Sean-SAN- From United States of America, joined Aug 2002, 752 posts, RR: 1 Posted (10 years 1 month 2 weeks 6 days 10 hours ago) and read 5505 times:
I decided to take another trip to NYC, this time for spring break. Even though I live in San Diego, UA was having unbeatable fares to NYC (only via LGA) from Los Angeles.. besides, it's possibly my last chance to fly UA, or a 747 domestic flight.
Also, as a loyal AA and HP flyer I decided to give UA a chance. It's always interesting to fly new airlines and compare their strength and weaknesses.
747, Business class, upper deck
The flight was surprisingly full in all classes, I'd say around 75%. Looked like most of the business class were upgrades like myself. Having never flown UA before, I was surprised the safety announcement was done by the flight attendants, and not with the TV monitors. When the flight attendant put on the life vest and blew into the tubes I got flashbacks of Chris Farley in "Black Sheep". Anyways, the plane was clean, and pullback was ontime. Takeoff roll was quite short; I'm sure the 747 was much lighter than normal due to the short flight. Here's a video of the takeoff:
Before takeoff, we were offered water or OJ (plastic cup). Due to turbulence, the FA's waited about 15 minutes before offering the first round of drinks... Shortly after came lunch. The only choice was a make-it-yourself sandwich:
It was pretty good, and filling. Not bad for a 1.5 hour flight. At the same time, video started playing on the PTV. Movies weren't shown, however 4 channels of short shows were on. Nothing very interesting. I was surprised how small the screens were, they seemed slightly smaller then other airlines.
The rest of the flight was fine, however the FA's pretty much stood in the galley and only offered re-fills once more. The approach into Denver was nice since there was quite a bit of snow on the mountains... a nice contrast to Southern California.
The Denver terminal is new & nice, however, there's a cold, almost mechanical feeling about UA and this airport that’s hard to describe, but a bit weird. I'm probably just used to seeing red & blue AA signs.
The flight was pretty mundane, the upgrades didn’t clear so we were stuck in econ +. (We were #4 and 10 on the upgrade queue, although there was a deadheading pilot in first). The seats had ample leg room, however, food service was lacking. We were offered a snack mix, which was less substantial then the coach meal offered on the similar HP PHX-JFK flights.
Anyways, I slept through the movie and the flight landed on time.
757 First Class
This time the upgrade did clear. The frontline staff at LGA was noticeable more friendly and helpful compared to LAX. Again, the plane was clean and we left on time. Oddly, our flight was headed by the same batty flight attendant five days earlier on DEN-LGA. We were offered pre-drinks (water or OJ, plastic) and the flight left on time. Shortly after takeoff, drinks were offered, and meals were offered according to status. I snagged the last chicken salad, everyone else made due with another make-your-own sandwich. My friend woke up, and I ended up giving him the salad and taking the sandwich, which was better then the one offered on LAX-DEN. The roll was warmed, and the condiments were nicer including cake instead of a little cookie on LAX-DEN.
I liked UA's first class product, and it's probably superior to AA and HP. The seat was very comfortable, and offered more legroom the HP. AA offers better vodka IMO (UA offers Findlandia), but I usually get Bailey's anyways.
747 Business Class lower deck
This flight was probably only 25-30% full. Business class was about 60% full, and first class had 7 people -- all UA pilots in full uniform except one person who was probably still a non-rev. This flight offered no food, which was odd since the LAX-DEN leg did, and the timing was about the same. I wasn't too hungry anyways. Drinks were offered before TO, (water or OJ, plastic) and the flight took off ontime. After TO, the flight attendants offered drinks and 3 bags of peanuts (I guess to compensate for the lack of food). BTW, I think the UA peanuts suck, the bag is mixed with pretzels and the nuts are low quality. The seat was comfortable, and noticeably more legroom was offered compared to my BA business class flight. I could stick my foot out and not touch the seat in front, and I'm 6'. The UA (female) FA was cute, while I was sleeping she came and asked my friend if I needed anything to drink, and implied we were boyfriends... hehe.. anyways, it was funny.
Still sleepy... but not too early for booze!
Overall, I liked my UA flights. I love the 747 service on such a short route as well. Hopefully UA will survive and continue to offer good (but not great) service. A few notes: AA offers noise canceling headsets, UA doesn’t. UA's seats are more comfortable to AA or HP. UA's terminals are rather cold looking compared to other airlines...
Continental From United States of America, joined Jun 2000, 5476 posts, RR: 21 Reply 2, posted (10 years 1 month 2 weeks 5 days 16 hours ago) and read 5033 times:
Nice report! I love it when there's pics and movies. I have to disagree one thing, not ALL of UAL's terminals are cold and scary... Have you been to ORD? I don't know what terminal but it has a glass room, and I fly Lufthansa out of it, is dominated by UA and it's AWESOME!
Jsnww81 From United States of America, joined Jan 2002, 1855 posts, RR: 17 Reply 3, posted (10 years 1 month 2 weeks 5 days 13 hours ago) and read 4984 times:
Great report... I'm a big fan of attached photos and movies. I finally got a digital camera so I can include pictures in my own report - my next acquisition will hopefully be a digital camcorder.
I've gotta agree with you about the Denver airport. I've only been through there once - in March of 1995, about four days after it opened. The entire place was antiseptically clean, very sterile, and bland. As old as Stapleton was, it had more character. The United terminal there was fairly modern, but was at least colorful and had more natural light.