Friday, November 6, 2009

Pictorial Report - United Airlines JFK-LAX-SYD-MEL UA27 and UA839

I am simply putting this next trip report in pictures. I have been running late blogging this stuff so some of the minor details have slipped my mind anyway! This post covers my journey home from New York to Melbourne on United Airlines Flight 28, p.s service Boeing 757-200 (New York JFK to Los Angeles) and United Flight 839 Boeing 747-400 from Los Angeles to Melbourne via Sydney.


airtrain arriving at JFK

airtrain at JFK approaching JetBlue terminal

heading up to the United Red Carpet Club at JFK


United RCC at JFK, has a view


free wifi onboard today, limited time offer. also you can see the lounge wifi access card


N525UA, my ride to LAX. Boeing 757-200 fitted with winglets (and wifi onboard)


flight to SFO waiting beside us


taxi'ing out I spot a Jet (9W) A330-200 - i think they fly in from India via Brussels?


we have liftoff - nice view of JFK




wave goodbye to New York, climbing out


in cruise over thick clouds


arriving at the gate LAX, on schedule


United 747, boarding at LAX for SYD


Breakfast before landing in Sydney, taste was ok


almost there!

Sydney Airport - view from Air New Zealand Lounge


Air New Zealand Lounge Sydney - I had time for a quick shower and some food


Air New Zealand lounge Sydney -  sparkling wine and fruit brunch!


In flight Sydney to Melbourne - the home stretch


A Californian chardonnay before arrival


The Mentalist episode was shown on this last leg


back exactly where I started from 6 days earlier!



Tuesday, November 3, 2009

New York and the Doubletree Guest Suites Times Square

Doubletree Suites Tower

I got a good deal on priceline.com at the Doubletree Guest Suites and since it was my first time in New York, the location suited me well, right in the heart of Times Square. In fact I don't think you could get any nearer to the centre of Times Square than Doubletree.

I arrived on a red-eye flight and the staff had no problems checking me in at 8am! In fact I must have looked a bit tired as the girl behind the desk guessed I had just come off a red-eye flight. I was really happy to get into the room early as I was in desperate need of a shower. I was presented with a warm choc-chip cookie as I completed check-in. I was given a corner room looking out over times square. The view was amazing!

view from my room, wow!

view from my room, looking down

looking out to the river, Hudson? im not sure, view from from my room

looking out to the left side from my corner room

The room consisted of an entry way and hallway, off to the right as you enter was the large bathroom, the hall swings to the left and on the right is the doorway to the bedroom. The bedroom had a large CRT tv, with a window , cupboard and side tables. The hall leads into the 'living area' which has a sofa bed, large flatscreen tv and a desk for putting a laptop on. There is a small built in kitchen sink and refrigerator. There is a filter/drip coffee machine with several free sachets of coffee to use. The coffee was great!

living room, desk looking out over time square

living room, pull out sofa bed

mini kitchen with coffee filter machine

bedroom

bathroom

If you are planning to go to a Broadway show, the TKTS discount ticket booth is located right out the front of the hotel, but get in early, it gets very busy when it opens. There is countless food options nearby, including a  SBARRO and Mcdonalds next door. Here is a link to google street view of the hotel:



View Larger Map

I really enjoyed Doubletree Times Square, the location was amazing, rooms were lovely, views fantastic and the staff were friendly and customer focused. I will definitely consider staying here again when next in New York.

I have added a few random shots from around New York below:


view from Top Of The Rock




another view from Top Of The rock


Top Of The Rock

United 82 ( UA82 ) - Los Angeles to New York JFK Boeing 757-200 Economy Class



I arrived into LAX terminal 7 off a United Airlines flight from Las Vegas and decided to head to the Continental President's Club between flights. I spent a good 10 minutes educating the lounge attendant about Star Alliance Gold lounge access policies and she read and re-read her folders about 10 times before finally agreeing I was allowed into the lounge on a BMI Diamond Club gold card with an onward domestic flight on United. It was worth it though, as the President's Club is much better than the Red Carpet Club, and they have free wi-fi and drinks!

Continental President's Club at LAX

I settled down with a vodka and orange juice and logged on to my MSN account to chat with friends back home. The fog and mist outside was still quite heavy but gradually improving. I decided to track the Boeing 757 that would be operating my sector on it's inbound flight from the east coast on FlightAware. I even managed to listen to some live air traffic control online which passed the time nicely. After a few snacks of cheese and biscuits I decided to go and have some McDonalds before the long overnight flight, since United don't give any food for free, even on the 'Premium Service' transcontinentals. At least I had a nice 34 inch seat pitch to look forward to.




Boarding commenced on schedule and I took advantage of priority boarding and took my seat at the rear of the aircraft, a window on the right hand side. I instantly noticed the extra seat pitch, at 34 inches, and a pillow was provided on each seat. Blankets were also provided for this overnight service.




seat with pillow and blanket


good seat pitch

As this flight was a red-eye and I had taken it so as to save a nights hotel expenses I fully intended to sleep as much as possible. The flight ended up being quite full with no vacant seats beside me. Departure was on schedule and quite routine. I was happy to see Channel 9 (Air Traffic Control feed) was playing on the inflight audio system. Shortly after takeoff the crew offered drinks and you could purchase food if you wanted to. A movie started playing, I can't remember what it was. At this point I settled in for the long flight across the United States and managed to doze off.


sunrise

I woke up a few hours later to see the first glimpses of the morning sun in front of the aircraft. I was getting excited that I would soon be in New York for the first time ever. Although it was to be a very short stay I was quite looking forward to it!

The descent followed not long after this photo and it was announced we would be arriving on schedule.


Manhattan, seen on descent


short finals


United 757 pushing back to head west




A Cathay Boeing 777-300ER preparing to head home


arriving at the gate


my aircraft as seen from the jetway, having a short rest before returning to LAX


Welcome to New York!

Well it was a smooth approach and I was excited to be at JFK Airport! We taxi'ed to the terminal and parked next to a Cathay Pacific Boeing 777-300ER. We disembarked and collected our bags which were available pretty quickly at the carousel. I headed out into the November cool weather of New York and looked for the AirTrain as that was how I planned to get to Manhattan. United p.s. service was pretty average, but I didn't expect much on a red eye anyway, they were very good at getting the lights off very quickly to allow people to sleep as long as possible. I did enjoy the generous seat pitch though, it really helps when trying to get a few hours sleep.