Travel Dilemma for Tomorrow on United

I am confirmed in First Class on the evening non-stop from Philadelphia to Los Angeles tomorrow on United but need to come home in the morning due to a family emergency that has arisen. No bumps tomorrow...

There are no nonstop options in the morning so I am trying to figure out the best way to get to Los Angeles as early as possible while trying to route through hub(s) in which upgrade space is available.

The easiest option and the one I will most likely take is a simple PHL-ORD-LAX routing. Both the flights from Philadelphia to Chicago and from Chicago to Los Angeles have plenty of upgrade space available right now. The problem is there is no meal service on the PHL-ORD flight and the ORD-LAX flight is on the "ghetto bird" 767. 

Another option would be to route through Chicago and Denver. That way I could get on a three-cabin plane with breakfast between ORD-DEN and connect to a 757 with lunch service to LAX. That option, though, would get me into LAX three hours later than the previous one and I would hate to get stranded in Denver if the weather turns sour (clear skies in the forecast, but you know Denver...).

A third option would be to route through IAD, but upgrade space looks sketchy using that routing.

Finally, I could route through SFO. This was my original plan when I found out a couple days ago I would have to leave PHL early, but the A319 went from F8 to F1 yesterday and I have no desire to sit in Economy for six hours.

If I did not have to be home by 1400, I could really have some fun on a three-cabin 767, but sadly I will have to save UA709 for another time.

So what would you do if you were in my shoes?


AS December 16, 2009 at 06:49 pm

In a family emergency, the priority has to be to get home fastest and most reliably. Take the earliest nonstop. You get food, nicer planes and upgrades all the time, but you'd regret not taking the most reliable route if you got there too late, or missed something important.

AS December 16, 2009 at 06:53 pm

Sorry, please strike that last comment, I misread the point about no morning nonstops. I'd route through the hub with the earliest arrival, and second deciding factor the most alternate options in case of misconnect.

Rob December 16, 2009 at 07:25 pm

PHL-ORD-SAN-LAX? 9:57am ORD-SAN is 757 NF4, earlier one is an A319 F3 but seatmap for E+ looks pretty empty

@AS: I'll likely route through Chicago for the reasons you outline.

@Rob: Ideally, I'd like to do UA337 <> UA675 <> UA69, but I like your idea as well. Sadly, I don't plan on "gambling" tomorrow.

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