After a beautiful morning in Sydney with Andrew we hitched a ride to the airport for our 3:25 PM departure to LAX. We were seated in 7J and 7K, lower deck, business class in rear facing seats.
It is a strange experience taking off backwards. I haven’t done it since the old Southwest days when the front seats were facing the rear. You expect to be pushed back into the seat on acceleration. Nope, does not happen. I was extremely disoriented until I got my mind to realize that I was watching Australia disappear instead of looking to America.
After a great night’s sleep the night before, the 3:25PM departure was fine with us and we each were wide awake on takeoff. With 14 hours to go, there is no hurry doing anything so we each settled into a movie. Well I thought we would. The TV channels worked just fine but my movie system would not kick in. After an hour or so of TV, I finally asked an attendant and she indicated several others were having the same issue and she had to reset those sets individually. I was a movie watcher within 2 hours of takeoff and settled in to some stupid Matt Damon thing called the Informant. Really off the wall for Matt.
We had dinner of steak and mash potatoes and then watched another movie before laying the seats back for some shut eye. According to SeatGuru the lower deck business class seats have 3 more inches of room than upstairs. I could feel it, and slept much more comfortably on the return than on our trip to Sydney. I actually got 8 hours of sleep in the 14 hour flight and was raring to go when we hit LA.
Just before arrival the purser came on and apologized for the technical difficulties with the video system and told us to go to united.com/appreciation to register? That was a new one on me. I usually just send a note if I’ve had an issue onboard. They were actually proactive, but in a subtle way. I’m not sure how many people listened to the announcement. The Frugal Guy did and it paid off handsomely.
I went to the suggested website and registered both Katy and I. I got a response offering me my choice of 10% off a domestic flight, an e-cert for $250, paper cert for $250, or 10,000 UA miles. Katy was offered 9,000 miles or a $200 ecert as a Premier Exec member. You’d think they would just give us certs onboard… That put $450 back in the old travel folder for the next trip.
LAX to ORD was a yawner but with some beautiful views of the wild west and we hurried to the Savannah gate in the next terminal. That is a long hike for the old guy when on a short layover and one of the things I like least about flying United.
We taxi out and the fun begins. Seems the pilots leave the gate with one engine to conserve energy (makes sense) and when they tried to start the other engine, no such luck. We pulled over and waited to hear from maintenance and they sent us back to the gate, a gate, any gate. There were no gates…
Before deplaning I asked how long the crew would be legal. We had several hours and I asked to have my oversized carry on (regional jet) green tag ready when we deplaned.
We grabbed our stuff and on arrival in the terminal and were told to proceed to F1 which was 14 gates away as they had located another aircraft. That is a stroke of luck. I’ve seldom had that happen.
As we are waiting around for fuel and baggage transfer, a pilot comes up to the gate agent and tries to check in for the flight to fly the plane. The gate agents say they already have a pilot and send him away. They didn’t get his name or know the name of the pilots onboard. They just sent him away.
Thanks goodness the guy was persistent, called operations, and came back to fly us to Savannah. The ground crew had no idea what they were doing, who was supposed to be flying, and who was to come off the flight.
So just a few minor hiccups from Sydney to Savannah. We left at 3:25PM on the 17th and arrived in Savannah at 1 AM on the 18th with the international dateline crossing.
I wonder if we keep circling flying from West to East, if I can get any younger?