After dropping off our rental car at Hertz Rental Car located at Louis Armstrong Airport’s consolidated rental car center, we walked to the terminal to checkin for our United Airlines flight 263 back home to Los Angeles. UA 263 was going to be my first flight ever with United Airlines. In all of my years flying, I have flown on many different US carriers but until today, never on United Airlines.
Once we entered the terminal building, we headed over to United Airlines checkin area to checkin for our flight and also check one of our suitcase. The checkin for United Airlines was not busy and we were able to walk right up to one of the self service kiosks. While we originally planned on not checking any bags, my mom had cosmetics with her that she did not want to throw out. I used the self service kiosk to checkin and pay for the single roller that we were having checked to Los Angeles. Once we were completed with the self checkin portion, one of the United Airlines checkin employees came over to tag the one bag that we just paid to check.
With our boarding passes in hand, we headed over to the security check area for concourse D which is where United Airlines gates are located at Louis Armstrong Airport. Security lines were light and my mom and I were in and out within 5 minutes but my dad was flagged for enhanced security check for “PreCheck” which was the reasoning he was told for the long security check. My mom and I had to wait 15 min for my dad’s enhanced check for “PreCheck,” which he never signed up for, to be completed. I have been flagged on my boarding pass for the dreaded “SSS” enhanced security screening in Las Vegas before but this is the first time I have ever seen or heard of “PreCheck” enhanced screening.
Once my dad was finished with security, we headed down the concourse to where our gate was located. While walking down concourse D, we saw the sign in the picture above advertising “Ranked #1” in Liver Transplants and my mom who works in the medical field, made a comment that with all of the drinking she had seen this weekend, it is no surprise the #1 Ranked liver transplant center would be located in New Orleans.
We arrived at gate D5 where another United Airlines flight was just finishing boarding. My parents and I found ourselves three seats facing the tarmac where I left my mom and dad to look after our belongs so I could go around concourse D and take pictures of the aircrafts parked at the D gates. At the gate area, the power sockets were the most popular place where people congregated. There was a charging station setup at our gate D5, but people still were lined up at the wall to find a space to charge their devices at the wall socket. Since we arrived early for our flight, I had one wall socket that we could keep an eye on from our seat, dedicated to charging our three iPhones.
When it got closer to boarding time, passengers for flight UA 263 were starting to line up at their boarding group line. Since we needed space up in the overhead bin for the one suitcase that we did not check, we gathered our belongings and got in line in Boarding Group 3. Judging by the lines, and shortly confirmed by the announcement made by the gate agent, UA 263 was a completely full fight tonight. Once pre boarding was completed for mobility impaired passengers, general boarding commenced.
Group 1 and then 2 were called up to board, which seemed to have half of the aircraft’s passengers in those two boarding groups. Our boarding group was called and after having our boarding passes scanned by the gate agent, we were down the jet bridge to board our Airbus A320 United Airlines aircraft.
I was in the lead with my parents following behind, which gave me come cushion in stopping for three seconds in the aisle to snap pictures of the Airbus A320 interior. Once I arrived at row 29, I tried to snap a picture of my seat 29A before putting my stuff up in the still empty overhead bin and take my seat so others could board. If my parents were not behind me to shield me from the other boarding passenger’s view, I probably would have pissed off couple people for blocking the aisle to take pictures.
Once the three of us were seated, we watched the comedy show called “passengers boarding with oversized luggages.” Passengers who boarded in later groups had no overhead storage space for their belongings and the United Airlines Flight Attendants had to make announcements saying that if the bins are closed, then they are full so do not open them up. Eventually, even the remaining space in the First Class cabin’s overhead bins were full with Economy Class passenger carryon items. It really is hysterical watching the lengths people will go to avoid the checked baggage fees.
Once everyone was boarded and the carryons stowed or gate checked, safety demonstrations were performed through the dropdown video monitors. There must have been some issues or confusion with deploying the monitors because they were stowed and deployed multiple times before finally playing the safety demonstration video. During the safety demonstration video, the flight attendants stood in the aisle with each flight attendant taking their places at about equidistant from each other until the safety demonstration video was completed.
Once the safety demonstration was completed, the dropdown monitors were stowed and and the cabin prepared for departure. Our United Airlines Airbus A320 pushed back from the gate and complete the short taxi to the runway where the engines powered up and we powered down the runway. Once we were airborne and the the flight attendants were released at 10,000 feet, the dropdown video screen deployed and began playing United Airlines commercials. The United Airlines Flight Attendants working aboard began preparations for inflight service. We had dinner before boarding, but for picture opportunity, I decided to purchase couple of Buy Onboard Items.
There were three United Airlines Flight Attendants working onboard flight 263. Two females and one male. The one female flight attendant who was the purser, worked the First Class cabin while the other two worked in the Economy Class cabin. After reading all kinds of horror stories regarding United Airlines Flight Attendants from online trip reports, I was expecting the worst from the flight attendants when I boarded UA flight 263. In reality, the two United Airlines Flight Attendants that were working in Economy Class were one of the nicest flight attendants that I have ever encountered. The second female flight attendant who was working in Economy Class was of older age. Others have complained about the “Old United Airlines Flight Attendants” online and how terrible they are but my experience has been completely opposite. While some people will use older age of flight attendants as a reason to complain, in my own personal experience, older flight attendants are the most efficiently working flight attendants.
Once the Buy Onboard trolley came to our row, I ordered the cheese plate and the chicken and udon noodle salad. If you purchase one of the Buy On Board items, the flight attendant will go to the drink trolley which is following closely behind and get you your beverage so that you do not have to wait until the trolley comes by. Surprisingly both Buy Onboard items were good and reasonably priced in my opinion.
Once the Buy Onboard and beverage carts came through the cabin and the trash collected, I thought inflight service was completed, but the male flight attendant came through the economy class cabin with a tray of coffee for passengers that wanted one. I took a cup for myself but my parents passed. For the rest of the flight, we did not do much. While there was entertainment playing on the dropdown monitor, I did not watch it.
The 4+ hour flight time passed by quickly and it was time prepare for landing at LAX. The flight attendants made the usual announcements and the cabin stirred with passengers trying to get their belongs back up into the overhead bins. I tried to take pictures while landing, but very few pictures came out clean. Our Airbus A320 landed on one of the southern runways at LAX. After a quick taxi to terminal 7, we parked at the gate closest to the main terminal which gave us a short walk to baggage claim.
After reading so many negative reviews online my parents and I boarded UA flight 263 expecting the worst. In the end after our 4+ hour flight, my impressions of United Airlines has been changed for the better. There are many complaints online regarding how terrible the merger between United Airlines and Continental Airlines was a total disaster and how the inflight crew were surely and rude but I did not witness any of that during this flight. I am sure there are many bad apples out there at United Airlines but on flight 263, I did not witness any of the bad parts.