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LHR-SFO-LHR With United  
User currently offlineJaspike From United Kingdom, joined Feb 2008, 1 posts, RR: 2
Posted (12 years 6 days 23 hours ago) and read 17412 times:

United Airlines - UA955
9th April 2004
Boeing 777-200
Scheduled departure time: 10:05
Actual departure time: 09:45
Scheduled arrival time: 12:55
Actual arrival time: 12:20

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Photo © Michael Catchpole
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Photo © Andrew Hunt - AirTeamImages

I knew this was going to be a long day, and it was! My day started at 2am when I got up for the drive down to T3 at Heathrow. I got there at around 7am when I went to zone G to check-in for UA955 to San Francisco. The check-in area seemed nice - it was quite empty, but there were plenty of United staff around giving out luggage labels and helping with crowd control, even though at this time there were no crowds to control. At check-in they asked the usual security questions, then I headed up the escalator towards security.

Security seemed tight  Smile After a passport and boarding card check, I went through and joined the long winding queue. The security area is huge - especially when compared to places like EMA & BHX! I got through with no problems as usual, while other people were getting searched all over, shoes being removed etc.

Then I was in the departure lounge. It seemed fine, a good selection of shops and plenty of seats. It was quite busy, with people heading all over the world on the morning flights and cleaners running around cleaning up.

I was impressed with the screens showing the departing flights, very modern! Nothing like those crappy blue, yellow and white screens at EMA  Laugh out loud

The time came (eventually) to head to the gate, which I think was gate 15. So far T3 looked quite nice, but when I turned the corner after leaving the departure lounge, it looked awful. No ceiling tiles, just a view up into the roof, the floor was patchy and had tape all over it in some places, and the walls looked like they'd been bashed quite a bit. I turned left, going past a few posh looking airline lounges, to get onto the escalator which would take lazy old me nearer to the gates  Smile

This took quite a while, but there were good views out of the windows on either side of a variety of airlines which I'd never seen before 'in person'.

I got to the end and turned left, heading down this wide corridor with a nasty carpet and bland, bare walls. Nothing like the marble floored de parture area in many Spanish airports. This was awful! First impressions always count, so I dread to think what image thousands of foreigners get of London and the UK as a whole! Are there any plans to modernise T3?! I can remember T2 was slighty nicer, with photos of aircraft on the walls  Big thumbs up Good taste  Big grin

Got to the gate, and there was an attempt to make it look modern - shiny metal all around the doorway. After a while there was movement and a couple of women came out with pointless little United desks on wheels (looked pathetic and strange to be totally honest). They were pointless, they were totally unnecessary! A very long queue formed at one desk, so I didn't follow like a sheep, I went for the much shorter queue and went into the gate
area where my boarding card etc. was checked again and then I went through and sat down.

Along by the window there were a few tables with a few security guards going through peoples bags and shoes. After a few minutes it seemed that everyone had to go through this - but they didn't ask me. I must look innocent  Smile Which, I must add, I am..  Big grin

Boarding for the posh people, I mean people in first class, proudly went through door A and onto the front entrance of the plane. Then the rest of us when called all descended on door B to get onto the aircraft. My first time on a 777! I was in 39H, pretty near the back. I walked through the nice looking business class towards the back of the aircraft. I was surprised at how spacious the cabin was, higher than I thought it would be too.

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The seats were quite comfy, but not as comfy as Aeroflot's 734. Though they seemed great compared with my last flight - Ryanair. I turned on the map, and we were in London!  Laugh out loud Ryanair should get this..  Big grin It also said 'United welcomes you' with a few random images and the new United logo.

We pushed back and taxiied around, going past the T5 building site where we stopped to wait for a few aircraft to land. While we were waiting, they did the safety demo and checked that we were all belted in. After take off drinks came around. I noticed that after seeing the new BA uniform, the United uniform was nothing special at all. Very basic and boring.

Entertainment seemed fine, a choice of a few films and a few TV channels which were all repeated every 2 hours, and 20+ radio stations, inluding the famous channel 9  Smile I listened to that on and off until we were over Iceland, it then got a bit quiet as we went over Greenland and northern Canada. To make it the ultimate aviation channel, they should play other aviation stuff in the gaps and just pause it when they're talking, that'd be brilliant Big grin

The food was average. The meal was a choice of chicken or pasta, I went for the chicken. Wrong choice! It was pretty disgusting, a slab of chicken with a bit of sauce and some big, dry, green beans. Not my cup of tea! With this we got some really nice juicy, cold grapes. Shame that there were only about 7 of them, they were very nice! I didn't eat anything else, had enough to eat before the flight.

I relaxed for most of the flight, watched a bit of 'Stuck on You' which was funny in some places  Big thumbs up

The second half of the flight seemed to go on forever. When we were going over Canada it seemed like we were getting closer, but we weren't. I couldn't be bothered with a film, so I had another look at the magazine. In it was stuff on San Francisco, a few other random articles, and a few pages on United's new image, with diagrams and photos all about the new livery. It mentioned that they first wanted to get all the rebranding done at airports, on everything, even all the tiny things  Smile Looking at Heathrow, they did this well  Big thumbs up
There were the TV/film listings etc. at the back, and airport diagrams and other similar information about airports.

We had a snack towards the end of the flight, a strange sandwich type thing, cheese and ham. Even though it looked and felt odd, it was very nice! We also had a nice packet of Walker's crisps, a Kit Kat Chunky and.. the nice grapes  Smile Drinks came round to help wash it all down. This all came in a nicely coloured box with the nice United logo on it.

On channel 9 I heard the captain ask if we could change our course slightly so that he could give us a 'view of the lake' which was nice of him. Don't know which lake it was  Laugh out loud

We descended when we were approaching the city, then went over the bay, did a U-turn and then flew for quite a while going very close to the water. We then touched down, a very nice landing! We headed to the gate where we parked next to a Lufthansa 747, D-AVBT.

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I walked straight to the front of the aircraft, I was too busy looking around so I missed the door we came onto the aircraft through, instead I found myself in first class. It was very nice! Looked very spacious and comfortable! Wouldn't mind sitting in there  Smile We said goodbye to the captain and a few cabin crew who we hadn't seen before, must have been looking after the rich people  Laugh out loud

The service was brilliant, always smiling, always seeming happy and helpful. The two people who were in my aisle throughout the flight were both from the Netherlands, and I think they were married  Smile Awww.. they mentioned stuff about marriage a few times and were always giggling and speaking in Dutch  Laugh out loud It's nice that the crew are happy, you don't want them all depressed and making the atmosphere bad do you?  Smile

Bearing in mind the first impression people get at LHR, SFO was a hell of a lot better! A nice wooden/laminated floor, orange/yellow/colourful walls, colourful lighting - it was brilliant! Then we got to immigration which wasn't colourful, but modern. I went to an available desk, and thought I'd meet the first American on American soil, but he was Chinese  Big grin To be honest, I had to get him to repeat a few of his questions because I couldn't understand him, but we got there in the end  Smile I then got my bag and a man came around to put a green felt tip line on a form I had - he asked me if I'd brought anything illegal into the country, I said no - who'd say yes?! (I hadn't brought anything illegal in by the way).

And that was it. Taken me ages to write so far, only half way through. Think I'll take a break  Smile

The next 10 days were brilliant, went up to Heavenly at Lake Tahoe, had a wander around Nevada, and then spent some time in San Francisco where I topped up my new tan from the mountains  Big thumbs up

United Airlines - UA954
17th April 2004
Boeing 777-200
Scheduled departure time: 18:55
Actual departure time: 19:10
Scheduled arrival time: 13:15
Actual arrival time: 12:45
--we had a 150km/h tail wind for some parts  Smile

I must have been one of the last to the airport for this flight, there were only a few of us in the entire check-in area. The usual questions were asked...etc..

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Photo © Ben Wang

Security was nice and tight again, quite a few people were taken aside and were being thoroughly searched. Again, I went straight through with no problems. As time was ticking away, I went straight towards gate 96 which wasn't far away at all, went down the escalator and there were all the passengers and the aircraft, the same one we came on  Smile Thanks to Arsenal@LHR for finding out the registration, N798UA  Big thumbs up I thought it was, there were some similar scratches on a wall near the toilet..  Laugh out loud

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Photo © Manas Barooah

There were a few calls for people who came first alphabetically to be upgraded to business class. Lucky, lucky people. There was also an announcement made for someone to collect his bag ASAP or it will be destroyed. She sounded so calm as she said this, and as if she said it everyday. Though nowadays, she probably does..

I boarded,and was in 40H, one seat behind the one I sat in outbound. I was confused at first when we were at LHR, a friend had 39J.. I thought the last seat would be 39I, but they skip it and go to J. Why..?

Anyway, London was now on the map as the destination, and I was ready to go back. After takeoff it wasn't long until it got dark. After the drinks and meal came around and everything was cleared up, the lights went out and all the window blinds were closed. I chose the pasta over the chicken this time, wise choice! It was like a really cheesey lasagnge, though I had a bit of a cold and I couldn't really taste it  Laugh out loud As before, I only ate that and the grapes because I'd already had some food.

Then came a few hours of sleep which got us over the boring Canada/Greenland part of the flight Big grin
In the last 3 or so hours of the flight people started to wake up, drinks came around and some light came into the very dark cabin. We didn't go over Iceland this time, instead we were over the Atlantic heading straight for Northern Ireland.

Food came around as before, about an hour before landing. This time we had a cheese/egg/ham thing, all melted together, with some fruit. Very nice  Smile

The toilets. No, I didn't do a Singapore_Air... but the toilets were different than I'm used to. When I flushed it it sucked very fast and the floor area of the toilet became very breezy, the first time I flushed it going outbound I wondered what was going on!  Laugh out loud Nice and refreshing to sweaty feet  Big grin

The service was good as before, but they weren't as lively as the crew from the Netherlands.

We headed over the Isle of Man, then down towards a cloudy London. We got a peek at Tower Bridge and the London Eye before flying over other parts of London and touching down at Heathrow. If you had your eyes closed you wouldn't have known that we had landed. There was no change in noise (until the engines stopped), there seemed to be no change in speed - nothing changed! It was the most uneventful landing ever  Smile We turned off the runway and parked straight away at the gate.

We were then back in that nasty corridor, which unlike before was packed. There was a flight in from India, and one about to go out, so arrivals was packed all the way from the gate, through baggage reclaim, and out in the arrivals area.

So overall, United are brilliant. Their new image is great and works well, the service was fantastic, the food was good, the staff were all friendly and approachable.

And that's it  Smile all 2284 words/12147 characters of it  Big thumbs up

Any questions or comments, please reply while it's all fresh in my mind  Big thumbs up


28 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
User currently offlineLHRman From United Kingdom, joined Mar 2004, 398 posts, RR: 5
Reply 1, posted (12 years 6 days 23 hours ago) and read 17130 times:

Well Tom what can I say, very good report and I agree on what you said about T3 being a bit of a terrible terminal to arrive at (lets just hope T5s a little better Big grin). I enjoyed reading it and look forward to hear more trip reports from yourself. You obviously enjoyed yourself and the 777s are the nicest. 2284 words is what you can expect for such a detailed report, well done!

Thanks Dave  Big thumbs up AKA LHRman!

Always after the picture you can't get..
User currently offlineWidgetBoi From United States of America, joined Mar 2004, 1432 posts, RR: 18
Reply 2, posted (12 years 6 days 21 hours ago) and read 17042 times:

Great report  Big grin


User currently offlineMusapapaya From United Kingdom, joined Apr 2004, 1163 posts, RR: 0
Reply 3, posted (12 years 6 days 20 hours ago) and read 16998 times:


actually, how is it compare between UA services and airlines like BA, AF, LH, VS, CO etc... there are huge numbers of transatlantic operators, would like to get some more insight about this, cheers

Lufthansa Group of Airlines
User currently offlineJaspike From United Kingdom, joined Feb 2008, 1 posts, RR: 2
Reply 4, posted (12 years 6 days 19 hours ago) and read 16944 times:

Thanks for the replies  Big thumbs up

I can't really compare to other transatlantic operators, this was only my second time across the atlantic, the first time being in 1997 with ATA from MAN.


User currently offlineArsenal@LHR From United Kingdom, joined Mar 2001, 7792 posts, RR: 18
Reply 5, posted (12 years 6 days 17 hours ago) and read 16871 times:
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Ah i thought you forgot to do a trip report!  Big grin Good job anyway.
United are good, flew with them to JFK, overall a positive impression and would recommend UA.

In Arsene we trust!!
User currently offlineSabena332 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 6, posted (12 years 6 days 17 hours ago) and read 16863 times:

Great report, I enjoyed reading!

Heavenly is also one of my favorite holiday destinations, I have been there for a few days in 1999 and in 2000, unfortunately only in the summer, I can't wait to experience the area in the winter to ski (maybe next year).


User currently offlineA340600 From United Kingdom, joined Aug 2003, 4108 posts, RR: 49
Reply 7, posted (12 years 6 days 16 hours ago) and read 16810 times:

GR8 report just wish UA would fly into LGW, they're the only US airline that don't lol, I know it won't happen

Sam Laugh out loud

Despite the name I am a Boeing man through and through!
User currently offlineJaspike From United Kingdom, joined Feb 2008, 1 posts, RR: 2
Reply 8, posted (12 years 6 days 3 hours ago) and read 16245 times:

Ah i thought you forgot to do a trip report!
I didn't forget, couldn't be bothered  Big grin
I'd recommend UA too, nothing wrong with them  Smile

Sabena332, go in winter!! The skiing is brilliant! I would have gone a couple of weeks before I did, we went right at the very end of the season, so the snow was perfect in the morning, but got a bit slushy in the afternoon. Best place I've ever skied Brilliant views of the Nevada desert and Lake Tahoe when you're on the very top, just amazing  Smile

Sam, it'd be good if a US airline flew into EMA..  Laugh out loud Save me that nasty journey down to LHR  Big grin


User currently offlineJkw777 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 9, posted (12 years 6 days 2 hours ago) and read 16210 times:


Great report mate  Big thumbs up Very detailed  Smile

I can also agree with you on T3! What a right dump  Sad The seating/shopping areas are really nice, and the screens are superb! See below  Big grin

But as soon as you start heading towards gates the quality deteriorates so dramatically it seems you have walked into a new building! Do something about it BAA!

Thanks for the report,

Justin  Smile

User currently offlineGKirk From UK - Scotland, joined Jun 2000, 25337 posts, RR: 54
Reply 10, posted (12 years 6 days 2 hours ago) and read 16179 times:

Unfortunatly Jaspike is now banned from flying UA due to an "incident" with a male FA in one of the toilets. Hence why he wrote:
The toilets. No, I didn't do a Singapore_Air... but the toilets were different than I'm used to. When I flushed it it sucked very fast
 Big grin  Laugh out loud

When you hear the noise of the Tartan Army Boys, we'll be coming down the road!
User currently offlineJaspike From United Kingdom, joined Feb 2008, 1 posts, RR: 2
Reply 11, posted (12 years 6 days 1 hour ago) and read 16143 times:

Oooooh you pervert...  Laugh out loud Trust you to say that!

Those screens - it says 20 minutes.. were they crawling?! Took nowhere near 20 minutes to get there  Laugh out loud


User currently offlineSA006 From South Africa, joined Sep 2003, 1885 posts, RR: 53
Reply 12, posted (12 years 6 days ago) and read 16104 times:


Great report Jaspike..well done

Rgds  Big thumbs up

Proudly South African
User currently offlineJaspike From United Kingdom, joined Feb 2008, 1 posts, RR: 2
Reply 13, posted (12 years 4 days 22 hours ago) and read 15654 times:

Thanks SA  Big thumbs up When's your next flight?


User currently offlineDC-10 Levo From United Kingdom, joined Nov 2001, 3432 posts, RR: 3
Reply 14, posted (12 years 4 days 21 hours ago) and read 15629 times:

Good one Gkirk  Big thumbs up.

Great report Tom! Really enjoyed reading it.  Big thumbs up


User currently offlineBritish767 From United Kingdom, joined Nov 2005, 284 posts, RR: 18
Reply 15, posted (12 years 3 days 19 hours ago) and read 15443 times:

Great report Jaspike! I haven't flown UA yet so it's interesting to read what their flights accross the pond are like

User currently offlineWorldoftui From Sweden, joined Aug 2007, 0 posts, RR: 0
Reply 16, posted (11 years 10 months 19 hours ago) and read 14452 times:


Great report - really enjoyed reading that. Brings back some happy memories of many a flight with UA.
I know what you mean about those ham and cheese sandwiches. The bread is almost yellow! I think it is egg-bread. Strange but quite tasty, but not particularly healthy. Not at all, in fact.
Yes, they are modernising T3. The work towards the gates is adding another level as they are aiming for 100% segregation of departing and arriving passengers, rather than the current system where they can mix.
As for the missing "I" seats, I believe they miss this out as people might confuse the "I" with a "1" and begin looking for seat "391" and might get to the back of the aircraft and keep going! hehehe.

Anyways, thanks again for report.


User currently offlineJaspike From United Kingdom, joined Feb 2008, 1 posts, RR: 2
Reply 17, posted (11 years 10 months 18 hours ago) and read 14405 times:

Thanks for the replies that I didn't say thanks for  Big grin

Thanks for clearing a few things up Mark  Big grin
I hope they do a good job of T3... though it's been a few months since I wrote the report - anyone know if there have been any changes so far?

 Big thumbs up


User currently offlineCOAB767 From Guam, joined Nov 2003, 1377 posts, RR: 8
Reply 18, posted (11 years 10 months 17 hours ago) and read 14368 times:

Great report hope you had fun.

Continental Micronesia: "Fly With The Warmth Of Paradise"
User currently offlineUsairwys757 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 19, posted (11 years 10 months 15 hours ago) and read 14327 times:

Absolutely great report Jaspike! I enjoyed reading it.

Was this your first trip to the US??

User currently offlineJaspike From United Kingdom, joined Feb 2008, 1 posts, RR: 2
Reply 20, posted (11 years 10 months 5 hours ago) and read 14222 times:

Thanks COAB767 & Usairwys757  Big thumbs up

It was my second trip to the US. Flew with ATA from MAN to Orlando back in 1997  Smile That was great Big grin

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User currently offlineMYT332 From Australia, joined Sep 2003, 9120 posts, RR: 67
Reply 21, posted (11 years 10 months ago) and read 14179 times:

Liked the report, great read! When are you next going away then?

They were tight on security when i went ta SFO as well. Good fun i thought.

I hadn't replied to this earlier since you never replied to any of my TR. However since you have done now i thought id stop being childish, although, thats hard for me!  Laugh out loud

One Life, Live it.
User currently offlineJaspike From United Kingdom, joined Feb 2008, 1 posts, RR: 2
Reply 22, posted (11 years 9 months 4 weeks 1 day 23 hours ago) and read 14157 times:

Alex, you're a fool  Smile I didn't not reply intentionally, I hardly ever come in this forum!  Laugh out loud

Next... it's a while away...  Sad ... October.. going down to AGP with easyJet Big grin


User currently offlineMYT332 From Australia, joined Sep 2003, 9120 posts, RR: 67
Reply 23, posted (11 years 9 months 4 weeks 1 day 23 hours ago) and read 14144 times:

I'm also lazy and it was too far away to scoll to, thanks to Worldoftui for bringing it back up to the top  Smile/happy/getting dizzy

One Life, Live it.
User currently offlineATLhomeCMH From United States of America, joined Dec 2003, 770 posts, RR: 3
Reply 24, posted (11 years 9 months 3 weeks 6 days 20 hours ago) and read 13830 times:

On channel 9 I heard the captain ask if we could change our course slightly so that he could give us a 'view of the lake' which was nice of him. Don't know which lake it was

I'm willing to bet it was Salt Lake in Utah...that'd be my guess. Anyway, great report and I hope you enjoyed your time in the United States.

"The most terrifying words in the Engligh language are, 'I'm from the government and I'm here to help.'"-Ronald Reagan
25 Post contains images Jaspike : Thanks, it was a very good time The lake was a north east of San Francisco I think, possibly 30/40 mins before landing... I was on the wrong side of t
26 Sjc>sfo : Salt Lake is an hour or two away from SFO... this was more likely Lake Tahoe or Crater Lake.
27 Post contains images Jaspike : Ahh thanks Well I didn't miss much if it was Lake Tahoe, because I was there for 5/6 days Tom
28 Gamps : Hey thats a good report. If it was just 40 mins before landing then the lake you most probably saw was Crater Lake in Oregon or Lake Tahoe itself. Hea
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