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United Business Class San Francisco to China (SFO-PEK, PVG-SFO)

United Business Class San Francisco to China (SFO-PEK, PVG-SFO)

Old Jun 22, 09, 9:53 pm
  #1  
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United Business to China (SFO-PEK, PVG-SFO)

Did United's 889 and 858 SFO-PEK and PVG-SFO. Still old configuration, but totally fine. I will do mainly pictures with brief descriptions, since when I read these reports, I really just look at the pictures!

UA 889,B777
Depart: SFO 11:13 AM
Arrive: PEK 2:40 PM
Arrives next day
Seats 13A,13B


Here are the pictures of the outbound flight. We had an old configuration 777. Very comfortable. The AV system, is of course, inferior to the new configuration, but overall, a very comfortable ride. The food was quite good, I must say. However, the warm nuts are not as warm as they should be. They are lukewarm at best these days.

I had the shortribs, which were very tasty. Mrs. SFflyer had the chicken. They offered a mid-flight snack of noodles. They also had tons of munchies available--chips and sweets. Right before landing, they had a fruit plate or hot pastrami sandwich. This was quite tasty, actually. They had roasted potatoes with it. We had a nice malbec.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/3282838...562108/detail/

Last edited by SFflyer123; Jul 26, 09 at 3:02 pm
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Old Jun 22, 09, 10:30 pm
  #2  
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Beijing-Xian China Eastern Economy Class

After Beijing, we flew to Xian to see the Terracota warriors. We took China Eastern Airlines with an A320. Surprisingly, the plane was clean and modern. They served a nice snack of two cakes and drinks. They don't serve diet cokes on the planes.

The seats were very comfy, and to be honest, it was nicer than economy of a United flight. The pitch was nearly the same as Economy plus. The seats were clean and not smelly.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/3282838...010810/detail/

Last edited by SFflyer123; Jun 28, 09 at 4:15 pm
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Old Jun 22, 09, 10:37 pm
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Xian-Guilin Air China Economy Class

This was a 737-800. It was actually quite pleasant. Again, good leg-room. The flight was only 1.5 hours, but they still fed us! It was weird to get food, not only on an economy flight, but a short economy flight. The food was quite tasty, much better than stuff we used to get in economy in the states.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/3282838...505171/detail/

Last edited by SFflyer123; Jun 28, 09 at 4:15 pm
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Old Jun 22, 09, 10:43 pm
  #4  
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Guilin-Shanghai China Southern Economy

China Southern flew us on a 737-800. Very comfortable plane with excellent legroom. Probably somewhere between United's economy and economy plus. Extremely clean pane, no smell, fabric still intact. Better than some domestic US flights. The flight was only 2 hours, yet they still gave us a very nice meal. Nothing super filling, but great for a 2 hour economy flight.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/3282838...329328/detail/

Last edited by SFflyer123; Jun 28, 09 at 4:15 pm
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Old Jun 23, 09, 4:22 am
  #5  
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Wirelessly posted (Palm TX: Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 6.0; Windows 98; PalmSource/Palm-D050; Blazer/4.3) 16;320x448)

Malbec..... do you remember which one....?
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Old Jun 23, 09, 10:08 am
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Shanghai Pudong

We then were ready to head home back on United's 858, 747 upper deck business class. We wanted to try the new shanghai maglev train, which gets you from the city to the airport in 7 minutes at 430km/hr! We first took a taxi to the maglev station, which took about 25 minutes with traffic. Despite the long, arduous drive, the cab fare came to only 54 RMB, which is around $8!

Then, we got to the maglev station, and the ticket is 50 RMB (less if you show them your airline ticket) which is around $7-$8. Scan your bags in the luggage scanner, take the escalator up and then get on the train. It is very similar to the train that you take in London's Heathrow, but of course, it is much faster.

Here is a 50 second video of the journey at 430km/hr! Watch how we just fly by the the cars on the freeway as if they were only going at 20mph!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hAye7KTuuDk
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Old Jun 23, 09, 4:41 pm
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I SO want to do that train ride....

how did you plan the trip?? thanks
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Old Jun 23, 09, 5:02 pm
  #8  
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Originally Posted by Gaucho100K View Post
Wirelessly posted (Palm TX: Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 6.0; Windows 98; PalmSource/Palm-D050; Blazer/4.3) 16;320x448)

Malbec..... do you remember which one....?
If the OP had short ribs, almost certainly Andean Vineyards Mendoza 2007.
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Old Jun 23, 09, 5:31 pm
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I do really like the short ribs they have on UA. One of my favorite meals. I also had some kind of okra on my last flight to PEK, which is one of my least favorite veggies, but it was prepared very spicy and sauteed. It was indeed very good.
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Old Jun 25, 09, 7:49 am
  #10  
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Originally Posted by Markieg View Post
I SO want to do that train ride....

how did you plan the trip?? thanks
I actually booked the land trip through a tour group. It was not bad, $1600 for 10 days, 9 nights. All 5 star hotels, included food, admission fees to places, tour guides, intra-china flights, and transporation on the bus.

They were originally going to have us fly on Air China, but I booked my own UA flight myself, using SWU's to upgrade to business. I paid $1500 for an economy ticket with an upgrade to business.

Yeah, the short ribs are excllent, I agree. I do not remember which type of Malbec, but the funny thing is that I chose the malbec over the often-preferred cabernet. I like malbec quite a bit.
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Old Jun 25, 09, 2:07 pm
  #11  
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I am enjoying your trip report, SFflyer123!

Those scorpions look horrible.
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Old Jun 25, 09, 5:49 pm
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im so jealous of that maglev...

Nice TR
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Old Jun 25, 09, 9:30 pm
  #13  
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Originally Posted by Markieg View Post
I SO want to do that train ride....
There's a fair amount of discussion on it in the China forum here. Of note is that it only hits the top speed of 430km/h from about mid-morning to late afternoon. Outside of those operating hours the train doesn't go nearly as fast, I think about the same speed as regular high-speed rail (e.g., TGV), or about 300km/h, IIRC. I rode it at both speeds. The slower speed is not nearly as exciting.


As for the pictures in the first post on the UA flight -- that catering looks soooo unappetizing.
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Old Jun 27, 09, 6:55 am
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At the airport--Shanghai Airlines Terminal 2 Star Alliance Lounge

So after we get to the airport, which is beautiful, by the way, we then proceed to United Check in. Amazingly, it looks just like at home. They have the standard lines and red carpets, etc. There was essentially no line. Our flight was at 12:25pm departure. We left to get into a taxi to go to the maglev at 9am. We got to the airport at 10am, no problem, with a 1/2 hour taxi ride and a 7 min maglev ride.

Check in was a snap, just as fast as in the USA if not faster. United leaves from terminal 2, and the star alliance lounge there is for Shanghai air. They gave us an entry pass into the Shanghai Air lounge. I got the sense the pass was more important than my star alliance gold card and boarding pass. In fact, they didn't even ask for the star alliance gold card.

The lounges are upstairs, just above the terminal from which you depart. We got to our gate, then just took the escalator up to the lounge. They collect the pass, and then you're in the business section. They also have a first class section in the same entry way. This is set up like Lufthansa's lounge of senator and business right next to each other.

The lounge itself is fantastic. Much better than most red carpet clubs. It is comparable to a LH Senator lounge. They have noodles, some dumplings and snacks, wine, beers in cans, and fruit. The matrons who are they are fantastic. They really help you with service (even though it's all self-serve) if you ask them for something. For anybody who has been to China, you know that most of the bathrooms outside of a luxury hotel are simply disgusting. The bathrooms here were fantastic, just like an American bathroom. They don't do announcements at this lounge, but you basically can overlook your gate and see when they start boarding.

Overall, the airport experience was great, and the lounge in Shanghai was really nice. Here are my photos from maglev to check in to lounge to getting ready to board:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/3282838...361427/detail/

Last edited by SFflyer123; Jun 28, 09 at 4:16 pm
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Old Jun 27, 09, 9:47 am
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Originally Posted by SFflyer123 View Post
The flight was only 1.5 hours, but they still fed us! It was weird to get food, not only on an economy flight, but a short economy flight. The food was quite tasty, much better than stuff we used to get in economy in the states.
It does take some getting used to, doesn't it. And a hot meal too. Thanks for the trip report.
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