I'll never take elite status for granted again

Discussion in 'United Airlines | MileagePlus' started by HubletUAFlyer, Sep 23, 2013.  |  Print Topic

  1. HubletUAFlyer

    HubletUAFlyer Gold Member

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    With the amount of travel many of us do, it's sometimes easy to get into the groove and forget just how good some of us have it.
    Today I traveled from SYD to MNL direct on qantas.

    I have zero status with qantas and chose them as they offered the only direct flight today.

    Arrived at SYD and spent over two hours in the general economy boarding line. Yes...two hours.
    Had zero leverage in garnering a better seat.
    No chance to use elite checkin lines
    No express lane through customs and security.

    Almost missed the flight after being at the airport over three hours early.

    On board, the service was actually pretty good but zero elbow room and stuck between people with zero airline etiquette or self awareness made for a long flight.

    I've never complained about the service on UA and with the ridiculously high number of miles I fly each year, with all of the perks that go along with being a UA elite flyer, today was a reality check on just how good we have it, from curb to baggage claim.

    Not a dig at qantas, just saying I'm grateful for the benefits UA elite programs provide

    sent from some type of mobile device typed with two thumbs
     
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  2. desamo

    desamo Gold Member

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    Yep, pretty much my experience with Flybe. Let's be honest: it was Flybe, so I wasn't surprised, but it made me hug my United boarding pass just a little bit harder.
     
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  3. guberif

    guberif Silver Member

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    always nice to hear something POSITIVE about UA :)
     
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  4. garyst16
    Original Member

    garyst16 Silver Member

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    While not an elite member of UA, I am and have been an EXP with AA for almost 10 years. I too travel far too much, most of it domestically, and am ever so grateful for those auto upgrades to first, the elite boarding lines, and just the general service that comes along with being recognized as an elite member of whatever airline program to which you belong.

    That being said... I was on a transcon last week and my upgrade didn't clear so back in Y is where I plunked by rear end... I think I was sitting next to one of the two you were stuck between or their close relative :confused:
     
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  5. jonk
    Original Member

    jonk Silver Member

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    i'm going to be flying AirAsia for the first time on Sunday (KUL-PEN)...luckily it's a short flight but i've heard it can be an interesting experience. *cross fingers* :D

    edit: i am in a middle seat and am too cheap/principled(?) to pay for a seat assignment.
     
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  6. mre5765

    mre5765 Silver Member

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    Yes, even on domestic flights, the lack status hurts when there are irrops. UA has stripped many benefits away, but being at the top of a standby list is golden.
     
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  7. clscholes

    clscholes Silver Member

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    This may be the time when I should be thankful to not have much experience in elite status, but since I will be towards the end of the year, it may change my outlook....;)
     
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  8. ordbkk

    ordbkk Active Member

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    I too, sang the "thank god I'm an elite" song earlier this year, when on my way back from Taipei. I had a connection in Narita when a snowstorm struck, and our flight was delayed for about 7 hours, 30 minutes at a time! I waited out the 7 hours in the excellent ANA lounge, taking advantage of the free food, beer dispensers, showers, and massage chairs. But that wasn't even the best part. When we eventually boarded the plane in the wee hours of the morning and got comfortable, they announced the flight was canceled and made us leave. Pack up our belongings and leave the plane, and then leave the gate! Due to customs law, we had to wait for the baggage to be removed from the plane and claim it at the baggage carousel.

    Here's where it gets even worse. Everything at Narita closes around 11pm, so there was nothing open as far as food, no trains that late, and taxis were not operating in the blizzard. Everyone on the 777 were told they had to stay with their luggage in the baggage claim area overnight. They were told to sleep on the ground (although some people seem to have found bubblewrap somewhere).

    Elites were pulled aside and quietly given reservations at local hotels. It was 1 am and I had spent an entire day waiting for this flight, so I was thrilled, I could have kissed that agent. That was the day I realized how nice it was to be an elite.
     
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  9. estnet
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    estnet Gold Member

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    so how did u get to the hotel if there were no taxis? I assume the hotel shuttles weren't running since it was after they normally close the airport.
     
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  10. estnet
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    estnet Gold Member

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    Actually airasia on short flights is better than US domestic flights I think. Asians are smaller in general - so the chance of being seated btwn 2 huge people is much lower and they also seem to have much better "plane manners" ;)
     
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  11. anileze

    anileze Gold Member

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    Flying LCCs in Europe and India, I know the feeling of not having status.
     
  12. flyforawg

    flyforawg Silver Member

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    It's not always just the big folks causing the problems. I certainly don't begrudge the center seat most if not all of the armrest. I get edgy when someone encroaches into my seat space, though. If only we could assign seats based on knowledge of airplane etiquette. My recent four hour flight would have been much more comfortable with many less arm and rib rubbing on my person. :eek:
     
  13. wombat18
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    wombat18 Silver Member

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    Sadly, this is now typical at SYD and MEL, particularly if you are flying JetStar (the Qantas low-cost carrier) or Tiger. But, if you tell the "line-walkers" that you are about to miss an international flight, they will take you to the front of the line. As a result, a good number of Aussies don't bother getting to the airport early and just simply head straight to the front of the line. YMMV!
     
  14. bkcarolina

    bkcarolina Active Member

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    Really this is sad, quite sad, that we're at a stage where being treated with the minimal amount of respect that all humans deserve is something that only the "elites" on an airline can expect. I weep for the airlines passengers of the USA!!
     
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  15. ordbkk

    ordbkk Active Member

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    There were busses.. Not sure who was operating them, but everyone on the busses were elites from the (several) canceled flights. We didn't all go to the same hotel, so I can't speak for the others, but it took quite awhile for ours to make it to our hotel in the storm, as well as to check-in, since several busses showed up at each hotel, and overwhelmed the two very tired staff that were manning the desk at that hour.
     
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  16. KenInEscazu

    KenInEscazu Gold Member

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    I fly only in North, Central & South America, so I can't comment on other parts of the world, but Elite status is something I have never taken for granted anywhere I fly. In fact, it may have even more benefit in Latin America with regard to avoiding the very long lines (always with an abundance of screaming babies) for economy check in.

    The Elite benefit of separate security screening lines is not something made valuable by the airlines, but by terrorists. While I question the real value of TSA screening methods, it was much simpler prior to 9/11/01. The TSA screening nightmare is a defense mechanism. Only those who have cleared the screening process to gain the Trusted Traveler clearance can avoid losing the "respect all humans deserve" because we can't risk the consequences of making it too easy to board a flight.

    I've been in that situation in Houston, TX. I was once on a canceled flight one night where CO put all of us in one hotel. I'll never forget that one. It took over two hours to reach the desk.

    Oddly, that turned out to be one my first very positive experiences on CO when it was all said and done. I wrote a suggestion that they split up the passengers to avoid such a logjam at a single hotel (plus a couple of other bad decisions which led to the cancellation). It wasn't long before I got a personalized letter of apology which referenced every specific detail of that flight, apologized for my specific inconvenience and included a $250 ecert for offering my feedback. I was quite impressed.

    The next time I had a late night IAH flight canceled which resulted in staying overnight, I booked my own room on Priceline. The third time it happened, it was weather related. An agent pulled me aside and put me in the Hilton on-site. Non-elites were on their own. It happened a fourth time, and I decided to try their free option again. No repeat of the 100+ pax going to one hotel, but it was a dump with no restaurant, and nothing open within walking distance. I didn't write about that one, and I'll do the Priceline thing again if (God forbid) it should ever happen again.
     
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  17. vladdrac

    vladdrac Active Member

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    Since I rarely fly on company business anymore, all of my flying has been personal and out of my own pocket the last several years. I didn't fly a whole lot in 2010 so my status for 2011 was at the very bottom. No problem as I do a couple of trips to Europe and a few domestics a year and that's it. About March I find that my daughter was being stationed in England the next year. Holy crap! I know I am going to be flying a bunch in 2012 and the thought of doing it with no status is terrifying.

    I started doing some research and found some super dirt-cheap fares between PDX and TPA or MCO. Did a couple of those over a few different weekends. They weren't too bad without the perks. In September I went to Madrid and the difference was noticeable. Regular security lines can be a pain. No lounge access sucked. United non E+ seats cramped for 9 hours. I usually don't check luggage, or if I do it's 1 piece, so no change there except it's not tagged "Priority" so I had to wait a bit longer.

    By October I stll had to find another 11,000 or so miles before my last trip of the year to Switzerland at Christmas. I ended up putting together a mileage run for about $500 that put me in the ballpark. On a Thursday morning I did PDX to TPA. Friday morning I did TPA back to PDX and onto SFO. SFO to HNL. Stayed in Honolulu the weekend and flew out back to SFO then PDX Monday. Exhausting!

    The trip over Christmas put me just over the 50,000 miles needed for BUS EXC.I actually did this last trip on US Airways and have to say the domestic portion left a lot to be desired but the International portion was great even with only Star Alliance Silver status. AWESOME flight crew!

    I ended up with 5 trips to see my daughter in 2012 and a few other domestics that put me to what is now called Platinum status for 2013. So far the biggest difference I've noticed between Platinum and Gold is that I almost always get upgraded on the domestic flights now. As long as I can keep it up I won't drop below Gold status again.
     
  18. Sean Rey

    Sean Rey Member

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    As a UA silver elite person for years, I can tell you that AirAsia is a great carrier. Yes, the seat widths are narrow, but the black leather makes up for it. Service is good. I would recommend prepaying for food if you anticipate being hungry on the jumper flight. Nasi Lemak is my favorite. AirAsia reminds me a lot of what JetBlue used to be when they first started. Enjoy your flight!
     
  19. radonc1951

    radonc1951 Gold Member

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    I get to experience eliteless status whenever I get shoved over to another airline due to UA flight changes. Even as a full Y passenger, I get the best of the rear middle seats between the POS and the crying baby, and get to shove my carry on under my feet where there is plenty of ample leg and foot room :rolleyes:.

    The one consolation is that I will make it to my destination on time and that is the most important thing for me. (And of course my UA elite status got me on the alternate flight in the first place ;))
     
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  20. lhrsfo
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    lhrsfo Silver Member

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    I got to enjoy eliteless status a couple of weeks ago on BA from LHR-FCO and back. Apart from lack of lounge access, it was a perfectly fine experience and somewhat better, I thought, than being in E+ on a short flight on UA. Perhaps I was lucky, but OLCI got me seats near the front, there were no lines for bag drop, security was less than 5 minutes either way (substantially less than in any US fast track line I've ever encountered), the seat was fine, one of my seat mates was my wife (take that how you will), the food (free) was quite tasty, the wine (free) was drinkable and the flights were on time.
     
  21. gregm

    gregm Gold Member

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    Huh?
     
  22. KenInEscazu

    KenInEscazu Gold Member

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    Much like a good joke, if you have to explain it.....
     
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  23. gregm

    gregm Gold Member

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    I hate it when that happens!
     
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