Review of United flight Washington San Francisco in Economy

Airline United
Flight UA560
Class Economy
Seat 22F
Aircraft Boeing 737-800
Flight time 06:06
Take-off 28 Feb 19, 16:45
Arrival at 28 Feb 19, 19:51
UA   #114 out of 134 Airlines A minimum of 20 Flight-Reports is required in order to appear in the rankings. 261 reviews
ISTFlyer
By GOLD 559
Published on 26th April 2019

Report No: 2019-301E


Welcome to this new short series that would mainly include three domestic flights on United. As I needed to head west for that specific weekend, I have decided to use United this time as I needed miles to reach Elite Plus status on Turkish Airlines Miles&Smiles. On this series, I would be able to report three different aircraft types, four different airports, three different lounges. All these flights would be on the Economy cabin.


The first flight would be a transcontinental flight from Washington Dulles Airport to San Francisco Airport onboard the United 737-800. As this flight isn't considered as transcontinental and just considered as domestic, it was an uneventful regular 3h+ United domestic flight. However, I was able to visit the Turkish Airlines Lounge in Dulles for the first time.


Routing


Trip Overview:

As I was going to head to Los Angeles, I have checked the prices of all airlines. I wanted to leave Thursday afternoon and return with a red-eye flight on Sunday night. For the first leg to LAX, I had discovered a saver fare for Burbank via SFO on the United website so I went for it as Burbank Airport was closer to my destination is the Los Angeles area. However, if I didn't need the miles; the difference between the American Airlines direct flight from IAD to LAX which departs at 18:50ish was only $10. However, this didn't make an effect on my choice as I was available after 14:00 that day and instead of spending time on DC, I have spent time in the air. For the return, Alaska Airlines ( to BWI ) and United ( to IAD ) had the cheapest fares and I have first intended for the United red-eye at 21:05 which was cheaper, but after an event planned at 08:00 in the Monday morning in DC, I was able to change my flight for free to the 13:00 departure and rest the night at DC for the event.


ONLINE CHECK-IN


First I have checked-in online from my mobile device with the seats staying same as pre-reserved for my flights.



However, then I have realized that there were better seating options for both flights so I have changed my seats 10 minutes after I first completed online check-in.


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Before I forget, I would also share this e-mail that United sent me about the inflight entertainment options onboard both of the flights.


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WASHINGTON DULLES AIRPORT - IAD


I had arrived to Washington Dulles Airport around 1 hours 30 minutes before the scheduled departure time. I asked my Uber driver to drop me to the arrivals level and then I have directly went to the West Security Checkpoint which was a breeze with no wait.


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FIDS for the day


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As I had time, I had used the walkway to reach the A/B building where the Turkish Airlines Lounge and the Lufthansa Lounges are situated.


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As I used the escalator to reach the gate level, this Saudia aircraft with the special livery appeared.


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The international section of the A/B building has flags of different countries, while the domestic section has the flags of the states in the USA.


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Today, this was not the aircraft that I was going to fly with.


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Turkish Airlines LOUNGE - Washington Dulles AIRPORT


As United is a Star Alliance member, I was entitled to use the Turkish Airlines Lounge due to my Star Alliance Gold status. First, I was planning on a lounge hopping but then I realized that I didn't have time for the hopping so the only lounge that I visited in IAD was the TK one.


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As the lounge was full of South African Airlines passengers, Saudia passengers and some Lufthansa/Austrian passengers that preferred to use this lounge, it was almost full so they didn't accept Priority Pass members at that time. However, I was able to find a seat at the lounge.


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Even though, the lounge is decorated in the Turkish Airlines concept, the lounge is operated by TAV Primeclass.


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There were various amount of hot dishes and Mediterranean mezzes.


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Turkish deserts and Turkish tea was also available


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Bread and nuts were also available


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Packaged tea, coffee and cheeses were present, just next to the desserts.


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The lounge has also great views as I was able to spot this Qatar 777-300ER. 


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And this Lufthansa 747-8i


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Later on, I checked the status of my flight and then decided to leave the lounge as it would take time until I reach C gates.


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Before leaving the lounge I have realized something, the Lufthansa 747-8i was catered by Flying Food Group instead of LSG Sky Chefs. This seemed really interesting to me as LSG Sky Chefs has facilities in Dulles Airport.


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The lounge also has a bar at the back, where various adult drinks are offered to passengers.


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Later on, after I exited the lounge I have walked to the AirTrain station in A gates. As I walked, I have realized that the AF lounge was closed for maintenance.


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And, this KLM A330 had just arrived to its parking position from Amsterdam while I was passing by.


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And the AirTrain station.


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Finally, the airport management had removed Primera Air and JetBlue from the list.


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After a short AirTrain ride, I had arrived to concourse C.


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While entering concourse C, this advertisement appeared in front of me. My answer was "No thank you."


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Boarding pass


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GATE AREA & BOARDING


Our aircraft ( N33289 ) from the boarding gate.


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Boarding has started on time with priorities being respected, I was in the Group 1 line and I have boarded 4-5 minutes after boarding has begun.


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The door


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UA 560 Washington Dulles AIRPORT TO SAN FRANCISCO AIRPORT


As the crew at the door didn't welcome passengers, I directly headed to my seat 22F for the medium-range flight to SFO. The seats were comfortable and the legroom was decent for a Boeing 737-800. As United does not offer free EconomyPlus for non-UA Star Alliance Gold members, I didn't paid for the EconomyPlus seats.


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The seat was equipped with DirecTV. Unfortunately, there were no power sources as United only offers power sources on their First and EconomyPlus cabin.


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The overhead panel


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A view from the window at our parking position.


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IFE - UA 560 Washington Dulles AIRPORT TO San Francisco AIRPORT


The literature in the seat pocket looked like this.


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UA North American destinations


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The menu options for today's flight


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The inflight entertainment options as seen from the United Hemispheres magazine


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United fleet


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Private screening ( mobile IFE ) was available on this flight. It didn't worked for the first ten minutes of the flight and after a reboot of systems it worked until we had parked to our gate in SFO.


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Another UA 737 next door


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As we were waiting for our push-back, I have opened this channel to watch a bit tennis.


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But, it was shortly interrupted with the safety video being screened.


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Air France 777-300ER


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Virgin Atlantic A330-300


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SAS A330-300 and a BA Queen of The Skies


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Southwest 737-800 which was pushing back


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Delta Connection aircraft at the end of the terminal


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While we had passed the Delta aircraft, a video had been screened that told us passengers the movie options for today and how to use DirecTV. Unlike the past, DirecTV is now free on all United flights.


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Before taking off, the ATC tower was visible


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And we took off


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And we started to gain altitude


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An hour later than our takeoff,


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The crew came in for the BoB service and distribute complimentary drinks and snacks. As one package was really small, the cabin crew gave 2 pretzels for each passenger.


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After rubbish was collected, I has visited the lavatories which were not clean at that time. They were quite small compared to other carriers 737-800's.


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Then I have opened my laptop to watch a movie.


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The route map one more time


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The internet options for today's flight which I find it too expensive


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Unfortunately, United Private Screening did not support Safari so I had to watch a movie of my choice on my mobile phone.


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By the way, water runs were made throughout the flight


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I have chosen to watch the "Bad Times at the El Royale" that day.


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Route map as I finished my movie


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After my movie has finished, I have re-opened DirecTV and started to watch the tennis game between Nick Kyrgios and Stan Wawrinka.


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While I was watching that match, the cabin crew prepared the cabin for landing.


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As we are descending


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The Bay


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There was an enormous traffic at the San Mateo Bridge


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The Golden Gate Bridge


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Soon, we had landed to SFO airport


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And started our short taxi to gate 61.


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United 737


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Our parking position


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American aircraft at Terminal 2


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And the same United 737 that I have shared three photos above


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Later on after saying goodbye to the crew, this time the same cabin crew member who didn't welcomed me, said goodbye and I have left the aircraft.


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And I have headed to the United Club until the short time period for my next flight.


This report has came to an end. Thanks for reading and hope to see you in another report.

See more

Verdict

United

6.8/10
Cabin7.0
Cabin crew8.0
Entertainment/wifi8.0
Meal/catering4.0

Turkish Airlines Lounge

8.6/10
Comfort8.0
Meal/catering9.5
Entertainment/wifi8.5
Services8.5

Washington - IAD

8.6/10
Efficiency9.0
Access8.5
Services8.5
Cleanliness8.5

San Francisco - SFO

8.5/10
Efficiency9.0
Access9.0
Services8.0
Cleanliness8.0

Conclusion

After arriving a bit early to the airport, I reasonably had time to visit one of the *A lounges in concourse AB as security was a breeze as well even without PreCheck or Clear. As I was going to fly LH the next week, I have decided to use the TK lounge and it was crowded due to Saudia pax and SAA pax at that time. Despite the hardness of finding seats, the food offering was great and as well as beverages. During boarding, priorities were being respected and I have boarded with Group 1. The seat was the usual ex-CO UA seat and the legroom was OK. The seat featured free DirecTV as United turned from the mistake from asking $7.99 for this service. Also PED entertainment was available, even though it didn't work at the first few minutes of the flight, after the reboot of the systems it worked perfectly. Wi-Fi was also available but it was expensive. Food is one of the negative things when flying US domestic. The only thing for free was pretzels and no other complimentary snacks for the next 5 hours. The BoB is really unreasonable so that day, I haven't purchased anything as I dined at the Turkish Airlines Lounge. After an arrival on time we had shortly arrived to our gate.

IAD
(+) Security checkpoint wait times
(+) Priorities respected throughout the boarding process
Turkish Airlines Lounge IAD
(+) Nice food and beverage selection
(-) Difficult to find a seat as the lounge was crowded
UA560
(+) Decent legroom for a 6h flight
(+) Availability of the Mobile IFE system
(-) Toilets were not clean throughout the flight
(-) BoB options; not reasonable and expensive. Especially the snack boxes and the cheese plate
(-) The consideration of United as defining this flights as domestic instead of transcontinental
SFO
(+) Quickly parked to a gate, no wait at one of the taxiways

Information on the route Washington (IAD) San Francisco (SFO)

6 Comments

  • Comment 499794 by
    lbfortress 61 Comments

    Looks like my United experience flying from IAD to LAX last month. I was lucky that the Turkish lounge was finishing boarding an ANA flight. Great view of B43 and ANA ground staff waving goodbye to the plane. The food was good but they never put more baklava out. The lounge was basically empty for a couple hours so that was cool.

    • Comment 499808 by
      ISTFlyer GOLD AUTHOR 193 Comments

      Hi Lbfortress and thanks for stopping by,

      Looks like my United experience flying from IAD to LAX last month.

      - United flights are usually uneventful so they may look similar. :)
      I was lucky that the Turkish lounge was finishing boarding an ANA flight.

      - Yes you were, the Turkish Lounge gets crowded before non LH group, non-AC and non-UA *A flights as well as all flights of airlines based in Muslim countries (it's the only lounge that serves Halal food in IAD).
      The food was good but they never put more baklava out.

      - I've also realized that the service was too slow. When they were out of chicken it took 20 minutes for them to replace it.
      The lounge was basically empty for a couple hours so that was cool.

      - I always love empty lounges. It means more privacy and more comfort.

      Once again thanks for your comment and hope to see you in another report.

  • Comment 499865 by
    KévinDC TEAM GOLD 4958 Comments

    Hi ISTFlyer, thanks for sharing this new FR! Funny to see you on UA for a domestic flight as I'm used to seeing you take AA. I guess you have more choice with *A Gold status on top of your OW status.

    I didn't have time for the hopping so the only lounge that I visited in IAD was the TK one.

    It's basically the best *A lounge at IAD anyway. Well...when it's not super crowded.

    The lounge also has a bar at the back, where various adult drinks are offered to passengers.

    My favorite part 😆 they do have a nice drink selection TBH 🍸

    Good think you got a bird with IFE. It seems UA is like AA with their 737s...you never really know what you're going to get.

    Too bad the BoB options were not good. 6 hours is a long time with just a tiny bag of pretzels.

    Thanks for sharing!

    • Comment 499866 by
      ISTFlyer GOLD AUTHOR 193 Comments

      Hi KévinDC and thanks for stopping by,

      Funny to see you on UA for a domestic flight as I'm used to seeing you take AA. I guess you have more choice with *A Gold status on top of your OW status.

      - Yes, after I found a quick and easy way to be *G, I have just went for it and obviously I have more options. Both have different privileges. I like the free Main Cabin Extra offer of AA ( for OWR or higher ) and the free same day change of UA ( for *G ). However, all my future US domestic flights which are booked are on AA, but I still have one transatlantic UA flight waiting for me that I bought for $123 + taxes.
      It's basically the best *A lounge at IAD anyway. Well...when it's not super crowded.

      - I really hate when this lounge is overcrowded, but anyway, as you have mentioned, it's the best *A lounge in IAD. Slightly better than the LH SEN Lounge and %100 better than those United Club's.
      My favorite part 😆 they do have a nice drink selection TBH 🍸

      - Turkish or Mongolian Beer 😁
      Good think you got a bird with IFE. It seems UA is like AA with their 737s...you never really know what you're going to get.

      - That's the bingo, however, I prefer the IFE system of AA which they are removing from domestic 737-800 aircraft to retrofit.
      Too bad the BoB options were not good. 6 hours is a long time with just a tiny bag of pretzels.

      - At least I had the option to eat a lot at the Turkish Airlines Lounge. Otherwise, I wouldn't make it with a bag or two of pretzels. I don't know why USA carriers have really bad BoB menus? I guess they earn a lot from the cheese plates so the other options are not worth it.

      Once again thanks for your comment and hope to see you in another report.

  • Comment 500069 by
    KL651 TEAM 4454 Comments

    Thanks for this FR.
    The crew seemed very basic on this flight, I really don't get this US airline thing of not always welcoming passengers onboard.
    The WiFi is really expensive, they just want you to take the whole flight plan I guess.

    • Comment 500084 by
      ISTFlyer GOLD AUTHOR 193 Comments

      Hi KL651 and thanks for your comment,

      The crew seemed very basic on this flight, I really don't get this US airline thing of not always welcoming passengers onboard.

      - Me neither, they just look at passengers or chat with their colleagues. Probably because, they're only paid after doors are closed. Same for the cockpit crew, in Europe the captain waits until all the passengers get out of the plane to leave the aircraft, but in the USA the cabin crew stops the disembarkation of passengers to give way to the captain to leave the aircraft.
      The WiFi is really expensive, they just want you to take the whole flight plan I guess.

      - Thought the same thing as you. It won't be worth buying an hour or two.

      Once again thanks for stopping by and hope to see you in another report.

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