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United Airlines - LHR to SFO pleasantly surprised

United Airlines - LHR to SFO pleasantly surprised

Apr 13th, 2019, 01:32 PM
  #1  
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United Airlines - LHR to SFO pleasantly surprised

I booked through Lufthansa but it was a United flight and I was a little concerned with how the experience would be. Of the US airlines, Delta has always been good for me. AA not horrible but consistently hovering just below average in my perception. But United? I can't remember the last time I flew with them. I have to say that I was very pleasantly surprised - and in Basic Economy. Good food. Service was top notch - very engaging with passengers and professional all around. Seemed well trained and with good spirit and morale. I know that the US airlines have been taking a knocking from the traveling public (probably in many cases well deserved) so i wanted to call out my customer experience and this crew. Well done.

I'm just a normal passenger who wants a decent experience like everyone else and this time, United delivered. Not sure if domestic US flights are the same but I would not hesitate to use them transatlantic again.
walkinaround is offline  
Apr 13th, 2019, 02:42 PM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
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Good to hear. I usually go out of my way to avoid flying United, especially on international flights, because they've screwed me over so many times.

My spouse has more faith in them than I do, and managed to talk me into giving them another chance on a trip we're taking to Europe in October.

We shall see.
Melnq8 is offline  
Apr 14th, 2019, 01:37 PM
  #3  
 
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I fly UA fair amount in both economy & biz class. In general I find them to be fine. There seats are no better or worse than any other airline I fly. Service in biz class has always been very good. Fortunately I've not had problems with them.
yestravel is offline  
Apr 15th, 2019, 09:43 AM
  #4  
 
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I also had a good experience on this same flight several weeks ago.
Songdoc is offline  
Apr 15th, 2019, 11:12 AM
  #5  
 
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We flew round-trip in January on a first class ticket from Chicago to the Dominican republic. It was a tale of two flights. The flight to the new DR was rather poor with sluggish service and a flight attendant who was running her hands through her hair and whatever debris she got she dropped it on the cabin floor so sanitation was extremely poor. However on the way back it was much much better. This crew was professional and polite and engaging. I think United has some good flights but overall I think the service is spotty but Iím glad you had a good experience.
jacketwatch is offline  
Apr 19th, 2019, 12:30 PM
  #6  
Les
 
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We flew back from India on UA Business Class (using FF miles for the upgrade), and were happy with the accommodations and service (but nothing beats business class on the now defunct 747's).
My gripe with United (and it's a major gripe) is that even though we booked the flights 8 months in advance (and they debited our miles immediately), they would not confirm the Business seats until 24 hours before each flight. We did not get confirmed for Business on the outbound flight, but did get it on the return.
Helluva way to run an airline.
Les is offline  
Apr 20th, 2019, 06:50 AM
  #7  
 
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I have never booked an upgrade to biz on UA but have booked perhaps 8 award freebies with miles and all has gone well. I am not sure how upgrading with miles works. Do you mean that even though you booked 8 mos. out you were not sure until 24 hrs. prior to the flight? Really?
jacketwatch is offline  
Apr 20th, 2019, 07:46 AM
  #8  
 
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Were you on a waitlist?
jacketwatch is offline  
Apr 20th, 2019, 09:38 AM
  #9  
 
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I have purchased an Econ tix on UA and asked to be upgraded. Generally, I am put on a waitlist and get notified of the upgrade at varying points of time. Sometimes it has been 24 hrs before the flight.
yestravel is offline  
Apr 20th, 2019, 10:05 AM
  #10  
Les
 
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Jacketwatch,

Yes, I was placed on a waitlist (although I was told that there were available seats at the time of booking). Apparently, UA waits until the last possible moment to see if they can actually sell those seats . This significantly diminishes the value of having the Explorer card, in my opinion.

I have also booked award flights (not upgrades) with miles, and these apparently are treated as regular ticket purchases, with no waitlist if the seats are immediately available. But this is a less efficient use of miles than using them for upgrades.
Les is offline  
Apr 20th, 2019, 11:50 AM
  #11  
 
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Aside from the # of unsold seats, UA relies on the price of your ticket and if you have status. When I had status with UA I sometimes was notified earlier.
yestravel is offline  
Apr 20th, 2019, 03:01 PM
  #12  
 
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OK, I See. Thank you. I had assumed that when I saw a wait list it was because the seats were already taken but apparently this isn't he case.
I have used saver awards with UA to get, so far 10 tickets to Asia and Oz on biz since 2010. This s a bargain if you can purchase far enough in advance. We just got 2 saver awards for ORD-DEL for 370 k miles total vs. 360 k for one standard biz ticket.

Good info about their waitlisting practice. Thank you.

Larry
jacketwatch is offline  
Apr 20th, 2019, 09:10 PM
  #13  
 
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Yes, Les, all "available" seats are not created equal. A seat may be available for sale in one or more fare classes, but not for purchase with miles, or for upgrade with miles. It is not at all uncommon to have to wait until 24 hours prior to departure to have the reward upgrade clear, especially on popular routes or peak travel times. . Higher elite status gives you an advantage as does the fare class of the coach ticket you purchased and having the credit card, as outlined here. The card also gives you an advantage for redeeming an award ticket - if a seat is available, you can get it for miles (though you may need to pay the higher Everyday award mileage)

jacketwatch - I've been pretty lucky with snagging Saver award tickets, too. Just completed a trip to Lima with RT Polaris saver award (70K) that cost less than an Everyday one way (90K) award.
Seamus is offline  
Apr 21st, 2019, 04:57 AM
  #14  
 
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To confirm a mileage upgrade (or regional/global premier upgrade certificate) award into business class* at the time of booking, the "PZ" fare class must be available. Finding PZ inventory (PZ > 0) takes a lot of patience and flexibility, just like looking for saver awards. To look for it, you need to have your Mileage Plus profile set to expert mode. I expect there are certain popular and profitable routes where it (almost) never appears, but I've had luck finding it at the time of booking for travel to New Zealand, Iceland and 4-5 trips to continental Europe via Brussels/Munich/Frankfurt over the past two to three years - purchasing anywhere from a few months to 11 months out from the date of travel. In some of those cases, it was only available for one or two days in, say, the middle of the week. It can also very hard to find and/or clear on domestic transcontinental and hub-to-hub routes. For example, when we went to New Zealand, I was able to confirm the upgrade for the international flights at the time of booking, but the Chicago-San Francisco leg went on the waitlist and never cleared.

* Note that with the introduction of true premium economy service, I believe now that the upgrades clear economy to premium economy and premium economy to business. I haven't tried this or studied it much, as I haven't yet shopped for anything that includes Premium Plus class of service, but the information is in the link above that Seamus has posted.
ms_go is online now  
Apr 21st, 2019, 05:04 AM
  #15  
 
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ms_go -- how do I set my profile to expert mode? Also does it make a difference if you have status?
yestravel is offline  
Apr 21st, 2019, 05:23 AM
  #16  
 
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Originally Posted by yestravel View Post
ms_go -- how do I set my profile to expert mode? Also does it make a difference if you have status?
Sign in, then:
View Account
Profile & Preferences
View All Flight Search Preferences (this is a link toward the bottom right of the page)

That will take you to a page that explains the expert mode. You have to read some disclaimers and check a box.

Once you are in expert mode, then when you are doing a search, there is a highlighted link "details" next to the flight. When you click it, it drops down and shows you the available fare classes.

Status does not matter in searching for PZ inventory. Everyone has access to it. Status does matter when you are on the waitlist - as it clears by status, then fare and then some credit card related stuff, etc.
ms_go is online now  
Apr 21st, 2019, 05:26 AM
  #17  
 
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Thank you!
yestravel is offline  
Apr 21st, 2019, 06:22 AM
  #18  
 
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Originally Posted by Seamus View Post
Yes, Les, all "available" seats are not created equal. A seat may be available for sale in one or more fare classes, but not for purchase with miles, or for upgrade with miles. It is not at all uncommon to have to wait until 24 hours prior to departure to have the reward upgrade clear, especially on popular routes or peak travel times. . Higher elite status gives you an advantage as does the fare class of the coach ticket you purchased and having the credit card, as outlined here. The card also gives you an advantage for redeeming an award ticket - if a seat is available, you can get it for miles (though you may need to pay the higher Everyday award mileage)

jacketwatch - I've been pretty lucky with snagging Saver award tickets, too. Just completed a trip to Lima with RT Polaris saver award (70K) that cost less than an Everyday one way (90K) award.
I do not know much about other airlines award policies but the saver awards if you can get them are perhaps the best feature of them all.
I looked at AA and their standard biz award to Asia from ORD is 250 k as opposed to UA whose standard award is 360 k.
We were able to get ORD-DEL saver biz next year. The first leg is ORD-PEK on UA Polaris and the Polaris lounge in Chicago is light years ahead of the UA club. It is worth going early just to take advantage of the amenities there.
We flew Polaris last fall RT ORD-PEK. IMO where UA needs to improve is in cabin service. Its spotty. Our flight back was very so so.
If I can I try to get saver awards on ANA or Asiana. Their in cabin service is way ahead of UA sadly.
jacketwatch is offline  
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