Review of United flight Chicago San Francisco in Economy

Airline United
Flight UA 493
Class Economy
Seat 23D
Aircraft Airbus A320
Flight time 04:45
Take-off 24 May 14, 16:50
Arrival at 24 May 14, 19:35
UA   #92 out of 121 Airlines A minimum of 10 flight-reports within the past two years is required to appear in the rankings. 319 reviews
jetsetpanda
By 4466
Published on 12th June 2014
Hello and welcome to the last segment of my series. This leg will feature an unexpected visit to a new UA Club and the appearance of a retro jet.

Here is my itinerary:

AC SFO-YVR in Y - http://flight-report.com/en/report-7109.html
LH YVR-MUC in J - http://flight-report.com/en/report-7137.html
TK MUC-SAW in J - http://flight-report.com/en/report-7151.html
TK IST-TXL in Y - http://flight-report.com/en/report-7155.html
TK TXL-IST in Y - http://flight-report.com/en/report-7164.html
TK SAW-FRA in J - http://flight-report.com/en/report-7201.html
LH FRA-ORD in J - http://flight-report.com/en/report-7220.html
UA ORD-SFO in Y - you are here



UA 493 ORD-SFO
Act. Dept. 1707 - Act. Arriv. 1918


After my arrival from FRA, I took the shuttle to the Hyatt Regency ORD and arrived at the hotel within a few minutes. The hotel is located in Rosemont and within walking distance of a subway station. It had a modern interior with indoors elevators located in the middle of the lobby. It took some time to check in because this was a holiday weekend and lots of people were staying here. When it was my turn I was helped by a cheerful and nice agent who assigned me a comfortable room in one of the upper floors. Once I entered the room I took a shower and got a restful sleep.




Room pics.




View from my room

photo Hyatt Regency ORD (7) (1024x683)

The following morning I decided to take advantage of the lunch buffet for USD 18.50 at the hotel's O'H American Grill restaurant located in the lobby. It featured a salad bar along with hot items that included salmon, pulled pork, grilled chicken, side dishes and a dessert bar. The quality was great and freshness of ingredients were optimum. The pulled pork was specially tender and flavorful.

O'H restaurant




After that satisfying lunch I took the van to the airport. It was rather slow when I arrived at the counter and I used self check kiosk to issue my boarding pass. Saturdays tend to be slow days as a general rule.

photo UA 493 ORD-SFO (1) (1024x683)photo UA 493 ORD-SFO (2) (1024x646)photo UA 493 ORD-SFO (5) (1024x683)

I then went to security and there were two ladies posted at the beginning of the line to make sure that passengers were complying with the carry on policy. The process was quick and soon I was on the other side.




I was then that I spotted this retro beauty in Continental's former livery.




Afterwards it was time to head to T2, but first we had to go through the psychedlic tunnel playing Rhapsody in Blue. It is always a highlight to go through this tunnel between UA T1 and T2 whenever one is in ORD.

photo UA 493 ORD-SFO (16) (1024x683)photo UA 493 ORD-SFO (18) (1024x683)photo UA 493 ORD-SFO (19) (1024x683)


Last year when I donated some toys for Chase during Christmas time, I received a couple of passes for any UA Club. I then did some research to find out which is the best UA Club in ORD and it turned out that there was a remodeled one opened at the end of 2012 according to this article:

http://www.chicagobusiness.com/article/20140125/ISSUE03/301259988/ohares-top-first-and-business-class-lounges

At T2, I took a shuttle to the F concourse and I enjoyed the ride through the ramp.

photo UA 493 ORD-SFO (20) (1024x685)photo UA 493 ORD-SFO (21) (1024x683)


I found the renovated club in front of gate F4 and checked in with the receptionist. She advised me that the pass I had was good for the whole day at any of the clubs and all I had to do was to show my ID if I wanted to visit another club since the information was already entered into the computer. I thanked her and proceeded to go up the stairs into the club.

photo UA 493 ORD-SFO (23) (1024x676)photo UA 493 ORD-SFO (24) (1024x683)photo UA 493 ORD-SFO (25) (1024x662)


First impression was great. The club had a very contemporary style and the warm tones gave a welcoming feel. The interior was designed by San Francisco based IA Interior Architects.





One thing that caught my attention was the clever use of vintage UA pictures paying homage to the airline's past.

photo UA 493 ORD-SFO (41) (1024x752)photo UA 493 ORD-SFO (42) (1024x683)photo UA 493 ORD-SFO (43) (1024x683)


WC's




The lounge provided nice views of the ramp and there were some great airplane spotting.




Snack area.




I also noticed some wear on the ceiling.

photo UA 493 ORD-SFO (53) (1024x674)photo UA 493 ORD-SFO (52) (1024x683)


Afterwards I walked all the way back to the C-gates in T1, where my flight departed. I stopped by the UA Club there and the difference between that club and the renovated one was like day and night. I was welcomed by the agent and upon entering the place I saw that it was full of people. It seemed that every single chair was occupied and it just felt like an open room with lounging chairs scattered everywhere. I left and decided to wait in the gate area instead.

At around 30 min. before departure, I positioned myself in the Group 2 line (as an UA Explorer Card member, I have this priority). Boarding was orderly with priority given to wheelchair passengers and families traveling with children.

photo UA 493 ORD-SFO (70) (1024x683)photo UA 493 ORD-SFO (71) (1024x683)


I took my aisle seat and moments later the passenger occupying the window appeared. Eventually my neighbor showed up and sat next to me. Then at the end of boarding a FA came to our row and asked my neighbor if he wanted to move to an empty seat next to his wife who was sitting towards the front. Initially he misunderstood and said no and everybody around had a laugh. Then the FA said to him you don't have a choice and he joined his wife. I was so glad that I had more space in this version of intra-European J cabin.


The cabin upon boarding.

photo UA 493 ORD-SFO (72) (1024x683)photo UA 493 ORD-SFO (74) (1024x683)


There was a tall guy sitting behind who asked me not to recline my seat because it would crush his legs. Normally I don't recline it since this doesn't seem to make too much of a difference to me, so this was not a big deal, but technically a passenger is entitled to recline it if he or she feels like doing so. Good luck making that request on his next flight if he encounter a less accommodating person.

A nice surprise was the really nice FA that served me on this flight. She just had a great attitude and was always friendly and smiling. It's very hard to encounter these types of employees nowadays on UA.

I ordered a fruit plate which cost USD 7.99 and contained artisan cheese selections with crackers, fruit spread, grapes and chocolate. I ordered this once from FLL-SFO and it was great. This time the cheese selection was a bit stronger and there was a pungent smell when I opened the lid. Also, instead of a fig spread there was a container of Bonne Maman raspberry preserve. I still enjoyed it but I was surprised that they put a stronger cheese instead of a milder choice.

photo UA 493 ORD-SFO (77) (1280x787)photo UA 493 ORD-SFO (79) (1280x853)


The flight was uneventful and pretty soon we arrived in SFO.
See more

Verdict

United

7.9/10
Cabin8.0
Cabin crew9.0
Entertainment/wifi7.0
Meal/catering7.5

United Club (Concourse F)

7.4/10
Comfort9.5
Meal/catering5.0
Entertainment/wifi7.5
Services7.5

Chicago - ORD

8.8/10
Efficiency9.0
Access9.0
Services8.0
Cleanliness9.0

San Francisco - SFO

9.8/10
Efficiency9.0
Access10.0
Services10.0
Cleanliness10.0

Conclusion

The renovated UA Club in front of F4 was a nice surprise. It was nicely designed and very pleasant. The staff was polite, but with the exception of the first agent that welcomed me inside, the rest seemed a bit robotic and lacked a certain charm in their interactions.

It was nice to have an empty seat next to me at the last minute and that certainly made a difference in comfort. Having an excellent FA also made a difference.

Flight departed a few minutes late but arrived 17 min. earlier.

Overall a good flight with UA.

Information on the route Chicago (ORD) San Francisco (SFO)

6 Comments

  • Comment 110844 by
    Chibcha 432 Comments

    Great read and awesome pictures!

    The wife/seatmate episode must have been hilarious! What you say about FA's attitude is something sad to read...but as far as I know UA wasn't characterized for its service anyway, doesn't it?

    Thanks for this awesome series, I'm eager for your next one,

    Saludos!

    • Comment 296018 by
      jetsetpanda AUTHOR 2294 Comments

      Con mucho gusto Chibcha.

      Unfortunately UA is not known for its service, but there are a few gems working with this airline and those very few are the ones that make the difference. I wonder how much longer the morale can keep up if not lost already.

      My next trip is at the end of this month to MIA. Just a regular transcon from SFO on AA in Y. Nothing exciting.

      Then in October I will have another series. This time I will fly to the French Riviera via GOT on DL, AF and KL. GOT-NCE on SK and probably LH. I'm still deciding on that last portion. It's going to be in Y so it's going to be tough and maybe not as interesting to some member. ;)

  • Comment 110909 by
    KévinDC TEAM SILVER 5307 Comments

    Wow, the new United club design is nice! Sadly, the food offering is still as sad as ever. I really hate it when people ask you not to recline--if you don't fit in the seat get an Exit row or pay up for Economy Plus. Yes, that is not fair, but that's how it is--life isn't fair. If Obese pax must pay for a second seat, pax who are too tall should plan ahead to get an extra legroom seat. Greated airlines are at fault for reducing the seat pitch so much, but airline economics and the demand for low priced travel have forced the squeeze in coach--it's a vicious cycle. Anyway, thanks for sharing and I look forward to your next adventures.

    • Comment 296054 by
      jetsetpanda AUTHOR 2294 Comments

      It's always a pleasure to share my reports with such a knowledgeable and discerning audience. ;)

      Sometimes it seems that the only factor that the traveling public responds to is price. One wonders if there is a threshold point for how much people are willing to tolerate. For those of us who seek a happy medium, the airlines offer us an a la carte approach charging us extra for every amenity. I just wish every airline could be like Bangkok Airways or Porter, just to name a few.

  • Comment 111073 by
    lagentsecret GOLD 12434 Comments

    Thanks for sharing this FR

    A bunch of beautiful pictures as usual

    The new UA lounge is great but why spending so much money for a lounge and not offering at least few sandwiches !!

    You were lucky having a great crew on board : that's make all the difference

    Thanks for all these FRs of these great serie

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