This series will cover a two-week vacation to Europe. The original inspiration for this trip was to visit the Balkans (Sofia and Belgrade, in particular), Athens, and Lisbon. A somewhat eclectic sampling of Europe, but having a large amount of EY and AA miles to spend before devaluations, intra-European connections would be easy to accommodate. Ever since my first taste of JU last March, I have had this really strong desire to go back to BEG and fly JU again.
So how to get to Europe? Well, nothing glamorous this time. I was lured by some low fares on UA that couldn’t be beat and fit my needs perfectly. I booked IAH-SOF and ATH-IAH through UA for $680 in Y ($560 + $120 for an upgrade to Y+ on FRA-IAH). From SOF, an award ticket was booked with JU to LHR with a 2-day stopover in BEG. Everything in BEG is closed on Mondays, so a $100 round-trip ticket was booked with YM to do a daytrip to Tivat on their awesome Fokker F100s (BEG-TIV-BEG). From LHR, I needed to get to LIS, but also return to a city that is serviced by JU. I picked a LHR-MAD-LIS routing on IB to catch the IB A333. Looping back around, I opted for BA to do LIS-LHR-ARN in order to catch the BA B763. ARN was selected since it is served by JU and is a city I’ve never been to before. From ARN, the routing was closed with another JU award ticket to do ARN-BEG-ATH. Finally, receiving a challenge from TK for a status match, I needed to complete 1 “international” flight on TK to get *A Gold status for 1-year so I added a $90 round-trip ticket on TK (ATH-IST-ATH) to complete that challenge. So if you were able to follow that entire ramble, you should have come up with a very confusing 17-segment routing that will mix 7 different tickets and will allow me to sample 8 carriers and a wide-range of new products as well as revisiting my favorite European carrier (JU). After praying to the FR gods that no disaster would ensue, we arrive at the following routing for this series:
Part 1 – IAH-IAD [UA 373, Boeing B767-300ER, Economy] – You are 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] – Here
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 United Club in Terminal E at IAH and the intra-hub service from IAH to IAD on UA’s B763s. This connector flight was picked since it is on one of the long-haul configured wide-bodies meaning that they’ll be IFE in Y, but I have to sacrifice my connection time in IAD. This B763 arrives from MUC the night before, spends the night in IAH, and flies IAH-IAD before operating an IAD-Europe route. Yes, there is a direct IAH-MUC flight that I could have taken, but this flight arrives into MUC later in the day and I would not be able to take the morning MUC-SOF flight. Plus, I’d want as short as possible long-haul flight on UA…
My brother dropped me off at IAH on his way to work arriving at 9:45, 2 hours to departure. The check-in area was pretty quiet, but I went ahead and used the Premier Access check-in area. My bag was quickly checked to SOF and I was issued my boarding passes for all 3 flights. Security was just as sparse so the Premier Access line was also fairly useless. No issues clearing through these hurdles by flashing my TK *A Gold card even though my boarding pass was not marked as *A Gold (claiming miles into OZ FFP). Arriving airside, IAH looks pretty normal with a line of shops and restaurants.
Veering off towards the Terminal E gates.
Blurry shot of the United Club entrance. Entering, I hand over my boarding pass and TK card. She enters me into the system, thanks me for being a *A Gold member, and then directs me upstairs.
The lobby area, there is also a third floor, but I didn’t look up there.
After grabbing a newspaper, I head off to find a seat. My hands are full so we have some wobbly photos as I wander through the crowds. There was a bar area in the back and some computer workstations along some windows overlooking the concourse.
Everything was a mess so I just found an empty workstation and took refuge.
My humble offering. The only hot breakfast food was oatmeal.
Heading out of the lounge. The “movie theater” was to the left as you walk towards the bar in the back.
Terminal E, heading towards the gate.
My gate for this flight.
My steed waiting outside. IAH is not very spotter friendly in Terminal E.
United Airlines, UA 373 Equipment: Boeing B767-300ER [N665UA, delivered July 1998] Departure: 11:50 (ATD: 12:31) Arrival: 15:44 (ATA: 15:50) Flight time: 2:19
Boarding was called on time, but it’s not clearly marked which lane *A Gold uses. I had to look it up online real quick to join the Group 2 boarding group. My boarding pass flashes red since I’m boarding in the wrong group. I show my TK card, she manually boards me and I’m on my way.
Some UA planes lined up as I head down the jetbridge.
Traffic jam entering the plane since the B763s can only accommodate one jetbridge.
Entering, there were 2 FAs who direct me down the first aisle and welcome me onboard. Passing through the F cabin (long-haul J in 2-1-2).
The Y cabin in standard 2-3-2.
The cabin on sitting down.
Seat pitch. This is when I start to fear for my life for the next flight…
Since this is a long-haul bird, there is power under the seat.
The IFE, which is standard. It has the headphone jack and USB port under the screen.
Pre-placed on the seat were pillow and blanket. This is also long-haul amenities that you wouldn’t get on a normal domestic plane.
Headphones pre-placed in the seatback pocket.
Seatback pocket contents.
March issue of Hemispheres highlighting the new route from SFO to XIY.
Safety card for this B763.
We get a winglet today as we push back. The safety video plays on the IFE.
We sit on the tarmac for a long-time. Eventually the captain comes on and says that we are waiting for last minute maintenance paperwork. Some planes taxi out.
After 25 minutes, we finally start rolling out towards the runway passing an UA B772.
Taxing out to the runway.
There is no wait and we are quickly lifting off to the east on this rainy morning.
Crossing US-59 / I-69.
We are soon above the clouds.
I just watch Goldfinger on this flight. I had bought some food for lunch and ate my sandwich with the drink service. Opening the tray table, I get a nasty surprise. This plane was on the ground for more than 12 hours at an UA hub and this is what they call “clean”???
Coffee for me, which was served with a pack of zesty ranch flavored snack mix. The crew on this flight was very senior and did their jobs professionally and that’s about it.
It was cloudy the whole way.
Our descent into IAD took us over West Virginia and into northern Virginia. Crossing the Appalachians on descent.
Crossing the Potomac River to land from the north.
There are 3 runways at IAD that are parallel, so you can see 2 neighbors in parallel approach.
Our route today.
We race our shadow to the ground.
We touch down a little bit late.
Passing the AA A319 in Piedmont Airlines retro livery. The CA B77W in the distance is operating the “Capital” route between IAD and PEK.
International tail line-up.
UA tail line-up as we pull into our gate.
The Y+ seats as we deplane.
An above average goodbye deplaning. Up the jetbridge we go (slowly) as I begin my fairly short layover in IAD.
I’ll leave off this series here as I transit. Tune into the next report for the IAD-MUC service and a quick stop in the United Club.
Continental Airlines Presidents Club - E
Houston - IAH
Washington - IAD
A solid performance by UA on this domestic routing. No complaints on the crew or service; everything was up to par for a domestic flight in the US. My only complaints are a dirty cabin.
Cabin comfort: The B763 is probably better than any B737 offering for this route. The pitch kind of is small for US standards, but bearable for a 2.5-hour flight. Dirty tray table is absolutely disgusting; clearly no effort is made to clean aircraft overnight.
Crew: A decent UA crew. No negatives, but they weren’t oozing warmth either.
Meal and catering: Standard domestic service: one drink pass.
Entertainment: Standard seatback literature. IFE had the normal UA selection, which is quite good.
On-time performance: We left the gate on-time, but then sat on the tarmac for 25 minutes waiting on paperwork. Thus, we landed late.
IAD left at 7.5
0 LIKESLIKE TO THANK THE AUTHORTHANKS ! FLIGHT-REPORT LIKED
Flight-Report is a free website hosting more than 500 000 pictures and 17 000 reviews, without ads, this website can't exist. We understand that ads can be annoying, this is why we only display a maximum of 2 non-invasive ads per page.
To continue using Flight-Report, we invite you to add Flight-Report to your blocker's "white list".