I just signed up for this great site and this is my very first post, so please be patient with me and any advice would be appreciated
Last summerbreak my mum and me wanted to visit the states again and for us the first choice is always California and we always fly United because we had great experiences with them on all our flights, crews always had been great and channel 9 is truly awesome.
We booked the flights via FRA because the LHR-SFO flight was already full what would mean that we fly in a 747-400 and would have no PTV´s, but I did not bother too much, I don´t really need a screen for entertainment, I love flying so much, I just enjoy every minute in the plane, even without PTV.
When the day came we took a taxi to Hamburg airport where we arrived 3 hours prior to departure. The line in front of the Lufthansa checkin desk was not very long and soon a nice lady waved us towards her. After checking in, the passports our boardingpasses were printed and we made our way to security which was done in no time.
My mum spent some time in the duty-free shops while I wandered around the airport to get some glimpses at the aircrafts but there was nothing special, some LH planes and one BA and AF A319.
After 90 minutes of shopping and spotting we made our way to the gate were our A300 to FRA was already waiting for us.
We settled into two chairs by the window to read a bit upon boarding and after ten minutes the lady at the desk told us that the plane is now ready for boarding. It was quite funny to see how all the businessmen just remained in their seats while the tourist-looking guys jumped to their feet to get into the plane first.
We waited a little too and after 5 more minutes we made our way through the jetbridge into the plane.
Load Factor: 100%
Photo © Oliver Brunke
Photo © Bernhard Bauske
A nice stewardess welcomed us onboard and we took our seat by the window. Boarding was finished quickly and we pushed-back on time while the flight attendants started the safety-demo, something I don´t pay attention to anymore because I saw it too many times.
We taxied to Runway 15, lined up and waited for a couple of seconds before the captain applied take-off power. The A300 is just like a rocket at take-off and the steep angle which is used to climb amazes me everytime and I flew this bird like 15 times.
After the seatbelt sign was switched off, the drink service started, the flight is only 45 minutes long and that is not a long time to hand out drinks to 250 passengers.
I opted for a coke which I received with a smile and looked out of the window at the landscape of Germany. After 10 minutes the flight attendant came around to collect the trash and shortly after that we started our descend. There were no clouds at all so we had a great view all the way to FRA and a great flight was bound to come to an end.
We passed the skyline of Frankfurt and touched down very smoothly, the taxi to the gate was fast and soon after we disembarked.
Rating: the flight was great, it was on time, the flight attendants were great, the seatpitch was comfortable and the A300 is just a joy to fly. I give it 10 out of 10
We had a good 90 minutes to kill before boarding again, so we wandered around and watched numerous heavies take off and land.
After 30 minutes we made our way to the skytrain, which brought us to the other terminal were United departs from and while looking out of the window I noticed two United 777 one United 747, one American 777 and a Delta 767.
We had to go through security again, which was no problem at all and soon we were in the waiting area were I headed straight for the window to check on which bird we would be flying today and I was pleased to see that it was N107UA the William A. Patterson.
Airline: United Airlines
Load factor: 100%
Photo © Ralph Duenas - Airplanespotters
Photo © I. Gunawan
When boarding was called we were among the first who entered the aircraft and we were greeted by a friendly flight attendant . We made our way to our seats and stored most of our belongings in the overhead bins and settled down.
I plugged in the headphones and switched to channel 9 only to discover that it was switched off I asked the flight attendant if it would switched on and she said that it certainly will
I left the headphones on because I wanted to catch as much ATC action as possible.
Boarding was nearly completed when I saw the flight attendant lifting the reciever of the cabin phone and speaking into it. She smiled, gave me two thumps up and suddenly it worked! It was such a great moment, listening to all those planes from all over the world with all those different accentents. I was listening so intently, I did not even noticed that boarding was completed, only when the captain came on which resulted that channel 9 was interrupted I came out of my trance He told us that the flighttime would be ten hours and thirty minutes and that he expected an overearly arrival in San Francisco. After that channel nine was switched on again and I heard him requesting push-back clearance, which was denied due to an Air Canada A330 taxiing behind us. After that we were cleared to taxi to the runway and were pushed back. The engines were started and soon we were on our way behind some Lufthansa heavies. After 5 minutes we reached the runway and were instructed to hold short due to landing A340-600.
After that one landed we lined up and waited for him exiting the runway and when he did, the pilots pushed the throttles into take-off configuration and we slowly started to accelerate.
At this point I have to say, some might make jokes about the A340 with its hairdryers and bad climb performance, but a 747 fully loaded with fuel, luggage and pax does not rocket away either. We used most of the runway and I noticed something strange, while gaining speed we lost fuel out of the valve just under the wingtip. I never saw that on any of my other 747 flights before, maybe someone shared such an experience?
Anyway, we climbed heavily into the sky and the flaps were retracted soonafter.
After a few minutes of watching, I settled back, took my book and listened to channel 9.
We had a lot of traffic around and at somepoints I wondered how ATC controllers understand what some pilots are saying, speaking very fast with a strong accent. We were cleared for FL.330 and when we reached it the seatbelt signs were turned off. After two hours, meal service began which consisted of chicken or pasta. I opted for chicken which was not a bad choice, it was quite tender and came with vegetables, a bun, a cake, some fruits and some water.
My mum took the pasta and was also pleased with it. I have to add that the flight attendant were extremely friendly and smiled a lot all the time. You really noticed that they give their best and that’s why United is one of my favorite Airlines.
Anyway, after the trays were collected I made my way to the bathroom at the back of the plane and had a little chat with some Californians who visited friends in Germany and they said that they flew from SFO to FRA with LH and that they never experienced such a great service and that they were a little disappointed to fly United now. I told them that I use both carriers quite often and that service at United is better most times. It came out that he works as an engineer at United and so we talked about aviation a long time.
After I returned to my seat snack service started which consisted of a box with a sandwich (very tasty) a joghurt and some fruits and a drink. It came at the best time because I became hungry at that precise moment. After that we were nearly over northern Canada and there was nearly nothing to be heard from channel 9, so I turned on my MP 3 player and listened to my music for about an hour while reading some articles in an aviation magazine.
The F/A´s came around with water several times which I think is great because of the dry cabin air. After two more hours dinner was prepared and I was looking forward to it, because I felt a rumble in my stomach.
This time the choice was fish or beef, I opted for the beef since I don't like fish too much and I was very happy with this decision because the beef tasted extraordinary good for airline food, it was served with mashed potatoes, vegetables, a bun, some sort of chocolate pudding and fruit. I washed it all down with some Pepsi and well fed settled back into my seat.
I was very lucky on this flight regarding the person sitting in front of me, because she never reclined her seat what was very convenient.
After the trays were collected we had two hours to go which I used to get some sleep, I felt very tired after the meal and fell asleep almost at an instant when a crackling voice woke me up an hour later. First I did not know were that voice came from until I discovered, that I left my headphones on and that there were a lot of people talking. I was wide awake and looked at the map and saw that we were 45 minutes out of SFO. The sky was packed with aircraft and ATC seemed to be very busy. I saw many planes while staring out of the window and after 15 more minutes the captain came on and informed us that we would start our descend shortly and if anyone wants to use the lavatory they should do it now.
And sure enough, after a few more minutes we left our cruising altitude and began the descend. Last time I flew into SFO I had a great view over the bay area and the Golden Gate Bridge, but this time the whole city was covered in a thick layer of fog and I could only see one peak of one of the towers from the Golden Gate Bridge.
Suddenly ATC asked our captain if he was alright with a parallel approach with a Delta 767 to what he answered yes. I was a little disappointed because I sat on the wrong side to see this but that was alright.
We came lower and lower and the water came nearer and nearer, I always loved that about the approach into SFO, when the Runway appears just when you think you will ditch into the ocean. Landing was very smooth and we arrived fifteen minutes early.
We exited the runway and made our way towards the gate were we arrived some five minutes later. At the Gate next to us was a NZ 747-400 which looked a little dirty and worn.
Overall the flight was great, the crew was friendly as ever and channel 9 was awesome, we arrived early and I felt very comfortable because my knees did not hurt thanks to the lady sitting in front of me. The food was also good so what choice do I have but giving this flight 10 out of 10? GREAT JOB UNITED
When the door was opened everyone jumped up and the usual hush began, we disembarked and made our way through emigration which was done in no time thanks to the great airport and its many emigration desks. Well, that was my trip with Lufthansa and United to SFO, I hope you enjoyed reading it and I would appreciate any comment Trip back home will follow soon
P.S. could anyone tell me how to post the pictures I took with my digicam? It does not really say in the help option, or I am just too stupid