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Old Jan 29, 07, 7:03 pm
FlyerTalk Evangelist
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: QLA
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Posts: 14,507
MR: LAX-PVD; AAers 1st real trip on UA

Routing: LAX-SFO-ORD-PVD-ORD-SFO-LAX - 6390 EQM, $74

This is my first ever MR on UA (the horror!), as I typically fly AA. I'm taking advantange of the "Fly3 - 1Free" promo plus a great fare LAX-PVD plus the $75 off cert. This trip was all good timing: it was part of my weekly commute LAX-SFO, I was matched to 1P status, I was upgraded thanks to a couple of very generous donors, and the weather is cooperating.

With all the talk about the ICC, I dreaded having to call. Unfortunately, the $75 e-cert doesn't work on multicity itins, so I placed it on hold and called web support. It could've have been more efficient (stop checking with your supervisor about everything!), but in the end the agent accomplished what needed to be done. The process works just as described in the UA forum... put the itin on hold, call up UA, make the purchase WHILE on the phone, then have them apply the cert while you still have them on the phone. The fun part of this was that, for some inexplicable reason, they gave me $100 off instead of $75... that's one mistake I probably won't call about.

-Confirmed on UA1172, dep 710p.
-Stood by on UA1152, dep at 600a (735)

On my very first flight, and the .bomb got me. I found out (later in SFO) that when the CR-1 was confirmed, there was a ticket exchange but the new ticket was mismatched with my old ticket number, so it was all jumbled in the system. When I arrive at LAX to reprint my BPs, it spit out seats in E+ rather than F (which should have been confirmed, since I picked out my F seats). I don't have time to deal with it at the ticket counter (and it's an hour flight anyway), so I head up to the gate. When I get to the gate and told the GA I was standing by, the GA got this annoyed look about her and said, "I've been trying to page you..." Uhh... sorry, I was busying walking TO the gate?

Anyway, she prints me out a BP to board. I ask the GA about the F seats. Her response: "I don't have anymore F seats." Since boarding was almost done, I didn't deal with it and just boarded. I make my way back... and realized the GA gave me an E- seat! (Remember, UA newb... didn't know Row 15 wasn't E+) Back up the ramp I go, and I ask if I could PLEASE have an E+ seat. I get Row 6 to myself, so that's fine.

Guess what happened next... the flight went out with an empty F seat (and 2 deadheaders to boot). Grr... I understand my ticketing issues and why I didn't get F, but why did the GA have to lie?? I'm ok with E+ though. Unforunately, the IFE/Ch 9 was turned off. Cabin service was average... the FAs and deadheaders just wanted to chat with each other.

I get to SFO, and a very nice and able CS agent fixes my ticketing issues and gives me the correct BPs.

-UA158, dep at 1130p (772) - 1F

Domestic 777s are somewhwat of a novelty to me, so I was anticipating this flight. Boarding was through both 1L and 2L, so it was nice to not have masses of people trying to clobber you with their bags. I sat in 1F, which had plenty of legroom despite being a bulkhead. While this F seat is more comparable to the J seat on AA's 777s, the 2-2-2 layout made it less crowded (and no chance of people walking by and knocking into you). But the seat itself is very comfortable... more cushiony. Only problem... being right in front of the screen means if you're bothered by flickering light, you should bring eyeshades.

Surprise of the night... a cheese and fruit plate! On this red-eye I figured we'd get no food, but I enjoyed the (relatively) healthy snack. The cabin service was above average. The movie was "The Guardian" (Ch9 was fun for a while, but it lost its novelty). But why no connecting info? Arrived into ORD and also deplaned through 1L/2L (to the surprise of the crew).

Of course with my luck, we land at C16, there's an RCC right next door, my PVD flight takes off at C24.... and I have to walk all the way to the AC so I can take a shower. Good thing I had 2 1/2 hours. But I never knew how far that walk was. Back in the UA area, I stopped by the B Concourse CS Center to get my return BPs, since either Mr. Chicken nor Online Chicken wasn't being very friendly (seriously, why is my PNR so jacked up?!) Another great agent got everything squared away.

-UA650, dep at 735a (319) - 1B

This is one small F cabin! It feels tight especially when full, but at least the seats are comfy. I'm in 1B, which is probably the best seat in row 1, since I can stretch out my leg into the aisle (1C doesn't have the same luxury). I don't know if I'd prefer Row 1 or 2 though.

Fortunately for me, there was breakfast in F - a breakfast croissant sandwich (a little too toasted, but good), fruit, and a fun fruit juice thing. I also appreciate the IFE (I guess I've been on MD80's for too long), which showed "Heroes." Cabin service is great.

-UA759, dep 1138a (319) - 1C

Love those turnarounds. Quick 35-min turn in PVD, and right back onto the same plane with the same crew. "Racking up the miles?" You bet I am!

I was going to just copy-and-paste the comments about ORD-PVD here. But on the way back I got stupendous service! On the way back to ORD there were only 4 F pax, so we got very personal service (such as the doubling up on drinks, bringing each lunch selection for each of us so we could see our choices, even letting us in the F cabin choose the movie to be played!). I had a delicious Asian chicken salad and an even better bowl of Seafood Bisque. I did noticed that at PVD, catering is done by a local outfit vs. any company I've seen (Gate Gourmet, SkyChefs, etc.). I then got 2 freshly-baked chocochip cookies and milk.... I was stuffed. ^

Ch 9 was particularly fun on this flight, as I could track several AA Heavies in the area over Ohio (AA 15 JFK-SFO, AA19 JFK-LAX, AA51 LGW-DFW, AA55 MAN-ORD, AA89 BRU-ORD, AA91 LHR-ORD).

Lindy, thanks for a terrific flight!

-UA149, dep 300p (772) - 1E

So, back on the widebody. We again board 1L/2L. I had a chicken foccacia sandwich (other choice: shrimp salad) and potato cheese soup (why do airlines insist on service brick-hard bread in a low humidity environment?). I suggest taking the cold dry chicken, dicing it, and putting it into the soup ^ Other than that, service was unremarkable, especially with the full F cabin. Very ho-hum, but at least I could sleep for most of the flight.

The highlight of this flight was that it started snowing at ORD while we were taxiing out. We stopped cold in the middle somewhere, quick call to FAs and scramble to block the front section with the cart, and the FO runs out of the cockpit. He goes back to look at the wings (presumably for ice buildup) then rushes back into the flight deck. Immediately we start rolling again, and on the PA: "FAs, please prepare for immediate takeoff." FAs aren't even strapped in yet (one even said, "What did he just say?") when we turned the corner and started to rumble down the runway... talk about hotrodding it! I'm guessing the crew wanted to take off before ORD ATC imposed deicing requirements?

We make it to SFO 20 mins early! Too bad they deplaned using only 2L, even though it was a dual bridge.

-confirmed on UA807, dep 819p (733)
-stood by on UA931, dep 6pm (757) - 5E

We arrive from ORD at Gate 82 and my next flight was at Gate 80... lucky me. Early to boot too, so I didn't have to go rushing (I had ORD CS put me on the standby list for an earlier flight... terrific what a competent agent can do!). GA shows up, processes everyone (light load), and confirms me into F. Just another flight, and with no meal service I just sleep the whole time. Sat next to a deadheading FO flying to LAX to fly a redeye.

Ok, so my experience wasn't so bad... it wasn't the end of the world like I thought it would be. It was definitely helped by my new 1P-ness and a couple of upgrade donors to whom I owe a debt of gratitude. I don't dreade flying UA anymore, and have 2 more trips booked (to complete the Fly 3 promo). I'm not ready to jump ship yet, but UA will make a good 2nd carrier for me (WN was my previous choice ). For the most part, everything fell into place on this MR... lucky me, especially with two connections at ORD in the winter!

Other random comments/observations:
-Talk about luck... all flights left on time, all arrived early.
-I love soup on board!
-Starbucks vs. Kahlua: Kahlua wins. Sorry UA.
-Ch 9 is a great little feature.
-Besides the GA at SFO, everyone seemed to be relatively happy to be at their jobs.
-For my AA brethren... plastic knives!
-Why does .bomb show my credited flights out of order??
-Anyone interested in trading an UA GTEM cert for the AA equivalent?
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