Review of United flight Singapore Tokyo in Economy

Airline United
Flight UA804
Class Economy
Seat 43A
Aircraft Boeing 777-200ER
Flight time 06:40
Take-off 02 Dec 15, 07:15
Arrival at 02 Dec 15, 14:55
UA   #120 out of 142 Airlines A minimum of 20 Flight-Reports is required in order to appear in the rankings. 319 reviews
darius1208
By 2771
Published on 6th January 2016
(Sorry i'm posting again because my previous report was taken down due to some inappropriate language. I've taken that part out and hope you guys enjoy the report! Well, for those who haven't read it.)

Hi guys! This is my first ever trip report online so please forgive me if I’ve failed to meet your expectations. Let’s begin! So basically, I’m in the Singapore army right now, since all of the guys have a mandatory military conscription of about 2 years. We have 14 days of leave a year and I decided to use about 9 of them for a trip to Hokkaido in Japan. So why Hokkaido? Well, Singapore is extremely hot and humid all year round, so I guess I needed a respite from all the heat. It’s winter time in Japan and Hokkaido being further up north, gets a fair share of snow during this season. I mean c’mon who wouldn’t want to see snow right??? In addition, the Japanese Yen hasn’t been performing well lately, so I was left with some convincing to do and YIPPEE, I was going to Hokkaido for my annual family trip. :D I’ve gone to Japan many times before but it was mainly to Osaka and Tokyo. This was my first time going to Hokkaido and I was SO stoked. Well, partly because I was going for a holiday, but mainly because I knew that I could try out a new airline. I’ve always collected airline memorabilia since I was young, so I was squealing with excitement when I thought of the possibility of collecting something new from an airline that I haven’t flown with before. So off I went hopping from one airline website to another, and these were the airlines that I had shortlisted:

1. One stop at Tokyo
- Japan Airlines - $800+
- All Nippon Airways - $800+
- United Airlines & Vanilla Air - $640
2. One stop at Bangkok
- Thai Airways - $630
3. Two stops
- Vietnam Airlines & Vanilla Air - $610

My parents wanted to take Singapore Airlines at first since there were chartered flights direct to Sapporo but I just couldn’t find the schedules of the flights on SQ’s website. I guess they were chartered for tour agencies and not for the free and easy travellers like us. If we booked through SQ's website, which meant taking an SQ flight to Tokyo and then transferring to another Star Alliance carrier, which was ANA, to Sapporo, it would've cost us a whopping $1000+ SGD. :eek: So we sorta decided to go with ANA because I really wanted to try their Boeing 787 in the domestic configuration for the Tokyo to Sapporo leg but since my focus was on collecting memorabilia, I decided against it in the end and chose to go with the United and Vanilla combination. I’ve never flown on either of the carriers before and I thought it would be pretty interesting trying an American carrier that has the reputation of one of the world’s worst airlines LOL. The prospect of trying out a Japanese low cost carrier also appealed to me, and flying with United would save us quite a fair bit of Time since taking the Vietnam flight would mean stopping over twice, one in Hanoi/Ho Chi Minh and the other in Tokyo. So we booked our flights and YIPPEE we were off to Hokkaido. Oh yes, and why not Thai you might ask? I flew on Thai to Bangkok last year and i've collected their stuff already, so… yeah, no thanks :D

I tried to check-in online the day before but then I reached a page on United's website that said the flight could have been overbooked and they were looking for volunteers to give up their seats. In return, they would be giving free vouchers worth hundreds of dollars (I think?). Well, if I was a solo traveller going backpacking overseas, I probably would've clicked the 'OK' button, but nah not this time. NO' it shall be :p Anyway, I tried checking in online using the United mobile app and failed. Either i'm a tech noob or United sucks. I hope it's the latter.

I woke up at 4am and left the house at 4.30am. We arrived at the world's best airport, Changi Airport, (Sorry I just had to say that. I'm a proud Singaporean. :D) at 5am and then we waited for our relatives to arrive before proceeding to the check-in counter at row 1 of Terminal 3.

Flight: UA804
Origin: Singapore
Destination: Tokyo (Narita)
Aircraft type: Boeing 777-222(ER)
Registration: N228UA
Delivered: 14 February 2002
Class of travel: Economy

Before checking in our baggage, we got directed to self-service kiosks where we had to print our own boarding pass. There was a not-so-friendly lady at the kiosks assisting the passengers to check in since this was a relatively new feature. The last i've heard, only Jetstar, Air Asia, Silkair and Singapore Airlines passengers got to use this feature. Perhaps Changi Airport is rolling out dedicated self-service to more airlines. I don't know. But anyway, I found it pretty intuitive. So good job Changi ^

photo 20151202_051911_zps2ky5pv3k

photo 20151202_052420_zpsmgrr8h0d
Star Wars display at Terminal 3

photo 20151202_052522_zpsgwwytehl
Grand departure entrance

photo 20151202_052811_zpsyunnzdi3
Garuda Indonesia's check-in counters

photo 20151202_053925_zpsbxzmmisv
Typical Singaporean breakfast. Half-boiled eggs!

photo 20151202_054244_zpsntfao5bi
Not forgetting kaya toast :p

photo 20151202_060542_zpsx3runk0o

photo 20151202_061619_zps2zyh8oxp

photo 20151202_061625_zpsyqnxrjgq

photo 20151202_064644_zpsrpn3ziff
Gate B6 for our flight today. We were sharing the same gate holding room with a Singapore Airlines flight SQ241 bound for sydney, that was a codeshared flight with Turkish Airlines as seen on the screen.

photo 20151202_065116_zpse5xvlwgc
Hey pretty

photo 20151202_065159_zpsgiimdwts
Sorry I just had to take another picture of you

photo 20151202_065311_zpsh6dezqal
Nice nose you got there babe :cool:

photo 20151202_065422_zpsr1n9p2xl
Down the aerobridge!

photo 20151202_065552_zpsm8wb7cch
Touchscreen IFE.

Alright, before I continue, just some first impressions. The IFE was responsive and screen quality was pretty good. Headphones provided were of a questionable quality, although I appreciated the fact they UA used rubber for the part of the headphones that cupped the ears instead of the usual ones which were made of sponge and sometimes are very scratchy. Although it was a pretty bad job at mimicking a noise cancelling headset, comfort-wise, good job UA :D

photo 20151212_232428_zpsac1cvgr8
Head set

photo 20151212_232443_zpselznx8r5
Close up of head set

photo 20151212_232511_zpseuualk4p
Seat pocket contents

photo 20151202_065716_zpswdt034jj
Head rest

photo 20151202_065723_zps8dttpble
9V-SWF in the distance

photo 20151202_070135_zpsi1uhhw5h

photo 20151202_070138_zpses1q4xgi

photo 20151202_070138_zpses1q4xgi
Oooh, look what we have in the background. An SQ A380 with the SG50 livery. I hope it comes in to park beside us.

photo 20151202_071528_zpsoy7h9r23
And I guess my prayers were answered :D

photo 20151202_071530_zpsovatjvh5
Just look at that beauty and how big she is :o

photo 20151202_071824_zpspo9bfrp1
And off we go

photo 20151202_072003_zpsdtc9orjr
Just checking the arrival information on the IFE

photo 20151202_072615_zpstchyuddt
Bye

photo 20151202_072646_zpsvlrn6z8p

photo 20151202_072832_zpscwwtkbaw

photo 20151202_072841_zpsclpht8xf

photo 20151202_073916_zpspo8guniv
Liftoff!

photo 20151202_073916_zpspo8guniv
Blue skies

photo 20151202_074204_zpsstgaxopu

photo 20151202_074654_zpsk38twaqi

photo 20151202_074712_zpsbte8smfj
There we were

photo 20151202_074815_zpsywwbvm8v
I could see this view all day

photo 20151202_075356_zpsia40mlux
UA's fleet

photo 20151202_080156_zps7a0hfj0x
Time for some music

One gripe I have with UA's IFE is that their selection isn't as wide as on other major carriers like Emirates, Singapore Airlines, Cathay, etc. I couldn't choose a specific song by a specific artist. Instead, they were just grouped into categories. But that's okay. I expected worse from United :p

photo 20151202_080428_zpswzwy0jje

photo 20151202_082832_zpswlmvpsuy
BREAKFAST. Sorry I love my scrambled eggs and this was just inedible. Bad job UA. The pastry on the top left hand corner was really horrible and tasteless too :mad:

photo 20151202_082845_zpsvimjlziq
Looked pretty good but nah

photo 20151202_130143_zpsjt4bepzi

photo 20151202_130259_zps3tci1dbf
Approaching Kagoshima

So, 2 meals were served for this 6 hour ish flight to Tokyo. The first being a breakfast meal and the second being a small and miserable cold sandwich. Ok, the size of it was just appalling but it honestly tasted pretty darn good ^ Sigh I miss flying SQ. Next year, next year (Winks)

photo 20151202_131513_zpsz953ekvo
Hey little thing

So after the snack, I went to the lavatory and as I was waiting in line, this male UA crew started small talk with me and asked me where I was flying to and blablabla. So i told him I was going on a holiday with the family and then we started talking about the life of a cabin crew. It was literally the first time I talked to someone else on a plane other than my family members for a whole 30 mins or so. He told me he was earning close to $9000 USD a month and I was shocked. He was mid 40s maybe? But like, the idea of cabin crew earning that much money never ever occurred to me. Senior crew on Singapore Airlines don't earn that much too. He also told me how asian companies function differently from american companies and how asian companies are a tad rigid at times, while american companies are WAY more flexible. All in all, it was great talk and ive concluded that i'm gonna be working for an American company in the future :D We'll see how it goes. Another older Japanese female cabin crew started talking to me and I told her about my plans in Hokkaido and she gave me some recommendations on the places to visit. She was so friendly. Wait, no. EVERYONE WAS FRIENDLY. Then it got me thinking. Why is everyone hating on United??? Oh wait, then I realised. I was flying on an intra-asian leg of the flight with Japan-based crew. I mean, Japanese are extremely polite people in general, so I guess that's why the cabin service was so good and personal. I can't wait to try UA again on perhaps a domestic flight within America. I'm hoping it wouldn't be THAT bad as what the critics say. Fingers crossed!

photo 20151202_132644_zpszpe7aifd
Almost there!!!

photo 20151202_141231_zps2ztlnxqb

photo 20151202_141538_zpsogmki9z4
Making a left turn

photo 20151202_141654_zpsotr5ynqb
Sick view

photo 20151202_142700_zpskcpdnaxv
And we're here

photo 20151202_143615_zps9bdhyikh
Touchdown! Smooth landing btw.

photo 20151202_144519_zps4zxztvvf
Second home of UA, since Narita is one of UA's hub.
See more

Verdict

United

7.5/10
Cabin7.5
Cabin crew9.0
Entertainment/wifi7.5
Meal/catering6.0

Singapore - SIN

9.2/10
Efficiency9.5
Access8.5
Services10.0
Cleanliness9.0

Tokyo - NRT

9.0/10
Efficiency9.0
Access9.0
Services9.0
Cleanliness9.0

Conclusion

To sum it up, UA wasn't that bad after all. Apart from pretty inedible eggs, really small food portions, lack of a menu, lack of a footrest, lack of an amenity kit in economy class, lack of playing cards, pretty average IFE system, seat that lacked a little lumbar support, it scored well in all other aspects such as cabin service, on-time performance, 3-3-3 seating in economy as opposed to 3-4-3 on other 777s, and... yeah I guess that's it for now. I would totally fly UA again if they offered discounted tickets. Thanks for reading guys! I really appreciate it ;) I did a video report on this flight on Youtube too! Here's the link: [youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch'v=OjyNsCegY8g[/youtube]. Please watch it and leave some feedback! Have a great day ahead! Click here: <a href=http://flight-report.com/en/report-12547.html> for my next flight segment, Vanilla Air from Tokyo to Sapporo!

Update: My friend managed to book round-trip tickets on United from Singapore to Tokyo in March 2016 for just $400 SGD. There's a discount code you'll have to key in and it's located in the promo fares area.

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

The contributors of Flight-Report published 21 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

3 Comments

  • Comment 154143 by
    KL651 TEAM 4481 Comments

    Thanks for this FR.

    Well, I've always had pleasant experiences with UA but for the same price I'd have flown TG for sure, even if I already had their memorabilia!

    The catering isn't bad in quantity, but it's a shame it wasn't good.

  • Comment 154237 by
    NGO85 1622 Comments

    Thanks for sharing this fifth-freedom on UA with us!

    This is the 2nd report we've had in the past month on this exact route, the experiences seem to be somewhat similar, but you won the lottery with a good UA crew.

    The ancient B772s in UA fleet are definitely not the most glamorous to fly on, but they are more comfortable than their newer B787s. The IFE on the B787s is much better, so I understand your complaints about the quality and quantity of the IFE.

    The catering on this route is better than what UA offers on their Japan-US TPACs and this flight is only 6 hours long. It looks like they took those sandwiches from the ANA Lounge in NRT, lol. Either way, getting a snack pre-arrival is a nice touch even if it is a lousy sandwich.

    For the price you paid, UA is a good option to try something new that you wouldn't normally get to try in SE Asia, but TG probably would have been the safest bet since it was also the cheapest.

    I'll be flying HND-CTS on a NH B788 this weekend, you can compare the offering to Vanilla ;)

  • Comment 154755 by
    Chibcha 432 Comments

    Thanks for sharing, for what you've reported, UA doesn't seem as crappy as one expects.

Login to post a comment.