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United Airlines Boeing 737-800 Flight Review: Domestic Economy Done Right

United Airlines Boeing 737-800 Flight Review: Domestic Economy Done Right

Welcome to another flight review, where we would be flying on United Airlines Boeing 737-800 aircraft on a 4 hour transcontinental flight from Las Vegas to Washington!

Las Vegas consists of 2 main terminals for commercial airlines, Terminal 3 and Terminal 1. Both Terminals serve different airlines, with Terminal 1 more focused on Low Cost Carriers, while Terminal 3 serving the main carriers such as Delta, American, United Airlines, together with international operators. 

We are currently in Terminal 3, which has a wide offering of food and drinks. Furthermore, since we are in Las Vegas, there definitely are some slot machines around the terminal for those who are hoping to make a quick buck before their flight. There was also supposed to be a gaming lounge, but it was closed due to renovation. 

Upon reaching the gate, we were informed of an approximately 30 minute delay to our departure time, due to the aircraft leaving its previous leg late. 

Here is our aircraft, ship 3506, a 17 year old Boeing 737 which would be ferrying us to Washington. Here she is, decked in the old United Airlines colour scheme, The boarding process soon began, with passengers being called to called based on their boarding group, so as to ensure an orderly boarding process. 

We were warmly welcomed aboard by the cabin crew, where sanitising wipes were available upon request. For this flight, I selected 28F, a Window seat. The Economy Class layout in United’s Boeing 737-800 is in a 3-3 configuration, while Business Class is in a 2-2 layout.

This particular aircraft is still fitted with the old cabin of United Airlines, with no in-seat power outlet, small Inflight Entertainment Screens, together with a dated cabin.

United is currently updating their Boeing 737 fleet to have a wider Inflight Entertainment Screen, which includes a USB power port for you to charge your devices. It will definitely be a welcome change on the longer transcontinental flights especially. 

The seats are sufficiently wide, with a rather sufficient legroom offered on the aircraft. Although not generous, I was still able to stretch my legs, so definitely no complaints. The seat has two pockets, one right below the screen, with the other at knee level, which allows you to store your personal electronic devices safely. There are also adjustable headrests, which is always an amazing feature on a seat. 

Soon, we were greeted by the Captain, who warmly welcomed us onboard, before apologising for the slight delay, informing us that he would attempt to get us airborne as soon as possible. 

Inflight Service 

After approximately 30 minutes after takeoff, the flight crew prepared the cabin for snack service. Starting at the front of the cabin, they slowly made their way to the back. 

This is where I feel United really shines, especially for flights on the North American Continent. There are small snacks such as pretzels, chocolate and chips, together with non alcoholic beverages which are provided complimentary to the passengers. There is a wide range of beverages being provided, from Water, Orange Juice to even Ginger Ale. Everyone was given 1 choice of beverage and snack for this service.

Headphones were also handed out on demand, which was definitely what set United apart from other airlines in their Domestic Economy class. In fact, some airlines do not issue headphones for free on International Economy class on the North American continent flights. 

After approximately an hour, the flight crews were walking about, offering passengers a coffee or tea, or any other beverage. Passengers could also request for other drinks of their choice, together with snacks, though some snacks are chargeable. 

Passengers could request for drinks or snacks throughout the entire flight, with the crew occasionally making rounds offering water to passengers. 

United Airlines has the option of allowing their passengers to add their credit cards online, before boarding the flights, so as to ensure a contactless transaction. The cost of items ordered would be billed to that particular card, therefore negating the need for passengers to go through the hassle of finding their credit cards onboard. Cash payments are also not accepted onboard the flight, therefore requiring a card for in flight purchases. 

There is wifi provided onboard, with free internet access to messaging applications. The internet was rather fast, and offered great connectivity onboard, enabling you to stay in contact with your loved ones even in the air.

Free wifi for streaming and internet surfing is provided to T-Mobile customers, and other passengers could also purchase wifi for the entire flight for the same purpose. The wifi could also be used to stream movies to your own device, with a large range of movies and TV shows which could be watched online.

The selection of movies are definitely more than sufficient to keep everyone occupied for the duration of the entire flight. 

Soon, we landed at Washington Dulles International Airport, just slightly behind schedule. We deplaned via an airbridge to a remote concourse, where we were ferried to the main terminal via a mobile lounge, which in my opinion is quite a unique system. 

Delay Management done right

One thing which really impressed me thoroughly was United’s management of delays. Knowing that the aircraft would be approximately 10 minutes late, the flight crews identified those passengers who have connecting flights through lighting the crew call button, therefore providing a visible identification.

Upon landing, passengers were advised to remain seated and let these passengers deplane first, so they could make up for the lost time. United Airlines were also transparent with the information and steps taken to mitigate delays to the travellers’ travel plans through keeping everyone in the aircraft updated with the status of the aircraft arrival. 

Final Thoughts

United’s Cabin Service exceeded my expectations, especially with the offering of earphones to all passengers in Economy, ensuring that passengers were able to enjoy the wide selection of inflight entertainment offered. This is in stark contrast to certain North American Carriers, where they follow a bring your own headphones concept, resulting in some passengers being unable to enjoy the inflight entertainment. Furthermore, the attentiveness of the crew certainly played a part in ensuring an amazing flight, ensuring that the passengers were comfortable and well hydrated. 

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Airlines

Akasa Air Launches QuietFlights: Enhancing Peaceful Travel

Akasa Air Launches QuietFlights: Enhancing Peaceful Travel

Akasa Air, India’s rapidly growing commercial airline that, has introduced a novel initiative called “QuietFlights” for its passengers.

This unique concept is specifically designed for travelers flying during the early morning and late-night hours, enhancing their inflight experience with added tranquility and comfort.

In a recent press release, Akasa Air announced that flights operating between 10 PM and 6 AM will minimize in-flight announcements to essential safety messages only.

In addition, the airline will adjust cabin lighting to foster a peaceful and calming atmosphere. This initiative underscores Akasa Air’s commitment to offering a restful and comfortable journey for passengers on flights during these hours.

Belson Coutinho, Co-Founder and Chief Marketing & Experience Officer of Akasa Air, highlighted the airline’s dedication to ensuring privacy and peace of mind for its passengers.

He stated that the launch of QuietFlights reaffirms their mission to deliver exceptional experiences, emphasizing a “comfortable, relaxed, and peaceful cabin experience.”

Coutinho elaborated that in today’s fast-paced lifestyle, QuietFlights are thoughtfully designed to help passengers unwind, with reduced announcements and ambient lighting creating a serene inflight environment.

Akasa Air’s network connects 22 domestic destinations and three international destinations, including Mumbai, Ahmedabad, Bengaluru, Chennai, Kochi, Delhi, Guwahati, Agartala, Pune, Lucknow, Goa, Hyderabad, Varanasi, Bagdogra, Bhubaneswar, Kolkata, Port Blair, Ayodhya, Gwalior, Srinagar, Prayagraj, Gorakhpur, Doha (Qatar), Jeddah, and Riyadh (Kingdom of Saudi Arabia).

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Airlines

Air India Passenger Discovers Metal Blade in his meal

Air India Passenger Discovers Metal Blade in his meal

In a concerning incident aboard Air India’s AI 175 flight from Bengaluru to San Francisco, a passenger discovered a metal blade in his in-flight meal.

Mathures Paul, a journalist, recounted his alarming experience on social media, sharing that he found the blade while enjoying his roasted sweet potato and fig chaat. Mr. Paul described the moment he felt the piece of metal in his mouth, realizing it was a blade only after chewing for a few seconds. Fortunately, he was not harmed. He posted an image of the bowl showing the metal blade next to the food, expressing his disappointment with Air India’s catering service.

Air India food can cut like a knife. Hiding in its roasted sweet potato and fig chaat was a metal piece that looked like a blade. I got a feel of it only after chewing the grub for a few seconds. Thankfully, no harm was done.

Upon discovering the blade, Mr. Paul immediately alerted the stewardess, who apologized briefly and assured him that the catering team would be informed. She then brought him a bowl of chickpea salad as a replacement.

After landing in San Francisco, Mr. Paul posted about the incident on X (formerly Twitter), but initially received no response from the airline. Later, Air India contacted him, offering a one-way business class ticket valid on any Air India flight for up to one year. Mr. Paul declined the offer, referring to it as a ‘bribe.’

In response to his post, Air India commented, “Dear Mr. Paul, we are sorry to know about this. This does not represent the level of service we aim to provide to our passengers. Please DM us your booking details along with your seat number. We’ll ensure this matter is promptly reviewed and addressed.

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Airlines

Air India to Open India’s First Self-Operated Pilot Training School

Air India to Open India's First Self-Operated Pilot Training School

Air India is making a significant move to establish a flying school in Maharashtra’s Amravati, a project aimed at training up to 180 pilots annually.

Initially focused on meeting the airline’s internal requirements, the Tata Group-owned carrier envisions expanding to address external needs in the future, according to a report by The Economic Times.

The new academy will welcome aspiring pilots with no prior flying experience, offering a comprehensive full-time training program that prepares them for careers in Air India’s cockpits. To support this initiative, Air India has procured approximately 30 single-engine and four multi-engine aircraft from American manufacturer Piper and European company Diamond.

This strategic step allows Air India to control the supply of new pilots, ensuring a steady pipeline of well-trained talent. Moreover, it addresses the quality gaps in pilot training within India, which often compel students to seek education abroad.

The establishment of the Amravati flying school is part of Air India’s broader strategy to enhance the quality of pilot training in the country. Alongside this, the airline has inaugurated a training center in Gurugram, in collaboration with Airbus and US-based L3 Harris, equipped with six simulators for type-rating and recurrent training.

Other Indian airlines like IndiGo and SpiceJet have similar branded training programs in association with independent flight schools both domestically and internationally. However, Air India’s initiative to set up its own flying school marks a pioneering step in the country, emphasizing its commitment to maintaining high standards in pilot training and meeting the aviation industry’s growing demands.

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