Ok...well I took a trip starting on monday ending at 1am today with my dad. This report is from the point of view of the non-rev traveler. I hope you enjoy!
Monday morning I woke up at 3am to the sound of 2 alarm clocks. I forced my self to rise out of bed. I watched a little t.v., and got ready to go. After my shower, Kai (OH-LGA) gave me a call to see if I was up yet.
I got dressed in my non-reving attire, and packed a few last things. At about 4am, my dad and I were ready to go to SEA. I did have some uncertanty prior to mondays flight because the loads on skynet showed that our flight would be in a 737-300Shuttle, but then it was downgraded to a mainline 500!
Then, back to a Shuttle 500. As a result, the flight was oversold, so we had a little worrying to do. I had an unusuall back up to SEA that would take us through Medford Oregon.
We got to SFO, and parked in the employee lot (west MOC lot). Then we walked in the pouring rain to a long term parking bus stop, to catch the shuttle to the terminal. While waiting, a UA CSR showed up. We struck up a conversation with her. Upon arriving at the terminal, we wished her well for her day of work arround the rained in SFO.
The NRSA counter was not open so we went to the gate... to begin our around the counrty tour. Our flight was leaving from gate 71. I check the aircraft's nose number, and found that it was a Shuttle 300...whew. Maybe we would get on. The agent working the gate said that its looking a little full, but to hang out because we might get on.
At 5:50am, our names were called. We recieved our boarding passes. I was in row 18 seat E. A middle! Ahh...the joys of non-reving! I put my rollaboard in the bin, and my tote under my seat, and hoped in. Right at 5:59am, the door was closed, and we pushed on time, at 6am.
The safety demo was complete, and the purser went through all of the service announcements while taxing out to the runway. He did mention that UA was 75 years old. The center lights were dimmed, but the window lights were kept on. A few minutes later we were on our way.
After take off, I got a glass of orange juice. Following that, a rasberry shortbread cookie. After that, both ladies next to me fell asleep, and I was trapped. The flight attendants came around with coffee a few times, but I did not take any. There was some light turbulence on the way up to SEA. Nothing really strong.
The flight attendants seemed to disapear for the remaining hour of the flight. I tried to sleep, but was not sucessfull, as I can never really sleep on planes. The aproach to SEA-TAC airport was interesting. It was kinda cloudy so I could not see much. We flew over some ship yards, and near Boeing. Sadly, I could not see that because I was on teh right side, and that was on the left.
We landed about 10 minutes early, and taxied to the gate. I was one of the last passengers off of the plane.
I then met up with my dad, and he and I tried to find a place for breakfast. That train thing to the different termianls is pretty cool. For breakfast, we settled on a Cinnabon. Yum!
Later we called the hotel which we were staying at. From our room, we had a good view of the departing traffic from SEA.
In Seattle, we took the public transit to the SpaceNeedle, and EMP. Lunch in the spaceneedle was expencive, but it was the best part of the trip.
The next morning we were off to IAD via DEN. Again, we woke up at 3am, for a 6am flight. We got dressed, and packed for the day of traveling. At about 4:30am, we took the airport shuttle over to the terminal. The night before, I had found out that the 6:01am flight was cancled. There are two flights to DEN within 1 minute of each other. They cancled the 737 flight to DEN. As a result, all of the passengers that were on the 6:01 am flight went to the 6:00am flight, which was still oversold. Our names were transfered over to the 8:10am flight. The 6:00am flight went out with every seat taken. It did push on time, even in the rain.
We hung out at SEA-TAC, and got some breakfast. At 7:25am or so, we checked in for the 8:10am flight. They said that it was kinda full, but that they would try to get us on. When we over heard the CSR say that it was full, we ran over to the 8:15am flight in the 737. There were 6 seats left, but we had to wait a few minutes. at 8:00am, I ran back over to N11 (I think) and asked if they had called us. They said "yes". I told them to hang on 1 sec, and got my dad, we were off to DEN on the 8:10am 757 flight. I took my seat. 31E, another middle. My dad was in 30E. There was a problem though. His seat was broken. It did not lock in place. If he leaned back, it would recline. They moved him to 29B.
At 8:10am, we pushed back right on time. The engines started, and the safety video played. We taxied out to the runway, very slowly. I think a turtle can walk faster than we taxied! Listening to channel 9, I found out that we were clear for take off, and we were. We shot down the runway, and rotated quickly.
There were a few bumps while flying through the clouds. I got this feeling while looking at the wing, and just through the cabin, that we were like a bullet shooting from a gun. After 15 minutes, the seatbelt sign was turned off, and we pointed twards Denver.
I got a drink...A diet coke. About 45 minutes later, the crew came around with breakfast. They handed it to me. I did not know what the main dish was. It took me a few minutes to figure it out. I had to ask my neighbors, and then a flight attendant. She said that it was the breakfast pizza. I ate part of it, but not much. The guy next to me downed the thing pretty quickly. My dad thought that it was a Denver omlete.
We landed about 10 minutes late.
I tried to get off quickly becasue we had 30 minutes to catch the IAD 777. Fortinuantly, it was parked at the gate next to ours, even though we had a little walk to do.
Most of the passengers had boarded already, so the CSR was getting ready to call S/A's. We were called up. We could be split up in business class, or be slpit between first and business. My dad took the sleeper seat. I took 9D.
When I arrived at my seat, it was occupied.
I hopped in the middle.
9E was not bad. It had the enhanced business class, so there was pleantly of leg room.
There was a brief mechanical delay. Actually, it was 30 minutes. We pushed back at 1pm. The engines started. A short taxi out, and we were off. When the engies reved up, it sounded like "wawawawawawa" sound going very fast. After taking off, and a few minutes into the flight, I pulled out my PTV, and put on the airshow map. We climbed fast, and cleared colorado with in a few minutes.
Shortly after take off, the flight attendants came aroupnd asking if we will be dining this afternoon. I said yes. Then they took my meal order. The first and business class cabin had the same meals. Here is the menu:
•Garden Fresh Salad
Parmeasan pepper or asian sesame ginger dressing
•Apple-marinated grilled breast of chicken
roasted onion barbique sauce, a vegetable medley and roasted potato dumplings with onions and butter.
•Spinach and Rocotta ravioli with Parmesan cheese
oven -charred tomatoe sauce
•Eli's Apple crunch cheesecake
I chose the chicken as my lunch. I got a diet coke from the flight attendants and a bag of snack mix. At this point the entertainment programming started. The movie was finding forrester, but I chose the short subject programming instead. I watched the history of Coney Island, as well as other t.v. shows. I did return to my map for a lot of the flight.
The flight was pretty turbulent. We did a northern deviation to our flight path, which took us over IND, and CVG. We did have a pretty strong tail wind, and as a result, there were times when we were crusing at a little over 700mph (ground speed).
Lunch was served. I got my tray, which had the apple pie (no cheese cake), salt and peper shakers, a wine glass, a coffee mug, and the bowl of salad. One of the fight attendants came around offering the salad dressing. I took the asian ginger one. It was pretty good. Another flight attendant came around with rolls and butter.
A few minutes later, I was handed my main entree. The chicken was very good. It was all good.
I cant believe that I said that about airline food.
The Business class seats are very nice. For those of you who have not yet flown in them...they are great. They have a lumbar support, and recline to 160 degrees. I was a little too comfortable.
At multiple times through out the flight, the purser asked the other flight attendants to sit down in their jumpseats. Later on, my tray was cleared, and all was well. For the next hour, I listened to channel 9, and watched the map. We set up for our approach. At about 5:50pm, we landed in IAD, and had a 5 minute taxi in.
I grabed my bag out of the bins, and met my dad in the terminal. Then we rented a car and drove to D.C.
The next night, we returned our car for our flight back home to SFO. We went to the termianl in our street cloathes, and changed later on. We had a little time to kill. I watched an AA 727 power back to DFW. I also watched Sabena push for BRU. Virgin also taxied by.
Our 9:45pm flight was delayed to 10:10 because of crew scheduling. This flight was going to go out full. Why? DEN and ORD were both having there problems so we were getting a lot of passengers that were going to try to make connections in SFO the next morning. Our names were called at 9:50. Seats 18F and G.
By this time most of the bin space was full, so my bag went on the bins on the other side of the plane. I did get my tote in the center bins. Those center bins are quite small.
I wonder how much larger they are on the 764.
We pushed back at around 10:10pm. Sitting over the wing, we heard many noises that you dont hear up front or in the back. The safety video played.
We bagan our taxi out. The pilots were rough with the breaks. The aircraft was ship 6006, our first 767 at United. The interior will be redone soon...it needs it.
Afte take off, the movie "The Family Man" played. The flight attendants came around with the drink cart, and a bag of snack mix. Later on during the flight, I went back to the galley. Stricking up a conversation with them, I ended up being there for hours. I told them that I wanted to be a flight attendant, and they were totally into that. They brought me a little snack from business, and I help one of them pick there line for next month.
We landed in SFO at around 1am. The pilots were very rough with the breaks, people were advised to use caution when opening the overhead compartments because of the rough breaking. We taxied over to gate 83. I left with the crew because I had luggage scattered all about the plane.
My dad and I drove home...putting an end to our trip.