seat38a
Topic Author
Posts: 257
Joined: Wed Nov 20, 2013 2:29 am

SNA - SFO On United - Including Voluntary Bump

Tue Jan 02, 2018 11:38 pm

At first I considered not writing this trip report since it was just a quick flight from SoCal to San Francisco and back, but I reconsidered because there isn't very many reports from the other Greater LA area airports on here. So after Hurricane Harvey messed up my travel plans for labor day weekend, I had credit with United to use from my original ticket to NOLA, so I decided to use a portion of the credit to visit my friend from college. The original ticket to NOLA was in first class, but I just could not justify flying first class on a 1 hour flight to San Francisco even though the money had already been paid and sitting around as a credit with United. December 1 arrived and couple of hours before my flight time, I left my home and headed out to the Marriott where I had reserved airport parking via cheapairportparking.org. The price is cheaper than parking at the cheapest lot at John Wayne Airport and even if your flight is delayed, the hotel will not charge me for going over hours. This was the policy at the Marriott when I called to figure out what happens if my flight was delayed.

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The shuttle from the Marriott drove me and another airport parking customer the short 2 miles to SNA airport where I was dropped off right in front of the entrance for United Airlines check-in desk. I used one of the kiosks to scan my mobile boarding pass answered the questions and the machine printed out a self tagging luggage tag. After applying the luggage tag, I went over to the luggage drop off area where my ID was confirmed and I was directed to security. At security, there were three lines. One for premium cabin, one for general passengers and one for TSAPre. I entered the TSAPre line and walked right up to the TSA Agent checking documents and then proceeded to the screening area where all of the machines were off and turned on for my screening. From the curb to getting through security must have taken less than 10 minutes.

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Once I was airside, I headed directly to the United Club. SNA only has two airline lounges with United Club being one and the other a Admirals Club. I took the elevator up to the second floor where the agent scanned my boarding pass and after a second scan, I was welcomed to the club. The SNA United Club is SMALL. I would say about twice the size of a typical homes living room. The SNA United Club wasn't that busy when I arrived. After dropping my stuff at an empty table, I headed over to the food area to make myself a plate. I also stopped over at the bar to get myself a glass of white wine to go with my lunch. This United Club had all of the usual food offerings that you would find at bigger clubs like the one at LAX but just in smaller containers and display. The full bar had seating and one bartender who seemed to also double as the busboy for the club.

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After finishing up my plate of food and wine, I headed back down to the terminal to browse around and take pictures with my new iPhone X which would be my primary camera for this trip. SNA has three terminals A,B and C which are all connected into one LONG continuous terminal building. I walked all the way down to the end of terminal A and back all the way down to the end of terminal C stopping along the way to take pictures of departing and arriving aircraft. There were quite a bit of flights leaving at this time so there was plenty to photograph during my walk from one end to the other.

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Once I was done messing around with my new phone in the terminal, I headed back up to the SNA United Club and found that charcuterie and cheese and been put out. I made myself a plate of charcuterie and cheese and went back to where I had sat earlier to eat. United really needs to figure out a way to allow visitors to warm up their bread selections. While the bread and rolls look good, they always seem a bit try and could really use a quick 5 seconds in the microwave to soften them back up.

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I lounged around until I was notified via my United App that the aircraft which would be operating my flight to SFO had arrived from IAH. I gathered up my stuff and headed downstairs and was able to take pictures of the Boeing 737-800, which would be operating flight 295, taxi into gate 10. Since I have the United Club Card, I was given Group 2 boarding on this flight. As soon as the Group 1 line started to form, I jumped into Group 2 line being the first one in line. Boarding commenced on time with no one needing pre boarding. Right behind the last Group 1 passenger, the gate agent signaled for me to come forward and board. I found my aisle seat 22D and sat down but did not get too comfortable or settled in since 22E and 22F would be showing up later in the boarding process and I would have to get up for them.

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Once 22E finally showed up and took her seat, I fastened my seatbelt and tried to get as comfortable as possible. I kept getting hit by the FA and other passengers walking down the aisle. I pretty much sat the whole flight with my arms crossed trying to keep my upper torso and extremities from spilling into the aisle or my neighbor. Because I was sitting in the aisle, I had no idea what was going on outside. Only from the noise of the aircraft and the announcements was I able to determine what phase of the flight we were in. We took off towards Newport Beach but I didn't feel the "special takeoff" which is common here at SNA. The takeoff felt quite normal.

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Once the FA's were released from the seats, pretzels and napkins were served before the drink trolley rolled down the aisle afterwards. I had a ginger ale to go with the bag of pretzels but from what I could tell, the majority of passengers around me were ordering water. Just as the snack and drink service was concluding, announcements were made that we would be landing shortly and the FA's spring into action preparing for arrival. Again, being in the aisle, I could not see anything nor could I even try to peek out the windows around me. Only the engine noise and the noise of the land gear going down was I able to determine how close we were to touchdown.

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After exiting the runway, we taxied to gate 65 and I disembarked shortly afterwards. Before heading down to baggage claim, I visited the United Club which was located right before the exit down to the baggage claim. The club was PACKED and after using the facilities and snapping couple of pictures, I headed on down to collect my bag and catch BART into the city.

Return report with the voluntary bump and drama on landing will be coming ASAP!

More pictures from United Airlines flight UA 295 and John Wayne Airport United Club
 
debonair
Posts: 3070
Joined: Sat Jan 03, 2004 10:50 pm

Re: SNA - SFO On United - Including Voluntary Bump

Wed Jan 03, 2018 8:54 am

Unfortunately, the pictures do not show up...
 
KLDC10
Posts: 971
Joined: Tue Jun 14, 2016 8:15 pm

Re: SNA - SFO On United - Including Voluntary Bump

Wed Jan 03, 2018 1:18 pm

Nice report. Looking forward to reading the next installment. I do enjoy reading "ordinary" reports about domestic US flights because, let's face it, "ordinary" flights make up the bulk of flying for most A.Net members, and it is nice to know what to expect. Of course, it's always great fun to read about trips in business class on Singapore Airlines' A350, but all trip reports are worth reading, so thanks for sharing.

The (relatively) new United interior looks very smart. How did you find the comfort? The last time I flew United was ORD-BOS back in 2013 on a 737-900 with DirecTV. The cabin wasn't anything particularly special, and this looks like a big improvement.
DC9/MD90/MD11/F70/BAE146/Q400/737/738/739/744/748/752/763/772/A320/A321/A332/A333/E170/E175/E190
 
seat38a
Topic Author
Posts: 257
Joined: Wed Nov 20, 2013 2:29 am

Re: SNA - SFO On United - Including Voluntary Bump

Wed Jan 03, 2018 7:59 pm

KLDC10 wrote:
Nice report. Looking forward to reading the next installment. I do enjoy reading "ordinary" reports about domestic US flights because, let's face it, "ordinary" flights make up the bulk of flying for most A.Net members, and it is nice to know what to expect. Of course, it's always great fun to read about trips in business class on Singapore Airlines' A350, but all trip reports are worth reading, so thanks for sharing.

The (relatively) new United interior looks very smart. How did you find the comfort? The last time I flew United was ORD-BOS back in 2013 on a 737-900 with DirecTV. The cabin wasn't anything particularly special, and this looks like a big improvement.


The coach seats were actually comfortable. My lower back didn't kill me sitting in those seats. Many of United's first class seats such as the ones on the 757-300 are much less comfortable.
 
seat38a
Topic Author
Posts: 257
Joined: Wed Nov 20, 2013 2:29 am

Re: SNA - SFO On United - Including Voluntary Bump

Wed Jan 03, 2018 8:00 pm

debonair wrote:
Unfortunately, the pictures do not show up...


Seems to be working fine for me. Anyone else having issues?
 
seat38a
Topic Author
Posts: 257
Joined: Wed Nov 20, 2013 2:29 am

Re: SNA - SFO On United - Including Voluntary Bump

Sat Jan 06, 2018 11:04 am

After spending 2 nights in San Francisco, it was now time to head back home to Orange County. From Chinatown, I took an Uber to SFO. After the uncomfortable ride into the city on BART, there was no way I was going to take BART back to the airport no matter how much cheaper it is. The driver dropped me off at Terminal 3 and I headed inside and walked right up to the Premier Checkin desk where a friendly agent checked my info before tagging my bag.

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The agent directed me to security and proceeded to the TSAPre line which while a little long moved very quickly. The private security agents seemed to move things along quickly and with a smile vs the nasty attitude of TSA. I immediately headed over to the United Club located at Concourse E, where I ordered a glass of white wine. I wasn't hungry at this point so other than browsing the buffet, I didn't eat anything there. It was getting close to boarding time, so I headed over to my gate since the United App asked if I would be willing to voluntarily bump and I replied yes. I walked up to the agent and informed him that I volunteered via my United App to bump and he told me that they were currently offering $400.00 voucher and guaranteed seat on the next flight. He asked if I would be willing to accept the offer. I said I wanted first class on the next flight and after typing away on his computer, he agreed.

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I was told that they can only process bumps after everyone had boarded, so I sat down and waited until final boarding was called. Myself and two others that voluntarily bumped were called up to the podium and after signing a document saying that we voluntarily bumped, the agents began processing our voucher and boarding passes for the next flight. The supervisor came over and also instructed the agents to give the three of us $20.00 in food vouchers for the voluntary bump. Once I had my $400.00 voucher, $20.00 food voucher and my boarding pass, I decided to go for a walk and take this 4+ hour wait to snap pictures of the aircrafts at SFO. I literally walked to the end of every United Airlines concourse including the international part.

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By the end of my stay at SFO, I had visited the three domestic United Clubs multiple times, and walked every inch of terminal 3 and the international concourse accessible from terminal 3. With all the walking done, I was starting to feel hungry so I used my $20.00 voucher to get myself some terrible Japanese bento, which after picking at it a bit, I threw away. Had I paid for the bento with my money, I would have felt totally ripped off.

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After taking pictures from concourse E, I headed over to where my flight would be leaving from. When the gate agent arrived, he was taking volunteers for UA 5986 so I volunteered again for $350.00 voucher, $20.00 in food voucher and first class on the last flight to SNA. In the end, two people cancelled and my seat was not needed so I boarded the E175 aircraft and took my seat at 2A. As soon as the final passengers boarded, the doors were closed, the safety demo completed and were were off to Orange County. The two others that were bumped with me, a husband and wife, were at seats 1C and 4D.

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Inflight service aboard todays flight consisted of beverage and snack basket. After all the drinks had been served in first class, the flight attendant came by with the snack basket. When I asked the flight attendant if I could take a picture of it, she gave me a ... look before letting me snap the pictures. Once everyone had been served, the flight attendant came over and asked me why I was taking all the pictures and then asked me to see them. I showed her the pictures since I had nothing to hide but I could see this turning confrontational for some others. I explained to her that I'm taking the pictures for my blog and trip reports and she seemed to be satisfied with the answer and went off with her business.

The first class flight attendant went around the cabin asking passengers how they were doing. The woman in 1D obviously said something because I could tell the flight attendant was annoyed after talking to 1D. Our short flight to SNA flew by quickly and after the cabin was prepared for landing, the flight attendants took their seats. 1C decided to start a conversation with the flight attendant which continued to landing. Once we pulled up to the gate, passenger 1D decided she was going voice her displeasure of the flight attendant. Passenger 1D told the first class flight attendant that she should not be talking so much etc and wanted the flight attendants employee number so she could report her. At this time passenger in 1C, who bumped with me earlier, decided to jump in and call the passenger in 1D a “nasty person” and other couple of choice verbs at which point passenger 1D told passenger 1C to mind her own damn business. Passenger 1C decided to continue her defense of the flight attendant by calling 1D shameful etc.. Somewhere during the argument, passenger 1D called passenger 1C a “.....” and the flight attendant had enough.

The FA told passenger 1D to sit down because 1D needed a talk with security. Once the cockpit door opened, the flight attendant asked the pilots to call security. At this point, passenger 1D decided to take her argument to the captain who told passenger 1D that we did not want to listen to her and then he went into the lavatory. During this show, the aircraft door finally opened and 1D actually cracked a smile when she saw a United employee on the jet bridge which it seemed like she knew. 1D left with the United employee and I do not know what happened to her after that.

From all of the grumblings in the first class cabin, 1D was being nasty even before boarding the aircraft. Passenger 1D finally decided to go off on the flight attendant because there was no champagne onboard the flight and because according to passenger 1D, the flight attendant should not have been so chatty with passenger 1C during landing. With 1D departing with the United employee and 1C staying behind in the galley to give her statement, the aisle was finally clear and the rest of us were allowed to deplane.

Passenger 1D from what I could tell was just a nasty person. She wasn't having a bad day, but her whole life was one big bad day. One does not develop that skrowl on her face without years and years of being nasty to others. If the Christmas Carol was reimagined with Scrooge as a woman, passenger 1D would fit the role perfectly!

More pictures from United Airlines flight UA 5986 from SFO to Orange County SNA Airport.
 
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MarcoPoloWorld
Posts: 321
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Re: SNA - SFO On United - Including Voluntary Bump

Tue Jan 09, 2018 12:45 am

"After the uncomfortable ride into the city on BART, there was no way I was going to take BART back to the airport no matter how much cheaper it is."

Just curious whether there was any aspect in particular that made you say that?

Anyway, thanks for the thorough review; it's always nice to have closer-to-home flights documented as well. :airplane:
 
seat38a
Topic Author
Posts: 257
Joined: Wed Nov 20, 2013 2:29 am

Re: SNA - SFO On United - Including Voluntary Bump

Tue Jan 09, 2018 1:54 am

MarcoPoloWorld wrote:
"After the uncomfortable ride into the city on BART, there was no way I was going to take BART back to the airport no matter how much cheaper it is."

Just curious whether there was any aspect in particular that made you say that?

Anyway, thanks for the thorough review; it's always nice to have closer-to-home flights documented as well. :airplane:


The metal on metal grinding noise was ear shattering. I actually felt sick by the time I got off of BART

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