Friday, May 6, 2016

Day 2: United First Class B737-800 SFO-IAD Summary

After our short shuttle ride from the Hyatt Regency San Francisco Airport, we were dropped off in front of Terminal 3, where United operates out of.  From the entrance you either head right to the main check-in area, or to the left for premium cabins.  I'm uncertain how often it's of advantage to walk the extra distance for premium cabin check-in (it is slightly further away), but we gave it a shot.  Check-in was quick and easy, and we made our way back to security.

Taking our seats.
-Introduction/Giveaway
-Day One: Hyatt Regency San Francisco Airport Review
-Day Two: United First Class B737-800 SFO-IAD summary
-Days Three through Six: D.C Area recommendations: Smithsonian, National Harbor, Baltimore Aquarium.
-Day Seven: Lufthansa Business Class Lounge IAD summary, Lufthansa First Class A330-300 IAD-MUC Summary
-Day Eight Part 1: 6 Hours in downtown Munich, Lufthansa First Class Lounge Munich Summary
-Day Eight Part 2: Lufthansa First Class A330-300 MUC-DXB Summary
-Day Nine Part 1: Dubai Exotic Limo brief review part 1.  Abu Dhabi recommendations: Ferrari World, the Grand Mosque.
-Day Nine Part 2: Park Hyatt Abu Dhabi Review
-Days Ten through Twelve Part 1: Park Hyatt Dubai Review
-Days Ten through Twelve Part 2: Dubai Exotic Limo brief review part 2 & Dubai recommendations:  Burj Khalifa Sky.
-Days Ten through Twelve Part 3: Dubai Recommendations: Tea at the Ritz Carlton Jumeirah Beach, Atlantis Monorail, Dubai Mall.
-Days Ten through Twelve Part 4: Dubai recommendations/information: The Dubai Museum, , Platinum-Heritage Falconry Heritage Tour.
-Day Thirteen: Emirates 777-300 DXB-MLE summary, Moonima Lounge MLE summary, Maldivian Dash-8/Boat Transfer to Park Hyatt Maldives summary
-Days Thirteen through Sixteen Part 1: Park Hyatt Maldives Hadahaa Review
-Days Thirteen through Sixteen Part 2: What to do at the Park Hyatt Maldives Hadahaa
-Day Seventeen: Maldivian Dash-8/Boat Transfer Park Hyatt-MLE summary, Conrad Rangali MLE Lounge summary, Trans-Maldivian Twin Otter transfer MLE-Conrad Rangali Island
-Days Seventeen through Twenty-One Part 1: The Hilton Guy!?  A review of the Conrad Maldives Rangali Isaland Resort.
-Days Seventeen through Twenty-One Part 2: What to do at the Conrad Maldives Rangali Island Resort
-Day Twenty-Two Part 1: Trans-Maldivian Twin Otter Conrad Rangali Island-MLE summary, Conrad Lounge MLE summary, Leeli Lounge MLE summary
-Day Twenty-Two Part 2: Turkish Airlines Business Class A330-300 MLE-IST summary.
-Day Twenty-Three Part 1: Turkish Airlines IST Lounge Summary, 6 hours in Istanbul.
-Day Twenty-Three Part 2: Turkish Airlines Business Class B777-300  IST-SFO summary.
-Day Twenty-Four: Hyatt Regency San Francisco Embarcadero Review.
-Trip Summary/The Numbers


Near the edge of California.
I can't give you a full-on review of the flight, as my first-class experience is fairly limited, nor did I take nearly enough photos and notes.  But for a bit of a summary:

Airline-provided snack bowls, self-provided extras.
Reaching security, we found the line to be quite long.  I was a little anxious, as we had a little less than an hour before the flight was scheduled to depart.  It took us about 30 minutes to clear TSA, and we rushed to our gate.
As it turns out, there was still some time remaining before boarding, but I was happy to arrive in time to board with my group.  I don't recall our precise gate, but it was either 83, 85, or 87.  We didn't bother taking a seat in the terminal, because a line had already formed.

After just a few minutes, boarding began.  We got on quickly and nestled in our seats as the rest of the plane loaded up, and less than 20 minutes later, we departed on schedule for IAD.
Shortly after reaching cruising altitude, flight attendants passed out snacks and beverages, and we pulled out a couple of our own.

Meal service began soon after, and while we took in views of the Sierras (see short video below), the attendants brought us a spring mix salad with mandarin oranges.

video

Spring Mix Salad
In general, I'm not a fan of mandarin oranges.  I used to eat them by the can, but for some reason they tend to make me nauseous nowadays.  These oranges however were delicious and caused me no problems.  The salad itself was decent enough, but nothing special.

Kim enjoying her sorbet (more than I did)
Next came the main course.  To be perfectly honest, even with the photo I don't remember what was served, only that it was a mediocre meal.  I paired it with a red wine, just to get more monies worth.

It appears as though United has recently upped their game in food service.  And I gotta admit I was not disappointed by the taste and presentation of the salad.  Also to be fair, I didn't get my snapshot of the main course until after I had already started, so I can't give them any grief over how it was presented.  I will say that whatever it was they served me, it was not any of the items shown here.

The sorbet that was served was also sub-par.  Typically no matter how full I am by the time dessert comes around (and make no mistake, I was full!), I can still down a good sorbet or ice cream.  But I put my spoon down after a couple of bites.
Maybe just go back to hot-fudge sundaes?

The main course in question.
When meal service finally ended, we kicked back and opened up our tablets to watch some pre-loaded entertainment.  I'd say all in all the meal service lasted a good 2 1/2-3 hours into the flight.
We landed at around 7 P.M Eastern, after a mostly smooth ride into D.C.
People often question whether it's worth the extra cost (miles or cash) to fly first class domestically. For me, at 6 feet tall, I'm typically uncomfortable in standard economy. (I'm sure there are those of same or greater height who can manage just fine).  Pretty much without fail I will purchase an upgrade to economy plus, which on a cross-country or California to Hawaii flight will run upwards of $100 each way.  Had I saved the 12,500 extra miles by booking economy instead of first, I still would've found myself paying 100 to upgrade to E+.  In this case, it was a no-brainer.  For those who haven't tried flying domestic first, for a 4+ hour flight, I'd recommend trying it at least once. Typically that's all it takes to start to decide for yourself when and if it's worth doing more often.

Stats for this flight:
Aircraft Type: Boeing 737-800
Seats: 2E & 2F (United First)
Duration: 5 Hours, 3 Minutes
Cost: 25K United Miles Per Person, purchased at 1.9 cents a mile. ($475 Per Person)
Value: $544 per person (based on average cost of this flight)


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