Topic Author
Posts: 423
Joined: Fri May 31, 2002 10:09 am

United 904 JFK-LHR $99 Roundtrip!

Mon Oct 13, 2003 1:33 pm

United Airlines Flight 904
Boeing 767-300/ER (N662UA)
Friday May 9, 2003

Estimated Time of Departure: 9:20 PM
Estimated Time of Arrival: 9:35 AM
Actual Time of Departure: 9:30 PM
Actual Time of Arrival: 9:23 AM

NOTE TO A.NET CREW READING THIS POST: I have talked to an crewmember about linking photos to, as I don't want to have my TR deleted becasue it contains a few links to Here is his response to my question regarding the usage of links in a post (after discussing this question with other moderators). "Links to pictures from outside are allowed under the following conditions:

- They are no available in the database.
- It isn't an advertisement for the website or the photo.
- As long as 1000s of picture are not
use -> Ok in limited numbers."

Ok, now the report.

This was one of the best trips I have ever taken. United was offering a $99 roundtrip JFK-LHR-JFK deal, and my dad actually wanted to go (usually just mentions good fares, doesn't usually actually buy them). We made the reservations on the seventh, and before I knew it, I was on my way to London! This was definitely a rare occurance for me, as I usually fly 1-2 times a year (it will be a total of 3 for this year). We left in the late afternoon for JFK. Good thing, because there was plenty of traffic (more time for watching planes approaching LGA  Big grin ). After about 2 hours and 15 minutes, we were at terminal 7. I was expecting a gray, boring terminal. Nope. This was a very modern and well lit terminal, and it had plenty of windows!  Smile This was the first time that I have been to a major airport where nobody was checking in, except for one couple (this included the BA and UA desks). So we checked in and moved up to Economy Plus (row 22) from boring Economy (row 29 i believe). That got me excited.

We then proceeded to security, with about 10 people ahead of us in line. We stood in line for about two minutes, and passed through into the terminal area hassle-free. I went up the escalator, and walked straight for a little bit, and was greeted by none other than the BA Concorde. That got me even more excited than the upgrade. I got lots of pics of it, even though it was taken through two panes of glass at different angles to each other, about 6 feet apart. I didn't care. I just wanted photos to remember the concorde by. Little did I know that I would have a better opprotunity later. I then strolled through this not-too-big terminal, searching for good spotting locations. I saw the Icelandair gate, with the flight to Reykjavik waiting at the gate for a later departure. I then got my dinner at McDonalds, and headed over to an area that should be in all terminals. The BA complimentary laptop internet/powerport station, with stools lined up at a chrome counter, with a huge panoramic view of 31R. I was in heaven. I could eat my dinner, charge my other camera battery, and take photos of planes all at the same time. O yeah...

After watching many planes (mostly AA and B6) land on 31R, I noticed movement on the right. I looked to see a most welcome sight (didn't mean for that to rhyme). The BA Concorde was pushing back. I hurried to a better window for photography, and started to snap away. I looked at it, and the front right door was still open. I was a little confused about this, but it turned out that it was just switching gates. Another guy noticed my excitement and took out his camera (a point and shoot) and started to take some pics, too. While at this counter, I also saw (probably forgetting some here) an Asiana 744, a Qantas 744, many B6 A320's (including one with the new c/s), a few AA 757's, an AA A300, and the LH Star Alliance 744. The light was getting low, making all shots (I was shooting moving objects) crappier by the second. I was expecting the LH 744 to turn off the runway and taxi by me, but it turned the other way. Ugh. I at least got a blurry picture of its tail.  Sad

Some other shots I got from the BA viewing area:

As it got dark, photography was not really an option anymore. I went to Hudson News to get a Popular Science magazine to read while waiting for my flight. When our flight began boarding, we walked down the jetway, enroute to my first United flight that I can remember (flew UAL when I was about 2 years old). However, we were stopped (only feet from the door)before boarding. They were making last minute preparations for our flight, which only took a few minutes. I then found my way to seat 22G (a window, of course  Smile ), with my own PTV (unlike the AA 763's).

As we prepared for pushback, I noticed that the flight was not too full (I was expecting a full flight). The flight was probably 70% full, although that estimate might be high. We pushed back only a few minutes behind schedule, and after pushback, I got to gaze at the BA Concorde gleaming under the floodlights. After we had pushed back, the captain informed the passengers about the ATC broadcast on channel 9 of the audio selection. Yet what he said after this, terrified me. He informed us that since the Mets were playing, he would be broadcasting the Mets game live until we lost the signal of the radio station. NOOOOOO! I had been waiting a whole two days (we made our reservations Wednesday) to listen to this, and it would (of all things) be substituted by a METS GAME!?!? (it could have at least been a Yankee game  Big grin ). Fortunately, the baseball game was never broadcast, so I got to listen to the ATC for the whole flight.

Here's a photo I took of the JFK ATC tower while taxiing.

We taxied uneventfully to runway 31L for departure. It was cool to hear, "United nine zero four heavy, cleared for takeoff runway three one left", and then immediately afterwards, we taxied onto the runway and up into the sky above NYC. I saw Coney Island shortly after departure, and we headed northeastbound over Long Island (looks pretty small from the air at night), Connecticut, and Massachusetts. We flew over Boston on our way out over the Atlantic, and at about that time, I got a pasta dinner which was pretty good (didn't eat too much because I had already eaten at the airport).

I stayed awake for a while, browsing the channels on my PTV, but around Greenland, I fell asleep for about 3.5 hours until I woke up right as the sun was starting to rise over the Atlantic Ocean.

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Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © Msh744

Flight attendants gave everybody a boxed breakfast. It consisted (this is the stuff I remember) of a croissant, jam and butter, and... well, that's all i remember... I stayed awake for the rest of the flight, watching the sunrise over the front of the wing. As we started to descend over Ireland (approximately), it hit me that we were not descnding into overcast skies. WOW! Could it be?!? A nice day in England in Spring? Nooooo. But it was! Hell had frozen over! (Ok, enough bashing England's weather). It was cool to see the English landscape from up high, as so represented in this pic.

View Large View Medium
Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © Msh744

As we approached the London area, I noticed that we started to make a bunch of tight turns, which could only mean two things. 1. we were dumping fuel (uh oh...) or 2. holding pattern. Thankfully, it was option 2. The last time I had been in a holding pattern was when I was about 6 years old, and it was at HPN i think (only like one other jet with us). But the first real clue I got was when I watched a 767 and a 777 fly by going the opposite direction, separated vertically by 2000 feet probably.

After that, I saw tons of planes flying all around us. We flew around for about 10-15 minutes waiting for a slot to land on this busy Saturday morning. Here are some other shots from the holding pattern.

We flew by downtown London on our approach to runway 27R.

Approaching LHR...


We taxied to a hardstand to deplane because there were no available jetway gates (occupied by all of these UA 777's)

It was pretty cool getting to deplane by airstairs at such a big airport. Here's a pic I took from an empty business class seat while waiting to deplane. I know, the horizon is really crooked...

We rode in a bmi bus under 747's, 777's and the like, and that was really cool to experience. I saw the Thai Royal Barge 744 while on the bus, which was quite a sight. We arrived in the terminal and went to customs, which went very smoothly. I've always wondered how the LHR customs agents can be so friendly for passenger after passenger. This was my second time arriving at LHR, and this was the second friendly customs agent I've had. Pretty nice touch.  Smile We then progressed on the miles of moving walkways to the Underground station, and into downtown London.

I hope you enjoyed reading this report. Comments are appreciated.  Smile

I hope to have a part 2 out soon.


[Edited 2003-10-13 06:36:18]
Posts: 10261
Joined: Thu May 18, 2000 12:22 pm

RE: United 904 JFK-LHR $99 Roundtrip!

Mon Oct 13, 2003 4:08 pm

Great report Msh..cant wait to read the return! That AA 777 photo in the LHR holding pattern is amazing too...what camera do you use??

Chief college football stadium self-pic guru
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RE: United 904 JFK-LHR $99 Roundtrip!

Mon Oct 13, 2003 5:30 pm

Fantastic account, and by the way, my father flew out from LHR on May 10th (the day you appear to have arrived) on a BA flight to Zimbabwe.  Big grin

The photos are incredible, congratulations! Indeed, any flight involving an arrival/departure into LHR is highly interesting.

Some notes: as you flew over downtown London, the central London photo indicated two interesting landamarks: the BA London Eye (right) and Houses of Parliament (left).

That cream-coloured building to the left of your landing shot on 27R is the Heathrow renaissance hotel, a regular haunt for visiting people!  Big grin

That was a great fare you obtained; UA is offering a fantastic range of fares from London too; their ad campaign runs something like 'When every taxi driver, bellboy, barman & waiter in New York asks for a tip, a cheap plane ticket helps'.

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RE: United 904 JFK-LHR $99 Roundtrip!

Mon Oct 13, 2003 10:52 pm

Your UA777 has a British Airways winglet  Laugh out loud cool photo!

Great trip report by the way & what a fantastic fare.

A340 LoVeR! EC-GQK - LHR The Bussiest International Airport & 3rd Bussiest In The World!
Topic Author
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RE: United 904 JFK-LHR $99 Roundtrip!

Mon Oct 13, 2003 11:43 pm

Thanks for the replies and compliments!  Smile

Greg- I use a Nikon Coolpix 5700 (5MP, 35-280mm)

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RE: United 904 JFK-LHR $99 Roundtrip!

Tue Oct 14, 2003 12:55 am

Great report and enjoyed the photos as well.
You can cut the irony with a knife
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RE: United 904 JFK-LHR $99 Roundtrip!

Tue Oct 14, 2003 8:56 am

Great report - I love photos with a report!

Reminds me of my flights into/out of LHR back in December. I remember seeing all kinds of heavies spinning around up there with us. It was cloudy that day, though, so we didn't have the beautiful English countryside down below.

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RE: United 904 JFK-LHR $99 Roundtrip!

Tue Oct 14, 2003 7:58 pm

The pictures are outstanding, i love the AA 777 flying low over the countryside, infact i had the same experience as you when i flew UAL LHR-JFK-LHR. The best part is circling over London in the holding pattern.
In Arsene we trust!!
Topic Author
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RE: United 904 JFK-LHR $99 Roundtrip!

Wed Oct 15, 2003 6:26 am

Thanks again for the comments. I was surprised that nobody was taking pics of planes that day at LHR. There's only one pic from LHR from May 10, and it's a concorde cockpit shot. I was hoping to see at least a few spotters when I flew in. O well...

Thanks again

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RE: United 904 JFK-LHR $99 Roundtrip!

Thu Oct 16, 2003 8:10 pm

A very good trip report! Big grin

It certainly sounded as though you really enjoyed yourself which is, after all, what flying should be about.

Excluding the absurdly low ticket price, were your overall expectations of UA not met; met; or exceeded?

Keep up the good work! Big grin
"Everyone writing for the Telegraph knows that the way to grab eyeballs is with Ryanair and/or sex."
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RE: United 904 JFK-LHR $99 Roundtrip!

Fri Oct 17, 2003 7:06 am

I would have to say my expectations were exceeded. The flight attendants and airport attendants were always very friendly, probably surpassing other airlines I have flown on (see profile for the list). Maybe this was because there were light load factors for United at the airports and on the flights, but they were always upbeat, which is nice. I had always seen UA as a boring, normal airline that had nothing special to offer, but was I wrong! I had a great time on UAL, and consequently a great trip. Also, I love any flight I go on pretty much (I usually fly a maximum of 3 roundtrips per year), so I'm definitely not as critical as other people on this board.

Thanks for reading my report!  Smile

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RE: United 904 JFK-LHR $99 Roundtrip!

Fri Oct 17, 2003 7:58 am

Very good trip report, I enjoyed reading it. But when I read it the right side is cut of, anyone know how to corect it?
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RE: United 904 JFK-LHR $99 Roundtrip!

Sat Oct 18, 2003 2:40 am

Indeed, very nice report! I liked reading it, and the pics really enhanced it!

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RE: United 904 JFK-LHR $99 Roundtrip!

Mon Oct 20, 2003 6:24 am

Hi Msh744 ! Great report there I really enjoyed it  Smile !
Tell me, how do you find such low fares ?

Topic Author
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RE: United 904 JFK-LHR $99 Roundtrip!

Mon Oct 20, 2003 10:55 am

Thanks for the replies.

PJS800- Go down to the very bottom of this page and click "Printer Friendly format". That should solve your problem.

Leviticus- I actually didn't find the fare, my dad did. He subscribes to some sort of a fare newsletter, and this fare was in one of those. It was very restricted though. The fare was only good for flight 904 leaving May 8th and May 9th, but you had a broad range of return times. I recently discovered that this fare was most probably so low because United had started flights 904 and 979 (LHR-JFK) only a few days before I flew on them.

Hope I answered your questions, and thanks for reading my report.

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RE: United 904 JFK-LHR $99 Roundtrip!

Mon Oct 20, 2003 11:33 am

That AA 777 picture is awesome, must have been some sight for people on the ground.

About BA's Terminal 7 at JFK, it just finished a $400 Million renovation by a British company that designs and builds rock concert stages and does movie production sets.

I've been in there a couple times since they finished the project, it's very "hip".
Eastern Air lines flt # 701, EWR-MCO Boeing 757
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RE: United 904 JFK-LHR $99 Roundtrip!

Wed Oct 22, 2003 12:13 pm

Great report, great photos!

I'm flying IAD-LHR next July and hope to get some great shots as well.
And the winner for best actress is....REESE WITHERSPOON for 'Walk the Line'!!!!!!!!

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