Completion of First Official Mileage (Segment) Run - Mini Trip Review

Discussion in 'United Airlines | MileagePlus' started by webdes03, Sep 3, 2013.

  1. webdes03

    webdes03 Gold Member

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    Back in July, I posted about booking my first official mileage run (my real goal however was segments). This was by far the most flying I've undertaken in a weekend, 8 segments in 2 days flying (RDU-IAH-BNA-ORD-STL, and STL-IAD-PIT-IAD-RDU). And, much to my surprise, I had very few issues!

    For the most part, I managed to skirt the weather, though my ORD-STL flight did divert to SPI due to some storms over the field at STL and insufficient fuel reserves to circle. I also got caught in the weather around RDU Sunday evening, and we sat in the penalty box next to 19L in IAD for over 2 hours waiting for the weather in RDU to clear.

    This trip gave me a great opportunity to put a few things to the test, including the United Windows Phone 8 app. I'd used the app for simple trips before, but selecting seats and checking in using a phone for complicated routings like this proved to be an issue for me in the past with other airline apps. I'm pleased to report that the United App performed flawlessly.

    This trip also gave me a chance to directly compare a lot of the express carriers, flying ExpressJet, GoJet, Republic, ASA, and mainline UA all on the same trip. Having recently been slightly disappointed with some of the post-merger on-board service, I was incredibly pleased with all of the service on this trip. It's fair to point out that with the exception of GoJet, all of the express carriers I flew with were legacy Continental Express, and the 737 mainline service from IAD-RDU was sCO.

    If I had to do some ranking, the worst flight of the trip was certainly the ASA leg. The CR2 was incredibly beat up, and the crew could barely be understood due to some language barriers. Given that some of ExpressJet's ERJ's are likely just as old as ASA's CR2's, the ERJ's seem much more well maintained with clean cabins, and seat covers that looked fairly new. The CR2 had torn seat covers, faded, stained carpet, etc. If those birds are going to stay around, then they need a little TLC.

    The real gems of this trips were the crews. Despite the unfortunate need to stop in SPI and refuel, the GoJet crew were fabulous. The pilot made a decision to do the safer thing and go refuel instead of shooting the approach (which he pointed out was an option ATC gave him). While we ended up on the ground in SPI for over an hour, it was likely the right call, and the crew made the best of the situation they were put in being stuck at a small airport with little or no staff working late at night.

    I also couldn't write a mini trip review without covering our delay getting back into RDU from IAD. When we pushed from the gate in IAD there were storms in the area at IAD, but not at RDU. By the time we'd cleared the taxi queue, which took about 35 minutes, storms had popped up in RDU and we were given a hold while our route was changed. Unfortunately, by that time the cell in RDU had grown and we were stuck. We pulled into the penalty box next to 19L and were told it'd be about an hour (this then grew to almost 2 hours). The flight crew was probably the best I've ever flown with. Not 5 minutes after being told it'd be an hour, the CSM (Brian) got up and started doing a water service. He and his crew (especially Angie) were very attentive to those of us in F. They were the most transparent crew I've flown with. Brian made updates every 15-20 minutes, even when he had no information. We did get a scare when operations called us back to the gate, but just as we started to taxi back, the weather broke in RDU and we got a departure clearance.

    What's very comforting, is that I overheard Brian and Angie talking (perk of being in 1B), and he mentioned that he was brand new to the CSM role. It's great to see that either they're promoting the right people to these roles, or they're training them very well. In 10 years of flying CO (and now UA), he's been the best CSM I've ever flown with; which is ironic given it was only scheduled to be a 40 minute flight.

    I'll also take back some of my complaints on Silvers not getting upgrades. Of course this trip puts me close enough to smell gold status, but out of my 8 flights, 7 offered first class, and I got upgraded on 6 of them. Granted it was Labor Day weekend...

    Off to book the next one!

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