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Trip Report Wally flies United--with a few comments

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Thanks to Continental, Swiss and Singapore airlines, I made Gold with Star Alliance so I thought I would give United a try. I booked a one way ticket from Orlando to Oakland with a change of planes in Denver. On both flights I received a complimentary upgrade to First. The plane they used was a 757-200 with 24 First Class seats. I would not have booked this flight if they used an Airbus A320 since there are only 12 First Class seats. The plane was so old that the toilets swish. I guess you can say their toilets don't suck. Service was excellent and I had no faults. The two remaining first class seats were given to young boys who were going to see their father who was returning from service.

I spent six days at Burning Man. I guess you could say I'm a "Burner."

I was able to get a good deal on a flight from San Francisco to Maui at $514 one month before the flight. United used a Boeing 777 on this route. I was upgraded to First two days before the flight. Wonderful service and excellent flight attendants, however, the pilots seemed to have a smaller bladder than me. I didn't know that was possible.

From Maui I flew to LAX and down to San Diego. I was upgraded to First two days before the flight. United used a 757-200. Once again, excellent service. I like the fact that the pilot and flight attendants didn't say anything after reaching 10,000 feet until the pilot woke everyone up and said that there was only 24 minutes to landing. Flight attendants walked around with a cup of coffee at that time. Super planning.

I took a prop plane from LAX down to San Diego. For the 36 minute flight, the pilot said he would not be turning off the fasten seatbelt sign. Do the pilots have to clean out the toilet, too? A beautiful sunrise on the flight but otherwise the only thing I could see were the San Diego TV towers reaching out of the clouds. (Not the ones in LaJolla but further inland.)

I purchased a one-way return ticket and I liked this one because it was 3,400 miles. I flew from San Diego to San Francisco and five minutes before boarding the plane I got the last First Class upgrade. Another great flight.

I had one hour in San Francisco to change planes. I went to the gate and saw that I was number 22 on the upgrade list. I walked over to Subway and got a 12 inch sub for the five hour flight to Dulles. Flying from one United hub to another I quickly realized that United had "Many" loyal customers. When it was time to board the plane, the Global, 1-K, First Class and other Elites took up half the plane.

I managed with my first row of economy plus seating. The pilot took his time removing the fasten seatbelt sign (a good 25 minutes) and 30 minutes later there was a little bump and put it back on for almost an hour. I finally, tired of waiting, walking to the loo very close to my seat and what did I see? I saw the pilot out of the cockpit walking to the First Class loo. United puts of a metal gate with wires to block people from trying to get into the cockpit when the door is open. It's kinda fun to watch, actually better than some of the television programming. Note to terrorists--bring wire cutters. Too many announcements on this daytime flight. The carts are coming down the isle, the captain has turned on the fasten seatbelt sign and they were loud. One baby was crying during the boarding process and as soon as the flight attendants stopped talking, it stopped crying.

I was notified two days before the flight that I was upgraded to First on the flight from Dulles to Orlando. With only 12 seats on the Airbus A320 I was surprised. One empty seat was given to a young serviceman in uniform. A man in front of me asked for a glass of wine before take-off and the flight attendant replied, "if I have time to open it." She did and I helped. Another great flight.

So would I fly United again. Domestically yes. Internationally, I would have to think about it. I was very impressed with Swiss and Singapore.

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