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United from MEL to the US. Opinions and experiences?

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runawaytrain

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Nov 7, 2009
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I have always had an aversion to flying United given what I've heard. However, the prices are the best I've found given that I didn't budget for this at the beginning of the year.

However, I've noticed that they cancel their flights a lot. I have limited time over there - at the most 2 weeks. Do you think I should cough up more money for a different airline to avoid the risk?

I wanted to use my Westpac Krisflyer card on the SQ website to get double points but the cost may be prohibitive considering I'm going to 2 of the most expensive cities in the US - San Francisco and NY and the value of the AUD. I am also being fussy and wanting to avoid LAX. Although, yes I would fly to LAX with United. However, I would rather fly direct to SFO and don't mind flying through Asia to do so.

TL;DR - United currently has the cheapest flights for my short (possibly 2 weeks max) trip. But they cancel flights a lot from what I've read. Risk it or pay more for what is most likely a more reliable airline? Thanks.
 

MEL_Traveller

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Apr 27, 2005
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United used to have a problem with reliability - their 747s weren't really up to the task. That is supposed to have changed with the 787s.

Checking flightaware there's been one cancellation of UA99 in the last 14 days, and one severe delay... so maybe it's not looking too great. however... when i was at the airport last year I know UA had protected passengers on other airlines, so they were still getting to the States, just a few hours later.

The main issue with the 747s in terms of comfort was the lask of IFE, but that's been solved with the 787s.
 

runawaytrain

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Thank you MEL_Traveller. That's reassuring. If I do go with them, I just need to reassure myself it's only x amount of hours. I think the flights would deserve a trip report since reviews for these flights on forums and blogs are lacking.

Oh and I would be travelling whY this time. It makes me want to purchase some points and see if I can get there on J. My dates are quite fixed though so it would probably not work out this time.
 

MEL_Traveller

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Thank you MEL_Traveller. That's reassuring. If I do go with them, I just need to reassure myself it's only x amount of hours. I think the flights would deserve a trip report since reviews for these flights on forums and blogs are lacking.

Oh and I would be travelling whY this time. It makes me want to purchase some points and see if I can get there on J. My dates are quite fixed though so it would probably not work out this time.
you could invest in an E+ seat - I think about $150 each way. I think an extra 5 inches of legroom? My friend did it last year - one way normal and one way economy extra. They were fine with normal economy, but said the extra room was worth the price.
 

runawaytrain

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Thanks for the heads up about E+, MEL_Traveller.

AviationNZ, good point, yes I wouldn't mind that either. I'm not quite sure why she didn't quote me Air NZ. Admittedly, I was vague with my requests. Also, I have now gotten distracted by the Cathay Pacific fare which works out to be similar in price as what was quoted for, for United.
 

BAM1748

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Many bag out United, but I have used them plenty of time with out issue. Just don't expect on demand movies and revert back the glory days of books.

If you're on a budget and time constraints UA is the way to go.

Matt
 
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MEL_Traveller

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Just don't expect on demand movies and revert back the glory days of books.
It might be a reasonable expectation re IFE :)

From UA's website (includes all AU flights):

Many of the aircraft in United’s international fleet feature seatback on-demand entertainment systems, allowing you to relax and enjoy a variety of entertainment options during your inflight experience. You can start, stop, pause, or rewind your movies and music. We offer up to 150 movies, 185 television shows, thousands of songs, 20 interactive video games, and even opportunities to learn languages during your flight.
Seatback on-demand entertainment is available on the following aircraft:

  • All Boeing 747-400s (United Global First[SUP]SM[/SUP] and United Business® cabins only)
  • All internationally configured Boeing 757-200s
  • All Boeing 767-300s (United Global First, United First®, United BusinessFirst® and United Business cabins only)
  • All Boeing 767-400s
  • All internationally configured Boeing 777-200s
  • All Boeing 787-8s
  • All Boeing 787-9s
 

TomVexille

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Nov 12, 2013
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11,030
Many bag out United, but I have used them plenty of time with out issue. Just don't expect on demand movies and revert back the glory days of books.

If you're on a budget and time constraints UA is the way to go.

Matt
I've also not had issues with UA.
 

runawaytrain

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Nov 7, 2009
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Hahaha...thanks all much appreciated! At the moment, I'm more tempted by Cathay since I fly direct to SFO from HKG. I will also get a chance to see Hong Kong for a little while on the way back from JFK. I have never been before.

However, if I end up with United, I'm no longer worried. Job well done, thanks!
 

Sprucegoose

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Aug 20, 2003
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Exactly my point. Going via LAX or AKL is quicker than via HKG.
You last post claimed via NZ on ANZ was the fastest way to SFO ex MEL.

That is not the case. It's on QF. HKG has nothing to do with it.

Are you a front for Air New Zealand?
 

AviationNZ

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You last post claimed via NZ on ANZ was the fastest way to SFO ex MEL.

That is not the case. It's on QF. HKG has nothing to do with it.

Are you a front for Air New Zealand?
I see that you've edited your earlier comment to now quoted the correct post of mine. Originally you quoted my statement about HKG, LAX and AKL. Always pleasing to see people can't admit when they're wrong.

In any case, I actually stated quickest AND best way to get to SFO. Point taken about the quickest, but I would much prefer to go via AKL than via LAX, and in my experience believe a 2.30 transit in LAX could often be pushing it. Personal preference of course.
 

Sprucegoose

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I see that you've edited your earlier comment to now quoted the correct post of mine. Originally you quoted my statement about HKG, LAX and AKL. Always pleasing to see people can't admit when they're wrong.

In any case, I actually stated quickest AND best way to get to SFO. Point taken about the quickest, but I would much prefer to go via AKL than via LAX, and in my experience believe a 2.30 transit in LAX could often be pushing it. Personal preference of course.
I have found reliability and services at AKL very hit and miss if not buying sheep products. ANZ has impressed me only the once. I first flew them two weeks before Mt Erebus.

LAX will surprise you at times. Some of our FF will get through very quickly. But agree it can be hit and miss.
 

AviationNZ

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I have found reliability and services at AKL very hit and miss if not buying sheep products. ANZ has impressed me only the once. I first flew them two weeks before Mt Erebus.
Wow!!! Showing your true colours there. Probably the most inappropriate comment I've ever read on AFF, but whatever helps you sleep at night. Time to grow up mate!
 
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