Christmas Vacation

Old Dec 10, 13, 4:05 am
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Christmas Vacation

First off let me say that this is my first post and I am honoured to be a part of this site. That being said I am a teacher in South Korea who came here from America to travel Asia. I've been here almost 3 months so far and Christmas is approaching and no matter what I tried, the girlfriend was not ok with travelling to Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, and Singapore for our vacation...so this is what we have instead...

I'm an airplane type of guy so I'll post the planes I'll be on as well.

12/12 - ICN-SFO-LMT (I think I may be the first person to EVER buy a ticket from ICN-LMT, is there anyway to check this?) (744 - EMB120.)

12/17 - LMT-SFO-DEN-STL (EMB120 - A320 - CRJ700)

12/31 - STL-DEN-LAS (CRJ700 - 752)

12/6 - LAS-LAX-SFO-ICN (752-A321-744)

All together is just under 16,000 Miles. All on United and so far all Economy (not even plus).

I shall update the thread after each day of travelling as long as I think you guys are enjoying the read and the pictures.
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Old Dec 19, 13, 12:18 pm
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The trip started out with taking a bus from Daejeon (where I currently live) to ICN. Luckily there is a direct bus that does this. The bus station was a small little building on the side of the road that was filled past capacity so the GF and I waited outside.
The loading area was even less fancy.
Thats right, right on the side of the street. You might be expecting the bus to look like its straight out of the 60's and falling apart but you would be wrong, as the bus arrives my GF and I grab our bags and load on.
The Seating arrangement is in 2 - 1, the seats are nothing less than absolutely comfortable making the 2 hour journey a joy. If only the seats on my upcoming flight were this comfortable, but I know they won't be.
The legroom is great and the seats recline so getting comfortable was easy.
With about 30 minutes left of the journey we made a pit stop to allow anyone to purchase food or use the restrooms. It was snowing outside and absolutely beautiful. I couldn't resist going outside and frolicking in the snow hehe
Once we got to the airport we found it amazingly easy to get checked in and make it through customs.

Last edited by Shocker077; Dec 19, 13 at 12:39 pm
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Old Dec 19, 13, 1:01 pm
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I've only been to ICN once before, when I landed there the first time. At the time I didn't get to see much of the airport but after a 12 hour flight who would want to do that anyways right? This time my GF and I showed up 3 hours early being an international flight and all, we wanted to make sure everything went smoothly. 3 hours was not enough. The airport is beautiful, the shops are amazing, and there was so much to do that we didn't have time to do it all. We got lucky and caught the reenactment of the "March of The Royal Family". I apologize for the quality of the pictures. After buying some last minute gifts we decided to try and find the "observation deck" which apparently has a great view of all the airplanes and the airport scenery but unfortunately we did not find it and time was running out. We stopped to grab one last Korean meal. A nice spicy beef soup served with all the banchan (side dishes) and rice. The only thing better would have been if this were served on the plane. After finishing we walked on over the gate to see the beauty that would be taking us on our first leg of the journey. Its always breathtaking to see a 747 up close. I was lucky enough to spot this right across the terminal, my first ever A380 sighting!Its amazing just how massive they are, and to think that they fly just blows my mind every time. Once boarded I was confronted from the harsh reality of what would be my coffin for the next 10+ hours. Now granted I am 6'3" and slightly heavier but the legroom was nonexistent and for the second time I have wanted to shoot myself for not purchasing the upgrade to economy comfort.
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Old Dec 19, 13, 1:30 pm
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I've noticed some of you like to post about the IFE and the travel kits provided. Traveling in economy our IFE and travel kit was a bit different from those in business or first and I'm sure you're all curious...this was my IFE for the trip That is as long as the GF lets me use it. The travel kit consisted of a blanket and a pillow, I will say that the blanket was quite comfy, the pillow I used to pad my arm rest.
About an hour into the flight dinner was served. There was a chicken option and a beef. The GF and I both opted for the beef. The meal consisted of a salad with Thousand Island dressing (I've been without Ranch for 3 months, its all I'm craving, but I guess Thousand Island will do), a roll with butter, and the main course all served together. Steamed rice with bulgogi (Korean style marinated beef) and spinach sauteed in garlic and olive oil. To finish it off a raspberry mouse cake.
The salad was decent. The roll was slightly hard. The bulgogi had a nice flavor to it and wasn't bad. The Spinach was overly oily as with the rice, the bottom of the "dish" had a pool of oil on it when everything was said and done. The dessert was decently light and not overly sweet, but lacked any real flavor. I opted for wine with dinner, red wine, and had 3 bottles of this top shelf variety.
For those of you unfamiliar with Villa Noria, the 2012 vintage is one of the best at putting you right to sleep, so I was extremely thrilled when 20 minutes after eating I passed out.
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Old Dec 19, 13, 1:48 pm
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I woke up about 2 hours later dying of thirst. I asked the flight attendant for a glass of water to which she replied that "snack" service will begin momentarily. I decided to plug in my headphones and partake in the actual IFE being provided.
I couldn't get a clear line of site to the monitor which was frustrating but it was entertainment non the less. After about 30 minutes I passed out again never having witnessed the snack service. Another 2 hours had passed before I woke up...I missed the snack service and now I was thirstier than ever. I think it is important to note that I was sitting in seat 48K, which is at the end of the galley with a direct line of sight into it. I could see 3 stewardesses going about their business and every-time they would come out one entrance to go into the other they made it a point to keep their head down so as not to catch any of the customers eyes just begging to ask for anything. I could have pushed the button but seeing as half of the cabin around me was asleep I didn't want to be "that guy". Luckily an hour later a stewardess came around with a tray of water. It ran down my throat in less than a second and then the amazing feeling of my cells absorbing water and getting re-hydrated took me to a state of bliss. I wasn't able to fall asleep again after this so I watched some old episodes of "Friends" that was playing on the screens.

Breakfast was about to be served and I found it very disappointing that there was no other option except a breakfast sandwich. I'm not religious but for personal reasons I don't eat pork. The breakfast sandwich provided had a thick piece of ham I assume on it. I took the meat off and was left with a sandwich of scrambled egg and a slice of tomato that was way passed ripe.
The Yogurt was warm thanks to it being kept on the tray while the sandwiches were heated which made it rather uneasy to eat as the consistency was nothing like yogurt.

After breakfast I decided to watch the sunrise over the ocean as we started to make our final approach to land.
Being on the right side of the plane there were no views of land until there was only 5 minutes left of the flight.

Overall the service on this flight was beyond horrible.
The food was decent
The comfort was decent once you found a way to sit.

Now a 10 hour layover to look forward to...
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Old Dec 19, 13, 1:50 pm
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I'm starting to miss Korea to be honest with you and especially the food (is that 육개장 or 우거지 갈비탕)? But I guess you can guarantee better food on board since its KE catering your UA flight~!!
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Old Dec 19, 13, 2:33 pm
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Originally Posted by LDNConsultant View Post
I'm starting to miss Korea to be honest with you and especially the food (is that 육개장 or 우거지 갈비탕)? But I guess you can
guarantee better food on board since its KE catering your UA flight~!!
It wasn't yukejang...it was another soup that I've never heard of. I actually ordred yukejang as its my favorite soup but he said they didn't have it but this was close...it wasn't but it was still delicious. I forgot the name though...oops.
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Old Dec 23, 13, 11:26 am
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So now a 10 hour layover. This was the longest layover I've ever had and wasn't sure what to do with it. I had been to San Francisco 40+ times, the GF never so we decided maybe we will go out and explore. But first we needed to get through customs. Being our first time through customs at SFO we saw 2 lines and we randomly hopped in one. Each line had close to 2,000 people in it as for some reason every international flight was landing at the same time. After 45 minutes of waiting a gentleman in a suit comes by to inform us that all American residents should be in the left line, and all transients in the right...we were in the right. So now us and about 50 other people all made our way to the back of the left line. Another hour passes before we reach a little sign 4 feet off the ground that had arrows for which line we were supposed to be in from the start. Why there was not an OVERHEAD sign still baffles me. What baffles me even more is that this sign they did have was not stationary, it could have easily been moved to the back of the line so that people could see it.
All the way at the top of the picture is where the ONLY sign would be positioned, and from there there was more waiting.

After finally making it through customs we now go through a final check in which I am informed that i must go back to the customs officer and have him sign the bottom of my customs form since he was so busy joking around with the other customs agent that he had forgotten to do so.

Once everything was said and done with customs and getting our bags and re-checking them we had wasted 3 hours! At this point the question became is it worth finding a place to store our carry-on's then taking the BART into town, spending money taking cabs to go to other places and on food and then having to take the BART back? We figured if we left it would cost us more than it was worth and after all the traveling we would only have 3-4 hours in the city.

We stayed in the airport. BIG MISTAKE #1!

Having just signed up for the MileageExplorer card I had 2 free passes to the United Club. Not having received my card yet I wasn't sure if they would be in the system. Now the GF and I were fully aware that we could purchase day passes for $50 each but we thought that would be too expensive. BIG MISTAKE #2.

We opted to visit a place called "Freshen Up" which offered a 30 minute shower and a 15 minute massage chair session for $15. The GF really enjoyed the shower which is understandable after a 10 hour plane ride and a 3 hour ordeal of getting through customs. I on the other hand was quickly reminded of my freshman year of college living in the dorms. The showers were either really old or hadn't been deep cleaned in a long time. I'm sorry I didn't take any pictures but my phone was dead and charging now. I'm just glad they gave us slippers to wear in the shower which were too small for me so my size 13 heels were still touching the floor. The massage chairs were decent, nothing special, just your standard massage chair. Overall I thought it was a waste of $15 as I could have done without both but the GF loved it.

T-6 Hours

We decided to grab some food, I had fish and chips which was decent. The GF had chicken fingers. The star of the meal was the Anchor Steam however which I hadn't had in over a year. We tried to kill as much time as possible but eventually felt awkward just sitting there. So we ventured off to find something to do which ended up being sitting at a random terminal and people-watching which I love to do at the airport.

T-4 Hours

Time for another snack and for me a beer. We found a nice little spot that had a great view of the airplanes and as I sat down I couldn't help notice the gentlemen s luggage next to me. He was a Premier 1K member that actually had a 2K on the tag, the only thing I thought is "Must be nice, and maybe one day". The Caesar salad I ordered was decent, but more importantly we were able to waste another hour.

T-3 Hours

We decided to catch the shuttle from the main terminals to terminal 1 which was under construction. This was the highlight of the airport stay as we got to take the shuttle on the tarmac, I was like a kid in a candy shop but then reality caught up to me. We were now in a dungeon that housed 2 gates, no windows, no tv's, nothing. I eventually passed out for 30 minutes until the GF woke me up because she was bored.

At this point I decided to realize that instead of spending $50 each on a day pass, we had manages to spend $126 and were uncomfortable the whole layover...I told you it was a mistake!

Anyways it's finally time to board our chariot. It's a very interesting feeling going from a 747-400 to an EMB120.
It's like your own private jet! Until you sit down and realize the leg room.
In all honesty the leg room was more than the 747 and the seat wasn't as stiff, so overall I was more comfortable. Service on board consisted of a full can of soda. The flight attendant was very attentive. The flight overall was smooth and we landed 25 minutes ahead of schedule where at LMT you park next to fighter jets. It was dark or I would have taken a picture.

LMT-SFO-DEN-STL is next!
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Old Dec 23, 13, 5:28 pm
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Great start to the report, you had me laughing at some of the comments, great job and keep it up!! That line at SFO for customs would have driven me nuts... I would have been steaming mad by the time I made it to the folks at the front...
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Old Dec 30, 13, 11:07 am
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We arrived at LMT an hour before the flight which might have been cutting it somewhat close. If you're not familiar with LMT, which I assume 99.9% of you aren't. it's a tiny airport boasting 2 gates if you can call it that. It serves 2 destinations...SFO and PDX and depending on where you're going, you go in that line. After checking in we took our bags 2 feet to the left and handed them to the TSA agent. Being that this is a small airport, there is no x-ray machine for luggage but instead the TSA agent will open it up right in front of everyone and do a visual/hand check. I can only imagine the things they have seen and for once I felt bad for purposely placing my dirty underwear right on top (There's something about seeing another person pick up your dirty underwear that makes you somewhat embarrassed, but when you have no idea about who might go in your luggage its more of a "Hell yea you're going to touch my dirty underwear" feeling).

Here's where it got interesting. After all the baggage was searched the same TSA agents opened the security check point and invited all of us travelling to SFO to come through. These 3 TSA agents essentially managed the entire airport. Once through the checkpoint, it was a quick 3 steps to the waiting area where we waited for about 5 minutes before boarding. I should mention that once through the security checkpoint there is no snack machine, no vending machine, no restroom, certainly no restaurant, and no water fountain. Just a small glass room that has a great view of the tarmac and the fighter jets.

Time to board...

I had originally intended to do the plane side check of one of my 2 carry-ons, but the flight attendant said there would be room for it inside. By the way, this was the same flight attendant as our flight to LMT. She must hate her route. Once on board we realized there wasn't enough room for the bags, and there wasn't enough room for it in the cargo hold either. The flight was full with the exception of 1 seat...which the flight attendant secured 5 carry-ons to. I've never seen this before and wish I had taken a picture.

Leg room was great again on this private jet .
It was disappointing though that both times flying the EMB120 on this trip it was dark because I couldn't take advantage of the greatest amenity this plane had to offer...

Nothing like taking a leak looking down from that high! They should put windows in the lavatory in more planes.

A quick flight to SFO and a can of soda later and its time to go to Denver.
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Old Dec 30, 13, 11:30 am
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Once we landed we had to take the shuttle on the tarmac again to get to the other gates. I can't tell you how enjoyable this is.

Our layover was short so we stopped for a quick meal at 7am. I had a beer and a salad, the GF had a bagel and cream cheese. She said it was too early for beer and I told her it was too late for a bagel and cream cheese. Soon after we boarded the A320 that would take us to Denver.

Leg room was decent, still better than the 747 to start our journey.

We were actually provided with IFE this time that we could enjoy.

I however opted for the rare form of IFE...Channel 9! I was disappointed at first because the flight attendant made the announcement for it but it didn't come on until after takeoff. It did remain active however until we parked at our gate in DEN which was a treat.

The plane that took off 2 ahead of us was a Southwest 737 bound for guess where...DEN. I couldn't zoom in enough and get a clear picture but thats him!

This is where Channel 9 got fun, you could hear everything the Southwest pilot was saying allowing with all other aircraft in the area. Close to the end of our journey the tower came on and granted our pilots request to increase speed to 080. A second later they told SW to decrease their speed to 076. a few minutes later we passed them.


In flight services included a soda. No nuts, no cookies, nothing unless you wanted to buy a snack.


About to cross the Rocky Mountains

Once we landed and made our turn off the runway I noticed SW was now landing. We check the monitor and saw our flight was on time but way on the other side of the terminal so we made our way down with another short layover we decided not to get anything to eat.
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Old Dec 30, 13, 11:50 am
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We arrived at the gate and noticed that we were supposed to take off in 30 minutes but there still wasn't a plane. The board still said "on time" so we found a place to charge our phones. T-5 minutes and still no plane. Finally an announcement was made that the flight would be delayed. Right as the announcement was made our CRJ700 showed up. 10 minutes later my GF's name and mine were called to the counter where we were given new boarding passes with a seat change...A FREE UPGRADE TO ECONOMY COMFORT! Basically nobody wanted to pay for the extra leg room and we never selected seats for this leg of the flight so we got them. We're not special or anything unfortunately. We boarded 10 minutes later and ended up taking off 40 minutes after scheduled.

The leg room was great as it should have been in economy comfort.


There was no IFE.

Drink service consisted of a cup of soda. Once again no snacks unless you wanted to pay for it. I'm far from high maintenance but would it hurt to give a bag of peanuts like airlines used to? At least on DL you still get a Biscoff which are delicious! United it not the cheapest of airlines so I'm sure the added cost to your bottom line would minimize profits just a little but you must be doing great on customer retention that it doesn't matter.

The overall flight was uneventful, aside from seeing a few fighter jets pass by, seems to be everywhere I go on this trip I see fighter jets. As we made our decent into STL we got a nice fly-by of the Gateway Arch.


I apologize for the glare but its there if you look right by the river.

A 2 week vacation in STL and then STL-DEN-LAS to work New Years Eve.
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Old Dec 30, 13, 5:05 pm
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Originally Posted by Shocker077 View Post
I'm still new to the new lingo. Are these crotch shots considered selfies?
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Old Dec 30, 13, 10:56 pm
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Originally Posted by greg0ire View Post
I'm still new to the new lingo. Are these crotch shots considered selfies?
no these are crotchies #crotchies oops
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