Well I decided to write a trip report for this flight because it was an international configured airplane and there has been a lot of talk recently about airlines using international equipment on domestic runs.
I started at 10:15 leaving my condo in Marina Del Rey for the 15 minute trip to LAX
. I went to the international terminal 6 to check in at the premier counter, but instead I decided to use the new electronic kiosk. I only had carry on baggage so I inserted my credit card and quickly got my ticket. It was very fast and efficient. However it was unusual not to have to worry about ID
for checkin, I guess a credit card counts as official ID
. I then walked to security and bypassed the long line through the premier line. All of the premium passengers were quickly going through security while the regular passengers were having a very long wait. I don't think it was best for them to just wave all premium passengers through and use all of the security lines. Usually they have 1 line for premium and 2 lines for regular, but this time premium passengers bypassed all of the crowd and filled up all 3 lines. I feel sorry for all of those irritated passengers.
After going through security I only had 45 minutes until departure, so I walked around a little bit before proceeding to the gate for boarding.
Departure 12:05 (on time)
Arrival 6:16 (late)
763 Business Class International Configuration
Boarding commenced 30 minutes prior to departure. The 767 was clean and well prepared for the short flight to Chicago. I got to my seat after passing the first class cabin. Business class was mostly filled with only about 2 seats open, first class was full and economy had about a 95% load factor. After putting my bags away in the old style cramped overhead compartment, I sat down and was soon offered orange juice and water as is customary on domestic first class. Unfortunately United did a very bad job with seat assignments and there were 3 families trying to sit together in Business class, which caused some disturbances. Finally they were situated. There were 2 infants and one small child in the seats around me. It was unusual for business class because rarely are there many children. But they were overall well behaved.
Push back was ontime and the captain was very friendly over the intercom explaining the flight however he did so in the middle of the flight attendant safety briefing which obviously irked some of the FAs. We then went to taxi to 25R for takeoff. As I was listening to channel 9 the captain pulled the plane off the main taxi way into an area right next to the maintenance hanger for UA
. We stopped there for a while and then the captain came over the intercom and explained that the plane had a problem with the navigation system for low visibility landings. He was vague, but was very certain to convince everyone that it was not a major problem and wouldn't affect our flight. None the less, we still waited for about 10 minutes for him to talk the problem out with maintenance. Finally we were ready to go with a short message telling us that everything was fine and there were no worries.
Take off was smooth and out over the Pacific before turning south and then westward to Chicago. Soon after takeoff the FAs came around with nuts while taking orders for the lunch service. The choices were an open face chicken sandwich or a salmon entree. I chose the warm chicken sandwich, which was very good. It was served with potato salad and fruit. It was a little hard to eat on the small tray though. It was obviously a domestic service because it was a single tray. The flight was only staffed to minimal standards, so the service was rather slow. The 30 business class passengers were a few too many for the FAs to manage easily. I don't know how many FAs they have on international flights for the 763, but it certainly would be more, which would have made for better service and a more presentable meal. But overall the food was good for a domestic flight and better than what you get on narrowbodies (though they have roughly the same catering on all LAX
The IFE was good as there were PTVs in all classes. There were 4 movie options and then 5 short subject television channels. They lasted for 2 hours and then stopped, so the IFE was over for the last 45 minutes for the flight. I was pleased though with the opportunities. I also listened to channel 9 for some of the flight. It was interesting because a Southwest flight diverted to Kansas City while we were over Kansas. It was interesting to hear the WN
pilot request a medical diversion. But then when the controller asked what the problem was (so he could forward it on) it was a very unpleasant thing that is inappropriate to say here.
Decent was smooth into ORD
as we were trying to make up the delay that we had on the ground. Touchdown was on 27R (I think) and taxi was quick to the gate. We arrived about 20 minutes late, and I unfortunately missed the early connection to IND
, so I ended up waiting 2 hours in O'Hare, which wasn't all that bad.
Overall the UA
domestic business class service was about the same level as first class with the exception of the 55'' pitch and IFE. The seats were far more comfortable, which made for an enjoyable flight, however the flight felt understaffed because it was only a domestic flight. Food is good, and it was nice to have the widebody service on a short flight. I always try to get on UA
widebodies, especially ones sold as 3 class international configuration, because they are far more comfortable, albeit with the same mediocre domestic service.
If you have never designed an airplane part before, let the real designers do the work!