BMIFlyer From UK - England, joined Feb 2004, 8810 posts, RR: 57 Posted (9 years 6 months 1 week 1 day 17 hours ago) and read 22450 times:
I recently had an opportunity to sample a lengthy trip on my favourite airline, UA. It lasted 6 days and I covered 16000 miles, visiting many different cities. Here is my report with a few pictures, which I do hope you will enjoy. As always, comments are welcome.
Date: Thursday 29th September 2005
Departure Apt: LHR
Arrival Apt: ORD
Aircraft: Boeing 777-222 (N771UA)
Flight No: UA 929
Callsign: United 929
Arriving at Heathrow by National Express coach (at 0538), I was dropped off at the Central Bus station. This area is currently under construction, due to a new 'state of the art' facility being built, according to the BAA poster. Well, I collected my luggage and proceeded to Terminal 3, to find a lengthy line for check in. Remembering my star alliance status, I bypassed this line and went straight to the business class check-in desk, where I was greeted by a friendly fellow with a cheery smile.
Handing over my documents, he assigned me an aisle seat in Economy Plus (21G). After a few security questions, including asking me for details of my address whilst in the U.S, he handed me my boarding cards, tagged my luggage to its final destination (DEN) and wished me a pleasant flight. Making my way to security, I found only 8 people in front of me, and within 10 mins I was sat in the lounge of Terminal 3.
I wandered around for a while, visiting Starbucks for breakfast (yummy) then decided to take a photo of this car in the middle of the lounge.
This car was on offer as part of a prize draw, with tickets being £50 each if I remember correctly. Naturally I decided not to purchase a ticket. Finishing my mini tour of the lounge, I proceeded towards the gate area to do some spotting. On the way I checked on the status of my flight.....
Touring the terminal gates area, I took a few pictures on my fairly new camera.
United 767-300 N644UA
The new LHR Tower
Air Canada 767 (no reg)
Pretty soon, my flight was announced. I made my way towards gate 314 to see N771UA waiting to take us across the pond.
The flight was scheduled to depart at 1035 local time, and boarding commenced at about 09:50. My seat today was in Economy Plus, giving me a bit more welcome legroom, something I always appreciate when 'crossing the pond' which I do as often as I'm able to. The F/A announcement at 10:05 gave us details of the flight. Today our take-off to landing time was estimated at 8hrs 30 mins, mainly due to strong head winds over the Atlantic.
At 10:15 headsets were offered, and about 5 mins later the aircraft doors were closed. I now had the good fortune of all 4 seats on my left being empty, so if I needed to sleep I could stretch out across the seats. We pushed back on time at 10:35, with the captain (who was based in DEN) telling us that Channel 9 would be operational for the full flight, and invited us all to listen.
The safety demo was shown while we taxied towards runway 27R, via taxiways "Romeo" and "Alpha". After being handed over to the tower, we joined the line for take-off, and waited, and waited. Eventually at around 11:15 we received our clearance for take-off, with wind data given as 310/11. Climbout was uneventful, being nice and smooth which made a change. An interesting step climb from ATC was ordered, comprising FL150 - 170 - 240 - 260 - 300 and finally our initial alt of FL340. Passing over Cardiff, the view was quite interesting (I could see out of the window as we banked slightly), bearing in mind we had reached around 30,000 Ft by that point.
Our routing from Cardiff took us direct to Cork, then over Shannon for the Atlantic crossing.
While over Wales, I heard the following callsigns over ATC:- "Ryanair 995", "Evergreen 1306", "Ascot 7306", "Reach 974" and finally the most interesting of them all, "Supertransport 03 Tango Charlie" (Beluga?).
At 11:45, I glanced at the 'Airshow' on my PTV and noted the following:- Groundspeed 486MPH, Alt 34000ft, Headwind 96mph. Slightly later on, I took a picture of the screen.
in flight service was now commencing and to start we were offered "Refreshment" comprising Pretzels and for me, Orange Juice (I don't drink beer in flight).
Soon this was followed by a very tasty and well presented lunch.
As you can see, I had Chicken in Sauce, Vegetables, Salad, Crackers and Cheese, Bread Rolls, Grapes and Ice Cream - all washed down with a nice cuppa. I was still hungry even though I had recently ate breakfast, and therefore I finished the full meal.
After the meal I listened to the VHF chatter on Channel 9. There were a few pilots talking to each other about various subjects - ball games, current winds, airline management and of course there were many DL and NW bankruptcy jokes. I also heard a few USAF tankers and also awacs aircraft too, relaying information back and forth from Gander control for various pilots in the area. I looked up from my book (Losing My Virginity - Richard Branson) and glanced at the airshow screen again. It was showing 2998 miles from destination, 513mph speed, 49mph headwind.
The next few hours were all a blur, because I decided to have some welcome sleep. When I woke up at about 17:00 UK time, we had finished the Atlantic crossing and were now cruising over Canada. Over ATC I noticed we were now under the control of Montreal Center, and we were now cruising at FL390 with 883 miles to go till ORD. I wasn't awake for long before the F/As came around offering us a drink. I had Tea.
At 18:15 UK time, the afternoon snack service commenced, and I was more than happy to accept the offer of more food!!
We were now under control of Minneapolis center and over the airwaves I can hear UA909 and BD705 are close by. I kinda hoped we would arrive into ORD before them, or I'd have to endure hours of waiting for the immigration check, something I hate, although I know that it is necessary.
Descent soon commenced and our landing at ORD was on 22L at 13:40, with our arrival at Terminal 5 - Gate M19 being 13:50, some 50 mins late. I was in line at immigration by 14:00, but my next flight was due to depart at 15:25, so at that point I gave up hope of making my connection.
Departure Apt: ORD
Arrival Apt: FSD
Aircraft: Bombardier CRJ-200 (N467AW)
Flight No: UA 5709
Callsign: Wisconsin 5709
Immigration was actually quite a breeze, I managed to clear it and customs at 14:25. I dropped of my bags at the recheck point then high tailed it to the Terminal shuttle train. I arrived at T2 soon afterwards, and had managed to clear security by 14:45, arriving at my gate at about 14:58 to find my next flight was already boarding.
I boarded the aircraft, having being assigned seat 10A. I found the seat was already occupied so I spoke to the F/A about it. She spoke to the person in my seat and found that she had the same seat assignment. Erm, right ok that's new for me. Anyway, the F/A told me to take any seat that was empty, as I was now the last person to board the aircraft. I got seat 12F - one of the last 2 empty seats on board, and stowed my carry on.
We taxied to our assigned runway - 32L - to find that we were number 13 for take-off (always an adventure at ORD during the rush hour!). We eventually took off at 15:50 and quickly climbed to FL320. I took a pic during the climb....
In flight service comprised a light snack of the usual Savoury Mix and a drink, but I wasn't expecting much more than that due to the flight time.
We landed on runway 21 at FSD at about 16:50 local time, then taxied to gate 7. The airport only has 8 gates and once inside the airport I took this picture....
Departure Apt: FSD
Arrival Apt: DEN
Aircraft: Bombardier CRJ-200 (no reg)
Flight No: UA 6638
Callsign: Skywest 6638
After a beer in the bar at the airport, I went to gate 7 again for the next flight. I found that it was showing as "delayed" and was asked to listen for announcements. At 1845, when we should have been pushing back, an announcement was made that the aircraft was still in DEN and would be arriving into FSD at about 20:15. Ok, well back to the bar I went.
The aircraft arrived at the time mentioned - 20:15. The ground staff managed to 'turn' the aircraft in 10 mins and we were cleared to board at 20:25!! I took my seat - 9A - and we pushed back at 20:35 and headed for the runway. The in flight service was repeated from the previous flight, and the very gorgeous and young Skywest F/A could not stop apologizing for the delay. Her customer service was excellent and she never stopped smiling at us, even when one passenger had a go at her for the delay (always 1 person to spoil it huh?).
We landed at DEN on runway 16L (nice approach by the way) and taxied to gate B48. I thanked the F/A for the nice ride and then met up with a.net user An-225 at the gate. A while later I proceeded to the baggage reclaim for my luggage to find it had not arrived. I was told by the guy at the UA baggage desk that my bags did not make it onto the flight with me in ORD and that id have them delivered to me at my hotel in Denver the next day. I was given a toiletry kit to tide me over, then I made my way to the hotel.
BMIFlyer From UK - England, joined Feb 2004, 8810 posts, RR: 57
Reply 1, posted (9 years 6 months 1 week 1 day 17 hours ago) and read 22433 times:
Date: Friday 30th September 2005
I woke up late (1pm) and rang the front desk to ask about my baggage. It hadnt arrived, so I contacted UA to check on its location. I was informed that a flight had 'just' landed with my baggage onboard, but Id have to wait till about 6pm for delivery. I told them that instead i would come to the airport for it, as I had to be ready for an evening out at 6.30.pm.
I returned from the airport later that afternoon on the free hotel shuttle, and having refreshed myself, and changed into some clean clothing, I went out an about to take a few pictures.....
My Hotel - The Radisson
Denver, from my room
Hotel Lobby from my floor
The remains of the old Stapleton Airport.
When I went outside the hotel to explore, I found that I was right across the road from UAs 'flight center', where all the simulators are. Wow!
After a visit to Wal Mart for 'supplies' I heard a train behind me, so because I work on the railway I decided to take a picture for the guys back home.
Later in the evening Myself, Alex (An-225), Jason (Nosedive) and another guy (who's name I have unfortunately forgotten) went to a local steakhouse for a meal. It was a busy place and we had to wait a while for a table. The 'waiting staff' were extremely cute (trust me to notice) and the service was great. I enjoyed the meal but did not finish it (too much to eat!). We chatted about various things and just basically got to know each other. Later on that night I returned to my hotel, and retired to bed, feeling tired.
I went downtown to meet up with Jason for lunch, for which we had a great tasting Pizza. I then visited a camera store to compare prices with UK ones, then stopped by Jasons University which looks like an office building. I then said goodbye to him and went around downtown to take more pictures. Click each pic to see it in full size...
I even took a ride on the light rail system and found it to be very safe, welcoming and easy on the pocket. Overall my impression of Denver is that is a fantastic and very vibrant city. I will certainly take the time to visit again.
Departure Apt: DEN
Arrival Apt: LAX
Aircraft: Boeing 737-300 (N347UA)
Flight No: UA 990
Callsign: United 990
I arrived at the airport at around 1pm and used the Easy Checkin service. I was booked onto UA779 but decided to try for a standby on UA990. I recieved a boarding pass for both flights, tagged my bags and made my way to Taco Bell for lunch. A while later I went outside to search for a vantage point to do some spotting. I managed to take a few pictures....
Later on i went through security (took 30 mins) and walked around the terminal area. Later on at gate B44 I found that my stanby request on UA990 would be ok, and was issued a boarding pass showing an exit row seat for the flight. I was assigned to seat 9B. The aircraft was a 737 .
We pushed back on time at 17:15 and taxiied to runway 25 for take-off. The flight was uneventful, and the same basic snack service was offered, as is normal on flights of only 2 hours in length, such as this one. Channel 9 was offered again.
We landed on runway 25L at LAX and taxiied to gate 70A, arriving on time. I went to collect my bags and after waiting at the carousel for one hour, went to the baggage help desk to enquire. "Your flights came in on the flight before yours sir" I was told. Oh, I thought, thats strange. Well, I soon found the bags and made my way to the hotel, the LAX Radisson. I had a great view from my room (1204) of the southern 'complex' of the airport.
Departure Apt: LAX
Arrival Apt: JFK
Aircraft: Boeing 757-200 p.s (N517UA)
Flight No: UA 6
Callsign: United 6
A 7am arrival at LAX saw me using the easy check in system again for my flight to JFK. Today I would be trying out the new "p.s" service, in economy class.
I was assigned seat 16A in Economy Plus. We boarded on time through the L2 doorway, and I soon took my seat. The aircraft looked very 'big' even though it was only a 757 it felt very roomy inside. Our flight time was showing as 4hrs 42 mins.
We pushed back on time at 09:00 and taxiied to 25R for departure. I had 3 seats to myself so again I could stretch out if I needed to . Our climbout took us west over the pacific for a few minutes, before turning east in order to climb to our cruising altitude of 36000ft. I took a picture once we were headed east back towards the mainland....
In flight service comprised of a meal which was a pancake breakfast with fruit on the side, tea/coffee and a bread roll. I watched 2 movies during the flight - "Fantastic 4" and then "Batman Begins" (which was only supposed to be shown westbound, lol!). Before arrival we had a small afternoon snack, then landed carried out a VOR/DME approach to 22L, landing at 16:46 (thank you channel 9). My hotel for the evening was the Radisson at JFK.
Note now that this is the end of any pictures by myself, due to my camera suffering a part breakage which i am now awaiting repair (should be about 2 weeks I hope!).
Departure Apt: JFK
Arrival Apt: LAX
Aircraft: Boeing 757-200 p.s (N508UA)
Flight No: UA 17
Callsign: United 17
My journey back to JFK saw me take a shuttle to the 'Airtrain' and then that to Terminal 7. I checked in again using the easy checkin but was offered an upgrade to Business class for $300. After a few seconds of thought I accepted the offer and charged my credit card for the service. My seat assignment was now 11A. Making my way to Gate 7, I spotted N508UA waiting for me. Boarding commenced on time and we pushed back slightly early at 08:50.
We took off from runway 4L after a Jetblue A320, and a UA p.s flight to SFO. The inflight service soon commenced, with my first item being coffee in a large mug. This was followed by the F/As asking us to browse the menu and make our choices known. I had the following during the flight...
A Selection of Danish, Croissants and Bagels.
Vegetable Frittata with red bell pepper, artichokes and mushrooms
Fresh Fruit Platter.
Prior To Arrival:
Lemon Pepper Seasoned Breast Of Chicken.
Cheese Plate Selection with fresh fruit.
Diamond Walnut Cookies (Hot).
I watched "Batman Begins" again and then got some sleep for a while. Our landing at LAX was again on 25L and we arrived at the gate at 11:00. After claiming my baggage, I found myself at the Radisson again by noon .
Departure Apt: LAX
Arrival Apt: ORD
Aircraft: Boeing 757-200 (N583UA)
Flight No: UA 940
Callsign: United 8136
With today being the final day of my trip, I was happy that everything had gone well so far, only if you discount the camera incident. My final check in was quick, again using the easy checkin system. I prionted out the boarding cards for both of todays flights, UA940 and UA928. My seat on 940, my next flight was to be 10E, in Economy Plus. During check in the screen message invited me to upgrade the ORD-LHR flight to business for $550, however I declined this, having spent enough on my credit card already. So I chose my economy plus seat for that leg - seat 20G.
After security was cleared, I made my way to gate 73 for the flight, and found that my aircraft wasn't on stand, kinda worrying me as we were supposed to depart at 11am (time now 09:30). My fears were wrong of course and the bird eventually arrived at 09:58, it was N583UA.
Boarding commenced at 10:30, with pushback at 11:00 and a taxi to 25R yet again, for an ontim departure. The captain told us our callsign would be different to the flight nu mber, as UA940 (an international flight inbound to LAX) was still in the air somewhere. We were using United 8136 as the callsign instead, and I heard this on Channel 9. After departure a drink was served with pretzels, then I was offered a snack box for $5, which I purchased - "The MiniMeal". I watched the movie "Fantastic 4" and then sat back and listened to channel 9 for the rest of the flight. We landed on 22R and arrived gate C23 16 mins early .
Departure Apt: ORD
Arrival Apt: LHR
Aircraft: Boeing 777-222 (N774UA)
Flight No: UA 928
Callsign: United 928
Transferring at ORD was easy, all I had to do was walk down concourse C and find my new gate for the flight home. I arrived at gate C16 to find a UA 747-400 pushing back (en route to the hangar) and a few mins later a tug arrived with my aircraft for the flight home - N774UA.
We boarded early, and I found myself with 3 seats empty on my left. We then taxiied on time at 17:40. Our departure runway today was 32R. We arrived at the runway and got our departure clearance. The aircraft turned onto the runway and we stopped, then the engines spooled up to what felt like full power, the captain released the brakes and were soon airborne. We had the usual beverage service followed by a meal, while I enjoyed the movie "Mr & Mrs Smith". Dinner tonight was nice, being beef, mashed potataoes, veg, side salad, fudge cake and bread rolls.
After the movie I looked at the airshow to find that we were over Goose Bay and noted the following:- Ground Speed 666mph, tailwind 112mph, alt 37000ft. Our arrival into LHR at this point was estimating 45 mins early, so i decided to go to sleep while i had the chance.
Over Ireland we were served breakfast and pretty soon started our descent into LHR. We landed in thick fog on 9L and arrived at the gate at 08:00, some 15 mins early. I made my way to the coach station again and waited for the bus back home.
I had a very enjoyable trip on UA and as per usual recieved top quality service from all the staff. My flights cost me £378 in total including taxes, not including the £170 i spent on the upgrade from JFK to LAX. Great value for money I thought.
Hope you enjoyed reading the report, comments are most welcome
Mexicana757 From United States of America, joined Apr 2001, 3053 posts, RR: 26
Reply 13, posted (9 years 5 months 3 weeks 1 day 8 hours ago) and read 19781 times:
Great trip report.. And you got a bargain on all those flights!!!!. Being October when you travel may be the reason for the good price on those flights. Anyways good job. Too bad your camera broke. I was enjoying looking at the pictures while reading your report.