I’m not sure whether this should make me happy or sad, but I had a truly good mileage run yesterday and today. No, not in the form of $600 bump vouchers or other goodies, but rather in terms of on-time flights, clean planes, and friendly employees. United really can be a consistent, reliable airline on a good day. Although I guess that’s the issue, it’s only on “good days.”
It’s funny, because I thought my trip was screwed before it ever started. I was flying Tampa to Washington on a 757 and we push back. I’m listening to Channel 9, and I hear the pilot say we have a mechanical issue. After about 20 minutes we return to the gate and mechanics come aboard. What did the captain do? No, not hide in the flight deck, but instead he came into the cabin to reassure passengers. He was even wearing his hat which is a rare occurrence, since ALPA (the union) encourages pilots not to wear hats at the moment as a sign of “solidarity” (yeah, right). We started talking, and as it turned out this particular captain knows another great captain, which lead to even more to discuss. His approach was simple: “I’m not a military guy. I had to work hard for 20 years flying small planes before I could land a job at United. I love this job and don’t take it for granted.”
Amazingly enough Channel 9 was available on all the other flights as well, and the service was consistently friendly. I flew with the same crew roundtrip from Los Angeles to San Francisco, and they couldn’t have been nicer.
After all that international first class flying in the past few weeks, I forgot just how painful domestic redeyes are. It was a domestic 767 I was flying, so I didn’t even bother upgrading and just stuck with an exit row. Man, it’s rough, I tell ya. I’m getting too old for this stuff. 😉