Review of United flight San Francisco Denver in Economy

Airline United
Flight UA1022
Class Economy
Seat 10A
Aircraft Boeing 757-300
Flight time 02:45
Take-off 14 Feb 24, 08:40
Arrival at 14 Feb 24, 12:25
UA   #68 out of 94 Airlines A minimum of 10 flight-reports within the past two years is required to appear in the rankings. 448 reviews
NGO85
By SILVER 286
Published on 16th February 2024

This set of domestic reports will be from a recent trip to Milwaukee that had some interesting aspects to it.


For this series, I booked a SFO-DEN-MKE routing outbound and a MKE-ORD-SFO routing on the return, which I will discuss in each report. The SFO-DEN sector is quite busy with UA operating 9-10x daily flights between the hubs. Most are operated by B737/B757 with I think only 1-2 heavy doing a rotation between hubs usually in a domestic configuration. Based on the limitations of the DEN-MKE flight options, I picked the 8:40 departure on a B753 to avoid any traffic to SFO and give my self an hour in DEN to grab lunch.


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The first report will cover the hub-to-hub leg from San Francisco to Denver and the AC MLL in SFO.



Pre-flight


I was dropped off at SFO T3 at 6:25. With no bags to check, I went straight to security, which showed 4 minute wait times for both PreCheck and regular security at this hour. After clearing security, we are deposited in a fairly quiet Concourse F. Instead of heading to the UA Clubs in E or F, I started the walk towards Concourse D.


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FIDS post security, my flight to DEN shows on-time, which is not surprising since the plane spends the night at SFO after arriving from DEN.


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A sea of UA B737s awaiting their early morning departures from Concourse E.


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In between Concourse D and E is the SFO Museum.


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Reaching Concourse D, we reach out destination, the AC MLL that is accessed through this hallway that leads to an elevator.


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Upstairs, we walk towards our destination. Entry is automated by scanning one’s boarding pass and having your picture taken.


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The lounge is very quiet at this hour with only a flight to YYZ due to depart mid-morning after the early morning departure to YVR. The lounge has various types of seating areas with ample charging ports (USB-C, USB-A) and both nice shower and bath facilities featuring Molton Brown products.


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The buffet is slightly better than the UA Clubs with 6 different hot items accompanied by your standard continental offerings.


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My offering for breakfast.


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After breakfast, I walked by the bar, which was not open yet en route to the terrace.


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The terrace is a nice place to overlook the T1 and T2 operations under the shadow of the iconic SFO control tower.


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AS operations preparing for morning departures.


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DL operations preparing for morning departures. The ST special livery B738 is here ready to hop down to LAX.


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AS B738 departing for AUS as the sun cracks the mountains.


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DL B739 to DTW and UA B752 to EWR departing.


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At 7:30, I left the lounge to start the trek back to Concourse F. The AC B73M leaving for YYZ as the AC A220 prepares for the morning departure to YUL. Not sure what the UA B739 is doing at T2 since it was scheduled to operate a SFO-IAH rotation.


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Reaching the drab, run down Concourse F.


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With 15 minutes to boarding, I quickly popped into the UA Club in Concourse F to use the bathroom and scope out the food. The cereal stand was decorated for Valentine’s Day.


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The buffet offering is eggs, sausage, and pancakes.


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Or you could partake in the ubiquitous candy dispensers.


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The bar was open.


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The seating areas were crowded, which is the main criticism of all UA Clubs. The only free seats were in the back corner by the business section and near the bar.


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After that bathroom break, I continued on to our gate.


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We are departing from F21, which was wedged between a B738 boarding for AUS and a B772 preparing to leave for OGG so there was limited seating available.


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Squeezing through the hordes to see our B753 of the day. It will be N75861, a 23-year old frame that was originally part of TZ before joining CO in 2005 prior to merger with UA. It was repainted in the Evo Blue livery.


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flight


United Airlines, UA1022
Equipment: Boeing B757-300 [N75861, delivered August 2001]
Departure: 08:40 (ATD: 09:03)
Arrival: 12:25 (ATA: 12:03)
Flight time: 2:00


Boarding was called on-time at 7:50 and I joined the back of a ~50 person Group 1 queue, which is no surprise on a hub-to-hub route. The plane would be 100% full going out. A blocked view of our long fuselage as we board through L2.


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Entering the cabin, a very friendly FA was there to welcome everyone with a smile and offer sanitizing wipes from a basket. She also had kid’s kits and wings. I kindly asked for a kid’s kit to bring back to my son, which she handed to me with a smile. This DEN-based crew was very friendly and even brought water to passengers who had to run to make the connection.


My row was already full, so here is a view of my seat, 10A, on arrival at DEN. It will be the standard Collins Pinnacle seats on the B753s.


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My seat was in the EconomyPlus section, so has the more generous 34” of seat pitch.


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The sanitizing wipes distributed at boarding.


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The seat back pocket contains the literature: safety card, Hemispheres, and barf bag.


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After 45 minutes, we finally completed boarding at 8:35. I try to avoid the B753s for this reason, it is ridiculous how long a 234 seat B753 takes to board with one jetbridge and a single aisle.


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We push back at 8:40 giving us a look at the domestic configuration B772 to OGG next door.


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We fire up our Rolls-Royce RB211 turbines as the safety demonstration is done by the FAs and then start our taxi following the UA B77W heading to IAD.


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NH B77W arriving from NRT.


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We wait for this little King Air 350i to cut in front of us in the queue. Since Runway 28L is still under work, all departures were being sent to 1L and 1R.


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We head to Runway 1R behind a now-infamous AS B73M9.


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We align onto 1R for a departure at 9:02, ~20 minutes behind schedule.


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We lift up over SFO and swing past Brisbane as we start our run east.


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A brief break in the fog as we cross over OAK.


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The clouds break as we reach Concord.


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Aerial of CCR.


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Grizzly Island.


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The crew are quickly released to start service. We are offered a choice of three snacks: snack mix, chocolate quinoa crisps, or fruit bars. I ask for a fruit bar and glass of water. "That's It" could also be the new slogan for UA catering.


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UA is BYOD and has streaming activated on this flight and free messaging. WiFi is $10 (or $8 for MileagePlus members). I had my own entertainment so just used the moving map and flight information features that is powered by FlightAware.


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Snow covered peaks in eastern Nevada as the clouds temporarily break.


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Overlooking Ashley National Forest in eastern Utah.


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Turbulence was expected near DEN, so the crew were requested to prepare the cabin for arrival early. They collected trash and took their jumpseats with no further service.


Reaching the plains north of Denver.


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Aerial of DEN as we head towards downtown.


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We make our U-turn over Buckley AFB.


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We touch down on Runway 34R ahead of schedule at 12:03 over the long queue of departures.


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Passing the F9 hangar as we taxi back to the terminal.


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Taxing past Concourse C, home of WN (predominately) and AA.


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We pull into our gate, B35, next to our twin.


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After L2 is engaged, the FAs make no attempt to hold back Y to let F deplane first so being in the 3rd row of Y, I’m quickly off into the jetbridge to start my short layover in DEN. A last look at N75861 before she heads off to MCO.


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This is where I will leave off this series as I start my layover in DEN, thanks for stopping by!


flight details


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Verdict

United

7.3/10
Cabin7.0
Cabin crew9.0
Entertainment/wifi7.0
Meal/catering6.0

San Francisco - SFO

8.3/10
Efficiency9.0
Access8.0
Services8.0
Cleanliness8.0

Denver - DEN

7.0/10
Efficiency8.0
Access6.0
Services7.0
Cleanliness7.0

Conclusion

Another mediocre UA service as expected, the only notable aspect of the flight was the friendly crew. We departed on-time, arrived early, and had a nice sunny day over the Rockies so nothing too much to complain about.

Cabin: Most of UA's fleet is aging and these old B757s are reflective of the need to move forward. UA's seats are fine for this type of 2h flight and the EconomyPlus legroom is more than sufficient for comfort.

Crew: This was one of the best UA crews I've seen through most of my recent domestic trips, but that also demonstrates how highly variable UA service is depending on which micro-culture they are based out of. The CO/UA merger was almost 15 years ago, yet there is no consistency in the product.

IFE: BYOD, AC outlets, and WiFi are the offering. No USB charging ports or IFE in these older cabins. Maybe the Next products are coming soon, but not soon enough.

Catering: Just one drink service and only one snack offered. Crew was asked to prepare cabin for landing early due to turbulence, but don't think they would have offered anything else anyways given the size of the B753 cabin.

Related

2 Comments

If you liked this review or if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to post a comment below !
  • Comment 644469 by
    KévinDC TEAM SILVER 6719 Comments
    The Salon feuille d'érable 😉 looks awesome--especially that terrace! There need to be more outdoor terraces in lounges, especially here in California where it's normally perfect weather for sitting outside...normally, not lately with never-ending biblical-level flooding rains.

    I'm assuming this was part of an international itinerary based on the club access...or are you still rocking *A status from a foreign carrier, OZ maybe?

    Another mediocre UA service as expected, the only notable aspect of the flight was the friendly crew.

    Basically a typical domestic flight on a US carrier in Y haha, minus the friendly crew since we all know that can be hit or miss, especially on UA and AA.

    The cereal stand was decorated for Valentine’s Day.

    Nothing says love, like cheerios in a big plastic dispenser! 🤣

    The sanitizing wipes distributed at boarding.

    This is so weird...this is the 2nd review I'm seeing with UA handing out sanitising wipes lately. I'm pretty sure they stopped giving them out like 2 years ago, along with all the other US carriers. Did they just happen across a huge stock of them they forgot about? LOL

    Maybe the Next products are coming soon, but not soon enough.

    Haha yes, it's a bit slow-going, but it's lightning speed compared to the Polaris rollout, which took the better part of a decade....it's almost time to start swapping out to a new J product now with everyone else adding doors haha.

    But yeah, UA's 757 interiors are very basic, except the most recently refurbished Intl 752s. Delta's 757 interiors really put UA's to shame. Who knows when the 75s with get NEXT'd...if they even do before getting retired.

    Fantastic aerials! Flying over the Rockies on a clear day is always a feast for the eyes!

    Thanks for sharing!
    • Comment 644607 by
      NGO85 SILVER AUTHOR 1972 Comments
      Hi Kevin, thanks for the comments!

      I'm assuming this was part of an international itinerary based on the club access...or are you still rocking *A status from a foreign carrier, OZ maybe?

      non-UA *G, of course. We got UA status for our son though so we can double dip when traveling with him to get the EconomyPlus seats, but use our access to bring him in as guest.

      Did they just happen across a huge stock of them they forgot about? LOL

      They are actually rebranded from COVID times (blue versus white packaging), so it is a real protocol change not just an attempt to clear the warehouse. Had them on 3/4 flights on this trip and overall about two-thirds of flights over last 6 months.

      if they even do before getting retired.

      Fleet age is big issue for UA. I see no point in putting in Next cabins in 20+ year old A319s, 757s, or the older NG B737s.

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