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Old Jul 16, 12, 9:14 pm   #1
 
Join Date: Nov 2011
Location: London,UK - NYC,USA
Posts: 86
Addiction to travel, travel writing and everything in between.

AKA Loosing my Trip (Flight) report V-Card

Ladies and Gents of FlyerTalk,
I'm sure you've heard of massive trip reports, but how about a one way flight report? Written by a 15 year old?

To be perfectly honest, after finishing writing this, I was pretty sure I went WAAAAY overboard, but it's too late now therefore I present to you the first trip report I have ever written.

To put in context why this is an addiction, Iíve never written over 4,000 words for a school project. This is in the 6,000 ballpark. People tend to give addiction a bad rap, I disagree as this is the kind of addiction that I want to fuel, and it will hopefully help improve writing skills I will need later in life. I donít think anyone can argue thatís a bad thing.

Doing mass travel is a challenge for me, considering I have yet to reach the seasoned age of 16. However when I do manage to find myself a trip to go on, I will report back, attempting to add in some of my usual wise-cracking jokes. If you doní donít find them funny, youíll get used to them.

Iíll do a pre-trip report apology for the fact that some of the pictures may be of poor quality, and that they may be blurry too. Basically, for the next report, expect better things at least picture-wise! Please feel free to reply on this thread or PM me with any suggestions or comments about it, I have a completely open-mind about all of this.

This is the return leg of a trip to London initiated a couple of months ago. The upgrade to business class was purchased for $779.00 with some savings I had. My sister called me crazy, but I knew that I had to do it. I had the chance to buy up to First but a) I didnít have the money and b)we all know it isnít actually worth it on United. So Iíll be writing about how I arrived back to my home city of New York with some class (haha, business-class, get it?).

Just a quick recap of what Iíll be writing about:
-Part 1.National Express Bus 797 3:05am
-Part 2.London Heathrow Terminal 1 United Check-In Desks. 5:30am
-Part 3.London Heathrow Terminal 1 Star Alliance Lounge 5:45am
-Part 4.United Flight 923 to IAD 7:55am
-Part 5.United Flight 923 to IAD Lunch
-Part 6.Arrival in IAD. 10:40am
-Part 7.United Club IAD, Concourse C.
-Part 8.United Flight 6137. 12:40pm
-Part 9.Conclusions July 16th. 5:00am
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Old Jul 16, 12, 9:36 pm   #2
 
Join Date: Nov 2011
Location: London,UK - NYC,USA
Posts: 86
Part 1.Getting to Heathrow in style without going bankrupt
July 3rd, 2012
Cambridge-London Heathrow
National Express Bus 797


I find that normal people do anything to avoid waking up at 2.00 in the morning to go the airport. Iím not normal.

I stumbled out of my bed amid the of dozens of alarms to make sure that I didnít sleep through the bus like last time. I ran through everything in my head and made sure that I didnít forget anything for this 2 month-long trip back to the States.

The cab was early as usual, so I got in without any breakfast in me, knowing there would be something at the lounge or in the plane.

I arrived at the Cambridge National Express Bus Station 20 minutes early. As I thought, I was the first one there and there was obviously no necessity to leave as early as I did. At the same time.

The National Express Busses are an easy and cheap option of getting to and from Heathrow, or any of the major airports for that matter. For a <16 ticket it comes out to around £16 depending on the time of day you leave. Although the bus journey takes 2.5 hours from Cambridge, it require no changeovers (unlike the trains) and it costs pennies compared to the £110 cab ride from there.


The view from my seat for the next 2.5 hours

Having the long journey was no issue for me, I handed my luggage to the surprisingly enthusiastic bus driver and took my seat. I For some reason, when you tilt the coach seats back, they slowly return to their upright position. But.. after all.. it was a bus.

Other than the restless seat, the quality of the bus was surprising. The hardwood floor made the bus more extravagant, but I can see some people getting irritated with the sounds of heel-on-hardwood during night trips. The black leather seats managed to uphold this feeling of luxury within the bus.

I plopped down in my seat, quite pleased with my purchase just a few hours ago. When I checked in, with fingers crossed, I saw the superb 4 words: ďBuy up to BusinessFirstĒ. As someone who was thrilled just to be on the plane in the first place, the thought of actually sitting up front with the ďbig-boysĒ brought a grin from ear-to-ear to my face.

The bus stopped at Stansted Airport, at which point I stopped drooling about my flight-to-be and decided to catch some Zzzís before my arrival to Heathrow, after-all I wanted to look my best.
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Old Jul 16, 12, 9:41 pm   #3
 
Join Date: Nov 2011
Location: London,UK - NYC,USA
Posts: 86
Part 2. Discovering initial benefits of business class
July 3rd, 2012
London Heathrow
Terminal 1 United Check-In


We arrived at Heathrowís Central Bus Station about 10 minutes early, a great thing as it allowed me some extra lounge time. This was actually my first time in Terminal 1, as I usually flew out of either 3,4 or 5. I walked through the terminal, analyzing my surroundings and searching for the United check-in desks. I guiltily walked past the Economy check-in, feeling like I was betraying my frequently travelled Y-class buddies. However I then saw the gleaming smile on the check-in agents face and my troubles we forgotten.
She was surprised to see me in her check-in counter, as Iím sure they donít get many teens travelling in business class on their own, but she managed to remain professional.

After reading through the SHARES fiasco on FlyerTalk, I asked her to confirm that I was in-fact sitting in 7A for my flight to IAD, and 2A on the quick bounce to LGA. She shook her head in approval as she handed the boarding passes for both flights and, to my surprise, pointed me to the direction of the dedicated first/business check-in lane. This may be a normality for many of you business travellers, however I was very pleased with my 2 minute pass-through security.


Seats 7A and 2A! Boarding Zone 1!

Sadly, I didnít manage to snag a picture of it, or for that matter actually use it, but there was a much more prestigious United check-in desk which was placed behind a glass divider right next to security. The check-in screens read that it was PremierAccess (to which I applied), and its hardwood floors and potted plants definitely suggested it was the place to be. I was slightly pissed about missing it, just because it looked that cool, but hopefully this wasnít my last chance to use it.


The Promised Land. So Close!

After clearing security, I had about an hour and a half before I would need to board my flight to Washington. I toured around Terminal 1, with a final destination in mind- the Star Alliance Lounge. I walked past the metal gates guarding closed, overpriced Heathrow shops and saw various people looking zoned in the Duty Free shops, who wouldnít be at 6 in the morning? I kept a constant eye out for the signs leading me to the lounge. I stopped by the Amex Currency Exchange and got a ďwhoppingĒ 125 dollars for my 90 pounds, not a great deal in my eyes.
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Old Jul 16, 12, 9:49 pm   #4
 
Join Date: Nov 2011
Location: London,UK - NYC,USA
Posts: 86
Part 3.Popping the lounge cherry!
July 3rd, 2012
London Heathrow Airport
Terminal 1 Star Alliance Lounge

As I walked up to the lounge, I took an awkward picture of the entrance and proceeded to the dragon (luckily I didnít experience why they were called that). I found that this whole picture-taking business took some getting used to, as I didnít want to show my eagerness to the dull and tired passengers surrounding me. I believe I get some slack to the quality and amount of pictures as this is my first report.


My First!... That Iím actually using!

Personally, I loved the lounge, considering the alternate option was sitting in an uncomfortable gate chair paying 10 pounds for a bite to eat. But then, I was biased considering this was my first experience in any kind of non-soviet (more on that some other time) lounge.


A nice, relaxed, modern atmosphere

From the various trip-reports Iíve read, this seemed to be a fairly common Star Alliance lounge. It had a good selection of hot food for the morning including bacon, sausages, grilled tomatoes, toast and eggs. For the sake of this being a *report*- the bacon was over salted and I also found that eggs in a soup-canister donít appeal to many, including me.


The hot breakfast selection. It's decent, if you can make it out!

The separate, non-hot food section had a selection of various deli-items, fruit-cups, yogurts, jams and croissants. The lounge had the usual soft drinks, non-fresh squeezed juices and hard liquor for those of you who like a buzz in the morning. I tried the orange juice, which tasted awful
I sat down in one of the many free seats around the lounge, connected my phone to the wi-fi, and started listing through various articles in the Economist.


The deli-corner of the lounge. I found the food here seemed better than around the corner

After attaining a quick background on the presidential campaigns of Romney and Obama, I was bored. My quick meal of a croissant with strawberry jam, and half an English Breakfast (sausages, bacon and ďeggsĒ) was already digesting, so I decided to explore the lounge. I found there was most likely some sort of view behind some white shutter, however I decided not to bother the creatures of the lounge with any unnecessary sunshine. The lounge had showers, which I didnít bother looking into as I had just come from home, but I made sure to take a picture of the sign!

Seeing there was nothing much to do, I headed over to the complementary internet-enabled computers and decided to browse facebook, and inform some of my friends on the status of my trip. The fact that internet was free was appreciated, as my phone seemed to be bugging out and my laptop had been broken for the past 2 months.


The Secluded Internet-Access Area... the blurring is an art form..

After my browsing-session, I took some discrete snapshots, not knowing what the opinion of other travellers and staff would be towards them. I decided it was time to go to the gate, so I didnít miss any of my plane experiences.

I find that Iím always unlucky with where in the terminal my departing flight is. Not once have I had it that it was the first gate past security. So I walked, head high in the air knowing the impending flight would be awesome, and then I walked some more, seeing that our plane was literally the last one in the section of gates.

As I walked up, boarding had already commenced, so I wasnít able to snap some pictures of the lovely Boeing 767-300 for you. In hindsight, I definitely had the time, but seeing the large economy queue, forced old habits and I went straight to the gate. Only this time straight to the front. To be completely honest, I knew that I had a cheeky grin on my face walking past everyone in Economy. I tried to control it, but couldnít. I wonder what the looks on their faces must have been as Iím often the one being passed by people in the PremierAccess lanes and I donít remember being happy about it.
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Old Jul 16, 12, 10:05 pm   #5
 
Join Date: Nov 2011
Location: London,UK - NYC,USA
Posts: 86
Part 4.The made-me-drool-to-think-about business class itself!
July 3rd, 2012
London Heathrow-Washington Dulles
United Airlines Business Class
Boeing 767-300ER


I headed down the walkway, and the crew greeted me with a smile and pointed out the location of my seat for me. I stowed my carry-on in the overhead bins taking out only my headphones knowing the ones provided would most likely be worse than I expect them to be. I have yet to experience Lufthansaís First Class, or Americanís Business/First noise-cancelling Bose headphones. The grin on my face showed up again when my jacket was offered to be taken, Iím just not used to this yet!


A photo of my new view, except this time for a lengthy 7.5 hours. I stil wish it was longer!

One of the reasons why I fell in love with business class last time I flew it wasnít the service or the seat, it was because I managed to have an interesting conversation about the world with my seatmate. Of course the aging businessman wasnít planning on schooling a 10 year old in a debate, so we had an interesting conversation about current events and why I was so interested in it. This may be nothing much to most of you, however a stranger talking with you on a serious subject at that age was impressionable.

My seatmate this time managed to reach expectations, but not surpass them. People argue that having a 2-2-2 configuration in business class is a bad thing as it forces awkward situations when trying to leave the window seat. But they donít account that it allows me to be staring out a window, while also having an interesting conversation.

The man was flying back home to his family in Colorado after a longer-than-expected stay in London for business. We exchanged opinions on flying United, but it seemed those were the bounds of this conversation. At least I managed to cheer him up by explaining he would get this plane all the way through to Colorado as it was the same flight number throughout. I can understand that he was most likely focused on the work he had to start, so as the subject sizzled, I took out my headphones and sat patiently in my seat, hoping the captain would turn on Channel 9, but the jazz music suggested it was of no avail, so I browsed for a movie.

Menus were handed out pre-taxiing and when we pushed off the purser walked around the cabin greeting us all by name (however she managed to get me and my consultant acquaintance mixed up) and taking our orders for breakfast and lunch.

The menu given out was minimalistic, but I find that because thereís less, that doesnít mean itís not better. The contrasts of brown, grey and silver played well on the cover, but it seems that Unitedís placement of anise and cinnamon on it were just for the colours. I began browsing the menu, giving some props to United for writing one of the ďWelcome on BoardĒ sentences in Russian. It seems that anyone flying to IAD/ORD from LHR in the month of July would receive the following menu:


The Complementing Colours of the Menu

Breakfast
Starter
Croissant with Butter and Apricot Preserves

Strawberry Yoghurt

Fresh Fruit

Main Course
Mushroom and Spinach Omelette
Breakfast potatoes, chicken sausage, ham, asparagus, grilled tomato

Chilled Deli Selection
Smoked salmon, Gruyere cheese, honey ham, salami, asparagus and egg wedge

Cereal and Banana
Served with milk



Featured Champagne and Wines
Champagne
Paul Dangin Brut NV, Champagne

White Wine
Burgans Albarino 2009, Rias Baixas, Spain

Chateau St. Jean Chardonnay 2010, Carneros

Kunde Estate-Bottled Chardonnay 2010, Sonoma Valley

Red Wine
Santa Duc - AOP Les Buissons Cairanne 2010, Cotes du Rhone Villages

Cosentino The Cab 2009, California

Trapiche Broquel Malbec 2009, Argentina


Lunch
Chilled Appetizer
Marinated Salmon, Shrimp-on-a-stick, Mango Chutney

Fresh Seasonal Greens
Tomato, dried cherries, mini fruit and croutons with your choice of creamy tropical fruit dressing or balsamic vinaigrette

Main Course
Pan-seared Steak
Red wine sauce, chanterelle mushroom-onion medley, potatoes, broccoli and carrots

Tandoori Breast of Chicken
Coriander-tomato sauce, saffron rice pilaf

Indian-spiced Shrimp
Spiced tomato sauce, basmati rice and julienned vegetables

Pici Pasta
Tomato-basil sauce and vegetable-mushroom medley with Parmesan cheese

To Finish
International Cheese Selection
Grapes and crackers served with Noval Fine Ruby Port

Dessert
Ice cream with your choice of toppings

Interestingly enough, the crew was ex-Continental, so when my seatmate asked for the Executive service that was listed on the menu, she said that they didnít really do it, and it was ďmore of a United thingĒ that was being discontinued. This is most likely quite a hit for people who want to maximize the amount of sleep on the plane, so hopefully it was just a misinformed purser.

Although she informed him it wasnít done anymore, she still requested it for him on the clipboard she wrote the orders on. She did warn him that she didnít guarantee it being done and I later saw that the crew more-or-less disregarded the request.


Just feel like I should point out the Executive Dining option is on the menu. She may have been wrong.

Our BusinessFirst amenity kits were given out prior to push-off. I have no real comparison to other kits, therefore I will tell you that in my opinion, it seems good. It had some useful elements to it such as the fact that it had a pen, something I always forget to bring with me when I fly.


Just after being handed out. Still in the wrapper! It contained some info on the skin products

The kit contained a Comb, Earplugs, an Eyeshade, Floss, Hand Lotion, Hand Sanitizer, Lip Balm, a Mint, a Pen, a United Promotional card, Socks, Tissues, Toothpaste and a Towelette. The hand lotion, towelette and lip balm are made by philosophy. To sum it up, definitely better than anything Iíve gotten in economy!



A couple of snapshots of the amenity kitís contents

We pushed off in time for out 7:55 am departure, and the dreary safety video, involving Mr.Smisek himself, was played. The Captain informed us that the flight would in fact come in 25 minutes earlier than scheduled. I quietly groaned hearing this, as it meant that my time in business class decreased and the time doing nothing in IAD increased. As it later turned out, the 25 extra minutes in IAD were not that bad at all. We sped down Heathrowís frequently-used asphalt and the wind thrust our bird into the sky.

After we took off, beverages were served quickly. Having my Diet Coke served in an actual glass was a feature of flying I wasnít used to. A little ramekin of mixed nuts was provided and having a wide selection is a little thing, but itís appreciated. I still have a glimmer of hope that one day airlines will revert back to plain-old salted peanuts (highly unlikely due to the amount of people allergic to even the smell).


The casual, nutritious pre-breakfast Diet Coke. A simple piece of lime, but itís the little things that put business in such a different category to economy (there are big things as well)

As they began serving breakfast, I muddled with my seat to find the perfect position. For any of you interested, I found that in terms of comfort, it was the seat back slightly reclined and the leg rest at full-flat position. I tried the massage feature of the chair as well, but it felt like someone behind you was pressing their knees into your kidneys, so I quickly turned off the silly feature.

The white table cloth was laid out, and I prepared to get a wide array of small plates. Initially, I miss-prepared as it was just the hot towels coming around. After the dreary, cold English summer weather, a warm towel hit the spot well.

I got an initial clutter of a croissant, strawberry yoghurt. The fact that they were placed on a tray didnít bother me too much, however I found that the cloth on the tray was such a wretched colour and material. United definitely needs to look into some design work for their for their food presentation as I was disappointed that the salt and pepper shakers as well. They were so pale and basic; there was blatantly no attempt on making them look nice and a plastic cover on top of them made the meal service seem that much closer to Economy (I reiterate that itís the little things that count).


The unlisted continental starter. Good thing the food was better than the presentation.

This continental-esque appetiser was great, although I wished that they had a preserve other than apricot. I guess United is keen on apricots as it was the only one available? It didnít matter, instead I ripped pieces of the croissant and dipped them in the yoghurt, turned out to be better, especially since Iíd already had a croissant, normal-style, back at the lounge. The fresh fruit was great, truly fresh, one of the few times Iíve had mango and it was the perfect proportion of sweetness-to-sourness. I hoped it was a good sign for food to come, as you donít get good fruit on a plane often. I was happy about the freshness of the fruit and even pointed it out to the flight attendant serving us, she just shrugged off the compliment though.

In foolishness, I ordered the Mushroom and Spinach Omelette option as my main breakfast option. Oh how much I regretted it looking over at my neighbours deli-plate. The eggs were mediocre, and the mushroom and spinach stuffing was inedible because of the sheer amount of salt that was in it. The bacon was alright as was the chicken sausage. The potatoes were edible even though they werenít crispy enough. The tomato and asparagus were way overcooked and I didnít even try to finish them. Thinking back, I should have either requested to change to the deli-plate if possible or just asked if they had another portion of the continental part of breakfast.


The grossly over-salted omelette and barely up-to-par accompaniments.

Even though the breakfast was sub-par, Unitedís seat was definitely the best airplane seat Iíve ever been on, that said Iíve only been in economy and an angled lie-flat on Austrian. Of course I dream of one day experiencing a true first-class seat (something like Singapore or Emirates, definitely not United as it seems from this forum)!

After the meal service had ended I requested from a flight attendant that I was woken up for Lunch as otherwise this TR would be missing a pretty big chunk. The FAís handed out water bottles, and I reclined my seat to lie-flat and listened to some jazz which smoothly eased me into hibernation. Unitedís big pillows were great, I thought I read someone said they got worse? I canít really imagine them being that much better.
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Old Jul 16, 12, 10:11 pm   #6
 
Join Date: Nov 2011
Location: London,UK - NYC,USA
Posts: 86
Part 5.An Early Lunch Over The Atlantic
July 3rd, 2012
UA 923 around 9:30am at Destination


I woke up when the stewardess was tapping my shoulder to awake me from my nap, as per my request right before the breakfast service started. I feel the need to say, that it was the best rest I had had in the past 2-3 months, even though it was only about 4 hours long.

The whole tray fiasco was repeated again, but still better than Economy! The salad was very good, I went with the vinaigrette option. I wish there was no cherries, as they added a strange texture, but I just ate around them. I actually avoided the chilled appetizer as Iím allergic to seafood such as shrimp and am not a huge fan of uncooked salmon, but my neighbor seemed to show it was very good, so Iíll put that as my review of it. Maybe one day, when my palette develops a bit more, and my allergy becomes less severe, Iíll try the whole shazam for the sake of reviewing and maybe itíll open up a whole new culinary world for me.


The surprisingly good salad, and uneaten appetiser. I was regretting that I didnít ask for a pretzel roll!

As things go, we were served our main courses. I ordered the steak, definitely sub-par compared to the other dish I was contemplating of ordering. How do I know this? Well, because the flight attendants accidentally served my neighbor the Tandoori Breast of Chicken, rather than his ordered Indian-spiced Shrimp, when pointed out, they quickly corrected their mistake, but I already knew I chose the wrong thing.


The unfortunate steak dish

Even though I wasnít happy with my choice of food, it was still edible. I found that the steak and mushrooms turned out to be on par, however the potatoes and vegetable had a very bland taste, which made them quite un-appetising. I made a note to myself that next time I fly, Iíll try to do something that isnít steak for the sake of differentiating.

The ice cream and cheese however made a perfect finish for the meal, although more than two crackers for the cheese would have been nice! This little ďfinishĒ of the meal made up for all the flaws discovered in the 3 previous courses.



The desserts that made it all better

Our descent into IAD was uneventful. The landing was pretty smooth and we arrived 25 minutes early and had to wait a couple of minutes before we could park. I quickly got all of my belongings from the plane and walked briskly to transit immigration section,not knowing if the international morning flights would be in yet.
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Old Jul 16, 12, 10:13 pm   #7
 
Join Date: Nov 2011
Location: London,UK - NYC,USA
Posts: 86
Part 6.A suitcase and a wish
July 3rd, 2012
Concourse C
Washington Dulles Airport

As I arrived, I breathed a sigh of relief. Even though I had plenty of time on my hands, I most definitely didnít want to spend most of it in the immigrations queue. Lucky for me, it seemed as if we were one of the first international flights to arrive so my immigration experience was effortless. A much needed improvement after the UKís game of 20 questions whenever I arrive back from a trip.

As I walked to the baggage claim after immigrations, I noticed that two 747ís had just landed from Frankfurt and Tokyo, what a lucky break!

I sat near the baggage carousel, and considering I had priority luggage, I was hoping to have my bag leave first. No particular reasoning behind it, just so I could point out that it happened for the first time when I bought business class for myself! My bag actually came out as one of the last priority ones, I wasnít in a rush so it was fine.


The more-luxurious-than-it-is club entrance

I walked out of the security checkpoint after checking my luggage and saw the United Club to my left. I knew that the next leg of my flight was an economy-only plane, but decided that it was worth a try to see if they would let me in when Iím just coming off a business class ticket. Lucky for me they did!
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Old Jul 16, 12, 10:21 pm   #8
 
Join Date: Nov 2011
Location: London,UK - NYC,USA
Posts: 86
Part 7.July 3rd, 2012
United Club
Washington Dulles Airport


The United Club was VERY different to the Star Alliance Lounge in LHR. First off, the food is a lot worse. As you may have read in dozens of other Trip Reports, this place has carrots, crackers and cookies. Thatís the basis of it. No hot food, or even finger sandwiches like in most business class lounges.



The limited food choices at UC, didnít manage to get a shot of the bar

Although the food selection is limited, the bar big, can't really comment on the quality of liqueurs. This bar actually has a bartender that comes with it. She was nice enough to go to the back to find me a Fanta. I later regretted this, as I saw the blazing orange coloured liquid spew out of the can. I forgot that back here in the States, Fanta is even more unnatural than usual.



A pretty empty lounge. Is this a good or bad sign? Blurry again... yikes.

A good benefit of this UC was that it actually had a very small amount of people in it. It was probably the time of day, but I got a great window seat to lounge in and make some calls. The wifi was reasonable, but occasionally would just stop working.

I watched the small Airbusí taxi to and from their gates from my window seat, with a massive 767-300 looming over all of them right next to the window. The atmosphere in the club was quiet, so it was a nice way to spend an hour and a half before the final leg of my flight.



Plane spotting after switching seats.

I kept my eye on the timetable and around 40 minutes before the scheduled departure, I departed the lounge. I needed to walk from the C concourse to the AirTrain and then proceed to get off at the A gates. You want to guess which gate my flight was leaving from? Yep, A1 meaning this guy gets to walk to the last gate... again!
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Old Jul 16, 12, 10:28 pm   #9
 
Join Date: Nov 2011
Location: London,UK - NYC,USA
Posts: 86
Part 8.Arriving in Economy... But the class carries on!
July 3rd, 2012
Washington Dulles Ė LaGuardia
UA Economy Class
United Airlines Embraer ERJ-145


I arrived a bit too early, so boarding had yet to start. I sat down next to this peaceful-looking Indonesian old man. I kept quiet as he seemed to be taking in his surroundings, however he turned to me and asked ďSo are you going to ďcanít remember his destinationĒ as well?Ē It seemed that both our flights were leaving from different areas of A1, so I told him that I was actually flying to New York. This seemed to dishearten him. I asked him where he was from, but now that he knew I wasnít on his flight, he didnít seem interested and replied that it was Indonesia. I knew he didnít want to talk anymore as he didnít ask me where I was from. So we just sat there in silence until flight UA 6137 to LGA was called for boarding. As my still-premier Zone 1 access was called I stood up from my seat, waved goodbye to the old man and walked through the insanely hot walkway to the Embraer ERJ-145.


The little plane taking me on this final leg home. A quick side-view

The windows in the plane were closed and the AC was blasting as otherwise the plane would be boiling after standing in 30 degree weather for so long. A very friendly flight attendant greeted me and showed me where seat 2A was. The ERJ-145 has a really interesting configuration, in that it is 1-2. Travelling alone, I obviously chose the 1 side.

I really liked that our flight attendant was very talkative, she also had a good sense of humour. Some people prefer to have flight attendants do their job efficiently and quietly, I think that someone who travels around so much is bound to have some interesting stories for you, so ask around!

Our plane was ready in time for the 12:40 departure, however we taxied for about 15 minutes and then our pilot told us that ATC was parking us for another 15 minutes before we could lift off. As it turned out, the flight would only be 45 minutes, so even with the delay we would be in LGA early.

The woman sitting in 1A was chatting to the FA, I was thinking of joining in the conversation, but decided instead to clear up my facebook and take a picture of my legroom in economy, just to compare to my friends and family how great of an opportunity flying business class was.


After flying business... can this even be considered as seating? At least Iím only 5Ē10

After 15 minutes on the ground, the tiny engines of the ERJ took us to the runway and lifted us in the air. Since it was such a short flight, there was no proper drink service, just water or a soda on request. I managed without one as I was enthralled by the land we were speeding past below.


A shot of my IFE for the final 45 minutes

About 5 minutes before our flight landed into LGA, I managed to snap some awesome skyline shots of New York, a great reason to fly into LGA rather than EWR or JFK. I wasnít even sure this was New York I was taking pictures of, as the tallest building wasnít the Empire State. I later remembered that this would be the new World Trade Center building.



Some better-quality-than-before plane-shots of the NYC skyline

The landing was smooth and my luggage came out quickly. A great end to an awesome trip.
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Old Jul 16, 12, 10:29 pm   #10
 
Join Date: Nov 2011
Location: London,UK - NYC,USA
Posts: 86
July 14th, 2012
The Confines of My Summerhome
Conclusions


The day before I left my older sister told me I was crazy for wasting my money. She saw how excited I was, and after flying on many different airlines for business, explained that I shouldnít get my hopes up because they would be let down. I didnít listen to a word she said, and still Iím pretty impressed with the second business class flight of my life.

United obviously doesnít have the features of a 5-star airlines, not even 4. However, they manage to produce a good hard product (in-terms of their seats and AVOD). The issue with United, like many are saying is that its standards of customer service need to be raised. I felt like I was treated very well, but thatís because I usually fly economy. Considering I saw flaws in their elements of soft product such as their catering and attention to detail means that it is definitely something that needs to be improved.

United needs to have a corporate executive be willing to do something of a ďtrip-reportĒ comparing United and any 5 or 4 star carrier. Then they could piece out flaws in their airline, such as the fact that their lounge provides food that even modern-day Kindergarteners wouldnít be satisfied with. They need to look at the little things such as small, but intricately designed salt and pepper shakers and change them for the better.

I have more ideas as to how United should improve, ideas that most of us probably have twirling around in our heads. But I will not bore you with them. Instead I will sum it up like this:

Even though Unitedís soft product may disappoint some, purely the seat and international lounges allow the fee for buying-up-worth it. Iím sure itís especially nice on flights weíre you can actually manage a lengthy sleep.

I would be totally fine with flying United business routinely, however I have bigger things in mind. Look forward to my next report, which will be on an airline that rhymes with Bingabore and then my experience in inter-european business class. Unfortunately, this is only to come around mid-september!

Hereís to that I have something substantial sooner!

Zoui21
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Old Jul 17, 12, 2:05 am   #11
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Posts: 983
Good report! Well written. It was nice to see a fresh, glass-half-full perspective of the J class experience, amidst the jaded and the spoiled .

Hope there are many more where this came from. I find myself in a terrible rut of going beef when I should go something different, and being adventurous when I should go beef. But that is on AA where they make everything sound so sophisticated, and require a thesaurus to understand the menu... Harrowing, I know.

And i'm 10 years your senior and haven't developed such palette for smoked salmon. Hope it doesn't happen. We are the chosen, not the uncivilised.

Also just FYI, I hope you did not dash the hopes of your seat mate about his connecting flight , as that actually is a domestic 757 instead. United's (ridiculous, IMO) practice of using the flight number with no bearing on equipment.

Last edited by jpetekYXMD80; Jul 17, 12 at 2:11 am.
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Old Jul 17, 12, 2:26 am   #12
 
Join Date: Nov 2011
Location: London,UK - NYC,USA
Posts: 86
Quote:
Originally Posted by jpetekYXMD80 View Post
Good report! Well written. It was nice to see a fresh, glass-half-full perspective of the J class experience, amidst the jaded and the spoiled .

Hope there are many more where this came from. I find myself in a terrible rut of going beef when I should go something different, and being adventurous when I should go beef. But that is on AA where they make everything sound so sophisticated, and require a thesaurus to understand the menu... Harrowing, I know.

And i'm 10 years your senior and haven't developed such palette for smoked salmon. Hope it doesn't happen. We are the chosen, not the uncivilised.

Also just FYI, I hope you did not dash the hopes of your seat mate about his connecting flight , as that actually is a domestic 757 instead. United's (ridiculous, IMO) practice of using the flight number with no bearing on equipment.
Yea, that equipment change is weird, but at least he still gets to fly First

Speaking of glass half full. Literally, a couple of hours ago, was reading up on which seats to get my dad on LH's 388 and some guy said the words "When I'm stuck in C"

I'm actually looking forward to my culinary experience in SQ A380 Biz, getting a book the cook option, but if anything on the menu looks better, I'll try to switch
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Old Jul 17, 12, 8:40 pm   #13
 
Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: Sao Paulo, Brazil
Posts: 258
Great report! You managed to give it your real perspective to it! looking forward to the next ones.
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Old Jul 17, 12, 11:58 pm   #14
 
Join Date: Oct 2011
Location: PDX
Programs: UA
Posts: 19
Great debut-thanks for writing it up. Looking forward to many many more.
bubster is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Jul 18, 12, 12:54 am   #15
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: LAX/PIT
Programs: AA EXP, DL PM, UA urine (PP), A3 *G, Hyatt Dia, AmEx Plat, *$G (Starbucks Gold)
Posts: 4,813
Great report. I agree, the UA hard product is great amongst the U.S. airlines, but the soft product is really lacking.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Zoui21 View Post
Sadly, I didnít manage to snag a picture of it, or for that matter actually use it, but there was a much more prestigious United check-in desk which was placed behind a glass divider right next to security. The check-in screens read that it was PremierAccess (to which I applied), and its hardwood floors and potted plants definitely suggested it was the place to be. I was slightly pissed about missing it, just because it looked that cool, but hopefully this wasnít my last chance to use it.
You mean this?



IIRC, that area is reserved for Global First and Global Services (even though the carpet says Premier Access).
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