A rare business trip to the coast meant I had my choice of United n/s flights from my home airport IAD
to La La land. I wanted to avoid the early morning rush, so I took a later a.m. flight.
4 December, 2006: UA
0427 - IAD
in Y, equipment Airbus A319.
The 10:25 a.m. departure was delayed inbound. I had hoped for an upgrade, but given the small F cabin, no luck. I was lucky to get a window seat, it being 22A, near the tail. Let me say this: It is a tight squeeze in standard economy on UA
. Especially on a small bird such as the A319. I was grumpy until a young guy sat down next to me, with a cheery "good morning sir." Turns out he and his comrades were on their way home to SoCal after flying all night from Iraq and Kuwait, following three tours of combat duty. (And here I was unhappy about leg room).
We got going about 20 minutes late. Not an empty seat on the little bus. No meals, of course, unless one pays for a dreadful "snack box." No thanks. The two movies featured were "The DaVinci Code" (garbage) and "Talledega Nights" (stupid but verry funny). Channel 9 is really the only reason the fly UA
these days, and it did not disappoint. Most of the en route chatter was directions from the various centers to watch out for a/c coming the other way.
Landing at LAX
was direct and quick, as was the taxi into terminal 7. Getting to Hertz was not bad, but the trip in my rented Shelby GT
-H to Pasadena took forever! LA
traffic is truly the worst anywhere, and opening up the Shelby was not easy. Nice weather, though.
6 December, 2006: UA
in Y, equipment 767-300 (2 class)
The trip from Pasadena to LAX
was a nightmare, mostly because I took the Pasadena freeway into downtown LA
to get to the 105 out to the airport. The Shelby was fun to drive, however. I recommend it as a rental. Once at the airport, I checked in and changed my return flight from the later red-eye (on another crammed A319) to the earlier 767-300. I tried again for an upgrade, but no dice. At least the bird was only about two-thirds full. With a couple of hours to kill, I made my way to the unique "Encounters" restaurant in the center of LAX
. (It's the famous, iconic and mod-looking structure that dominates the property.) I had the seabass, and it was excellent.
The flight was fine. I was seated in 36A, with no one next to me. The gent behind me asked for a "decent glass of port" before take-off (no joke). The FA
politely explained that drinks would not be served prior to take-off. UA
still has pillows and blankets. And for a longer flight, a wide-body just seems roomier, even with the 2-3-2 seating. I do wonder how many of the 2-class 767s UA
retains in its fleet. We got away on time, and the gear-up to gear-down was exactly 4 hours and 22 minutes. Again, channel 9 was a treat. I cannot seem to sleep on any overnight flight, be it crammed into a seat in tourist seat, or in a BA
Club World flat-bed.
In any event, the verdict is this: tight seats on UA
narrow-bodies means I will forgoe my beloved window seats in the future. Also, if going transcon on UA
, try for a 777 or 767. Otherwise, get a catheter. Upgrades on UA
are akin to hitting the powerball jackpot. Channel 9 is the only reason "It's time to fly."
Maggs swings, it's a drive deep to left! The Tigers are going to the World Series!!!