Trip Report: United Airlines economy class San Diego to San Francisco

Trip Report: United Airlines economy class San Diego to San Francisco

Even though travel is my passion, I was having a hard time getting mentally prepared for this trip. Things were super busy at work leading right up to this one, so I had very little time to prepare and research about Seoul as much I would have liked – so I really felt a bit nervous that I was forgetting something as I stepped out of my front door at 4:45am to catch the taxi to the airport.

Even during that 15 minute cab ride down to SAN, all I could think of was wishing that I could just sleep in and decompress from the whirlwind of work stuff that had been happening in the weeks prior, and the honest truth was that I wasn’t really in the mood for a long-haul international trip ritght at that moment. But I tried to look at the bright side – aside from my economy seat up to SFO that morning (and the UAX connection from LAX to SAN upon my return) all of my flights would be in first and business class. And I could sleep and relax as much as I wanted once I got to Seoul. Sounded good to me.

Since I was connecting in Beijing, I wasn’t able to check in for my flight online. The system automatically assumed that I needed a visa since I was flying to China (even though I would just be transiting) and the only way I could get a boarding pass would be to check in at the airport kiosk with the assistance of a United agent to bypass the issue. Lesson learned for easier travel next time: don’t connect through China. It wasn’t a big deal though, with the only downside meaning that I couldn’t print my boarding pass at home.

UA check in counters at SAN
United Airlines check in counter at San Diego international airport

I was through the checkin procedure and security checkpoint in about 20 minutes, which gave me ample time to do some aviation photography while I waited for my flight to start boarding.

San Diego (SAN) – San Francisco (SFO)
Wednesday, April 16 2014
Aircraft: Boeing 737-800
Seat: 25A (economy)

United Airlines 737-800 N24224
gate 44 in terminal 2 at san diego international airport
Gate 44 at SAN – the departure gate for this flight to SFO

As mentioned earlier, I was assigned an economy class seat for this flight even though it was a first/business class award ticket. First class wasn’t available on this one, but since it was a short 1 hour flight, I didn’t mind so much. At least the system was smart enough to give me a group 1 boarding pass, which meant that I was one of the first ones to board. Not a big deal – but it’s the little things that count!

Walking down the jetway to board the plane at SAN
Walking down the jetway to begin this long trip to Seoul, South Korea
seat 25A
My economy class seat (25A) on this United Airlines 737-800
United Airlines 737-800 economy class seat pitch
Leg room in United Airlines economy class is decent – though I had a difficult time fitting my backpack under the seat
United Airlines Direct TV 737-800
Over 100 channels of Direct TV is available at every seat on the United Airlines 737-800
in flight entertainment remote control united airlines 737-800
The remote control for the personal video screens is located in the armrest

Even though first was full, economy was probably 85% occupied. There was an empty middle seat next to me which made things seem all that much more comfortable – but again, I don’t really mind all that much since this was such a short flight.

view of the wing and winglet
Ready to push back from gate 44 at terminal 2 in San Diego
runway 27 departure at SAN
Departing runway 27 at SAN on a gloomy cloudy morning
departing san diego on a united airlines 737-800
Breaking through the cloud layer on our way to SFO
Beverage service on our way to SFO from SAN
Only drinks were served on this one hour and ten minute flight. No snacks.
clear skies at cruising altitude
The weather started to clear the farther north we went – it’s usually the other way around in California!
descending into SFO
Starting our descent into SFO under clear skies
almost there
Almost there…
arrival at SFO
Touchdown on 28L at SFO

All in all, it was a completely routine jaunt to SFO that morning, and we landed on 28L right on time. It was a bit surprising that the skies were clear upon arrival though – it was gray and gloomy down in SAN, so I guess I was expecting the same for San Francisco even though the captain insisted that the weather would be nice upon arrival.

Parked at the gate at SFO
Parked at the gate at SFO

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