SFO-NRT-BKK My First Experience in United International Business Class

Posted by Kevin Hanson | Posted in Travel, United | Posted on 29-04-2010-05-2008

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I guess it’s been about four years since I first started traveling extensively for work. I’ve been a United 1K for most of that time, and that makes sense as I’m at about 400,000 lifetime miles. However, most of those miles have been earned on domestic routes! In fact, before this past trip, I had never flown internationally on United. Read on to find out about my first SWU / International Business Class experience with United! Read the rest of this entry »

The Trip of a Lifetime – Trip Report(s) Coming Soon!

Posted by Kevin Hanson | Posted in Marriott, Travel, United | Posted on 25-04-2010-05-2008

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I just got back from an amazing trip to India / Thailand. I had about 7 days of work that I had to do in India, and I had never even visited Asia before. I set out to try and create an itinerary that maximized my ability to use my United SWUs, see various parts of the world, burn some Marriott points, earn some Marriott points, and have some time for relaxation! I didn’t really have any control over my schedule in India. That was determined by my meetings. However, I DID have control over the beginning and end of the trip, my routing, and what I did on my free days in India.

In the end, I came up with the following itinerary:

April 7: SFO-NRT-BKK on United

April 8 – 10: One day in Bangkok!

April 10: BKK-BOM-MAA on Jet Airways

April 10 – 13: Sheraton Chola Chennai

April 13: MAA-BOM on Kingfisher Airlines

April 13 – 15: Renaissance Mumbai

April 15: BOM-MAA on Jet Airways

April 15 – 16: Courtyard Marriott Chennai

April 16: MAA-DEL on Jet Airways

April 16 – 21: Leela Kempinski Gurgaon

April 21: DEL-BKK-KBV on Jet Airways / Thai Airways

April 21 – 24: Phulay Bay, A Ritz Carlton Reserve

April 24: KBV-BKK on Thai Airways

April 24 – 25: Marriott Resort & Spa Bangkok

April 25: BKK-NRT-SFO on United Airlines

Talk about a BUSY itinerary. SO much work to do, so much sight seeing to do, and so much relaxing to do! I think I did a great job of cramming it all together. I’m pretty exhausted now, and I’ll be working to post about one trip report per day, with pictures, of the whole experience!

The United Premier Snack Mix is Not Really Much of a Mix…

Posted by Kevin Hanson | Posted in Travel, United | Posted on 22-03-2010-05-2008

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I don’t love pretzels. In fact, I somewhat dislike them. Most airlines stopped the peanuts due to the allergy craze, which seems to have come out of nowhere, and now they all serve pretzels. Lucky for me, my air carrier of choice serves a “premium snack mix.” I grabbed one at the RCC and stuffed it into my bag for a late night snack when I got to the hotel. Much to my chagrin, I opened it up and could only find pretzels! I dug through… still only pretzels! I decided to dump the bag out to see just how many pretzels were in there. Take a look at the pic below! Read the rest of this entry »

GoGo WiFi now $14.95 on United P.S. flights! :-(

Posted by Kevin Hanson | Posted in Travel, United | Posted on 01-03-2010-05-2008

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$15 for WiFI?! Are you kidding me? I thought $12.95 was steep, but $14.95 really stinks! I’m writing this post from UA 14 Premium Service SFO-JFK on March 1, 2010. I think they just raised their rates today, March 1. The funny thing is that I just played the GoGo game to get a free internet session here. It gave me a FREE internet session up to $12.95 value. I wonder if it will work on the $14.95 United P.S. flights. I’ll try it next time. Anyhow, I think $10 is a fair price to pay for cross-country WiFi. $12.95 seemed steep, and 14.95 really seems bad. I hope people use it less. I guess they just count on business users to not care and expense it.

Comparing My United First Class Meal… with… My US Airways $7 Salad

Posted by Kevin Hanson | Posted in Travel, United | Posted on 03-12-2009-05-2008

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ua-steak-salad

A few weeks ago I was flying in United First from SFO to ORD, and I ordered the steak salad for dinner. I was pretty disappointed when my salad ¬†only had three tiny pieces of steak in it. Read the rest of this entry »

Cloud Surfing with United on my way from SFO to ORD!

Posted by Kevin Hanson | Posted in Travel, United | Posted on 22-11-2009-05-2008

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This is a pretty cool video I was able to snap with my iPhone 3GS, flying from SFO to ORD on United a few weeks ago. Beautiful sunset with a perfect layer of clouds. Even cooler was seeing other planes in the distance surfing right along the tops of clouds like us! I didn’t catch that on video, unfortunately. Enjoy!

United Fleet Week Employee Celebration – Flyertalk’s Plane Pull Team (1 of 2)

Posted by Kevin Hanson | Posted in Travel, United | Posted on 14-10-2009-05-2008

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Big thanks to United for a great Fleet Week Employee Celebration. And thanks so much for inviting the Flyertalkers! Here’s the team picture for the Flyertalk team. Unfortunately, the Blue Angels beat us! Go figure… Click the image below for the full size picture. Also, I’ll be posting even more pics from the Employee Celebration later today or tomorrow.

fleetweek

FINALLY! The SFO United Red Carpet Club Gets the LAX Treatment

Posted by Kevin Hanson | Posted in Travel, United | Posted on 27-08-2009-05-2008

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Months ago, the United Red Carpet Club in LAX got a pretty big upgrade, in terms of food. Towers of cereal replaced the stale croissants. The bagels and toast were FINALLY complemented by a toaster. Yogurt covered raisins, trail mix, etc – the food got better. I end up in that Red Carpet Club pretty often, but it bothered me that my hometown (SFO) didn’t get the same treatment. I just walked into the club a few minutes ago, and I saw the same 3 towers that exist in LAX… and get this… a toaster! I will be hear during the morning next week – I REALLY hope they don’t have those nasty croissants anymore… Seriously… they’re awful… and I usually like croissants… Pics of the new spread after the click.

Read the rest of this entry »

United Airlines Choice Menu: My Impressions

Posted by Kevin Hanson | Posted in Travel, United | Posted on 19-07-2009-05-2008

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This past Friday, I flew LGA-IAD-SFO. My upgrade from Dulles to San Francisco didn’t clear, which was a bit of a bummer. However, I knew that United had a new “Choice Menu” that they were testing on the SFO-IAD routes. I was excited to give these new food options a go. The flight attendant walks up and down the aisle, passing out paper menus to everyone. I think having an actual menu is a nice touch. There were three sandwiches and three salads to choose from. Here is the official list of items.

purchased-items

I decided to get the Spinach and Bacon Salad, the Lays Stax chips (pretty similar to pringles), and a toblerone chocolate bar. All of that ran me $15. It’s a bit pricey, I suppose, but so is the airport food that would be your alternative. The salad had spinach, tomatoes, a little baggie of croutons, walnuts, cranberries, and some great honey dijon dressing.

salad

Interestingly enough, this menu has caused me to really re-think my upgrade strategy. Why waste an upgrade from SFO to DC? If I get an exit row economy plus seat, I’ll have more legroom than I do in first class. The Choice Menu food is better than the food in first class, and I can conserve my upgrades. Of course, in first class you get the wider seat, better service (depending on the flight attendants!), WARM NUTS, and free drinks. In any case, I really applaud United for actually making an ENHANCEMENT to their service. That hasn’t happened in years.

Bye bye, Clear Pass – Clear to Cease Operations

Posted by Kevin Hanson | Posted in Travel | Posted on 22-06-2009-05-2008

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Done any traveling over the past year or so? If so, you may have seen little blue kiosks near security at some major airports. These clear lanes offered a way for “pre-screened” customers to get priority boarding. The product was flawed from the start. As a platinum member, Marriott gave me a year of free Clear access in 2008 so I was able to try it out. I got my fingerprints and retina scanned, got a little card, and that let me skip the airport security line. The problem with this product is that it was targeted at frequent fliers. Frequent fliers already have access to priority security lines. Was Clear faster? Sure. Was it a lot faster? Nope. It allowed me to shave ten minutes off my commute. When the time came to pay the $140 (actually i think they raised their prices and it might have recently been more), I decided not to pay. Clearly (no pun intended), most of the other frequent fliers made the same choice. Bye bye, Clear. You will be missed. Good riddance.