RoseFlyer From United States of America, joined Feb 2004, 8788 posts, RR: 52 Posted (7 years 9 months 3 weeks 4 days 18 hours ago) and read 10707 times:
I am sorry that there are not any pictures, but I originally was not going to write a trip report so didn’t feel the need to take any of my own pictures, but since I had some extra time, I thought I would write one for my 777 experience.
I went to LA for the weekend to meet up for my sister’s birthday with my family. I had to cancel a flight in July, so I had some cash left over. Fortunately the ticket that I canceled was a ticket in paid first class, so I got a refund to use on future flights. I live in Rockford Illinois. There is a small airport here with a couple NW CRJs to DTW and some charter carriers and Hooters air, but nothing that good. So I decided to fly out of ORD since it is a 70 mile drive, which isn’t too bad, and it offers nonstop flights to pretty much everywhere. I called up United two weeks in advance to arrange the trip over the phone. I originally was going to see if I could get a discounted first class fare, but for the flights I wanted, they were charging $1400, which was too much. I decided to go ahead and book economy and then wait for an upgrade. I am Premier Executive, so I usually do get the upgrades.
I left work at 2:00pm to go directly to the airport after printing out my boarding passes from United.com. I got an upgrade and used some 500 mile electronic certificates to pay for it. United.com is rather slow, but it is fairly easy to use. Traffic was pretty light as I traveled down I90 at 80 towards O’Hare. The weather was great for flying. There were some scattered cirrus clouds and the temperature was about 80F, which would hopefully mean that there would be few weather delays and backups at ORD. Once I get there at 3:15 (for a 4:55 flight) I try to find the economy parking. I get off at the exit, but somehow it was mislabeled and I end up going the complete wrong direction. It took forever to get back organized and get to the proper exit to get the parking. The roads around O’Hare are under construction and are not labeled very well, so I advise people that are not familiar with the area to leave some extra time in case they get lost like I did. Eventually I got to the economy parking and left my car there. The economy parking at O’Hare is pretty good since the terminal train goes out to the parking lot. You do not need to take a bus, so there isn’t much time lost in economy parking over the expensive garage area. I hoped on the train and took it over to Terminal One.
I go immediately to priority screening because I only had 50 minutes before my flight was scheduled to depart. There were some lines at the counters, but it wasn’t too bad. The weather was also pretty decent, so the typical evening crowds and chaos usually found in O’Hare wasn’t there. Security was no problem, and then I went immediately to check the monitor for my gate. Almost every single flight was on time with no problems except for one, my flight. My rotten luck, United decides to delay one flight, and it happens to be mine. That made me a little nervous since I had an 8pm birthday party to attend that was at a formal restaurant (city club on bunker hill) in downtown LA. I knew I was cutting it close since my flight was scheduled to arrive at 7:00pm, but I couldn’t get off work too early. Well I was a little irked to see a 35 minute delay, but that wasn’t too much. I started walking towards gate C10. I went into the super cool underground walkway that connects Concourse B and C. The lighting and music is surreal down there and it is a peaceful escape from a crowded O’Hare concourse. I make it back up the escalator and see a huge clump of people at gate C10. I look at my watch and it is 4:15, which was the original scheduled boarding time (I guess I cut it a little close if the flight had not been delayed). The gate agent was making announcements trying to tell people that she didn’t know anything about why the flight was delayed. There was no where near enough seats, so I decided to go for a walk and check out the other planes. There were the usual 767s, 777s, 757s, A320s, A319s, E170s and 737s at their gates in the C concourse. A good mix of new and old liveries for United. I always have liked Concourse C as it is wide open and nice to walk around, although there are not enough seats in any of the gates. After my ten minute tour of airplane heaven, I go back to the gate and see that the flight is now delayed until 5:45. There was no plane there however. I look at my watch and notice that it is 4:50. There is no way that they can turn a 777 around in less than an hour, so something must have been happening. I go near the counter and the gate agent comes over the intercom saying that our plane is late from the international terminal. The plane was coming in from Europe and had been delayed during its customs inspection. They were going to try to tug it over as soon as possible and then they would start boarding shortly after that. I go take a seat at a gate for a 767 to Paris as I wait. There are no where near enough seats at a gate in ORD, which is definitely annoying. However eventually I walk back to the gate just as the beautiful 777 in the old livery wass being tugged into place.
As soon as the plane pulled into the gate, the flight attendants went aboard to do their “safety checks” among other things. They then began boarding first and business class through door A and economy through door B. There wasn’t any announcement that they started boarding business class though, so I was didn’t realize it was happening for a while since I was wrapped up in a conversation with a nice lady also headed to LAX.
I went through the door and found my seat in the second business class cabin. Unfortunately there was a gentleman in my seat. After saying that it was my seat he immediate took his seat in the center section of the business class cabin, so he must have been confused. Seating is 2-3-2 with 55 inch pitch in business. There are nice legrests and the seats do have good recline. Business class on the 777 is no where near as nice as Lufthansa’s new business class or some other lie flat or fully flat seats. However I was just flying domestic, so it was no problem for me. The seat had lumbar support, and was fully mechanically adjustable. A nice recliner seat, but I would definitely go for first class, or a different airline if I was paying for a redeye longhaul flight. Orange juice and Champagne (I believe) were passed out to passengers. I took some juice, and looked through the entertainment guide. There are PTVs in the armrest with 4 movie channels and 5 other channels. The IFE again as with the seat is ok, but not the best. AVOD of course would be better, but I wouldn’t use it on a flight of just 3hrs 48min.
The flight attendants began final preparations for pushback as the final few passengers boarded. Boarding was quite quick as they used both jetbridges and of course the twin aisles speeds things up. There was a little seat shuffling going on in business class, as a couple was stuck in the middle seats of the business class cabin two rows apart. They tried to get some people to switch, but giving up an aisle for a middle is not nice and some people politely declined. Eventually the couple were able to get someone nice enough to switch. The captain came on then and welcomed us aboard the second largest plane in the fleet and apologized for the delay. He would try to make it up by using direct routing out the LAX. The cabin door was shut and the flight attendants began their manual safety demonstration. The purser was very enthusiastic while giving the presentation and was wanting everyone to know how beautiful of a plane we were on.
Push back was quick off of the stand. We pulled out right beside an E170 in United Express colors. Channel 9 was working on this flight, so I tune in just as the heavy 777 gets taxi clearance. We head straight out to the runway (sorry I can’t remember which one, but we departed from intersection T10). There was no delay as we immediately taxied right out and departed after an AA MD80. The powerful Pratts spooled up as we lurched down the runway. A lightly loaded 777 on a domestic flight is quite a thrill on takeoff. We immediately pulled up into the air and began a left hand turn. We are handed off to Chicago departure was we climb on a perfectly smooth summer evening. The purser came on to talk about the service. Snack boxes for 5$ in economy, and meals in first and business. The standard talk. I am entranced as I stare out the window as I see my hometown of Rockford pass below us as we make it through the clouds. It took us eight minutes to go the same distance that took me 90 minutes to cover earlier in the day.
The flight attendants are released and start the service. A flight attendant came by with the choices for dinner. They were a Mahi Mahi or a stuffed chicken breast. The flight attendant was very enthusiastic about the Mahi Mahi and described it as a wonderful Hawaiian fish as she claimed that it was her favourite meal. Well the responses of me and my seat mate were Chicken to that. I don’t know if she was taking orders based on frequent flyer status, or just randomly. Eventually I head to the lav after the seatbelt light goes out and hear that flight attendants talking. Apparently they like the chicken more and since there were four extra meals, the flight attendant taking the orders was trying to convince people to take the Mahi Mahi. The four flight attendants serving business class ended up with two chickens and two fish for themselves. I found it kind of humorous.
I head back to my seat as a beverage cart comes down the aisle. I get a diet Pepsi to wake me up so that I would be alert for my dinner and was handed some cold nuts in a little bowl. Next the cart comes down again with settings. First was a hot towel followed by a placemat for the tray. I wash off my hands and then get my tray with a small salad on it. The salad was a generic mixed green salad with a creamy Caesar dressing. I eat up my salad, and then come dinner. The spinach and feta stuffed chicken was served with a potato frittata and some mixed vegetables. The only thing missing was the salt and peppershakers. There were only the small little packets on the tray. Bread was passed out next, and I enjoyed the meal. The chicken was a little tasteless, but it was moist. Not bad for a meal at 38,000 ft. I ate quickly and passed my tray onto a passing flight attendant. She came back with a Tiramasu. It was pretty good. Afterwards I asked for some coffee. I am given a tea cup and another flight attendant comes by with coffee. As she is about to pour into my cup, she gets distracted, and then moves on. I wasn’t given any coffee, and was struggling to catch her. Eventually I have to ask another flight attendant for the actual coffee part of my drink since I felt like drinking more than stale air, sugar and cream. The service on this flight was rather robotic. The flight attendants weren’t personable at all. They were older, but not extremely old like the international ones. They didn’t provide very friendly service, but at least were somewhat efficient and professional I guess, although that whole “lets convince the passengers that they want fish so that we can have chicken” discussion wasn’t a sign of professionalism.
I watched Million Dollar Baby on my PTV throughout the flight. It of course is a really good movie. I pop up to use the lav again and have to use the one on the other side. When I get out the flight attendants are blocking the galley so I could not get back to my seat. The flight attendant then motions for me to go around through economy. It was a good walk I guess, but kind of annoying. The robots wandered around a few times in the flight looking to see if you needed anything, but they did not really offer anything. You had to ask. Again, a little disappointing as far as service goes. After I watch the movie, I notice how bad the moving map was. There were ads for UA Mileage Plus, destinations, trivia games, stretching info, and all sorts of other junk. There was very little of the actual map or airplane info (airspeed, altitude, time, etc) shown.
We finally began our descent into LAX. The whole flight was smooth and the seat belt stayed off which was nice. The 777 is a nice smooth plane that is really comfortable. The noise canceling headphones in business class make it even better. I love this plane and try to arrange flights so that I can get these big planes as much as possible. The flight attendants collected all the drinks as we made our way down. The sun was low on the horizon casting large shadows as we made it into the LA basin. It was a hot day there. The captain came on to update us on the weather and apologized for the delay. We made a smooth straight in approach to runway 25L. We landed right after an AeroCalifornia DC9 and then made a quick taxi towards the gate. The purser came on the PA to make her announcements. She said that passengers should reframe from smoking for the rest of their lives, but if they can’t do that then they will have to proceed through the terminal and outside as LAX as well as every other public building in California is a smoke free facility. I found it a little humorous, but that of course is because I am not a smoker.
We taxi into the gate in Terminal 7 and I grab my bag from the large curved overhead compartment. I walk out into the terminal and make my way to taxi stand immediately so that I could make it to the restaurant in a somewhat timely fashion albeit with my luggage in tow.
The 777 is a great plane, and getting an internationally configured airplane on a domestic flight is really nice. The seats are good for a short flight, but not up to top tier standards established by some European and Asian carriers. Also the service wasn’t that great and was somewhat robotic. UA is a nice airline, and I fly them a lot as they have some of the best service left in the United States, but that doesn’t mean that they are great.
I hope you liked this trip report. Again I am sorry for no pictures. All comments are appreciated. If you would like me to post the return LAX-ORD flight on a 767 in first class, let me know and I can do it if people
If you have never designed an airplane part before, let the real designers do the work!
Daron4000 From United States of America, joined Mar 2005, 712 posts, RR: 1 Reply 1, posted (7 years 9 months 3 weeks 4 days 16 hours ago) and read 10566 times:
That was a great report. Personally, I think UA definitely has the best service on this route because they fly the 3 class planes which, despite possible unfriendly service, make it a lot nicer and comfortable of a flight with 3 extra movie options too. On an ORD-SNA A319 in F, they served the exact same choices, unfortunately only the fish was left and it really wasn't that good and I ended up eating a BOB meal instead. Therefore, while it isn't too professional and they should care more about the customer than themselves, I don't blame them. Look forward to the return trip.
Goldenshield From United States of America, joined Jan 2001, 5490 posts, RR: 13 Reply 2, posted (7 years 9 months 3 weeks 4 days 13 hours ago) and read 10490 times:
I enjoyed the fish when I sat in first on the same flight (different day, of course.)
I'm not sure how good the business seats are, but I think I would take them over first in a 3 class configuration due to the way the seats angle out from the wall, which makes it hard to see out of the window. I never noticed any service difficulties at any time—especially considering that the same flight attendant was also serving business, and I was just a lowly non-rev.
The best part was being able to watch multiple channels of entertainment for the better part of the flight, since it was better than looking at flat countryside.
Two all beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions on a sesame seed bun.
I noticed the first class cabin for our flight seemed like it was mostly nonrevs. I guess that is because UA does not allow double upgrades, and few people actually pay for the business class seat so that they could upgrade to first. Although the 777 is comfortable and nice on the route, it isn't really optimized for it as the big first class cabin is usually empty or filled with well dressed employees.
If you have never designed an airplane part before, let the real designers do the work!
Daron4000 From United States of America, joined Mar 2005, 712 posts, RR: 1 Reply 4, posted (7 years 9 months 3 weeks 3 days 15 hours ago) and read 10037 times:
I might disagree with this, while even it's probably the most expensive F on the route at a 2G plus round trip, just looking at the seat map for a flight in June in May, it was already almost booked, and usually they haven't double upgraded employees weeks in advance. I'd assume that this is because the FF who are able to shell out as much as they want for airfare know that this is the best possible flight on the route with the First Suite although on lots of 3 class flights, I do understand that lots of employees have been placed there at the last minute. It's too bad that they don't let people double upgrade at the last moment because that would really win customer support.
RoseFlyer From United States of America, joined Feb 2004, 8788 posts, RR: 52 Reply 5, posted (7 years 9 months 3 weeks 1 day 14 hours ago) and read 9735 times:
Quoting Daron4000 (Reply 4): It's too bad that they don't let people double upgrade at the last moment because that would really win customer support.
Double upgrades would be nice and would bring in a little extra revenue for the airline since you would pay $200 for the coupons or use up miles or coupons already banked. It is hard to say though if this is a good thing. I still think that selling discounted business class tickets at something like $600-1000 round trip would be good and they could allow these people to upgrade. It almost seems like a waste to have a first class cabin with very few passengers that paid for it. The prices they charge for business class of $1400 round trip was a little too expensive. However I do like the number of discounted first class seats that UA has now. It used to be that first class on a domestic flight was always well over a thousand dollars and was so high that almost no one paid for it. Nowadays the price is lowering to only about double that of economy (correct me if someone has better information) which is a lot more presentable to some folks.
I see that a lot of United staff know that this is the best flight to be on since there is a huge first and business class cabin that is often filled with nonrevs and employees. However on this flight was fully booked and they were turning away standby passengers, so the people up front were traveling for work related reasons at least.
Finally, it seems like this trip report hasn't received that much attention, so I won't post the return trip on a 767 in first class unless people ask for it.
If you have never designed an airplane part before, let the real designers do the work!
Tbear815 From United States of America, joined Jun 2003, 704 posts, RR: 5 Reply 6, posted (7 years 9 months 3 weeks 1 day 12 hours ago) and read 9704 times:
I am truly sorry for what you percieve as a lack of attention. At least you have the knowledge that your writing, sense of detail to everything, and side comments are quite above the norm. I find your trip report excellent (one of the few that "umbrellas" all phases of the experience).
Please do not deny those who appreciate your efforts. Having the same experiences at ORD (wandering from gate-to-gate - taking in the local color, per se) and F experiences ORD-West Coast, I see my own memories!
StevenUhl777 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR: Reply 7, posted (7 years 9 months 3 weeks 1 day 8 hours ago) and read 9643 times:
Quoting RoseFlyer (Thread starter): we departed from intersection T10). There was no delay as we immediately taxied right out and departed after an AA MD80. The powerful Pratts spooled up as we lurched down the runway. A lightly loaded 777 on a domestic flight is quite a thrill on takeoff. We immediately pulled up into the air and began a left hand turn
For a westbound flight, my guess was you departed off 32L, turned left for 270, and at some point, probably 220 or 230 for LAX.
RoseFlyer From United States of America, joined Feb 2004, 8788 posts, RR: 52 Reply 9, posted (7 years 9 months 2 weeks 3 days 19 hours ago) and read 9332 times:
Here is a synopsis of the return flight.
I was at my condo in Marina del Rey. A taxi was coming to pick me and my other family members (two were going to SEA and the other two were going to LAS and I was headed to ORD). All of us were on United. My parents had a flight that was scheduled to depart at 1:00 pm. Mine was to go at 1:45 pm and my sister’s was to go at 4:15pm. The taxi was to come at 11:30, which was leaving it rather tight for my parents. Unfortuantely it was late by 25 minutes. We get in the taxi and go screaming over to LAX. My parents knew that they were risking not making the cutoff for check in. They are both Premier Executive 1Ks and were in paid first class so they wouldn’t have to wait in lines at the airport, but still it was close. Our taxi finally pulled up at 12:20 leaving them 40 minutes to get their flight and they were able to check in just before the flight was closed. It is a good thing they didn’t have luggage.
I went over to the Premier Executive line to check in. I had a certificate for money leftover from when I had to cancel a flight earlier. I wanted to use it to pay for an upgrade, but United does not allow that. So I ended up just buying the $200 in coupons necessary for first class to ORD. It can be annoying on how United makes you pay for upgrades. It would be nicer if they were free of course, but I was on a discounted ticket this time, so I cannot complain. United moved check in for premium travelers from the terminal 6 lobby over towards the rest of check in. It is more crowded now unfortunately, but I guess UA is saving money.
Flight: United Airlines flight 855 on a Boeing 767 Jet
Depart: Los Angeles, CA (LAX) - 1:45pm (1:40pm)
Arrive: Chicago-Ohare, IL (ORD) - 7:52pm (7:35pm)
I head over to security where there was no line at all. That was nice. I went over to gate 69 where the 767 was waiting. Boarding began at 1:10 for our flight. I went over and got in the queue. Unfortunately this was a domestically configured 763ER so it was the standard narrow domestic first class seats. I like the widebody experience and it is super easy to get an upgrade due to the huge first class section on the 767, but the seats are the worst first class seats in the system since they are very narrow. The actual cushion width is the same as an economy seat making it a little less comfortable than the 757, Airbus planes, and 737. Of course international 777s and 747s are always nicer since they have the bigger business class cabins.
I went to my seat which was 6A. It was the last seat in the business class cabin. It is rather private back there since no one is in the middle seats since a closet in the last row replaces them and there is never any traffic between first and economy. I like the seat even though the recline is limited by a bulkhead. Boarding went pretty quickly. I was surprised at how many people seemed to jam in their very large things into the closet at row 6. It was quickly full and would not close. Probably about 10 passengers tried to get it to shut at various times, but it was too full. I was wondering how the flight attendants were going to deal with the problem, but they were preoccupied with other things.
The door was shut and the safety demo played, but I don’t really remember it since I was not paying any attention at all. I was to interested in my book (Nelson Demille’s “Charm School”) which is a great read about the cold war espionage in the Soviet Union. After the safety demo a male flight attendant came to deal with the overstuffed closet. After several attempts to close it, he started to get violent. He jammed the stuff around in there before slamming the door closed with his shoulder so that he could lock it. He was rather violent, but nothing appeared to break since it was mostly jackets and extra large carry on suitcases that don’t fit well in the small bins found on the 767.
We taxied over to 25R. There was no waiting and the engines spooled up and we were off. We took off to the west and made a slow turn southward at about 5000ft. We then passed south of Long Beach at about 12,000ft before we turned eastward and resumed our own navigation to PSP and beyond. Today’s flight was taking us very south. I would have loved to have a PTV with a map on the flight since it was pretty obvious that we were routing around some bad weather. The captain gave us a flight time of 3:20 on this flight which isn’t that much longer than usual, even though we routed far south. We stayed south all the way until somewhere near Texas before we went at a heading of 010. We were very close to a BA flight headed to ORD because radio calls were given to us and them almost at the same time for the last hour of the flight which means that we were somewhere near a DFW-ORD route for the last hour. If someone has more specific routing information, it would be fun to see how close my guesses from looking at clouds and listening to ATC were.
The flight was pretty smooth for the most part. The captain turned off the seatbelt sign at 23,000 ft which was nice since nowadays they usually wait until the plane levels off. There is no reason to wait so long since things are almost always smooth above 20,000ft. Many airlines of other countries turn off the seat belt sign at 10,000ft. I guess someone probably got hurt in the climb and filed a lawsuit which now makes airlines more cautious. Anyways the meal service slowly started. The purser greeted me and my seatmate by our last names and by the title of Premier Executive which was nice. The meal service started from the back on today’s flight. We were the first to get served as we were in row 6. I think the choices were either a large salad or a chicken. I don’t quite remember though. The salad was not that great as with most UA salads. They are kind of dry and boring and not really good for a lunch. I also had ginger ale which is a good thing to drink on planes. The meal service took a long time. It was about 90 minutes into the flight before they had finished it all with entrees starting about 60 minutes in. This was kind of annoying and slow especially since the food was all served cold. Why couldn’t they have been faster? There were four of them. Long meals are kind of normal on UA now. They take their time, which can be nice since they do fill a lot of time with meal service, but it is still awfully slow.
After the meal they showed the movie, which was Madagascar. Not a good movie in my opinion. I don’t think an animated movie about animals escaping from a zoo is that great and not many people watched it. I like it when UA plays the really good movies (like million dollar baby, or seabiscuit) but those movies do not come around that often. But you would think they could do better than Madagascar. At least they change movies twice a month now instead of only monthly like they had for a while there.
It was a pretty uneventful flight. I read my book for most of it along with listening to Channel 9. Cold chocolate cookies were served just as we began our descent into ORD. We landed to the Northeast. It was a pretty smooth landing and quick taxi to the gate. The pilot kept commenting on how we were extremely early. We ended up arriving at about 7:35 which was 17 minutes early. This was quite good for our longer than usual flight routing.
I am torn on whether to recommend domestic 767s in first class or not. They are the way to go in economy because of the 2-3-2 seating and movie screens, but up front the seat is narrow. It is nice to be on a widebody plane though, which makes up for it being kind of cramped since the plane is big.
Service on this flight was good, but not exceptional. I will fly UA again as they are reliable and predictable to be good but not ever really great or exceptional.
Also ORD is a suprisingly quick airport to get in and out of. The train goes to the remote parking, and there are few lines. A pretty nice airport to fly in and out of, but not good for connecting since it is so delay prone.
If you have never designed an airplane part before, let the real designers do the work!
IRelayer From United States of America, joined Jul 2005, 1071 posts, RR: 2 Reply 10, posted (7 years 9 months 2 weeks 18 hours ago) and read 9071 times:
Quoting RoseFlyer (Thread starter): She said that passengers should reframe from smoking for the rest of their lives, but if they can’t do that then they will have to proceed through the terminal and outside as LAX as well as every other public building in California is a smoke free facility. I found it a little humorous, but that of course is because I am not a smoker.
Yep. As a native Chicagoan, moving to CA was a bit of a shock in this regard b/c it is so commonplace to smoke inside in Chicago (although I've heard rumblings of a new law).
As far as the convincing you to get fish part...don't they get crew meals?