Inspiration of Japan: United Domestic First on a Regional Jet

UA6361 Los Angeles LAX – Vancouver YVR
STD-STA: 15:07-18:01
Actual: 15:22-18:00
CRJ700 N753SK
Seat 1A

Los Angeles Airport LAX
Los Angeles Airport LAX

After returning my rental car which is a Volkswagen CC to the Avis counter, I took a shuttle bus towards the United Terminal. It turns out that United Premier check-in is actually closer to Terminal 6 than 7 which is the main area for United Check-in. At the check-in counter I was helped by the agent quickly and managed to check both my luggage and snowboard for the flight to Vancouver.

United Airlines Check-in
United Airlines Check-in

Surprisingly, there was little queue for the security check and passing security was a breeze. The next stop would be the United Club in LAX which is close to the security gantry. It was pretty crowded in the United Club though I did manage to get a seat in the centre atrium of the lounge, with some drinks and snacks. Wifi was pretty good to use in the lounge, though I only used it for mobile usage.

United Club at Los Angeles
United Club at Los Angeles

I did not need to wait long before I proceeded to the boarding gate. As my boarding gate was in the terminal 8 concourse, I was able to get a nice view of the regional jet that will bring me to Vancouver. If it was my first time sitting in a regional jet, I would have been excited, but having taken such flights before, I do not know if I like it. Fortunately I am seated on the lone seat in First, as the premium cabins on regional jets are configured in a 1-2 seating arrangement, while the back is in a 2-2 seating arrangement. I was amongst the last to board the aircraft and realized the overhead compartments are not able to fit my camera backpack which meant I need help in checking it into the cargo hold. There was no assistance whatsoever from the crew when I boarded with my luggage so that was something I needed to get used to back in the United States I guess.

United Airlines CRJ700
United Airlines CRJ700

As I got seated, I was asked what I would like to drink and got myself a glass of water for my pre-departure drink. Shortly after take off, one crew member gave out immigration forms for Canada, and the steward asked premium passengers for welcome drink orders and whether they would like a snack pack. Again this was another disappointment, while Los Angeles to Vancouver is not a long flight, it was not that short either at more than 2 hours (nearly similar from Singapore to Bangkok). Again I need to alter my expectations in the United States.

Bulkhead Domestic First on UA CRJ700
Bulkhead Domestic First on UA CRJ700

The flight in the First Class cabin was full though there is only 6 seats onboard this regional jet and seat 1A is probably the best for solo travellers. After getting my ginger ale as the post-departure drink, the steward came to distribute hot towels. A nice touch indeed, and one the few remnants that United has yet to eliminate! Soon, the snack boxes were distributed and it consisted of a pack of chocolate filled with acai berries candy, pita snack, cream crackers, and snack mix with peppercorn cheese spread and a hummus dip.

Take-off from LAX
Take-off from LAX
United First Snack Box
United First Snack Box

I enjoyed the snack mix with a video from my iPad and my beverage was constantly refilled during this time. The service for this flight was average and the snack pack was a bit disappointing. After getting a few refills of the Ginger Ale, I asked for some cranberry juice. For such a relatively long flight, I managed to finish all the snacks provided, and I thought they could have done much better considering Air Canada even gives out hot meals for the shorter flight between San Francisco and Vancouver.

Snack Box Contents
Snack Box Contents

The pretty good weather meant we arrived on time even if we departed about 20 minutes late. It was a shock for many passengers arriving into gloomy Vancouver with cold temperatures from sunny Los Angeles, and this average flight back home at the end of my fantastic trip is definitely reflected in the weather. Luckily there was not a long wait for immigration and the customs officer did not ask as much question as usual. This allowed me to exit the terminal as efficiently as possible.

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