This was my first time on United in a number of years and I didn't exactly have a great experience. It was a 3-leg trip on June 4: GRB-ORD-DEN-SLC. GRB-ORD was on a Mesa CRJ-200, N27191 (ASH2798). It was about half full. Fairly uneventful, on time, nice weather. We flew off of runway 18 at GRB and simply continued due south to West Bend, then a couple zig-zags and approached ORD from the west to runway 10.
1 hour later, the 2nd leg would be ORD-DEN on a United 777 (UAL675) - my first ride on one. N213UA, old colors. It was comfortable even though the seats cushions seemed hard, or flat. My window at 45J wasn't too clear and we took off to the north (rwy 34) with the sun at my side so I didn't get much for pics. They had channel 9 on, I listened to it the whole time. I love that! They had us at FL400 but when it got choppy other pilots lower had better ride reports so they brought us down to FL360. Not much scenery to shoot - the midwest is flat and brown. The load factor was at least 90%. All I had in the way of food was a free coke.....
Now, at DEN is where things got interesting. We were pushed back in the A320 (N419UA) for the ride to SLC and after disconnecting the tug, the nosewheel steering broke. They kept us on the plane for probably a half hour while they figured out how to handle it. First it was no part is available, then a part was. First it would be a 2 hour fix, then it was outright cancelled. All the pax were taken off and told not to rebook because they might be able to fix it. 2 hours later, cancelled.
Well it turns out that United, Delta, and Frontier all of whom run frequent DEN-SLC trips, all the flights were 100% booked except the RON flight at 9:45pm. I was booked on that one and placed on standby for 4 earlier flights. I was #17 on the standby list but none of them got on because of the 100% load factors. The 9:45 flight had 2 empty seats. I received no meal voucher for some food in the airport - nothing. I was forced to spend nearly 11 hours trapped inside DEN with only expensive over priced food to eat. Seeing how this is a maintenance base for UAL they should have been able to get this thing resolved and I can't believe how EVERY flight to SLC was fully booked. What was going on there that weekend?
I eventually arrived on UAL387 at 11:15pm to a desolate, off-hours terminal with only cleaning folks walking around.
On June 9 was my return, same routing. My first flight was due out of SLC at 10:25 but my first indication of a problem was that this flight was delayed by ATC in Denver. 1 hour. Our wheels-up time was now 11:15am for UAL884 (N334UA). My next flight was due to leave at 12:34 to ORD so I knew it didn't look good. We got off the ground at 11:15 on runway 16R, made a big loop to the west while climbing to come back around eastbound with a nice view of SLC. It was about an hour....the F/A announced that passengers with connections before 1pm were "protected" on other flights. I didn't know just HOW they "protected" me until later and that would have made me go ballistic. Anyway, we were at the gate B21 at DEN by around 12:20 and I had to go to B39. i damn near ran. As fast as possible. That plane (a 767-322) was on time and I got to the gate at 12:30 for a 12:34 departure. The lady was announcing that it was closing just as I made it. All the overhead bins were full and closed so they checked my carry-on thru to GRB at no charge. There was only 1 empty seat on this plane: mine (40A). Within minutes of sitting down we were pushing....
The flight to ORD was smooth and quick and we landed again from the west. Once in the terminal I learned just how United "protected" me in case I had missed that flight: they booked me DEN-ORD-GRB the **next** day. I swear, if I had been forced to spend 23 hours inside DEN they would have had to call security or something. That is no way to treat a passenger.
At ORD I had an hour, for the first time all day at 4:15pm i was able to eat some (overpriced) food. My flight to GRB was on another Mesa jet, N520ML, and was ontime.
Overall, NOT happy with United's service. I am likely to NOT fly them again. On the outbound trip they should have put me on another routing like DEN-PHX-SLC or something that could have moved me to my destination earlier than 11 hours.
I have some pics which I will put on flickr and upload here. Here are some that are finished already: