United Airlines Posts

When does coach beat first?

I just returned from two back-to-back trips.  The first was a mileage run to Tokyo that started in Seattle and the second was a quick trip to San Francisco and back. 
My itinerary was:
   EWR-DTW-SEA on Northwest    ...

Baggage Handlers

While attending the United Fleet Week event last week, I noticed a crack in the fence and snuck airside to take some snaps of the hard working employees loading your bags. For some reason most of the photos were lost on my camera, but I still have this one:


How did we not win?!

Last week I attended United Airlines' fleet week at SFO which included a plane pulling competition. An Airbus A320, recently saved from TED hell, was on the apron with a long rope attached to the pull bar.

Along with 19 (26?) other FlyerTalk readers we lined up for a quick photo:


Somehow we finished second.

Special thanks to Joe Jusai (flyforsmiles.com) for taking the photos.



Elite status doesn't have any value?

(Note: Hunter helped with this post. I might even venture to say that this is a "co-post" by both of us. Enjoy.)
Scott Carmichael is an idiot.
He's a writer at Gadling.com, and he usually writes about travel tech. (This gives him the opportunity to try and convince the masses to ...

Six Hours on the Phone with United Web Support

Yes, six hours--and only two bookings.
Being the mileage runner that I am, I naturally rejected a conventional routing for my two trips to Los Angeles next month. It took me some time, but I pieced together a nice itinerary that would take me circuitously across the country--with connections ...

Picture of the Week #1: Gate Lice in Denver, Courtesy of United Airlines

Gate lice, those passengers who stand up in the boarding area up to an hour before boarding, have always made me chuckle. Yes, bin space is precious--but I don't think that is why some people line up early on United's red carpet. Instead, I think (no, actually I know) certain passengers just like to ...

Boycott a City Because of Rude Airport Workers?

I got a kick out of this letter in the Chicago Tribune today. It seems that Mr. Robichaud was so dismayed at the vendors and non-airline staff during his family's trip through O'Hare that he has decided to boycott ...

Upgrd 41: Free Upgrades for Everyone

Well, not really, but United Airlines is sure trying to give you that impression. Episode 41 is a combination of an episode that we recorded last week, and a second brief recording this morning regarding the new change at United - eliminating the 500 miler requirement for domestic upgrades. In last ...

Superior Customer Service from Mexicana and Avianca

I'm finalizing the plans for a trip to South America next month and had to contact both Mexicana and Avianca today via telephone. I was very impressed with the high level of service for a "no status" flyer like me. Hold time was about two minutes for each airline and the agents were courteous, helpful, and profusely thanked me for my business.

Can't say the same for United. Thankfully, I am shielded from having to deal with the United International Call Center or surly U.S. agents, but I shudder to think (vividly recalling what it is like) what most travelers have to deal with--20 minute hold times and incompetent agents--when trying to reach United.

Am I exaggerating?


Should I Even Consider a Switch to American Airlines?

Short answer: probably not.
I sure thought about it yesterday when it became clear that United will be eliminating regional upgrades, but I have calmed down today.
I'm 1/3 of the way toward million-mile status on United, love Star Alliance, and have generally been satisfied with all ...

United's new upgrade policy

Earlier this week United announced that it was going to follow the Continental model of upgrades.  Free for all elites and automatic.   Up until now United and American (with the exception of AA"s top tier) used an "instrument" based upgrade system.
The instruments ...

United Offers Unlimited Domestic Upgrades—but there is a catch!

Yesterday United announced it will be implementing a complimentary upgrade scheme starting in Q2 next year. The changes will bring UA's domestic upgrade program closer to those of Continental, US Airways, and Delta.
First, this was posted on FlyerTalk yesterday ...

Upgrd 38: Airline Nostalgia

A 50 minute flight with a full catered meal and dessert? Are we talking about some far off international carrier? No of course not, unfortunately though you will need a time machine.
Listen in to our semi-historical talk about our earliest flight memories as we are joined by veteran traveler ...

Upgrd 36: First Class Can of Coke

The big news of the week is another double elite qualifying mile (DEQM) promotion started by American and, thus far, only matched by United. In this week's frequent traveler podcast we discuss the promotion and:
Delta's JFK T3 experience ... again Delta's SkyClub American and ...

FINALLY! The SFO United Red Carpet Club Gets the LAX Treatment

Months ago, the United Red Carpet Club in LAX got a pretty big upgrade, in terms of food. Towers of cereal replaced the stale croissants. The bagels and toast were FINALLY complemented by a toaster. Yogurt covered raisins, trail mix, etc – the food got better. I end up in that Red ...

Upgrd 32: Match Game

This week we revisit elite status matching on the different airlines. Generally status matching is a one time event, so if you are going to match proceed carefully. In addition to airline status matches we discuss some recent airline news including:
New pet relief area at American's JFK ...

Upgrd 28: Lounging Around

In this week's discussion we cover airline news, Star Alliance and Red Carpet Club domestic lounge access, and Ben's tour of beautiful LAX airport. Also we discuss:

  • Delta's recent fine for the way it handled denied boarding and compensation
  • Viewer mail on credit card earning for hotel stays, an EWR flyer's question about where to credit miles after reaching Platinum on CO, and questions about the United Mileage Plus Dining program
  • A review of RCC member access to other star alliance clubs while traveling domestically on UA
  • and more...

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Upgrd 24: Fifty 50

In this week's frequent flyer discussion, we talk about the mid-tier (50,000 mile) elite level of the major carriers in the U.S. We know many of our listeners maintain this status and want to know some of the differences of the programs including:
Free upgrades vs coupon or sticker paid ...

Upgrd 23: You've got questions, we've got even more

This week we discussed a number of listener questions about frequent flyer and hotel programs. In addition to written questions received via email and on the upgrd.com site, we recorded a few questions in person at a recent SFO dinner.  Some questions include:
Is the standby option ...