Since I had my online check-in on ANA website, seat choosing on this UA-operated flight was unavailable. I then switched to United website. Unfortunately it did not allow me to choose it and instructed me to do it on ANA website lol. Finally I did it until the counter check-in at HKG earlier that day. As per my request, the HKG agent picked an aisle seat 29C for me.
Erstwhile on last report, I was here once I cleared the security.
There are several FIDSs in front of the security exit. My flight (ロサンゼルス) was listed on the last row of the bottom left FIDS and showing a 17:35 depart at Gate 35, which is located at No.3 Satellite.
Here is the boarding pass for this flight (I took it in HKG). It showed the departure time was 17:00
There is a smoking lounge next to the security exit. So I had a break first.
Inside the lounge. It was in black color design and no windows. Personally I think it was too dark.
Next I went to the washroom on the another side of the security exit. It is common in Japan that the toilet will help you cleansing^^
Since I had something to do at NRT and in order to estimate if there was sufficient time to do so, I went to have a look of my gate first.
Bypassing the United Club.
Tons of cargo containers were waiting for loading
Walking along the No.3 Satellite. A bit tricky there. You can see it is a hallway but it is called a “satellite” because it was once really a circular satellite of Terminal 1 many years ago. In the last expansion NRT added a No.5 Satellite to the south of No.3 and changed the latter into a linear concourse
My gate for this flight. Airport staff were preparing
Our plane was already here! A Boeing 787-9. A NZ B787 was taxiing behind.
Passengers sat aside and waited. There was a man in grey striped windbreaker, who sat with his back towards me at the second foremost seat row in this picture. He later turned out to be my middle seatmate.
Finding out my gate was not very far from the central building, I backed to the main lobby and completed my most important task (apart from business trip): to buy some omiyage requested by my family and friends.
My only target was 東京ばな奈 (Tokyo Banana), which is extremely popular in HK.
I instantly grabbed some Banana boxes and paid them. Although the cashier line was very long (mostly HK people and mostly bought the Banana), it was quite fast.
Task done. So I walked around in the South Terminal
ANA vs UA tails line-up
The airport was broadcasting the live Sumo Tournament
There was traditional ししまい (lion dance) performance! Kawaii!
An United advertisement. Would I really fly the friendly skies on them???
I made some UA plane spotting. A B777 to Singapore.
A B747 to San Francisco
I reached my gate again. The gate still not open but some Group 1 passengers already lined up.
Still having time, I had another break. There is another smoking lounge next to my gate.
Inside the smoking lounge. Much fancy design than the previous one with seats overlook the tarmac. Aw jeez the tarmac sunset was fantastic! It is so far the most beautiful smoking lounge I had visited. I stayed at this lounge until boarding was called.
Boarding had started a while. I queued last minute until the line of Group 5 started moving
Embarking. I went on the right side jet bridge
A FA welcomed me on board (she turned out to be one of the FAs working on my aisle in the Y cabin). And I said “Konnichiwa”
Passing the business class cabin.
The economy cabin is a surprise! The UA newest leather seats are installed! Not the one in legacy CO pattern.
The tag with long live Continental globe was installed on each seat.
The economy seat in 3-3-3 configuration
My seat 29C was here. Pillow and blanket were already placed on the seat. The seat is comfortable and has good seat pitch (sorry I did not take picture for it)
The middle bulkhead seats on my right hand side are Economy Plus
The overhead bin. Mirrors are installed inside the bins
My window seatmate (29A) was a lady and already settled down.
The IFE with the USB port below. It should be the same model with CX and is responsive.
My seat view of the Economy Plus cabin.
The cabin LED mood lighting system for B787.
Later the aforesaid middle seatmate came and he is a Chinese.
The pillow with a disposable cover.
Our route today. The air show was default in either English or Japanese only.
The seatback materials
Duty free catalog
The UA route map
UA said they would not use low-cost coffee beans anymore…
The headphone was distributed before push back. It looks pathetic compared with NH.
Spotting the bulkhead seats only had one person, the middle seatmate asked the FA if he could change to those seats. Agreed by the FA, the man later moved to it. He had a free upgrade to Economy Plus ;)
Soon the plane pushed back sharply on 18:00 and it was already in darkness outside. United corporate video was played (you can watch it on YouTube).
It emphasizes UA invested a lot in advanced technology in order to not mishandle your bag…
Following was the UA brand new safety video (you can also watch it on YouTube). The ORD based FA taught you how to fasten your belt.
During taxiing the captain made on board announcement. He firstly welcomed us for flying with the United newest B787 which was just delivered in last Sept. He introduced the cabin crews: totally 15 crews (I forget the exact no.), which composed of half Western and half Asian, including one Chinese and one Korean among the Asian crews. Due to the strong jet stream, the Captain aggressively expected we would arrive at LAX 1 hour earlier.
But later things got odd where he started selling UA in the announcement. He insisted that UA was a very good airline which crews were very friendly and catering tasted good lol. He even encouraged the passengers to make best wishes to Oscar (the UA CEO who recently undergo a heart transplant) @@ UA should gave the most loyal employee award to him :O)
The FAs were checking whether the passengers had fastened their belts. Today the Y cabin was only 70% full where many middle seats were empty.
Cabin lighting and windows were off during took off. And all the windows were set in darkest by default most of the flight time.
We had a U-turn to Pacific Ocean.
Once the seatbelt sign was off, the FAs started distributing the immigration forms.
I browsed the IFE. It contains adequate selection of languages and programs.
There was a little surprise: It features the newest Chinese Pop songs and what I heard was the current HK TV drama theme music (愛·回家!) @@
The text-only Games menu did not attract me to play it
The 787 Wi-Fi seemed fast. Yet I did not use it.
Aperitif service. Both my seatmate and I requested water. Otsumami were provided.
But suddenly the IFE freezed. I asked a FA nearby to help me. She replied me she would fix it after finishing the aperitif service. However she reset my IFE shortly after the conversation.
Dinner services started about an hour into the flight.
No menus were provided, the FA asked “chicken or pasta?” Meanwhile I was doubt if the pasta contained beef (I am a no beef person) so I asked the FA. She answered me no and indeed it was vegetarian option. She even pointed out the ingredients of each option in detail. Both my seatmate and I chose the pasta one.
For the drinks I had orange juice and here is the tray. The size is a bit small, but expected in UA standard.
I used the passport for size reference
The bread was a rubber. But the 2-bite salad was very delicious! The pasta also tasted good.
Ice-cream and bottled water were distributed after the tray was collected.
It was green tea ice-cream from Glico and very tasty! Overall the dinner was good excluding the bread. An improvement of UA TPAC catering?
After the dinner the FA dimmed the light for resting. The woman kept watching movies and messaging on her iPad while I went to toilet before taking a rest.
When I was waiting outside the rear toilet, the crews gathered in the galley and having some casual briefing. Once passengers entered, at least one FA would smiley asked if anything they could help. All of them were in very good mood and high spirits.
Inside the toilet, it was new and clean.
Cabin shot outside the rear toilet.
I then had a very good 2.5 hours’ rest. I woke up here mid-flight.
I headed to the rear galley for stretching and drinks.
2 FAs were sitting in the galley and playing their phones. Once I entered, they promptly put their mobiles aside and stood up and smiley asked what I need. I asked for water and one of them gave me a cup of water. Then I walked back to my seat but unfortunately I tripped and the cup fell down! It spilled on the rear door of the plane!!!
I was so embarrassed and kept saying sorry lol. The FAs jaw dropped at first, but immediately turned back in professional manner. One took out the towel to clean the door while the other was very care about if I got hurt or my clothes dirty. She said “That’s ok. We had seen it millions of time.” And even joked I was the first one to spill on this plane :p She told me to return my seat and would deliver a bottle water to me afterwards (she really gave it). Wow very good handling!
I napped again. In the second half of flight the cabin was very cold. I had to use 2 blankets in addition to my jacket covering myself for napping. The FA put another bottled water on my tray while I was resting
Another cabin shot on the way to toilet after the second nap
The rear galley
You could still find the legacy of CO there.
Breakfast service started when we were approaching to San Francisco (サンフランシスコ).
The FAs turned on the wake-up lighting scene and released the window dimmer.
Passengers started waking up.
Questions only again: Omelet or Pancake? I did not want a sweet breakfast, so I chose the omelet and orange juice. The lady declined the breakfast and told the FA that she was in diet…
Again the size for your reference. Size was small. I should be happy they also gave 2 pieces of cookies.
It was the boring UA style Omelet and totally non appetizing. Omelet bland. Sausage bland. Hash brown bland and mushy. Only cookies not bland. The very UA-standard breakfast was just fair as I expected.
Breakfast service finished when we were near San Jose (サンノゼ).
After the breakfast I completed the immigration form.
The cabin after the breakfast service. You can see the different dim levels of the B787 unique windows.
We prepared to land.
This was my only shot of aerial view. The lady stuck on her seat for the whole flight. She did not move until deplaning.
We had another U-turn for landing and our plane eventually landed on the north runway.
Taxiing to the United Terminal 7. We passed the United Hanger
Our plane arrived at Gate 76 in Terminal 7.
The captain made the arrival announcement. He informed that we landed 50 minutes earlier and the current temperature in LA was 20c, 20 times hotter than HK!!! (at that time HK was a record-breaking 1c only!) He explained although we arrived at the gate early, we had to remain on seats since the gate would not be opened to our plane until the boarding of another flight at other gate completed. He even commented the LAX design is very bad especially the crowd control @@
Deplaning only started after a 20 minutes wait.
Walking along the Terminal 7.
We took the escalator down to the immigration.
Maybe we were the only international aircraft arrived at United Terminal, the immigration counters only had our plane passengers lined up.
The Asian immigration staff said good morning. He took my passport, scanned it and I got fingerprinted. He asked my nature of the trip. He was very interested in my carry-ons and asked how much once he knew that they were the Bananas. I cleared the immigration in 10 minutes.
After the immigration I went through a very long hallway to the baggage claim
The Terminal was undergoing renovation
The baggage claim. You can imagine how your baggage transported in LAX.
My baggage was already on the conveyor belt. I immediately took it and packed the Bananas inside (I was looking like smuggling :P). And then went to the customs. I passed the customs form to the staff. She didn’t ask me any questions and let me go.
Did you think I'd arrived at my destination? Perhaps you'd hoped I had.
After I exited the customs there is a recheck area. A friendly staff stood at the corner welcomed us and kept asking passengers if they needed to recheck their bags. Therefore I passed my baggage to him and exited the Terminal 6.
Again, next to the recheck counters there are several FIDSs and my next flight was already on the list. Could you figure it out?
This is the second part of flight report and please stop by the rest of this series! In next report I will also reveal the story behind the first report's cover picture of this series.
Now I am giving an obvious hint for my destination: I saw this in my final destination.
Thank you for your reading!
Tokyo - NRT
Los Angeles - LAX
My first time in UA flight. It was surprisingly another pleasant flight experience beyond my expectation!
Cabin comfort: Good. A brand new B787, the cabin was equipped with latest leather seat and it was comfort with good seat pitch. But the cabin was very cold in the 2nd half of the flight (norm for US carriers?). Also you cannot control the mode of air show and the tray table is lack of a cup holder.
Crew: Very good. I even cannot believe I would give this score on a UA flight. But the crews actually deserved it. Crews were in very good mood and had a high team spirit. The captain was very funny while the FAs were very responsive and attentive. Very professional handling for abnormal situation. Genuinely surprised.
Meal and catering: Not so good. As expected, the catering service was always the weakest point of UA. The size was small compared with Asian carriers. Overall food quality was satisfactory where dinner was much better than breakfast.
Entertainment: Good. Responsive and functional IFE (with variety of programs and language choices). Standard seatback materials.
On-time performance: Very good. We arrived 50 minutes ahead of schedule.
For LAX, immigration and baggage claim was much faster than I expected since we did not arrive at TBIT. The airport has enough guidelines for arrivals. A good impression at this point.
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