Leg 1 - UA274 SEA-SFO
United Airlines Economy Plus
Boeing 737-522 N918UA
Time of departure: 11:55 AM
Photo © Ron Peel
I was initially booked on regular Economy for this flight, but since I couldn't pick a seat at self check-in, I paid the extra $30 and upgraded to Economy Plus, since the gate agent assured me there would be window seats available. Imagine my surprise when, after saying a thousand times that I wanted a window seat, I got 6F, which is just like a window seat, except there's no window. To make matters worse, the captain decided not to enable the ATC chatter for IFE Channel 9. I tried to entertain myself the best I could by reading the UA magazine and reclined my seat as far back as I could to at least get a bit of a view from the window behind me. Needless to say, I was bored to death, but at least it wasn't a very long flight. When I got to SFO, my neck was hurting a bit from me having to stretch to look out the window. When we finally touched down on Runway 19L, I was relieved.
Once deplaned through gate 90, I took a walk around the terminal, to see which aircraft were around. Saw an EVA Air 744, an Air New Zealand 777, an Asiana 777, Air France A343 and Lufthansa 744.
Knowing I had a slighly better seat (albeit with less leg room, but I'm not a very tall guy) but aware that the captain still wouldn't enable channel 9, I went to one of the airport bookstores and picked up some reading material. Got on the internet terminal to get my geek on for a few minutes, until it was time to depart again, to Burbank.
Leg 2 - UA1167 SFO-BUR
United Airlines Economy
Boeing 737-522 N918UA
Time of departure: 03:43 PM
Boarded the same aircraft that brought me to SFO on the same gate 90. This time, at least, my seat had a proper window. Of course, even though I was one of the first to board, by the time I got to my seat, the overhead bins were overstuffed. I still can't for the life of me understand this mortal fear Americans have of checking luggage. Especially for such a short hop as SFO-BUR, less than 1 hour. Oh well, at least all I had was a messenger back, so I stuffed it under the seat in front of me and watched as distraught passengers tried in vain to stick their oversized carry-ons into the bins. By some sort of magic, we managed to pull out of the gate in time and made our way back to 19L, with a SkyWest/Delta Connection CRJ and another UA 737 in front of us. I listened to some interviews and performances by Carlos Santana and Wynton Marsalis on the IFE and flipped through my magazine, the 45 minutes passed quickly and soon we were touching down at Runway 8. I grabbed my bag and took a cab to my hotel in Hollywood. All in all, a pretty smooth flight. I was glad I at least had a proper window, but was still disappointed about missing channel 9 on my first flight with UA.
Leg 3 - XR3814 BUR-SLC
Delta Connection operated by Skywest Airlines
Time of departure: 06:50 AM
Photo © Eric D Smith- Rocky Mountain AvPhotos
Woke up at an ungodly 5:30 AM, checked out of the hotel and hopped in a cab to BUR. By the time I got there, the security line was huge, but at least it was moving fast. After passing through security, I grabbed a bag of chips and boarded our little CRJ. Got as comfortable I could in the rather small seat and off we went, taking off from (I think) Runway 15. I was really tired since I didn't get much sleep the night before, so as soon as we were at cruising altitude, I dosed off. By the time I woke up, we were already over Utah and descending towards SLC. I think we landed on 16R but I'm not sure. Deplaned on the tiny concourse E, grabbed a breakfast sandwich at Quiznos and walked around the terminal, which somewhat reminded me of VLC for some reason. I looked over at the monitors, found the gate for my next and final flight and sat down, reading my book until it was time to board again.
Leg 4 - DL231 SLC-SEA
Delta Air Lines Economy
Boeing 757-232 N676DL
Time of departure: 11:07 AM
Photo © Michael Carter
Boarding was almost as chaotic as the UA flight to BUR, people everywhere trying to stuff huge bags into the overhead bins, but at least the 757 accommodates them better, having extended bins. Found my seat to be rather comfy and the audio IFE selections weren't too bad. They had a special with Johnny Cash so I listened to that for most of the way. We pushed back from the gate at 11:15, a little less than 10 minutes late and taxied to 16R, with an UA 737 and a Delta EMB170 in front of us. I watched the scenery for a bit until we leveled off at FL380. I spent most of the flight reading my book and listening to the Johnny Cash special on the IFE. Soon we were flying over Washington state, with a great view of Mt. Rainier. We approached from the South, flying North over Vashon and Bainbridge Island and then taking a final bank over the Crown Hill/Greenwood area, getting a great view of Lake Washington. Flew right over BFI and finally touched down on 16R at SEA.
Other than the rather frustrating experience with UA on the SEA-SFO leg, the flights were pretty smooth, with minimal service as it's expected from US carriers nowadays.