Friday, May 1, 2009

Trip Report - United San Francisco to Honolulu

United 73 San Francisco to Honolulu - Domestic 777

My connecting flight was a bit late arriving in SFO, luckily the SFOHNL flight was just across the Hall at Gate 80. However, the flight’s gate area was PACKED with Coach passengers all trying to board at once -- first class had been boarded a long time ago. I wasnt too sure about United implementation of the dual boarding lanes, but this time it did worked as designed.

I maneuvered myself through the coach passengers to the Red Carpet lane. The United gate agent promptly stopped coach boarding (sorry 100+ folks), then scanned my home printed boarding pass. Once I was through she re-closed the Red Carpet lane and resumed Zone 2 boarding.
I was lucky to get seat 1F (middle section aisle) on this flight -- but it did involve not one, not two but three calls to United’s NON-US call center to get my upgrade correct. Of all the non-US call centers I have dealt with, United’s is still the worst. My last reason for calling them was they didnt process the upgrade correctly, as I was confirmed in First (1F) -and- Coach (17H). Now a good United agent would have just spotted this right off the bat, and removed the coach segment. But it took a 5 minute conversation with United’s “Shamal” and eventually just telling her to remove my coach segment.

Seat 1F is the best non-window seat in first class on this plane. Normally I dont like bulkhead seats, since I like to have my carryon bag close by, but on a 777 its usually a long flight -- so I can deal with waiting for the seatbelt sign going off and then bringing my bag down.


The domestic 777 has 36 domestic first class seats in a very tight-pitch 2-2-2 formation. Seat 1F has the most legroom since its a full bulkhead. Plus unlike other widebody bulkheads, there isnt enough room for folks to cut in front of you -- so the space is all yours for you and your bags.

Sadly, United still hasnt updated their Audio/Video on this type of plane. There is a 1960’s style projector over 2 FE and movie screen on the bulkhead for all First Class passengers (seat 1AB and 1HJ have a LCD screen on the wall as well).



On the good side the flight attendants were very cheery and service was pretty good for United. The meal choices were “eggs” or a fruit plate -- this was my second United breakfast first class meal in a week, so I told the FA that eggs are fine, if they have enough. She thanked me for being flexible. On the downside, she didnt greet passengers by name - even though she had the name list in her hand (sigh - I think a nice “Hello Mr Outflyer, what would you like to have today” would go a long way to make a flight better -- and its free to United !!)

I do have say, the flight attendants hit to ground running serving drinks fast and furiously right after take off. Since its a Hawaii flight, folks were having all sorts of drinks -- even at 9am SFO time. The flight attendants seemed to take everything in stride and did a great job on getting the first and second drinks out, and then a hot towel service.

Breakfast arrived with a choice of Bran Muffin (?) and Croissant. This time there was jam provided for the Croissant.

The meal was not bad, but it was almost identical to the SEADEN egg meal I had 6 days prior -- with the exception being a cheese/pepper filling this time.

The trays were picked up quickly and "the Movie" started -- see below. I decided to watch something on itunes instead.


The empower was working on this plane and Channel 9 was ATC, which is always nice. Oddly I dont think I heard the Captain ever announce the "halfway to Hawaii" game -- maybe United doesnt do this anymore, which is a shame.

Not a bad flight and arrived on-time.

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