Go Back  FlyerTalk Forums > Community > Trip Reports
Reload this Page >

UA 787 inaugural IAH-ORD-IAH + a peek at reconfig PMUA 763 (ex-ghetto bird)

UA 787 inaugural IAH-ORD-IAH + a peek at reconfig PMUA 763 (ex-ghetto bird)

Old Nov 6, 12, 12:34 pm
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jun 2002
Location: ORD, HKG
Programs: UA*G, AA PLT, HHonors Diamond, Marriott Gold
Posts: 9,766
UA 787 inaugural IAH-ORD-IAH + a peek at reconfig PMUA 763 (ex-ghetto bird)



Fold out from October 2012's Hemisphere magazine




Since NH introduce their 787 inaugural service NRT-HKG back in October 26th, 2011, I had always wanted to try on the 787. The 787 looks totally different than any other airliners especially with the wings, the interior, big windows, and no window shades.

I was always a PMUA flyer, and with the bankruptcy like 5+ years ago, PMUA didn't have any money to order the 787 until majority of airlines placed their orders, and their first 787 deliveries wouldn't happen until at least 2016. However, with PMUA and CO's merger, that had totally changed, as CO order their 787 long ago.

Fast forward to 2012, UA had annonced the 787 will fly domestic initially for crew familiarization before flying international, and they had set a number of domestic routes start flying from November 4th, 2012. That include IAH-ORD, IAH-EWR, IAH-LAX, IAH-SFO, and IAH-CLE. However, initially UA had not mentioned which one is the inaugural flight, or would all the flights on the day consider as inaugurals. When UA loaded the 787 schedules into the system back in the end of August 2012, FTers were all scrambling wanted to get in one of this flight. The price of the ticket for one of this flights are just the normal ticket price, as it basically replace the existing plane on that particular flight. I had read that some FTers actually use miles and confirmed in F right away, so that had me thinking of doing the same, as since it is miles, it wouldn't cost me a dime if there is anything happen to the flight (especially seeing NH's 787 still have quite a bit of mechanical problems that need to swap out often)

Base on the schedules on Nov.4th, it is not hard to guess UA would be using 2 787, one goes IAH-ORD-IAH-LAX, and the other goes IAH-EWR-IAH-LAX, so it is most likely either IAH-ORD or IAH-EWR would be the inaugurals. I also took a look at the schedule and saw that IAH-ORD leaves a little earlier than IAH-EWR, so I put my bet on IAH-ORD, and booked a roundtrip IAH-ORD-IAH, first leg in F in hoping if they will give more swag for F pax, and second leg in Y so that I can experience how tight 3-3-3 feels, so the total cost me 37.5K miles. (one way domestic F {IN} 25K + one way domestic Y {XN} 12.5K miles) If this is not for the inaugural 787 and some uncertainty cancellations, I wouldn't even consider to use miles at all, as everyone knows that using miles for domestic is basically a waste of miles. Therefore, I had 4L for IAH-ORD, and 16L bulkhead window for ORD-IAH.

After that, I also use another 37.5K miles for another ticket ORD-IAH-SFO just to be on the safe side, since IAH-SFO will be on the second 787. If anything happens to ORD-IAH, for sure I can still fly 787 for IAH-SFO.

Shortly after, UA announced UA 1116 IAH-ORD will be the inaugural, I was glad I booked for that flight, however, I was still holding the second ticket ORD-IAH-SFO. There were many people tracking the delivery of UA's 2nd 787 from Boeing, as in order for UA to fly to all those cities on November 4th, they need 2 787 in order to work. When the 2nd 787 got delayed by Boeing, UA finally announced on October 26th than IAH-EWR-IAH, IAH-LAX-IAH, and IAH-CLE-IAH would be swapped from 787 to 762 or 764, that made many people angry, however UA offered free refunds and changes to the ticket for those got affected.

By November 2nd, two days prior to the inaugural flight, all pax on the inaugural UA1116 IAH-ORD all received a personal email from UA

"Your upcoming United flight 1116 to Chicago O'Hare‏"

"United is proud to be the first North American carrier flying the 787 Dreamliner. The Dreamliner is a revolutionary aircraft, offering improved lighting, bigger windows, larger overhead bins and enhanced ventilation systems, along with increased fuel efficiency and reduced carbon emissions. Your flight from Houston Bush Intercontinental to Chicago O'Hare on November 4, 2012, will be the first passenger flight of the United 787 Dreamliner for a U.S. airline.

Since this is an inaugural flight, members of the news media and other customers will be filming in the gate area and on the aircraft to capture the event. If you have questions regarding your flight, please call our Reservations Center at 1-800-826-0254, Monday - Friday, 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Central time. Thank you for flying with United on this historic flight."



Past trip reports

1. http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/trip-...-nh-tg-lx.html
2. http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/trip-...lots-pics.html
3. http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/trip-...-c-photos.html
4. http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/trip-...0-28-09-a.html

Last edited by ORDnHKG; Nov 6, 12 at 6:07 pm
ORDnHKG is offline  
Old Nov 6, 12, 1:15 pm
  #2  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jun 2002
Location: ORD, HKG
Programs: UA*G, AA PLT, HHonors Diamond, Marriott Gold
Posts: 9,766
Since I live in ORD, but the inaugural is at IAH, I have to buy a separate ticket for ORD-IAH-ORD, initially there was some uncertainly if the 787 is going to fly or lot, originally I had a ticket on hole for around $300 ORD-IAH on a 3 class 763 on November 3rd the night before the inaugural, and IAH-ORD November 5th on the 787 (just in case if 787 doesn't fly November 4th, I would still have it for back up on November 5th) But I had my ticket using farelock on hold too long and expire, the price had jumed up to $400+. Forunately 3 weeks before November 4th, the price went back down to $300, the 3 class 763 outbound on November 3rd still available, but the 787 on November 5th went up significantly, so I had to settle for the later flight that is also a 3 class 763.

Date: 11/03/2012
Flight: UA 576
Route: ORD-IAH
Aircraft: 767-300ER
Reg. # N660UA (6460)
Gate: C9
Class of Service: Economy class
Seat: 14A
Schedule departs: 6:45pm
Schedule arrives: 9:31pm





I was no.3 on the list, thought I would still have a chance, who knows at the gate I got bumped to no.5 on the list. Oh well, but at least I can try out the crew rest seat.



While waiting at the gate, I saw a guy sitting across from was shaking hands and talking to a few CO FAs, I look closely it was UA CEO Jeff Smisek ! He is actually on my flight flying to IAH as well. I went to him he shaked my hands too. I asked him if the 787 was flying for sure the next day, and he told me he is going to IAH as well. He wasn't the first person to board the plane, he waited til almost the end of group 1 to board. He was seated at 1C, the centre seat in F.



I was at 14A, one of the 4 crew rest seat on the 3 class 763, it is actually in the back of C class next to the galley, but it had the same amount of legroom of exit row 20 ABJK. Since these seats are for crew rest, other than extra legroom, it also comes with extra recline and footrests. For some odd reason, both C class pillow, C class blankets, and C class headsets are in the seats.





Then the odd thing keeps coming, the FA actually ask all 4 of us in these seats for the choice of pre-departure beverage. After took off, the FA then gave us hot towels. Drink service start, the FA actually used the F/C glasses for our drinks, and follow by warm nuts ! Yes, I am getting full C class service in a Y seat !



So I asked the FA were we going to get serve food as well ? Then he said just beverages. Since I knew I wouldn't get upgraded to C, I went to ManChuWok to get Chinese food at ORD, by the time I finished my chinese food, shockingly that same FA came by and ask all 4 of us if we need something to eat ! None of the other 3 people took the offer (what were they thinking ?), but I told the FA if he offered that earlier, I would gladly trade my chinese food to the C meal, and he said he would like that. Too bad I was already full.

After the plane landed, I stayed in Doubletree IAH for the night, it is $79 for corporate rate, not bad. I know I would only get 5 hours of sleep, as I had to wake up by 4am the next morning.
ORDnHKG is offline  
Old Nov 6, 12, 1:42 pm
  #3  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jun 2002
Location: ORD, HKG
Programs: UA*G, AA PLT, HHonors Diamond, Marriott Gold
Posts: 9,766
The next morning, I still worry I couldn't wake up espeically if the daylight saying took effect on 2am November 4th, I afraid the hotel might mess up with the wake up call at 4am. Fortunately my cell phone wake me up before that, and I took the shuttle at 5am (the earliest shuttle for Doubletree was 4:30am)

I texted Scott6067 from the GLBT forum that he said he will be at the United Club, he wasn't flying on that day though. There are two other people on that shuttle, and they were all talking the 787 flight as well, I didn't spot any yellow FT tags on them though. By the time I got to terminal E, they have a written sign hang by the security line, I thought it was a separate line for faster access, but it just went to the main line instead, it was 30 people deep, and they don't have pre-check at E, luckily the line went fairly fast.

I walked to the entrance of Untied Club to meet Scott6067, after I met him, I decided to just walk to the gate E5 to see what happens there. Everything was already set up by the inaugural speech by UA officials doesn't start until 6am.

























68 people on the upgrade list !

Around 6am, everything swing into action with UA officials and medias !



The guy that had flown 1st 747 flight on PA, 1st A380 flight on SQ, 1st 787 flight on NH.



THe two captains of the day's 787 flight.







UA CEO Jeff Smisek



Took a photo of myself at the 787 podium



After the ribbon cutting ceremony, everyone started to board

Last edited by ORDnHKG; Nov 6, 12 at 1:55 pm
ORDnHKG is offline  
Old Nov 6, 12, 2:09 pm
  #4  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jun 2002
Location: ORD, HKG
Programs: UA*G, AA PLT, HHonors Diamond, Marriott Gold
Posts: 9,766
Date: 11/04/2012
Flight: UA 1116
Route: IAH-ORD
Aircraft: 787-8
Reg. # N20904 (3904)
Gate: E5
Class of Service: First class
Seat: 4L
Schedule departs: 7:20am
Schedule arrives: 9:51am




Boarding using only 1 jetbridge thru door 2L



The front F (BusinessFirst) cabin row 1-3



And the back F (BusinessFirst) cabin row 4-6





Empty Y cabin before everyone boarded



The cockpit





Birth certificate











The bathroom is very interesting, first all doors are only one flow and it slide inwards, then if you flush the toilet, the cover automatically lower before it flush. However, big minus is no window.







When I got back out, the aisles already jam pack with passengers and medias. I just returned to my seat 4L.

Last edited by ORDnHKG; Nov 6, 12 at 2:30 pm
ORDnHKG is offline  
Old Nov 6, 12, 2:34 pm
  #5  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jun 2002
Location: ORD, HKG
Programs: UA*G, AA PLT, HHonors Diamond, Marriott Gold
Posts: 9,766


UA was incredibly cheap for this inaugural, the folders on the seat pockets are the only giveaways, nothing else (only if you count the 787 cookies by the gate). Inside the folders, it only consisted of a few inserts including the inaugural certificate. Seriously UA, you can't even afford 787 pin or luggage tags ?





Safety card and some kind of new headsets, looks rather cheap and doesn't seems to be noise cancelling kind like PMUA had.









Overhead reading lights and air nozzles are completely different than any other planes




Last edited by ORDnHKG; Nov 6, 12 at 4:52 pm
ORDnHKG is offline  
Old Nov 6, 12, 2:54 pm
  #6  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jun 2002
Location: ORD, HKG
Programs: UA*G, AA PLT, HHonors Diamond, Marriott Gold
Posts: 9,766






THe take off was fast and smooth, I started out playing with the windows, it actually took a while to really learn how to control it. I was rather embrassed that my seatmate (later I learned that he is on FT too, but he doesn't post much) actually teached me how to dim or bright the windows, as initially I thought I had to keep pressing the button for it to change color.













The mood lighting changed from blue to orange after take off. However, I thought I saw in some photos of NH's 787 would change to all sorts of color, like I had seen on TG's 77W.











Champaigne for everyone on the entire plane no matter F or Y, then follow by a toast from Jeff Smisek actually spoke on the PA.





After that, FA spoke on the PA to ask everyone to be seated so that they can actually start service. F is the usual breakfast (no special inaugural meal), and Y is the usual beverages only service.



The CO style egg mcmuffin was disgusting, I mean even McDonald's egg mcmuffin sandwhich had a much thicker piece of egg ! If it is PMUA for this kind of distance, it would have the apple pancakes instead ! The other choice was cereal with a banana.

There was a thread on communitybuzz set up about those FTers on the inaugural flight, there were over 30+ FTers on this flight, many of those were not aware of the list, I managed to meet a few.



From left to right: Me, snowed, and joony



From left to right: Me, Mommy Points, CO777, paranoiatx, geomedic



Me and my seatmate bluetim

Last edited by ORDnHKG; Nov 6, 12 at 4:00 pm
ORDnHKG is offline  
Old Nov 6, 12, 4:08 pm
  #7  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jun 2002
Location: ORD, HKG
Programs: UA*G, AA PLT, HHonors Diamond, Marriott Gold
Posts: 9,766








Landing was fast and smooth, and it went straight to C20, where two fire trucks already parking in front of the gate for water salute.















The were tons of UA employees and medias wellcome everyone by the gate, and it seemed WeatherBoy got interviewed multiple times both in IAH and ORD. UA also set up a stage by C20 at ORD.






Last edited by ORDnHKG; Nov 6, 12 at 4:16 pm
ORDnHKG is offline  
Old Nov 6, 12, 4:38 pm
  #8  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jun 2002
Location: ORD, HKG
Programs: UA*G, AA PLT, HHonors Diamond, Marriott Gold
Posts: 9,766
Date: 11/04/2012
Flight: UA 1510
Route: ORD-IAH
Aircraft: 787-8
Reg. # N20904 (3904)
Gate: C20
Class of Service: Economy Class
Seat: 16L
Schedule departs: 11:21am
Schedule arrives: 2:06pm


Boarding was late because of the longer time to clean the plane, and it seemed this flight was a lot less people that were just flying for the 787, rather majority of passenger were business type, or just to fly to IAH, nothing related to 787. I had the bulkhead window, and also at the same side of the plane I had my previous flight. The legroom is good, but obviously the seat is narrow (no, not because I am at bulkhead, I had been on other planes like 763, 777 with immovable armrest). It also had some kind of control for audio and video at the inner lower armrest area.









Look at the wing of 787 compare to the wing of 744 parked next to it at C18, the wingtip of 787 reach the tip of 744's winglet. The departure was further delayed, as they realized lots of seats had missing safety card ! FA had to walk thru each seats to see which seat doesn't have one, as that is a FAA safety regulation. If they see the seat doesn't have one, they don't replace with a new card, they only replace with black and white printed copies ! I would think if UA did give all of use some "real" giveways / memorbilla for the inaugural flights, I don't think not as many of us had to grab whatever we can !



Take off was fast and smooth once again, but obvious no more clapping hands like the previous flight, majority of passenger, I would say 95% were just take the 787 as another plane to get to their destinations. Also, there wasn't champaigne or any giveways for this flight at all, it is only the inflight service coordinatior mentioned this was the 2nd 787 flight.







Since there was only beverage service, once the seat belt light off, I proceeded to walk around to take photos in the Y cabin.



The galley at the back of the cabin. Some people mentioned the 787 galley is different from otehr planes, in my opinion, it just looked like the galley for the 777. Since this flight was a lot less fan fare, FA was nice enough to open the crew rest area upstairs for both pilots (front) and FA (back) for visit and photos.

















Galley by door 3






Last edited by ORDnHKG; Nov 6, 12 at 7:30 pm
ORDnHKG is offline  
Old Nov 6, 12, 5:18 pm
  #9  
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Boston, MA (BOS)
Programs: AA EXP MM, DL Gold, SPG Plat, AMEX Plat, HHonors Gold, RC Rewards Gold, VIPorter
Posts: 5,559
Awesome report thanks for sharing.
AAerSTL is offline  
Old Nov 6, 12, 5:28 pm
  #10  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jun 2002
Location: ORD, HKG
Programs: UA*G, AA PLT, HHonors Diamond, Marriott Gold
Posts: 9,766


Door 3R







Crew rest for the pilots in the front









I met with some other FTers on this flight including PVDtoDEL, tahsir21 (milevalue.com), and United863 (Darren fron FrequentlyFlying). Both IAH-ORD-IAH used the same crew, they were all CO's international FA base in IAH, all of them seemed very chatty and friendly. Since there were not much fan fare, FA actually chatted with us especially Jodi who works in F class. One of the FA named Alex who worked in Y even gave me a 787 pin. (no, not UA one, he said it is from Boeing)

Shortly after, the flight was about to come to an end, I went back to my seat and took a few more shots on the wing from my windows at 16L.





Once it landed, it taxi past UA's 2nd 787 N26906



It parked at C14, next to PMUA's 763 N676UA (the bird took me back ORD the next day)







There were many people by C14 taking photos of the 787, some of them are taking it to LAX, I met more FTers by the gate area that were going for the IAH-LAX leg, Angust, CaptainMiles, UA_to_ORD, and alchip (who gave out Boeing 787 stickers to everyone)


Last edited by ORDnHKG; Nov 6, 12 at 6:10 pm
ORDnHKG is offline  
Old Nov 6, 12, 6:44 pm
  #11  
 
Join Date: Jan 2011
Programs: AY PLT, AA PLT, DL FO, LH, EK, TK, IHG PLT w/AMB, Marriott Silver
Posts: 359
Great report, thanks for sharing! The F meal on the inaugurl flight looks really pathetic, they should have had something special...
DALtoAAL is offline  
Old Nov 6, 12, 6:45 pm
  #12  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jun 2002
Location: ORD, HKG
Programs: UA*G, AA PLT, HHonors Diamond, Marriott Gold
Posts: 9,766
Date: 11/05/2012
Flight: UA 621
Route: IAH-ORD
Aircraft: 767-300ER
Reg. # N676UA (6676)
Gate: C16
Class of Service: Economy class
Seat: 22A (Exit row)
Schedule departs: 12:47pm
Schedule arrives: 3:25pm


After some much needed sleep and rest, time to go home. Initially I plan to SDC for earlier flight, even for the 787, but then I really don't want to get up early at 4am two days in a row. There were some SDC routings would take me IAH-IAD-ORD, and it would get me more miles. However, when I took a look for the seatmap on my flight, it had switched from a 3 class 763 to 2 class reconfig 763. This is rather interesting, as I had probably flew the ghetto birds like hundred times already, especially when it used on ORD-SFO-ORD, however, I haven't been on one since it reconfigured.

Originally this flight was a 3 class 763, I had the exitrow window 20A, luckily when it swapped to this 2 class 763, I still retain exitrow window at 22A. The flight board 30 min late as it was by the hangar for maintenance, (since when did PMUA birds get checks at CO hubs ?) it had to tow to the gate.



This config had been out for a few months now, but seems like seatguru still doesn't have much information regarding good seats and bad seats. When I got onboard, I was surprised to see crew rest seats in the front of the Y cabin, and the set up was exactly like PMUA's 777 XI/XC, two rows of crew rest seats with legrest, then the 3 row has huge legroom like 21HJ on PMUA's 777.



Another good row are the center seats 21 DEF, it even have more legroom than exit 21,22 ABKL





PTV is all touchscreen, it also has that remote control looking for at the inner lower armrest, however, it can still basically change channels and volume with the screen than those buttons.





THey had also redid the bathroom, as well as overhead bins to 777 signature full style for the entire plane, not the modified style in PMUA's 3 class 763 F and C, with Y untouched. Here are a few more pics from the back.







In conclusion, if you are going to fly one of these reconfig 2 class 763, consider:

-16 AB and 17AB are crew rest seats with extra legroom, extra recline, and come with a legrest
-16 AB are bulkhead however, same as 16KL
-16 AB and 17AB will only open for domestic as these are crew rest seats
-18 AB have huge legroom behind the crew rest seat
-21 ABKL and 22 ABKL are exit rows, unlike seatguru only mention 22 is exit row, and no that is incorrect, UA didnot remove one of the overwing exit door during reconfig, it is still there. Row 21 used to be bulkhead exitrow with very limited legroom, but now is unlimited except limited recline
-21 DEF as I said have huge legroom, more than exit rows, not sure because of the exit or because of that was where the middle galley used to be

Last edited by ORDnHKG; Nov 6, 12 at 11:42 pm
ORDnHKG is offline  
Old Nov 6, 12, 7:23 pm
  #13  
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: IST/SEA
Programs: AS 75K, TK ELPL (*G), BA Gold (OWE), DL GM (ST E+), Hyatt Globalist, Hilton Diamond
Posts: 7,535
Originally Posted by ORDnHKG View Post
I met with some other FTers on this flight including PVDtoDEL, tahsir21 (milevalue.com), and United863 (Darren fron FrequentlyFlying). Both IAH-ORD-IAH used the same crew, they were all CO's international FA base in IAH, all of them seemed very chatty and friendly. Since there were not much fan fare, FA actually chatted with us especially Jodi who works in F class. One of the FA named Alex who worked in Y even gave me a 787 pin. (no, not UA one, he said it is from Boeing)
It was a pleasure to meet you guys

A great flight indeed.
PVDtoDEL is offline  
Old Nov 6, 12, 7:58 pm
  #14  
 
Join Date: Dec 2011
Posts: 1,185
http://i583.photobucket.com/albums/s...2/P1000184.jpg

Ha! That was me realizing at that exact moment that I didn't have an overhead bin. @:-)
UnitedFlyGuy is offline  
Old Nov 6, 12, 8:01 pm
  #15  
 
Join Date: Aug 2001
Location: SFO/SJC
Programs: UA 1K&1.99MM (really), Bonvoy lifetime Gold with 14 years of Plat!
Posts: 1,750
Thanks for the report!

The 767 crew rest seats are a great secret - you always get the full C service. Often those seats dont open up till a couple of days before the flight.

New headsets are interesting - i am sitting in 4F on a pmCO 737-900 right now and there's a pair of those in the seat pocket. First time I have run into them.
cricketer is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Search Engine: