Review: UA SFO-TPE Economy

Date: Saturday March 25
Flight: UA871
Aircraft: B747-400
Origin: SFO
Destination: TPE
Seat: Economy
Scheduled Push Back: 1:50 PM
Actual Push Back: 1:50 PM

As a casual flyer with no Star Alliance status I normally spend my flying time hidden among the unwashed masses in economy class. This time was no different as I embarked on a flight to TPE with my girlfriend for a week long vacation.

Boarding

Given the fact that I have no status, no MileagePlus credit card, and always fly economy, I tend to be awarded a ticket with one of the final boarding groups. This generally means I show up to boarding quite late since I know that the first twenty minutes or so are going to be spent waiting around for the elites to get on the plane.

I arrived midway through boarding, as intended. As I was pondering whether it was worth it to get into the boarding group line that extended across the entire floor one of the United gate employees opened up the first class lane to expedite boarding for the entire flight. I effectively cut my boarding group’s line making it so that I was able to get some overhead space without difficulty. It felt dirty but I didn’t care, its a dog eat dog world out there.

Service

Shortly after getting up in the air the flight attendants came down the aisles handing out “savory snack mixes” and short bottles of Dasani water. Almost immediately after that the flight attendants followed up with the full beverage service. I stuck the small water bottle into the pocket in front of me knowing that I would inevitably get dehydrated on the flight, but I appreciated it. As for my beverage, I chose apple juice on the rocks. It was a delicious as it sounds.

Less than an hour after the beverage service ended the flight attendants served dinner, which felt early considering that it was only about 3:30 PM SFO time… But hey I’m just happy they still serve food on international flights. The dinner service included two options: noodles and vegetables or chicken and rice. Both meals included bread, a small salad, and Mango sorbet which has always been a treat. I went with the chicken and rice option. I’m a simple man with simple taste and I thought the meal was actually quite tasty.

After the meal the flight attendants came around for one last beverage service before dimming the cabin lights. At this point it seemed like half of the cabin drifted off to sleep out of boredom or a food coma. I took a stroll to the back of the plane to stretch my legs and literally almost every person was sleeping or trying to sleep. Whats up with that?

Hours later the cabin lights flipped on to the dismay of disgruntled passengers and the flight attendants announced that it was snack time! They proceeded to hand out turkey sandwiches and M&Ms.

A couple hours later came our final meal, breakfast. This meal felt even stranger than eating the dinner considering it was 1 AM SFO time and 4 PM TPE time. Oh well. There were two options: omelette or pancakes. Both were served with bread and some not so tasty fruit.

Our flight arrived ahead of schedule and had no trouble finding a gate and deplaning. I guess the TPE crew has a better grip on things than the SFO crew.

Survey Says
A better than expected flight in economy with United. At 650$ round trip on a good day, I think it is hard to go wrong with this route.