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IAD-DBK Via LHR On UA And BA  
User currently offlineUA772IAD From Australia, joined Jul 2004, 1740 posts, RR: 3
Posted (9 years 6 months 2 days 16 hours ago) and read 5421 times:

Before I begin, let me state that I am in everyway a UA fan (hence my user name, but following this trip, I am FINALLY a bit concerned with my beloved airline).


Saturday 18 June, 2005
Washington Dulles International Airport (IAD), VA USA
4:45 PM local--Main Terminal
(Note- I did not get a memory card for my camera until I arrived in Lodon).
My family arrived at Dulles Airport slightly later than we expected, but still at an appropriate time, more than the 90 minutes recommended for an International flight. It was 4:45 pm. We stood in the First Class 1K line, waiting to be checked in. We were flying United, as per usual to London. You see, Dulles is currently in-between a fully automated check in (like SFO), and still using some agents. This we found out, is not effective. Anyways, we stood in a line of about 11-22 people for about 30 minutes. There were 6 agents working about 5 lines, which were mostly regular check-ins, each had about 20 people in them. However, there was only 2 agents devoted to first class 1K, while the other one would jump back and forth between first class and coach. Now, I consider myself to be a patient person, but it should not take 35 minutes to check-in, ESPECIALLY if you are in the 1K line.

You see, it wasn't very busy, and this sort of Tom-follery is what causes (and it did) people to miss their flights. So at about 5:25, we were checked in. Worried about making our flight, which was due to leave at 6:10, we were assured that we would make the flight because it was delayed. This was certainly not the way to start off our trip, as the understaffed check-in counters are problematic at United. In April, on our way home from Hawaii, we encountered the same problem at SFO, and that caused us to lose our first-class seats. The saying you can never arrive too early is really true!

Despite the time of day, the security lines were not too bad. This was a surprise, since Dulles has the WORST security and arguably the rudest TSA agents in the country. Onward to the moble lounges

Saturday 18 June, 2005
Washington Dulles International Airport (IAD), VA USA
5:59 PM local--C Concourse, Gate C27
We made it over to the drabby midfield concourse with a little time, and headed to gate C27. I was acutally looking foward to the flight. I told my parents that we should take flight 918, since it is served by a 744. We boarded promply and where on our way, sort of.

United Airlines
Flight 918
Washington Dulles VA, USA (IAD) to London Heathrow, UK (LHR)
Departure: 6:10 pm, actual= 7:30 pm
Gate: C27
Equipment: Boeing 747-422 N181UA
Seat 7A, C-Class

Despite most peoples' complaints about UA's pre-aged 744s, (I am older, at 18 years old), ship 8181 was in pretty good condition. My seat, was the first row behind first class, which was nice, but its proximity to the galley was sort of bothersom. The flight attendents were busy, but sort of nice. The purser, British, made sure of informing the first row though, that we were not allowed to use the lavatory directly in front of us, as it was for first class use only. Though I generally understand the premis, I thought it was just sort of obnoxious. Anyways, there was a broken panel door in the lav infront of me anyways. A mechanic did come however, and taped it up for us though!

(I will write more later, this is a payed for time internet, and I need more money), so I will be back!! Enjoy.

[Edited 2005-06-21 00:29:08]

9 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineCmk10 From United States of America, joined Feb 2004, 513 posts, RR: 3
Reply 1, posted (9 years 6 months 2 days 15 hours ago) and read 5339 times:

Good report so far. You know if you're worried about missing your flight and the line is long (I sympathize, I was in the 1K line for twenty minutes last week at SFO), you can use the check-in machines. While it is tedious to enter in your passport info, it can be done.


"Traveling light is the only way to fly" - Eric Clapton
User currently offlineUA772IAD From Australia, joined Jul 2004, 1740 posts, RR: 3
Reply 2, posted (9 years 6 months 2 days ago) and read 4985 times:

I'm back!! Thak you Cmk10! Can you use easy check in WITH luggage? The signs say it's for carryon luggage only.

Okay, United offers very nice and comfortable business class seats... if you aren't in the first row. On the 744, that's rows 7 and 23. The first rows have less room, in fact it's reduced so much that the legrest cannot extend out all the way... it hits the cheap plastic seat pocket. So at 6'2" I was a little crammed, and felt ripped off being 1 row from First! No matter I was excited to being to Croatia and Italy, espcially VIA 744. However, we did sit at the gate for over an hour. About 10 minutes after our departure time had "come and gone", as the captains on UA like to say, our captain came on. Personally, I was disappointed to find the cockpit door closed when I came onboard, so he seemed like the older, conservative type. Actually, he sounded quite young over the airwaves. He explained that we were delayed because Heathrow does not open up until 6:00 AM. This seemed odd, but he did sound legitamate about wanting to wait on the ground instead of in the air.

I never found out if this was true, a busy airport like Heathrow only opening at 6 am, but it seemed more likely that they were holding the plane waiting for some connecting passengers. Okay, thats legitamate too, except the crew never offered drinks for the hour and 25 minutes that we were waiting. Finally, at 25 after 7 pm, we pushed and headed out to Runway 30. Despite his closed door policy, the captain did turn CH. 9 on.

Take off was smooth with a slow climb. We immedeatly turned east, over what looked like Centreville or Chantilly, and climbed steeper. Unlike normal Trans-Atlantics from IAD, which headed straight for Baltimore, we headed out towards the Chesapeake. The massive 744 banked gently into the evening sky, above the warm and vast Chesapeake Bay. I THOUGHT from there out it would be a good flight.

ONBOARD UA918, N181UA, IN FLIGHT:
Shortly after the seatbelt sign went off at 31,000 feet, and the massive jet leveled out, the crew began the meal service. Normally, it is my family's policy to bring our own food, but since it was International, we wrongly assumed the food would be fine. It wasn't that it tasted bad, it was that it was cold. After delegations between my parents and the purser, I chose the express meal. Basically, it gives you all the courses at once, so you can get on to sleeping and other things. The meal consisted of a seafood platter, beef filet with potatoes, salad, bread and cheesecake. Although the beef was good, it was room temperature. The salad was OK, but I cound't tell if the tomato was old or sun dried. The shrimp was fine, but the crabcake was cold, and not appealing. So the food was basically bad only because the crew heated it early, rushed to get it out, and forgot to give us rolls, until several passengers reminded them.

Later, they began Ice Cream and coffee service. Being in the front row, one of the flight attendents began to offer it to us. Sadly though, the purser stopped her, and told her that we had the EXPRESS MEAL and therefore we could only have it if there was any left. The chocolate had melted into a pool when the same FA served it to us, and the vanilla was the size of a golf ball, just sitting ontop of it... melted. NICE.

As usual, the In flight entertainment was good. I still don't understand why the 744 has communal screens in Y class, though. The selections were Be Cool, Million Dollar Baby, Hitch and something else. I enjoyed Be Cool, so I chose that one again. Unfortunatelly, unlike her promise, only Be Cool and Million Dollar Baby showed a second time. The other two were gone and I wanted to see Hitch.

I didn't sleep much, maybe for the last hour or so of dark. I remember the flight attendent asking me to close the shades though. I also remember her waking my father up, to ask if he wanted duty free! That was really rude.

Breakfast consisted of a cold croissant and some fruit. The crew also forgot the yogurt initally, and they had to be reminded to serve that as well. We descended and landed shortly after. I guess we came into 9, since we didn't pass over Downtown London. The landing was very smooth, and we arrived at about 6:40, about 40 minutes late. We disembarked at gate 321, and I forgot how awful Heathrow is. I would take the drab, dark, carpeted windowless midfield concourse at Dulles, over Heathrow's hot white peeling paint, dehumidifiers on folding chairs every hundred feet terminal any day!

Overall, the flight was okay, but certainly not what we expected, especially out for an international flight. Although the crew was not rude, they certainly didn't go out of their way to make you feel comfortable. They NEVER passed out water during the flight, you always had to find them if you wanted something, the food was served cold, incomplete and quickly, and I noticed the glasses have gotten alot smaller since the last time I flew UA (April). I do love United, but their service level has really dropped, and as a 1K member, I think we deserve better. As I stated, we lost our First Class seats from SFO in April, because the check in line was understaffed and too long. United really needs to take care of its customers better.

[Edited 2005-06-21 16:13:33]

User currently offlineBRAVO7E7 From United States of America, joined Jul 2004, 1840 posts, RR: 17
Reply 3, posted (9 years 6 months 2 days ago) and read 4971 times:

Nice report so far. I think that so far you just had bad luck with your crew, and the airline. I don't see this as a trend, or anything else at United.

Quoting UA772IAD (Thread starter):
The purser, British, made sure of informing the first row though, that we were not allowed to use the lavatory directly in front of us, as it was for first class use only. Though I generally understand the premis, I thought it was just sort of obnoxious.

Did she announce it again through the PA with the "Due to United's safety policy, please use the lavaratories in your ticketed cabin only? If she did, it was stupid of her to tell your row specifically, but if she did not I agree with her if she said it nicely. The thing is that you woud want her to say it to the people in the first row of economy, but I understand your premise that it sounds obnoxious.

Anyway, looking forward to reading the rest.


User currently offlineUA772IAD From Australia, joined Jul 2004, 1740 posts, RR: 3
Reply 4, posted (9 years 6 months 2 days ago) and read 4961 times:

BRAVO-
She gave that announcement, but she also told us all specifically, and only the foward business cabin. Like I said, I understand the policy, but that's just rediculous, espeically if it's just one row ahead. Remember it goes FIRST-GALLEY/LAV-BUSINESS.


User currently offlineUA772IAD From Australia, joined Jul 2004, 1740 posts, RR: 3
Reply 5, posted (9 years 6 months 2 days ago) and read 4960 times:

PART II:
We got a driver to take us to Gatwick. Its an amazing airport, but it' so far away! We got on our BA flight, I believe it was 2332, to Dubrovnik (DBV)?
We had to wait on the ground for a while too, due to ATC. I slepped the entier 2 1/2 hours, but the approach was beautiful, and the BA crew was SOOO nice to us, when I was awake. This is a really bad report right now, I dont have much else to say except we were on a 734, G-DOCT, the Egypt plane!!! I will write more as I contine on through Europe. Thanks for reading! BTW, Croatia is BEAUTIFUL!!!

[Edited 2005-06-21 16:20:08]

User currently offlineBRAVO7E7 From United States of America, joined Jul 2004, 1840 posts, RR: 17
Reply 6, posted (9 years 6 months 2 days ago) and read 4948 times:

Quoting UA772IAD (Reply 4):
BRAVO-
She gave that announcement, but she also told us all specifically, and only the foward business cabin. Like I said, I understand the policy, but that's just rediculous, espeically if it's just one row ahead. Remember it goes FIRST-GALLEY/LAV-BUSINESS.

Gotcha! If she made that announcement anyway, no point in telling your row specifically.


User currently offlineAtco2b From United Kingdom, joined Mar 2005, 1114 posts, RR: 7
Reply 7, posted (9 years 6 months 2 days ago) and read 4930 times:

Hey UA,

The BA flight from London Gatwick - Dubrovnik is the BA2882  Smile

You are really lucky to have G-DOCT! There are 6 737-400's still painted in the World Tail schemes out of 18 in the BA fleet. Feel privileged!

Enjoy your time around Europe, keep us posted, take care

Tom  Smile



Hey, you want to go out for pizza and some sex? What, you don't like pizza?
User currently offlineUA772IAD From Australia, joined Jul 2004, 1740 posts, RR: 3
Reply 8, posted (9 years 6 months 1 day 23 hours ago) and read 4924 times:

Quoting Atco2b (Reply 7):
Feel privileged!

For Sure! It was a beauty. LOL, my brother could only see the tail from the gate area, and he thought we were flying on an Egyptian Airline!!

BTW I just learned that London airports do not allow silverwere, as evidenced by plastic sets on the plane, and in the restaurants. Kind of a funny rule.

Here are some borrowed pictures:

N181UA

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Photo © Gustavo Bertrán - Iberian Spotters



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Photo © Oliver



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Photo © Jeremy Chiou



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Photo © Carlos A. Morillo Doria



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Photo © Tim Lane



G-DOCT:

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Photo © Tomas Mellies



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Photo © Gerry Hill - WorldAirImages



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Photo © Aldo Bidini



User currently offlineUA772IAD From Australia, joined Jul 2004, 1740 posts, RR: 3
Reply 9, posted (9 years 5 months 3 weeks ago) and read 4594 times:

PART III:
Hello everyone, I've returned from a magnificent trip, and I would like to report on the rest of it at this time. And this time, I have photos!

After five days in Dubrovnik, it was time to say goodbye. I truly loved Croatia, the walled city is beautiful, majestic and clean, the people are very friendly and the beaches are amazing. However, it was time to move on to another country, and another adventure.

We made the 209 kilometer (130 miles) journey from Dubrovnik to Split. Although I dreaded the long car-ride along the windy seacoast, it actually was quite breathtaking. We even passed through a small section of Bosnia, along the way.

Just outside of Dubrovnik:
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v709/Jaupshaw/EUROPE05/DSCF0373rR.jpg
This bridge was closed due to engineering tests, and consequently, traffic was diverted around the bay, adding an additional 15 minutes to the journey.

This quarry, we learned, was where the white stone used to rebuild the White House, after Washington was burned by the British in the 1850s.
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v709/Jaupshaw/EUROPE05/DSCF0387.jpg

After stopping at a local roadside vendor, out in this breathtaking valley countryside, so my dad could by some brandy, we made it into Split in just over four hours.
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v709/Jaupshaw/EUROPE05/DSCF0379.jpg

Split Airport (- Kastela / Resnik) (SPU / LDSP)
June 23, 2005 1:45 PM Local time
Interestingly, unlike Dubrovnik, Split had a smaller but much more modern airport. It was sort of funny to see such a tiny trendy airport in a pretty generic port town. Anyways, we were due to fly on Croatia Airlines (OU) to Rome. After check-in, we headed upstairs to the lounge, and waited. Not unlike our other two flights on this trip, this one was 1 hour delayed.

My parents at check-in
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v709/Jaupshaw/EUROPE05/DSCF0389.jpg

Our driver
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v709/Jaupshaw/EUROPE05/DSCF0390.jpg

An old friend, G-DOCT... the plane that took us to DBV
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v709/Jaupshaw/EUROPE05/DSCF0393.jpg

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v709/Jaupshaw/EUROPE05/DSCF0397.jpg

Our plane finally decided to show up, so we were off once again, to gate 5.
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v709/Jaupshaw/EUROPE05/DSCF0391.jpg
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v709/Jaupshaw/EUROPE05/DSCF0398.jpg

In transit to and aboard OU380, 9A-CTF/A320-212
Split Airport (- Kastela / Resnik) (SPU / LDSP)
June 23, 2005 3:45 PM Local time
We boarded quickly, were given the safety demonstration in both Hrvatska and English, and quickly took off.

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v709/Jaupshaw/EUROPE05/DSCF0402.jpg
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v709/Jaupshaw/EUROPE05/DSCF0400.jpg
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v709/Jaupshaw/EUROPE05/DSCF0401R.jpg
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v709/Jaupshaw/EUROPE05/DSCF0405.jpg
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v709/Jaupshaw/EUROPE05/DSCF0406.jpg
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v709/Jaupshaw/EUROPE05/DSCF0407.jpg

I will write about the conclusion of this leg of the journey shortly!


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