You might remember that we got to fly United’s inaugural Boeing 787-10 stretch Dreamliner service from San Francisco to Newark a few weeks ago. There was all the new plane buzz you’d expect. But one feature that deserved its own special mention was the plane’s inflight entertainment system. It was redesigned from the ground up to include tons of new features, from a better moving maps for the #AvGeeks (including us!) to live news updates, a movie+map split-screen option, a favorites list, and a trippy “relax mode.” Plus, the folks at UA went out of their way to accommodate passengers with impaired vision and/or hearing.
Read on for our report with all the details about United’s new screens in the sky!
Flying on a CRJ 700 down to LAX to catch my flight to Hawaii.Â
Maresa writes the blog Around Puget SoundÂ and when she was recently taking a trip to Hawaii on United Airlines, I asked her to write up a review from a non-airline nerd perspective. This is her review in her own words:Â
My United Airlines Review – TheÂ Beginning
Iâ€™m on my way from SEA to LAX to ITO (Hilo, HI). Itâ€™s time for aÂ vacation; to get away and escape from the fast paced life we all seemÂ to live in these days. Iâ€™m hoping for good weather for hiking, biking,Â and snorkeling. Iâ€™ll be staying in my very favorite vacation rental:Â Papaya Sunrise on the East side of the Big Island during the week ofÂ my visit.
Currently, Iâ€™m traveling from Seattle to L.A. Iâ€™m riding in a CRJ700Â and itâ€™s tiny! Iâ€™ve never been in a commercial jet this small on theÂ mainland before. As many of you know, Hawaii has many inter-islandÂ jets that are about the same size.
We took off from Sea-Tac only about 10 minutes late, but our expectedÂ arrival is still â€˜on-timeâ€™. I have about a four hour lay-over in LAX,Â but the way I see it is Iâ€™d much rather have way more time thanÂ necessary than be stranded somewhere I just didnâ€™t mean to be.
Itâ€™s always exciting to fly. I love the views I get over Washington. IÂ feel extra fortunate when I get the added bonus of flying past Mt.Â Rainier–talk about a spectacular view!
One of the nice parts about the smaller jet is it took hardly anytimeÂ to board the plane. Also, United was willing to check larger bags forÂ free at the gate that were too big to fit in the narrow overheadÂ compartments. My carry-on bag fit just fine, but it was nice to haveÂ the option to check it and to have enough space up ahead for myÂ backpack. The folks on the flight who did check their bag will be ableÂ to pick up their bag right after getting off the plane without goingÂ to baggage claim.
Right now, the woman next to me is dozing with four radiant sunflowersÂ clasped in her grip, undoubtedly from Pike Place Market. Itâ€™s a goodÂ reminder of Seattle, of the summer to come, and the sunshine that Iâ€™mÂ on my way to see.
Iâ€™ll let you know about the next leg of the trip when I get that far…
From LAX to ITO, I rode on a Boeing 737-800. Not this exact one, but one like it. Photo by Jeremy Dwyer-Lindgren
Over Five Hours Later
Wow, LAX was huge! My connecting flight wasnâ€™t too far from where IÂ landed. I have to tell you though, this second flight is shaping up toÂ be much stranger and unpredictable than the first part.
When my fellow passengers and I were waiting to board, many peopleÂ were struck by how rude the gate agent collecting boardingÂ passes was to fellow passengers. â€œNo, donâ€™t go in that line! I saidÂ the right line–not the left!â€ The United/Continental worker shoutedÂ to customers. â€œNo, rows 30 and higher may board, only rows 30 and
higher!â€ Calm down lady–I think youâ€™re taking this all a bit tooÂ personally.
I found out a few minutes later that she wasnâ€™t looking or scanning atÂ the tickets she was collecting from people either, which meant thatÂ anyone with a ticket of any sort could board the aircraft–and someoneÂ did. A man got my plane to Hilo but didnâ€™t find out he was on theÂ wrong plan until he found someone sitting in his seat–how could there
be two people in seat 28E? â€œIsnâ€™t this flight going to Denver?â€ TheÂ man asked. â€œNo, weâ€™re going to Hilo as in Hawaii…â€ The flightÂ attendant responded sounding surprised. The man quickly grabbed hisÂ things and deboarded the plane. â€œIn all my six years of working as aÂ flight attendant, Iâ€™ve never had that happen!â€ The flight attendantÂ said shaking his head.
After only 20 minutes in the air the pilot informed us that weâ€™d beÂ experiencing some turbulence for the next 150 miles–how long it wouldÂ take to pass through, they didnâ€™t say.
Now Iâ€™ve done a lot of traveling and encountered some pretty badÂ turbulence but this far surpassed it all. The flight attendants wereÂ all losing their footing and desperately trying to hold on. TheÂ SnackPacks were bouncing all over in the carts and were about ready toÂ bounce out onto the floor. At the moment that I thought someone might
actually start to panic, one of the flight attendants actually did. HeÂ exclaimed, â€œBuckle up, buckle up! Weâ€™ll come back with the drinks andÂ food, is everyone buckled, because I need to go buckle up.â€
After a while, the turbulence settled down and the beverage serviceÂ began again.The flight attendants were going right along and missed myÂ row entirely. I called him back and wound up drinking a flat GingerÂ Ale. Great.
Mauamai Beach on the West side of the Big Island.Â
The flight attendants have just come back with another round ofÂ beverages and somehow they missed my row and walked right passed usÂ again. When the attendant was called back by my seat-mate the manÂ serving the drinks said abruptly to me, â€œWhatâ€™d you want?â€ â€œCranberryÂ juice please,â€ I asked. â€œHere–â€ the man says shoving the can of juice
United/Continental, I was not amused…not amused. I heard oneÂ passenger say, â€œNever have I seen passengers treated with suchÂ disrespect,â€ but thank you for getting us all to paradise safely.
If you are looking for things to do around the Puget Sound region either as a resident or a visitor, be sure to check out Maresa’s blog, follow onÂ FacebookÂ orÂ Twitter.