Well after a long winter a friend and I decided we needed some time away—we decided to go to Orlando Florida.
Airbus A320 N403UA
Seat: 10F Economy Plus
We had an early start as we wanted to make the 7:55am departure for Chicago. The plan was to go from Boise to Chicago O'Hare to Washington Dulles to Orlando. We were happy to find that there was only about 2 people in line at the ticket counter. We checked in and were put on the standby list for the Chicago flight. The security line was about average for Boise (about a 5 minute wait). Once we cleared security we proceeded to gate 11 to wait for the flight. About 7:30 the first class cabin was boarded, followed most of the Economy cabin. Finally we were paged up to the counter where we were given our boarding passes. We had seats 10D and 10F which were exit row seats in the economy plus section. We boarded and found our way to our seats where we were amazed with the legroom! I had to take my seatbelt off to reach my carryon items under the seats in front of me. We pushed out on time and were airborne shortly thereafter. The captain announced that channel nine would be available for passengers to monitor the communication with ATC. Unfortunately the flight attendants didn’t turn on the audio until about 10 minutes after takeoff. We climbed to 37,000 feet and were served beverages, but no snacks or meals. They showed a movie, but I didn’t watch it—who needs a movie with channel 9? We descended into the clouds and had to make an ILS approach into O’Hare. It was interesting to hear ATC at O’Hare!! “United 1214 monitor O’Hare tower on XXX.XX and report landing. Eagle 235 taxi to position and hold, but don’t plan on stopping!!” We landed safely and arrived the gate a little early.
Once we deplaned I called to check the status on our ORD-IAD and IAD-MCO flights. We were not happy to hear that all flights to Orlando from Dulles had oversold by more than 10 seats with a lot of standbys listed. We decided to try for a nonstop flight to Orlando from Chicago. The flight had 4 seats in first class and was over sold by 6 in coach with 14 standbys. We had paid reservations in Orlando and needed to get there—needless to say we were VERY nervous! Finally about 10 minutes prior to departure we were called to the counter and given seats! I was assigned 11E and found the plane VERY full when I reached my seat.
Boeing 757-200 N578UA
Seat: 10F Economy Plus
I had just gotten seated and stowed my carryon when the gate agent approached me—Oh no I thought! I’m gonna be asked to leave! I was very happy when she said she’d need my seats for a handicapped passenger. I was asked to move forward one row—not all bad! I got a window We pushed back on time and found our way into the lines for the runways. It had been years since I’d been at O’Hare and I was surprised at how many American planes there were! After 38 minutes of waiting we were finally rolling down the runway. Once we were airborne we climbed to 35,000 feet and were served drinks and snack mix. NBC inflight was shown and it had some pretty good shows. Not as good as channel 9 which was not available on this flight. The guy sitting next to me really liked to spread out and I was pinned against the window! It was very uncomfortable but I was happy to be on the flight anyway! Our descent was a little bumpy and we arrived at the gate about 25 minutes late due to the delay before takeoff.
We took a shuttle to the Coronado Springs Resort at Walt Disney World where we spent our next four days. How was it you ask?? Let’s see…..80 degrees and there was an all-star cheerleading competition at Disney World that week---10,000 cheerleaders-----need I say more??
After a couple of relaxing days we were back at the Hyatt Orlando International Airport. We arrived back to the hotel at 1:30am and were planning on departing at 7:25am for home. We were both very tired and I called to check different routes home. I found a flight to O’Hare at 1:55pm that looked good, but I decided to check the numbers again at about 10:00am. After sleeping like a rock I called to check the flights again. The 1:55 had oversold by more than 10 in just a couple of hours, but the 11:50 flight had actually opened up a little so we decided to take the 11:50 to Chicago then catch a 5:00 to Denver and finally getting into Boise at 9:28pm. We got packed up and went downstairs to the terminal to find that the 11:50 was posted as cancelled. We went to the United ticket counter to see what was going on but there were probably 500 cheerleaders in line! We went directly to the gate where we were told that the aircraft had a mechanical problem and the decision would be made at 11:50. We grabbed breakfast and waited. The planes gear doors kept coming down and going back up. At about 11:55 a flight attendant came over and offered us a newspaper. She also asked if we had alternate plans because she didn’t think the flight would operate. We thanked her and decided to try and make the flight to Dulles and then get to Chicago. We checked in for Dulles and were told that it looked pretty good. As they started boarding first class we were called up and given our boarding passes! As hard as it was to leave an airport full of cheerleaders we boarded the plane to start the journey home.
Boeing 757-200 N579UA
Seat: 6B First Class
Once we were seated we were offered water or orange juice. I took the water and my friend took the OJ. It took a few minutes to board the coach cabin and then we were underway. Taxi was short and we held for a minute. I saw an American A300, TWA 767-300 (Old Red Colors) and a Continental 757-300. Once we were airborne we climbed to 35,000 feet and we were served beverages and a mix of nuts. NBC in-flight was shown and channel 9 was not available We descended into the clouds and landed on time in Dulles. On our landing roll we saw the United 767 Star Alliance plane, a Virgin Atlantic A340, British Airways 777, and a bunch of United planes. We deplaned and headed for the Chicago gate. We were excited to see that the United Star Alliance plane was making the run to Chicago that we wanted to get on. We checked in and were put on the standby list. Almost all passengers had boarded when we heard our names called—the agent was just yelling out names—not even using a microphone! We were given our boarding passes and boarded immediately.
United 1241 Heavy
Boeing 767-300 N653UA—Star Alliance Plane
Seat: 8A Business Class
Once on board we stowed our bags and took our seats in business class. We had barely sat down when we were offered drinks. We were both amazed, having never flown business class before. The flight attendant came over and showed us how to work our seats! We had pop-out TV screens, lumbar support controls, and a leg rest extension. We were pushed back 4 minutes early and were soon rolling down the runway in the rain. Channel 9 was available and we both listed to it for most of the flight. Once we leveled off at 39,000 feet we were offered peanuts and a beverage. A few minutes later we were served a meal consisting of ravioli, a salad, rolls, and pie! (Not bad for an hour and a half flight!!) We were offered wine several times, and they even offered champagne during descent. On approach we were offered an S turn because we were high and fast! We landed without incident and taxied to gate C20. We were both sad to leave this great plane and great crew.
We checked in for the Boise flight and walked between the councourses to see the lights underground
Airbus A319 N842UA
Seat: 9A Economy Plus
We boarded a fairly new A319 rather than the regular A320. This plane had the new “I’m blue” interiors but I was disappointed with the exit rows—nothing like the 320 we flew in on. We pushed back about 6 minutes early, and were only number 3 for takeoff. Once we had reached 41,000 feet drinks were served and the movie “K-Pax” was shown. I watched part of it and slept for part of it. This was by far the longest flight of my life! I needed to use the restroom but was blocked in by sleeping people Finally, after what seemed like an eternity we began our descent into Boise. As the flaps were lowered we hit severe turbulence, and the overhead bins started opening. The flight attendants closed the bins and were immediately seated. They asked that we check our neighbors to make sure we were ready for landing. About 3 miles out we began to power-up and started a steep climb! I had never done a go-around before and this was amazing! We were apparently too high so we went around. About 8 minutes later we were on the ground and welcomed with “After a nice, safe landing, Welcome to Boise! Local time is 10:05pm” which received applause We taxied to gate 11 and ended our trip!
Overall I was very happy with United! The gate agents and flight attendants were all really helpful and friendly. Legroom was not bad and service in Business can’t be beat! I look forward to flying United again soon. Oh—by the way—it was 35 when we landed in Boise! Not quite the 80 I had left