In late 2000, I bought tickets on United to go from Spokane (GEG
) to Birmingham (BHM
) via Chicago. It was going to be a typical boring flight in a pair of aging 737's. When we arrived at the ticket counter, they informed us that they had overbooked the flight, and were asking for volunteers to take the next flight to ORD
. Unfortunately, that later flight would have put us in ORD
too late to make our BHM
flight, so we looked for other options. There was another United 737 about to board from GEG
, so we asked if we could find a ride from SFO
. After a bit of typing, the gate agent said she had two flights that would get us to ORD
on time to make our connection - so I asked the question that any other spotter would ask - "What aircraft types???" The first was a 757. Been there, done that. The next? 747-400. OH
HALE yeah, put us on that one!
View Large View Medium
Photo © Aaron 747
Once in SFO
, we raced to our gate to find a beautiful brand-new 747-400 waiting for us. It was amazing. My first time on the Jumbo. My family and I had dressed nicely, and after a wee bit of flirting with the gate agent, she bumped us to Business Class, since we had gone "so far out of our way". Incredible. The Captain told me that the aircraft was actually only several weeks old, and that we may have a long trip ahead of us. Right after we pushed, we had to hold next to 28R (I think) for about 90 minutes waiting for an ATC hold in ORD
due to weather.
Riding in Biz class was awesome. That wing really does flex a lot on takeoff! Our flight was in the afternoon, with an evening arrival in REAL nasty weather in ORD
just before dark. The approach was a bit rough, but the landing was very good, and the Captain stood on the brakes to stop us about halfway down the runway (or so it seemed). They did a fabulous job.
My personal experiences with United have been very good - I've always enjoyed their service. I recently flew ORD
on one of their 777-200's, and it was very cool as well. I'd highly reccommend them.
Hope this helps!