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The "new" United: Chicago To Delhi (via EWR)  
User currently offlineIrishAyes From United States of America, joined Jan 2008, 2208 posts, RR: 15
Posted (2 years 1 month 1 week 4 days 17 hours ago) and read 21206 times:

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United: Chicago to Delhi (via Newark)

*Side note: I wish this were a nonstop flight from ORD for selfish reasons, but I digress.*

Background

My sister and I decided to take a summer vacation to a robust destination, and conveniently a few of her friends were planning on visiting Thailand for a week. Both she and I agreed we would join them, but make a stop in Delhi prior for a few days to visit a some family members and relatives. Our Thailand destination of choice was Koh Samui, located on the Eastern side of the peninsula (separate TR).

She being in NYC, and me living in Chicago, this journey involved many hours of creative planning. Ultimately, I figured that our best initiative was to book round trip USA-India itineraries and then “nest-in” the DEL-Thailand portion separately. Although not the most time-efficient, this plan did generate significant cost savings and had us together for the majority of the journey (one of the critical elements that needed to be fulfilled in order for our Dad to give us the green light to travel).

Of course, she being somewhat of a “high maintenance” traveler, her preferred method of journey was to get to Delhi on the nonstop Continental (United) flight from EWR, which I reluctantly agreed to do. I had already flown the Delhi to Newark sector previously (TR can be accessed here) so for me, this wasn’t going to be anything new or exotic, but given that I had found the journey satisfactory on the previous occasion, I was willing to concede to meet her needs. Plus, I am a Star Alliance elite flyer, and this would be a good way to insure I would stay on track to hitting status again this year.

So, the outbound flights were determined: I would fly from Chicago to Newark, meet her at EWR, and together, we’d fly off to Delhi.

On the return journey, however, our inbound flight from Thailand to Delhi only afforded us a 2 hour connection in DEL before the CO (UA) flight back to EWR, so instead we settled on flying SWISS from DEL to ZRH, where we’d both separate and fly onward to JFK and ORD each. The UA/LX combo was available for sale on Orbitz for a decent price. The SWISS portions will also be covered in a separate TR.

There is also a great TR written by Pradat (planiac787) published a few months ago, which can be accessed here.

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Day of departure

One of my buddies from Chicago works for United, and arranged a tour of the Network Operations Center (NOC) for a group of us at the Willis Tower downtown for several of us on Wednesday, August 1. Excitedly, I took him up on the offer, although I was cutting it close considering it was scheduled for 10-11 AM, and my flight was leaving at 1:02 PM  

Well, needless to say I did cut it close: the tour operator was very good, but also very detailed. It was too bad that you are not allowed to take pictures at the NOC, although I HIGHLY recommend taking a tour if you’re ever visiting or based in Chicago. Sadly, I didn’t make it as far as the Emergency Operations Center, as I had to cut it short and b-line it (no pun intended) to the Blue Line to catch my flight to O’Scare.

I checked my bag all the way to Delhi, but unfortunately, even with Premier Access, I still had to circumvent the line at T1 in order to make it in time for my UA flight to EWR. The flight was boarding my group as I hustled to the gate.

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The outbound flight was pretty standard operating procedure. We weren’t necessarily on-time, but the flight itself was uneventful. It was a PMUA bird flying to EWR on a 757, which is nothing too impressive.

I’m a huge sucker for the United Snackbox Buy-On-Board products (I know) but I’ve also been lucky several times in receiving these items free of charge. Today was another one of those days as the scanner malfunctioned. It was a nice bonus considering all I had consumed that day was a coffee and a protein shake in the morning in the midst of my morning hustle-and-bustle.

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The snack box is quite yummy, and contains various assorted crackers, cheese spread, hummus, almonds, olives, roasted pepper bruschetta, and chocolate-covered blueberries. The views outside the aircraft worsened as we made our way eastward, although there were nice shots of Cleveland, OH and various cloud formations along the way.

We arrived into a really ugly Newark on a pretty gross and rainy day. I actually started to feel nauseous on this flight and was ready for it to be over. Somehow, I felt very stressed out about the concept of flying on a 10 hour + journey in Y. India visits also cause me a great deal of anxiety, but save that for a later discussion.

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Putting the "EW" in Newark  

EWR transfer

I have club access to the UA lounges, so I headed to the United Club located near gate 120 in Terminal C. My sister was delayed en-route from downtown Manhattan to EWR, so I sat in the lounge, caught up on e-mails and basically had a few cocktails as I waited for her.

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my original boarding gate at C-138, although this would later change.

http://i1169.photobucket.com/albums/r517/Aviation_D/IMG_4066.jpgUnited Club near C-120

For anyone questioning whether or not a United Club membership is worthwhile or not, I HIGHLY recommend it if you are based out of a UA Hub city, or one that offers the lounge. Obviously, the tangible benefits include a better work/relaxation environment and nice facilities, but I think that the agents who work at the lounges are by far the most helpful, knowledgeable and friendly airline employees. I absolutely adored the agents working at this particular lounge and will be sending them a Thank-You note.

It was, however, depressing to notice some frustrations with the newly merged carrier, expressed by these agents. Based on a conversation I had with one, policy changes and other hiccups seems to have really drained many of them. It’s never a good sign when the best of your airline employees become dissatisfied with the state of their employer.

At any rate, the EWER lounge is a great way to kill time and freshen up. It goes through waves of busy periods and slow periods. I must add that the lack of electrical connectivity is a big problem and many people were struggling to find places to charge their devices in the sitting areas. Unlike some of the other United Club lounges, the really nice thing about EWR is that your boarding times to international destinations are indeed announced.

My sister arrived into EWR a bit stressed out and dirty from the journey en-route, so she enjoyed a nice shower and snacks to freshen up before our flight.

How cute/sentimental was it that it just happened to be Rakhi day 2012 when we landed in Delhi? Here I was, the good younger brother chaperoning his placated sister with Wine and Cheese before the ULH flight.

As it turned out, we were subjected to a two and a half hour mechanical delay. A few cocktails deep, I was ready to get on the flight and pass out. When they announced that our flight was boarding, we left the lounge and made a few duty free purchases (sigh, the Indian “gifts” that keep on giving in the form of Johnnie Walker Black) but ultimately, we were subjected to sit at the gate area for an extra 30 mins regardless.

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Boarding

Despite the hold-up, boarding was amusing. Our flight was also boarding next to the flight to Sao Paulo. I had traveled to GRU earlier this year, and I am obsessed with Brasil, so this was kind of a neat surprise   My worlds were colliding!

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A UA plane being serviced by a CO truck....hmmmmm?

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Indians are notoriously bad about following instructions for the queue. One agent (who probably deals with this twice a day on the DEL and BOM flights) remarked, “ladies and gentleman, please calm down, we’re all going to the same place on the same plane.”

I was in no rush to get on board. I would be sitting for the next 14 hours so why the hell was I in any need to be stuck in a seat?

On Board

I was displeased to see that due to the mechanical issue, our flight had been swapped out for a PMCO bird without EconomyPlus. The day before, I was delighted to see we had originally been assigned a plane with the modifications. I even called ahead to get my sister in Y plus (even though she is non-elite and on a separate reservation) and was excited to have the extra legroom. As it turned out, the bird we were transferred to was not.
However, I had been saved by the empty seat next to me. It really does make all the difference.

The interior of the 777 looked exactly as it had 2 years ago when it was a CO aircraft. The PTV even said “Welcome to Continental Airlines” on it. Ooooooookkay? Integration who?

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"Welcome Aboard Continental Airlines!" Wait......wha???

By now, it was nearing 11 PM, and I had been in transit for 12 hours already. The delay on the ground was obnoxiously long, without even a single announcement for the hold-up. Fortunately, the PTV was functional and I watched probably about ¾ of an entire film before we lifted off.

At any rate, the CO system is, by far, one of the best. Really has something for everyone and the screen is very user friendly, quick to respond, and intuitive. It does not take long to load films and audio, and you are not subject to annoying advertisements. I felt comforted. There are over 200 films in multiple languages to select from.

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Alas, I wish I would I could definitively say, “the IFE on the UA 772 is excellent for _____ reasons,” but I cannot in this case, because, well, who knows what type of frame you’re going to ultimately fly on? I have no idea what the alternative system offers on PMUA birds, or one that features the “integrated” product. So, no reviews without guarantees. Sorry about that, guys.

Finally, wheels were up!

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The crew, unfortunately, were nothing to write home about. The service, per expectations, was somewhat hasty and average. Meals were literally tossed out to the passengers. Although nice to get dinner quickly, nothing was really done with the simple things like a smile, which can go a long way. One was actually not even looking at me as she spoke harshly to her assistant, “I don’t know why [referring to one passenger] is getting all upset with me. Something about being served a non-vegetarian meal and getting the chicken and now he’s screaming for the head purser because of his religion and I can’t deal with this. I just can’t.”

Not that I wanted to eavesdrop, but that is not setting a good impression. Come on, United (or is it still Continental?) you’ve been flying this route for over seven years. Whatever happened to “go global, act local?” Understandably, some people can get defensive about religious dietary concerns, but this is not a new practice in the airline industry. If you are senior enough in your company to be flying the glamour routes, then you should be held to higher standards of professionalism and global awareness. Shame on United (Continental?)

Beverage runs were conducted prior to the meal service. Alcohol was not complimentary (not even beer and wine) which definitely needs to change. Then again, how many cocktails did I imbibe in the UA lounge prior? Having lost count, I shan’t complain  http://i1169.photobucket.com/albums/r517/Aviation_D/IMG_4086.jpg

Meal service was standard Vegetarian or Non-vegetarian. I am not vegetarian, but my rule of thumb on the long Delhi flights is to go Non-veg first, then Veg second. Something about the way the meals are cooked.

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Anyway, I’m actually shocked to report how much I inhaled the first meal. Maybe it looks unappetizing to some, but the food was actually delicious. I ordered a chicken which came with a nice, zesty Adobo sauce, a decent heap of well-cooked Mexican rice and warmed mixed vegetables. Side salad with some odd corn-and-lettuce medley (with Cucumber, Chili and Lemon) and a dish of Dahi (Indian Yogurt). Dessert was this very interesting Mango pudding with chunks of actual (or artificial, who knows it was still delicious) mango pieces. Probably loaded with sugar and calories (fine by me, I was on vacation, no diet). Although it certainly passed my test (I have low standards), I don't think Lychemsa would have approved. D minus  

Finally, usual accompaniments such as salad vinaigrette, achar mango and dinner roll.

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Oh, and I discovered this gem  

But seriously, the food was delicious. Am I some hopeless, pathetic plane foodie? I ate every crumb. Or, it could be because I was starving. Hahaha.

At any rate, I settled into a movie and popped an ambien. Right before dozing off, I received the in-flight snack from the crew which contained a vegetarian chickpea roll, a Nature Valley bar, a twix and a bottle of water.

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The "Snack" aka mediocre provisions

The flight actually proceeded quite uneventfully and very smoothly. There really isn’t much to report here other than the fact that the back of the galley were stocked with snacks for passengers, and I’m sure the crew came by with water runs every so often. Duty free probably came around whilst I was asleep, but it was open to passengers up until arrival.

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I was in line to queue to brush my teeth before one of the crew members snapped at me, “you CANNOT stand in the kitchen.” I gave her a bewildered look. I noticed it was the same crew member that had literally thrown out meals to the passengers. Not impressed.

However, other ones were a bit nicer to speak with, telling me how often they work the Delhi or Mumbai flights. Usual chit-chat.

One major drawback about this flight is that there are no exterior views outside the aircraft (at least from my vantage point in Y). The entire cabin resembles a windowless cave/dungeon because of the disjointed sleep cycles from the majority of the PAX. As such, it can feel long and depressing at times   but that's where the PTV comes as a saving grace.

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grasping for straws

An hour prior to landing, we were served the second meal. I went for the Vegetarian item this time. I chose this strategically because I knew that the non-veg option would probably consist of nasty eggs, as they usually do. On an ultra long-haul flight, I don’t trust how my GI system will react to eggs cooked on board 12+ hours after wheels up  http://i1169.photobucket.com/albums/r517/Aviation_D/IMG_4094.jpg

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Again, I was surprised by how much I enjoyed the food, haha. This time, it was a Dosai (which is a southern Indian dish, somewhat similar to a Crepe, made out of rice and lentils). It came with a tomato curry sauce and yellow Dahl (lentils). Again, I snarfed up the slightly bland but nevertheless tasty-entree. The side fruit entree left a bit much to be desired (come on, UA, throw in some watermelon and pineapple here!) but we also got a croissant and more Dahi. Tea and juice followed.

Other than that, not much else to say with regards to the final moments of the flight. Between a few hours of shut-eye, and maybe browsing through 3-4 films and collecting a jukebox to make a playlist as I slept, the flight passed uneventfully. It is truly brilliant how well-timed it is to allow for an 8 pm arrival into Delhi. It does wonders for adjusting to jetlag.


next flights: jfk-icn, icn-hkg-bkk-cdg, cdg-phl-msp
22 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineIrishAyes From United States of America, joined Jan 2008, 2208 posts, RR: 15
Reply 1, posted (2 years 1 month 1 week 4 days 17 hours ago) and read 21194 times:

Arrival

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Upon touchdown in Delhi, we taxied to the new Terminal Three at IGIA. This would be my first time inhabiting the new terminal, and I was excited to get a first glimpse of it (more on that in later TRs). The new immigration and border patrol facilities are MILES ahead from where they used to be, and the baggage claim process is FAR faster compared to my last experience at the old T2 at Palam airport.

One thing that was somewhat bothersome (and I found to be very Indian) was that some rando airport personnel was removing all “Star Priority” tagged luggage and placing them off the carousel onto the ground, except without telling anyone. That led to much confusion and disorientation and a borderline panic attack on my sister’s part in believing her luggage was lost, when in reality, somebody had removed it without bothering to tell her. Facepalm  

With that said, we were reunited with our Mum and on our way to South Delhi for three days before an onward journey to....Thailand!

Final stats:



Stay tuned for the onward trip and return TR.

Overall Impressions:

As I mentioned in my previous TR, the nonstop flights from the US to India are truly a blessing, if one can manage the experience in Y. The time savings, ease, convenience and surprisingly decent level of comfort make it worth your while. It is unfortunate that neither United nor Air India, the sole remaining two operators on the North America-India flights, are reliable or consistent carriers offering the best possible value for these very long legs. Both airlines are notoriously impaired these days by a less-than-stellar On-Time Performance (OTP) record, inconsistent levels of quality service, and productive/contented labor forces. It’s really a shame.

Alas, at least they are there. You have the lowest common denominator representations to choose from the US side and the India side to get you from point A to point B, and the market forces have left it at that and at that it shall be for the time. Perhaps better economic times or future aircraft delivery will enhance the onboard product on these sectors, or perhaps a new, more financially solvent airline will enter the market and raise the standards a bit for all the players, although truthfully, I don’t see that happening soon.

Even though I was satisfied with my overall trip, I’m still very unimpressed with the level of disarray between the newly “merged” United which, at its core, is still very much divided between two separate airlines. United still has a long, long way to go before fully considering itself as a unified carrier. While culturally remnants of the “old” PMUA still seem to be intact, it’s as if the PMCO culture still exists, except without an identifiable belonging to the name brand of the new “United” and the People who hail from that side of the arena are just kind of floating through space, going through the motions. While inevitably the cultural differences and labor forces are the most challenging aspects to marry in an airline merger, my feelings are simply that the carrier is nowhere near where it needs to be.

That being said, my previous encounter on this route was on Continental, and as such, I had poised my expectations accordingly. Not too much had changed really other than the logo on the fuselage and the call code for the flight. Otherwise, this flight was every much as PMCO as it could possibly be. Nothing about it, however, felt “United.”

Would I fly it again? Yes, for the convenience factor. Is it the best thing out there? Well, par for the course. I’ll let you guys decide  

Thanks for reading, and comments are always appreciated.

On a final note, I'd like to thank the little Electrical Outlet in the PMCO that made this TR possible!

Best,

IrishAyes



next flights: jfk-icn, icn-hkg-bkk-cdg, cdg-phl-msp
User currently offlineFlyingFan18 From United States of America, joined Apr 2012, 88 posts, RR: 0
Reply 2, posted (2 years 1 month 1 week 4 days 17 hours ago) and read 21050 times:

I just came back from BCN and hated the 8 hour flight. I have praise for you on doing an 11 hour plus flight. At least you took a sleeping pill my mistake that I didn’t. I also enjoyed the food on the plane. I don’t know why but hey it was pretty tasty. Can’t wait to see the other parts!
- Justin


User currently offlineEddieDude From Mexico, joined Nov 2003, 7592 posts, RR: 42
Reply 3, posted (2 years 1 month 1 week 4 days 13 hours ago) and read 20470 times:

Hello R! How are you doing?

Thanks a lot for taking the time to upload this report. As always, it is very interesting and very telling. Sorry to hear you confirmed the mediocrity of U.S. carriers on long haul services (and that you had to hear the whining of FAs who are clearly not suitable for the job), but I am glad you had an empty seat next to you!

I found it appalling that beer and wine were not complimentary on this flight. I was under the impression that UA had complimentary wine and beer service in Y in trans-oceanic flights. I believe DL does, doesn't it?

Look forward to reading your reports on the Swiss flights. I bet you had very good flights!



Next flights: MEX-GRU (AM 77E), GRU-GIG (JJ A320), SDU-CGH (G3 73H), GRU-MEX (JJ A332).
User currently offlineplaniac787 From India, joined May 2012, 240 posts, RR: 0
Reply 4, posted (2 years 1 month 1 week 4 days 8 hours ago) and read 19940 times:

Ahh! Well worth the wait i say! Great TR buddy! I think you overall had the same experience I did on my flight few months back.
The only exception may have been that the cabin crew were extremely friendly and professional during my flight.. I am glad you got good food.. I was disappointed with food service I had gotten.. It could have been better. Also I most certainly agree with you about the IFE system.. United is doing great job with it.. The touch screen though was a problem.. Did you experience that too? What was the flight load?

Looking forward to more trip reports!

Cheers!!
Pradat.



Be the change you want to see in the world- M.K.Gandhi
User currently offlineMSS658 From Belgium, joined Oct 2010, 2474 posts, RR: 16
Reply 5, posted (2 years 1 month 1 week 4 days 6 hours ago) and read 19854 times:

Hi

Good report, thanks for sharing it with us. Nice to see some PMCO heading around! Too bad about that one F/A.

UA 82/83 EWR-DEL always goes out as PMCO, only flights starting with 8xx or 9xx are PMUA with Economy+


Greetings
Marc



Next trip report: Well worn A330s and Hassle free MUC transfer
User currently offlineskyhawk707 From United States of America, joined Oct 2010, 6 posts, RR: 0
Reply 6, posted (2 years 1 month 1 week 4 days 3 hours ago) and read 19854 times:

Hi Irish,

Great TR   Looking forward to the next parts of Thailand and your trip back from Zurich

Like FlyingFan, I just got back from ZRH on a direct flight to LAX. 12h 15m. Ugghh, but i'm glutton for punishment and now looking to go to London next Feb. I know your feeling about being couped up for such a long time. The only difference is it seems that the UA/Cont   seem to have a better IFE than Swiss. Swiss only had a few good titles and the rest were very bland. As for the food, as all the rest said, there gotta be something that makes food taste better at altitude because in any normal situation, I would not touch the food.. LOL

Best Regards,

Mike


User currently offlineFlyingFan18 From United States of America, joined Apr 2012, 88 posts, RR: 0
Reply 7, posted (2 years 1 month 1 week 4 days 2 hours ago) and read 19854 times:

Quoting skyhawk707 (Reply 6):

Your lucky you had TVs at least… AA is all I gotta say.
- Justin


User currently offlineIrishAyes From United States of America, joined Jan 2008, 2208 posts, RR: 15
Reply 8, posted (2 years 1 month 1 week 4 days 2 hours ago) and read 19854 times:

Quoting FlyingFan18 (Reply 2):
Can’t wait to see the other parts!

Thanks, Justin! I appreciate the commentary.

Quoting EddieDude (Reply 3):
I found it appalling that beer and wine were not complimentary on this flight. I was under the impression that UA had complimentary wine and beer service in Y in trans-oceanic flights. I believe DL does, doesn't it?

Hi Eddie! Thanks for the comments. Yeah, the lack of complimentary beer/wine situation is an issue. UA provides it on their TPAC flights that are former PMUA routes/birds (I think even liquor is free?) but based on what I've heard, all TATL PMUA flights and all PMCO flights, irrespective of route, do not serve complimentary alcohol. It is a really a huge shame.

Quoting planiac787 (Reply 4):
The only exception may have been that the cabin crew were extremely friendly and professional during my flight.. I am glad you got good food..

It was a mixed bag in our case. I just happened to interact with one that was the most "American" of the batch.

Quoting planiac787 (Reply 4):
The touch screen though was a problem.. Did you experience that too? What was the flight load?

Nahh, I didn't have any issues from what I recall? Your IFE looks the same as mine, but yours was one of the fold-out ones, whereas mine was In-Seat. Do you think that may have been the issue?

Quoting MSS658 (Reply 5):
UA 82/83 EWR-DEL always goes out as PMCO, only flights starting with 8xx or 9xx are PMUA with Economy+

Ahh, I see. Thanks for the clarification. But, there are still PMCO birds that have the mods with Y+ in them, correct? I mean, based on the info I saw on United.com and my call with the res agent the day prior, it seemed as though our bird was going to indeed offer Y+.

Quoting skyhawk707 (Reply 6):
The only difference is it seems that the UA/Cont   seem to have a better IFE than Swiss. Swiss only had a few good titles and the rest were very bland.

YES. The IFE on LX was a HUGE let down. Especially because I flew them back-to-back on two 8 hour segments. I was bored to tears midway through my second flight. Hold that thought...more on that later  
Quoting skyhawk707 (Reply 6):
As for the food, as all the rest said, there gotta be something that makes food taste better at altitude because in any normal situation, I would not touch the food.. LOL

No kidding! Just kind of like hospital food lol.

Quoting FlyingFan18 (Reply 7):
Your lucky you had TVs at least… AA is all I gotta say.
- Justin

Yeah, seriously. Although, I refuse to fly on an AA 767 on a flight over 3 hours in Y. Then again, I did survive the DL 763 to GRU without too much of an issue...



Thanks again guys for reading and the comments!



next flights: jfk-icn, icn-hkg-bkk-cdg, cdg-phl-msp
User currently onlinelychemsa From United States of America, joined Oct 2009, 1219 posts, RR: 3
Reply 9, posted (2 years 1 month 1 week 4 days ago) and read 19854 times:

This is the first time in 25 years that I see Continental / UNITED serving a "decent meal" in Y.

That's one reason I only fly UA on Award tickets. They also ripp off on Excess Baggage Fees. BA / AA charge a flat $60 while UA charge about $140 with no explanation.

I am flying to London on UA next week at 9 AM. In general on this flight a lousy lunch is served at 10 AM. AA at least serve a decent breakfast instead of "lunch.".

It will more than likely consist of pieces of lettuce and a cookie for desert.

What must I do to get what you got? I think they offer Hindu meals. If I order that maybe I will be lucky to get what you got but I have a funny feeling they serve better meals to India as they compete with JET and Air India.


User currently offlinechicawgo From United States of America, joined Nov 2011, 87 posts, RR: 0
Reply 10, posted (2 years 1 month 1 week 3 days ago) and read 18917 times:

Nice TR. I have had great experiences with food on sUA planes but not on sCO planes. I'm glad to hear it wasn't so bad on sCO. As I understand it... they've recently streamlined their food offerings across the entire "new" UA. Is this true?

User currently offlinetommy767 From United States of America, joined Aug 2003, 6660 posts, RR: 9
Reply 11, posted (2 years 1 month 1 week 1 day 2 hours ago) and read 17726 times:

Great pics! I'm sorry, but the food looks lousy. Standard sCO fare.

Quoting MSS658 (Reply 5):
Good report, thanks for sharing it with us. Nice to see some PMCO heading around! Too bad about that one F/A.

There should be no CO headings anymore. The merger has been completed for months.



"KEEP CLIMBING" -- DELTA
User currently offlinepnqiad From India, joined May 2006, 586 posts, RR: 0
Reply 12, posted (2 years 1 month 1 week 1 day 2 hours ago) and read 17716 times:

Nice TR and pics....which mobile app is the one you had screen shots of?

User currently offlineIrishAyes From United States of America, joined Jan 2008, 2208 posts, RR: 15
Reply 13, posted (2 years 1 month 1 week 1 hour ago) and read 16953 times:

Quoting lychemsa (Reply 9):

This is the first time in 25 years that I see Continental / UNITED serving a "decent meal" in Y.

Decent is a liberal stretch, but it wasn't bad  
Quoting lychemsa (Reply 9):
I am flying to London on UA next week at 9 AM. In general on this flight a lousy lunch is served at 10 AM. AA at least serve a decent breakfast instead of "lunch.".

Please tell me how it went. I heard AA serves a "brunch" on their morning ORDLHR flight which looks really good. They serve like, pancakes and stuff.

Can you PLEASE write another TR? Yours are HILARIOUS. I still re-read your AC EWR-GVA TR from time to time (absent the mishap with the bag) because it was written from such a brilliant angle. It honestly lifts my mood when I'm having a sh*tty day.

Quoting lychemsa (Reply 9):
What must I do to get what you got? I think they offer Hindu meals. If I order that maybe I will be lucky to get what you got but I have a funny feeling they serve better meals to India as they compete with JET and Air India.

Oy man, I wouldn't be THAT desperate. On the DEL flights, UA has to raise the standards a bit with the default vegetarian meal offering. I've never ordered a special meal before, but I'd imagine it's probably not the most delicious.

Quoting chicawgo (Reply 10):
Nice TR. I have had great experiences with food on sUA planes but not on sCO planes. I'm glad to hear it wasn't so bad on sCO. As I understand it... they've recently streamlined their food offerings across the entire "new" UA. Is this true?

No idea. Can someone vouch for this? Even if their food was aligned, their product otherwise was completely different.

Quoting tommy767 (Reply 11):
Great pics! I'm sorry, but the food looks lousy. Standard sCO fare.

To each his own.

Quoting tommy767 (Reply 11):
There should be no CO headings anymore. The merger has been completed for months.

Ha. Yeah, let's start with a laundry list of items that should be "integrated" at this stage in the game and see what we come up with.

Quoting pnqiad (Reply 12):
Nice TR and pics....which mobile app is the one you had screen shots of?

FlightTrack as designed by Mobiata. PHENOMENAL app. Highly recommend it. A lot of the TRs here like to include real-time data on their flight logs, and since I am diligent about FlightMemory, the app is great for recording that information. It can also date back several months!!!!

http://www.mobiata.com/



next flights: jfk-icn, icn-hkg-bkk-cdg, cdg-phl-msp
User currently onlinelychemsa From United States of America, joined Oct 2009, 1219 posts, RR: 3
Reply 14, posted (2 years 1 month 6 days 23 hours ago) and read 16780 times:

That flight on AIR CANADA was the most traumatic experience of my life time travels.

Every time I wait for my luggage I am a nervous wreck. 6 months ago in Punta Cana I thought I was the last passenger and I automatically took a black suitcase thinking it was mine.

A man ran after me shouting "wait, wait." It was his. The poor guy told me "I tried everything I could to make sure no one took it by putting labels and ribbons on it."

I was so embarrassed. Thank God he stopped me just in time. That's the problem having a black suitcase. I am going to try to buy a yellow or pink one.


User currently offlinemvecchi4 From Venezuela, joined Apr 2012, 89 posts, RR: 0
Reply 15, posted (2 years 1 month 5 days 23 hours ago) and read 16198 times:

Hey all!,

I thoroughly enjoyed this report. Thanks so much for sharing.

Quoting IrishAyes (Reply 13):
FlightTrack as designed by Mobiata. PHENOMENAL app. Highly recommend it. A lot of the TRs here like to include real-time data on their flight logs, and since I am diligent about FlightMemory, the app is great for recording that information. It can also date back several months!!!!

Thanks for this. This will help my memory so much!.

Quoting IrishAyes (Reply 8):
Hi Eddie! Thanks for the comments. Yeah, the lack of complimentary beer/wine situation is an issue. UA provides it on their TPAC flights that are former PMUA routes/birds (I think even liquor is free?) but based on what I've heard, all TATL PMUA flights and all PMCO flights, irrespective of route, do not serve complimentary alcohol. It is a really a huge shame.

I noticed AA restarted their complimentary Beer and Wine on international flights. Pherhaps this will be cascaded to the rest of the Legacy Carriers?.

Quoting lychemsa (Reply 14):
That flight on AIR CANADA was the most traumatic experience of my life time travels.

Not that I'm proud of it or anything. But I would invite you to book an adventure with Aserca Venezuela. You might be surprised.

Once again. Thanks for sharing. Looking forward to more of your TRs.

Regards,

Miguel.


User currently onlinelychemsa From United States of America, joined Oct 2009, 1219 posts, RR: 3
Reply 16, posted (2 years 1 month 5 days 22 hours ago) and read 16141 times:

Have you been to Angel Falls? I always wanted to go there.

User currently offlineadamspotter From Netherlands, joined Feb 2011, 1167 posts, RR: 12
Reply 17, posted (2 years 1 month 5 days 20 hours ago) and read 16088 times:
Support Airliners.net - become a First Class Member!

Hi IrishAyes,

Nice report, thanks for sharing!
EWR-DEL is quite an interesting and long route, looks like you had an overall ok flight here.
The food looks quite ok for economy food. Quite interesting to still see all the Continental branding.

Quoting IrishAyes (Thread starter):
The snack box

Looks quite nice, how much does it usually cost?

cheers,

Brendan


User currently offlineflightsimboy From Canada, joined Sep 2005, 1294 posts, RR: 4
Reply 18, posted (2 years 1 month 5 days 2 hours ago) and read 15755 times:
Support Airliners.net - become a First Class Member!

Hi IrishAyes,

Another great report and truly enjoyed reading it...

Quoting IrishAyes (Thread starter):
Our Thailand destination of choice was Koh Samui, located on the Eastern side of the peninsula (separate TR).
Quoting IrishAyes (Thread starter):
The SWISS portions will also be covered in a separate TR.

Looking forward to these whenever they are ready!!

Quoting IrishAyes (Thread starter):
Although not the most time-efficient, this plan did generate significant cost savings and had us together for the majority of the journey (one of the critical elements that needed to be fulfilled in order for our Dad to give us the green light to travel).

Nice to see these traditional values still existing in this part of the world!!

Quoting IrishAyes (Thread starter):
I HIGHLY recommend taking a tour if you’re ever visiting or based in Chicago.

But then you would need to introduce us to your friend!!

Quoting IrishAyes (Thread starter):
I’m a huge sucker for the United Snackbox Buy-On-Board products (I know) but I’ve also been lucky several times in receiving these items free of charge. Today was another one of those days as the scanner malfunctioned. It was a nice bonus considering all I had consumed that day was a coffee and a protein shake in the morning in the midst of my morning hustle-and-bustle.

Did this result in others getting this for free too, who probably had to have their Status cards scanned? Not sure what was scanned here.

Quoting IrishAyes (Thread starter):
The snack box is quite yummy, and contains various assorted crackers, cheese spread, hummus, almonds, olives, roasted pepper bruschetta, and chocolate-covered blueberries.

That SnackBox has a lot of stuff in it.....chocolate covered blueberries....I'm not so sure about that one.

Quoting IrishAyes (Thread starter):
Putting the "EW" in Newark
Quoting IrishAyes (Thread starter):
catch my flight to O’Scare

Now what do you have for the other US airports lol

Quoting IrishAyes (Thread starter):
How cute/sentimental was it that it just happened to be Rakhi day 2012 when we landed in Delhi? Here I was, the good younger brother chaperoning his placated sister with Wine and Cheese before the ULH flight.

A very appropriate day indeed for both brother and sister to land in India on that auspicious day.

Quoting IrishAyes (Thread starter):
When they announced that our flight was boarding, we left the lounge and made a few duty free purchases (sigh, the Indian “gifts” that keep on giving in the form of Johnnie Walker Black)

Ah yes, the gifts to take back home lol

Quoting IrishAyes (Thread starter):
Despite the hold-up, boarding was amusing. Our flight was also boarding next to the flight to Sao Paulo. I had traveled to GRU earlier this year, and I am obsessed with Brasil, so this was kind of a neat surprise My worlds were colliding!

What a coincidence indeed

Quoting IrishAyes (Thread starter):
Indians are notoriously bad about following instructions for the queue. One agent (who probably deals with this twice a day on the DEL and BOM flights) remarked, “ladies and gentleman, please calm down, we’re all going to the same place on the same plane.”

Some other "traditional" values displayed on these flights for sure.....but then I think this is also displayed with other non-traditional passengers too lol

Quoting IrishAyes (Thread starter):
The PTV even said “Welcome to Continental Airlines” on it. Ooooooookkay? Integration who?
Quoting IrishAyes (Thread starter):
Fortunately, the PTV was functional and I watched probably about ¾ of an entire film before we lifted off.

Nice that you could watch a movie before you even took off.

Quoting IrishAyes (Thread starter):
One was actually not even looking at me as she spoke harshly to her assistant, “I don’t know why [referring to one passenger] is getting all upset with me. Something about being served a non-vegetarian meal and getting the chicken and now he’s screaming for the head purser because of his religion and I can’t deal with this. I just can’t.”

Not that I wanted to eavesdrop, but that is not setting a good impression. Come on, United (or is it still Continental?) you’ve been flying this route for over seven years. Whatever happened to “go global, act local?” Understandably, some people can get defensive about religious dietary concerns, but this is not a new practice in the airline industry. If you are senior enough in your company to be flying the glamour routes, then you should be held to higher standards of professionalism and global awareness. Shame on United (Continental?)

For these sectors they need to hire FAs that are either from the destination or those based in the carrier's origin destination. There is a need to have culturally understanding FAs on board, rather than those who do not understand it. Or if they do, then the necessary training needs to be provided accordingly to be culturally sensitive to the passengers needs on board.

Quoting IrishAyes (Thread starter):
I ordered a chicken which came with a nice, zesty Adobo sauce, a decent heap of well-cooked Mexican rice and warmed mixed vegetables. Side salad with some odd corn-and-lettuce medley (with Cucumber, Chili and Lemon) and a dish of Dahi (Indian Yogurt). Dessert was this very interesting Mango pudding with chunks of actual (or artificial, who knows it was still delicious) mango pieces. Probably loaded with sugar and calories (fine by me, I was on vacation, no diet).

Where is the chicken in that dish? That was a lot of stuff on offer.

Quoting IrishAyes (Thread starter):
Finally, usual accompaniments such as salad vinaigrette, achar mango and dinner roll.

Those pickles must have left quite the tangy and spicy fragrance in the air lol

Quoting IrishAyes (Thread starter):
I was in line to queue to brush my teeth before one of the crew members snapped at me, “you CANNOT stand in the kitchen.” I gave her a bewildered look. I noticed it was the same crew member that had literally thrown out meals to the passengers. Not impressed.

Again, the need to have FAs who understand the needs of their passengers.

Quoting IrishAyes (Thread starter):
An hour prior to landing, we were served the second meal. I went for the Vegetarian item this time. I chose this strategically because I knew that the non-veg option would probably consist of nasty eggs, as they usually do. On an ultra long-haul flight, I don’t trust how my GI system will react to eggs cooked on board 12+ hours after wheels up

I must take this into account. But then again I am not sure if I would opt for a vegeterian option, unless it is something I am quite familiar with.

Quoting IrishAyes (Thread starter):
One thing that was somewhat bothersome (and I found to be very Indian) was that some rando airport personnel was removing all “Star Priority” tagged luggage and placing them off the carousel onto the ground, except without telling anyone. That led to much confusion and disorientation and a borderline panic attack on my sister’s part in believing her luggage was lost, when in reality, somebody had removed it without bothering to tell her. Facepalm

I think the reason they do this is to free the carousel, but why is there the need to remove the "Star Priority" baggage tags. Perhaps to draw less attention to those when compared to the other bags (also taken off the carousel) that are lying around it. The less "auspicious" you appear when you land at those airports, the better it is for you later when leaving the airport to be hassled.

Quoting IrishAyes (Thread starter):
As I mentioned in my previous TR, the nonstop flights from the US to India are truly a blessing, if one can manage the experience in Y. The time savings, ease, convenience and surprisingly decent level of comfort make it worth your while.

I hope someday to do the non-stop with PIA to Karachi. That would be so mind blowing considering I usually travel with either two stops in the past, to one stop currently, to non-stop.

Quoting IrishAyes (Thread starter):
It is unfortunate that neither United nor Air India, the sole remaining two operators on the North America-India flights, are reliable or consistent carriers offering the best possible value for these very long legs. Both airlines are notoriously impaired these days by a less-than-stellar On-Time Performance (OTP) record, inconsistent levels of quality service, and productive/contented labor forces. It’s really a shame.

I guess both realise no matter whatever service they provide there will always be a need by people flying this route to opt for the non-stop.


User currently offlineIrishAyes From United States of America, joined Jan 2008, 2208 posts, RR: 15
Reply 19, posted (2 years 1 month 3 days 16 hours ago) and read 15298 times:

Quoting lychemsa (Reply 14):
I was so embarrassed. Thank God he stopped me just in time. That's the problem having a black suitcase. I am going to try to buy a yellow or pink one.

Hahaha you seriously crack me up. Half the time I don't even think you're being intentional, either!

Quoting mvecchi4 (Reply 15):
I thoroughly enjoyed this report. Thanks so much for sharing.

Thank you for the comments!

Quoting mvecchi4 (Reply 15):
Thanks for this. This will help my memory so much!.

Anytime! It's a phenomenal app. Mobiata has done an excellent job designing their inflight tools in conjunction with Expedia. Another one I highly suggest is FlightBoard.

Quoting mvecchi4 (Reply 15):
I noticed AA restarted their complimentary Beer and Wine on international flights. Pherhaps this will be cascaded to the rest of the Legacy Carriers?.

Delta also serves free beer and wine in YCL on most flights over 6 hours. I'm flying UA intra-Asia in a few weeks (although on PMCO routes) so I'm curious to see what the "new" policies are...

Quoting adamspotter (Reply 17):
Nice report, thanks for sharing!
EWR-DEL is quite an interesting and long route, looks like you had an overall ok flight here.
The food looks quite ok for economy food. Quite interesting to still see all the Continental branding.

Thanks, Adam! I loved your DL and KL TRs. Sounds like your trip to the states was a fun one!

The food was fine. Nothing out of the ordinary but not horrible.

Quoting adamspotter (Reply 17):
Looks quite nice, how much does it usually cost?

I think it's like $8.97 or something like that. Really good value, actually, considering how much food you get. If that was sold on the ground at airport concessions, it would be at least $15 USD.

Quoting flightsimboy (Reply 18):
Another great report and truly enjoyed reading it...

Thanks flightsimboy, that's a huge compliment coming from you.

Quoting flightsimboy (Reply 18):
But then you would need to introduce us to your friend!!

Oh, but of course! He is a great guy.

Quoting flightsimboy (Reply 18):
Did this result in others getting this for free too, who probably had to have their Status cards scanned? Not sure what was scanned here.

Wasn't paying attention. This isn't the first time it has happened to me, either.

Quoting flightsimboy (Reply 18):
That SnackBox has a lot of stuff in it.....chocolate covered blueberries....I'm not so sure about that one.

It was hidden under the other food. Whoops...

Quoting flightsimboy (Reply 18):
Now what do you have for the other US airports lol

Oh ho, I have plenty!! I love puns.

Quoting flightsimboy (Reply 18):
A very appropriate day indeed for both brother and sister to land in India on that auspicious day.

Indeed. She and I are very close.

Quoting flightsimboy (Reply 18):
Some other "traditional" values displayed on these flights for sure.....but then I think this is also displayed with other non-traditional passengers too lol

It goes without saying, "you can take the dude out of India but you can't take India out of the dude."

Quoting flightsimboy (Reply 18):
Nice that you could watch a movie before you even took off.

Yeah no kidding, otherwise I would have probably gone nuts. I don't think Continental (United?) or whatever "airline" I was flying that day really cared. Other carriers like LX and AF wait until your airborn before they turn on their systems (not that theirs are comparatively any good anyway).

Quoting flightsimboy (Reply 18):
For these sectors they need to hire FAs that are either from the destination or those based in the carrier's origin destination. There is a need to have culturally understanding FAs on board, rather than those who do not understand it. Or if they do, then the necessary training needs to be provided accordingly to be culturally sensitive to the passengers needs on board.

Sigh. That would be nice. I had yet to see any signs of a hindi-speaking FA on either of my ewrdel or delewr flight (from 2010). The only "Indian" thing on this flight other than the passenger makeup and the hindu-veg meal offering was Hindi subtitles on the safety demonstration video.

Quoting flightsimboy (Reply 18):
Where is the chicken in that dish? That was a lot of stuff on offer.

Underneath the adobo sauce. Quite yummy.

Quoting flightsimboy (Reply 18):
I think the reason they do this is to free the carousel, but why is there the need to remove the "Star Priority" baggage tags. Perhaps to draw less attention to those when compared to the other bags (also taken off the carousel) that are lying around it. The less "auspicious" you appear when you land at those airports, the better it is for you later when leaving the airport to be hassled.

Whatever the justification, I felt like it only complicated matters, but I'll reiterate - Indians love to constantly just mess with things, especially other people's personal property.

Quoting flightsimboy (Reply 18):
I hope someday to do the non-stop with PIA to Karachi. That would be so mind blowing considering I usually travel with either two stops in the past, to one stop currently, to non-stop.

Aaw. You should!! You are based in Toronto. I thought PIA flew direct from YYZ to Karachi/Islamabad/Lahore?? Too bad PIA is somewhat of a mess these days as well.

Quoting flightsimboy (Reply 18):
I guess both realise no matter whatever service they provide there will always be a need by people flying this route to opt for the non-stop.

True. However, both of these carriers need to clean up their acts if they want to stay in business. Especially Air India, but United is really in a state of disarray themselves.



next flights: jfk-icn, icn-hkg-bkk-cdg, cdg-phl-msp
User currently offlineORDnHKG From United States of America, joined Jul 2009, 191 posts, RR: 0
Reply 20, posted (2 years 4 weeks 10 hours ago) and read 14242 times:

Quoting IrishAyes (Thread starter):
The side fruit entree left a bit much to be desired (come on, UA, throw in some watermelon and pineapple here!)

You should be glad PMCO's catering prevail after the merger, as PMUA doesn't even give any fruits at all for the second meal for any TPAC routes !

Quoting chicawgo (Reply 10):
Nice TR. I have had great experiences with food on sUA planes but not on sCO planes. I'm glad to hear it wasn't so bad on sCO. As I understand it... they've recently streamlined their food offerings across the entire "new" UA. Is this true?

Really ? I guess you haven't flown any PMUA TPAC routes at all. PMUA Y meal was good about 10 years ago, but after PMUA's bankruptcy, it has gone downhill every since until the merger with PMCO. On PMCO TPAC routes, there were cheeseburger, hot beef wrap, ice-cream for mid-flight snack. PMUA went from instant noodles with banana and cookie to a plastic wrap cold sandwhich, bag of chips with cookie. Then PMUA first meal went from entree, appetizer, salad, dessert, to entree, salad, and pre-packaged brownie ! Second meal was even worse, the fruits appetizer and ciinamon roll completely gone and replace with a pastry !

Not to mention, I know for a fact for PMCO's TPAC routes, they serve wonton noodle soup in a big bowl for mid-flight snack in C ! PMUA is the same kind of instant noodle serve in Y for both F and C !

So how could you even say PMUA 's food is better than PMCO ?


User currently offlinechicawgo From United States of America, joined Nov 2011, 87 posts, RR: 0
Reply 21, posted (2 years 3 weeks 1 day 23 hours ago) and read 13511 times:

Quoting ORDnHKG (Reply 20):
Really ? I guess you haven't flown any PMUA TPAC routes at all. PMUA Y meal was good about 10 years ago, but after PMUA's bankruptcy, it has gone downhill every since until the merger with PMCO. On PMCO TPAC routes, there were cheeseburger, hot beef wrap, ice-cream for mid-flight snack. PMUA went from instant noodles with banana and cookie to a plastic wrap cold sandwhich, bag of chips with cookie. Then PMUA first meal went from entree, appetizer, salad, dessert, to entree, salad, and pre-packaged brownie ! Second meal was even worse, the fruits appetizer and ciinamon roll completely gone and replace with a pastry !

Not to mention, I know for a fact for PMCO's TPAC routes, they serve wonton noodle soup in a big bowl for mid-flight snack in C ! PMUA is the same kind of instant noodle serve in Y for both F and C !

So how could you even say PMUA 's food is better than PMCO ?

Obviously there is going to be variation. I was writing about my experience... not yours. So you're entitled to your opinion. The most recent blatant example I can think of is when I flew ORD-LIR and had a very enjoyable meal in pmUA F with salad, soup, entree, roll, and cookie. Coming home on pmCO was the worst airline meal I have EVER seen. My beef was so burnt and shriveled that I actually originally thought it was a portobello mushroom!


User currently offlineIrishAyes From United States of America, joined Jan 2008, 2208 posts, RR: 15
Reply 22, posted (2 years 3 weeks 1 day 23 hours ago) and read 13501 times:

Quoting ORDnHKG (Reply 20):
You should be glad PMCO's catering prevail after the merger, as PMUA doesn't even give any fruits at all for the second meal for any TPAC routes !

EWRDEL is considered a TATL route.

Even still, the fruit portions were MUCH larger and plentiful when I flew this route operated by "PMCO" two years ago, during the SAME summer period. "United" is obviously skimping out here.

Honeydew melon sucks, anyways. It's the part of the fruit salad that nobody likes, but is there just to take up space and add color. But since this is not a fruit salad, in 2012, UA (or is it CO?) has no excuse to not serve good fruits like Pineapple and Watermelon like they used to.



next flights: jfk-icn, icn-hkg-bkk-cdg, cdg-phl-msp
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