Review of United flight Chicago New York in First

Airline United
Flight UA1478
Class First
Seat 2F
Aircraft Airbus A320
Flight time 01:46
Take-off 18 Jan 19, 02:24
Arrival at 18 Jan 19, 05:10
UA   #114 out of 131 Airlines A minimum of 20 Flight-Reports is required in order to appear in the rankings. 275 reviews
YGeorgeW
By 805
Published on 1st February 2019
At the end of my trip I chose to visit some friends in Chicago and NYC before returning to Texas. As luck would have it, my old man still had a few RPUs left that were going to expire at the end of the month. So we applied them to this trip. The upgrade for this flight cleared about a day before the flight. I spent the night in Chicago after my EVA flight (Click Here) instead of going straight to NYC. Despite having flown through Chicago dozens of times in my life, I have never actually left the confines of O'Hare until now.

Chicago O'Hare International Airport



I knew that the flight was going to be delayed somewhat as the incoming aircraft was delayed by more than an hour. However, I still wanted to get to the airport at a decent time because I wasn't sure how the government shutdown was affecting PreCheck or anything else. Turns out, everything felt normal and I was through security very quickly. My roller bag did get flagged for an extra search - I think some snacks I was carrying from China was triggering it. It would be the same for my next flight.

I wouldn't normally take a picture of this, but this was a full 15 minutes before the scheduled boarding time. There literally was not a plane at the gate at this time. Everyone should have known by now that we were going to be delayed for a solid amount of time. I just couldn't believe that there were so many people already lined up!

photo 20190118_120017

The incoming aircraft was estimated at 1 hour 5 minutes late and arrived at the gate at 11:56am, which was 6 minutes after our scheduled boarding time. I figured we'll be a little late, but not too bad because of the time they build into the schedule. However, at 12:10, the gate agent made an announcement there needed to be a maintenance check, but that there was nothing major to worry about.

I was encouraged by the sign of the catering truck loading the plane and figured that meant we'd be on our way soon enough.

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Then a few minutes later, at 12:17, there was an announcement that there will be an announcement to make a decision at 1:00pm (not a 1:00pm departure). Uh oh! Finally, the gate lice disband the line. At approximately 12:45pm, we were told a new plane was needed (so much for nothing major) and they were in the process of finding one. Luckily, they made an announcement a few minutes later that we had found a plane, but that it was in Concourse C (we were currently at Gate B12).

So off we went all the way to the C Gates for our new plane.

photo 20190118_130055

UA1478, ORD-LGA



We boarded shortly, roughly around 1:15pm.

For whatever reason, the seats felt very tired to me, even if they may not look that way in the pictures. I was surprised because they looked like the newer Domestic First seats and shouldn't have been around that long.

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Of course, these "new" seats do not have IFEs.

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There are outlets right underneath the central armest. The little faux marble platform also has another tray underneath it that pulls out for more space.

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The armest on the window side.

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Plenty of legroom for a 90-minute flight.

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The catering truck pulled up after boarding had started and began unloading.

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Coats were taken after boarding had completed, but no predeparture beverages were offered. That makes sense since nothing was loaded until after boarding was well underway. The captain gave his welcome at 1:35pm and was apologetic about the delay and even more so that there was very little he could do to make up time in the air as it was a straight-shoot and a rather short flight.

We pushed back at 1:54pm, before sitting by the gate for a while. About 5 minutes later, the captain came back on to tell us our plane needed to be de-iced and that the flight time would be 91 minutes. The purser began taking orders for the flight a few minutes afterwards, in order of status. By the time it got around to me, there was only the Buffalo Chicken Mac n Cheese left. An arugula salad was the other option. She also took my drink order at this time. I don't really care that much about pre-departure beverages on such a short flight, but if we're going to sit for nearly half an hour extra - United could have provided the PDBs at this time. I understand why it wasn't offered initially, but this seemed like a missed opportunity to make up for it (unless there is a regulation that prohibits it, of course).

Our plane being de-iced.

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We started moving again at 2:18pm and took off shortly at 2:24pm.

I snagged a few quick pictures during takeoff.

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If you look closely, right next to the KLM 747-400 is one of ANA's Star Wars jets! It is the BB-8 jet, a 777-300ER.

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Service began with a hot towel at around 2:50pm. Somehow I managed to doze off during the climb and didn't get the exact time. Nice to see that United has somewhat improved its hot towel - the one I had on my last United Domestic First flight was rather skimpy.

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Service began with drinks and nuts. I had ordered a vodka sprite earlier. It was too heavy on the vodka, I didn't drink much of it. The nuts were heated.

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Here's the meal: a Buffalo Chicken Mac n Cheese. It was a hearty meal, a bit too much so given that we were a few hours later than scheduled. It would have been a normal lunch at a little past noon otherwise, but I was hungry and eaten at the airport earlier and couldn't quite finish this meal. It was about what you expect despite how short the flight is given how competitive the ORD-LGA route is.

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The purser came around offering red or white wine to go along with the meal. I had a glass of the red.

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Afterwards, she came by offering coffee - I opted for tea instead, even though it's the rather yucky black tea they always serve. This is the price I pay for not drinking coffee I guess.

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I had time to check out the bathroom - cramped as expected on an A320.



The captain announced our descent at around 3:25pm Central Time with the estimated touchdown time at 5:00pm Eastern Time. I had picked this exact flight because I had hoped to dodge traffic going into the city by arriving around 3:00pm, so much for that strategy.

As we were descending, there were some beautiful views of the sunset.

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We landed at 5:05pm and I was shortly on my way into the city. As for LaGuardia…I remember being taught in school that if you have nothing nice to say, don't say anything.
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Verdict

United

6.6/10
Cabin7.0
Cabin crew5.5
Entertainment/wifi7.5
Meal/catering6.5

Chicago - ORD

6.9/10
Efficiency4.0
Access8.0
Services7.5
Cleanliness8.0

New York - LGA

4.4/10
Efficiency4.0
Access3.0
Services4.0
Cleanliness6.5

Conclusion

Lounge: None

Seat & Cabin: The seats felt rather tired despite being the "newish" Domestic First seats. They're about what you expect, I personally don't mind the lack of IFEs and usually prefer streaming from a tablet anyways.

Service: The service was average, about what you expect. I thought the lack of PDBs during the wait for de-icing was a missed opportunity though. Maybe there is a regulation against that?

Meal & Catering: It was a fairly hearty meal, as expected given the importance of this route. The food wasn't great, but more than edible.

Bottom Line: This is literally one of the most traveled domestic routes in the U.S., so I feel like I don't have too much to add. United handled the delay decently well and didn't take very long to find a replacement plane. We were only delayed about 1.5 hours getting into NYC, so not too much of an issue.

Information on the route Chicago (ORD) New York (LGA)

8 Comments

  • Comment 486479 by
    Rewardflying SILVER 447 Comments

    Despite having flown through Chicago dozens of times in my life, I have never actually left the confines of O'Hare until now.

    -Good timing for not coming today, -25 here in the frozen Windy City.

    I wouldn't normally take a picture of this, but this was a full 15 minutes before the scheduled boarding time. There literally was not a plane at the gate at this time

    -Welcome to United boarding

    I flew EWR-ORD a few days ago on United.My rating isn't going to be as generous as your rating. Thanks for the report!

    • Comment 486608 by
      YGeorgeW AUTHOR 78 Comments

      Thanks for reading and taking the time to comment RewardFlying!

      “Good timing for not coming today, -25 here in the frozen Windy City.”
      -Ouch, good thing I’m in South right now.

      “Welcome to United boarding”
      -So true, though usually not quite this bad in my personal experience.

      “I flew EWR-ORD a few days ago on United. My rating isn't going to be as generous as your rating. Thanks for the report”
      -I literally thought about whether I was being too generous with my ratings before I posted. I think part of my problem is that I rate based on my expectations and since my expectations were low in the first place…

      Thanks again!

  • Comment 486480 by
    757Fan 511 Comments

    Looks like a filling meal on a short flight like this in F. Thank you for sharing!

    • Comment 486609 by
      YGeorgeW AUTHOR 78 Comments

      Thanks for reading and taking the time to comment 757Fan!

      “Looks like a filling meal on a short flight like this in F.”
      -It was, I kind of wished I saved money by not buying food at the airport.

      Thanks again!

  • Comment 486560 by
    KL651 TEAM 4416 Comments

    Thanks for this FR.
    For once a domestic meal looks decent in quantity.
    I like the napkin and the overall look of the meal tray.

    • Comment 486610 by
      YGeorgeW AUTHOR 78 Comments

      Thanks for reading and taking the time to comment KL651!

      “For once a domestic meal looks decent in quantity.”
      -I think it’s mostly because of route, United seems to vary their catering a lot.

      Thanks again!

  • Comment 487942 by
    KévinDC TEAM GOLD 4796 Comments

    Hi YGeorgeW! Your quality reporting almost makes UA domestic F look good...almost! Haha...still not quite enough to convince me to switch my allegiance to UA from AA...the lack of IFE bothers me (even though I know AA is moving the same way). Also as you point out, it's a shame that the new cabin already looks tired.

    I am impressed with the quality and creativity of the meal. While not the healthiest option, that buffalo chicken mac n' cheese dish looks tasty--can't go wrong with comfort food.

    Thanks for sharing!

    • Comment 488036 by
      YGeorgeW AUTHOR 78 Comments

      Thanks for stopping by and the kind comments KevinDC!

      “Haha...still not quite enough to convince me to switch my allegiance to UA from AA...the lack of IFE bothers me (even though I know AA is moving the same way).”
      -I’ll keep trying! Haha, I know I’m probably a bit of an United apologist.

      “I am impressed with the quality and creativity of the meal. While not the healthiest option, that buffalo chicken mac n' cheese dish looks tasty--can't go wrong with comfort food.”
      -If nothing else, it’s better than what I’m used to with United.

      Thanks again!

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