United Airlines 737–800 economy class San Diego to San Francisco – yes, again.

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01. Introduction: One…I mean…two final rides on the United Airlines 747
02. United Airlines 737-800 economy class San Diego to San Francisco
03. United Airlines 747-400 upper deck Polaris business class San Francisco to San Francisco
04. United Airlines 747-400 upper deck Polaris business class San Francisco to Seoul
05. Asiana business class lounge, ICN
06. Asiana Airlines A330-300 business class Seoul to Hong Kong
07. Sheraton Hong Kong Hotel and Towers
08. The Bridge – Cathay Pacific business class lounge, HKG
09. American Airlines 777-300/ER business class Hong Kong to Los Angeles
10. American Airlines ERJ-175 first class Los Angeles to San Diego

I really hate to admit this, but I tend to get overly excited about things every now and then and go overboard because of it. You see, back in September when I was sitting comfortably at home in front of my computer putting this trip together, the thought of a multi-segment multi-airline trip to Hong Kong sounded incredibly fun and I didn’t even bat an eye at the thought of the 6:15 AM flight that would be necessary to kick things off. “Oh I’ll just go to bed early the night before” I thought. Yeah, like it’s ever that easy.

The reality was that I hadn’t been sleeping all that well the week leading up to this trip (due to work and other things), and I went to bed the night before thinking that a full night of quality sleep was actually more important to me than this trip. I was feeling pretty slow due to my general grogginess and mushy brain, but I pushed on anyway thinking that there would be plenty of time to sleep on the plane. That wasn’t even enough to satisfy me though, because I know how I am about sleeping on planes. It rarely ever happens, and I knew full well that I would be awake for the next 24 hours at least.

I need to have a serious talk with myself about booking insanely early flights like this from now on…

UA621
San Diego, CA (SAN) – San Francisco, CA (SFO)
Thursday, October 19, 2017
Aircraft: 737-824
Registration: N18223
Duration:1 hour 11 minutes
Seat: 27A (economy class)

United Airlines 737-800 side profile

United Airlines 737-800 (N18223) side view illustration by norebbo.com.

united 737-800 seat map

Seat map of this United Airlines 737-800 (courtesy of seatguru.com) showing my seat (27A) for this flight to San Francisco.

SAN-SFO route map

Our route from San Diego to San Francisco this morning: PADRZ1 IKAYE RIZIN SPLNT STOKD SERFR SERFR2

We had been having a very hot and summer-like fall here in San Diego, but there was a definite nip in the air this morning as I stepped outside. I was actually shivering a bit waiting for my Uber to arrive, which sounds hilarious to me now considering that it was only 60°. 20 years ago (back in Michigan) I would’ve been wearing shorts and a T-shirt thinking how awesome it was to be a paltry 60° at 4 AM in the second half of October. No, scratch that. I wouldn’t have been stupid enough to be up – let alone outside – that early back then.

San Diego airport 4 AM traffic

So early that I couldn’t even appreciate the fact that there was absolutely nobody else here and I didn’t have to wait in line for anything.

San Diego airport terminal two west departures

A picture I’ve already taken a time or two. I’m running on autopilot now!

United airlines check in San Diego airport

United airlines check in and baggage drop here in terminal 2 west. I had a mobile boarding pass and carry-on only, so I got to skip this entirely.

The nice thing about being on one of the first departures out of San Diego in the morning is the fact that the airport is generally quiet. Of course there are pockets of busy activity here and there, but for the most part the airport is still asleep and it’s not hard to find a quiet gate somewhere to sit in complete silence to think about how stupid it is to be up this early. I mulled that over while eating a hot breakfast sandwich from Camden Food Company.

Camden food company San Diego airport

I swear to God I’m gonna keep posting these pictures of Camden Food Co. until they sponsor me. This is my favorite breakfast spot in the airport by far!

SANspotter selfie SAN

A signature SANspotter pose while I plot my strategy for obtaining that coveted Camden Food Co. sponsorship.

N18223 SAN

N18223 looking a bit sleepy out there as she gets prepped for the run up to SFO.

Thankfully I had a zone 1 boarding pass – even though I was flying in economy up to San Francisco this morning. My business class connection to Seoul was to thank for that, and I appreciate United giving me that little perk to kick this trip off with. Boarding was called right on time, and I wasted not a moment in getting my butt on the plane with my zone 1 compadres.

 San Diego airport United airlines gates

To think that everyone in this picture had to wake up before 4 AM to be here is just nuts. At least I wasn’t the only crazy one here this morning.

Boarding flight San Diego airport

I think this is the right flight. It was too early to know for sure, so I just followed everybody else and hoped for the best.

Boarding a United airlines 737 San Diego airport

That moment when you get hit with a blast of cold morning air and a whiff of freshly-brewed coffee emanating from the galley. Time check: 5:45 AM.

There’s really not a whole lot to say about United airlines 737-800 economy class, other than the fact that it’s better than their A320 economy class product. Not a whole lot better, but enough to make a point about it. Seriously – avoid those A320s if you can, because the seat pitch on those things is horrendous and your knees will hate you forever because of it. It’s not fun to go through life with knees that are mad at you, so take my advice and keep them happy!

United airlines 737–800 economy class

United airlines 737–800 economy class.

United airlines 737–800 economy class seats

United airlines 737–800 economy class seats.

United airlines 737–800 personal video screens

These 737–800 interiors are fairly decent thanks in large part to the seat back video screens.

United Airlines 737–800 video screens economy class

Large seat-back video screens are very much appreciated, except for the annoying ads playing during the boarding process that can’t be turned off.  I’m sorry, but I’m in no mood to sign up for a new credit card at 6 AM.

United Airlines 737–800 economy class seats

A look straight across the aisle reveals a seat pitch slightly better than what’s in their A320s.

United Airlines 737–800 seat pitch

Happy knees, happy flight.

SANspotter selfie United airlines 737–800

This ain’t so bad. Especially since it would be the only economy class segment of this entire trip!

United airlines 737–800 armrest entertainment controls

How often do you see entertainment system controls in the armrest of a 737 in economy class?

United Airlines 737–800 in-flight magazine pocket

Let’s see if we can find the safety card…

United Airlines 737–800 safety card

Found it! I’m ready for anything now.

Early morning departure San Diego airport

Still no sign of the sun yet. As long as I didn’t think that I would normally be in bed dead asleep at this hour, things were generally OK.

There’s also not really a whole lot to say about this route up to San Francisco that I haven’t already said a million times before. San Diego to San Francisco is number 5 in my list of city pairs that I’ve flown between the most often, and today is trip number 22. And if you’ve been following me for the past year or two, chances are good that you’ve already seen the pics I’m about to post. Yep, San Diego to San Francisco is flown pretty much the exact same way every time and today would be no different.

Taxi to runway San Diego airport

Pushing off the gate and rolling out to runway 27. Wake me up when something interesting happens…

I’ll let the pictures do most of the talking from here on out since this is a route I’ve flown and written about so many times before, and quite frankly I’m out of words to describe the experience.

Taking off United Airlines 737–800 San Diego airport

Here we go – giving the residents of Point Loma their 6:30 AM wake up call!

Departing over point Loma San Diego airport

Things got a bit magical after we blasted through the first layer of fog. Those colors!

San Diego sunrise with fog

OK, now I was wide awake. One of the best sunrises I’ve seen over San Diego in quite some time!

 United Airlines 737–800 wing and winglet

Two more departure pics, just because.

United Airlines 737–800 interior in flight

10 minutes after departure and they still haven’t turned off the advertisements. It didn’t really matter though – I was watching the sunrise!

United Airlines stroopwafel

Snacktime! I can’t believe United is still serving these Stroopwafels – I was hoping they would’ve moved on by now, as these are far too sweet for me. How about some salty peanuts instead?

United Airlines blue plastic cup

I was happy to see the blue cups though – I really need to get me a set of these for home!

 United airlines 737–800 wing

Looks like we lost the beautiful sunrise as I was snacking.

United Airlines 737–800 passengers

Well, it did look nice and sunny on the other side of the aircraft. It was dark and gloomy on my side!

Descending into SFO United Airlines 737–800

Still quite a beautiful morning out there on our descent into SFO.

San Francisco airport fog

Here comes the fog! Goodbye for now sun, I’ll see you again in a few hours…

Landing at SFO

Landing at SFO. I was getting quite giddy thinking about the 747 waiting for me over at the international terminal!

Arrival at gate San Francisco international airport

That’s it! Another segment for my flight log complete.

 Deplaning United Airlines 737-800

Move out of my way people, there’s a 747 with my name on it ready to take me to ICN!

United Airlines 737–800 at gate SFO

Thanks for the ride up from San Diego! Chances are we will meet again at some point in our future travels, so until then…

As you can see, pretty much everything was the same as it was the last time I flew this route. However, it had been quite a while since I had arrived into into SFO under cloudy skies and general gloominess. Sounds weird, I know, but I’ve been incredibly lucky over the years whenever flying into the Bay Area. It’s almost as if the sun always follows me up from San Diego, and the skies part over San Francisco just before landing so that bright hot sun can shine through. Or…something like that.

Once on the ground, it was a short taxi over the gate 61 where we parked in between two completely identical 737–800’s. The good thing was that I had plenty of time to spare before my flight to ICN, so being stuck towards the back of the plane and waiting for everyone to get off wasn’t that big of an ordeal. And the best part? This was my one and only economy class segment for this entire trip, and it was now behind me. It’s business class from here on out baby!

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    1. - November 28, 2017
      • SANspotter November 28, 2017

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