Review of United flight Singapore Tokyo in Economy

Airline United
Flight UA804
Class Economy
Seat 45A
Aircraft Boeing 777-200ER
Flight time 06:40
Take-off 27 Nov 15, 07:15
Arrival at 27 Nov 15, 14:55
UA   #113 out of 132 Airlines A minimum of 20 Flight-Reports is required in order to appear in the rankings. 289 reviews
sweetsonata
By 4331
Published on 2nd December 2015
Welcome to my first trip report on Flight-Report.com. This report covers my recent fifth-freedom flight from Singapore to Tokyo with UA, my first flight with an American airline, as part of my post-exam treat. This flight is one of 7 daily SIN-NRT flights, and one of two fifth-freedom flights on the schedule; the other is run by Delta.

We arrived at the airport bright and early, at 6.00am.
photo 20151127_050135

Landside snapshot of Changi Airport's T3. This is my second flight from T3, after flying SIN-FUK with SQ back in 2013. My flight is barely visible on the FIDS in the corner, displaying as its codeshare alias, NH7050.
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Quick snapshot of the Star Wars exhibition that was being held in conjunction with the new film and the arrival of JA873A, ANA's R2-D2 B789, in Singapore.
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Check-in was uncharacteristically rigorous this morning, with security agents checking our documents every step of the way even before we had gotten to the actual check-in desk. I'm not sure if this is a thing with American airlines in general, or if it was part of beefed-up security following a certain recent aircraft bombing.

Quick snapshot of the transit lounge following passport control.
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I had a quick breakfast of beef fried rice at one of the food courts in the transit lounge, believing it prudent to prepare myself for what I suspected would be a poor showing by UA's meal services. After that, at which point boarding was being called, I headed straight to the gate to await my flight.

27 November 2015
United Airlines
UA804
Singapore Changi (SIN) - Tokyo Narita (NRT)
Boeing 777-200ER (N226UA)
Economy Class
Gate B9


At the gate, security was as tight and messy as it was at the check-in desk. Not wanting to risk arousing the ire of the security officers, I headed to boarding rather quickly without taking any photos, though a quick gander at the nosewheel door confirmed that I would be flying on N226UA today.

I took seat 45A, the rearmost window seat on the left side of the aircraft. As I did, I noticed 9V-SWS waiting at the neighbouring gate, resting after a long trek back home from MXP.
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As I waited, I also managed to grab this (poor) shot of JA621J completing JL35 from Tokyo Haneda – incidentally, also the last flight I had taken before this one.
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Pushback was at 7.24am, slightly behind schedule. As we taxied, I managed to do some fairly impromptu aircraft spotting, though all but a few of the photos turned out poorly.

9V-SRM
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9V-SWB, the second 77W delivered to SQ
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9V-STA, the first A333 delivered to SQ
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9V-SRO
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We ultimately pulled up to Runway 02C, behind an Oman Air A332, two Jetstar A320s, and a Tigerair A320. At 7.47am, we began to accelerate for the takeoff run.

Liftoff!
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One final look at Changi's T1 as we ascend into the morning sky.
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Meal service did not begin until more than an hour into the flight, at 9am Singapore time. I reserve my general judgment on this delay, because we did experience some turbulence (including some rather sickening yaw oscillations), but I do have to observe that this is the longest I have ever waited for meal service to begin. At this point, we were passing over the Spratly Islands.
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We had two meal choices: Asian beehoon, or omelette and sausages with pasta. There was only one word to describe the beehoon meal as I opened it: miserable. The shrunken vegetables said it all for me.
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Nevertheless, the chicken in the meal was probably what saved it. After finishing my initial choice, I also got the other meal. It actually tasted a lot better, though part of that might have been a result of my weakness for Italian food.
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Despite this being a morning flight, I decided to get some shut-eye anyway. When I woke up, we were nearing the Okinawa islands.
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Snacks were handed out not long after. The bread was fresher than I had anticipated, though the portion size was miserable.
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Quick shot of Mt. Fuji and the southern tip of the Boso Peninsula as we descend.
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Sun-drenched snapshot of the Pacific Ocean just before finally making landfall over Honshu.
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We touched down on Runway 34L at 2.40pm Japan time, 15 minutes ahead of schedule, thanks to a consistent tailwind of nearly 150km/h for most of our journey across the western reaches of the Pacific Ocean.

Quick snapshot of N813NW as we taxied to the gate.
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N668US
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Hello, Narita!
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One quick final look at N226UA as she prepares for the onward leg to IAD.
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Final aircraft spot of the trip: N179UA, resting after a transpacific journey from SFO.
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Verdict

United

5.0/10
Cabin6.5
Cabin crew6.5
Entertainment/wifi5.0
Meal/catering2.0

Singapore - SIN

5.6/10
Efficiency3.0
Access5.0
Services6.5
Cleanliness8.0

Tokyo - NRT

8.5/10
Efficiency8.5
Access8.5
Services8.5
Cleanliness8.5

Conclusion

I have heard some pretty poor reviews of American airlines in the past, so my expectations for this flight were somewhat tempered. That, and I was travelling in Economy, which probably added to my feeling that I shouldn't be expecting much. Nevertheless, despite the fairly poor meal, this flight wasn't actually too bad. At the very least, the 3-3-3 cabin configuration made for a reasonably comfortable flight, as opposed to, say, Air France's cattle-class 3-4-3 configuration.

Information on the route Singapore (SIN) Tokyo (NRT)

The contributors of Flight-Report published 19 reviews of 6 airlines on the route Singapore (SIN) → Tokyo (NRT).


Useful

The airline with the best average rating is Singapore Airlines with 8.7/10.

The average flight time is 6 hours and 57 minutes.

  More information

9 Comments

  • Comment 151546 by
    KL651 TEAM 4433 Comments

    Thanks for this FR and welcome.

    Nothing too exciting on this flight and it sure was below what SQ would offer, but still the experience wasn't that bad and one of the meal option was decent.
    Also on a 6hour flight, serving an additional snack was a good surprise from a US carrier.

  • Comment 151560 by
    indianocean SILVER 6330 Comments

    Thank you Sweetsonata and welcome.

    It's true that compared to Singapore Airlines, the catering is quite appalling.
    But I believe that the ticket fare you paid on UA was very interesting and affordable.

  • Comment 151588 by
    Benoit75008 GOLD 6961 Comments

    Thanks for your report and welcome onboard!

    UA is quite interesting in terms of prices.
    Well, concerning catering, it's really small offer...what could i say about this piece of bread before landing in Japan^^

    See you

  • Comment 151590 by
    Mikhil 25 Comments

    Thanks for the report.
    It's interesting to compare the offering of a US carrier v/s Asian ones like Singapore Airlines. Was there a big price difference that made up for the offering of UA?

    • Comment 329410 by
      sweetsonata AUTHOR 8 Comments

      As it so happens, actually, yes. I don't remember quite exactly, but I believe there was a nearly SGD200 price difference in favour of UA, which was why I went for it to begin with (though it was also partly because I wanted to experience flying with a US airline).

  • Comment 151611 by
    NGO85 1622 Comments

    Thanks for sharing this fifth-freedom flight aboard UA and welcome to the site!

    “believing it prudent to prepare myself for what I suspected would be a poor showing by UA's meal services”
    - LOL, very wise. Although UA often caters fifth-freedoms strong knowing that they are more competitive routes. Based on your catering, It looks close to what they offer on TPACs, which means very good for a 6 hour flight. The distribution of snack pre-arrival is a very surprising offering from a traditionally stingy airline.

    “When I woke up, we were nearing the Okinawan islands”
    - You are way past Okinawa by the time you took this shot ;)

    Great shot of Fuji-san on arrival. You were lucky with a clear day.

    You arrived 15 minutes early and only gave a 6.5 rating for on-time performance?

  • Comment 151732 by
    pitcain747 93 Comments

    Why only mentionning Air-France for the 3-4-3 boeing777 configuration ? What about Emirates, Etihad, KLM, Saudia, American, TAM, PAL, Air Canada, Swiss, Aeroflot...... !!!!

  • Comment 152177 by
    KévinDC TEAM GOLD 4858 Comments

    Nice to see a report on this UA 5th Freedom route. I've flown this route with DL several times and would say that DL seems to offer a better service overall. DL seems to make an effort to have higher standards on it's intra-Asia routes. Though overall, UA doesn't do a bad job here, it's definitely below Asian standards. I'll get to fly this route on JL next month--expecting that this will be better than any of the U.S. carriers.

    Thanks for sharing and Welcome to Flight-Report!

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