On August 7th, I flew to Auckland from Dallas via San Francisco. Back in May I was informed that Air New Zealand had cancelled my outbound flight from Houston to Aukland, and after talking it out with Orbitz I was able to re-route through San Francisco and fly United Airlines’ 787.
I had flown such plane with them the year before to London from Houston, and it was a great experience, so I was excited to fly 13 hours in the same kind of plane.
Boarding began a few minutes late, and it was a bit confusing as our gate had to separate counters with two different doors leading to the same gate. People had no idea who was supposed to go through which one, and the agents were not very helpful in clarifying either.
As soon as we boarded the plane I began to notice that my prior expectation for the flight were wrong and way off. This was in no way to be the experience I had had the year before. After putting away the carry on and sitting down, I discovered that the touchscreen was not working properly.
After trying for awhile I was able to select a movie and get ready for departure. This is were things got a bit weird. The movie began to show a black screen as if it was about to start but then it would kick me right back into the home screen. I tried a few movies and it did the same thing. At first I thought that perhaps they were blocking it somehow so people could just get ready to take off, however I could see that there were other people watching shows or movies, just not the ones I had tried.
The plane took off and I tried again, same issue. Then to make matters worse my screen turned off and it would not start again. It was at this time that my travel companion and I decided to switch seats to Economy Plus to watch the movie and eat before going back to our original seats and sleep. Nonetheless as soon as we sat a flight attendant came by and said that if we wanted to seat here we needed to pay. I explained that our screens were not working and he had a simple solution “move to another set of seats in regular economy”.
He sent us to the very far back of the plane and the movies still did not work, it was then that we discovered that several movies and shows were not working for anyone, and the FAs had no reason to offer why.
We returned to our seats to wait for dinner and then figure out what to do. It was then that the couple behind us asked another FA about the issue and he offered to reset their screens, something that then he did for us as well. The screens began to work again, and now we knew that we had to just keep looking until we could find a show or movie that actually worked.
The rest of the flight was just ok. The seats are so worn out that they are not comfortable at all. Dinner was actually just edible, but they do offer free beer, which helped speed up the process to fall asleep. Breakfast was actually pretty good and it was served about an hour and half before landing, which allowed us to freshen up before touching down.
It was a very disappointing flight overall, and it made me regret not having taken the flight from LA to Auckland rather that this one, such flight would have been operated by Air New Zealand, which later on I found out would have been a way better option to take.