia. Uneventful except for a few bumps into LGA. This flight arrived ontime into LGA and I took a cab back to Hoboken, NJ.

Hope you enjoyed my first trip report! All comments welcome.



"Folks that's the news and I'm outta here!" -- Dennis Miller
User currently offlineIrishAyes From United States of America, joined Jan 2008, 2158 posts, RR: 15
Reply 2, posted (2 years 4 months 3 weeks 2 days 10 hours ago) and read 10350 times:

Thanks for the TR!

Quoting TOMMY767 (Thread starter):
The salad was actually very good but the so called "spring roll" was a giant embarassment. It was cold and practially unedible.

Well, spring rolls are actually meant to be served cold - people often get them confused with "egg rolls" sometimes. Nevertheless, sorry the taste was awful. Also, really kind of cheap to see them serving the sauce in a container, like you would get at a Chinese take out?

Overall, the catering doesn't look too impressive IMO. This premium product offering actually looks pretty overrated and frankly, kind of tacky. Who doesn't have a PTV in J these days, esp on a domestic transcon? Even B6 has them on a short hop flight on an E-190!

No wonder the J fare was as cheap as you got it. The price seems about right.



next flights: msp-phx-slc, msp-mdw, ord-sju, sju-dfw-ord, msp-dfw, dfw-phl, phl-msp, jfk-icn, icn-hkg-bkk-cdg
User currently offline767747 From United States of America, joined Jan 2005, 1912 posts, RR: 24
Reply 3, posted (2 years 4 months 3 weeks 2 days 3 hours ago) and read 9490 times:
Support Airliners.net - become a First Class Member!

Hey, Tommy,

Thanks for your report! Glad you had a good trip with United. The food and service doesn't seem so impressive for a $369 upgrade - but its nice to spoil yourself sometimes!  

We're looking forward to flying on the new United down to Mexico for our honeymoon. My fiancee and I are going to PVR in United F and I'm looking forward to the flights.

Looking forward to your return leg!

Matthew (767747)


User currently offlinelaca773 From United States of America, joined Nov 2004, 4002 posts, RR: 2
Reply 4, posted (2 years 4 months 3 weeks 1 day 21 hours ago) and read 9009 times:
Support Airliners.net - become a First Class Member!

Great report, Tommy! Very thorough and you covered everything too. I wish I had the time to do them as well.

Quoting IrishAyes (Reply 2):

Overall, the catering doesn't look too impressive IMO. This premium product offering actually looks pretty overrated and frankly, kind of tacky. Who doesn't have a PTV in J these days, esp on a domestic transcon? Even B6 has them on a short hop flight on an E-190!

The catering looks pretty bad. On your salad, is that waxed beans? UA continues to drop the ball on catering across the board. I'm hopeful they will start using CO's catering and menus.

Too bad about the flight crew. As you know, it's hit and miss in the US and in particular, these routes go to those with the most seniority.


User currently offlineMSS658 From Belgium, joined Oct 2010, 2474 posts, RR: 15
Reply 5, posted (2 years 4 months 2 weeks 6 days 10 hours ago) and read 7553 times:

Hi great first trip report!

Nice catch on the upgrade outbound! Looks like UA haves one of the best transcon products out there (Prem).
The new config looks great as well!
Some pics or a story on the IAD-LGA sector would have been nice

Quoting TOMMY767 (Thread starter):
"Hey wait a second!? This isn't EWR!"

I laughed when I red this

Grts
Marc



Next trip report: Well worn A330s and Hassle free MUC transfer
User currently offlineTOMMY767 From United States of America, joined Aug 2003, 6584 posts, RR: 11
Reply 6, posted (2 years 4 months 2 weeks 6 days 10 hours ago) and read 7523 times:

Thanks for the feedback everyone!

Quoting MSS658 (Reply 5):

Thanks! IAD-LGA was a night time departure on a E170. Not very photo friendly for a droid  

It was an extremely uneventful flight. less than 30 minutes in duration and rather bumpy as well.

IAD got spruced up a bit with new blue paint (think CO side wall colors), brand new UA signage and gate displays. It was rather nice, actually -- despite what many on here think of IAD. Just a very long and uniformish terminal.

Quoting laca773 (Reply 4):

Thanks Laca. I think you are mistaken for black olives. The salad was actually pretty good and the main course was also very good -- aside potatoes. Definitely the standard on a JFK-LAX transcon. The only catering I think that can be better than this would be AA, which as we all know has an amazing J and F product.

Quoting 767747 (Reply 3):

I definitely thought the catering was pretty good -- perhaps the photos don't do the food enough justice. Enjoy your flight in F on UA!

Quoting IrishAyes (Reply 2):

Those digiplayers they handed out were actually pretty fast, excellent selection, and good quality. I just got fatigued and wanted to watch TV -- no movies. Obvs it's always better to have a PTV in the seat but not always the case these days. As a matter of fact, last year when I flew PS in J they had these older players they gave out which were crap compared to these new ones.



"Folks that's the news and I'm outta here!" -- Dennis Miller
User currently offline777ord From United States of America, joined May 2010, 489 posts, RR: 1
Reply 7, posted (2 years 4 months 2 weeks 6 days 5 hours ago) and read 7331 times:

Great TR!

Glad to see your overall experience on UAL was enjoyable. Thanks for flying us!  


User currently offlineSTT757 From United States of America, joined Mar 2000, 16812 posts, RR: 51
Reply 8, posted (2 years 4 months 2 weeks 5 days 15 hours ago) and read 6925 times:

Does UA have two lounges at JFK? My Wife and I flew PS in First JFK-SFO back in '10 and the lounge we used did not have a view of anything. They had those slanted windows but just looked out at wall ten feet away.

Quoting TOMMY767 (Thread starter):

"Hey wait a second!? This isn't EWR!"

It does seem quite odd to see the Globe at JFK, on a 757 no less.



Eastern Air lines flt # 701, EWR-MCO Boeing 757
User currently offlineTOMMY767 From United States of America, joined Aug 2003, 6584 posts, RR: 11
Reply 9, posted (2 years 4 months 2 weeks 5 days 12 hours ago) and read 6725 times:

Quoting STT757 (Reply 8):

UA has a F lounge along with the regular club at JFK but it's small room with IIRC no windows (probably where you were.) The rest of the club has better views and is actually a pretty good size.



"Folks that's the news and I'm outta here!" -- Dennis Miller
User currently offlineThe777Man From United States of America, joined Jul 1999, 6492 posts, RR: 55
Reply 10, posted (2 years 4 months 2 weeks 5 days 10 hours ago) and read 6569 times:

Hi Tommy !

It seems you had some great flights on the PS to LAX ! Meals look great and it seems it's a great value for what you paid when you compare it with the difference in miles or money for the regular fare.

Looking forward to your next report !

The777Man



Need a Boeing 777 Firing Order....Further to fly....CI, MU, LX and LH 777s
User currently offlineadamspotter From Netherlands, joined Feb 2011, 1118 posts, RR: 4
Reply 11, posted (2 years 4 months 2 weeks 5 days 9 hours ago) and read 6452 times:
Support Airliners.net - become a First Class Member!

Hi there,
nice report, thanks for sharing. The beef sure looks good!

cheers,
adamspotter // Brendan


User currently offlineEASTERN747 From United States of America, joined Oct 2006, 514 posts, RR: 0
Reply 12, posted (2 years 4 months 2 weeks 5 days 5 hours ago) and read 6309 times:

To be honest, F/A's are caught between a rock and a hard place. Many times business folks want to work on lap tops etc. and just want to get the meal over with. Some others want to relax and aren't in a rush. You have to remember that the entrees are cooked all at once ,so they have to be served quickly so they don't get cold or over cooked. The same with ice cream....gotta get it out.
Those little tv screens look like they sit on the tray table. What do you do with it when your tray comes? I hate it when they dump down everything at once.......we used to toss a salad in a cart service, offer warm bread from baskets, carve a roast from a cart.
Don't give the F/a's grief-they can't please everybody. If you want another drink, go to the galley and request it. Or use the call button. Speak up! For $369 I could have a great dinner at the 4-seasons. That meal was pretty cheesy. Those spring rolls are served cold BTW and generally very bland.(not cheap because of the labor). The beef is a cheaper cut......cook it forever. Ice cream is the cheapest dessert, however it makes most people happy.(God knows it has been around for years)


User currently offlinenethkt From Thailand, joined Apr 2001, 1067 posts, RR: 3
Reply 13, posted (2 years 4 months 2 weeks 5 days ago) and read 6035 times:

Many thanks for the trans-con trip report.
P.S service is one great product for travel domestic US coast to coast.

I can't beleive when I saw the size of that vegetarian spring roll. It's the largest spring roll I've ever seen in my life lol Seriously, I'd be full after a few bite! We Thai are not used to enormous size/portion of food  

The new refit 777-200/200ER with 3-3-3 layout in Economy is very nice. Much better than the 2-5-2.

Many thanks for sharing!!
net-hkt



Let's just blame it on yields.
User currently offlineTOMMY767 From United States of America, joined Aug 2003, 6584 posts, RR: 11
Reply 14, posted (2 years 4 months 2 weeks 4 days 15 hours ago) and read 5872 times:

Quoting EASTERN747 (Reply 12):
What do you do with it when your tray comes? I hate it when they dump down everything at once.......we used to toss a salad in a cart service, offer warm bread from baskets, carve a roast from a cart.

They didn't hand out the digi players until the meal was over. Last year when I flew PS in J, they handed everything out at once and it got extremely crowded in my alotted space area.

Yeah roast carving on planes has been gone for a while. Standards have fallen a bit since then  

For the record I did speak up to the f/a's. I told them I wasn't driving when I got to LA so be sure to top the scotch off (we had some rough air and I was watching mad men.) They only topped me off a little bit -- but not to the top (bastards!)  

Not blaming the F/A's but they were definitely better in Y on LAX-IAD for sure. With United, it all a luck of the draw, but I've never encounterd a hostile F/A like I have on AA or CO.

Quoting nethkt (Reply 13):

Thanks! The spring roll was actually the weakest part but it was quite large   It was vegetarian for some reason.

Quoting adamspotter (Reply 11):

Thanks Brendan. The beef was good. It tasted much better that it looks

Quoting The777Man (Reply 10):

Thank you! Next report should be EWR-MIA-EWR on United next month!



"Folks that's the news and I'm outta here!" -- Dennis Miller
User currently offlinekfitz From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 15, posted (2 years 4 months 2 weeks 3 days 2 hours ago) and read 5298 times:

Quoting laca773 (Reply 4):

The PS transcons recieved a catering update a little over a month ago and it's shared with the CO EWR-LAX/SFO transcons. With that said, the prior PS F/C catering, while massively downgraded from where it was when PS was first launched, was still above average in my experience.

All UA/CO flights now have a standardized North American menu as well 


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