Hello and welcome to the final segment of this series with a return flight purchased as a LGA-SFO one way with a change of plane at IAD. I used a USD 100 credit that I had with UA and ended up paying about USD 60 (EUR 51.05) for the trip which was quite a bargain for a transcon. I chose this itinerary instead of a nonstop from JFK or EWR because it allowed me to change plane in IAD and that gave me the perfect opportunity to explore the TK and LH lounges. I will only report on the LGA-IAD portion since I had a window seat and was able to get some interesting aerials. At the end of this trip I will cover the TK and LH lounges @ IAD and include a bonus of Flushing, NY.
Here's the summary of my itinerary up to this point:
After an interesting lunch which you will find more in the bonus section, I called Uber and I was promptly dropped off by the UA curbside at LGA. Check in was efficient and I made a quick stop at the UA Club which was before security.
I took the escalator one floor up to the reception area where a friendly agent welcomed me. The lounge was not particularly big but it was comfortable with lots of individual desks catering to the busy "road warrior". Catering was the usual salad, hot soup and rolls/crackers with cheese. I did not have anything since I ate lunch and was going to save some room for the lounges at IAD.
Plane spotting .
I had TSA-Pre-Check printed on my boarding pass which made the security check quicker. I then went to my gate and waited for the arrival of my plane.
My plane arriving at the gate.
After everyone deplaned we waited for a few minutes and then it was time to board. Priorities were respected and a single FA welcomed everyone aboard with a smile. It was not a long walk to my seat and once I settled down in my solo "throne" I snapped some pics from my window. The ERJ145 might be small, but the ability to score one of these solo seats on the left side make up for this disadvantage in my opinion.
View from my seat.
We taxied away and there were a few interesting views along the way.
Take off and bye NY. Since LGA is so close to the city, the views can be fantastic.
The only service that we were offered on this short 1:30 hr flight was water and a snack mix. However, the FA was proactive and offered a second refill for those who wanted. Just to compare, a similar flight like TPE-HKG manages to offer a meal service to everyone on a widebody plane.
Taxiing to the remote area. We know who rules in IAD.
Walking to the terminal.
Located in Terminal B by gate B42, this lounge is composed of two sections - a buffet with seating area and computer terminals right after the entrance and a bar/lounge area through a short corridor towards the back. This lounge is part of the Priority Pass network and contracts with other carriers like Saudia. When I arrived there was a big line out the door and it was crowded inside, although not completely full yet. I was able to find a seat by the computer area and a few minutes later the other seats were occupied too.
The lounge is also located in Terminal B by gates B49-51. The First/Senator/*A Gold area is right after the entrance and the Business section is one floor down. I found the staff to be efficient but "frosty" in the attitude. They definitely did not exude warmth compared to its counterparts at the TK lounge. One advantage of this lounge is that it did not feel crowded even at its peak time.
First/Senator/*A Gold lounge.
Business Class section located downstairs.
Bonus : Click here to displayto hide
** BONUS **
The borough of Queens contains some of the most diverse ethnic neighborhoods found in the U.S. While Flushing is predominantly Chinese, Corona Heights has a more South American presence and Jackson Heights has a large Southeast Asian feel.
I decided to layover in Flushing for two main reasons. The first one is the distance between LGA and this neighborhood which meant a quick commute on my way to the airport. The second reason is food. I have come across some exciting reviews claiming that Flushing is now the "new" Chinatown and that it is not rare to see some food celebrities these days dining in this area. Although I have visited Flushing back in the mid 1990's, I'm sure a lot have changed since then and it seems to be for the better.
I stayed at the 2* Asiatic Hotel for USD 136 (EUR 115.72) - we all know how expensive is the cost of hotels in the NY area so this was "reasonable" and good value for the money. It was perfectly located within walking distance to shops and restaurants. My room was spotlessly clean but the only negative aspect was the flow of the air from the air conditioner that hit the bed directly and was hard to control unless you turn off the unit. After my arrival from IST I must have slept until 22:00 and then decided to grab something to eat around the corner. My plan to visit Corona Heights and visit some Colombian eateries proved to be too ambitious. That would be for another time in the future.
Nan Xiang Xiao Long Bao restaurant
So by 22:30 I went to Nan Xiang Xiao Long Bao which was reputed to have the best - what else "xiao long bao" in the area. Upon entering the restaurant I noticed that it was busy with a mix of Chinese and non-Chinese patrons. Service was quick and I ordered a plate of the famous dumplings and a beef noddle soup. All the praises that this place gathered were well deserved. The dumplings were plump and juicy with the perfect wrapping texture. They were not too thin so that they can hold the fillings without bursting easily and had a right chewy feel. The beef noodle soup was satisfying and the noodles had the right consistency. I was very happy and full from my meal here.
After the meal I walked around a bit and just around the corner from the restaurant i noticed a truck with quite a few people around. When I passed by it I noticed a slightly sour and "rotten" smell and immediately thought of stinking tofu. There was no way that they were selling this type of stuff in the U.S. or were they?
The following morning I explored more of the neighborhood.
The food court of the New World Mall had some interesting offerings. This was just after it opened so I'm sure it got busier later on.
I just had carrot and orange juice.
Fu Run Dong Bei restaurant
I did not have breakfast in order to save room for a specialty at this restaurant - Muslim Lamb Chops. It is an unusual Western Chinese dish that is spicy without being overpowering hot like other hot dishes that one struggles to finish after the first bite. This was different and it had the right amount of heat with undertones of cumin and black sesame seed that gave it an intriguing kick. The meat was tender and literally "fall off the bone".
United Express (Trans States)
United Airlines Red Carpet Club
New York - LGA
Washington - IAD
An average flight with minimal service as expected on U.S. domestic flights of this length. I can understand a limited beverage service, but reducing it to water only seems a bit extreme. At least there was a package of snack mix to accompany the beverage.
For this short flight I think the comfort level was fine. The ability to be able to sit by yourself in one of the single seats on the left side of the plane is a major plus.
LGA might not be the best airport in the world, but its proximity to downtown NY affords some of the best aerials for those in a window seat.
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