UA 591 BOS IAH 0750 1119 319 21A Ch9^^ I couldn't check in so went to the desk to see what was what. After rummaging around a bit the agent said with some surprise that there was another pax with the same last name as me on this flight, so they had to do a manual (or perhaps visual) checkin. Peculiar. I've had some odd security happenings lately; maybe they're worried that some suspicious character has stolen my identity or something. She noted that "they gave you the exit row seat with nobody in front of you," which of course meant that my 320, which last I'd checked had 3 seats left up front, with me second on the list, had been swapped for with a 319. It's okay, I rather like the throne and do not care for breakfast on United. As we were about to push back, someone a couple rows up got asked to come forward and bring their belongings with them. The FA sent to assist him added "and follow me off the plane." I believe that it was a rather lame joke; anyhow, no ruckus was raised, and I am presuming the guy was seen to a more cushy place and a hot but nasty breakfast. After sending an envious glance toward the lucky passenger, the guy in 21C (we had an empty B seat) stole an envious glance or two my way. He wasn't substantially taller than I, so I made no offers. Actually, someone would have to be very tall, almost Lew Alcindor tall, before I would willingly cede the throne. A pilot in uniform had 21F; used to be that you'd see a lot of employees in first. Now they are rare there but tend to occupy the more attractive coach seats, especially the unspoken-for Economy Plus spots. Our captain announced Channel 9; with this soothing lullaby I stretched out and snoozed for almost all of this flight. But wait, there's more. As we were about to turn onto the takeoff runway, I groggily heard "uh, United 591, we, uh, have to go back to the gate," and so we did. It turns out the nose gear had sounded funny, and investigation had shown that all the gas that cushions it had leaked out. Finding that out and remedying it took an hour plus, so we headed out again an hour and half late with promises that they'd try to make up as much time as possible. Which, owing to huge headwinds, was zero - in fact, we lost time and landed about the departure time for my connection. I went to a kiosk, where I was told I was still booked on my original flight, which gave me a glimmer of hope, so I raced on to the other gate only to discover, of course, that the computer was wrong, and the plane was gone. Luckily, the club was nearby, so I gave the agent my tale of woe and after a few taps on the computer was told that there was one seat left on the next flight, but it was "a good one." I had time to check my e-mail and out of curiosity looked at the seatmap and upgrade list - it turns out that I was both 3B and 3F, an anomaly that seems to happen when one is handled both manually and automaticallly at the same time. My boarding pass said 3B. By the time I got to the plane, off near Pappadeaux', zone 2 was being boarded, and I found a rather smug young creature sitting in my original place. UA1607 IAH PHX 1430 1527 738 3B was 3F was 1147 1248 1345 739 3F But nobody next to me - until departure time, when the gate agent did the running down the aisle thing, and a youngish man came up dragging along a small child, who proceeded to get put in the empty place with the usual admonitions to be good. When I'd had enough drinks I wandered back and asked the guy whether he wanted to sit with his son, but he said that was okay, he had a whole family with him in Economy Plus, but he'd gotten the battlefield upgrade and decided to give it to the kid. The kid played on some small electronic device for most of the flight and was bored for the rest of it but didn't fidget too much. I had feared that he would be a bit bao bei, but he turned out to be fine. Service was pretty good. The guy in 2A communicated to the staff by hand gesture only, which I thought odd, and which put off the purser, a black guy in his 30s, who appeared to take this as a racial issue, which on reflection I think it was. Thenceforth, he had other flight attendants serve our area, which was no problem for me, as one was rather pretty in an eastern European looking way and the other gorgeous and statuesque and milk-chocolate-colored and attentive. Courvoisier was better than usual.