n234nw
Posts: 67
Joined: Tue Jul 05, 2005 5:06 am

SEA-IAD-FRA-MAA United / Lufthansa 12/3

Tue Dec 06, 2005 12:51 pm

I had to travel to India for business. My first choice of airlines was NW, DL, or AA, because I could funnel all those miles to my Alaska Mileage Plan account, unfortunately, Business Class on those airlines was prohibitively expensive.

Low and Behold, United rang in at half the price of the other airlines. I jumped ship on United in 2002 after being a United fan since I started flying, and had not flown with them since. I had low expectations, and dreaded the long series of flights.

I was wrong.

From the Check-in Counter at Sea-Tac to my arrival in FRA, I was pleasantly surprised.

Flight 1: UA916 SEA-IAD, Airbus A319, N840UA
First Class, Seat 2D.

This was my first time on a 319, and only my second time on a 32x Family aircraft. My last flight on a 320 was with HP from LAS-SEA in 2002. First Class was very comfortable. We boarded on-time, and I was served juice before takeoff. Channel 9 is great. It was so entertaining. I had forgotten just how interesting it was to listen to when I used to fly United regularly. We were served a meal, the choice was a cheese omelet or a fruit plate. The omelet was delicious. I slept for the remainder of the flight, except when the attendant came around with a warm cookie and some milk.  Smile. We actually got in about 20 minutes EARLY. We arrived at gate D20, and I had to walk to C1 at IAD.... This is a looong way  Smile.

I had about 2 hours before my continuing flight departed. Not much to see in the C Terminal of IAD. The views of the runway / planes are poor, and much of the terminal is under construction. I haven't been to IAD since the mid 90's, when I was on a UA DC-10.

Flight 2: UA916, IAD - FRA, Boeing 747-400,
Seat 7A (Business Class)
I couldn't see the reg number of this aircraft, if anyone can provide it, I would appreciate it greatly  Smile.

Wow, when the gate agent called for boarding, the crowd surged towards the door, I took my place in line, and waded through the sea of passengers. For some reason, Seats 7A and 7B have more leg room then any of the other seats in that section of the cabin, including those in the rest of the row. I had to unbuckle, and step out of my seat in order to reach the seatback pocket of the seat in front of me. We departed about 5:30PM, I think that's when most of the overnight flights to Europe depart, as there were SAS, BA, CO, AA, LH, and others departing for Europe at the same time. Again, I listened to channel 9 the whole way, despite the entertainment offerings on the PTV.

My seat was a bit broken, the mechanism that controls the footrest was not functioning, but I could pull it out as long as I had the switch depressed. A choice of meals was offered, but I ended up with my second choice, some sort of chicken. It was ok, I ate it, and settled in for the flight over the Atlantic. I awoke as we had just made landfall, I'm not sure over what country, but it could have been France, or maybe northern Germany. It was dark when we landed (about 6:30 AM).

Flight 3: LH0758 FRA-MAA, Boeing 747-400 D-ABVY 'Nordrhein Westfalen'
12A, Business Class
I've never flown Lufthansa. The entire experience was pleasant, except for the transfer desk. The line was about 100 passengers long, and there were only 3 agents working. Two for the Star alliance Gold members, and one for the rest of us. I waited about an hour. My layover was about 3 hours. Finding gate B45 was a chore also. The sings for the B Gates mysteriously left out B-37 - B45  Smile, I found a sign pointing to them, but only after I ventured downstairs.

It was nice to see so many 747's, A340's, A330's, etc, at one time. I got some good views of the former AFB when we were taxiing.

The flight boarded quickly, despite the large number of passengers. The line was orderly (actually a line, not like the crowd I experienced at IAD). The seat was comfortable, the flight crew was friendly, the meals were tasty. This was only my second time on a non-US airline (other time was on CI to/from TPE), so I didn't know what to expect. They all spoke English fine, and were very friendly the duration of the flight. The PTV was a nice, unexpected touch. For some reason I didn't think they had them, even in business, on the 744.

The flight took us over Europe, Turkey, southern Iran, Pakistan, and down the west coast of India, turning inland about half way down the coast. We arrived at MAA at 11:50PM. Customs and Immigration were painless, and I got my bag in no time.

The entire process took LESS time then it usually takes me to deplane and get my baggage at SEA-TAC... WAY less time.... maybe half the time. Oh, what AS could learn from Chennai  Smile.

I Depart on the 11th, making the journey in reverse, in fact, the flight numbers are LH0759, and UA917  Smile.

Any word on what I can expect going though Customs/Immigration at IAD?
 
rwsea
Posts: 2422
Joined: Sun Jan 30, 2005 2:23 pm

RE: SEA-IAD-FRA-MAA United / Lufthansa 12/3

Tue Dec 06, 2005 1:32 pm

Glad you enjoyed your flight. I have flown UA several times in the past year and have come to like them as well. In fact, many co-workers who usually fly AS are starting to prefer UA, after AS's terrible spring and summer. UA seems to be on the right track to bringing back some loyalty in SEA.

Look forward to hearing about the return.
 
StevenUhl777
Posts: 3281
Joined: Sun Jul 08, 2001 11:02 am

RE: SEA-IAD-FRA-MAA United / Lufthansa 12/3

Tue Dec 06, 2005 2:44 pm

Quoting N234NW (Thread starter):
We arrived at gate D20, and I had to walk to C1 at IAD.... This is a looong way

I know exactly what you mean...I flew on #916 (N174UA) on my b-day last year for my trip to Germany. We arrived on D11, but it's still a long way.

What doesn't help is the fact that #916 leaves from C1, and the other 744 (LH) leaves across the concourse at C2. I'm sorry, but with that narrow concourse, trying to get 800 people in there doesn't work. That's got to break some sort of fire code...

Glad you liked UA and had a pleasant experience. I last flew into IAD and cleared customs there in 2001 from MAD, and that was about a month before 9/11. I don't know how different it is now. I was under the impression that UA had their own customs facility under the C gates, meaning you don't have to go all the way to the main terminal.

Great trip report! Yeah, AS is really suckin' ass around here...UA is in a great position to win back some people it pissed off 5 years ago. We'll see.
And the winner for best actress is....REESE WITHERSPOON for 'Walk the Line'!!!!!!!!
 
jocgn
Posts: 33
Joined: Wed Nov 23, 2005 5:58 am

RE: SEA-IAD-FRA-MAA United / Lufthansa 12/3

Tue Dec 06, 2005 9:47 pm

Hi,

Quote:
Flight 2: UA916, IAD - FRA, Boeing 747-400,
Seat 7A (Business Class)
I couldn't see the reg number of this aircraft, if anyone can provide it, I would appreciate it greatly.

r/n of the UA744 on flight UA916 (departing IAD 12/03) was N195UA.


Jo
 
LH459
Posts: 793
Joined: Thu Sep 01, 2005 2:41 am

RE: SEA-IAD-FRA-MAA United / Lufthansa 12/3

Wed Dec 07, 2005 5:23 am

I'm surprised you had to visit the transfer desk. Couldn't UA issue your boarding pass for the LH flight? I know it works in reverse.
As for the PTVs, probably all the endless rants about LH and their lack of PTVs and mediocre service here on a.net confused you.  

[Edited 2005-12-06 21:24:01]
"I object to violence because when it appears to do good, the good is temporary; the evil it does is permanent" - Ghandi
 
roseflyer
Posts: 9606
Joined: Fri Feb 13, 2004 9:34 am

RE: SEA-IAD-FRA-MAA United / Lufthansa 12/3

Wed Dec 07, 2005 5:49 am

Wow I did not realize that flight 916 is now being operated by a A319 on the SEA-IAD sector. I remember flying that route on a DC10. I also remember in the late 90s when they were operating it with a 777, but it usually was a 757. The flight always seemed to be full. I am quite surprised to see UA's morning SEA-IAD flight on such a small plane, but I guess that is normal for these days.

Personally when I fly to Europe from the west coast in business class or first class, I try to connect on the west coast, so that I will not have to fly through the east coast. Flying via IAD is longer, and also means that you have less time enjoying business class service on a 744 and more time on a boring domestic narrowbody. Going to FRA via PDX or DEN is nicer in my opinion.

Quoting N234NW (Thread starter):
Any word on what I can expect going though Customs/Immigration at IAD?

When you are in business, IAD won't be too bad on 917. You arrive at a time with other European arrivals, but I have found that IAD isn't that bad. It can take the traffic. The one messy thing is that they split connecting passengers and O/D passengers before customs. If you have checked luggage, you might have trouble since they sometimes have trouble sorting connecting bags from final destination bags. When I flew flight 917 they accidentally delivered all of the bags for the passenger continuing on to SEA to the wrong carousel and people had to wait for 1hr to get their bags. But UA should eventually take care of you.

Great trip report. Keep it up, and I hope to see your return flight as well!
If you have never designed an airplane part before, let the real designers do the work!
 
UN_B732
Posts: 3529
Joined: Wed Jul 04, 2001 12:57 am

RE: SEA-IAD-FRA-MAA United / Lufthansa 12/3

Wed Dec 07, 2005 10:01 am

When I took 917, which does coincide with all of the European arrivals, we arrived about 15 minutes early, and I went off of the upper deck to stand by the door for them opening the door.
The arrivals area was deserted as I had gotten off first, and was cleared customers/TSA/everything and in the RCC before we were even scheduled to arrival.
-Mr. X
PS: The moral of this story. Try to get off first, and avoid the crowd on the 747s. those extra two minutes in your seat don't really do much.
What now?
 
Lindy
Posts: 4722
Joined: Wed May 19, 1999 10:42 pm

RE: SEA-IAD-FRA-MAA United / Lufthansa 12/3

Thu Dec 08, 2005 3:46 am

Quoting N234NW (Thread starter):
Flight 2: UA916, IAD - FRA, Boeing 747-400,
Seat 7A (Business Class)
I couldn't see the reg number of this aircraft, if anyone can provide it, I would appreciate it greatly

If you can provide date then I can definately help you.

Quoting N234NW (Thread starter):
think that's when most of the overnight flights to Europe depart, as there were SAS, BA, CO, AA, LH, and others departing for Europe at the same time


Wishfull thinking Big grin No CO or AA to Europe from IAD. Not even this, there is no widebody service from CO or AA.

Quoting N234NW (Thread starter):
Any word on what I can expect going though Customs/Immigration at IAD?

If you are tranffering to flight to SEA then you will clear customs and immigration right there at the spot. 50 steps away from the airplane. You wont take the mobile lounge to main IAB.

Have fun on your return flight.

Rafal
BWIADCA - Nikon D100
 
n234nw
Posts: 67
Joined: Tue Jul 05, 2005 5:06 am

RE: SEA-IAD-FRA-MAA United / Lufthansa 12/3

Fri Dec 09, 2005 2:43 pm

You are right, I had confused myself with the ATC I was listening to on channel 9. Looking back (Now that I'm no longer weary from the travel), I definitely did NOT see CO or AA to Europe (but did see AA and CO planes (not widebody). Thanks for refreshing my memory  Smile

Quoting Lindy (Reply 7):
Wishfull thinking No CO or AA to Europe from IAD. Not even this, there is no widebody service from CO or AA.
 
Nimish
Posts: 2890
Joined: Mon Feb 14, 2005 6:46 pm

RE: SEA-IAD-FRA-MAA United / Lufthansa 12/3

Fri Dec 09, 2005 3:38 pm

Great short report. How full was the FRA-MAA flight? What was the split of pax - Indian vs. European/Americans? LH on J is good, though they are still a long way off from VS, BA, 9W etc - with them not having lie-flat seats.

PS: If you have a camera - pictures would be great for your return trip!
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