Welcome to my third trip report here on airliners.net.
After a long and very dry winter here in Colorado we decided to take a short vacation in southern California. While accumulation many miles on Lufthansa, my fiance and I decided to use our miles for our trip to Los Angeles. It was quite hard to spend our miles, first we decided to use on our last flight on Condor FRA-LAS for upgrading to Comfort Class which was unsuccessful. Apparently LH has very limited seats on Condor and the earliest upgrade when booking in January was at the beginning of June!!! Then we wanted to use our miles for a hotel in Frankfurt which they advertised on their website, but after already booking the hotel in Frankfurt we got a call from Miles and More and the told us that they don't have this hotel in their program any longer. Then we decided to book a flight on US Airways to St. Thomas which didn't work either. But after several attempts we were able to use our miles for this United Airlines Flight before they expire.
My fiance was at a conference in Santa Fee so she took a flight on the 25 March from ABQ via PHX to LAX the same day in the evening on US Airways CRJ 900 and Airbus A321.
My flight left at 7:33 from DEN. I got up at 4:30 in Boulder, went for a walk with our dog (as he was traveling with us). I left Boulder at 5am by car as it usually take 50 Minutes to get to DEN, but traffic was very dense and I arrived only 45 minutes prior to my flight.
United Airlines UA 894
Departure: 7:33 AM
Aircraft: Airbus A320
Class: Domestic First
Check in was a breeze. No line at First Class check-in. Economy was pretty crowded as you can see in the back. Staff was very friendly. The pet fee on United is 125$ one way and the lady at check in was a dog lover as she told me all about here two dogs - all in all a very friendly and welcoming atmosphere.
No line at security this morning
Nice modern architecture at DIA
Terminal B - The United Terminal.
Very quiet Terminal B this morning, my flight was leaving from Gate B43 this morning
United 777 packed next to our gate, Destination LAX, too - but one hour later.
Boarding went pretty fast, the first time in my life I could use the First Class check-in and not standing in line with the other Economy passengers like usual. Very nice! When entering the plane the flight attendant was very friendly and even made jokes, that was something I usually see on Southwest Airlines but not on United. When she noticed that I was traveling with a small dog, she then told me all about her dog and that her mom is taking car of her dog when she is away. She even ask me if she should bring him some water. That never happened to me on any airline before. The tells me once again that the people really make the difference and not the fancy equipment they use.
Standard domestic First Class Seat. Looks old fashioned but quite comfortable and I am 6.2
I like that my bag pack fits next to the seat. Perhaps nothing special for those of you who travel First all the time but I liked it.
We left the gate on-time
I can't get used to the new United looks.
Nice views of the front range and Boulder in the background
Flying directly over Coors Brewery, the largest brewery factory in the world and Golden, CO
Near Mt Evans
Mt Evans, the highest paved road in North America 14262 ft
Cooper Mt. ski resort
Breakfast was served. Pretty tasty, as nearly everyone in First Class was sleeping the flight attendant ask me if I wanted a second breakfast but I declined as one portion was more than enough.
Grand Canyon in the morning light
Landing in rainy southern CA
Pretty green for LA
Pretty light traffic this morning
American B762 reading for take-off
It has been a long time since I saw a 767-200 at take-off
Our Aircraft from DEN
My bag was one of the first bags which arrived at the carousel. My first impression at LAX was rather mixed. All the facilities looks pretty run down and very old fashioned. After picking up my bag I took the AVIS shuttle bus to pick up my rental car. Reserving an intermediate car I was surprised to see a brand new Ford Mustang Convertible which was reserved for me. I was really exited to try out the new 315 hp V6 base engine
Here are some impression from our 3 day stay in Redondo Beach and Ojai which is close to Santa Barbara. I was really impressed how green it was!
Clear LA sky, nothing compared to the summer months
Big surf at Redondo Beach
Surf at Redondo Beach
Laguna Beach, my favorite beach location
Our B&B in Ojai
Ojai, the most beautiful and peacfull place we have been for a while
Our nice Rental and the very winding road to Ojai, CA. That was fun!
The famous place at LAX
Aeroflot A330-200 on approach
After 3 days in the LA area we were sad to leave green southern CA and heading back to work.
United Airlines 750
Departure: 4:25 pm
Aircraft: Boeing 777-200 ER (new config)
Check in was a breeze but staff was not that friendly as in DEN. I don't like the terminal and gate area at LAX everything looks old and run down and very crowed. So we didn't want to spend too much time in the terminal and we were the first who boarded the plane. The plane's interior was brand new and still smelled new. United did a great job in remodeling the interior of the 777. I really like the open space feeling in the Business Class.
My very nice seat for the next 2:20 hrs, (only)
Nice open space feeling, very bright and clean interior
Lots of space to stretch, i would love to have this seat on long-haul flight.
A major drawback on these new lie-flat seat is that there is now storage. So everything must go into the overhead bin during tack-off. As we were traveling with a dog in the cabin that was a major problem. The flight attendant didn't quite know what to do with the situation so they called the station manager. We were told that the reservation team screwed up and there is no way that the dog (in the bag) can be in front of us during landing and take of in First and Business Class equipped with lie flat seats. They ask us I one of us could sit in Economy Plus with the dog during take-off and landing. I am not sure if they handle the situation the same was for the rich and famous but one of us had to move to the back. Is that on every airlines which has lie flat seats installed? So my fiance went to Econ Plus for take off and I went back for landing.
Nice view of the clean engine
EMB -120 to Santa Barbara
Singapore 747-400 waiting for take-off
Little sister in new colors
Still like the old one better
Here we go, powerful take-off
All UA colors at once
Overview of LAX
Qantas A380 and B744
Nice view of Hollywood
Stunning view of Venice Beach and Santa Monica
Never saw a wing that clean on UA
Marina Del Ray
I love those big engines
Stunning views of LA
Nice view of LAX while turning east again
Somewhere over the LA area
Leaving the LA valley
Passing close to Lake Arrowhead
Warm nuts after 20 min. into the flight
Very delicious dinner, very filling too.
The came around twice with these tasting cookies
Passing of the Grand Canyon once again
Overall both flights were very enjoyable. We used 35000 LH miles for the flights. This was the first time I few First/Business on an US carrier. I read many negative reviews about the service on UA but I must say I am impressed by their cabin service on this short 2.5 hrs flight. On both flights the cabin staff was very friendly smiled, joked and were very accommodating. The meal service on both flights were excellent and on both flights we were offered a second round of meals. The cabin and comfort of the business class on the 777 was stunning, lots of space and very modern. But the new lie flat seats have a huge draw back for those of us traveling with a pet or extra carry on luggage which you wanted to store under your seat. I was really disappointed with UA reservations. When I called to reserve the pet in the cabin and also ask if it is OK tho bring the dog in the cabin onto the business class on the 777 (as seatguru.com mentions no under the seat storage) they told me that it is no problem and also made this reservation for the dog. I think UA should fix this bug in their reservation software. I am not sure how they deal with passengers not that cooperative as we were and not wanting to move for take-off and landing to Economy.
Despite the disappointing UA reservation call center we enjoyed both flights. It was also very nice to see that people actually make the difference over fancy equipment as the flight to LAX on the old A320 was one of the most enjoyable flights I had in a long time.
[Edited 2011-04-13 23:41:44]