Go Back  FlyerTalk Forums > Miles&Points > Airlines and Mileage Programs > United Airlines | MileagePlus
Reload this Page >

My first flight after being COVID grounded --- {just first flight experiences)

My first flight after being COVID grounded --- {just first flight experiences)

Old Jul 4, 20, 7:29 am
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: CLE
Programs: UA,WN,AA,DL, B6
Posts: 3,791
My first flight after being COVID grounded --- {just first flight experiences)

Just flew CLE-EWR on a 737-900 24 passengers. My first flight since the virus. Everything was nice. FA passed out packages snack with water and cookies. Boarded back of aircraft first I was in basic economy so I had seat 37A. Newark airport never seen so few people only 20 flight on the monitor thru late afternoon. Told the crew when I got off they get A for procedures and service.


I meant basic economy sorry

Last edited by buckeyefanflyer; Jul 5, 20 at 8:07 am
buckeyefanflyer is offline  
Old Jul 4, 20, 8:00 pm
  #2  
A FlyerTalk Posting Legend
 
Join Date: Apr 2004
Location: GVA (Greater Vancouver Area)
Programs: DREAD Gold; UA 1.021MM; Bonvoy Au-197; PCC Elite+; CWC Au-197; CCC Elite*; WoH Dis
Posts: 49,950
Originally Posted by buckeyefanflyer View Post
I was in economy plus so I had seat 37A.
Anything further back than Row 21 on a 739 is not E+.
SPN Lifer and SFO_LOW_CLOUDS like this.
mahasamatman is offline  
Old Jul 5, 20, 7:41 am
  #3  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Location: IAD/DCA/FLL/MIA
Programs: UA*Lifetime GS, SQ*PPS, AA*EXP, Hyatt*Globalist
Posts: 10,985
COVID-19 UA inflight service changes
UA_Flyer is offline  
Old Jul 8, 20, 7:42 pm
  #4  
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: San Francisco
Programs: United Global Services
Posts: 63
A return to the skies: First flight since March (SFO-IAD) – hot tea is back. :-)

On 3 July, I made my first flight since the last week of March. SFO airport was like a ghost town – not many people for this (or any) early morning flight. At the GS desk, I was asked my destination and when I said “DC,” the agent’s response was “Welcome, Mr. Smith. We were going to meet you at the gate to thank you for your business. You’re the only GS on the flight.” Security was quick – no one was in line ahead of me. Only one Untied Club was open (near the food court), but I passed. I had arrived at the airport just as boarding was about to start. At the gate, everyone who was standing was practicing social distancing. I was the first person on the airplane, so I don’t know what happened at the gate during the remaining boarding process. It was a 737 (5 rows in first) and every seat in first was taken (so much for social distancing on an airplane :-), but lots of available seats in coach. Humorous to me as I don’t see how social distancing is possible when you’re sitting/moving in tight quarters. But, it’s a non-issue for me. If social distancing on an airplane is important to you, you might want to stay home. The FA service was acceptable; though, I always pass on those snack boxes. In the age of C19, it's best to come prepared - I had fruit, nuts, and cheese. As of 3 July, one perk has returned: hot beverages so I was able to have unlimited hot tea during the flight – yeah! :-) (Hot tea went away in March.)

The restroom appeared spotless, which I normally didn’t see prior to C19. I’m still amazed by people who enter the restroom during the flight in their stocking feet! Happened on this flight, as well. I had an aisle seat. The guy at the window seat (age 65-75) clearly had not been on a flight or in first class in a long time. He couldn’t figure out how to recline the seat or how to open the tray table. Nice guy, though. The lady across the aisle, who was wearing a plastic shield over her face in addition to a face mask, used hand-wipes on her chair, the arm rest, the console between the seats, and the fold-out tray table (in addition to her water bottle). When we landed, they had us exit by 5 rows at a time to maintain social distancing. I think that’s silly since I just spent 4.5 hrs. on an airplane, but OK, I can go with it.

Upon arrival at IAD (where face coverings are required), there was a guy who didn’t wear his mask on the shuttle bus to the main terminal. The other passengers were telepathically throwing daggers at him during the brief trip to the terminal. :-)

The return process on 6 July (IAD-SFO) was less efficient. When I arrived at the GS desk in the departures lobby, two GS customer agents (2 guys - couldn't read the name tags) were at the desk. One guy was on the phone (on hold) but didn't bother to acknowledge myself or the guy who came through the rope after me. The second GS agent finishes with his GS customer and then gets drawn into an issue with another United customer service representative who's assisting a non-GS customer regarding a traveling minor. This goes on and on and on; the first GS agent is still on hold (and just holding the phone), the traveling minor issue is plodding along (with the second GS agent and the customer representative) and we're standing there patiently waiting. It was a circus. When the second GS agent finishes with the non-GS/traveling minor situation, he then calls forward the guy who came through the rope AFTER me. But, no matter. I politely informed him that I was next. :-)

Only one United Club was open; near C7. Hot tea was available as were light, single serve/bagged snacks. Alas, no nuts. :-(. People did they best they could with social distancing, but for a moment, it did get crowded. Some people had their face covered at all times; others vacillated if someone sat near/close to them; and others did so once they finished eating or drinking.

At the gate, people attempted social distancing, but as the boarding time approached, the crowd swelled, and it became challenging. I asked to be switched from seat 5K to 1K on this 787. (I noticed on the monitor that certain seats were still available in first class.) There was a GS agent at the desk, but she didn't know how to make the switch. The gate agent who was manning the desk seemed to be overwhelmed as I heard him say into the phone "I need some help up here." After he got off the phone, and before the GS agent alerted him to my request, he upgraded someone to seat 1K. He then sorted out the seat assignments, I ended up with seat 1K, but I felt guilty for requesting the change since it seemed to take forever and took up a lot of time as we were past the time for boarding. (Being out of practice, I forgot to check seat availability earlier in the day. It’s the small things you forget when you haven’t flown in a while.)

The flight was uneventful. I took another pass on the snack box but said yes to the hot tea. During the first hour, my in-flight entertainment didn’t work too well as my screen kept freezing. The FA reset it and it worked slightly better, but not great. Decent selection of films since I like older (pre-1970) movies. FA service was fine. Though, if you were on the other side of the plane, you could not use the rest room on my side. The FAs blocked access through their staging area. Upon landing, we exited the aircraft 5 rows at a time.

All and all, no real surprises. The one thing that annoyed me was the constant and unrelenting announcements about how United was cleaning everything, their CleanPlus program, etc., etc., etc, ad nauseam. Every time the FA used the PA system, he kept repeating it over and over, again. Enough! I got it.

PET PEEVE ALERT ON: When we landed at SFO, I followed two men from first class into the restroom as they were texting. At the urinal, they’re jockeying the phone between both hands and the ear/shoulder. They finish at the urinal (with the phones still in their hands) and walked right out of the restroom without washing their hands!! Men – are – nasty!! WASH YOUR HANDS!!! :-). ALERT OFF.

My next flight was planned for Chicago, but as a Californian, we’ve been locked out of Illinois so that won’t happen for the foreseeable future. Oh well… I think for the remainder of this year I’ll spend time on never-before visited places in California. ;-)!
SAPriorityTag and wavid like this.
SFO_UGS is offline  
Old Jul 9, 20, 8:26 am
  #5  
 
Join Date: Sep 2000
Location: Denver, CO
Programs: UA 1K 22 years/2MM, HHonors Diamond, Shangri-La Jade, AVIS & Hertz Prez Club
Posts: 4,280
Originally Posted by SFO_UGS View Post
At the gate, people attempted social distancing, but as the boarding time approached, the crowd swelled, and it became challenging. I asked to be switched from seat 5K to 1K on this 787. (I noticed on the monitor that certain seats were still available in first class.) There was a GS agent at the desk, but she didn't know how to make the switch. The gate agent who was manning the desk seemed to be overwhelmed as I heard him say into the phone "I need some help up here." After he got off the phone, and before the GS agent alerted him to my request, he upgraded someone to seat 1K. He then sorted out the seat assignments, I ended up with seat 1K, but I felt guilty for requesting the change since it seemed to take forever and took up a lot of time as we were past the time for boarding. (Being out of practice, I forgot to check seat availability earlier in the day. It’s the small things you forget when you haven’t flown in a while.)
I often see a preferred seat become available at the gate. I just switch myself via the United app, it takes a few seconds and reduces the stress level for the already busy gate agents. That said, seat swaps are really simple in their Aero system, so it's troubling hearing that someone didn't know how to do that.
wcj1 and Dublin_rfk like this.
SFO 1K is offline  
Old Jul 9, 20, 9:18 am
  #6  
wjj
 
Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: ORD and RSW
Programs: Former long time AA EXP and CK - 4 MM; Now LTPL; Hilton Diamond; UA Silver
Posts: 317
Originally Posted by SFO_UGS View Post
.My next flight was planned for Chicago, but as a Californian, we’ve been locked out of Illinois so that won’t happen for the foreseeable future. Oh well… I think for the remainder of this year I’ll spend time on never-before visited places in California. ;-)!
You are not locked out of Illinois. That was a city of Chicago-only order issued by the mayor for those whose final destination is the city. It does not affect anyone residing or staying in any other part of the state. It is only being "enforced" through signage. I came back into ORD a couple days ago from FL and didn't even see any signs. No announcement on the plane either. Just hotel outside of the city limits.
wjj is offline  
Old Jul 9, 20, 10:37 am
  #7  
 
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: San Francisco, CA (SFO)
Programs: UA 1K, UA .4 MM, Marriott Gold, Nexus, GE, TSA Pre
Posts: 541
Originally Posted by SFO_UGS View Post
At the gate, people attempted social distancing, but as the boarding time approached, the crowd swelled, and it became challenging. I asked to be switched from seat 5K to 1K on this 787. (I noticed on the monitor that certain seats were still available in first class.)
...Though, if you were on the other side of the plane, you could not use the rest room on my side. The FAs blocked access through their staging area. Upon landing, we exited the aircraft 5 rows at a time.
I have two flights on a 787-9 scheduled next month, flying up front. Did you observe certain seats to be more or less exposed to foot traffic? I had not thought about the FA's blocking traffic through the galley, but it makes sense.
LRMErnst is offline  
Old Jul 12, 20, 1:59 am
  #8  
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: San Francisco
Programs: United Global Services
Posts: 63
I was in the first row so I can't comment if foot traffic was different in any other area of first class. With FAs and passengers popping up and down, foot traffic seemed about the same as on previous 787 flights.
SFO_UGS is offline  
Old Jul 13, 20, 7:50 am
  #9  
 
Join Date: May 1999
Location: Central New Jersey
Programs: UA-Platimum 2 MM, HH-Gold, MR-Lifetime Gold, Hyatt-Discoverist
Posts: 6,232
Last Sat (7/3) I took my first flight (since Jan), EWR -TPA. Flight left at 8am and since I wasn’t sure about new procedures, I arrived early. At the airport around 6:30am, absolutely no one in line at Security, with only small carryon, I breezed through. I had heard the United Club at 75 should be open, but upon arrival at the staircase there was a CLOSED sign saying “Open 7am-7pm for Passenger Assistance Only, No Food or Beverages available”. Oh well! Terminal C was pretty much a ghost town with the few people around wearing masks & keeping apart. Walked over to my gate 120, where seats were marked to keep social distance. When boarding began, it was done from the rear and appeared orderly, and without incident .Everyone received a packaged wipe upon boarding. I had been upgraded to F and found only 4 other passengers up front. Coach appeared about 30 % full so no issues. There was a predeparture beverage offered and I saw alcohol, and coffee/ tea served. Midway through, the FA’s came by with snack boxes ( took the tapas), water came in a small bottle, I heard that coach was given water and plastic snack pack. During the flight, beverages including wine & alcohol were continuously offered. Everyone kept masks on throughout and at TPA we deplaned from the front without incident.

Returning the next morning was a totally different experience. My flight left at 9:30am, and there were a few people ahead of me in line and with no sign for Precheck, there was a bit of a wait. At the gate, I could see the flight was going to be much fuller. Again, I had been upgraded to F, but could see every F seat was taken. About 30 minutes prior to boarding, the gate agent picked up a piece of paper and read aloud ( but .not through a mic) to those seated near the gate, the governments advice on self quarantine upon arrival in NJ. But it was not heard by anyone who was not standing or seated nearby. There was very little social distancing during boarding and once on board apparently middle seats were being used, much to the dismay of coach passengers, who were loudly complaining and wanted to use the E+ seats. The FA made an announcement that if they wanted to move to E+, they could pay $90 , or they could get on a later flight with possibly more room. Also some families had been separated when they made the reservation and middle seats (at that time) were X’d out, and now wanted to sit together,
Again, we did get a predeparture beverage, but snacks for both coach & first were the same prewrapped plastic bag with pretzels & wipes. My water, this time came in a blue plastic cup with ice, a small 8 oz bottle was included in the snack bag. Also F did get a basket passed with chips & nuts as well. At no time during the flight or at arrival in NJ Was the quarantine message read again. We arrived early and deplaned as usual. There was no one taking names/addresses ( as I’d heard from other flights from FL), and this time I didn’t check on the United Club, but quickly caught the AirTran home.

Last edited by mauld; Jul 13, 20 at 9:46 am
mauld is offline  
Old Jul 16, 20, 12:04 pm
  #10  
 
Join Date: Nov 2017
Posts: 136
Originally Posted by wjj View Post
You are not locked out of Illinois. That was a city of Chicago-only order issued by the mayor for those whose final destination is the city. It does not affect anyone residing or staying in any other part of the state. It is only being "enforced" through signage. I came back into ORD a couple days ago from FL and didn't even see any signs. No announcement on the plane either. Just hotel outside of the city limits.
So if someone misconnects at O'Hare and has to stay overnight, there's no problem in staying at a hotel by the airport (like in Rosemont) ?
BobOscar is offline  
Old Jul 19, 20, 5:26 am
  #11  
 
Join Date: Mar 2015
Location: NYC (Primarily EWR)
Programs: UA 1K / *G; Marriott Bonvoy Gold; ALL Gold; Hertz PC
Posts: 7,717
Took my first flights since mid-February to visit elderly relatives in California, so I did a simple EWR-LAX TCON flight. My observations:

-airports are dead, dead, DEAD. My departure flight out of EWR was on a Thursday morning...Terminal C was probably at 10% of usual traffic. LAX Terminal 7 was even less occupied; when I deplaned Thursday midday, there were maybe a couple dozen other people airside outside of folks getting off of our flight. Saturday morning was marginally busier. The United Club in LAX is huge, but I did not count more than a dozen people in the entire club when I visited. There are a handful of restaurants/concession spots open in both airports, but it is heavily scaled back. I was the only person using CLEAR at either EWR or LAX, and there was nobody else at all in the LAX TSA PreCheck line.
-boarding procedures are not entirely clear. In EWR, they preboarded business class; in LAX, they forgot to announce 1Ks to preboard (and also got the order of preboarding completely wrong). I was also very surprised by the number of premier members on each flight - there were no GS and only 2 1Ks (including myself) on EWR-LAX, if observing preboarding numbers was accurate. I may have been the only 1K on my flight back.
-Both flights weren't empty, but my EWR-LAX flight (on a 78J) was probably at 40-50% capacity. LAX-EWR, on a 752, was termed 'fairly full', which I would anticipate means that it crossed the 70% (I think) threshold that allows people to rebook to a later flight if they feel uncomfortable.
-If you are a premier member, you can likely clear on an upgrade instead of paying, especially if you are on a bigger plane. EWR-LAX was 22/44 booked; more than a dozen people were upgraded. LAX-EWR had some more variability in people booked, but it ended up going out 14/16.
-Soft product...I felt service was better than on my 'average' United flight, but the food offerings are slim pickings. 2 meal choices, with everything pre-wrapped. French toast on the way out was a sorry excuse of a meal - 4 tiny triangles of toast, with 1 tiny sausage link. I passed on the prepackaged fruit and yogurt. Lunch on the return was spicy chicken with rice and green beans - better but still not great. I passed on prepackaged salad, as well as the white chocolate cranberry cookie. There is a snack basket that is passed around; on the return flight, the FAs were very generous in making multiple passes.
-Other observations: LAX traffic, which would ordinarily be terrible at the times I was there (around noon) was nonexistent. I was the only person on the Hertz rental car bus when I arrived. At EWR, I had to wait more than half an hour to catch a Lyft back to NYC - incomprehensible to think of in normal times, when there would be plenty of cars nearby that would love to end up in NYC on a Saturday night. On arrival at EWR, you are warned that you will have to quarantine for 14 days if you are coming from California, but there is no paperwork to be filled out (unlike at NY-domiciled airports, where I believe you are given something to fill out). I do fully plan on staying inside for 14 days; good thing the weather appears to be miserable for some time, so I won't be missing much...

Next flight will be EWR-PWM in late August...will be interesting to see if things have picked up at all by then.

Last edited by PsiFighter37; Jul 19, 20 at 5:38 am
PsiFighter37 is offline  
Old Jul 19, 20, 6:54 am
  #12  
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Programs: Continental Onepass, Hilton, Marriott, USAir and now UA
Posts: 4,380
My first UA flight since Feb.
CLE-IAD-ORF and return. Left Sunday morning and returned Friday afternoon.

Airports were dead. CLE made a mess out of TSA with only one open area and a line of at least 100 people waiting to be processed. No social distancing practiced or possible. I avoided it by using Clear.

Was upgraded on all flights at the gate.
Flights were 70-80% full for all segments. Not a surprise when the service to all cities includes one morning and one afternoon flight per route.
Boarded last. While the gate agents did allow premiers to board early, none did. We boarded last or close to last. Back to front boarding was enforced. All wore masks and were offered masks if they didn't have them.
Service consisted of water or drink in F (soda and ice). No snacks distributed.

Flights on time.
Overall, no issues.
RNE likes this.
radonc1 is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Search Engine: