I'm back! It''s been nearly a year since my last trip report, UA949 LHR
. The domestic part of that flight was less than enjoyable, so I was looking forward to having my confidence in UA
restored. For the first time, I wasn't sure if I'd be flying, due to all the labor issues, etc. at UA
. I knew two weeks before that there wouldn't be a strike, so I was set. Whew!
I try to visit my Uncle and Aunt near Chicago every few years, and this past weekend worked out best for all involved. I had everything worked out in February, and bought my ticket on the UA
website for $365.
The morning of my flight, I had to be up damn early at 1:45am, as my shuttle van was picking me up an hour later. Alarm was set, it went off, but I didn't wake up until 2:25! Shit! Had a quick shower and I was out the door 20 minutes later. Van picked me and others up, and I arrived at SEA
at approx. 4am. The previous night, I used the Easy CheckIn on UA
's website, and printed my boarding pass. AMAZING!!! It really truly is the way to go. Armed with that in hand, and my driver's license, I bypassed the check-in counter, only to find that the security area wasn't even opened yet. I headed over to Starbucks and grabbed a tall, non-fat mocha with whip cream and a piece of banana bread. After, I cleared security with ease, and got up to the North satellite by 4:30. It was still dark, but I was able to make out other aircraft at the N gates:
A320 parked beyond N16.
"wingtip service" flights to DEN
at N15 and N16. I think they were both A320's, can't recall.
- US A319 (N173US) headed presumable for PHL
- AS MD
-80 at N3
737s at N11 and N7
A320 headed for IAD
, 6am departure
- At Gate N2
, I saw they were getting ready for the inaugural daytime B6
flight to JFK
, #176, leaving at 1:50pm.
I went over to N9, where my a/c was parked, ready for a 6:10 am departure for ORD
. I tried for a while to make out the reg. #, but couldn't quite make out the last #. I saw an EVA Air 744 take off, a FedEx 727 and DC-10-30 arrive, and a NWA 753 land, maybe from OGG
. It looked longer than a normal 752.
June 17th, 2005
UA 1236 SEA-ORD (continued on to BWI)
Flight time: 3h 22m
Load Factor: 100%
Wx: Cloudy, and scattered showers
KSEA Altimeter Setting: 29.65
KSEA Tower frequency: 135.52
Ch. 9: YES!!!!!
Boarding went pretty smoothly, I'm not sure if UA
needs to enforce their procedures or sell tickets to smarter people who can listen and follow directions. Anyhow, I made it back to 26A, experienced the heat blast due to the problem they had with the heating system in the mid-cabin area, and also realized that UA
must have cut the pitch when I got to my seat. There was almost NO legroom! I flew on a 752 last July, and had more then. Maybe it was just early, I don't know. The F/A's wanted to get going, and made a few polite announcements asking people to hurry up and sit down, so they could leave on time.
As always, I turned to Ch. 9, and it was already on! I knew ahead of time the movie would be lame..."The Pacifier" with Vin Diesel, so I had my IFE already set. I snapped a few pics. and then started listening and jotting down what I heard. Mainly, it was maintenance positioning to gates from the remote hardstands....AA
, and a UA
752 heading for N6
which would become UA
916 to IAD
, which was what I took last July.
We pushed back ontime, and taxied behind an AS
737 towards 16L for "static" takeoff. After that took off, we taxied into position and I took more pics, and we were off.
- Turned left, from 160 to 040, and then right heading 072. We were told to remain below 250 KIAS
below FL130. We were then cleared to FL150, then FL360, and shortly after cleared for cruise at FL370.
- We experienced some light chop over the Cascades, which was to be expected, and on Ch. 9, I heard there was nothing over FL290.
- A very smooth ride after the Cascades. I heard something about Moses Lake, and we were told to switch to 128.45 for SEA
center, and then to 118.62.
- There was some reference to Glacier Tower (FCA
), Kalispell, and Great Falls.
- Handed off to Salt Lake Center, to 129.75, and told of light chop for the next 40 miles.
- Handed off to Minneapolis center, first to 128.42, then 119.87, then 133.07, then 134.25.
- At this time, I learned we were cruising at .705 mach.
- We turned left to 040, towards Jamesville (North Dakota, I think) and then shortly thereafter, a right turn. Odd!
- During the flight, I heard conversations with UA884, UA646, KE244, CO284, AA2041, a FedEx, UA1210, UA242, UA337, DL
1812, NW813, NW679, UA217, DL1575, and AA73.
- We began our descent from FL370 to FL330, and then to FL290. Instructions were to go from 330 to 290 in 4 minutes or less.
- Handed off to Chicago center, frequency 118.42, and to reduce speed to 280 KIAS
- Descent continued from FL290 to 250, then 240. Light speed brake was applied at this point.
- The altimeter for ORD
was 29.94, and we switched over to 133.35.
- We were cleared down to FL110 and told to hold 300 KIAS
- Down to FL090, then to FL070, holding 170 at KIAS
- Frequency was then 119.0 "Tango" and I learned we would land on 9R
- I heard conversations with LH
430 Heavy, coming in from either FRA
- We turned left heading 120, and because of an announcement, I missed the clearance to 090 for landing.
- I also heard references to "PRATT" and "DEANA", and thanks to A-netters Ytib
I learned tonight that these are navigational radio fixes for Runway 9R
. "DEANA" is the outer marker (LOM). I heard these on the LHR
segment last July, and didn't know what it meant. Thanks, guys!
- I took some great shots of the wing and UA
's C concourse seconds before touchdown. Also, I saw the watertower for the city of Bensenville, IL
- We made a smooth landing on 9R
at 12:03PM CT
, and left the runway at M5, and crossed the bridge on taxiway B.
Spotting on the way to C23
: TED N472UA, 772 N221UA (New Livery!)at Gate B17 which was #909 to DEN
, and N182UA heading to FRA
on B16, a 744. I also saw 4
737's in the "Shuttle by United" livery!
BONUS!!! Widebody spotting yesterday at ORD
, June 20th, 2005
My uncle dropped me off at around 12:30 or 1pm, as he had some things to do that afternoon. Not a problem, as that gave me PLENTY of time to go spotting!
I don't really care about narrowbody planes, so my focus was UA
I walked both UA
concourses TWICE! I took pics. of all of these, no one at ORD
that day knew there was someone walking around taking pictures of UA
widebodies! Ha! It was a LOT of fun! It was a LOT of walking, and treated myself to a $9 (including tip) Sam Adams at a bar...at least it was 20oz. Still....
Anyhow..here they are:
-772 Gate C29 ORD
#936 N769UA (New livery!)
-772 Gate B16 ORD
-772 Gate C16 ORD
#944 N775UA (New livery!)
-763 Gate C9 ORD
(didn't get flight #, sorry) N675UA
-772 Gate C18 ORD
-772 Gate C10 DEN
N768UA (saw it pull up, then I had my $9 beer)
-744 Gate B17 LH
...very crowded, couldn't get close to get a pic. The tail said "TD
" and I later saw it taxiing, and confirmed it was D-ABTD. Named "Hamburg"? It looked like it, couldn't tell for sure. Calling all LH
744 experts on A-net!!!!!
-744 British Airways...arriving from LHR
, landing on 9R
. No Reg. # avail.
Two unique planes:
- Trans Canada A320...looked like an old-style livery, very cool looking! Reg. C-FZUH
- Gate B18...ORD
, with an LH
flight #. But, it was an A320? Plus it had a red tail with a small white "plus" on it. An A320, ORD
? Help explain this
The flight home was OK
. It's getting late for me, so here is the "Reader's Digest" version:
575, B752, Reg. N540UA, Gate B6
, Seat 26A.
- No Channel 9, damnit...
- Movie: Million Dollar Baby...ok, headphones didn't work well, movie had sad ending.
- Buy on board, I bought the $5 box that had the Mrs. Fields cookie and chips and salsa, among other things. Quick-something...it was called.
- Rolling takeoff from 32L, continued HDG 320 for a few minutes, left turn, presumable to 270.
- Flight time 3:43
- LONG delay, 40 mins., at the gate...some problem loading baggage.
- Saw a BIG fire west of Rwy. 32L...training, maybe?
- Saw two UA
737's, consecutive Reg. #'s...N375UA and N376UA.
- Saw DuPage County, IL
airport near Batavia, IL
- Began descent over Wenatchee, WA
(EAT) and followed US Hwy. 2, saw Leavenworth, WA
(Bavarian style tourist trap town)
- Turned left (south) over the Sultan/Index area
- Flew over Woodinville and Lake Sammamish, saw Issaquah on the left side. Flew over Newcastle, right turn over Auburn (?) and towards Tacoma, saw Commencement Bay.
- Smooth approach and landing to 34L.
Overall, great flights. SEA
was better, and ORD
was definitely better than UA949 last July 26th. Service was fine, not super amazing, but not shit, either. I really feel for these employees, given everything they're going through with UA
. I hope the best for them!
Next flight: two weeks from now, 7/1, when I non-rev., SEA
And the winner for best actress is....REESE WITHERSPOON for 'Walk the Line'!!!!!!!!