Monday, October 28, 2013

Not Our Favorite United Flight

Flight #68 – United 1635
Newark (EWR) – Phoenix (PHX) 
Friday, October 25, 2013 
Depart: 5:23PM / Arrive: 7:46PM 
Duration: 5hr 23min 
Aircraft: Boeing 737 
Seat: 5E and 5F (Business) 
Earned: 0 miles (2,133 miles flown) 
Cost: 0 miles + $3 taxes / person 
Redemption Value: $826.90 / person
Lifetime Miles: 133,944 miles

As I've mentioned a few times before, we were getting a free one way flight from Newark to Phoenix after redeeming United miles for our award trip to Tel Aviv last month since the cost of a flight from the Middle East to North America is the same price no matter where you end up in North America.

Fortunately, we were able to be seated in business class (since this segment was a continuation of our business class flight back from Tel Aviv), but unfortunately (yes, I know, "first class problems"), it was the regular domestic United business class (seen here) and not the newer 180-degree lie-flat seats on United's long haul internationally configured planes. Well, at least business class passengers get ice cream sundaes with our in-flight meals...

Despite boarding at 4:40PM, we waited on the plane for a good hour before we took off just before 6PM. At this point in my 2 years of life, I've been on enough United flights to get a good sense of how certain demographics of flight attendants tend to treat passengers. Despite us sitting up front, they weren't too happy to see a lap child in their area. Now, maybe I'm losing my cuteness as I age, but I didn't get any swoons or smiles from the flight crew that evening. They seemed to "endure" my presence more than enjoy. Tsk tsk tsk.

But I just tried to ignore their lack of enthusiasm and endured their interpretation of customer service as my parents promised me a nice ice cream sundae if I would behave on the flight. Meanwhile, my father watched Man Of Steel and The Heat on his in-flight entertainment system and my mother read the next installment of her Hunger Games trilogy (yeah, they're not exactly making the best impression on their aspiring intellectual daughter).

But when the meal service began with the flight attendant taking orders from the passengers, my father realized how he made a strategic mistake by picking the last seats (row 5) in business class.

Since we'd be the last passengers asked, we wouldn't have any choice in our dinner and just be offered whatever they had left. Not being told what the other choice was (even if we had the option), we were fine with our Chicken Cacciatori selection...because we'd be saving space for that sweet vanilla ice cream for dessert.

To be fair, the dinner was fine (it came with a side of potato gnocchi, a smoked salmon appetizer and a salad) though definitely not worth paying the premium of business class prices for. But that was just the prelude for my tasty frozen dessert to come...

So you can imagine my utter disappointment when the dinner trays were cleared and the flight attendants came back down the aisle with a tray of cookies instead of the rolling cart with delicious vanilla ice cream and toppings. Seriously, they think a cookie can replace an ice cream sundae???

Yeah, I realize I'm getting pretty spoiled. I mean, the flight did arrive in Phoenix 15 minutes earlier than scheduled, there wasn't any turbulence, and our seats did have excellent legroom, free DirecTV with 8 movies and a power outlet to charge our electronic devices. And most importantly, the cookie was served toasty and warm.

Well, considering we paid just $2.50/adult for this 2,133 mile, 5+ hour flight in business class, we got a lot more than we paid for, so who can complain?

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