Tales of life on the road: Touring United's hubs plus some musings after the PSS conversion


Name the airport

I’ve been on the road a lot in the past few weeks, and during this time period, I realized I will have visited most of the domestic United hub airports.   I have visited all of these airports before, but not usually so many in a relatively short time. 

I had trips to the west coast 2 weeks in a row, with a trip east in between. I generally fly through O’Hare, but I also visited LAX, DEN, IAD, SFO, and next week I’m connecting at EWR.  I just had a few experiences I wanted to share.

My first trip was to San Diego.  On a nice sunny day,my first leg, a short hop on Skywest between Milwaukee and O’Hare was cancelled, and a bus was offered.  I called the 1K line, and the agent assured me I would likely make my connection, since flights were delayed throughout the system.  I convinced her to protect me on a later flight, since I was not so confident.   Once I arrived at O’Hare, my original flight was on time, and since I had 4 minutes before scheduled departure, I knew I wouldn’t make it.  I called the 1K line back, and was rebooked on a nonstop to San Diego, unfortunately this was about 6 hours away.  I had to go to an agent to check in, and while there I was able to get rebooked on with a connecting through LAX which got me in near my original scheduled time. 


Tasty food, though the presentation left a little to be desired.

This flight was my first ‘cross fleet’ mainline flight, in that a Continental plane was flying a legacy United route, in this case ORD-LAX.  This was also my first flight on a 737-900ER.  Since I was rebooked in full Y, I was at the top of the upgrade standby list, and I cleared after boarding.  This was a lunch flight, since it was operated by a legacy Continental crew, there were noticeable differences in how the service was provided compared with what I’m more familiar with.  There were no hot nuts, and the drinks were provided on the tray with the meal.  Despite my ticket showing as full Y, once the miles posted, I did not receive the bonus miles for a full Y.  I’d like to request the bonus miles, but I’ve had so many incorrectly posted flights that are to my benefit since the PSS conversion, I don’t want to get too much visibility to my account.  Does anyone have any suggestions?

On my return trip, I had a leg between Denver and O’Hare, this was operated by a legacy United crew, and the service was more familiar, including hot nuts, in this case almonds only.  The meal was a former Continental classic, the Cheeseburger.



Sorry for the blur, it was a little bumpy, as can be seen in the soup bowl

I later flew from O’Hare to Dulles on an international 767-300.  I was frustrated that my upgrade hadn't cleared, although as boarding approached, my odds looked a little more promising.  I took my exit row seat, and meticulously checked the upgrade list on my phone.  I eventually cleared, and patiently waited to get a new boarding pass.  Strangely, the gate agent boarded and used the PA to call people who were upgraded.  They announced the names and new seats of upgraded passengers.  That was a new one for me, but I was content with the upgrade, even though there was no meal service, and the video system was not working for the entire flight...sigh


#1 with 2 seats open.  At least the app usually works.

This week, I had to get to San Francisco, and since I was on the east coast, I wanted to take a PS flight since really don’t have that opportunity very often.  I was waitlisted with a Regional Premier Upgrade for a few weeks.  The day before departure, economy was full, and there were lots of seats open in both Business and First class.  I thought I would clear easily, and may even get an op-up, but 24 hours before departure came and went, and I still did not clear.  I checked in, and I was not on the upgrade list.  I then called, and was told there is a list at the airport, and I should clear.  I didn't want to take the risk, so after checking online, and saw many seats available in the R bucket, I called in again and requested an upgrade since there was space open, and was cleared immediately.  



Carb-o-riffic PS breakfast



The Tulip lives...in a few places

 This process ended up requiring 2 RPU certificates to be taken from my account, but I would hope this should be  fixed easily.  Unfortunately after several days, there has been no automatic solution, so I will probably have to call to try to fix this.


What have you experienced on United since the PSS conversion? 


Sorry for the continued delays, with my Cathay Pacific First Class Trip report but my travel schedule hasn't allowed me much time to work on my report, but it’s coming soon.  Getting those menus typed up is taking forever…


azm May 4, 2012 at 04:08 pm

Brad, thanks for the updates in the middle of your travels. I took the 763 from ORD to IAD the day after you, on Saturday, and it was great to be able to experience the updated C cabin on a domestic flight. I wish they ran more of these aircrafts on domestic routes. I had an RPU expiring so I ended up using that for the upgrade but the lady next to me was a Silver Premier and got her UDU easily. I wish the flight was a little longer, though; I started watching MI III and only got through half of it! And would have been nice to have even a light meal instead of just the snack packets. Btw, also had two RPUs debited from my account recently (for a single leg on another flight) and I had to call to get the second one credited back again.

Brad May 5, 2012 at 10:24 am

Thanks azm. I agree that those international birds are great for domestic flights. I've done it on ORD-SFO runs multiple times, which is nice, since it gives a little more time to enjoy the enhanced experience. Hub to hub seems to be the only option for these.