Monday, December 19, 2011

Operation Emergency Deployment - UA 230

Operation Emergency Deployment - UA 230 

Operation Emergency Deployment - UA/CO 4 

Operation Emergency Deployment - UA 949

Operation Emergency Deployment - UA 907 

Operation Emergency Deployment - Conclusion

December 5, 2011 – UA 230 (San Francisco, CA > Houston George W. Bush InterContinental)

I intentionally chose not to fly direct to London, even there are 2 daily flights from San Francisco, CA.

My reasons?

1. Miles...Miles...Miles...

2. My friend - my friend is a United MileagePlus Premier. So he does not enjoy as many benefit as I do. So I had to go to Houston to "pick" him up in order for him to enjoy a more pleasant travel.

Since it is an international reservation, I was entitled to use Star Alliance Gold lounges. The only restriction is I can only United Club (United Red Carpet Club or Continental President Club) or US Airway Club only (but none of airports I visited has one).

Since the merger, United Club has been under some new changes. At the least, in the past, it is difficult for you to find something to eat. But now, at least I could have a bagel...

My "Breakfast"...

Looking from Inside

Food Offering (Not much changes...but at least something more...)

I arrived at the gate 20 minutes before boarding. Guess what? I was ranked #1 on the upgrade list and there is only 1 First Class seat left. The Ground Agent told me that that seat was sold, but you might still get it. I told them I would go to buy my lunch (so that they knew I still wanted the seat).

After I was back, my upgrade was cleared - First Class to Houston.

(I know my blog is about Economy Class travel - but this time - you will know why I mention this trip.)

When I waited for boarding, I saw something funny:

SMI/J? Jeff is here?

Why is SMI/J funny? This actually relates on how United's system display names.

United's system use the first letter of your last name and your first initial to display.

So for instance, Ryan Bingham (Main Character from "Up In The Air") is displayed as BIN/R.

SMI/J, in FlyerTalk, is known as Jeff Smisek - President and CEO of United.

And CEO needed to wait for an upgrade? (For the record, United corporate officers have the highest priority regardless of seats.)

Okay, back to my trip report.

Why do I mention a First Class experience? See the following pictures first:

See the moisture?

Delicious, right?

My Legroom
Can you imagine in First Class:

1. First Picture - You have some moisture at your tray and you don't know if they are water (condensation) or not...

2. Second Picture - Everyone had the same kind of meal, no exception.

Would you rather in Economy Class or First Class? (Compare my legroom from First Class with my previous Economy Plus experience).

To be honest, I would say this would one of my worst experience in domestic First Class - and it is the exact reason why I wrote about this - so that people can know First Class is not always as good as you think.

"Oh is free anyway.." This is the phrase I used to calm me down until arriving in Houston...

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