Showing posts with label United. Show all posts
Showing posts with label United. Show all posts

Monday, October 17, 2016

Longest 777-200ER Flight In The World

United Airlines operates the longest 777-200ER flight from EWR to HKG, about 16 hours on board and over 8,500 flown miles. I flew it in coach. It's not bad if you have a good seat and travel prepared. 
Economy Seat Recline

Open middle seats make a world of difference. An open row is amazing. Otherwise shoot for an exit row (right side is better than left) or Economy Plus. I booked an exit row when I make my reservation then hold onto it until I'm at the gate and get a decent feel for the seat map. I was able to switch into an open middle row of 3 seats at the last minute and have all that space to myself.  It made for a nice trip.
777-200ER to HKG
Fly with ear plugs and an eye mask. The cabin is always noisy and next dark. Also avoid caffeine for the day. It's hard enough to sleep on board. Take a walk around the cabin every hour or two when awake. It helps. Also stock up on podcasts or bring a book, the TV's don't always work.
Exit Row Leg Room
Broken TV - It Reset After About 20 Minutes
Pack snacks. The food is ok, but infrequent.  The beer is free and the wine is undrinkable. Spirits cost money.
Pasta Dinner
More Pasta
Noodle Breakfast - Good
More Noodles - Still Good

Saturday, June 11, 2016

United Bonus Miles

An exclusive offer, just for you: Fly your way to 50,000 bonus award miles

My travel is way down this year and I received an email from United offering me 50,000 bonus miles if I spend $6,500 on airfare flown before November 30.  I don’t know if others are getting emails like this and what their targets are, but keep your eyes open for an offer to your inbox. This all seems to follow United’s new “what have you spend lately” take on loyalty.
Spending Milestones
Upgrades are more Difficult These Days

Sunday, October 18, 2015

United Miles Buy Beer

0.7c per mile is not the best value available in frequent flyer programs.  Even with recent devaluations, 6c per mile is possible without too much effort.  To earn that high valuation, one needs 100,000 miles or maybe more.  For those who earn from one or two trips a year, such a large balance is inconceivable. 1,430 miles is achievable, but award tickets usually start at 12,500 for a domestic one way flight.  Rather than save for a few years, infrequent flyers can cash in their miles for a beer at Newark airport. This is a great way for people extract quick value from their flights. Just because it isn't the best value, doesn't mean it's not good value.
At Airport Merchandise Awards
Lufthansa has been doing this for years with their WorldShop in Frankfurt Airport. They have good selection in store and let you order online for in store pickup. They'll also let you pay with a mix of miles and Euros. United isn't close to Lufthansa, but it's a start.
I Love Lufthansa

Friday, September 11, 2015

Intentional Retro Jet

Here's an intentionally retro paint scheme on a United 737.
Continental 737 at O'Hare

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Does This Count as Retro?

I doubt this counts as a retro paint scheme, but it's starting to feel that way.
Retro Jet Spotted in Denver Last Weekend

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Booking United Flights With Global Premier Upgrades

Global Premier Upgrades, formerly System Wide Upgrades, permit upgrades without any miles or copay. The pre-merger website had a search option for using a System Wide. The post-merger website has no comparable feature. This means users have to use the Advanced Search and search for fare classes W and V, the two cheapest fares that work with System Wides. Then there is no way to know if the upgrade will clear at booking. The best method for confirming upgrades at booking is making a reservation and then trying to apply the upgrade. The website will say if seats can be confirmed. If the flight is waitlist space only, cancel the reservation and try a different date. There’s no fee because you are cancelling 15 minutes into the 24 hour free cancelation window. United will put an authorization hold on the credit card used, so your available credit will be used up quickly.
Difficult to Move Up Front

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

MileagePlus and Mercedes-Benz Offer

Wow, United actually has a great offer available.  Most emails I've read recently are bad ways to acquire miles and worse ways to spend them, but the Mileage Plus Mercedes Benz offer is a great deal.  The deal is run through and starts with the best TrueCar prices then adds an additional discount ($500-$7,000) and bonus miles (up to 50,000).  This is probably the best price on a new Mercedes publicly available.  Now if only I had a spare $100,000 for a 577 hp station wagon.
Like 757's, Good Deals Are Harder to Find

Saturday, August 15, 2015

United 737-700 Exit Row

Row 20 on United's 737-700 is missing window seats.  That means the window seats in row 21 have unlimited legroom, it's like first class class on Southwest.  Don't bother paying for TV, it's about 5 feet away, but unlike Lufthansa First, it isn't very large.
View from 21F

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Upgrades Are Late to Clear

Using an upgrade certificate, regional or system-wide, on United once guaranteed immediate confirmation.  Now United is selling more seats in premium cabins and installing fewer premium seats on aircraft.  United is also trying harder to sell upgrades for cash or cash and miles. This leads to fewer upgrades clearing and the ones that do at much closer to departure, often at the gate. I don't like this model because it frays too many nerves before departure. It makes United, and the many other airlines doing the same thing, more revenue, so I won't bother fighting this change, I have too many quixotic travel ideas
United Airlines 767

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Plane Crash Movie On My Flight

I watched a movie about airplane crashes on a recent flight.  A Yank in the R.A.F. was on TCM (free DirecTV in United first) and it was full of plane crashes and fires. In the old days when airlines picked their movies, they avoided ones with sensitive topics. It was a good propaganda film from 1941 (filmed in the UK with the Luftwaffe in the area), so I didn't notice it was about airplane failures until the end. 
United 737 with DirecTV
The funniest part of the movie was in the opening credits:
The Producers wish to express their appreciation to the officers and personnel of the Royal Air Force whose cooperation, under difficult conditions, made possible the filming of the aerial scenes in this production.

UPDATE: I also enjoyed North By Northwest and Von Ryan's Express on flights, so I guess prop plane crash movies are OK to watch on flights.

Monday, May 4, 2015

I'm A Bad United Airlines Customer

I'm the type of flyer who is crushed by United's new revenue based award miles.  Here's my stats from earlier this year:
MileagePlus Stats

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

United Express Bombardier Q400 (DH4) Seats

I got my first upgrade of 2015 since downgrading to Gold status.  I was the last to clear and was excited to try out a new first class cabin (for me at least).  I was flying MCI-DEN on a Bombardier Q400turboprop.  The seats and service are standard United Express, except the flight attendant was upbeat and never let my coffee go empty.  Row 2 is an exit row with plenty of space, but missing a window.  The best seats are 7 C & D in Economy Plus, their leg room goes for ever and they have windows. One tip no matter where you sit, bring ear plugs.  Bombardier's are quieter than other turboprops, but still much louder than jets. 
First Class Seats 2C and 2D, Reclined and Upright
First Class United Express Seats
Economy Plus Q400 Seats - Row 7 C & D

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Check Your Award Reservations For Changes

I booked an award reservation for a friend earlier this year for travel in September and forgot about it.  I recently was on looking at my reservations and pulled up this award flight to find there was a change.  United downsized a CRJ-700 to a CRJ-200 and my friend lost his first class seat. The reservation message wanted me to click ‘Continue’ to accept the change and move on.  I didn’t want to accept the change and instead clicked to the home page and looked for a better option.  I was able to find a first class seat on an Air Canada E175 and called United to make the change.  The agent found the award seat and updated the reservation.  My friend now has a larger seat, TV, meal, shorter lines, and free drinks.  Just because United updates your reservation, you don’t have to accept it.  The agents can be very flexible too because it was an airline initiated reservation change.
Air Canada A319 in Denver

Friday, August 8, 2014

Same Day Standby Problems

There's an AP story with the headline "Empty seats increase at United Airlines" and I don't believe it.  From my observations United is flying planes 95%+ full 90% of the time.  Take today for example, I'm trying to stand by onto an earlier flight, but there is not one available seat, even with connections, for the 12 hours before my trip.
United 737-824 Pushing Back Full Probably

Sunday, July 13, 2014

United Is Serious About Carry On Sizes

United has a new warning message on the online check in about carry on bags. The airline must have finally noticed the large contraptions passengers have been attempting to shove in overhead bins recently.  I applaud this move, but the real test is with gate agents using the bag sizer and not letting large bags on, then charging for a checked bag.  The rules aren't new or hard to find, but just need to be enforced.    
Carry On Bag Reminder
UPDATE:  They also had messages on the self check in machine and on the boarding gate monitors.  None of the gate agents checked the sizes though.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

United Airlines First Class Late Night Snack

United Airlines serves full meals in first class on flights longer than 900 miles, but don't try too hard for departures after 7:00PM and only offer one cold plate meal option. Here's a recent example of humus and some other stuff.  I liked the cold chicken and pasta salad, but I guess budget cuts make every meal the vegetarian option. 
United First Class Snack - Humus and Other Stuff

Saturday, June 28, 2014

United Airlines First Class Breakfast Snack

United Airlines serves a fairly good breakfast in first class, but the flight needs to be about 2 hours or longer.  On shorter flights they serve a light snack, like this scone I received. They also have the full bar open, so they aren't cutting back everywhere.
First Class Breakfast Snack

Sunday, June 22, 2014

United Express Embraer EMB 170 Seat 7B

The Embraer 170 is my favorite United Express aircraft, it has two bathrooms, wider seats, overhead bins that can store roll aboard bags, and large windows.  It only has 6 first class seats, so upgrades aren't too frequent.  That's hardly a problem because row 7 has amazing legroom (it is Economy Plus, so United charges non-elites to reserve the row).  I flew in seat 7B and didn't have anything blocking a good stretch.
View From Seat 7B Economy Plus

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

United Destroys The Other Half Of MileagePlus

United is completing their destruction of MileagePlus by changing how mileage earning works.  Starting in 2015, miles earned for flights will be based on the fare price (not including tax) rather than the distance flown.  The new earning method, paired with award price inflation last year, removes any hope of earning a decent rate of return on air travel. It should be easier to redeem miles because far fewer will be in circulation.  I suspect I'll earn more miles on the ground now, even if I fly three or more times around the equator each year.  Maximizing credit card bonus and other earning options will be critical to my 2015 earning strategy.
The Sun Is Setting On MileagePlus
My last sliver of loyalty to United will be from their Million Miler program.  I'm almost 70% to lifetime Gold status and Star Alliance Gold status.  United did change the benefits for their Million Miler program before, I just hope I can cross the 1,000,000 lifetime flight mile mark before they  change it again.