Updated on March 5, 2015
After X bailed me out, I made my way through security and customs, and headed to the Air New Zealand Lounge. Since United is a member of the Star Alliance, and I was flying in their premium cabin for my flight out of Sydney, I was able to get access to Star Alliance Lounges. I went with the Air New Zealand lounge as I had heard good things.
Quick Synopsis: It’s a nice lounge! Nothing especially great or fancy, but they had beer, hotdogs, good wifi, and a great tarmac view. I was happy!
After about two hours in the lounge I headed for my boarding gate and got on the 747-400 bound for SFO!
Flight time was around 12-13 hours or so. I slept for about 4-5 hours and was still able to enjoy the flight, food, and drinks!
(Keep in mind, these are still blasts from the past so I don’t really have a ton of pictures, but here’s a few!)
Class: Global First
The United 747-400 is a “4-class” plane with Global First, Business First, Economy Plus, and Economy. Global First has 12 open suites and I was on the right side of the plane with a window view! In the photo above, my seat is the third tv from the front with the pillow below the screen. You can see the Seat Guru seat map of the plane here.
The cabin was about half full until 5 minutes before the flight when about 4 non-revenue passengers filled in the 4th row (all actually seemed to be united employees).
At this point I wasn’t quite as spoiled as I am now (and not nearly as spoiled as I’ll be after mine and Kevin’s trip and my honeymoon!). But the seat was very comfortable. I had no problem falling asleep and I don’t even think the 3 Jack and Cokes played a role…
My in-flight entertainment did go out for about 30-45 minutes at the beginning of the flight, but they were able to reset it and it ran fine the rest of the flight. I had no care, or really need for wifi during the flight, but I did see the passenger next to me on it and it seemed to be working just fine.
12-13 hours went by in the blink of an eye. Next thing I knew we were safely landing in SFO!
Being a premium cabin customer paid HUGE dividends. Being the second passenger off the plane allowed me to walk almost to the front of the customs line. As I looked back from the front I estimated the wait was at least an hour. Thank you Global First!
Through customs and onto the United Arrivals Lounge to get a shower, shave and some breakfast!
The lounge was actually pretty small. When you first walk in there is a small food area with seating to the left and a hallway straight down the middle that leads to the shower rooms. As I arrived they asked if/when I would like a shower? I replied, “yes/now”, please and thank-you!
After a quick shower and painful shave with their disposable razors, I headed out to the main lounge to grab some orange juice and bagels. Since the lounge closes at 12:30 pm, I ate my bagel and relocated to the “normal” United Club Lounge in the domestic terminal, where I waited for my flight to BWI.
United usually gets knocked pretty good around travel blogs, and for good reason most the time (miles devaluation, service, customer service, etc). But I can say, on this day, on these flights and in these lounges, I had a great experience! Thanks, United!