* should I go pray for a good flight? View from my apartment waiting for my ride*
Woke up on a grey Sunday morning for the first bit of my trip. Friend picked me up at 8:10 for a quick drive to YYZ. It was a bit early, but she was going there anyway. T2 was a bit of a zoo -- well the AC counters were. United was pretty quiet, so in 5 minutes I was getting checked in. Asked about an upgrade to Y+, and behold it was given gratis on both flights. Nice!
Made my way through INS very quickly given the line-up. An odd moment when I had the same INS agent I had two weeks ago on my way to STL. Random.
Something was wrong with the baggage system though -- they were just piling the bags to the side of the belt. Remember this moment.
Eventually get through screening, the woman in front of me had 5 lighters in her bag *sighs*.
Made my way to the M.L.L. for breakfast.
Flight: YYZ > DEN -- UA7731 operated by United Express / Shuttle America(TCF7731)
Date: November 5, 2006
Aircraft: Embraer 170, N639RW
Departure gate: 244 position "L"
Load: F 100% Y 95%
Dep: 11:14 ET
Arr: 12:25 MT
*My plane at the gate*
Photo © Ryan C. Umphrey
Found out that 3C in this layout has no bulkhead, just the isle. Thought lots of people would bump me, but no one did. Even so, I do not think I would take the seat again, too odd staring at the forward position F/A during take-off and landing.
*my leg room*
Took off from 24R, so a nice quick departure.
No B.O.B. service, as the flight was not long enough, but some snakes and drink service was started. Beyond that there is not much to share about the flight. It was smooth, there is no IFE. We flew north of Chicagoland, and came into DEN from the north, landing on 16L.
*in flight service*
*view of the wing*
I have to say I enjoy flying into DEN. The runway layout is so well designed that you never have to hold to cross runways.
So we taxi to our gate, park, shut-down, and then the fun starts. The Jetway slowly makes its way to row 4. Not the door, but row 4. Much confusion ensues over the next 10 minutes. Apparently they spotted the aircraft too far in *sigh*. Everyone takes their seats, the doors are re-armed, and they push us back 10 feet! Correctly positioned, we make our out of the aircraft.
As I have a 3 hour layover, I first check to see if I can standby on an earlier flight. Given that the earlier flight is so late as to leave within 10 minutes of mine, i decide not to, and make my way up to the R.C.C. While there I take some photos:
Eventually it is time to catch my second flight. I make my way over to the west end of the concourse to catch my TED flight to LAS.
*Flight being catered*
Flight: DEN > LAS -- UA1423
Date: November 5, 2006
Aircraft: Airbus A320, N442UA
Departure gate: B24
Dep: 15:10 MT
Arr: 16:02 PT
Photo © Manas Barooah
This flight was *full*. Got myself settled into my seat and put on Channel 9. This was my first time flying United mainline/Ted, so my first experience with it. I have to say it was very enjoyable I do wish Air Canada would put this in place.
We did a quick take-off from 25 into the light to medium chop around DEN. The flight attendants were very friendly, if a bit talkative on the PA (I AM MISSING CHANNEL 9 I felt like shouting *grins*) but did not disappear after the drink service. They seemed to be constantly walking through the cabin. The flight was in light chop most of the way, but after we pulled down from FL360 to FL300 we found some smooth air.
We came into LAS over Lake Mead into a hazy evening. We landed on 25L, taxing to our "D" gate.
Given that I was in row 2, it was a quick exit into the terminal to the train to the main terminal. The train itself was OK, but bumpy, much like the feel of the inter-terminal train at YYZ in ride if not in design.
Arrived at the carousel in the noisy and bustling baggage arrivals area. TVs blasting commercials with full audio -- something I would come to realize is normal for all of Las Vegas.
Eventually the baggage starts to roll out - 45 minutes later in fact. All that quick walking for naught. At this time something in the back of my head is telling me "your bags will not arrive because of YYZ". Well the little voice was right. I go over to baggage services and they say they are on my way...
Again I am lucky that I did not change flights, as this way they will deliver my bags to the hotel. I get my lost bag form and make my way to the Hertz bus, then on my way to the Monte Carlo for my days in Las Vegas.
After going out for a late supper with my friends I find my bags in my room. A bit of a bother, but in the end they arrived in my room without me having to schlep them -- how bad can that be?
Thoughts on the trip and service? I like the new Embraer. Roomy, quiet-ish, very nice for a small jet. I would not have taken 3C if I had known that I would have had as much leg room *grins* but in the end it was good. My friend had flown down on the Air Canada flight a couple hours later in an AC E175, and was raving about the AVOD. If anything, that is what this aircraft is missing. No audio even was a disappointment. This aircraft while operated by a partner has a feeling of mainline to it, and I think should have the same amenities. But in the end is way better than and E135-145 or CRJ200 out there. I would give this flight a "Good" rating -- comfortable aircraft, friendly crew, only missing AVOD really. I would prefer an AC Jazz 705 over this aircraft though because of AVOD on the Jazz aircraft, and honestly the 705 is not *that*uncomfortable relative to the E170.
The RCC in DEN was busy but nice. The lack of food in the US clubs is bothersome -- what is the point really? But it did have a seat where I could watch the ramp and take some photos, so it was not all that bad.
My Ted flight was interesting as well. Y+ had more than adequate leg-room, and I quickly fell in love with Channel 9. The crew was also very friendly. BUT, the baggage wait time was incredible. Not that my bags did not make it, but for how long it was taking for everyone else's bags to show up. "Barely Average" rating.
I would rate the overall trip as "Above Average" because of the friendliness of the UA agents in Toronto (with the Y+ upgrade) and the overall YYZ-DEN flight, taken down by the luggage situation on the DEN-LAS section, moderated by the fact that both flights we basically on-time.