Thursday of this week, I will be taking my first “international” flight with United. In mid-May, for $800 r/t or 5 cpm, I was able to secure a ticket on United from LAX to MNL. The only catch was the routing was far from desirable, however since ticket prices were about $500 cheaper than United’s competitors, I had a hard time saying no. The only catch is, United’s flights to Manila are from Guam and Palau, this meant I had to fly LAX-HNL-GUM-MNL. LA to Hawaii is on a domestic configured 757 (old continental metal), HNL to Guam is on an Old US domestic United B777 with a domestic first class product and a 2x5x2 economy configuration (United replaced the Internationally equipped CO 767 shortly after the merger, increasing the number of seats but a significant drop in inflight amenities/hard product), and then GUM-MNL is on B737-800 (old continental Micronesia metal). So with a bunch of old planes, all domestic service (HNL-GUM is a hybrid service, GUM-MNL is international but is short flight), and a change in United aircrafts from the internationally equipped Co 767 to the Domestic UA 777 since the merger, I was not looking forward to this trip in economy.
However despite all this, I knew I was getting a good deal, and I would get to try out new routes, check out a new airport (I’ve never been to Guam), and try out Continental Micronesia, so in the end, this undesirable route was honestly worth it! So I booked this trip and then crossed my fingers, hoping and praying that I would get a couple of upgrades! And if I’m lucky enough HNL-GUM gate upgrades go for as little as $179! (Please United let me upgrade at the gate!)
After buying the ticket, I did some research on flyertalk on other websites and from what I read, it appeared as though my upgrade from LAX-HNL would not be clearing early or at all, unless it cleared at the gate. Even as premier platinum, being booked in a bottom of the barrel economy class (K) ticket, it appeared as though it would take a miracle to process my upgrade, and if it did, it wouldn’t clear until we were at the gate. I accepted this for a fact and as I have been packing for my 2.5 week adventure to the Philippines and Borneo (Malaysia) accordingly, preparing myself for a long flight across the pacific in economy. Nothing a sleeping pill and a glass of wine can’t handle!
Yet then to my surprise I got my VERY first email today from united regarding my flight:
You've been upgraded from Los Angeles, CA (LAX) to Honolulu, HI (HNL) on Thu., Aug. 23, 2012. Your new seat will be assigned upon check-in or at the departure gate. Below is a recap of your flight information:
MileagePlus/Partner Frequent Flyer: KA******
United Confirmation Number: I******
Thu., Aug. 23, 2012
United flight 3
Depart 9:46 a.m. from Los Angeles, CA (LAX)
Arrives 12:27 p.m. into Honolulu, HI (HNL)
WOW upgrade Not only did I get upgraded, but it cleared 3 days before! This bit of news honestly made my day! Although my upgrade has not cleared from Guam to Manila, just having my first flight upgraded made it so much better! Not to mention, I have always been a Delta flyer on EVERY trip to Hawaii (except the one time on Alaska-upgraded to 1st using e-certs). And well, Delta offers for a charge, and randomly phantom upgrades occur when economy is oversold, so an Elite upgrade was a big time DoubleWideDelight!!
So my United Vs Delta Saga continues. On the Mainland to Hawaii route United 1 Delta 0, However, after my trip last week on United, especially the second segment with the caddy flight attendants, I would say Delta 1, United 1.