FLIGHT UA 47
CLASS OF SERVICE Premium Eco
SEAT NUMBER 16A
AIRCRAFT Boeing 787-9
TAKEOFF 16-03-23 1:50 p.m.
VIEWS 1865
LANDING AT 7:10 p.m.
NGO85
The 21st October 2016

Photo review of United Airlines flight from Frankfurt-am-Main to Houston in Premium Eco

Background:

This series covers a two-week vacation to Europe that will feature stops in SOF, BEG, TIV, LIS, ARN, and ATH. For background and planning, please refer back to Part 1. As a reminder, the routing for this series is:

Part 1 – IAH-IAD [UA 373, Boeing B767-300ER, Economy] – Here
Part 2 – IAD-MUC [UA 106, Boeing B767-400ER, Economy] – Here
Part 3 – MUC-SOF [LH 1702, Airbus A321, Economy] – Here
Part 4 – SOF-BEG [JU 123, Aérospatiale/Alenia ATR 72-200, Economy] – Here
Part 5 – BEG-TIV [YM 201, Fokker F100, Economy] – Here
Part 6 – TIV-BEG [YM 202, Fokker F100, Economy] – Here
Part 7 – BEG-LHR [JU 380, Airbus A319, Business] – Here
Part 8 – LHR-MAD [IB 3167, Airbus A330-300, Business] – Here
Part 9 – MAD-LIS [IB 3118, Airbus A321, Business] – Here
Part 10 – LIS-LHR [BA 499, Airbus A320, Business] – Here
Part 11 – LHR-ARN [BA 780, Boeing B767-300ER, Business] – Here
Part 12 – ARN-BEG [JU 411, Airbus A319, Business] – Here
Part 13 – BEG-ATH [JU 512, Airbus A319, Business] – Here
Part 14 – ATH-IST [TK 1850, Boeing B737-900ER, Economy] – Here
Part 15 – IST-ATH [TK 1843, Boeing B737-800, Economy] – Here
Part 16 – ATH-FRA [A3 830, Airbus A321, Economy] – Here
Part 17 – FRA-IAH [UA 47, Boeing B787-900, EconomyPlus] – You are here

Tourist Bonuses:

Sofia – Part 4
Kotor – Part 6
Belgrade – Part 7
Lisbon – Part 9
Sintra – Part 10
Stockholm – Part 12
Athens – Part 16

This report will cover the flight from FRA to IAH. The LH A380 would have been preferred, but the flight times of the UA 47 service better fit my schedule so I bit the bullet.


Pre-flight:

Heading into Terminal 1, I walk towards the FIDS to find my gate.

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My flight to IAH was leaving from the Z gates.

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Off to the A gates.

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LH A343 in *A Livery.

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I head into the nearest LH Lounge to grab some food after that disappointing breakfast on A3. My TK card is swiped and I’m welcomed in.

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Newspapers.

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The buffet that was crowded.

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I just grab some food and go take a seat in the corner by the windows.

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My breakfast offering.

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LH and UA planes outside.

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I found that lounge to be really crowded so only stayed an hour before getting up to leave. Wandering around the terminal towards the Z gates, some more LH planes.

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I like how FRA has free newspapers and coffee.

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The seating areas are spartan though.

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Continuing my wandering through FRA.

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Returning to the lounge.

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Not as crowded now.

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I’ll join this guy in the Franziskaner Club.

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Quieter seating areas in the back corner along with an unmanned bar.

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I take a seat and enjoy my final snack.

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Boarding documents.

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My plane is here.

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Goodbye FRA as I head over to my gate.

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————————-

United Airlines, UA 47
Equipment: Boeing B787-900 [N27964, delivered February 2016]
Departure: 13:50 (ATD: 14:14)
Arrival: 19:10 (ATA: 18:52)
Flight time: 10:38


Gate agents were busy doing document checks when I showed up to my gate.

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FRA has a really industrial feel.

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My plane waiting outside.

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Boarding was chaotic because UA insists on using this 5 zone boarding and places all of the lines next to each other since it’s impossible to find which line is yours and make your way through the crowds.

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Down towards the jetbridge.

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I was greeted by a FA that checked my boarding pass and gestered me down the first aisle. The J cabin on this B787. I’m glad UA finally realized how unattractive these cabins are and will start rolling out Zodiac fitted Polaris Business Class cabins soon.

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My seat in the first row of Y. The B789s (unlike the B788s) get the new leather seats instead of the cloth checkerboard seats.

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Pre-placed on the seat were blanket and pillow.

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Legroom is ample in the bulkhead row without too much restriction to the knees for fully extending one’s legs.

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TP A320 next door.

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Seatback contents.

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Safety card for this B787.

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IFE controls were fixed into the seat.

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UA propaganda video and the safety video played during push back.

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LH A346.

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LX Avro RJ100 in *A special livery.

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The Fanhansa rotating in front of a LH A321.

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Another LH B744.

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TG A380.

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LH A380 and TK B738.

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We turn to align on the runway as the LH A380 starts to rotate at the end.

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HiFly Malta A343 (9H-TQM).

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VN B789.

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CA B77W.

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Lifting up over the terminal.

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We rise up and over Frankfurt as we loop towards the northwest.

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Disappearing into the clouds, I pull up the IFE. The screen is the same size as the ones in the seat backs. UA has all of the Bond movies, so it will be a marathon viewing on the flight home.

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Power outlets are under the seat.

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Cloudy Europe.

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About 45 minutes into the flight, aperitif service is done. I take a Goose Island IPA and the “cheese” and crackers.

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The meal carts follow shortly. I forget what the other option was, but I went for what they described as a “pasta duet.” The tray has the passport sized main, a couscous salad, and the rubber roll.

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The pasta wasn't very good. I was inclined to get this since the pasta I had in Part 2 on IAD-MUC was actually good, but this was overcooked and dry.

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The visually exciting salad, but ultimately tasteless.

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Drinks were flowing though. My request for a glass of water and another beer was quickly taken care of.

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After the meal, bottles of water and ice cream was handed out.

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Coffee/tea service was also done as the cabin lights were dimmed for the remainder of the flight.

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Meal service concluded as we were departing Ireland.

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A view down my row after meal service.

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I don’t remember any drink runs offering water by the FAs mid-flight, but I got a glass of water from the galley and took a nap.

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I woke up as we were entering Canada.

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A drink service was done mid-flight. They also offered BOB.

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Flying along the Hudson Bay towards Quebec City.

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Meal service started up again as we were about to cross from Tennessee into Mississippi.

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Just like in Europe, cloudy here in the US.

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The pre-arrival meal.

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The 3-bite ham and cheese sandwich (compare it to the size of the cup). The FAs also offered BOB items, so UA knows that they are short changing people on food. This is a nearly 11-hour flight west-bound making it on par with most east-bound TPACs. Definitely inadequate quantities.

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Coasting into IAH from the east.

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Our route today.

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Crossing I-45.

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We touch down ahead of schedule on a hot humid day in Houston (no surprises there…).

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Taxing back to the terminal, the windows completely fog over by the time we reach the gate next to our twin.

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Deplaning and heading towards immigration.

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Welcome to Houston!

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And with that, this series finally comes to an end. See you!

Verdict

United Airlines 

Cabin 7.5
Cabin crew 6.5
Entertainment 9.0
meal/catering 4.0
TOTAL 6.8/10

Lufthansa Business Lounge - Terminal A, Level 2, Next to gate A13 

Comfort 7.5
meal/catering 8.5
Services 8.0
Entertainment 9.0
TOTAL 8.3/10

Frankfurt-am-Main - FRA 

Efficiency 7.0
Access 8.0
Services 9.0
Cleanliness 8.0
TOTAL 8.0/10

Houston - IAH 

Efficiency 6.0
Access 4.0
Services 8.0
Cleanliness 6.5
TOTAL 6.1/10

Conclusion

Vacation ends the moment you set foot on a UA plane. UA is reliable and functional airline, but there is nothing to get excited about. The cabins and crews are average and the catering usually is not very good.

Cabin comfort: The new seats installed on the B789s aren't very comfortable. I don't know if this was because the plane was so new, but they were very stiff and plastic feeling so I did find some butt discomfort during this flight. Seat pitch was excellent in the bulkhead.

Crew: Standard UA crew. They did service cracking some jokes and have some personalities, but the rest of the flight they were more interested in sitting in the galley chatting with each other than doing their jobs.

Meal and catering: The UA trays are small, but this time the main was pretty bad with the overcooked and dry pasta. The pre-arrival "snack" is just pitifiul. UA really is on the level of SK, they just don't want to admit it.

Entertainment: No newspapers offered. Standard seatback literature. The IFE is pretty good on UA. Moving maps and all the Bond movies, I'm happy.

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