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lpdal
Topic Author
Posts: 1966
Joined: Sat Mar 24, 2012 9:49 pm

United GlobalFirst Suites FLL✈MCO✈IAH✈IAD✈EWR✈FLL

Fri Nov 28, 2014 2:17 am

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Routing for this "Type Run".
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United GlobalFirst Suites, 777-200, FLL-MCO-IAH-IAD-EWR-FLL, Silver Airways, 3M, Saab 340BPlus, Commutair, C5, Bombardier Dash-8-Q300, Orlando International Airport, Orlando, Florida, George Bush Intercontinental Airport, Houston, Texas, Washington Dulles International Airport, Virginia, Newark Liberty International Airport, and Newark, New Jersey.

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FOREWORD
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The week before my birthday and the week after my birthday were ripe with opportunities to catch new types, new premium hard products, and plenty of turboprop action. Searching up on the UA website, FLL-IAD listed a bunch of interesting itineraries, not the least of which included a 3M (Silver Airways) Saab 340B+, a GlobalFirst Suites (UA's International F product) 772, and a Dash-8-Q300 near the conclusion of the day. Booked! No doubt about it.  
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Yes, I know this is a PMCO 772. I couldn't find a good picture of a PMUA 772 in this same awesome pose, so I subbed in this one in its place.
TWU represented. All of my views and posted content are mine alone, and should not be viewed as official communication from my employer, its subsidiaries thereof, or any other entities or airlines.
 
lpdal
Topic Author
Posts: 1966
Joined: Sat Mar 24, 2012 9:49 pm

RE: United GlobalFirst Suites FLL✈MCO✈IAH✈IAD✈EWR✈FLL

Fri Nov 28, 2014 2:18 am

KFLL (Fort Lauderdale - Hollywood International Airport) ✈ KMCO (Orlando International Airport - McCoy)
  • Airline: Silver Airways
  • Airline IATA Code: IATA Code # 3M
  • Airline IACO Code: IACO Code # SIL
  • Airline Callsign: Radio Callsign SILVER WINGS
  • Airline Flight Number: # 68
  • Aircraft / Equipment Used for Flight : Saab 340BPlus
  • Aircraft / Equipment Registration: Registration # N361AG
  • Airline Aircraft / Equipment Fleet Number: # 361
  • Aircraft / Equipment Nationality: United States of America - FAA - Registered Aircraft / Equipment
  • Aircraft's First Flight: October 23rd, 1998
  • Aircraft's Age as of Date of Flight: 16 years old as of October 31st, 2014
  • Aircraft Test Registration: AS Air Limited (Kenya)">SE-B51 (Sweden)
  • Aircraft Config: Y34
  • Aircraft Construction Number (MSN) : 451
  • Aircraft Line Number: # 451
  • Aircraft Delivery Date: April 30th, 2014
  • Aircraft Powerplant (s) : 2x GE CT7-9B
  • Aircraft Owned by / Leased from: OWNED by Victory Park Capital
  • Meal: Beverage Service
  • Cabin: Economy Class (All Economy, Single Class Layout)
  • Seat Assignment: 12ACDF
  • A/C Equipped with IFE: No
  • A/C Equipped with Wi-Fi Wireless Internet Access: No
  • Airline Flight Date: October 31st, 2014
  • Boarding Call Time: 6:20 AM EST, October 31st, 2014
  • Boarding Zone: 1, Premier Access
  • Departure Time: 6:50 AM EST, October 31st, 2014
  • Departure Gate / Jetway: Gate / Jetway C5, Concourse C, Terminal 1, FLL
  • Arrival Time: 7:40 AM EST, October 31st, 2014
  • Arrival Gate / Jetway: N/A
  • Time Aloft: 0 hours 50 minutes (50 minutes)
  • Filed Speed: 255 KIAS
  • Filed Cruising Altitude: 13,000 feet
  • Flight Distance: Direct: 178 SM | Planned: 179 SM | Flown: 182 SM
  • Routing Waypoint (s) : FLL ARKES BAIRN GOOFY6 MCO


FLIGHT DATA SOURCE (S):

1. PlaneSpotters.Net Airframe Data

2. PlaneSpotters.Net Airline Data

3. FlightAware Live Flight Tracking Data


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Photo © flightdeckimages



With Mesaba Airlines D/B/A Delta Connection as N451XJ as of October 28th, 2008:


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Photo © Mark Kryst - YXUphoto



With Mesaba Airlines D/B/A Northwest Airlink as N451XJ as of October 28th, 1998:


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Photo © Thomas D Dittmer
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Photo © Tom Turner


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Photo © DJW

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FlightAware for this flight. Copyright FlightAware © 2014

The 3M gate agent seems very leisurely in her pace and asks for my entire itinerary a few times...After repeating FLLMCOIAHIADEWRFLL for a third time she mentions that since my EWRFLL flight arrives the next day ("the next day" being defined as 12:02 AM Midnight) that she won't be able to check me in for my flight...? Throughout the check-in process she seems very short and irritated, but at least I get all the boarding passes for my itinerary in 3M-branded cardstock. Strangely, some of the boarding passes show some incorrect fare classes--this daytrip, due to the GF segment, was all in A-class, except for FLLMCO and IADEWR whose aircraft (Saab 340 and Q300) did not have premium cabins--so the correct fare class order was YAAYA, but the Silver tickets showed ECFWC...My seat assignments were still the same, so I didn't care too much, but it was still fascinating to see the fare classes converted into 3M's SABRE Sonic system data values.

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WestJet, the Canadian-based 737-600-flying LCC has moved all ops to T1 at FLL as of Halloween 2014.

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Waiting for the grump ticketing agent to show up over at the 3M counter. As it is Halloween, VX, F9, and WN all had their decorations out. Looks like UA, G4, AS, WS, and 3M aren't feeling so festive.

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The FLL United Club got a new bartender that can actually speak English! Hallelujah!

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I have to say, I had about 20 of these...Again with the metabolism! They did, in fact, taste like they were "fresh baked" and it wasn't just a product moniker.


And the sort-of paltry breakfast offerings actually do a pretty good job of filling me up for once. Despite the bare buffet, these 90% sugar and 10% consumables managed to eliminate my teenager hunger until the start of the first flight...

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The all-new Starbucks and Shula Burger that just opened, replacing the previous mom and pop pizza parlor which really didn't have good pizza, unfortunately.

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Boarding 3M 68 up to MCO through the jetway-turned-into-a-stairway leading down onto the Concourse C ramp. Walking down onto the ramp into one of these planes is always a treat for me, unobstructed views at FLL are the greatest!

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A Silver tug and a Red Virgin.

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Not my exact Saab, but you get the idea.

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Boarding.

A dismembered voice was on loop, repeating the fact to sit down as soon as possible and store your carry-ons in the overhead bins or the seat in front of me. This morning I am sat in seat 4F, a window seat nearly aligned with the propeller blade but just a tad behind it--cool for those rumbling blade shots but a little annoying for scenery pictures. My seatmate is a middle aged business traveler who doesn't seem to be too amused by my airplane photography and decides to express his disapproval by constantly clearing his throat--seriously? Well, I didn't have to worry about that anyway as soon the F/A is walking through the aisle telling everyone to scoot back past row 6 due to weight and balance issues, so I decided to go 6 rows past row six into row twelve, which is the very last row of Y. Someone mentioned in one of my previous reports that I should sit in the last row of Y and 'experience' it; here you go:

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This amount of room of a Saab 340? Count me in!

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Legroom is alright back here, I suppose...

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I haven't even gotten to the 772 and I already have my own first class suite hah! In a Saab 340 no less...

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It was literally pitch black outside, hence the lack of takeoff and taxiing shots. One of the unique features of the Saab 340BPlus is the great view of the horizantal stabilizer.

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And of course, since my row spans the width of the cabin, I have the pleasure of a full wingspan view on either side by just sliding over.

FLL-MCO is only a short puddlejump up to Orlando, but Silver serves drinks anyway no matter the length of flight. On the ground in FLL, the F/A handed out Nestle PureLife miniature waterbottles, and while in the air, a choice of soft drink, various juices, or more water. Silver has discontinued surcharged alcohol, you'll have to wait until you're on the ground to get your fix. Just as I finish sipping the last of my coke, the automated voice announced our descent (damn that voice sounds creepy!) and our wings gradually pointed back towards the Earth....and we hit a TON of turbulence. Lots of prevailing conditions around Central Florida, I suppose. When I get on the ground I request a cockpit visit since I didn't have the chance to view it on my last 3M turn. The captain and I strike up a friendly chat, and I suggest that possibly Silver could add the Saab 2000 (the Saab 340B's elongated big brother), to which he replies that most of the 3M pilots have heard a rumor floating around that they might acquire a handful of Bombardier Q400s...It's hearsay flight deck talk, but I would LOVE it if 3M got some Dashes!   

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Water bottle PDB and a smattering of caffeine to wake me up for the day.

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The cabin was quite quiet and sleepy for the short period of time that we spent at cruise altitude.

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Shearing through a light raincloud as we commence our descent into MCO.

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Landing gear down, and a superb view of the tiny two wheel bogie.


Touchdown! No visible smoke, though.

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Parked.

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The Saab 340B's Cockpit is quite cramped, and I nearly got stuck with my big green backpack jutting out from my hind quarters as I wedged myself into the first officer's seat. I had always known this but I had found it quite cool that the landing gear handle is molded into a tiny little tire, I don't know why this is but each MFDer does this on almost every majorly-used commercial airliner. I wouldn't mind getting my feet wet as an entry-level airline pilot flying these around Florida (well the $18k salary and long hours I would mind, but atleast I wouldn't be flying B1900Ds for ZK) but then again you would have to waste a bunch of time flying Cessna 172s/Beech Barons around for years and years before you ever step foot in one of these...Spending $90k to fly for $18k my ***, wonder how long that debt would take to pay off...   Nonwithstanding, if I had a PPL, commercial, twin engine, and IFR rating, I would definitely love to own a Saab 340 and live in a fly in community John Travolta-style. Some day, some way....

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US Airways A321 while I walk up the ramp back into MCO. I take comfort in the fact that I've flown four legs on US, no longer any anxiety regarding not being able to catch them before they're fully eaten up by Mr. Parker.

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My last view of 3M's N361AG airframe, being topped off with JET-A (UN number 1863 Hazardous Material placard), the most commonly used specification of kerosene in the US, but not found outside America where the dominant fuel is JET-A1. This black gold is actually straw (light yellow or golden) colored in appearance and appears to be going down in price at the moment. Fueling the airplane itself is a highly-modified Ford F-150XL, 8th generation (1992-1997) chassis re-purposed for filling up airplanes.
TWU represented. All of my views and posted content are mine alone, and should not be viewed as official communication from my employer, its subsidiaries thereof, or any other entities or airlines.
 
lpdal
Topic Author
Posts: 1966
Joined: Sat Mar 24, 2012 9:49 pm

RE: United GlobalFirst Suites FLL✈MCO✈IAH✈IAD✈EWR✈FLL

Fri Nov 28, 2014 2:19 am

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Orlando International Airport - McCoy (MCO / KMCO), Orlando, Florida
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MCO is definitely a cut above FLL in every conceivable manner, from dining, to shopping, and even aircraft types. Orlando International regularly sees a good dose of domestic widebody action as well as lie flat bed seat equipped aircraft, including, but not limited to:

American Airlines
-767-300 on MIA-MCO-MIA and DFW-MCO-DFW -- at only 25 minutes in length, the MIA-MCO-MIA route is probably the shortest regularly scheduled domestic widebody service in America right now.
-757-200 (Business class equipped)--while angle-lie-flat, you'll have a good chance of scoring one of these on MIA-MCO-MIA and DFW-MCO-DFW.

Delta Air Lines
A330-200 / 300 on ATL-MCO-ATL -- occasionally you'll see DL send down one of these in season, but they are not regularly scheduled.
767-300 / 400 on ATL-MCO-ATL -- occassionally you'll see DL send down one of these in season, but they are not regularly scheduled.

United Airlines
PMCO Continental BusinessFirst 757-200 on EWR-MCO-EWR -- Regularly scheduled on this route as well as occasionally IAH-MCO-IAH

US Airways
A330-200 / 300 -- Regularly scheduled on both PHL-MCO-PHL and CLT-MCO-CLT, especially on Fridays and Saturdays.
Envoy Angle Lie Flat 757-200 -- Seen more frequently than A330 aircraft on PHL-MCO-PHL and CLT-MCO-CLT

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One of MCO's airsides linked by the terminal shuttle to the main ticketing hall. I definetely prefer these high-ceiling rotundas to the blocky low roofs of FLL.

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US Airways 757-200 N939UW going back up to PHL.

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Dual split scimatars (right of this frame was another equipped bird)

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This FX DC-10 had a very slow takeoff roll, adding to its visual appearence of being quite heavily laden.

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Strolling up into the United Club.

As I walked up to the reception desk in the UA lounge, I was slightly confused to see no one behind the counter. I went to go sit down anyway, prepared to show my lounge credentials if needed...but a man in a 1930's Prohibition duster, shallow-brimmed boater, square shades, and fake cigar took a place behind the reception area and asked for my membership card. As I handed it to him, he inquired about the lack of my Halloween costume, to which I reply "I'm 19, I don't trick or treat much anymore" to which he laughs and tells me that he remembers when I last blew through here on FLL-MCO-FLL. "Ahhhh...you remind me of when I was 19, enthusiastic about all the airlines, National, Allegheny, Piedmont, Eastern, Muse...." "Braniff?", I ask. "Hehehe Braniff was my first airline job, son. All the way back in the 1970s! You have a good day!" This man reminded me of DTWPurserBoy, both in his airline history and style of communication...

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The usual UAC interior, unfortunately I'm hungry for some real food and not munchies.

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Hard to think that only a few years back that UA and US were *A partners...Now AA and US are part of OW...though the joint venture doesn't work all that well given the insane codeshare ticket buckets...
TWU represented. All of my views and posted content are mine alone, and should not be viewed as official communication from my employer, its subsidiaries thereof, or any other entities or airlines.
 
lpdal
Topic Author
Posts: 1966
Joined: Sat Mar 24, 2012 9:49 pm

RE: United GlobalFirst Suites FLL✈MCO✈IAH✈IAD✈EWR✈FLL

Fri Nov 28, 2014 2:20 am

KMCO (Orlando International Airport - McCoy) ✈ KIAH (Houston - George Bush Intercontinental Airport)
  • Airline: United Airlines
  • Airline IATA Code: IATA Code # UA
  • Airline IACO Code: IACO Code # UAL
  • Airline Callsign: UAL
  • Airline Flight Number: # UA 350
  • Aircraft / Equipment Used for Flight : Airbus A320-232
  • Aircraft / Equipment Registration: Registration # N409UA
  • Airline Aircraft / Equipment Fleet Number: # 4709
  • Aircraft / Equipment Nationality: United States of America - FAA - Registered Aircraft / Equipment
  • Aircraft's First Flight: January 7th, 1994
  • Aircraft's Age as of Date of Flight: 20.9 Years old as of October 31st, 2014
  • Aircraft Test Registration: F-WWDQ (France)
  • Aircraft Config: F12Y126
  • Aircraft Construction Number (MSN) : 462
  • Aircraft Line Number: # 462
  • Aircraft Delivery Date: March 21st, 1994
  • Aircraft Powerplant (s) : 2x IAE V2527-A5
  • Aircraft Owned by / Leased from: OWNED by United Airlines
  • Meal: Hot Pastry Service
  • Cabin: United Airlines First Class
  • Seat Assignment: 3A
  • A/C Equipped with IFE: No
  • A/C Equipped with Wi-Fi Wireless Internet Access: Yes, GoGo Inflight Wi-FI available for purchase
  • Airline Flight Date: October 31st, 2014
  • Boarding Call Time: 8:35 AM EST, October 31st, 2014
  • Boarding Zone: 1, Premier Access
  • Departure Time: 9:10 AM EST, October 31st, 2014
  • Departure Gate / Jetway: Gate / Jetway 46, Airside 2, MCO
  • Arrival Time: 10:24 AM CST, October 31st, 2014
  • Arrival Gate / Jetway: Gate / Jetway C44, Terminal C, IAH
  • Time Aloft: 1 hour 14 minutes (74 minutes)
  • Filed Speed: 460 KIAS
  • Filed Cruising Altitude: 34,000 feet
  • Flight Distance: Direct: 853 SM | Planned: 893 SM | Flown: 891 SM
  • Routing Waypoint (s) : MCO CAMDT1 KNOST REMIS Q100 LEV GILLL1 IAH


FLIGHT DATA SOURCE (S):

1. PlaneSpotters.Net Airframe Data

2. PlaneSpotters.Net Airline Data

3. FlightAware Live Flight Tracking Data

4. First Class | International First Class | United Airlines

5. North American Premium Cabin Inflight Dining | United Airlines


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Photo © Marseno Bremer
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Photo © Flightline Aviation Media - Bruce Leibowitz



As N409UA with United Airlines in "Battle Ship Gray Tulip Livery" as of March 21st, 1994:


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Photo © Michael Carter


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Photo © Matthew C. Lyons



As N409UA with United Airlines in "Battle Ship Gray Tulip Livery" when involved in an incident at MSY on April 4th, 2011; Remark below image;


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Photo © Mark De Soto

Quoting Mark De Soto:
Aircraft off side of R/W 19 after returning to field. Declared emergency after smoke issue and electronics failure in cockpit
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FlightAware for this flight. Copyright FlightAware © 2014

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I had walked over to the rain-streaked windows near my really-boring A320 for MCO-IAH leg and hadn't been able to get a good shot of my aircraft (bottom two images), so I was relieved to see my bird easily-viewable from the south side of the lounge.

Luckily enough, I arrived at the gate just as Premier Access was called to board. However, despite the gate agent's somber pleas to passengers not in boarding group "1" to stay seated until their group number was called, we had massive amounts of Y+ and Y passengers squishing us first class passengers into the tiny roped off "Premier Access" line. Nonetheless, I had no problem scanning my phone (Passbook) and having a brisk walk down the relatively short Jetway onto the waiting A320.

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"Pre-Boarding" is actually interpreted by the Y cabin as "Families with small children, families with large children, families with adults that act like children (No possibility of a first class upgrade?! Do you know who I am?!), and cousin Bob's aunt's mother's cousin's third uncle's father's electrician's professional acquaintance Raoul" (you know, because he is a relative, after all).

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Please stand clear of the doors. Por favor manténganse alejado de las puertas. (Ben123Planes's professor wouldn't be too impressed by his Disney Spanish Skills).

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Boarding, with my seatmate and I's seats, 3A/3B. These recliners are the old pre-lie-flat era UA J class seats, with most of the armrest and legrest removed to convert them into regular domestic first class seats.

Boarding on this flight proceeded quite quickly, perhaps due to all the families and DYKWIAs being boarded first before the great unwashed. Four flight attendants are present, the most obvious of which is a towering 6'3" male with swept-back hair who has the deepest voice I've ever heard from a flight attendant, magnified by the morning silence of an early flight. Despite his somewhat imposing appearance, he is actually quite friendly and hands out PDB's despite the rush of oncoming Y passengers flooding down the jetbridge and onto the Airbus. Strangely, however, he only offered water and orange juice, nothing else to speak of. I've never seen such a rudimentary PDB service on any other airline's domestic first class ground service, but maybe he was just shortchanged in terms of beverage cart stocks?

Unusually for MCO, today's prevailing weather conditions showed near perfect visibility with a complete lack of turbulence. If you're from Florida, you'll know that conditions near and around Orlando and Kissimmee can turn from bad to worse in a matter of minutes, with sunny skies instantly flipping into shearing rain and pummeling thunderstorms! Thus, on an October morning like this, you can imagine the benefit such clear weather had on our on-time departure stat from MCO, and indeed we did make it out early with only a few bumps to speak of on climbout.

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Near standard domestic F legroom. UA has adopted a new style template for their safety cards, although they still are designed and illustrated by Aero Safety International.

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Do you know that we have commercials (propaganda???) here in Florida proclaiming the benefits of drinking orange juice? "Fresh Florida Orange Juice always helps me start my day off well, and supports our Economy while providing you with your Daily Dose of Vitamins A, ...." Despite these annoying messages abruptly interrupting my television sitcoms, I still enjoy a good pre-departure beverage of Floridian nectar...

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Glad to be up here and not with the symphony of squealing children in the rear...


A wing walker playing "Ramp Pikkupstix" after another ramper threw his wands at him (FOD?). That's not dangerous at all!


Taxi past "Lake McCoy"


Turning onto the runway past the blast zone (black area with massive golden chevrons leading up to the runway threshold). Note the very good view of the landing gear reflecting off of the engine cowling.


Blasting off from MCO, just look at that landing gear folding up into place.  https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7572/15506658950_e88caa827a_c.jpg

Turning left past KORL (Orlando Executive Airport).

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Downtown Orlando, the part that no tourists ever bother to visit. :P

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Nearing our cruise altitude just as we leave Florida behind.

According to GCMAP, FLL-IAH is 966 miles long, while MCO-IAH is give or take 110 miles shorter at 854 miles long. UA's domestic first class meal policy is as follows from North American Premium Cabin Dining:

Quote:
Less than 220 miles
(Approximately 1 hour or less) Biscoff® cookies or pretzels served with the beverage of your choice
220–899 miles
(Approximately 1–2 hours) Warmed, all-natural breakfast scones or a selection of premium snacks and fresh fruit

Note: United will serve meals or snacks on flights longer than 700 miles in the following markets:

    Chicago O'Hare to/from Boston, Denver, New York LaGuardia and New York/Newark
    Denver to/from Houston Intercontinental and Los Angeles
    New York/Newark to/from Atlanta

.
900–2,299 miles
(Approximately 2–5 hours) Full meal service during traditional meal times on most flights or a light and refreshing snack in between traditional meal times
.
Longer than 2,300 miles
(Approximately 5 hours or longer) Full meal service followed by a pre-arrival snack or a light and refreshing snack on late night departures followed by a pre-arrival warm scone
.
On United Express® flights longer than 700 miles (approximately two hours), United First® and United Business® customers will enjoy complimentary snackboxes featuring high-quality, brand-name foods.

This meant that I wouldn't be receiving any sort of meal on this 1hr45min hop--only a warmed, tiny chocolate "scone" (I'd call it a muffin while conversing with my buddies but I guess giving fancy monikers to mundane food items tickles UA's fancy) served up in a small United-branded paper bag. Okay, the lack of meal service in domestic first class is really starting to get on my nerves (even more so since back in "the good old days", even thirty minute hops would get a full meal service or some such.). Seriously, a chocolate muffin is not filling!! Well, maybe it could fill me up for about 20-30 minutes but as we all know, sugar is burned off quite quickly in the body (low nutritional value), and you're rapidly left feeling more hungry than you were before you consumed the glucose-laden treats...On the bright side, I did manage to acquire several mugs of fresh Joe, but I still left this flight feeling very hungry!  https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7491/15667544706_5f00d7c489_c.jpg
Hot, piping mug of Java to start out my fun day of flying.

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Breakfast service on MCO-IAH, a nanoscopic chocolate scone. To give yourself an idea of just how "large" it was, place your thumb and pointer finger in an "O" shape. Yup, that small...Well, atleast it was warm, fluffy, and had pockets of chocolate filling throughout itself...Mmmmmmm...

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SkyMall! The infamous and ubiquitous inflight catalog jam-packed with interesting and zany products that you will most likely never find any feasible use for! Though, I've been reading this magazine since I was in utero (thanks Mom and Dad...remember Song, Ted, Continental, America West, Comair, GIA, Atlantic Southeast, Northwest, Battleship gray liveries in SFO, thank you parents for taking me on many, many , many trips pre-mega consolidation) and there are still products that are still listed in here, speaking for their own 'success' I suppose. Though I've never seen any such "wine fountain"...Must. resist. pulling. out. debit. card.........

UA flight attendants always draw the curtain between Y and F (+1,000,000), and I think it must be in their manuals as I've only witnessed one instance where it has not occurred. Of course however, four Y passengers (three male, one female) attempt to push past the curtain and gain access to the front lavatory, only to be stopped in their tracks by the massive flight attendant with a polite but stern "Excuse me sir/ma'am, may I ask what you're doing" to be told their intentions but turned back to the rear Y lavatories.

Speaking of leaving the flight, the Houston area had the same good fortune that MCO was blessed with, clear blue skies with sparse sprinkles of clouds here and there. I always love the view of IAH and HOU on approach to both airports simply due to the amazing scenery juxtaposed around each airfield (and the lovely views of the Gulf of Mexico). On the way out of the airplane, I considered asking for a cockpit visit but passed because my aviation-love was overtaken by my voracious hunger!

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Oil rig, with hopefully no chance of any "Deepwater Horizon" or Exxon Valdez incidents happening ever again.

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Detail shots of the wing camber and fence. I've always wondered what those little "hairs" do, does it have something to do with airspeed? I've seen them snapped off before, are they fragile?


Hey, we have to get rid of some of that surplus airspeed somehow--speedbrakes deployed!

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Approaching IAH.

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What highway is this on our short final?

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Soft touchdown onto the hard asphalt at IAH.

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Ooh! That circular tower next to the Houston Intercontinental Marriott looks fun--a restaurant like that 1950s-space-age dome at LAX?

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Pulling up right next to a ContinetI mean United 757-300 that is already docked right next to our parking gate. The small tidbit of "Operated By: CALA014A" is supposed to signal to MX guys that this bird was formely with Continental--though I don't see where you could possibly get confused here as UA didn't have any 753s pre-merger, nor do any UA 752s have Rolls-Royce RB.211 High Bypass turbofans. Besides, weren't all the mechanics integrated by this point anyhow?

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Goodbye N409UA, and thanks for some rather reliable transportation in this rough-and-tumble industry.   On a related note, Chelsea Food Services is the next most controversial catering company next to Gate Gourmet and LSG Sky Chefs...Oh wait...

[Edited 2014-11-27 18:42:40]
TWU represented. All of my views and posted content are mine alone, and should not be viewed as official communication from my employer, its subsidiaries thereof, or any other entities or airlines.
 
lpdal
Topic Author
Posts: 1966
Joined: Sat Mar 24, 2012 9:49 pm

RE: United GlobalFirst Suites FLL✈MCO✈IAH✈IAD✈EWR✈FLL

Fri Nov 28, 2014 2:21 am

---
Houston - George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IATA: IAH, ICAO: KIAH)
---

IAH is an okay airport, much better than FLL and MCO in the fact that most of the airport is linked together without requiring passengers to reclear security to gain access to all of the various concourses and terminals airside. I have visited this airport many times way back in the day, when this place was ruled by Bethune/Continental, but my most recent visit was on Tuesday, June 24th, 2014, to visit an..ummm.. girl (that is me being gracious on how I feel towards her now) in VCT (Victoria, Texas) : United First Class, Piper P-31 FLL-IAH-VCT-IAH-FLL (by LPDAL Jun 26 2014 in Trip Reports) on Sun Air International's Piper PA-31-350 N7090B. The "girl" (sorry for the quote marks, I'm actually not sorry) has long since faded out of my life, but IAH hasn't (thank gosh I don't hold grudges), and I remembered all the best places for Avgeeks like me to hang out in--so with my United Club card (and singularity) in hand, I walked down some long hallways (as well as memory lane grrrr) to the Terminal E United Club. Specifically, for the showers (no, not for that reason ugh) because this airport made me sweaty for whatever reason.

As I walked into the airline lounge, I wanted to give the dragon a bit of a 'test' (not sure if that's the correct terminology to use here), so I handed her my IAH-IAD 3M boarding pass instead of the UA one. Humorously, her computer froze for about 5 minutes before the scanner beeped and a green light shone across the checkin counter, signifying that I passed the entrance exam. I jokingly point out "Nothing's ever easy in the airline industry, ma'am" to which the light-hearted UA agent balks "That you're right on, Mr. McCormack!" I headed up to the third floor of the clubroom, but was shocked to see the same shower agent that had given me a shower suite on FLL-IAH-VCT-IAH-FLL all the way back in June, and she even remembered my name!! She questioned, "Going back to Victoria, Colby?"...This is one of those times where I have to keep my head cool and avoid shouting out "No! Why would I go back to VCT to see a so-called 'girl'" but I just give her a solemn shake of my huge head and quietly comment, "No, not today." before entering one of the shower suites. I'm getting better and better each day with my filter, just a work in progress at the moment...

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A very clean, modern, and expansive terminal hallway in IAH.

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What's with all of the deactivated tube-tellies?

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Above all other clubrooms in IAH, the Terminal E lounge is definitely my favorite, with generally clean spaces and massive windows providing ample opportunities for spotting.


My shower suite, 1A (Appropriately enough).

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The 737-700 isn't a small airplane by any measure (well, maybe up against a 748, 388, 225, or Spruce Goose...), but from this angle it appears to be very tiny! A FO also finished his walkaround check and is heading back into his A/C.

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At first, I was taken aback by this advertisement a short walk away from the entrance of the UAC, thinking for a second that the 737 wasn't the actual aircraft that was being utilized on this new routing but just an advertising wrong-aircraft mistake (as are many advertisements throughout airports across the world), but looking below the advertisement I was aghast to see that yes, it is a 737! SK (SAS) is flying SVG-IAH-SVG on 737-700s configured in an all-business-class layout operated by PT (PrivatAir).

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Here I was taking the train over to Terminal C to board my very first GlobalFirst Suites flight to IAD, giddy as when I was bouncing off the walls in MIA waiting to board my very first AA Flagship First Class Suites flight on MIA-LAX-MIA
TWU represented. All of my views and posted content are mine alone, and should not be viewed as official communication from my employer, its subsidiaries thereof, or any other entities or airlines.
 
lpdal
Topic Author
Posts: 1966
Joined: Sat Mar 24, 2012 9:49 pm

RE: United GlobalFirst Suites FLL✈MCO✈IAH✈IAD✈EWR✈FLL

Fri Nov 28, 2014 2:22 am

KIAH (Houston - George Bush Intercontinental Airport) ✈ KIAD (Washington Dulles International Airport)
  • Airline: United Airlines
  • Airline IATA Code: IATA Code # UA
  • Airline IACO Code: IACO Code # UAL
  • Airline Callsign: United
  • Airline Flight Number: # UA 373
  • Aircraft / Equipment Used for Flight : Boeing 777-222(ER)
  • Aircraft / Equipment Registration: Registration # N226UA
  • Airline Aircraft / Equipment Fleet Number: # 2826
  • Aircraft / Equipment Nationality: United States of America - FAA - Registered Aircraft / Equipment
  • Aircraft's First Flight: December 20th, 2001
  • Aircraft's Age as of Date of Flight: 12.9 Years Old as of October 31st, 2014
  • Aircraft Test Registration: N226UA
  • Aircraft Config: F8C40W113Y108
  • Aircraft Construction Number (MSN) : 30226
  • Aircraft Line Number: # 380
  • Aircraft Delivery Date: January 14th, 2002
  • Aircraft Powerplant (s) : 2x PW PW4090
  • Aircraft Owned by / Leased from: OWNED by United Airlines
  • Meal: Lunch
  • Cabin: United Airlines GlobalFirst Suites
  • Seat Assignment: Suite 2K
  • A/C Equipped with IFE: Yes, PTVs in all classes
  • A/C Equipped with Wi-Fi Wireless Internet Access: Yes, GoGo Inflight Wi-Fi Available for purchase
  • Airline Flight Date: October 31st, 2014
  • Boarding Call Time: 11:05 AM, October 31st, 2014
  • Boarding Zone: 1, GlobalFirst Suites
  • Departure Time: 12:39 PM (Late), October 31st, 2014
  • Departure Gate / Jetway: Gate / Jetway C16, Terminal C, IAH
  • Arrival Time: 3:58 PM EST (Late), October 31st, 2014
  • Arrival Gate / Jetway: Gate / Jetway C27, Terminal C, IAD
  • Time Aloft: 2 hours 18 minutes (138 minutes)
  • Filed Speed: 480 KIAS
  • Filed Cruising Altitude: 39,000 feet
  • Flight Distance: Direct: 1,190 SM | Planned: 1,331 SM | Flown: 1,296 SM
  • Routing Waypoint (s) : IAH MMUGS1 GUSTI O22 CATLN J37 SPA J14 CREWE J51 FAK BARN1 IAD


FLIGHT DATA SOURCE (S):

1. PlaneSpotters.Net Airframe Data

2. PlaneSpotters.Net Airline Data

3. FlightAware Live Flight Tracking Data

4. First Class | International First Class | United Airlines

5. North American Premium Cabin Inflight Dining | United Airlines


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Photo © Allen Zhao
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Photo © Allen Zhao


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Photo © Tamas Kolos-Lakatos
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Photo © Scott Arfin



As N226UA with United Airlines in "Battle Ship Grey Tulip Livery" as of March 21st, 1994:


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Photo © Wongwei
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Photo © Weimeng


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Photo © Jing-Kai Chiou
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Photo © Justin Cederholm
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Photo © Wu Weiqiang

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FlightAware for this flight. Copyright FlightAware © 2014

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The first image is a random 777, taken from my spot in the Terminal E United Club. Unfortunately, due to time constraints (see below), I was unable to capture a better image of my actual 777, N226UA, so I hope the first image suffices.

Even though I had wolfed down several ounces of munchies in the United Club, my stomach desired real food (read: a nutritious meal), so I headed to a no-name Italian place nearest my gate, but they said that pizza or ravioli to go would take thirty minutes. I was about to stand in line, but couldn't wait any longer and just headed to my gate anyway. That turned out to be my daytrip-saver, as they were holding the gate longer just to see if I would show up. To my great surprise, I was the last passenger aboard, and almost walked past the eight-suite GlobalFirst Cabin on my way past BusinessFirst. Notwithstanding, the flight attendants (who were young, energetic, and very senior as well) upfront acted like it was no big deal, and greeted me by last name. They offered to show me how my suite worked, but I declined, stating I would rather explore the seat on my own.

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Boarding N226UA, a legacy United Airlines 777-200 that was 12 ¾ years old by the time I caught it.

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For comparison, I've decided to add in GlobalFirst Suites / Flagship First Class Suites image comparisons from: AA Flagship Suites First Class 777-200 MIALAXMIA (by LPDAL Sep 25 2014 in Trip Reports)

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Rear view comparisons of GlobalFirst Suites and Flagship First.

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Seat controls UA First vs. AA First. Note that on AA, the seat controls are spread throughout the suite--now that I've been in GlobalFirst on both the 772 and 763, I definitely appreciate having all the seat controls located in one central "hub" (what a bad pun :P) rather than the seat controls on the armrest, the lights on the desk, etc.

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PTV--full AA/UA Comparison below.

United GlobalFirst is UA's international first class product featured on all three-class 767-300, 777-200, and 747-400 aircraft. The 767-300 has six first class suites (only two in the center due to lack of space for a second column of suites), the 777-200 (what you're viewing above) has eight suites, and the Grand Poobah 747-400 (which, unfortunately like most Grand Poobahs, will be retired and replaced in position in the not too distant future) has twelve of the spacious seats spread out in the nose on the lower deck.

United GlobalFirst is unfortunately rapidly disappearing on certain aircraft, replaced by the awful B/E diamond PMCO "BusinessFirst" business class product, most evidently on the PMUA 767-300 fleet where even Hemispheres makes a note of the "767-300 Refurbishment Product":

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Airliners.Net Photograph Copyright Ⓒ Airliners.Net and Associated Photographer Ben Wang, Modhop.com Screenshot Copyright Ⓒ Modhop.com and associated owner Jake Redman.
Here you can see this very subpar JC hard product, used not only by UA on their 777-200, 757-200, 767-300, and 767-400 A/Cs but also by Delta Air Lines on their transcontinental and interport 757-200s, and finally AA on their new transcon-configured 321Ts. Not only does the foot rest not reach the ottoman, but the seat is narrow, hard, and you have to turn into a full-fledged circus ringmaster to vacate your seat should your seatmate decide to snooze a bit in full-flat mode...Guess I'll have to enjoy GF while it lasts...

Anyway, back to GlobalFirst. According to several FlyerTalkers in the UAMP forum, this cabin has very little difference in terms of catering even on international legs compared to business class--you'll be lucky if you get a different salad and soup choice than J. This isn't very much different than the case at AA, however, where J/F catering is identical on MIA-LAX (save for some hair-splitting service anomalies). With that, the winners and losers of the USA-based International First Class duel:

1. Dining - Winner AA, but only because of the nature of the routing. MIA-LAX is roughly twice the distance than IAH-IAD at 2,342 miles versus 1,190 miles, so it makes sense that the palate on this flight would not be as sophisticated as the all-out three course meal served on my previous Flagship First suites trip back in late September 2014.

2. IFE - Winner UA, due to the presence of Channel 9. I don't use the IFE very much save for features such as moving maps, airshows, and Channel 9, so movie, television, and music choices are of no use to me most of the time. Nonetheless, both suites seemed to be loaded with an appropriately sized library of each type of media.

3. Seat Comfort - Winner UA, this was certainly a tough one. Both GlobalFirst and Flagship First feature thickly padded, quickly-warming cushions on the seat itself for both relaxing and working, but UA barely won because their seat is 100% cloth upholstered, while most of the crown of the AA chair is leather, including the headrest. This might not seem like a huge thing for some, but for me it is everything--leather may be easier to clean for airlines, but cloth will always be softer than tanned cowhide (or artificial tanned cowhide, which is worse).

4. Flight Crew - DRAW, both flight crews were equally satisfying on each airline. On AA, I had four middle-aged highly senior flight attendants commuting to their LAX-PVG flight, while on UA I had a more 25-35-age-range flight crew. Despite their younger age, they held up the age-old quality of good service to an equivalent level of the million-miler flight attendants down in MIA. Both flight crews served fresh food with a smile, offered plenty of drink refills, and made every effort to make our flight as enjoyable as possible.

5. Bedding - Winner UA, they provided an extra pillow besides the regular full sized one and quilted duvet. Strangely, the UA and AA duvets appear to be exactly the same, with only minor differences in threading color schemes.

Tony was the chief purser on this flight, a 31-year-old already-veteran having been with United pre-merger for about six years, but only recently promoted to the 777 (and clearly excited for that). Before the main boarding door ever closes, I receive 6 plastic cups of Coca-Cola Classic served up with a smile. Notice how I said "ever"....

...That wasn't unintentional. Twenty minutes past our scheduled departure time in the early afternoon, there was an announcement from the cockpit. "Ladies and gentleman, this is your captain, Annie. We've just noticed that on the maintenance logs that one of our company mechanics did not sign off for a certain component replacement, so we're going to be delayed for a short while as we track down the mechanic that signed off on the maintenance sheet, but we'll try to get you guys out as soon as possible"

And so we waited. And waited....And my hunger level rose so much that I felt like I was going to throw up! Seriously? Is it that hard to sign a piece of paper when you're done fixing an aircraft? Finally near 50 minutes past our scheduled departure time we pushed back and were off.


A very nice PDB of Coca Cola but where is the food???

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Here's one advantage AA has over UA--these non-ear-covering "noise canceling" three prong oddities are the same headphones you'll be receiving even on international flights in this cabin.

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Storage space in the suite. Notice how I'm the only person under 40 in this cabin..well at the very least I have some nice business attire on...

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Safety is Global - United Airlines's New Inflight Safety Video and again with that pesky B/E Diamond! >:[

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Pushback, with a surprisingly good view of the wing and engine intake despite my seat assignment in row two.

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Bye bye IAH!

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Houston, we have liftoff!

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Cruising above midtown Midwest.  

The meal service couldn't come quick enough on this flight. I folded out my airsick bag in case I couldn't make it to the forward lavatory, while clenching it in my left hand. Luckily Tony quickly comes around with ramekins of warm mixed nuts, and even though I don't particularly have any sort of like for nuts as they dry out my mouth, I wolfed them down in about 2 seconds just before I felt like getting sick, saving myself from a perpetual feeling of embarrassment. The meal service was actually above and beyond what I'd expect of a 2:30 midwest hop like this, with warm nuts, bread choice from a basket (warmed as well), and finally a choice between two soups. Thumbs up, UA.

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Warm nuts, ginger ale, and water to soothe my upset stomach (luckily they worked their magic before I upchucked or needed to make a mad dash to the lavatory)

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Lunch service on this flight from IAH to IAD, Roast Beef Salad with your choice of warmed bread and soup, I chose a fresh baguette and the soy bisque. The salad was delicious (I love roast beef!), the bread was warm, chewy, and fluffy as well, but the soap was the Pièce de résistance here with the broth's rich flavor and chunky content texture. I asked for seconds but they didn't have anything more...

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Getting ready for at least a tiny bit of sleep.

I ended up completely passing out for the hour or so that remained of the flight, only awakening to Tony's insistence of raising my suite in preparation for landing. DCA may have excellent view of the National Mall and it's associated monuments, but I prefer the lush, forested mountain scape surrounding Chantilly and IAD. I might have missed a portion of the approach in my slumber, but it appeared that we were given a relatively straight-in approach to one of the four stretches of runway at IAD, giving us ample time to taxi quickly in an attempt to still maintain an on time arrival statistic. We ended up arriving late anyhow, but the relatively fast taxi speed was humorous to say the least.

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Suburbs and shopping centers enclosing the area around IAD and Chantilly, VA.

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Most amusingly, the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center | Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum appears to have a racetrack adjacent to the main hangar--are they in any way related? I still have not had any chance of visiting this place due to UA cutting IAD-FLL-IAD...Now we hardly see UA 757s at FLL, if at all.

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Almost there on short final, passing the threshold for Runway 30 (magnetic heading 304?) at IAD just before...

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...Touchdown, right next to IAD's distinct international thoroughfare.


Pulling into our gate next to some fellow Boeing and United family members.

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My last look at N226UA. Thanks for a great ride, save only for a lackluster mechanic not doing his job right...
TWU represented. All of my views and posted content are mine alone, and should not be viewed as official communication from my employer, its subsidiaries thereof, or any other entities or airlines.
 
lpdal
Topic Author
Posts: 1966
Joined: Sat Mar 24, 2012 9:49 pm

RE: United GlobalFirst Suites FLL✈MCO✈IAH✈IAD✈EWR✈FLL

Fri Nov 28, 2014 2:24 am

KIAD (Washington Dulles International Airport) ✈ KEWR (Newark Liberty International Airport)
  • Airline: Champlain Enterprises D/B/A Commutair D/B/A United Express
  • Airline IATA Code: IATA Code # C5
  • Airline IACO Code: IACO Code # UCA
  • Airline Callsign: Commutair
  • Airline Flight Number: # C5 / UA 3586
  • Aircraft / Equipment Used for Flight : De Havilland Canada DHC-8-314Q Dash 8
  • Aircraft / Equipment Registration: Registration # N838CA
  • Airline Aircraft / Equipment Fleet Number: # 356
  • Aircraft / Equipment Nationality: United States of America - FAA - Registered aircraft / equipment
  • Aircraft's First Flight: June 16th, 1998
  • Aircraft's Age as of Date of Flight: 16.5 Years Old as of October 31st, 2014
  • Aircraft Test Registration: C-FDHW (Canada)
  • Aircraft Config: Y50
  • Aircraft Construction Number (MSN) : 527
  • Aircraft Line Number: # 527
  • Aircraft Delivery Date: April 20th, 2011
  • Aircraft Powerplant (s) : 2x PWC PW123A
  • Aircraft Owned by / Leased from: OWNED by Champlain Enterprises D/B/A Commutair
  • Meal: None
  • Cabin: Economy Plus / Preferred Seating (All-economy, single class layout)
  • Seat Assignment: 3A, Economy Plus / Preferred Seating
  • A/C Equipped with IFE: No
  • A/C Equipped with Wi-Fi Wireless Internet Access: No
  • Airline Flight Date: October 31st, 2014
  • Boarding Call Time: 4:26 PM EST, October 28th, 2014
  • Boarding Zone: 2, Premier Access
  • Departure Time: 4:51 PM EST, October 28th, 2014
  • Departure Gate / Jetway: Gate / Jetway D20, Concourse D, IAD
  • Arrival Time: 6:16 PM EST, October 31st, 2014
  • Arrival Gate / Jetway: Gate / Jetway C87, Concourse C, EWR
  • Time Aloft: 0 hours 55 Minutes (55 Minutes)
  • Filed Speed: 266 KIAS
  • Filed Cruising Altitude: 11,000 feet
  • Flight Distance: Direct: 212 SM | Planned: 262 SM | Flown: 369 SM
  • Routing Waypoint (s) : IAD WOOLY V214 SWANN RUUTH1 EWR


FLIGHT DATA SOURCE (S):

1. PlaneSpotters.Net Airframe Data

2. PlaneSpotters.Net Airline Data

3. FlightAware Live Flight Tracking Data

4. Extra Legroom Seating | Economy Plus | United Airlines


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As OE-LTM with Austrian Airlines D/B/A Austrian Arrows as of September 16th, 2003:


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As OE-LTM with Tyrolean Airways as of December 19th, 1998:


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https://farm4.staticflickr.com/3955/15072547064_a1bd9d22ee_c.jpg
FlightAware for this flight. Copyright FlightAware © 2014

Once inside Dulles, one of my most favorite airports, I was rather depressed to see that due to our delay I wouldn't have longer than a 10-minute layover, a bummer because I was really planning to clean out the Smithsonian Family Shop's aviation section (I finally brought a humongous backpack and I couldn't use it!) with my debit card to expand my SkyMark snap-together collection as well as my airline memorabilia stash. Unfortunately, that would have to wait for another day due to some dude not doing his job proficiently (hkshdhkshsakksfahdhkshk!!!!!!), and I walked directly to my Commutair (IATA Code: C5, ICAO Code: UCA) d/b/a United Express Dash-8-Q300 flight up to Newark.

Commutair has a similar story to all the other regional DBA carriers that it is competing with for mainline airline contracts. Basically, C5 was started in 1989 in Plattsburgh, New York, as a marketing affiliate for US Airways. In 2000, C5 ditched US in favor of CO, later establishing a small hub in ALB (Albany, New York) with their fleet of Beechcraft 1900 "D" series aircraft (does this history sound similar to an airline in the first leg of this report??) that lasted until late 2004. In January 2003, C5 started a second hub in CLE (Cleveland, Ohio) under the Continental Connection banner, later leasing sixteen Bombardier Dash-8-Q200 turboprops from Horizon Air (Alaska Airlines regional carrier) to replace the aging Beech fleet. When Plattsburgh International Airport (IATA: PBG, ICAO: KPBG) closed temporarily as of October 30th, 2007, all PBG operations were shuttled to CLE and the hub in upstate NY was shuttered. Nearly a year later, due to the Great Recession, C5 began flights from EWR in response to Continental Airlines' comments about the worsening economic conditions of the airline industry at the time. During the same timeframe, CO announced that more than three thousand jobs as well as hundreds of flights would be slashed and dashed, including some of Commutairs' routings out of both its small hubs of EWR and CLE.

On May 2nd, 2010, the merger between Continental Airlines and United Airlines was formally announced, via a stock swap that was agreed on by both corporations' boards of directors. With the merger, C5 abandoned "Continental Connection" and was renamed "United Express operated by Commutair". On February 1st, 2014, after widespread media leaks, new United CEO Jeff Smisek announced that their Cleveland, Ohio hub would be closed down in it's entirety, yet remaining as a "focus city" to key destinations.

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Quoting Son of the South:
As Lincoln walked the streets of Richmond that day, burned to the ground by the rebels a few days before his arrival, a small boy clutched his hand, and walked by his side. The small boy was Tad Lincoln, the President's own son, whom the President had taken with him to the fallen rebel city. This day, April 4, 1865 was Tad's 12th Birthday. This day was one of Mr. Lincoln's last. He fell victim to the Assassin John Wilkes Booth a short 10 days after this walk.

As Mr. Lincoln and his son walked the streets of Richmond, one group of newly freed slaves cried out, "Glory Hallelujah!", and fell to their knees before Mr. Lincoln. It was here the President paused, and motioned for them to rise. "Don't kneel to me," he told them, "You must kneel only to God, and thank him for your freedom. Liberty is your birthright. God gave it to you as he gave it to others, and it is a sin that you have been deprived of it for so many years."

I don't know why those paragraphs describing President Lincoln's visit to a charred Richmond, Virginia during the end of the Civil War describe my visit to Cleveland, but they just do. At the time, I had been looking for a way to combine both AirTran and Delta 717s in the same daytrip, as well as catching a new city and state, leading to this report: AirTran Business Class Delta F FLL-ATL-CLE-ATL-FLL (by LPDAL Mar 10 2014 in Trip Reports) , and I managed to find an itinerary doing FLL-ATL in AirTran's "Business Class" and ATL-CLE-ATL-FLL on Delta Domestic First Class. On both my arriving and departing flight, both times a ramper ran aboard and grabbed the passenger address receiver while excitedly (or not so excitedly) reciting "There's so many airports you could go to, so on behalf of everyone that works here at Cleveland Hopkins, thanks for giving us your business" or something very similar to that effect. I didn't realize it on that daytrip on March 8th, 2014, but later I had a sudden clarity moment of understanding--the ramper was thanking us due to the massive cuts at CLE. How worrying it must be to know that any day your job will be lost! Just a small note, I hold no bias towards PMCO or PMUA. I just don't like these harsh actions of consolidation. But to explain my reference, I walked the hallways of the later "dead" Concourse D at CLE right before it was cordoned off to the public, hence my allusion to Pres. Lincoln's visit to Richmond near the end of the Civil War. Commutair operated most (all?) of the Dash-8-Q200 and Dash-8-Q300 aircraft seen in my historic photographs above, and as expected, a lot of their flights were removed. "Removed", as to say they were placed elsewhere in the UA network, such as IAD and EWR. Finally, the C5 pilot base in CLE was closed in July 2015.

Today, Commutair maintains a fleet of twenty-one Dash-8-Q200 and Dash-8-Q300 aircraft in total, with hubs in IAD as well as EWR, serving 30 scheduled destinations. The company is headquartered near BUR in South Burlington, Vermont, employing 500+ people in its entirety.

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Back in IAD, leaving memory lane behind, waiting for my flight up to EWR to board.

I was surprised to see "Group 2" on my United boarding pass, but yet it was stilled stamped with "Premier Access", so I still was able to board with "Group 1". Confusingly, even though there are no premium seats on these tiny DHCs, there is still a group 1 (and the pre-group 1 crowd--Uniformed Military Personnel and Global Services Members) for these flights. When booking a United itinerary with no premium seating, UA will place you in full-fare Y on that leg, leading to substantially increased pricing. While I don't mind this, it should be noted that despite my Premier Silver Status, I cannot reserve "Y+ seating on a Dash-8" until I was at the airport unless I accepted a time-of-online-booking surcharge of $50 USD. I don't mind this at all, but I'd imagine some irate people would. To be completely honest, despite being both Premier Silver / Star Alliance Silver and US Airways Preferred Silver / Oneworld Ruby, I have no idea what benefits either status entitles me to, and their existence is wholly incidental to the amount I've flown this year (the fact that I fly on a variety of carriers pushed my PQM and PQD over both carrier's threshold, I think).

I stepped out into the Jack Frostiness air and headed down onto the ramp, just like I did at 6:00 AM this morning on the Silver Saab. Overhead space inside the cabin was limited, and a whopping four baggage trailers were filled with carryons and rollaboard suitcases. Well, there's one benefit of being a low-end status tier, I suppose! Luckily, despite the small size of the seats, the legroom in the "Premier" row I had assigned myself to was actually worlds better than expected, however, the seat's width was not. Several times throughout this leg, I apologized to my seatmate for bumping knees. His legs were too large to lower the inch-or-two wide armrest, so I had to put up with being in somewhat of a claustrophobic knee-duel for most of the flight.

The single 20-something beginning-in-this-industry flight attendant actually provides quite lovely service on this flight, reminding us that while there was no regular drink service affixed to this segment's schedule, that she'd be happy to get us a glass of water or soda if we'd like. Then she went on to making a physical safety briefing actually enjoyable as we pushed back and taxied out to one of the runways--forgot which one--but she had a great sense of humor: "Due to the very large size of this aircraft, I must point out all the Emergency exits to everyone in case anyone gets lost." all said with giggles and smiles from her. Again, don't be so quick to be ageist. Some of these younger crew members really know their trade well!

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Boarding my Q300 via the ramp, always a fun exercise. Note the sticker near the airstair boarding door: "Operated by Champlain Enterprises D/B/A Commutair" What??? So it's Champlain Enterprises D/B/A Commutair D/B/A United Express? You're confusing me!  https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7550/15667648486_7b61af761e_c.jpg
Okay legroom in here except for the rather massive-kneed fellow to my right...


Interesting sling-like device they have there to prevent the propeller from firing or at least inhibit its effort to spin when it's not supposed to.

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Cabin before Group 2 boarded, the sole flight attendant handing paperwork from the ramp agents to the flight deck.

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Takeoff, past a seldom seen Chataqua D/B/A Delta Connection ERJ-145.

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A flood of United Aircraft and international widebody (plus narrowbody   ) A/Cs on display and rumbling about. Wait...is that a four-engined MD-88 down below?!?!?!??!

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No, it's my first ever Ilyushin!    What type is this? Reg? What was it doing in IAD on October 31st, 2014?


Cruising slightly above the cloud layer.

IAD-EWR is only a 35-55 minute hop (depending on a variety of factors) over parts of Delaware, Maryland, and the destination state+city of Newark, New Jersey, so naturally no service was performed. Nobody was thirsty, either, because no one took the flight attendant up on her pre-takeoff offer of complimentary soda or water. We remained at the same altitude for relatively much of the short northeastern puddlejump, only diverging slightly from our straight northeastern heading right before EWR. I was on the wrong side of the aircraft to get a good view of New York City, but I'd be flying FLL-EWR-ORD-DFW-MIA the next week on November 8th, 2014, the day after my 19th birthday (also in GlobalFirst Suites but this time on a 767-300 and with an AA Super 80 and 738 in First Class and a three-hour ex-airport visit into the heart of Times Square, trip report coming soon) After we touched down sort of with a heavy clunk, our gate was still occupied, so we taxied to a remote area and waited while our gate cleared. Despite the late landing, we still arrived on time according to FlightAware.


Long final into EWR, with a great view of the beanpole landing gear bogie.

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Unfortunately, my phone threw a monkey wrench into its own processor and my camera app crashed, meaning I couldn't get any more landing photos. Here we are turning off the runway after arriving in EWR.

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Welcome to Newark, New Jersey!  https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7514/15668442976_a8e8e5fa36_c.jpg
Bye, N838CA.   I'm always sad to leave a new airline behind, it's always bittersweet to know how fast time passes when you're enjoying yourself.
TWU represented. All of my views and posted content are mine alone, and should not be viewed as official communication from my employer, its subsidiaries thereof, or any other entities or airlines.
 
lpdal
Topic Author
Posts: 1966
Joined: Sat Mar 24, 2012 9:49 pm

RE: United GlobalFirst Suites FLL✈MCO✈IAH✈IAD✈EWR✈FLL

Fri Nov 28, 2014 2:24 am

KEWR (Newark Liberty International Airport) ✈ KFLL (Fort Lauderdale - Hollywood International Airport)
  • Airline: United Airlines
  • Airline IATA Code: IATA Code # UA
  • Airline IACO Code: IACO Code # UAL
  • Airline Callsign: Radio Callsign UNITED
  • Airline Flight Number: UA 1682
  • Aircraft / Equipment Used for Flight : Boeing 737-824(WL)
  • Aircraft / Equipment Registration: Registration # N14230
  • Airline Aircraft / Equipment Fleet Number: # 0230
  • Aircraft / Equipment Nationality: United States of America - FAA - Registered aircraft / equipment
  • Aircraft's First Flight: May 28th, 1999
  • Aircraft's Age as of Date of Flight: 15.5 Years Old as of October 31st, 2014
  • Aircraft Test Registration: N1787B (United States of America)
  • Aircraft Config: F16W48Y90
  • Aircraft Construction Number (MSN) : 28794
  • Aircraft Line Number: # 296
  • Aircraft Delivery Date: October 1st, 2010
  • Aircraft Powerplant (s) : 2x CFMI CFM56-7B26
  • Aircraft Owned by / Leased from: OWNED by United Airlines
  • Meal: Beverage / Refreshments Service
  • Cabin: United Airlines First Class
  • Seat Assignment: 4A
  • A/C Equipped with IFE: Yes, PTVs available in all cabins.
  • A/C Equipped with Wi-Fi Wireless Internet Access: Yes, GoGo Inflight Wi-Fi for purchase
  • Airline Flight Date: October 31st, 2014
  • Boarding Call Time: 8:35 PM EST, October 31st, 2014
  • Boarding Zone: 1, Premier Access
  • Departure Time: 9:10 PM, October 31st, 2014
  • Departure Gate / Jetway: Gate / Jetway C112, Concourse C, EWR
  • Arrival Time: 12:01 AM EST, November 1st, 2014
  • Arrival Gate / Jetway: Gate / Jetway C4, Concourse C, Terminal 1, FLL
  • Time Aloft: 2 hours 31 minutes (151 minutes)
  • Filed Speed: 460 KIAS
  • Filed Cruising Altitude: 38,000 feet
  • Flight Distance: Direct: 1,068 SM | Planned: 1,165 SM | Flown: 1,099 SM
  • Routing Waypoint (s) : EWR ELVAE COL WHITE J209 SBY KEMPR ILM AR21 CRANS FISEL6 FLL


FLIGHT DATA SOURCE (S):

1. PlaneSpotters.Net Airframe Data

2. PlaneSpotters.Net Airline Data

3. FlightAware Live Flight Tracking Data

4. First Class | International First Class | United Airlines

5. North American Premium Cabin Inflight Dining | United Airlines


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Photo © Joshua McGoun
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Photo © Jason Whitebird



As N14230 with Continental Airlines as of June 16th, 1999:


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Photo © Andrew Compolo
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Photo © Kazim Alikhan - t.dot photography


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Photo © Diego Alonso Romero Alvarado - SJO Spotter
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Photo © Stephan Karl


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Photo © Orlando G. Rivera Rivera - Worldwide Aviation Images
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Photo © Chris Coduto


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Photo © Sharkey
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Photo © Sharkey

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FlightAware for this flight. Copyright FlightAware © 2014

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Unfortunately, my phone had another issue and lost some photos I took in EWR. I basically just went to the United Club, had some water and took a shower before heading to my redeye back to FLL.

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I was asked to switch to 4A by a supposedly honeymooning couple, to which I sleepily obliged.

Very much unfortunately due to my sleepiness, the emptiness of both the P500 and D5200s battery, and phone complications, I was unable to get very many pictures of this leg, but according to FlightAware we made a relatively straight track down the Eastern Seaboard before finally swinging hard to the right for a straight in landing on FLL's 27R and taxiing into Gate C4. My dad met me near the security checkpoint exit in T1, Concourse C's midlevel, and I ended up sleeping until 3 PM the next day.  
TWU represented. All of my views and posted content are mine alone, and should not be viewed as official communication from my employer, its subsidiaries thereof, or any other entities or airlines.
 
lpdal
Topic Author
Posts: 1966
Joined: Sat Mar 24, 2012 9:49 pm

RE: United GlobalFirst Suites FLL✈MCO✈IAH✈IAD✈EWR✈FLL

Fri Nov 28, 2014 2:25 am

Ticketed Reports, Trips not taken yet (as of this writing on November 25th, 2014) :

27. AirTran Business Class, Boeing 717-200, Very last AirTran flights from and to FLL on December 28th, 2014, FLLATLFLL

26. US Airways First Class, A319-100, Tampa / Safety Harbor, Florida, Christmas with the relatives, MIATPAMIA

25. Delta First Class / BusinessElite, Boeing 747-400 retirement journey FLLATLMSPATLFLL

FINISHED TRIPS, REPORTS PENDING:

24. US Airways First Class, American Airlines First Class 737-800+A319-100 + Tampa / Safety Harbor, Florida + Cousin's Christening MIATPAMIA

23. American Eagle First Class, Republic E175s + Ritz Carlton Amelia Island MIAJAXMIA

22. United GlobalFirst Suites 738+763 + Marriott Times Square + Times Square Shopping + Return On American Airlines First Class Super 80 + 738 FLLEWRORDDFWMIA

21. Delta First Class Mile + MD-88/MD-90/A320 + Cincinnati Airport DoubleTree PBIATLCVGATLMEMATLMIA

All finished trip picture can be viewed here on my Flickr: LPDAL's Photostream on Flickr - Photo Sharing

---
Previous Reports   :
---
20. United GlobalFirst Suites FLL✈MCO✈IAH✈IAD✈EWRFLL (by LPDAL Nov 27 2014 in Trip Reports)
---
19. Delta First Class+BusinesElite FLLATL✈SRQ✈ATLFLL (by LPDAL Oct 25 2014 in Trip Reports)
---
18. AA Flagship Suites First Class 777-200 MIA✈LAX✈MIA (by LPDAL Sep 25 2014 in Trip Reports)
---
17. Silver Airways Saab 340B+, United Club FLL-MCO-FLL (by LPDAL Aug 31 2014 in Trip Reports)
---
16. United First Class, Piper P-31 FLL-IAH-VCT-IAH-FLL (by LPDAL Jun 26 2014 in Trip Reports)
---
15. American Airlines Flagship Business Class MCO-MIA (by LPDAL May 20 2014 in Trip Reports)
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14. US Airways Envoy Suites First Class FLL-PHL-MCO (by LPDAL May 20 2014 in Trip Reports)
---
13. United First Class, 757-200s Of UA FLL-ORD-IAD-FLL (by LPDAL May 5 2014 in Trip Reports)
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12. 1989 Idaho Bush Adventure, Cessna 206 SFO-SLC-C48 (by LPDAL Apr 6 2014 in Trip Reports)
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11. Atlantis On JetBlue+BahamasAir 737-500 FLL-NAS-FLL (by LPDAL Mar 23 2014 in Trip Reports)
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10. AirTran Business Class Delta F FLL-ATL-CLE-ATL-FLL (by LPDAL Mar 10 2014 in Trip Reports)
---
9. Spirit Airlines New First Class FLL-MCO-FLL (Pics) (by LPDAL Feb 17 2014 in Trip Reports)
---
8. Banyan Air [email protected]+Bombardier Global Express 5000 (by LPDAL Feb 20 2014 in Trip Reports)
---
7. Spirit Airlines New First Class FLL-MCO-FLL (Pics) (by LPDAL Feb 17 2014 in Trip Reports)
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6. Fahf 2: Southwest Business Class R/T FLL-TPA-FLL (by LPDAL Feb 10 2014 in Trip Reports)
---
5. 7 Hours On A Silver Saab 340B+! FLL-EYW-TPA-FLL (by LPDAL Jan 27 2014 in Trip Reports)
---
4. Goodyear Blimp/Airship/Dirigible Ride PMP-PMP(Pics (by LPDAL Oct 15 2013 in Trip Reports)
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3. DL EconomyComfort-Better Than Economy? FLL-JFK-FLL (by LPDAL Oct 20 2012 in Trip Reports)
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2. Delta First/BusinessElite FLL-ATL-BOS-AMS (Long) (by LPDAL Jul 31 2012 in Trip Reports)
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1. Delta F Class FLL-LGA/JFK-FLL (by LPDAL May 20 2012 in Trip Reports)
---

---
Thanks for all responses! 

-LPDAL
---

[Edited 2014-11-27 18:53:31]
TWU represented. All of my views and posted content are mine alone, and should not be viewed as official communication from my employer, its subsidiaries thereof, or any other entities or airlines.
 
User avatar
Schweigend
Posts: 532
Joined: Sun Jun 06, 2010 8:47 am

RE: United GlobalFirst Suites FLL✈MCO✈IAH✈IAD✈EWR✈FLL

Fri Nov 28, 2014 4:12 am

Thanks, LPDAL, for your efforts in creating this very comprehensive report, notwithstanding the phone crapping out near the end.

It is nice to see a report of a UA 777 on a domestic routing, and the UA v. AA seat comparison was a nice bonus!

Great job!

Quoting LPDAL (Thread starter):
Detail shots of the wing camber and fence. I've always wondered what those little "hairs" do, does it have something to do with airspeed? I've seen them snapped off before, are they fragile?

Those are static wicks, and they are designed to discharge the static electricity that builds up as the plane flies through the air. They are made of a hard plastic and have a thin wire inside connected to the airframe. When they break or snap, they are easy to replace. To me, they resemble fancy cocktail stirrers!

Quoting LPDAL (Thread starter):
What's with all of the deactivated tube-tellies?


A legacy of the "Art Guys", who IIRC are also responsible for the colored appliqués visible on the glass of Terminal E's upper level (the sterile INS corridors), and the wacky color "fountains" on JFK Blvd. These CRTs once displayed weird psychedelic fluctuating color patterns. I haven't seen them in use for a couple of years. Probably for the best, as the show could have made an epileptic person go into fits!  
Quoting LPDAL (Thread starter):
On a related note, Chelsea Food Services is the next most controversial catering company next to Gate Gourmet and LSG Sky

Controversial how? Their catering for UA is strictly to that company's specs, but they do also handle (at IAH) BA, AF, KL, SQ, etc., for whom the food they provide is top-notch.


Again, thanks for the report, keep it up!

Scottie

[Edited 2014-11-27 20:24:43]
 
chrisair
Posts: 2171
Joined: Fri Sep 01, 2000 11:32 pm

RE: United GlobalFirst Suites FLL✈MCO✈IAH✈IAD✈EWR✈FLL

Fri Nov 28, 2014 9:48 am

Quoting LPDAL (Thread starter):
The week before my birthday and the week after my birthday were ripe with opportunities to catch new types, new premium hard products, and plenty of turboprop action. Searching up on the UA website, FLL-IAD listed a bunch of interesting itineraries, not the least of which included a 3M (Silver Airways) Saab 340B+, a GlobalFirst Suites (UA's International F product) 772, and a Dash-8-Q300 near the conclusion of the day. Booked! No doubt about it.  

Ok, I can't resist asking, but how on earth can you afford all of these first class trips when you're still in high school? I traveled a fair bit back then but nothing like you do.

If your parents are paying, can they adopt me?  
 
debonair
Posts: 4001
Joined: Sat Jan 03, 2004 10:50 pm

RE: United GlobalFirst Suites FLL✈MCO✈IAH✈IAD✈EWR✈FLL

Fri Nov 28, 2014 10:38 am

As always, fantastic TR!

Quoting LPDAL (Reply 6):
Finally, the C5 pilot base in CLE was closed in July 2015.

Either you life in the future or I in the past... 
Quoting LPDAL (Reply 6):
No, it's my first ever Ilyushin!    What type is this? Reg? What was it doing in IAD on October 31st, 2014?

Republic of Gambia, VVIP IL62, C5-RTG, used for president Yahya Jammeh's (this guy knows how to travel in style!) USA visit...
 
767747
Posts: 2222
Joined: Wed Jan 26, 2005 10:08 am

RE: United GlobalFirst Suites FLL✈MCO✈IAH✈IAD✈EWR✈FLL

Fri Nov 28, 2014 2:12 pm

Good report, Colby.

Quoting LPDAL (Thread starter):
United GlobalFirst Suites, 777-200, FLL-MCO-IAH-IAD-EWR-FLL, Silver Airways, 3M, Saab 340BPlus, Commutair, C5, Bombardier Dash-8-Q300, Orlando International Airport, Orlando, Florida, George Bush Intercontinental Airport, Houston, Texas, Washington Dulles International Airport, Virginia, Newark Liberty International Airport, and Newark, New Jersey.


Wow, pretty full day of flying! I love flying as much as the next person, but would be pretty exhausted by this routing. />
Quoting LPDAL (Reply 1):
Strangely, some of the boarding passes show some incorrect fare classes--this daytrip, due to the GF segment, was all in A-class, except for FLLMCO and IADEWR whose aircraft (Saab 340 and Q300) did not have premium cabins--so the correct fare class order was YAAYA, but the Silver tickets showed ECFWC...My seat assignments were still the same, so I didn't care too much, but it was still fascinating to see the fare classes converted into 3M's SABRE Sonic system data values.

How do you know what fare classes you have purchased? I never see these on-line when I am purchasing tickets, and only sometimes see the letter indicated on the boarding pass.

Quoting LPDAL (Reply 6):
Boarding N226UA, a legacy United Airlines 777-200 that was 12 ¾ years old by the time I caught it.

Seat looks pretty comfy. I didn't realize it comes with a shoulder belt!

Thanks for sharing.

Matthew (767747)
I love to fly!
 
User avatar
einsteinboricua
Posts: 8624
Joined: Thu Apr 15, 2010 4:11 pm

RE: United GlobalFirst Suites FLL✈MCO✈IAH✈IAD✈EWR✈FLL

Fri Nov 28, 2014 4:47 pm

Great report.

Quoting LPDAL (Reply 5):
but the soap was the Pièce de résistance

Was it Lifebuoy? Palmolive? Dove? Lever 2000?   

Quoting 767747 (Reply 13):
How do you know what fare classes you have purchased? I never see these on-line when I am purchasing tickets, and only sometimes see the letter indicated on the boarding pass.

If you buy with the airline you'll always see the fare class. Maybe you've never noticed...?
"You haven't seen a tree until you've seen its shadow from the sky."
 
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KaiGywer
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RE: United GlobalFirst Suites FLL✈MCO✈IAH✈IAD✈EWR✈FLL

Fri Nov 28, 2014 7:52 pm

Quoting LPDAL (Reply 6):
Interesting sling-like device they have there to prevent the propeller from firing or at least inhibit its effort to spin when it's not supposed to.

Turboprops are free spinning when the engine is not running.The tether is simply to hold the prop somewhat still if it gets windy. Spinning props and heads = pain. If they were to start the engine with the tether installed, it would be no match to the power of the engine and would snap right off.
“Once you have tasted flight, you will forever walk the earth with your eyes turned skyward, for there you have been, an
 
lpdal
Topic Author
Posts: 1966
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RE: United GlobalFirst Suites FLL✈MCO✈IAH✈IAD✈EWR✈FLL

Fri Nov 28, 2014 10:24 pm

Hey Scott and thanks for your reply! 
Quoting Schweigend (Reply 9):
Thanks, LPDAL, for your efforts in creating this very comprehensive report, notwithstanding the phone crapping out near the end.

It's very fun for me to write reports in my precious spare time, so I definitely appreciate your kind words.

I usually comes home with the iPhone and both Nikons parched of battery juice! I really need to get a JuicePack case for my phone as it usually takes great pictures.

Quoting Schweigend (Reply 9):

It is nice to see a report of a UA 777 on a domestic routing, and the UA v. AA seat comparison was a nice bonus!

Glad to know somebody appreciated that, the notion just came off the top of my noggin while I was writing.  
Quoting Schweigend (Reply 9):
To me, they resemble fancy cocktail stirrers!

Or whiskers... 
Quoting Schweigend (Reply 9):
Controversial how?

Oh, I was being facetious and my comment was made to the extent that nearly every mid-to-large corporation or conglomerate has some sort of period of controversy in its history.

Good evening, ChrisAir

Quoting chrisair (Reply 10):

Ok, I can't resist asking, but how on earth can you afford all of these first class trips when you're still in high school? I traveled a fair bit back then but nothing like you do.

Part time job, flipping LEGO sets on Ebay, and the fact that I have no bills to pay. It's a common rumor on here that my parents pay for my tickets and trips, not sure where it started but I laugh every time I read it because it simply isn't true. All my trips are financed 100% by me and are all paid for in cash in full at the time of purchase, not going to ruin my perfect credit score with stupid loans, credit cards, or what have you. It's at 781 and climbing higher by the second   

Hey Debonair!!

Quoting debonair (Reply 12):
As always, fantastic TR!

Thanks, old pal!  
Quoting debonair (Reply 12):
Either you life in the future or I in the past...

I'm in the future.......  
Quoting debonair (Reply 12):

Republic of Gambia, VVIP IL62, C5-RTG, used for president Yahya Jammeh's (this guy knows how to travel in style!) USA visit...

Beautiful aircraft, and I'd like to see the track it took as well! Thanks for that information.

Greetings Matthew, and thanks for being a 2+ year commentator on my reports   

Quoting 767747 (Reply 13):
Good report, Colby.

Thanks a lot! 
Quoting 767747 (Reply 13):

Wow, pretty full day of flying! I love flying as much as the next person, but would be pretty exhausted by this routing. />

As of right now I've done three daytrips in which I've done 6 flights in one day and one daytrip with five flights in one day.  
Quoting 767747 (Reply 13):
How do you know what fare classes you have purchased? I never see these on-line when I am purchasing tickets, and only sometimes see the letter indicated on the boarding pass.

On United.com, it should be around the aircraft type.

Quoting 767747 (Reply 13):

Seat looks pretty comfy. I didn't realize it comes with a shoulder belt!

It was pretty restricting, and the flight attendants require you to wear it during taxi, takeoff, and landing.

Hey EinsteinBoricua, and thanks for your continued commentary on my reports!  
Quoting einsteinboricua (Reply 14):
Great report.

Much obliged.  
Quoting einsteinboricua (Reply 14):
Was it Lifebuoy? Palmolive? Dove? Lever 2000?

No, I managed receive the warm nuts in time so I didn't heave anything.  
Quoting einsteinboricua (Reply 14):
If you buy with the airline you'll always see the fare class. Maybe you've never noticed...?

To his credit, the text is sort of small...

Hey KaiGwyer, and thanks for your service to A.Net! 
Quoting KaiGywer (Reply 15):

Turboprops are free spinning when the engine is not running.The tether is simply to hold the prop somewhat still if it gets windy. Spinning props and heads = pain. If they were to start the engine with the tether installed, it would be no match to the power of the engine and would snap right off.

Thanks for the correction, I have another trip report coming up with prop ops, so I'll be sure to incorporate this information.

Thanks again, everyone1   

-LPDAL
TWU represented. All of my views and posted content are mine alone, and should not be viewed as official communication from my employer, its subsidiaries thereof, or any other entities or airlines.
 
Cubsrule
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RE: United GlobalFirst Suites FLL✈MCO✈IAH✈IAD✈EWR✈FLL

Sat Nov 29, 2014 3:47 am

Colby, this was a great report. I can fill in a few things for you (and, since I know you keep track of them, offer a few minor corrections).

Quoting LPDAL (Reply 1):
Fueling the airplane itself is a highly-modified Ford F-150XL, 8th generation (1992-1997) chassis re-purposed for filling up airplanes.

I think you're right that that's an Eighth Generation truck (though I always have difficulty telling with cutaways), but that generation actually ran between Model Year 1987 and Model Year 1991.

Quoting LPDAL (Reply 3):
That circular tower next to the Houston Intercontinental Marriott looks fun--a restaurant like that 1950s-space-age dome at LAX?

It's a bar and restaurant. It rotated at one point but, like most rotating restaurants of that vintage, doesn't rotate anymore. It's similar to the TPA Marriott if you've been in there. You might check it out if you have some time to kill at IAH, as it's open to the public and accessible by foot and the landside train from all terminals. The food isn't great and you pay the hotel food premium, however, and the spotting up there isn't as good as you might expect.

Quoting LPDAL (Reply 5):
Most amusingly, the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center | Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum appears to have a racetrack adjacent to the main hangar--are they in any way related?

No, the Fairfax County Police Department owns and operates it. It's primarily a training track for police officers.

And yes, you need to go to the Udvar-Hazy Center at some point. It's a bit of a pain to get to but well worth the trouble. I don't know that they have much that you can't see anywhere else, but the quantity of airplanes and the presentation are really cool.

Quoting LPDAL (Reply 6):
The company is headquartered near BUR in South Burlington, Vermont, employing 500+ people in its entirety.

I think you mean BTV. It's a touch warmer at BUR  
Quoting LPDAL (Reply 6):
What??? So it's Champlain Enterprises D/B/A Commutair D/B/A United Express? You're confusing me!

It's not that uncommon for companies to operate under a different name than their legal name, though it's probably less common with airlines. Air Choice One (a nifty little Caravan operator in the midwest that you might like given your penchant for small prop operations) is the only other airline that springs to mind that does not operate under its legal name.
I can't decide whether I miss the tulip or the bowling shoe more
 
flymia
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RE: United GlobalFirst Suites FLL✈MCO✈IAH✈IAD✈EWR✈FLL

Sat Nov 29, 2014 6:46 am

Nice report! A bit more scaled down with the info you are getting better. As always really good pictures.

Quoting LPDAL (Reply 16):
Part time job, flipping LEGO sets on Ebay, and the fact that I have no bills to pay. It's a common rumor on here that my parents pay for my tickets and trips, not sure where it started but I laugh every time I read it because it simply isn't true. All my trips are financed 100% by me and are all paid for in cash in full at the time of purchase, not going to ruin my perfect credit score with stupid loans, credit cards, or what have you. It's at 781 and climbing higher by the second

Assuming that's true, you have no reason to lie about it that is impressive. But you can understand why it is hard to believe that a part time job and Legos (which some can be very expensive I know) can allow you to afford this. Some of your trips are more than many people make in a month at a 50 hour a week professional job. Just don't worry about people you ask how and why anyway. We are hear for aviation, not financial info on other members lives.
"It was just four of us on the flight deck, trying to do our job" (Captain Al Haynes)
 
DiamondFlyer
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RE: United GlobalFirst Suites FLL✈MCO✈IAH✈IAD✈EWR✈FLL

Sat Nov 29, 2014 6:03 pm

Quoting KaiGywer (Reply 14):
Turboprops are free spinning when the engine is not running.The tether is simply to hold the prop somewhat still if it gets windy. Spinning props and heads = pain. If they were to start the engine with the tether installed, it would be no match to the power of the engine and would snap right off.

Both of these statements are partially true, partially false. A direct drive turboprop, like used on a J31, Metro, Dornier 228 or anything with a TPE331 engine (or something like it) will certainly not spin in the wind, because the prop is directly connected to the turbine (thru a gearbox) and the force to overcome the turbine is much higer. A PT6 or similarly designed engine will allow the prop to spin in the wind.

Secondly, I wouldn't be so sure they would snap off, more like be flung off. Additionally, one can hold the prop on a PT6 during startup, and prevent it from spinning, doing no damage. But let go and its off to spin up quickly.

-DiamondFlyer
From my cold, dead hands
 
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777Jet
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RE: United GlobalFirst Suites FLL✈MCO✈IAH✈IAD✈EWR✈FLL

Sun Nov 30, 2014 5:09 am

Another great trip report, mate!

The pics and details are outstanding.

Keep up the good work!  
DC10-10/30,MD82/88/90, 717,727,732/3/4/5/7/8/9ER,742/4,752/3,763/ER,772/E/L/3/W,788/9, 306,320,321,332/3,346,359,388
 
deltal1011man
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RE: United GlobalFirst Suites FLL✈MCO✈IAH✈IAD✈EWR✈FLL

Sun Nov 30, 2014 6:10 am

Quoting LPDAL (Thread starter):
Pulling up right next to a ContinetI mean United 757-300 that is already docked right next to our parking gate. The small tidbit of "Operated By: CALA014A" is supposed to signal to MX guys that this bird was formely with Continental--though I don't see where you could possibly get confused here as UA didn't have any 753s pre-merger, nor do any UA 752s have Rolls-Royce RB.211 High Bypass turbofans. Besides, weren't all the mechanics integrated by this point anyhow?

FWIW its an FAA regulation that the operating carrier be identified on the aircraft. (and the placard has be able to be seen from so many feet away (I think its like 25 or something like that). This is also why you see the operating carrier's name on the RJs for the network carriers.
Delta and United both started out with an "Operated by Northwest/Continental" placard then moved to just the AOC number. However, I believe that now United has a single operating certificate as well as a single pilot group so the placard is meaningless.

Its generally not for maintenance. Normally maintenance looks at the ship number or tail number to get any information needed.
 
Cubsrule
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RE: United GlobalFirst Suites FLL✈MCO✈IAH✈IAD✈EWR✈FLL

Sun Nov 30, 2014 1:51 pm

Quoting Cubsrule (Reply 16):
It's a bar and restaurant. It rotated at one point but, like most rotating restaurants of that vintage, doesn't rotate anymore. It's similar to the TPA Marriott if you've been in there. You might check it out if you have some time to kill at IAH, as it's open to the public and accessible by foot and the landside train from all terminals. The food isn't great and you pay the hotel food premium, however, and the spotting up there isn't as good as you might expect.

It looks like the post where you asked for more detail about the hotel got deleted, for whatever reason. Anyway, it's outside security. There is a tunnel the level below baggage claim that connects all 4/5 (depending on how you want to count) terminals. It has an antiquated automated train running behind a half wall along its perimeter. Access to the Marriott is from that tunnel between Terminal B and Terminal C. It's easy--if a bit time-consuming, as it's a long walk and the train is s-l-o-w--to get there from any of the terminals.
I can't decide whether I miss the tulip or the bowling shoe more
 
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drerx7
Posts: 4422
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RE: United GlobalFirst Suites FLL✈MCO✈IAH✈IAD✈EWR✈FLL

Sun Nov 30, 2014 11:17 pm

Quoting LPDAL (Reply 4):
SK (SAS) is flying SVG-IAH-SVG on 737-700s configured in an all-business-class layout operated by PT (PrivatAir).

Technically a BBJ

Quoting LPDAL (Reply 3):
What highway is this on our short final?

Highway 59 i.e. Interstate 69.

Great Report!
HOUSTON, TEXAS
 
lpdal
Topic Author
Posts: 1966
Joined: Sat Mar 24, 2012 9:49 pm

RE: United GlobalFirst Suites FLL✈MCO✈IAH✈IAD✈EWR✈FLL

Tue Dec 02, 2014 4:41 pm

Hey FlyMIA  
Quoting flymia (Reply 17):
Nice report! A bit more scaled down with the info you are getting better. As always really good pictures.

Thanks a ton! I'm always messing around with my phone, point and shoot, and DSLR to see if I can produce higher-quality pictures or interesting effects

Hi 777Jet,

Quoting 777Jet (Reply 19):
Another great trip report, mate!

The pics and details are outstanding.

Keep up the good work!

Detail is a hallmark of my reports.   I consider my reports to be uniquely characterized by their intricate detail and content. Not to mention, I've had several people tell me that the level of detail in my reports sets them apart from others, so I'll always have sophisticated writeups for everyone to enjoy! 

Greetings, DeltaL1011Man  ,

Quoting deltal1011man (Reply 20):

FWIW its an FAA regulation that the operating carrier be identified on the aircraft. (and the placard has be able to be seen from so many feet away (I think its like 25 or something like that). This is also why you see the operating carrier's name on the RJs for the network carriers.
Delta and United both started out with an "Operated by Northwest/Continental" placard then moved to just the AOC number. However, I believe that now United has a single operating certificate as well as a single pilot group so the placard is meaningless.

Its generally not for maintenance. Normally maintenance looks at the ship number or tail number to get any information needed.

Thanks for those corrections!  

Good morning Cubsrule, and thanks for commenting again.  
Quoting Cubsrule (Reply 21):

It looks like the post where you asked for more detail about the hotel got deleted, for whatever reason. Anyway, it's outside security. There is a tunnel the level below baggage claim that connects all 4/5 (depending on how you want to count) terminals. It has an antiquated automated train running behind a half wall along its perimeter. Access to the Marriott is from that tunnel between Terminal B and Terminal C. It's easy--if a bit time-consuming, as it's a long walk and the train is s-l-o-w--to get there from any of the terminals.

I just had a look at Houston Airport Hotels | IAH Hotel | Houston Airport Marriott, and it looks like a great little hotel. Not to mention I am surprised at the amount and variety of rooms they have available, including a two-story loft suite (that sounds heavenly right now, to be honest) that overlooks the apron. And yes, I agree that hotel food is often expensive and terrible, the worst of both worlds...

Regarding the TPA Airport Marriott, I've stayed there and it is amazing as well. Every room has an aviation theme, just like the CVG DoubleTree by Hilton when I visited Cicny.

Hi Drerx 7, and thanks for your reply!  
Quoting drerx7 (Reply 22):
Technically a BBJ

I was wondering about that. But the BBJ program, a 50% Boeing / 50% General Electric venture, is technically a highly modified variant of the 737-700.

Quoting drerx7 (Reply 22):

Highway 59 i.e. Interstate 69.

Great Report!

Ah, the same highway I followd on my short jaunt down to VCT (Victoria Regional Airport, Victoria, Texas) to visit my aforementioned now-ex. Thanks for the compliment! 

All the best and regards,

-LPDAL
TWU represented. All of my views and posted content are mine alone, and should not be viewed as official communication from my employer, its subsidiaries thereof, or any other entities or airlines.
 
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Tesla
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RE: United GlobalFirst Suites FLL✈MCO✈IAH✈IAD✈EWR✈FLL

Tue Dec 02, 2014 5:04 pm

Nice report. I always enjoy your reports.

Quoting LPDAL (Thread starter):
Confusingly, even though there are no premium seats on these tiny DHCs, there is still a group 1 (and the pre-group 1 crowd--Uniformed Military Personnel and Global Services Members) for these flights

Too bad you didn't get on one of the United Q400s with First Class seating. First Class on a prop plane! Would certainly be interesting to try that.

Quoting LPDAL (Reply 1):
A Silver tug and a Red Virgin.

I hope you get to try Virgin America First Class while they're still operating FLL to JFK this winter. They are the domestic airline which I most want to try. I am trying to arrange a trip in the opposite direction, JFK to FLL, to try their First Class.
 
PlaneHunter
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RE: United GlobalFirst Suites FLL✈MCO✈IAH✈IAD✈EWR✈FLL

Tue Dec 02, 2014 5:56 pm

Hi Colby,

nice detailed report once again! The F Class hardware looks fine, but catering is disappointing as usual. Any problems with taking pictures on UA?

Quoting LPDAL (Thread starter):
The captain and I strike up a friendly chat, and I suggest that possibly Silver could add the Saab 2000 (the Saab 340B's elongated big brother), to which he replies that most of the 3M pilots have heard a rumor floating around that they might acquire a handful of Bombardier Q400s...It's hearsay flight deck talk, but I would LOVE it if 3M got some Dashes!

I'd prefer ATRs over Q400s...simply more spacious and there's no annoying gear compartment in the way when looking outside.

Quoting LPDAL (Thread starter):
Downtown Orlando, the part that no tourists ever bother to visit.

I did so, even though it was just a short evening visit to a steak house.  




PH
Nothing's worse than flying the same reg twice!
 
lpdal
Topic Author
Posts: 1966
Joined: Sat Mar 24, 2012 9:49 pm

RE: United GlobalFirst Suites FLL✈MCO✈IAH✈IAD✈EWR✈FLL

Wed Dec 03, 2014 5:36 am

Good (12:18 AM) morning Tesla,

Quoting Tesla (Reply 24):
Nice report. I always enjoy your reports.

A common sentiment, thanks for the compliment!!  
Quoting Tesla (Reply 24):
Too bad you didn't get on one of the United Q400s with First Class seating. First Class on a prop plane! Would certainly be interesting to try that.

These first class turboprops fly to a number of destinations and states I haven't caught yet (BDL, PVD, and PWM are the first three I can think of off the top of my head). With all these daytrips, though, the number of states I have not visited is nearing "count on one hand" status.

Quoting Tesla (Reply 24):

I hope you get to try Virgin America First Class while they're still operating FLL to JFK this winter. They are the domestic airline which I most want to try. I am trying to arrange a trip in the opposite direction, JFK to FLL, to try their First Class.

Due to many requests, I've looked into this. However, due to the fact that there are no same-day routings, the times have regularly put me off (referring to FLL-SFO-FLL and FLL-LAX-FLL).

This is the same problem I'm having with Alaskan First Class, which is another product I'm dying to try from FLL (FLL-SEA-FLL). A daytrip is not possible because most AS flights at FLL leave in the evening and come back in the morning. So, I've considered FLL-SEA-ATL-FLL, keeping close watch to see if I could catch a Delta A330 on SEA-ATL (I already have two 333s in my log in J on BOS-AMS-BOS, but not the DL 332).

And so, we move onto the next carriers I'd like to fly on: Allegiant and Frontier. Allegiant flies to Asheville, North Carolina (AVL) from FLL, so I've always desired to try them. Regarding Frontier, their DEN service has been slashed, but new service has been added to Trenton and Cleveland. I think I'd rather go to DEN, a city I've only been to a few times, via PBI or MIA and return on United First Class on the seasonal DEN-FLL service.

Quoting PlaneHunter (Reply 25):
Hi Colby,

Hey Udo, and thanks for your nice comment.

Quoting PlaneHunter (Reply 25):

nice detailed report once again! The F Class hardware looks fine, but catering is disappointing as usual. Any problems with taking pictures on UA?

Not on this GlobalFirst routing, but on the GF F 763 EWR-ORD I did. I'll explain that in detail on my United First Class 738 + 763, Times Square, and American First Class Super 80+738 FLLEWRORDDFWMIA report.

Quoting PlaneHunter (Reply 25):
I'd prefer ATRs over Q400s...simply more spacious and there's no annoying gear compartment in the way when looking outside.

Can you even see the gear from the window seats near that section of the aircraft's belly? I remember flying on Atlantic Southeast Airlines (RIP.......) ATR-42s on ATL-AVL-ATL many times to go to Camp Rockmont, my old sleepaway camp (too old to go for a few years now). AVL has an amazing approach; nestled in a valley between mountain ranges:


View Large View Medium
Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © Willson Moss
View Large View Medium
Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © Willson Moss


Ah, those old ASA ATRs, rode on them many years up to Asheville...

Quoting PlaneHunter (Reply 25):
I did so, even though it was just a short evening visit to a steak house.

The Palm Steakhouse? One of my absolute favorites! Besides Morton's, Ruth Chris, Capital Grille, Trulucks, and PLAE (People Laughing and Eating in Amelia Island, Florida).

-LPDAL
TWU represented. All of my views and posted content are mine alone, and should not be viewed as official communication from my employer, its subsidiaries thereof, or any other entities or airlines.
 
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TR763
Posts: 782
Joined: Tue Mar 13, 2001 10:07 am

RE: United GlobalFirst Suites FLL✈MCO✈IAH✈IAD✈EWR✈FLL

Wed Dec 03, 2014 7:05 pm

Quoting LPDAL (Thread starter):
Please stand clear of the doors. Por favor manténganse alejado de las puertas.

Great trip report and a lot of love for that sentence.   
Image
Picture by Justin Cederholm at MCO.
 
ual757
Posts: 744
Joined: Thu Sep 28, 2006 12:58 pm

RE: United GlobalFirst Suites FLL✈MCO✈IAH✈IAD✈EWR✈FLL

Thu Dec 04, 2014 12:48 am

How you write this much about a domestic trip is beyond me, but I'm happy to see you have the time to do it, especially if it brings you joy.

Also, you're incorrect about the pre-merger UA domestic F seat being converted from their old intl. J seat. They are a separate seat, made by the same manufacturer.

I know they look alike, but trust me, they didn't dismantle old J seats and turn them into domestic F seats - these were introduced into the fleet at the same time back in the very early 2000s.
 
lpdal
Topic Author
Posts: 1966
Joined: Sat Mar 24, 2012 9:49 pm

RE: United GlobalFirst Suites FLL✈MCO✈IAH✈IAD✈EWR✈FLL

Thu Dec 18, 2014 7:43 am

Hi guys, sorry for the late responses, just been very busy lately.

Hi TR763  
Quoting TR763 (Reply 27):

Great trip report and a lot of love for that sentence.

Thank you! Having been to WDW too many times to count, it has been drilled into my mind...  
Quoting ual757 (Reply 28):
How you write this much about a domestic trip is beyond me,

Asperger's obsession? Sometimes I think it stems from that, and my intense passion for aviation.  
Quoting ual757 (Reply 28):
but I'm happy to see you have the time to do it,

Oh, these reports sometimes take days to finish. Especially if my computers don't like to cooperate.

Quoting ual757 (Reply 28):
especially if it brings you joy.

Most definitely. Planning for the trip is half the fun. And these all-day trips really fly by fast..  
Quoting ual757 (Reply 28):
Also, you're incorrect about the pre-merger UA domestic F seat being converted from their old intl. J seat. They are a separate seat, made by the same manufacturer.

I know they look alike, but trust me, they didn't dismantle old J seats and turn them into domestic F seats - these were introduced into the fleet at the same time back in the very early 2000s.

Thanks for that info. I also just noticed these seats used to be upholstered with blue fabric--wondering if they were more comfortable than the black leather they utilize on seat covers today.

Thanks for your comments and info,

-LPDAL 
TWU represented. All of my views and posted content are mine alone, and should not be viewed as official communication from my employer, its subsidiaries thereof, or any other entities or airlines.

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