UA 1220 Los Angeles-Denver
Sch Departure: 07:00
Gate: Terminal 7, 72
Actual Push: 07:05
Seat: Economy, 35J
Sch Arrival: 10:14
At Gate: 10:13
Gate: Concourse B, B39
Equip: Boeing 777-200/ER, N206UA
Photo © Thomas D. Mayes, Jr.
We left LAX at 5am for my 7am flight to Denver. I booked the trip about a month in advance and paid a 281.50 for the Y ticket. I was estatic to be able to fly an internationally-configured 777 both ways-the only other 777 I have been on was a domestic configuration on a United flight to Honolulu in 2001. I had just come back from a 2 week trip on United/Aloha in Hawaii, so the airport looked familiar.
Anyway, we got to the airport at 05:30 and got in a pretty long line for domestic self-service check-in. It was stilll pretty dark outside and I was really tired, having only slept 4 hours the night before.
We made our way to the check-in podium and I had my boarding pass within a minute. The representative behind the counter directed me to have my checked bag secondarily screened by the TSA. After that, they directed me to a security checkpoint I was unfamiliar with in Terminal 7 at the far side. This checkpoint had virtually no people at it, and I was soon on my way to gate 72.
At the gate, there were no empty seats. I find that the viewing standpoints in UA's Terminal 7 at LAX are usually terrible-I couldn't even catch the registration of the big Triple 7 waiting for the early morning flight to Denver. It still had a good amount of condensation on its fuselage.
I walked over to Terminal 6 to just ckeck it out because I was unfamiliar with it and curious. When I got back to the gate, they had started First/Business/Premier boarding. I was in Group Seating 3. I find the group boarding system to be much better than the old one-passengers get on the aircraft much quicker. I soon walked on the aircraft and walked through the galley to the J side of the plane.
The seat map on UA's website during booking showed me that it was the long-range configuration of the 777, with lower crew rest compartment and no Y+ seating (according to seatguru.com). However, I noticed crew rest seats at the end of the first Economy section, so I discovered the airline substitued it for the 'B' version that has C Class with a 49-inch pitch and still no Y+ seats. The seats were the older scheme, however I was pleased to see adjustable headrests and PTV's! I sat down in what I thought was 35J, however it turned out to be 36J. I think I do this on just about every flight. I did it on LAX-HNL, KOA-LAX flight earlier in the month also!
Anyway, 35J had much better window configuration which pleased me. Unfortunately the aisle seat next to me was occupied. I tuned into Channel 9 Cockpit Communications, but heard nothing. I was initially disappointed, but after pushback I could hear air traffic control communications.
The purser on this flight was very clear and deliberate over the PA-she made all the textbook announcements and was very informative throughout the flight. The crew did the safety breifing manually as we taxied to the threshold of T7 and held. We went to 25R for takeoff. Takeoff was smooth and powerful as we soared into the overcast Southern California sky. Soon, we were out of the low clouds, and the purser informed us about route info, beverage service, and our entertainment in-flight. I was very happy to discover we had 5 options for IFE on our PTV alongside the moving map. On Channel 1 was NBC In-Flight which I had already seen on my flight from Kona on July 14, channel 2 was Discovery Channel about ancient ruins, Channel 3 (National Geographic) had an interesting segment on dolphins, Channel 4 had cartoons, and Channel 5 was VH1 music videos. A lot of the time I just watched the moving map while listening to Channel 9, sometimes dozing off.
It was a relatively smooth flight most of the way. The crew came around with a package of two buttermilk bars (which I would describe as wannabe doughnuts) and a beverage-I had ginger ale.
Too soon, we began our initial descent into Denver, and I was getting excited about the upcoming week's trip by myself. We descended over downtown Denver and made a landing on what I think was runway 7. Landing was very smooth; we soon taxied to B39. I waited for all the passengers to disembark so I could take some pictures (I will try to upload the many pictures I took from my trip when I have time). The crew also let me take some cockpit pictures-the FO was still in there and I talked to him for a bit. The cabin crew basically shoved me off the plane because "We want to go home, honey" like I was a little kid. I was the last passenger off the aircraft.
I walked through beautiful DIA to the underground train where I met my cousins at the baggage claim some 6 minutes later. All in all, this was a fantastic flight. A fabulous internationally-configured Triple 7 experience on United that I won't forget anytime soon.
24 July 2003
United 781 Denver-Los Angeles
Sch Departure: 17:25
Gate: Concourse B, B38
Actual Push: 17:34
Seat: Economy, 35J
Sch Arrival: 18:38
At Gate: 18:50
Gate: Terminal 7, 74
Equip: Boeing 777-200/ER. N225UA
Photo © David J Madzelonka
After a fantastic week in Colorado with my cousins, it became that sad time when I had to return back to reality. After an hour-drive to DIA, we arrived at 15:45 and parked at Terminal West parking garage. We walked by United's ticket counters and the long lines in front of them and headed straight outside to the curbside check-in, where we were checked in just before 16:00 for the 17:25 flight. We went up to Domino's Pizza and ate an entire pizza before that emotional moment where we part for who knows long. I got in a VERY long security line on the lower level at 4:30pm and was through the scanner with no problems some 25 minutes later.
When I reached the gate printed on my boarding pass, I saw no plane. I started getting worried because boarding was supposed to start at 4:45 and it was now past 5. The plane couldn't have left, could it? After a quick look at the information screen, I was relieved to discover my gate was changed to B38. I rushed over and joined the boarding queue after snapping a shot of the plane and hearing Seating 3 called. There were a lot of people around the gate area, and I got on the plane and walked through the galley again to the J side. I noticed this plane had the new blue Economy seats and no crew rest in the Y cabin, so this plane was in fact the 'C' version.
I found someone in my ticketed seat, 35H, who, like me on the previous flight, went a row too far; he was seated in 34H. I just sat down in the window seat hoping that either no one was next to me or that the person would be kind enough to give up his/her seat for me. A guy on a cell phone sees me in his seat, and I kindly aks to switch, which he obliges to. By now, everyone is onboard the aircraft and we are waiting at the gate. No flight attendants are making announcements.
While I'm sitting, I notice a UA 757 push and a 777 come up to the same gate 2 minutes later. THis might have to do with some kind of a delay, but on a previous trip to DEN, I noticed the same thing; an on-time flight departed the gate and another aircraft pulled up immediately. I was just wondering if UA has more turnarounds than normal at their DEN gates for some reason, or if they're jammed packed for gate space.
Anyway, the pilot finally comes on to welcome us to Flight 781 and tells us the flight attendants will be performing the safety briefing soon and that we would be on our way shortly. We continue to sit. At around 17:30, the purser comes on, and she informs us that this is, in fact, flight 781 with service to Los Angeles and that we should turn off our portable electronics. Nothing else. Strange, so far...
We push 10 minutes behind schedule, and they perform the safety briefing. Channel 9 is turned on for this flight. We taxi to one of the runways, and we wait a while in a departure queue. The ATC controller seems to be sending a/c off with a greater period of time in between takeoffs than usual. We finally get in the air at 17:56 through a powerful takeoff.
Through climb-out we ascend very rapidly it seems through a sea of clouds. The aircraft seems mucher louder compared to the previous 777, even though I'm sitting in the same seat. The clouds continue as we ascend. The FO informs us over the PA after a while that we're in thunderstorms and that we're going to FL390 to avoid turbulence. The seatbelt sign stays on for a while, and we climb again to FL410. I don't think I can recall being that high on a flight. The flight was somewhat choppy, not very turbulent despite thunderstorms.
After take-off, our purser informs us that our video system was inoperative. Sigh. Apparently, they flew the plane in from Chicago and were trying to fix and reset the system on the ground in DEN, but to no luck. Oh well. Does anyone know if this happens alot with the IFE on the 777?
FA's came around with a disgusting snack mix-Fisher's Cheddar Snack Mix-and a beverage-the whole can was served. The flight was pretty uneventful-I stared out the window some and listend to music and channel 9. I think over Nevada, though, I was listening to my headphones and noticed a huge contrail and a jet passing extremely close to our aircraft, and a sudden jolt of pretty bad turbulence. They made some sort of announcement, but the next thing I knew the seatbelt sign was on and the FA's were practically were practically running to their seats and checking every passenger's seat belt. The whole thing was pretty vague, so I don't know if this information is all accurate or if the sudden turbulence had anything to do with the aircraft passing, but I'm bummed I was listening to my headphones and missed out on the PA. Very interesting though.
We started our descent into the LA basin alongside the mountains. I noticed we flew directly over Ontario Airport. When descending, we were close to parallel with a UA B757 on the right side, which was pretty awesome and had never happended to me at LAX before.
We landed back home on 25L. The landing run was very short, and we exited to the takiway next to T4. When I went back to the lav mid-flight I noticed some empty seats-I'd say the flight was about 80% full.
We taxied over to 74 and pulled right in. Our purser wished us a farewell-I never actually saw her but I could tell she was at the end of a very long day-as was the rest of the crew, who didn't seem to be the friendliest people out there. I was the last passenger off and was taking pics of the cabin to no luck-the light conditions were terrible!
I made my way to bag claim and waited 10 mins. for my bag and headed out of the airport a little depressed.
Overall, the flight was adequate. It definitely had some odd aspects to it, but the whole mood of leaving my cousins and returning back home contributed to the fact that it wasn't nearly as good as the flight there. However, I am overall impressed with United once again. They're usually the only airline I fly when I actually do fly, and I hope they can weather their financial difficulties and emerge and even better and a stronger carrier.
Hope you enjoyed my TR. This is my first, so go easy on me.