The world is round! SEA-SFO-PVG-BKK-HKT-SIN-PVG-ZRH-FRA-ORD-SEA on UA, LX, LH F, TG, SQ C, and 3K Y I’d been slowly moving credit card points into Aeroplan whenever promos were announced with the hopes of saving up for a big trip, so when the devaluation was announced last April I felt like it was time to book. I already had about 60,000 miles so to get up to the 240,000 needed for two tickets I transferred in some SPG and Amex points and redeemed a Marriott travel package (a week in a hotel and 120,000 miles for 270,000 Marriott points, one of the best deals out there, especially if you’re earning 25+ points per dollar spent at Marriotts). I’ll confess that it took a round of change fees (and pesky fuel surcharges), more time on KVS than I care to admit, and more time on hold with Aeroplan than I care to remember, but the final routing got me where I wanted to go, and when, and in style. If you’re interested, my prior reports are: 1. AS/BA F SEA-SFO-LHR-BKK-SYD-SIN-LHR-SEA plus LDH 2. DBV and OTP in Dec. via DL J and LH F: SEA-AMS-ZAG-DBV-ZAG-VIE-OTP-FRA-SEA I’m sure I’ve probably provided more detail than any normal person could care about, so skim the text, look at the pictures, and enjoy the report! December 23, 2011 United 675, SEA-SFO 757-200, N561UA Seat: 4F The 7am flight from Seattle to San Francisco was part of my Monday morning routine earlier in the year but I don’t think I’d ever looked forward to it as much as I was today. My fiancée and I arrived at SeaTac a few minutes after 5 to ensure we had enough time to address any issues related to visa-free transit through Shanghai. Other than the agent’s insisting on tagging the bag all the way through to Phuket (despite an overnight in Shanghai, and the fact that all bags from United go through customs in Shanghai), check-in was fairly smooth. Although the Friday before Christmas is usually a peak travel day, not many people had got themselves out of bed at o’dark early and so the trip through security in SEA was pretty smooth and after a short train ride we settled into a light breakfast in United’s “dungeon lounge” in the basement of SeaTac’s North Satellite Self-service food and beverage area in the “dungeon lounge” Cereal and OJ in the United Club Despite the nickname “dungeon lounge” I don’t think the Seattle United Club is that much worse than your average ex-RCC. Sure, windows would be nice, and the amenities aren’t up to international lounge standards, but the space is comfortable and rarely crowded, the staff is friendly, and a Raisin Bran Crunch and an OJ a good way to warm up my stomach for a long day of United’s finest catering. About 45 minutes before departure we made our way up to the departure level, where the delayed 6am flight to Houston was boarding from the same gate the to-be delayed 7am ex-CO flight to Houston was leaving from and chuckled to the numerous announcements of “If you’re on the 7am flight, do not board this aircraft” until our 757 down the coast was ready to load up. As domestic aircraft go, the 757 is near the top of my list. The simple pleasure of turning left on boarding puts it above the smaller single-aisle planes in my book and the large first class cabins mean I haven’t missed an upgrade on the aircraft since I made 1K. I’d flown this particular aircraft twice before, from LGA to ORD in 2008 and ORD to SEA in 2010. As we settled in to 4D and 4F, jackets were collected, pre-departure OJ was offered, and we pushed back from the gate on time. After a short taxi to the north end of the airfield, we made a U-turn and the 757 rocketed off of 16L bound straight for San Francisco. When I’d been on this flight previously, the sun would be up well before takeoff but on this shortest day of the year it was still pitch black and it wasn’t until we’d leveled off and were enjoying a warm scone and hot coffee that the first rays of the sun began to peak through the windows on the left side of the aircraft. What’s that trying to escape from the paper bag? A yummy United scone This flight is blocked at slightly longer than the other SEA-SFO flights as it’s due in during the SFO morning rush hour and is often delayed during foggy season, but this is a beautiful winter morning and we made a nice near-simultaneous landing on 28L as a company A320 landed to our right, and pulled into the gate about 15 minutes early.