United Airlines A320 economy class isn’t all that bad actually

United Airlines A320 economy class isn’t all that bad actually

It didn’t even occur to me until I was walking around SFO prior to boarding this flight that it had been nearly 5 years since I had last flown United A320 economy class. That’s a long time considering how popular this aircraft is here in the US, and I’ve certainly done my fair share of domestic travel over the past year.

If I didn’t have to look it up on my flight log, I would never have guessed it had been that long. I guess it goes without saying that I had no recollection at all as to how UA configures their A320’s these days, so I was looking forward to this flight just to have a look inside and get familiarized with these birds once again.

San Francisco, CA (SFO) – San Diego, CA (SAN)
Monday, April 25, 2016
Aircraft: A320
Registration: N462UA
Seat: 30A (economy class)

United Airlines A320 side view illustration
United Airlines A320 (N462UA) side view illustration by Norebbo.com
SFO to SAN air route map
Our route from SFO to SAN this evening as UA576

After spending some time in the international terminal taking pics as the sun was setting, I made the long walk back over to the domestic terminal to board this flight. Yes, it was a long walk that took a bit of time, but all my connections here at SFO over the years have been paying off – I pretty much know how long it takes to walk from one gate (any gate) to another inside this airport! Stuff only an #avgeek like me can be proud of…

walking through SFO
After spending a bit of time in the international terminal taking pics, I made the long walk back towards gate 87 (the departure point for this flight down to SAN).
inside SFO airport terminal
I love this airport – yes, some of it is very old and outdated, but the memories I have traveling through here over the years are priceless.
walking through san francisco airport
Almost there – a long walk it was, but I’ve never been one to complain about walking through airports.

The departure gate for this flight down to SAN this evening was 87, and it looked pretty crowded once I arrived. Luckily I had boarding zone 1 today thanks to my Global First flight from ORD earlier, so being one of the first to board was a nice little perk to cap off my final segment of this trip.

N462UA united a320
N462UA looking good parked here at gate 87.
Gate 87 signage
Gate 87 signage
san francisco airport jet bridge
Walking down the jet bridge to board this final leg home to San Diego.
united airlines a320 san francisco airport
A close up look at this A320 just before I stepped onboard.

Once onboard, I found what wasn’t really all that shocking to me: slimline seats. US airlines are really bending over backwards to cram as many seats as they can into airplanes these days, and these seats are an unfortunate consequence of that. To be honest they aren’t so bad for short haul segments like this flight down to San Diego, but anything over two hours becomes very uncomfortable IMHO. These seats look really cool, but they are uncomfortable.

united airlines a320 economy class cabin
The full economy class cabin on this United Airlines A320, looking towards the rear.
united airlines a320 slim line seats
Seats 30A, B, and C. The window seat is mine for this flight.
united airlines a320 seats
While I’m not a huge fan of slimline seats, I will admit that this color combination is quite nice.
united a320 economy class foot room
An added benefit of the slimline seats: plenty of room on the floor for big feet!
united a320 seat pitch economy class
This wide angle view makes it seem like there is tons of leg room, but it did feel a bit tight (not surprising).
united airlines a320 economy class cabin
Is it me, or are airplane interiors starting to look more and more like commuter train interiors these days?
united wi-fi placard
“At this seat we’re pleased to offer you United Wi-Fi / Personal device entertainment”
united airlines a320 safety card
Complimentary reading material for the flight down to San Diego this evening.
united airlines a320 economy class cabin
Just another view of the economy class cabin before the other passengers started to board.
united airlines a320 economy class cabin
This is the view from behind my seat, looking all the way to the rear.
united airlines a320 economy class cabin
The big guy in front of me must have felt miserable wedged into these tiny economy seats.

The sun had already set by the time we pushed back from the gate, so that meant that traditional photography of the scenery outside of my window wasn’t going to be possible tonight. Therefore, I had to get a little bit artistic with my shots and go full manual (high ISO, long shutter speeds, etc) – so please excuse the blur:

long exposure in flight pic
Taxiing out for departure. It may look like we are going warp speed here, but I promise you we were not!
long exposure in flight pic
It was really difficult to keep the camera steady while we were rolling, but I did manage a few semi-tight shots.
long exposure in flight pic
But even some of the blurry pics turned out pretty cool…
night time SFO departure
Looking down on SFO as we depart off runway 28.
long exposure in flight pic
Lights of San Francisco below.
departing san francisco airport
A beautifully clear evening here in the Bay Area!

It was a quick and totally uneventful flight down to San Diego this evening, and I passed on the beverage and snack service since I ate pretty well on the ORD-SFO segment and I wasn’t even close to being hungry. All they were passing out were those Stroopwafel’s anyway, which I’m definitely not a fan of.

united a320 economy class cabin
View of the dark economy class cabin about mid way through the flight.

The descent into SAN was typical: fly right over the top of Los Angeles, hug the coast all the way down to Del Mar / La Jolla, turn inland and head over to Santee, then make the big gradual right hand turn westward back to SAN. I’ve done it so many times that I can close my eyes and tell you where we are just based on the turns we’ve made.

I attempted more pics during the approach and landing, despite how dark it was:

Overflying Los Angeles night
Overflying Los Angeles
san diego airport night approach
Descending into San Diego.
san diego airport night approach
Buzzing the skyline of downtown San Diego just moments before touchdown at SAN.
night arrival into san diego airport
Welcome to San Diego!
taxiing to the gate san diego airport
Taxiing to the gate. Even though United has been in terminal 2 west for a while now, it still feels strange to me to be using this terminal whenever I fly this airline.
parked at the gate united airlines san diego
united airlines a320 deplane
Waiting patiently to deplane is all you can do way back here in economy class.

Once I was inside the terminal, it felt really good to turn off my camera for good. I had shot a lot of footage from this trip (over 60GB of pics and video!) and I was pretty much spent from documenting the entire journey.

united a320 economy class
View of the economy class cabin from the rear as I was walking off the airplane.
united a320 n462ua san diego airport
One last look at N462UA parked here at gate 46. Sorry for the blurry pic! I must have been so tired that I didn’t even check to see if it was sharp or not before walking away. Oh well…
san diego airport terminal 2 west
Always good to be back home and inside the terminal at SAN!

Like always though, it felt good to be back home in San Diego so I could relax and take some much needed time off before my next trip. And if I learned anything from all this, it’s that maybe next time (just maybe) I’m going to spring for first class on the United A320 instead of economy. Just thinking out loud…

Give a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.