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Wednesday 5 August 2015

Flying United Airlines Airbus A319 (SFO to YVR)

Welcome to my Trip Report from the past! 

Airbus A320 is a competitor to the Boeing 737 and when I had the chance to fly on it, I grabbed it immediately. This trip report took place in early 2000 when my father organised a trip with my grandfather to the U.S for a holiday. He decided on United Airlines as its the cheapest and for the domestic flights, he allowed me to choose if it is possible. 

*Photos are credited to respective photographers from airliners.net and jetphotos.net

A Brief History About The Airbus A320 family

The Airbus A320 was formally launched in March 1984 and first flew on 22nd February 1987 with the Airbus A320-100 series (without winglets). The Airbus A320-200 was produced (with winglets) and more airlines ordered this improved variant which proved to be a huge hit all around the world, giving the Boeing 737 a run of its money. Later on, the other series were delivered; Airbus A321 (1994), Airbus A319 (1996) and Airbus A318 (2003). The Airbus A318 is probably the least popular among the A320 family for its high operating cost for the capacity it offers. In December 2010, Airbus launched the Airbus A320NEO (New Engine option) which is an improvement over the CEO (Current Engine Option). 

United Airlines A319 

United Airlines Airbus A320

United Airlines Boeing 737-300 Shuttle 

I remembered I did this routing: SIN-HKG-SFO-YVR-LAX-LAS-SFO-HKG-SIN, all with United Airlines. 

The aircraft types on each route:  

SIN-HKG - Boeing 747-400
HKG-SFO - Boeing 747-400
SFO-YVR - Airbus A319 (This trip report) 
YVR-LAX - Airbus A320 
LAX-LAS - Boeing 737-300 (United Shuttle) 
LAS-SFO - Boeing 737-300 (United Shuttle) 
SFO-HKG - Boeing 747-400
HKG-SIN - Boeing 747-400

SIN - Singapore
HKG - Hong Kong 
SFO - San Francisco
YVR - Vancouver 
LAX - Los Angeles
LAS - Las Vegas

As there wasn't much of a choice, I picked the Airbus A319, Airbus A320 and the Boeing 737-300, I was disappointed not able to fly on the Boeing 757, perhaps next time. 

Flight route: SFO-YVR

Miles: 800 

It was my 3rd time at SFO airport, I remembered this airport a bit better than my previous visits. My flight landed from Hong Kong was pretty late and I remembered rushing from my previous flight to this gate as the layover was not very long. My father urged us to walk as fast as we could, otherwise, we might miss the flight. So, we had no time to catch our breath after our rather turbulent flight across the Pacific. I remember feeling slightly uneasy after arrival, but still, I am not going to miss Vancouver just because of it, it was not a long flight anyway, and getting on board the Airbus A319 was a must! 

Some photos of SFO Airport

I remember rushing through the crowd to make my flight and I did. Just nice too as boarding started and I saw the Airbus A319 waiting for us. The aircraft's registration I believed was N816UA.

Photos of my aircraft: United's Airbus A319 - N826UA 

When I flew this aircraft, it was in this livery. Certainly nicer than the current United livery. 

My very first ride on the Airbus A320 family goes to this aircraft, the Airbus A319 and later on I flew on the airline's Airbus A320 from Vancouver to Los Angeles. 

Now, it is in this current livery. In my opinion, United Airlines needs fresh new livery. 

Flight: SFO-YVR (San Francisco to Vancouver) 
Airline: United Airlines
Aircraft: Airbus A319 
Registration: N816UA
Date of delivery: 30th March 1999
Engines: 2 X V2500
MSN: 989

Boarded the aircraft, I got the window seat. The interior was similar to the airline's 747-400 so I got used to it at that point. I remember how quiet the engine startup and how smooth the aircraft as compared to the Boeing 737 Classics, I felt it was a much better aircraft than its competitor, 737. 

San Francisco has a lot of runways, and I remembered the power take off of it, it was a "Wow" from my reaction. 

The flight to Vancouver was very smooth and I think I saw an American Actress on board, sitting a row behind me. Her face looked so familiar - Helen Hunt is the name. Till today, I have images of her with her husband and a kid. I may got the wrong person though. 

Here are the interior shots of United Airline's A319 cabin 

The newer interior of the A319

Business Class seats

The service on board the domestic flights was much better than the HKG-SFO sector that I flew in, I may do a trip report on that. I remembered the crew were friendly and even agreed to allow me to visit the cockpit after the flight. 

The legroom space on the A319 seemed better than the Boeing 747 and I was served a light snack on that flight, can't remember what it was. 

The flight happened too quickly for my liking and we landed in Vancouver early. After the rest of the passengers disembarked, I was invited to the cockpit and had a brief chat with the flight crew for a short while. After that, I met my father at the gate and we made our way out of the airport. I have to say that I was quite impressed with Vancouver Airport back then, I felt it was as nice as Changi Airport if not better. Here are some photos of the airport and the interior. 

The control tower, a familiar sight to me. 

The interior of the airport, I have been here to Vancouver twice. 

It was a pleasant airport to hang out and had no problem with the immigration officers and the transport out of this airport. 

The regular sight of Westjet's Boeing 737-200s was seen from the apartment I stayed, the noise of the JT8D engines was quite loud even though my apartment was about 3km away. I wished I had a flight on one of those beauties. 

I was attracted to this airline while doing spot over there, saw so many of this aircraft flying in and out of the airport, left me with a very positive impression on this airline, unfortunately, I didn't get to fly this airline and I hope to do so in the near future. If I do, a trip report would definitely be done. My love for this airline began then and I decided to do a short write-up on this airline. 

Beautiful isn't it, this Boeing 737-200 series is easily recognized by its Pratt and Whitney JT-8D engines

The airline ordered Boeing 737-600 and -700 series to replace the -200. Later on, it added on the -800 and Q400 for fleet expansion. In a few months time, this airline will take delivery of the first wide-body, the Boeing 767-300ER.

This airline has grown steadily all these years, defying the critics and odds to become the 2nd airline in Canada. Canadian Airlines didn't make it through, it went bankrupt, leaving Air Canada as the major carrier. 

This is Canadian Airlines - what a lovely livery 

Boeing 737-200


The newer livery - Boeing 767-300ER

Canadian Airlines in Air Canada's livery as Air Canada took over the company

The old livery of Air Canada which I spotted back then - Boeing 767-200ER

The current livery of Air Canada - Boeing 787 Dreamliner

 Currently fleet of Westjet: 

Boeing 737-600 

Boeing 737-700

Boeing 737-800 in Disney special livery 

Boeing 737-800 in Frozen livery

Boeing 767-300ER

Bombardier DHC-8 Q400


This flight is probably the best United Airlines flight I flew so far, the service was impeccable and the flight was an enjoyable one. I became an Airbus A320 fan after this and the A320 flight, it was more comfortable and quieter than the 737 Classics (At that time I haven't flown the NG). I enjoyed the plane spotting at both the airport and the apartment I stayed in. The sight of Westjet makes me fall in love with the carrier and hopefully, I will fly this airline in the near future. Air Canada didn't attract me much as this airline, but I have seen lots of aircraft too from this airline, the Airbus A320 family and the Boeing 767 are regular sights for me. Canada is definitely in my mind for my future trip, to catch what I have missed out for the last 15 years or so. 

Hope you enjoy this trip report!


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