Some more stuff about my award…

As I mentioned earlier I managed to secure two F awards to Europe on LH for August, which I’m very happy about. While Lufty First isn’t the best F product out there, it’s one of the only ones where you can consistently secure two first class award seats, and the product is actually pretty darn good all around. The seats are a little behind the most modern suites, although when traveling in pairs they’re great for talking, not to mention the food, drinks, and presentation are all top notch. Best of all is the First Class Terminal in FRA, which can’t be beat, in my opinion.

So in order to catch up with my brother for our EWR-FRA flight I had to find a way to get from TPA-EWR before 5:30PM, although I wanted to leave a generous buffer just in case something went wrong. So the common wisdom is to take US F TPA-CLT-EWR, which is what I originally booked. The other option, as I later found out, would be to do TPA-ORD on Ted, and ORD-EWR in F on UA, which is a lunch flights. Most of the people I sought advice from said “Dude, you’re nuts for even thinking about UA/Ted, go with US,” but just a few minutes ago I made the change to UA. Here are the advantages and disadvantages of each, as I see them:

UA:

  • Flight leaves at 7AM and I’m stuck on Ted for 2.5 hours, when I could be enjoying F
  • At ORD I could enjoy the IFL for 1.5 hours, which is no doubt much better than the US club in CLT
  • I get a lunch flight from ORD-EWR, which isn’t going to be great but is better and more convenient than most things I’d find in the terminal in CLT or just eating chips on US
  • If anything goes wrong I have high standby priority, although ORD is obviously more risky than CLT
  • I just looooove flying ORD-EWR/LGA, especially on a Friday (which is when I’m flying). There’s something about the combination of pissy, jerky, arrogant businessmen (they’re not all like that, but some are), and the “Do-you-know-who-I-am” folks whose upgrades don’t clear, that just makes it an incredibly fun circus to watch. I bet the red carpet will have a line 30 deep before boarding even starts.
  • The great sense of familiarity I have with United. Call me a creature of habit, but I always enjoy flying with United since I know the rules, I know some of the people, and overall I feel a close connection to them. When stuff goes wrong I know what I’m entitled to, how I’m entitled to it, and when agents are telling me lies. Flying any other US carrier is like flying a foreign, unfamiliar carrier to me.
  • Channel 9!
  • Audio is MUCH better on United, especially on Ted which has BPM. Dare I say it, it almost makes Ted bearable.;)

US:

  • US has a very nice lounge in TPA which I could use, which UA doesn’t have
  • I get F all the way! Even though it’ll be plastic cups and snacks the whole way, it’s still a bigger seat and slightly better service
  • While the flight leaves TPA two hours later, the traffic will be bad on a Friday, but I’ll still be able to sleep at least a little longer

As crazy as it might be I went with United, and refuse to look back. Who knows, maybe it’ll be the best decision I made for this trip or maybe it’ll be the worst decision. Only time will tell.

Comments? Insults? Be my guest!

Comments

  1. Familiarity? I certainly don’t fly (UA or otherwise) as much as you seem to, but I do look forward to flights on “new” (to me) carriers simply because it’s a new experience. Although given need for EQMs, I do fly UA if it’s not significantly more expensive or inconvenient.

    Call my crazy, but I am looking forward to an upcoming SFO-BZE trip on US Airways (the worst US carrier per FT wisdom) simply because of the new experience (okay, the EQM don’t hurt either). CO would have been equally “exciting” (alas no EQM), but I prefer the longer red-eye through CLT over the shorter SFO-IAH hop.

    Anyway, on a trip like yours (with LH F) I probably wouldn’t have lost much sleep over which way to go — the one that gets me to my F seat more reliably.

  2. Good point. The thing is that I’ve flown US quite a bit in both F and Y, so it’s not like it’s a new experience for me. It’s familiarity vs. feeling at home, so that wasn’t a real consideration. I was referring more to the fact that I totally know the rules at UA while I only kind of know the rules on US as far as standby, rights during delays, etc, go.

  3. I think you made the right choice for the reasons you described above. Sounds like a great trip!

  4. Totally the right decision. And I echo your comment about BPM… I actually just wrote to 1PVoice to ask them to add BPM to the mainline audio lineup!

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