Eveline Harvey and her family fly UA1431 across the Pacific


A very tidy Boeing 757-300.

Class: Economy.


On time? Scheduled for a 1.05pm departure, we were delayed on the tarmac for about 25 minutes. We made up some time in the air for a total flight of just over five hours.

My seat: 17B.

Fellow passengers: A fairly relaxed lot — mainly holidaymakers headed for Hawaii's famous beaches and surf breaks, by the looks of it.

Food: There was free bhuja mix and drinks. You needed to stump up cash if you wanted to buy anything more substantial.

The airport: We tried to use the self-service check-in but found there was no record of our booking. I called one of the assistants over and she repeated what I'd done. Still no luck. Fortunately, the computer at the main check-in desk said "yes" and we could proceed. We'd woken that morning to news of the Pulse shootings in Orlando, so checked in early as we thought security would be heightened and the queues long, but they weren't bad at all.

LAX was as sprawling as I remembered and the rather shabby security screening hall looked as if it was in a state of renovation. The bottle of ibuprofen for our teething toddler was swabbed (as were my hands) but we were allowed to keep it. Our departure terminal, 7, was a revelation after past stopovers here: clean, spacious and boasting a number of decent eating options — especially the burgers at The Counter . . . real cheese, people!

Service: Super-friendly staff, though we hardly saw them as it was a no-meal flight.

Oddities: There were no headphones supplied and when I asked for a lap belt for our 11-month-old, I was told they didn't supply them. In fairness, the United website does state that the airline doesn't provide child restraint systems or child safety seats, however it was a surprise after I'd been supplied with a child belt that harnessed to my own on each of the other flights we'd taken that trip.

Entertainment: The Directv service offered was a bit of a have on this particular route. US$7.99 (NZ$10.90) promised 100+ channels, but they weren't available for the majority of the flight as we flew out of satellite range about 45 minutes off the coast. This information wasn't supplied until after mugs like me had swiped their credit cards, though.

Toilets: Nothing fancy, but well-maintained. There was a change table for infants too, which was the main reason I visited the facilities during this leg.

Luggage: No allowance on this flight, so each passenger's first checked bag of up to 23kg cost US$25. Additional bags per passenger were charged at US$35. We'd been made aware of this in advance and had accordingly packed as lightly as possible. There was no charge for checking our stroller.

Would I fly this again? Perhaps. It was a good service and at a convenient time of the day for us as we were travelling with two young children. There are probably cheaper options though, and having a baggage allowance would make things simpler.