United Airlines A320 economy class San Francisco to San Diego

united airlines economy cabin

01. Introduction: the trip report that almost didn’t happen
02. United Airlines A320 economy class San Diego to San Francisco
03. San Francisco Airport Marriott Waterfront
04. United Airlines A320 economy class San Francisco to San Diego

Unlike my flight from SAN to SFO the day before, I knew even before getting to the airport that I was going to write a trip report for this one. Not because I felt like the world needed yet another United Airlines A320 economy class review, but mostly because I had been shooting a ton of pics during this trip so far and it would have been kind of pointless to stop now. Besides, I really enjoy journaling and documenting things so it wasn’t like it was a huge chore to take pics along the way. As I said before, taking pics of everything just happens naturally for me!

San Francisco, CA (SFO) – San Diego, CA (SAN)
Sunday, February 26, 2017
Aircraft: A320
Registration: N430UA
Duration: 1 hour 10 minutes
Seat: 32A (economy class)

united airlines a320 side view illustration
United Airlines A320 (N430UA) side view illustration by norebbo.com
SFO to SAN flight map
Our route from SFO to SAN today: OFFSH1 MCKEY LAX BAYVU5

My decision to stay near the airport ended up being a good one, as it allowed me to sleep in a bit longer than I could have if I had chosen a hotel in the city. The icing on the cake was throwing open the curtains that morning to be see beautiful blue skies and a gorgeous sunrise. These kinds of crisp clear mornings are rare in San Francisco, so you can bet I was soaking it all in as best I could.

san francisco sunrise
Now that looks nice. Good morning San Francisco!

I took my time getting ready, and gradually made my way downstairs to catch the shuttle bus over to SFO. I love traveling on Sunday mornings – traffic is usually light, the crowds are thin, and the lines short. I don’t think I’ve ever made it through security at this airport so quickly. I will say that it wasn’t an instant passage though – I did have to wait in line a bit, but really, it was probably the shortest amount of time I’ve ever had to wait here. The day was getting off to a really good start!

terminal 3 curbside SFO
Curbside, terminal 3 here at SFO.
united airlines check in SFO
United Airlines check in counters.
terminal 3 united airlines SFO
I made it through security in record time and was in terminal 3 within minutes. I’m really digging this new design!

First order of business was to find a healthy breakfast. There’s so much good food in airports nowadays, but unfortunately, very little of it is actually healthy. No, chicken burritos don’t count as healthy no matter what Chipotle says – the amount of sodium and…oops…I’m getting off track here. This isn’t a food blog. I’ll just say that I managed to find a really good bowl of oatmeal and an awesome place to sit and enjoy it. My “healthy breakfast” mission had been accomplished.

SFO airport breakfast terminal 3
This bowl of oatmeal was exactly what I was looking for.

As I was walking around waiting for the flight to start boarding, I realized that I probably could have slept in for an extra hour if I really wanted to. I hate when that happens. I enjoy being in airports more than most other people I know, but there comes a point where I value sleep more than wandering around an airport I’ve been to a million times before. Oh well – I was expecting the security line to be longer than it actually was, so it wasn’t a total mistake to get here as early as I did.

SANspotter airport selfie SFO
Just killing time watching the action out on the ramp.
United Airlines A320 SFO gate 61
That’s my ride to San Diego lurking behind the gate 61 jet bridge.
SFO gate 61 terminal 3
Moments before boarding started for UA1900 down to SAN.

I was one of the first passengers in line as my zone number was called, and I trudged my way back to 32A in a manner similar to Indiana Jones slashing his way through a dense rainforest with a machete. This was a completely full flight so it took a while to get past all of the other passengers still getting situated in the rows ahead of me.

SFO jet bridge
On my way to another UA A320. Oh how I wish they would fly 747’s between SFO and SAN!
UA A320 N430UA
Getting a close up look at N430UA just before stepping onboard.
UA A320 boarding door
Take your time, guys. I’m honestly in no rush to sit in that economy seat!
UA A320 economy class cabin
United Airlines A320 economy class.
UA A320 economy class seats
United Airlines A320 economy class seats.
united airlines economy cabin
United Airlines A320 economy class seats, row 32.
united airlines a320 seat pitch
If you listen closely you can actually hear my knees screaming in horror. It may not look bad in this pic, but I was sitting very upright in order to get a clear view of my feet. Sorry knees – we’ll be in international business class again soon enough.
united a320 economy class boarding
Just waiting for everyone to get onboard.

Even though the skies were completely clear over San Francisco this morning, I wasn’t very excited about the picture taking opportunities that this flight would provide. We were scheduled to depart at 11am(ish) and arrive in San Diego at 12:30pm(ish), which is pretty much the worst time of day for in-flight photography thanks to the sun being directly overhead. As you recall, I had the same situation on my Delta Connection flight from LAX to SAN only a month ago. Clear blue California skies, but zero opportunity for juicy pics.

united a320 sfo taxi
Already pushed off the gate and starting our taxi.
UA a320 wing SFO
Sure is a beautiful morning in San Francisco, isn’t it?
united airlines SFO
Starting our take off roll with a nice close up view of a United 787-8 right beside us. Or is that a 787-9? Hmm…I’m going with the -9.

I will say that it was a beautiful departure off 1R though. We made a big left hand turn immediately after departure, and I was getting excited about the prospect of flying right over top of the city. Unfortunately, our turn was too tight, and we crossed the peninsula just south of it. Drat. That could have been the best picture taking opportunity of the trip right there, but it wasn’t meant to be.

SFO runway 1R departure
So long SFO! I’ll be back in May for a quick business trip…
SFO 1R departure UA a320
1R departures are awesome when the weather is this clear!
SFO airport UA maintenance base
Looking back at SFO as we fly away. How many 747’s can you spot?
SFO airport departure over city
Oh no! Don’t turn yet!! That’s the city of San Francisco straight ahead, and I was hoping that we would fly right over top of it.
San Francisco from the air
So sad. Our turn was too tight, and we flew just south of the city.
UA A320 SFO departure
Continuing the big left hand turn towards San Diego.
untied a320 wing SFO
SFO from the air
One last look at SFO as we head out of town.
United a320 wing blue skies
Climbing to cruising altitude. Now it’s time to sit back, relax, and enjoy the flight.

I managed to catch up on sleep during the entire way down, occasionally waking up to take pics out the window along the way. I even skipped the beverage service on this flight – I just wasn’t in the mood, and I much preferred staying in my own little world pressed against the window.

SANspotter selfie Untied A320
That’s me, feeling sad that I’m stuck in a United Airlines A320 economy seat.
flying along California coast
Hugging the coast of California all the way down to San Diego.
United A320 economy interior
Having a bit of deja vu here, as this was pretty much the same view I had the day before on SAN-SFO.

It was beautiful and clear all the way down the coast to San Diego, but the clouds started to build as we began our descent. It always feels weird to arrive into SAN under gloomy skies considering that it’s pretty much always sunny here. It just feels wrong to arrive home in overcast conditions, especially when coming from a very sunny place. I wonder what all the tourists feel when arrive into San Diego when the weather isn’t so good? It’s got to be a bit disappointing I’m sure!

flying over san diego united a320
The coastline of San Diego. I’m almost home!
united airlines a320 wing blue sky
So long pretty blue skies…
united a320 wing
Dropping into the clouds. *sigh*
san diego downtown approach
Coming up on downtown San Diego now, with the Coronado Bay bridge in the background.
san diego airport downtown flight path
Skimming the rooftops of San Diego!
SAN approach united a320
Such a gloomy day.
landing at SAN
Home once again!
united airlines gates san diego airport
Pulling up to the gate, and another trip has come to an end.
united airlines a320 deplaning
It’s gonna be a while.
united a320 interior cabin
Finally! Hopefully this will be the last UA A320 I’ll have to fly on for a while…
united a320 SAN gate 46
One last look at N430UA parked here at gate 46 before I set off in search of lunch.

So there you have it. My United Airlines A320 economy class trip report is complete. For as much as I complained about the experience, I think it goes without saying that traveling is my passion and I’m always as happy as a pea in a pod to get on an airplane (no matter what kind it is) to head off on another adventure. As a matter of fact, this ended up being a very nice trip up to the Bay Area, and I had tons of fun decompressing on my drive down to Monterrey.

Stay tuned for more – the next trip report begins very soon…

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