Last week the wife and I took our yearly trip to Lincoln City on the Oregon coast to rent the tiny beach house we've rented for nine years, a truly gorgeous spot on earth via United Airlines (UA). I will post a report on the stay in Oregon later in the Blog section.
Our Houston Intercontinental (IAH) to Portland (PDX) flight was on a B739 that was delivered to Continental Airlines (CO) in 2001, but the aircraft was in such good condition it looked like it was brand new. We departed IAH five minutes early for our 4+18 minute flight to the great northwest. Not far out of the cold rainy morning in Houston we cleared the clouds and found what winter looks like 60 miles north of us, this is still Texas remember. Brrrr where is Spring?
The Flight Attendants soon came around with hot towels then took beverage orders and breakfast options. We could pick from French Toast, Cold Cereal or Skillet Style Scrambled Eggs all accompanied with Fresh Fruit and Greek Yogurt. My wife selected the French Toast while I opted for the Eggs. Both entrees came with New Mexico Applewood Sausage and Potato Graitin.
My Eggs were excellently seasoned and very moist while the Sausage and Potato combination just perfectly done.
My wife got into her meal too fast for a nice picture, but a lover of French Toast all I can say it is must have been wonderful as she didn't make a sound or offer me a taste! After two rows of seats were served they came around with Cinnamon Rolls or Biscuits thankfully we passed on those. The meal was totally filling and when they came around to pick up the trays we were asked if we needed refreshing on our beverages to which someone couldn't resist themselves to top off the French Toast.
With DirecTV and WiFi the time just flew (pun intended) by. I even found some oldies on TV. Why were these POW's out in the woods?
Soon it was time to start the descent from 38,000' and some 45 miles east of PDX she appeared while passing 15,000' WOW, always amazed whether it be Mt. Rainier, St. Helen's or Hood, but this day Mt. Hood stood out clear and crisp while across the aisle you could see Mt. Rainier.
Our beverage glasses were picked up by our incredible Houston based CO now UA crew, they even knew my best friend the retired B772 Captain from his days on the B73's as well as his wife who was a Flight Attendant for CO. It was really nice to share stories of the couple during the flight. The landing was so smooth you didn't know you were on the ground until the thrust reverse was initiated and you felt the brakes. A short taxi to E1 and we said bye to the great crew and thanked them for keeping us safe and their service.
Fast forward six days and we are heading back home aboard a B738 that was delivered to CO in 2008 and again looked brand new. Equipped with DirecTV and WiFi again for our trip home we boarded and who do we find, the exact same two Flight Attendants we had coming up in the Premium cabin. Too funny and after exchanging hello we were served pre-departure beverages and closed the door five minutes early for the 3+35 flight back home to IAH.
I the row across from us 1E/F sat a couple that had been involved in a head on car accident two weeks earlier and had been in a Portland Hospital until the day before. They had broken feet, ankles, bruises on their faces yet were in great spirits. The Flight Attendants took such great care of them, even to the point of placing one of the meal cases from the galley beneath the woman's foot so she could keep in elevated without any difficulty. What an act of kindness in this day of Flight Crew bashing that takes place so often.
With the door closed we were off right on schedule and ready to order lunch while the hot towels were passed out. We were offered a selection of Tandoori Chicken with Rice and Salad, Grilled Chicken Salad with Tomato Basil Soup or Zucchini Ravioli with Salad. My wife selected the Ravioli and I the Tandoori Chicken both with White Wine and Water for beverages.
OH MY, the Chicken was delicious yet not quite as spicy as I would have liked (guess you have to keep the spice lower for some) and the Ravioli equally as good. Again both meals nicely heated and very low in sodium which we both loved. As they picked up the completely empty places we were told once all the customers food was taken away we would have desert. I'm thinking Cookies or maybe the often found UA Cheesecake, but NO......are you kidding me Sorbet with Mint. WOW impressive!!!!!
Totally full now and enjoying the bottomless wine serving we found ourselves in some moderate turbulence which makes my wife totally uneasy, me not so much. The Pilot's kept changing altitudes from 37,000' all the way down to 25,000' and still we got a mostly bumpy ride even if not so bad as an hour back.
Just before our descent into IAH a look back at the new Scimitar Winglet that is showing up on more and more Boeing planes these days.
Before we knew it we'd come up on the approaching clouds and rain coming up from the Gulf of Mexico then as we turned on to final approach for what I soon discovered was Runway 8R at IAH we popped out of the clouds at 4,000' to find an E145 to our left (some 5,000' horizontally) on final to Runway 8L. That poor guy didn't stand a chance in the race to the airport as we rolled by them. Out the other side of the airplane we were passing an A320 landing Runway 9, busy time at IAH during the 5:45 PM time frame to say the least.
Another outstanding landing and we were saying bye to our Flight Attendants again thanking them for keeping us safe and the excellent service. It's always fun to fly with people you know, almost feels like family.
UA gets a bad rap for many things, from flight interruptions, lost baggage, bad customer service and more. I even get on the band wagon on some occasions yet most often have no issues with most if any of these issues.
Recently some of you may have read about UA upgrading their meals in the Premium cabins. Since that announcement I've had four flights in their Premium cabins during meal time and maybe just maybe they're turning the corner in giving the passenger what they've been screaming for in the last few years.
BRAVO United on this trip, hopefully things are looking up for all who fly you and the employees as well.
Thanks so much for coming along with our flights.