Friday, July 11, 2014

United Airlines 145

I fly a lot.  And have a lot of interesting experiences during my travel.  I've been thinking about writing about my different flights for some time now.  Here's my first try.

I'm off to the Marshall Islands to attend the Association of Pacific Island Legislatures.  This will be my fourth APIL meeting.  I have previously been to their gatherings in Palau, Saipan, and Hawaii.

There is only one airline that services the route between the Marshall Islands and Hawaii.  In fact, United is the only airline that flies to all of Micronesia.  Much of my work is in the Micronesia region, so I fly United a lot.  I've had 1K status for three years straight.

The direct flight between Washington, DC and Honolulu is the best thing ever, especially if you can get an upgrade.  I used one of my regional premier upgrade coupons when I bought the flight, but when I checked in online the night before, the upgrade had not gone through although there were open seats in Business First.

I had the Washington Flyer taxi pick me up my apartment at 6:15 AM for my 8:50 departure.  I prefer getting to the airport early.  I checked my luggage in at the 1K premier ticketing booth; there was only one person in front of me in line and the whole process took less than 10 minutes.

The Department of Homeland Security smiled down upon me and gave me TSA Pre-Check, which is the super special line for security.  You get to leave your computer in your bag and you don't have to take off your hat, jacket, shoes, or belt.  It makes the whole airport experience way less unenjoyable.

I was hungry, so I grabbed an iced chai tea latte and blueberry scone from Starbucks and waited by the gate for the call to board.  While I waited I typed out that last blog about Facebook memes.

Two minutes before they started boarding for the flight, my name was called from the customer service counter.  Upgraded!

Business First is world's better than coach or even their expensive coach, "economy plus."  The chairs lay completely flat, you get a real pillow, there's an electrical outlet, on-demand movies and television programs, and they give you a drink the minute you sit down.  I usually get a beer, but this time I asked for some water.

Every single time I have flown United this year there has been at least one leg of my journey where my flight was either delayed, canceled, or they lost my luggage.  This flight was no different.  We left about 20 minutes late.

The flight itself was smooth.  They served us a breakfast with a cheese omelet, sausage patty, and broccoli-potato thing and then about halfway through gave us a crusty cheeseburger.  The free food on the international flights is always better, I think.  Between reading chapters of the third Game of Thrones book, I watched Divergent, the Wolf of Wall Street, and about half of the new Captain America movie.  I managed a little sleep, too.

10 hours later we landed in Honolulu, and man was I exhausted.  There are no tight connections when traveling to the Marshall Islands, so my travel companion and I got rooms at a hotel.  We didn't know when we checked in that we'd be spending a second night.  At about 10 PM last night we both received messages that our flight the next morning had been canceled due to "aircraft maintenance."  Isn't that the sort of thing they are supposed to plan for regularly?

About two hours later we received notice that we'd fly out Saturday morning.  So we've got a whole day in Honolulu.  I suppose I should be grateful they didn't lose my luggage.  Now, what to do?

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