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UA926 Los Angeles (LAX) - San Francisco (SFO)
 
Date: 5 September 2005
Departure (scheduled): 14:15
Arrival (scheduled): 15:28
Aircraft: Airbus A320
Cabin: Economy Plus
Seat: 7A

Check-in at LAX was easy - no queue at the premium counter at all. There is a separate fast track security line for premium passengers, which I was grateful to use but still took about ten minutes to negotiate, not helped by a schoolboy error on my part of taking my laptop out of my bag and then placing the bag on top of it in the tray (I know that the laptop should go in its own tray). I was greeted with an incredulous "What was the point of that, sir?" from the TSA agent .

Once past security, I headed to the Red Carpet Club, eager to see if it was as bad as I had been led to believe it was . The layout and decor were much better than I anticipated, but the availability of food and drink was laughable. There was only tea and coffee available as a help yourself selection and everything else had to be got from a manned bar. Granted soft drinks were free, although I saw many people giving tips to the barman, and of course alcoholic drinks are not free . I tried my luck getting some drink vouchers with my bmi Gold card, but they are only available for international flights. So I forked out an unbelievable $5 for a Budweiser and sat and read my book (Roy Jenkin's biography of Churchill ).

The boarding gate was right outside the lounge and I was one of the first to board courtesy of priority boarding (which makes a refreshing change from the scrum that is BA boarding on short haul). I settled into 7A which is an Economy Plus seat with 35-36" of leg room . The flight was very full with only a few spare seats.

We left the gate about 10 minutes early and were soon firing off into the air over the Pacific. A few right turns later and we were heading up the Californian coast on our way to San Francisco.

I wondered what kind of cabin service would be offered and I was actually surprised that a full drinks cart was available, although alcohol at a cost again. I had a Pepsi and a small complimentary bag of mini-pretzels. I don't think any food was available, but on such a short flight it really isn't needed.

After a very smooth flight with excellent visibility, we soon landed in San Francisco and pulled up to the gate for what the First Officer described as "another on time United arrival!".

Baggage took for ever and a day to arrive, about 30 mins from arriving at the gate by my reckoning , which is just too slow. No wonder many people had their roll-on luggage in the cabin with them. But anyway I wasn't in a particular rush, but it did put a little dampener on what had otherwise been a very competent flight indeed.


LAX Red Carpet Club