Well, here is my trip report for my short three-day jaunt from Chicago O'Hare to Los Angeles on United Airlines. From the get-go, I was expecting things to be a little "iffy" due to the fact that I was travelling on employee standby passes.
Well, I got to ORD bright and early on Aug. 7th, and proceeded to my airplane, a shiny new A320-200. I went up the desk & showed the agent my "write-your-own" ticket (no kidding...they're actually named that!) She said the passenger load looked good & issued me a "security card" whatever the heck that is. She was very polite & curteous, even though she didn't really have to be as I wasn't a revenue passenger.
After the revenue passengers had boarded, she called me up, and gave me seat 14C. I was glad I had the aisle for the 4 hour flight. I boarded, and the flight left the gate 7 minutes late. Our Airbus had United's new "Decor 5.5" interior. It was fabulous. The carpeting was similar to the blue color the belly on UA planes is, with wierd shaped grey spots on it. The first class seats were grey fabric with the new adjustable headrests. The economy plus seats were darker navy blue with the same adjustable headrests. The regular economy seats were a little bit lighter than eco. plus, with the same headrests. They were fabulously comfortable. The bulkhead was a light, techno-grey with a blue bottom. United finally got it right with the interior, it looked utterly fabulous. We taxied out & took off, somehow avoiding ORD's infamous "ground stops". They then served breakfast. We had a choice of a cheese omelette, french toast, & cereal w/yogurt. I had the omelette. It came with some sausage links & a fruit plate & bagel. It was actually quite good. After the meal, the attendants started the inflight movie, which was none other than Shrek!! I loved that movie. After it, I dozed off as I was quite tired, and awoke as we were descending into Los Angeles. We landed a half hour, yes, a HALF HOUR early. 7:45 vs. 8:10. All in all, the flight was awesome, smooth on the new airbus, the flight attendants were awesome, cheery, great service, good food, good movie. I wouldn't have changed a single thing about it if I had the chance.
Two days later, on Aug. 9, I returned to LAX from the San Fernando Valley to begin the journey home. I proceeded to the flight I had listed for, an A320, but the gate area was crammed full & the agent said that they weren't accepting any more standbys. He was very polite despite the madhouse, zoo-like atmosphere. He told me what flight, what gate, and even what plane it was, and how to get there.
Once I found my new plane, a 757 (would have preferred an A320, but when you are on an employee ticket you take what you can get), and checked in. The agent, again very nice and in a good mood, told me the load looked good but said she couldn't assign me a seat yet due to the previous flight being overbooked.
So I went & sat in the waiting area. About 20 mins later, they announced the flight was delayed due to storms in Chicago (this was legit, I had called my parents to tell them I was going to be on a different flight due to the overbooking, and they told me about the weather) because ORD had issued a ground stop. They kept us updated every 10 minutes until the decision time, 5:30 PM. They then announced that we would be leaving for ORD after all and that the United flights to ORD would be leaving on a first come first serve basis, and that they would like to board as quick as possible.
After the quick boarding, we pushed back & waited for 20 minutes on the tarmac. I was listening to Channel 9 and the delay was because of flow control into ORD (not United's fault). After that cleard, we took off. The flight was kinda bumpy, the seatbelt sign going on & off it seemed like every 10 minutes. The 757 had the older interior, yet the new seats w/headrests. Whatever, at least they had the new seats. The movie was "Someone Like You". Was kinda hard to follow, so I played Game Boy. I was in seat 29C. The dinner choice was the infamous "chicken or beef". I chose the chicken. It was excellent, a rather large piece with a tomato sauce, wild rice, vegetables, and salad, with breadsticks and a cookie. Above and beyond for coach fare.
The flight attendants were some of the nicest I have ever had, and even gave the adult passengers (I am 19) free alcoholic beverages because of the delay. I was very surprised & amazed (even though I couldn't take part, being under age & all), because the delay wasn't United's fault at all. Plus, they never "hid" in the galley, there was almost always one going up & down the aisle tending to us.
After lining up on the ILS for runway 9R, we touched down at ORD at 12:00 midnight. We parked somewhere at the C concourse, so I had to walk through the "techno tunnel" as I call it to get to the curb where I was being picked up.
Overall, my experience was excellent, service was outstanding, food was great, crews impeccable, airplanes in great shape & clean, delay handled perfectly with the gate agents going out of their way to make sure we knew what was going on. I even overheard one agent calling 5, yes, 5 more UA flights to ORD to see how they were doing, to tell us that we weren't the only flight delayed, they all were. She also called ORD a number of times to check up on how the weather was. The pilots even came out and told us in person what was going on and that they were doing everything they could.
To sum it all up, like ILUV767 said a week ago, United is coming back. I urge all of you out there to try the new U N I T E D. If things keep going the way they seem to be, UAL is headed straight to the top again. Goodwin or no-Goodwin, the frontline employees went out of their ways to treat us outstandingly. On both flights as well, they thanked us for choosing "the friendly skies".
Come fly our NEW friendly skies.........