I like coach!

I was hoping to have some exciting stories about having scored $600 in travel credits this evening, but unfortunately there was no such luck. Instead I flew coach for the first time this year — voluntarily! As ridiculous as it might sound, I wanted to fly coach. There was upgrade space and I had upgrade certificates, but I also wanted to get some reading done and I just get too distracted in first class with all the food.

And I’ve gotta say, based on the way I flew today, first class isn’t even worth the click of the mouse that it takes to request an upgrade.

On both of my flights today I had an Economy Plus seat with an empty middle. On the first flight it was 6C on an A320, and the second flight was 10A on a B757. The first flight had the new leather seats, which were extremely comfortable. The real fun started on my second flight.

The gate agent announced that passengers with disabilities could board. At that point it occurred to me I was seated in 9C (I hadn’t even looked at my boarding pass), which is the aisle seat in the first row. Sounds nice in theory, but during boarding you get knocked right in the face by everyone’s carry-on. So I approached the gate agent and said “speaking of disabilities, to avoid one, do you have any other Economy Plus seat available besides 9C?” He chuckled and assigned me 10A, promising to keep 10B blocked.

The real shocker came with the crew on this flight. I thought I was flying a different airline. Two of the flight attendants had to be under 25, while the other two were under 35. What the heck? Compare that to the rather elderly (and as a blog reader that was on the flight confirms, rather matronly) flight attendant I had on the outbound.

As boarding finished up the gate agent came aboard and loudly told the flight attendants “he’s the only 1K, take good care of him.” Wow, very nice, although I wish he hadn’t basically said it loud enough for the whole Economy Plus cabin to hear. 😉

And indeed they took good care of me. They offered me whatever I wanted to eat (even asked if I wanted anything to go), and even brought me a cookie from first class. They were all around excellent, and that goes beyond them being nice to me.

What was really funny was that one of the flight attendants had been with United for less than two years. The ever-so-slightly more senior purser (who, coincidentally was that flight attendant’s partner) explained he was actually the most junior Chicago based flight attendant. So that was a new one for me — two flight attendants that are “together” on the same flight, and such a young crew.

I think I better stick to coach from now on!

About lucky

Ben Schlappig (aka Lucky) is a travel consultant, blogger, and avid points collector. He travels about 400,000 miles a year, primarily using miles and points to fund his first class experiences. He chronicles his adventures, along with industry news, here at One Mile At A Time.

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Comments

  1. didnt the other pax notice the preferential treatment and get annoyed? Either way, good you had such a great flight crew-I havent had one that good (or that young) in a LONG time

  2. @ whakojacko — Yes, and that’s certainly something that makes the situation uncomfortable. At the same time I didn’t feel too bad — the gate agent made it sufficiently clear I was the only 1K. It’s not like I got better treatment because I knew them or was an employee…. but still, I agree.

    @ Joe — Surprised to hear that. I’d say on at least half of my flights I observe the purser going to coach to check on 1Ks. It’s a new trend too, it seems (or maybe I’m just on the flights with the great FAs).

  3. In terms of narrowbody comfort, 6C+D on the Airbii twins are hard to beat; same thing with a couple key E+ seats on the 757. I would still accept an op-up (or UDU once the time comes for that), but can’t see wasting the certs as a lowly 1P.

    As a lowly 1P, I need to save those precious certs for the rare 3-class widebody running a domestic route. 🙂

  4. I’ve had 12 segments so far as a 1K (9 in F, 3 in Y). No special recognition yet. Then again, I *am* SFO-based! I suspect you’re in a league of your own, being TPA-based and flying so often. Circumstantially and statistically, you’re more likely than many of us to get the above-and-beyond treatment. And I’m glad to see there’s still that much pride and enthusiasm among UA employees.

  5. @Sara – You are not old. Fly to Hawaii on UA and you will see some old “senior mamas” and usually a 22 year old male purser…

  6. Coins,

    I suffered the indignity of sitting in first ORD/TPA and TPA/IAD on Sunday evening (yep, they flew it). On the way down, one of the matronly (60 ish) flight atts provided one of the best serviced flights I had in a long time. If you recall, I’m partial to JFK crews. We had a nice conversation and she told me ‘it’s her job to provide exceptional service’.

    I love it when the system works.

    If I may waste your readers time… the system didn’t work on IAD/SFO Sunday night. The pilot was a no-show. He was stuck at ORD. They gave everyone a hotel (Hyatt Dulles for me). I got a $350 appreciation voucher, and a ticket on the 6:40 am the next morning. Everyone else got put on a special section at 10:00am. Sat in first using e-500’s.

    I’m appreciating 1k.

  7. You are talking about UA right??????? I think most of the gals on ORD-NRT have been at UA longer than the FA’s on your flight had been alive :-). BTW the service has usually been great !!

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