The airline with the best average rating is Virgin America with 8.0/10.
The average flight time is 4 hours and 59 minutes.More information
Report No: 2020-902
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Welcome to another US domestic series, this time I'll be reviewing United as they were offering the cheapest fare alongside Southwest Airlines for the date I preferred to travel.
Originally I was booked for LAX-ORD-BWI, however, as the LAX-ORD flight was more than 70% full, according to United policy, I had a free change option ( including flights to/from other airports within 150 miles ) so I have originally changed my flight to LAX-ORD-DCA; however, as there was a shorter connection option via EWR, I opted to change to that flight and my final itinerary was LAX-EWR-DCA.
On this report, I would cover the United Economy cabin onboard their premium transcontinental route from Los Angeles to Newark on a red-eye flight onboard their Boeing 767-300ER ( 76A configuration ).
Here is the routing for this short series
Loads for this flight
Polaris Business: 100%
The flight was fully booked
About 1h40 minutes before my originally booked LAX-ORD flight, I have arrived at Los Angeles International Airport Terminal 7.
At the check-in counter, I've asked the agent if I could do a same day change to the current flight as the app wasn't permitting me to do the change. After 2-3 minutes, she was able to reserve the last seat onboard this flight and I had checked my bags. The friendly agent asked my seat choices but unfortunately for this flight, there were no other seats than middle seats but she told me to try my luck at the gate with the gate agent.
Here are the boarding passes for this trip
FIDS - Could you believe that United only had 3 flights that night. Our flight to EWR, a flight to ORD with a 77E and a flight to IAH with the 737-900ER.
As you might imagine the lines at security was not that bad, with Premier Access I didn't wait for the boarding pass and ID check but there was a small wait for security.
For reference, the TSA Pre lane was closed at that time. Only two lanes were open and they were both serving as regular checkpoint lanes.
As the United Club was closed at that time due to the late hour, I have directly headed to the gate. Until further notice, the club is only open till 18:30.
You might not believe me but the only open merchant and concession at that time was Hudson's. All other stores, cafés, restaurants both in Terminal 7 and 8 were closed.
The gate area was not that crowded while I arrived at the gate, although it was going to be a full flight.
At the gate, I tried my luck for a window or aisle seat but the gate agent told me that unfortunately no other seats were available.
At that time, on the app, I have spotted that seat 23E was empty, so I decided to move a couple of rows forward. Here is my mobile boarding pass.
Here is the standby list. I have heard that there were passengers on this list being called to the podium but I am not sure if they cleared for the flight.
Before boarding, the gate agents has made announcements that they were asking volunteers to gate check their carry-ons and they explained the boarding process.
Although the boarding process was being made from the back to the front, some passengers were exempt from this. Alongside passengers with disabilities and families with small children; United Global Services members, active US military, United Premier 1K members were invited to pre-board. Before starting boarding row by rows, passengers seated in Polaris were also invited the board. Then, general boarding started with 5 rows at a time.
Just a warning that currently passengers who have purchased PremierAccess are only allowed to benefit from the expedited security checkpoint, dedicated check-in and priority baggage perks. Priority boarding is not offered for passengers who have purchased PremierAccess. Also, Star Alliance Gold members on other carriers, United MileagePlus Premier Silver, Premier Gold and Premier Platinum do not have priority boarding any more.
Here is the only photo of N643UA that I could take in LAX.
At the aircraft door, the cabin crew greeted passengers and handed hand sanitizing wipes for the flight. Here is my seat for today's flight.
As this aircraft type is usually assigned for international flights, the legroom was quite good and the seat was comfortable.
Each seat had a PTV equipped, alongside with a power outlet under the seat.
The IFE system onboard was the Panasonic ex3 IFE system.
Here is the hand sanitizing wipe that was given during boarding.
And here is the safety card which was located in the seat pocket. United does not offer any literature onboard their flights as a response to the COVID-19 outbreak.
And the overhead panel
After boarding ended, the captain had announced that we needed to wait a bit for some baggage to be loaded on the flight. Later on, the cabin crew came to collect trash of the antiseptic wipes and made an announcement which was a congratulations announcement for a passenger who had recently reach the 2 million miler milestone on United MileagePlus.
And here is the IFE system, there were many language options available
And the IFE main menu
And here is the route map. Today's flight is scheduled to due 4 hours and 34 minutes.
While we were waiting doors to close, the cabin crew handed blankets to passengers who wished to have one for the red-eye flight.
They have also provided headphones for the flight
And, 5-10 minutes later than our scheduled departure time, we had started our pushback and the safety video was monitored.
Which was followed by a video that showed United's hygiene precautions.
Shortly after takeoff, I have opened the personal IFE system.
Passengers have the choice to watch a movie/TV show on their personal device or on the IFE screens.
There is also a route map on the mobile IFE system
Wi-Fi options for this flight, which are expensive IMO.
Shortly after the seatbelt signs have turned off, the crew appeared to distribute snack bags.
The bag had a package of pretzels, Biscoff cookies, Dasani water and an antiseptic wipe. By the way, the offerings at the EconomyPlus cabin is the same as Economy. Before COVID, United offered hot meals for EconomyPlus passengers on this route.
The crew was also offering canned beverages and tea/coffee upon request. Ice was also offered for those who wish. For this flight, I have opted for a Bloody Mary mix, although no alcohol is served in the Economy and EconomyPlus cabin.
Then I have slipped for the rest of the flight and woke up while we were above New Jersey airspace.
After landing, deboarding was being made row-by-row. Although there were announcements made, as people were slow during deboarding, passengers were still waiting at their seats even when their row was announced.
After saying goodbye to the crew, I have took this fuselage shot and headed to the terminal.
And, I took this photo of N643UA.
After my first flight onboard the United 767-300ER which was uneventful, it was time to head to the United Club before my connecting flight to DCA.
The journey would continue in the next report.
Thanks for reading and hope to see you in another report.
To conclude this report, I could tell you that it was an uneventful flight. The experience was a simple post-COVID transcontinental experience onboard United with snack bags and canned drinks. A passenger asked if there was anything other to eat, but the crew was only able to provide another snack bag. It was a nice touch to serve blankets on this flight as many airlines have removed blankets due to COVID-19. Onboard the flight, Wi-Fi was expensive although the IFE offerings were generous so passengers who didn't sleep could get themselves entertained. The experience in LAX was smooth, however, I didn't get the point where Global Services and Premier 1K passengers get to have priority boarding while other status passengers don't, it's a huge downgrade for other status passengers as the overhead lockers have been filled pretty fast on this flight. Plus, it's not nice for a world-class airport like LAX to only have Hudson's open during the late evening. It's expectable that a general US-based traveler would eat something before coming to a red-eye flight but for those who don't, no other option than packaged food is a bit harsh. Also, it was interesting that the United Club closed before the last-departure; however, I would like to tell you that the efficient check-in process and security wait times were the positive parts of the LAX experience.
(+) Efficient check-in process and reasonable wait for security
(+-) Boarding was done efficiently although not all priorities were respected
(-) The club in the evening and almost all concessions were closed.
(+) Comfortable seats and decent legroom
(+) IFE offerings
(+) Blankets were provided
(-) Service onboard could be improved
(-) Expensive Wi-Fi
Nothing special to mention