UA Shanghai to LA – temporary 777 – United First

I wrote before about the UA F service from Shanghai to San Francisco so I won’t bore you with too much.

Background

Originally the flight should have been a 787 (which would have been my first flight on that aircarft). However, when the whole battery saga started UA subbed a typical 777. A waitlisted an upgrade to F, and on the day it turned out that only I and the Captain’s wife were in F. The coach cabin was pretty full by C had empty seats.

Check-In / Lounge

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United uses an agent at Shanghai and as the LA flight is some hours after their other departures, when I got to check-in they were not open. At exactly three hours before flight time they opened. The self checkin machine were also not opened until the staff came.

I have written about the lounge before, and it was fairly quiet for my time there.

On board

The Captain’s wife was just in front of me on the jet bridge and the crew made a huge fuss of her when she boarded. In fact I was pretty much ignored for the first 20-30 minutes at which point they produced a drink, newspaper and menu.

Menu
Crab Cake and Beef Skewer with lime hollandaise sauce:
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Minestrone Soup

Salad

Tenderloin of Beef (other options were Chinese-style Barbeque Chicken, Bouillabaisse, Stir Fried Noodles)

International Cheese Selection

Ice Cream Sundae

The food was generally good and the service prompt.

I fell off to sleep and had a decent amount of rest before we came in to land at LAX.

Breakfast was offered, but I declined (it was about 4pm LA time!), Frittata, Congee and Cereal with Banana were on offer.

Arrival
United has its own arrival facility at LAX which is under Terminal 7. We were the only United flight at that time, but I had not realised that Alaska now use the same arrivals facility for their Mexico to LA flights. Several arrive at the same time as the United flight. Despite being first off, I was in a line behind about 20 people from the Alaska flight. With four agents processing non-US, and one of these taken off to handle people in wheelchairs it was a good 30 minutes before I got to exit.

My inspection, I might add, consisted of the inspector holding up my passport to check the photo, asking my middle name and how long I was staying. He then stamped and let me through – 2 minutes tops.

I wanted to go to the First Class Lounge as I had several hours to kill before my connection to Newark. I popped upstairs at Terminal 6 and went through security there. This worked OK as they opened a new line just as I got past the checker. A brisk walk to the lounge in Terminal 7 and a very warm welcome from the staff there made up for the delay through immigration.

LA First Class Lounge

Located on the mezzanine, when I arrived there was one other passenger. As the evening drew on people arrived for the late flights to JFK and the Sydney/Melbourne service.


Although a bit dated the staff were great – offering hot food freshly prepared like this soup and toasted sandwich.

I went off to get my flight to Newark which left on time.

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