A gallery of pictures (from my phone) is located here:
I Rode the New Colors United 777 Today!!
Hey everyone. I haven’t written a trip report in over two years…hopefully this one makes up for the long absence.
Let me just preface this report with a note for those of you not familiar with me, or my username (as it were). Note: over the last three years, I have been the biggest and most outspoken proponent of a new United paint scheme. I even created my own and forwarded it to WHQ. I have faced many skeptical opinions and disagreements with regards to my claim that it was inevitable that United would roll out one, and that it was almost guaranteed a new paint scheme would be implemented during any company transformation. I’ve written long justifications, but let me just sum it up saying, United’s rebranding to a mostly blue identity began in 1997… all of its brand expressions had been updated by 2002, save for its planes... it was only logical that United would unify or unite its brand, especially as part of its transformational marketing strategy. And I just wanna stick my tongue out one more time to all the skeptics who doubted the several previews I gave months in advance.
Now, on to the report.
May 12, 2004
Flight 247, ORD-DEN, 777, N775UA (new colors), Seat 11A, United Business
I wake up at 6:20 AM, Indiana time. I’m late. I’ve overslept. Good thing I had a bad dream about my lease for next year’s living arrangements falling through, or else I wouldn’t have woke up. I called my teammate who was driving, Andrew, and apologized, asking him and the guys to just swing by my place on their way out of town, since I was basically on the way. You see, we’ve been doing research for "a major chicago-based airine" for nearly two years. In 2004 alone, I’ve made seven trips on UAL to do research. This would be my eighth. We were doing an ORD-DEN-ORD daytrip, our most frequent routing as most of our research is done out at the Denver hub…
So I do a mad dash into the bathroom and have myself a power shower (~1 minute). I’m kind of disappointed that our trip was rescheduled for today. It originally was supposed to be the day before, Tuesday, May 29. We were supposed to take the 6ish 777 out, which, according to my friends with access to Unimatic, was the new colors 777, N775UA.
Flash forward to O’Hare. We get to the gate huffing and puffing because a series of ill-timed accidents had closed three lanes on the freeway to O’Hare, turning a normally comfortably timed trip to Chicago into a hectic bitchfest about the traffic’s bad timing.
Well, when we got to the gate, fellow a.netter Boiler Special, who also is on the research team, tapped me on the shoulder, his jaw gaping. He is a United junkie as well, and actually has a full time job w/UAL starting in June. I looked forward and my attention turned to the EasyInfo plasma screen at Gate C16. I chuckled because I saw a BSOD/windows error message… which hit close to home because my Windoze desktop recently crashed, tormenting me, causing a tremendous pain in the ass, and making me vow to buy a crash-free, virus-free Apple as my next computer.
Ah, but I was focusing on the wrong thing. No, behind the podium. Boiler Special was still in a daze. Immediately I sensed the blue beauty lurking just outside the window. Just our luck! N775UA would fly us to DEN after all! She must have overnighted in DEN then gone back to ORD first thing in the morning…
Gleefully, we boarded the plane after snapping our requisite pictures. We walked into the plane disappointed that the interior was still the old one, but still gleeful at being finally onboard the n/c triple shizzle. I called ILUV767 as he is a good authority on the maintenance goings on at United. Apparently, unlike before, UAL aircraft are not having their repaints done at the same time as their interiors are ripped out and redone. Not to worry, the aircraft are repainted on a schedule anyway (anti-corrosion), so to you tools who are continually boneheaded and say “how can a bankrupt airline afford new paint” get it through your thick skulls that aircraft are on a repaint schedule anyway, per FARs!
If you look in the photo gallery I linked, you can see a shot of the fuselage’s reflection off of the freshly painted engine… just gorgeous. I was looking out the window so much that my neck got sore.
The service was fine on the two hour flight to Denver. Not great, but not bad. One of the flight attendants was asking us about our consultant work when she abruptly went into “AFA Union Rep” mode and gave us a bitchfest about oversized carryon baggage. Are we looking into fixing the problem, etc. She was complaining about this even though the flight was barely a third full, and on a 777 where overhead bin space shouldn’t be problematic at all! Her main complaints stemmed from the cramped overhead bins of the 767…
United First and Business were served food. To begin, I had a glass of apple juice. The snack mix given was the "Roach" class Fisher Pretzels (or as I like to call them, RAID crumbs)… strange – must have been a catering snafu as this had been the first time in my many trips over the last year and a half that I did not receive the gourmet snack mix in Business… no big deal though.
We were offered a choice of an Asian Ginger Sesame Chicken Salad or Deli Platter. My three teammates chose the Deli Platter, while I chose the salad because I was tired of the platter from previous trips and felt like eating somewhat healthily today.
The ORD-DEN-ORD runs seem to be United’s test route for whenever it changes its service offerings in First/Biz class. I remember back in March we were the first to experience the experiment with bringing back warm meals/snacks, linens, hot towels, hot nuts, etc. on shorter routes. Thankfully, most of the aforementioned items were brought back to shorter routes. More than a couple times before the F/A had explained to us that “this is a test” and solicited our opinions on the test food offerings for that day.
This day was not a test for the snack service as it was the typical Salad/Deli platter choice, but we did receive something we had never received with the salad/deli platter before on such a short (sometimes even less than 2 hour) flight… we got warm, choco chip Mrs. Fields cookies which were delicious!
We took a visual approach into Denver onto 16R and immediately pulled up into a penalty box along the west side of Concourse B. “I have some good news and some bad news,” the Captain announced, “We’re early… and we’re early.” Heh. This happens to us all the time. Many of the times we go to Denver we are always waiting for one of the wide body gates to free up because we are typically early.
Eventually, we pulled into B42 and disembarked rapidly. We conducted our meetings for the day and headed back just 5 hours later…
Flight 1002, DEN-ORD, 777, N768UA, Seat 14J, United Business
We were about to depart on 34R (the same piece of pavement we had landed on, but in the opposite direction) when we pulled into the same penalty box we had sat in momentarily hours earlier on the new colors triple shizzle.
This time, we would wait in the box for about 20 minutes as ORD had been temporarily closed and all outbound flights to ORD had been groundstopped. ILUV767 called because he was at DEN too, connecting. I told him I was already on my flight back, but that he could probably see our 777 sitting in the penalty box. Sure enough, he saw us. I explained the situation and informed him the Captain had turned the engines off but had left the airfoil (wing) in a dirty (takeoff) configuration.
We caught up for a little bit over the phone and then quite abruptly the captain pretty much said. “Sit down shutup and here we go!” lol.
The flight back was nice, even though it was the first time in a while we did not receive a substantial meal or snack. We were given a light snack of fruit and cheese: grapes, gouda (I think), a light Bleu cheese (not like the salad dressing type, but more like Chevre or goat cheese), and single slices of honeydew and cantaloupe. It was elegant, refreshing, and just right. I took a pic this time because I had remembered to put my phone on ‘Airplane Mode’.
Accompanying my meal I had Irish Cream and a nice glass of Merlot.
Soon enough we landed at t-storm-soaked Chi-town’s O’Traffic’Snare Airport and pulled into the gate where we began, C16.
Tomorrow I’m heading out to IAD to sign some papers for the company I’m working for this summer, followed by a flight back home to SFO for a little bit of a stay there before I start my summer job. I’ll be on an AWAC RJ, UA 2-Class 763, and coming back, a 777 to DEN followed by a (wish me luck!) Mesa CRJ-700 back. I don’t think I’ll write another report, but I hope you enjoyed hearing about my ride on the hottest UAL 777