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Old Nov 30, 12, 10:17 pm   #1
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: LAS - I'm All In!
Programs: UA 1K, Marriott Plat, Avis CHM
Posts: 3,377
My End of Year Push to 1K (34K EQMs in 1 Month)

As I sit here in the Vegas lounge waiting for a flight on my first end of year Mileage Run I figured that I’d document my flights and status and post a trip report. I am not the best writer – usually writing in a talking style, but I’ll give it a shot anyway. I’m not sure the best way to do this. Maybe keep a running total of each flight and a little report from the trip. We’ll see as it goes. Perhaps this can be a log more about how I mileage run and things I do as situations come up rather than a pure trip report. There will probably be no pics just my knowledge of mileage running and how it applies to my situation.

As a background, I am at 66235 EQMs and I’m going to push to 1k. I am currently scheduled for 100600 at year end. I have one work trip, one vacation and 4 mileage runs. The first mileage run is right now on a nice $170ish fare LAS-SLC. While it doesn’t sound like a lot of EQMs it is when routed through SFO/LAX and IAH. Thanks to a few beneficial schedule changes this first trip is actually, LAS-SFO-IAH-SLC-IAH-SAN-LAX-LAS. The SFO-IAH is on a 787 redeye. This run is netting 6828 EQMs. My LAS-SFO is currently on a 1.5 hour weather hold, but thanks to a 3h40m layover I should be fine. I’ve had the lounge attendant protect me on the 1250a LAS-IAH redeye if things become an issue getting to SFO.

My work trip is LAS-BWI and my vacation is out to RDU to see the UNLV-UNC basketball game. Of the mileage runs, 2 are SLC trips, one is a PHL trip and one is a BOS trip with a IAH-ORD leg on the 787. I am quickly learning that the 787 isn’t an easy upgrade after seeing myself in the 20s tonight on the upgrade list. My final flight of the year back from RDU is on Dec 30th, IAD-LAX on the int’l 777 (with my wife). When I earn my CR1s (or whatever they are called these days) I’m going to secure the upgrade for both of us on that return. In all I have 31 segments booked and a little over 34K EQMs.

****

So I’m still sitting here 2 hours after scheduled departure for my LAS-SFO flight and it is becoming increasingly clear that I might not make my SFO-IAH flight (even though the IAH-SFO is about 3 hours late and probably won’t depart until 1230am). I have asked the lounge agent if I can reroute LAS-CLE-ORD-SLC arriving SLC with a very very tight connection time to my IAH flight. He is working the reroute right now. This increases my miles earned by about 250 which is better than having to beg for original routing credit.

Agent just came over to me with my new boarding passes. Looks like I should get the last upgrade seat on the ORD-SLC flight (fingers crossed) and I had the agent snag the middle exit row seat on the first exit row on the 319. He just told me when he called to reissue the ticket the lady on the phone said “he only has 20 minutes in SLC”, to which he said “haven’t you ever heard of a mileage run”… lol to that! He is my new favorite agent at the Vegas club. Side note – I already have flight options lined up via ORD if I don’t make the IAH flight to get me to SAN for my last two flights in time.

Just heard over the PA that the SFO flight will be boarding at 920p. Should push back at 10p then. I would have probably made my IAH redeye, but after doing many many mileage runs involving redeyes the longer the redeye the better, which means LAS-CLE is better . Side note – there goes the 787. Guess I’ll have to wait to see her next Friday when I have an IAH-ORD flight scheduled on it.

This is my 3000th post. Didn't think that would ever happen
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Old Dec 1, 12, 3:13 am   #2
QBK
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by trekwars2000 View Post
As I sit here in the Vegas lounge waiting for a flight on my first end of year Mileage Run I figured that I’d document my flights and status and post a trip report. ... Perhaps this can be a log more about how I mileage run and things I do as situations come up rather than a pure trip report. There will probably be no pics just my knowledge of mileage running and how it applies to my situation.
Hope you keep posting! -- I'm looking forward to reading this one. Since most of my travel is employer-paid in Y, and I use most of my RDM to fly family members around, I don't really get the international F experience. But your upcoming travel sounds right up my alley! (My push to 1K this year is only 31K, distributed over 6 weeks... so I'm glad I can point to somebody slightly crazier than me).

Plus, your travelogue style reminds me of the notorious eightblack and colonius pear-shaped Thanksgiving MR tales. Not that I'm wishing that on you, but it's fun to read!

LAS is a great MR from my home airport (thanks to exactly the sort of routing rules you mention), so I'm very happy to hear about the club agent you discovered.
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Old Dec 1, 12, 4:56 am   #3
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by QBK View Post
Hope you keep posting! -- I'm looking forward to reading this one. Since most of my travel is employer-paid in Y, and I use most of my RDM to fly family members around, I don't really get the international F experience. But your upcoming travel sounds right up my alley! (My push to 1K this year is only 31K, distributed over 6 weeks... so I'm glad I can point to somebody slightly crazier than me).

Plus, your travelogue style reminds me of the notorious eightblack and colonius pear-shaped Thanksgiving MR tales. Not that I'm wishing that on you, but it's fun to read!

LAS is a great MR from my home airport (thanks to exactly the sort of routing rules you mention), so I'm very happy to hear about the club agent you discovered.
QBK, thanks. I may sound crazy but I was looking at all these runs over the last two months of the year but due to work conflicts and the fact that fares were so much better Dec 1-15 than November I ended up having to do it all in December. I was going to have it all done b/w Dec 1 and 17th but my wife and I decided to go to UNC for the basketball game and that negated the Dec 17th trip and made it a little more "sane".

****

Flight #1: LAS-CLE, UA 772, A319, N815UA, No Ch9
Scheduled: 1130p-625a Actual: 1124p-555a. On-Time, not upgraded (#3 on list)
Flown Miles: 1824 EQMs Running Total: 68059 Delta to 1K: 31941

This flight was uneventful and 100% full. On a side note, according to my flight memory this was the fastest flight of the year. As you could have guessed I slept the whole flight. It is beyond me who is leaving Vegas on a Friday but the extreme cutbacks in the late redeyes and the late LAS-SFO/LAX flights (connecting to their redeyes) probably means that the CLE, IAH and EWR redeyes are all going out full. Ironically this severe cut of late flights from Vegas to LAX/SFO impacted this mileage run. It was originally booked LAS-SFO-IAH-SLC outbound on Nov 27/28. However UA schedule changed the LAS-LAX/SFO flight where the latest flight midweek was at 4 or 5 pm. That is an illegal connection to the IAH redeye. Because of this I was able to actually more the trip from a Tuesday/Wednesday to Friday/Saturday negating the need to take a day off of work.

Following up on my LAS-SFO and SFO-IAH flights it turns out that I would have made the flight into IAH about 1.5 hours late this morning. My LAS-SFO pushed back at 955p and sat on the taxiway for a while arriving in SFO at 1205a. The inbound IAH-SFO 787 (turning to the SFO-IAH redeye) was 3 hours late as well arriving at just after 11p. Turns out that you can’t turn a 787 in 50 minutes, so they didn’t push back until 1a. Perhaps if United would post realistic delays instead of creeping them 10 minutes at a time it’d be more useful. Thankfully for me due to the fact that it looked like a misconnect in the system I was able to get this CLE/ORD routing.

So I’ll just be hanging out here in the lounge for another 45 minutes or so. Looks like I have 1h20m in ORD so I should be able to provide an update there after being on a packed RJ145. Though I’ll keep an eye on the seat map, as of now I am not on the A side of the A/C. As a broad shouldered bigger guy I hate when people are next to me and will do almost anything to avoid it
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Old Dec 1, 12, 7:50 am   #4
 
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Flight #2: CLE-ORD, UA 3806, ERJ145, N13997, N/A Ch9
Scheduled: 756a-823a Actual: 756a-807a. On-Time, n/a upgrade
Flown Miles: 500 EQMs Running Total: 68559 Delta to 1K: 31441

This was an uneventful 55 minute flight. FA was efficient. I almost got an empty next to me but at the last minute a non-reving pilot sat down next to me. God I forgot how uncomfortable this plane was when you aren’t on the A side. I apparently am too tall to be able to rest my head on the rest behind it so with how tired I was I was unable to rest at all.

My next flight is the one leading to the 18 minute connection in SLC. For multiple reasons, I’m not too worried about the connection. First the block time is 3h40m on this flight and the normal flight time is ~3h5m. So barring an long taxi I should be good. Second, if the flight is late there should be more than enough options to get me to SAN prior to my 9p flight to LAX.

The ORD-SLC is on an EMB170. I have only flown this plane a handful of times but do enjoy the plane and I don’t put it in the same criteria as RJs. Disclaimer: I think I have been upgraded every time on this aircraft so I can’t speak of E or E+.

Well, off to Mickey Ds for an Egg McMuffin before this flight. In the next 7 hours I hope to be in IAH maybe providing a quick update. My layover is only 1h10m though.
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Old Dec 1, 12, 11:03 pm   #5
 
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I'm just posting this quickly from the LAX lounge. I will fill in some of the finer details later when I can sit down for a while.

Flight #3: ORD-SLC, UA 3463, ERJ170, N649RW, N/A Ch9
Scheduled: 944a-1224p Actual: 938a-1234p. On-Time, n/a upgrade
Flown Miles: 1249 EQMs Running Total: 69xxx Delta to 1K: 30xxx

I got the battlefield upgrade and settled into 1A. So we pushed back early on this flight which made me feel real good about my SLC connection. Pilot said flight time was going to be 3h15m and we were airborne 3 minutes after scheduled departure time. After a 3 hour nap I could tell we weren’t going to land in the next 15 minutes and the pilot announced there was about 45 minutes to landing. Yuck. Best case I was think was that we get to the gate at 1235 and I could hope they were holding the IAH flight for me. Not sure what is going on with the winds but 3h40m of flight time for a 1250 mile flight seems way slow. Maybe we can make up some on the IAH flight flying back east(ish).

In fact they were. A supervisor in a suit met the flight when the door opened and asked the FA to page Mr. Trekwars. To which I said “that’s me!” As we walked the two gates over I thanked the sup for holding the IAH flight for me and I quickly settled into seat 12A. In fact that is where I am currently writing this.

Holding the plane for me got me to thinking about the only other time that happened to me. My first year as a 1K I qualified on segments (I think 100 back then). The latter half of the year I was flying 2-3 times a month LAS to SNA via LAX to see my then fiancée but I needed to take a couple segment runs to pick up enough segments to be 1K. This routing was something like: LAS-SFO-ONT-LAX-SBP. The ONT-LAX Brazzy sat at the end of the runway in the penalty box waiting to be released for the short flight to LAX. We sat and sat and sat until we finally took off and arrived in LAX minutes after my SBP flight departure time. I don’t remember the exact details about my connection time but I remember a sup in a suit meeting the Brazzy at LAX terminal 8 and walking me (on the tarmac) to the Brazzy next door for my SBP flight. Its pretty cool when it all works out.

Flight #4: SLC-IAH, UA 3xxx, ERJ145, Nxxxxx, N/A Ch9
Scheduled: 1240p-444p Actual: 1238p-4xxp. On-Time, n/a upgrade
Flown Miles: 1199 EQMs Running Total: 70xxx Delta to 1K: 29xxx

As I’m sitting here typing this half way between SLC and IAH I am so much happier being in 12A. I was thinking of calling this plane the devil’s chariot (RJ200 reference) after my flight this morning, but after being back in the “first class seat” on this plane it is better. I put the right arm rest up and have plenty of room. I am able to use a 17 inch laptop and type this report up.

So the connection was literally 3 minutes for me. Thankfully UA’s operation in SLC is small so we pulled in two gates apart for my connection. The door to this 145 shut 2 minutes early and we were airborne at 1248p, about 20 minutes between flights. If layovers could only always work like that .

I am told the flight time for this flight is 2h54m (blocked at 3h4m), which seems odd especially after the flight that just crawled west bound into SLC. We will see what really happens. The excessive flight time into SLC actually had me worried about my backup plan if I hadn’t of made this flight. While I don’t have the exact flight times available because I am airborne right now my plan was to fly SLC-ORD-SAN to be in SAN before my 9p to LAX. I think the ORD-SAN was scheduled to get in after 8. If that was the case, with these winds I was worried that I would miss my SAN-LAX flight and ending up having to overnight in SAN, likely at my expense. What I did discover on the previous flight was that the stupid United app timetable doesn’t work without an internet connection. What good is that if I need to look up flight options when I’m still airborne?

Flight #5: IAH-SAN, UA 1503, B738, Nxxxxx, N/A Ch9
Scheduled: 552p-723p Actual: 713p-8xxp. Flight late, upgraded at 2ish day window
Flown Miles: 13xx EQMs Running Total: 71xxx Delta to 1K: 28xxx

So after a quick visit to the lounge after transiting from the B gates to E gates I grabbed a quick piece of pizza to hold me off until dinner on the plane. After arriving at the gate at 525p to board they announced that there was a mechanical issue with an emergency light that needed to be replaced in the exit row. You’d think that at IAH they’d have plenty of light bulbs for the 737s sitting around so this should be pretty quick. I thought wrong…

To keep up with the extremely poor posting of delays ever since the merger they pushed the flight from an on-time departure of 552p to 615p. Of course, this occurred at 601p. Here is the string of delays: 552p at 601p pushed to 615p. At 609p the 615p is pushed to 630p. At 632p the 630p is pushed to 640p. At 640p the 640p is pushed to 7p. I guess we shouldn’t feel so bad the 787 scheduled from IAH-LAX today (at 1130ish) was still sitting at the gate at 7p experiencing similar 15 minute rolling delays. At least at a small station I can stay in the club and they’ll announce the departure but at hub when they do this it makes you a slave to the gate area. I effing hate it.
At 655ish boarding started and the departure is never updated. In addition to the poor posting of the delay they were projecting us to be into SAN 20 minutes early so all but one agent wouldn’t deal with my possible misconnect in SAN because it looked like I had more than enough time in the “computer”. I finally got one very helpful agent that would protect me on flight tomorrow morning via SFO. Side note, while I didn’t want to go through SFO due to the horrible weather is has been having the last few days and would prefer the LAX connect, the first LAX-LAS flight is oversold and would rather get home.

The good news is if I misconnect, UA should cover the hotel since it was a mechanical issue that made us late.

After finally boarding and seeing that my aisle first class seat got changed to a window, we pushed back at about 715p. The pilot announced a flight time of 2h57m and also let everyone know he was going to comp DirectTV due to the delay. I have an outside chance at making my flight but the terminal change could cause issues. Thankfully the taxi was again short and we were in the air at about 727p. If we can land at a little after 820p and I’m off the plane at 830-835 then maybe I’ll make it. Fingers crossed again.

Dinner choices are beef ribs with a stir fry noodle or spinach manicotti. It looked as though the pmCO FA was prioritizing the orders (presumably based on status) as she was walking back and forth between the rows and asking specific people what they wanted for dinner. I got my choice of beef with a much anticipated double scotch .
I am typing this as I’m waiting for dinner and will likely not update anything else until LAX or when I get home tomorrow morning. I was unable to get the internet to work on my CPU for my 10 minute stay at the IAH lounge. Perhaps I will have better luck and time in LAX – we’ll see.

I had the GA print out my PNR so I’d know for sure I was protected on the flight tomorrow. Why they can’t print out departure management cards like pmUA used to is beyond me. So I just ask them to print it off by hand. After looking at my whole PNR record/info somehow my seat on the Brazzy flight SAN-LAX also got changed. I’m not sure what is going on but we need to figure this out. I know the system didn’t like my 7 segment run because it made me check in at the airport, but dropping seats is unsat. The seat I had was 6A and now it looks like I’m assigned 11D. There is zero physical way I can fit into 11D so I’m hoping this isn’t going to be an issue. Before I turned off my phone for this flight it looked like 6ABC and 9BC were all still open with no standbys. We’ll see. I’m not exaggerating about not being able to fit in row 11 – I think the seat pitch might be 26 inches and the seat width in that row might be 15 inches.

I’m off for now, just got nuts (not warm), my double scotch and ice water.
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Old Dec 3, 12, 1:30 pm   #6
 
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Flight #6: SAN-LAX, UA 6342, EMB120, N284YV, N/A Ch9
Scheduled: 900p-955p Actual: 855p-9xxp. Flight on-time, upgrade n/a
Flown Miles: 500 EQMs Running Total: 72809 Delta to 1K: 27191

My reviews of the last two flights back to Vegas will be pretty short. I’m now typing this from the A gates lounge in EWR. Thank god I have lounge access because the A gates are a freeking zoo. After deplaning in SAN, assuming the door didn’t shut early, I had about 25 minutes to catch my 9pm flight. After I let the GA that met the plane know to call over to the commuter terminal to let them know there was a connecting passenger going over, he said “oh good luck” and didn’t bother to let them know.

Long story short, the red inter-terminal bus was not going to get me there in time because the arrivals area was a mad house. At the terminal 2 shuttle bus stop I could see terminal 1 and figured the only shot I had was to power walk/jog to make it. As I got to the commuter terminal it was 0850 and my name was being paged. The TSA rep yelled to the gate that I was here. Apparently they didn’t hear it because as I got to the gate the GA said “oh crap” and then proceeded to let me board anyway. I probably got onboard at 0853p. A very uneventful 30 minute flight had us into LAX on time. Don’t know why the GA wouldn’t have just called over to let them know there was a connecting passenger…

Flight #7: LAX-LAS, UA 1445, 737-900, N38458, N/A Ch9
Scheduled: 1045p-1201a Actual: 1114p-1226a. Flight late, upgraded at 20ish hours before
Flown Miles: 500 EQMs Running Total: 73309 Delta to 1K: 26693

As one can imagine this flight is now a blur. While I didn’t spend much time in the gate area when I boarded I quickly discovered that they were oversold by 17 (yes 17). The guy next to me in first was livid and spoke with a supervisor because they never asked for volunteers. Ironically he was on a mileage run himself and was being routed LAX-LAS-IAH-TPA and would have much preferred to be on the LAX-IAD redeye.

Not sure what the delay was about but it put us into Vegas about 30 minutes late.

Flight #8: LAS-EWR, UA 1111, 737-800, N73270, N/A Ch9
Scheduled: 0600p-159p Actual: 553a-134p. Flight on-time, not upgraded #2 on list
Flown Miles: 2226 EQMs Running Total: 75535 Delta to 1K: 24465

So I’m out on a work trip to Baltimore. This flight was uneventful from the exit row aisle. As with most of the flights on Saturday, this flight was also packed with a few open seats. I made platinum on this flight and think that I would have made the upgrade if I wasn’t a gold. We will see how long it takes for my status to update. As of 3 ET on Monday, none of my Saturday flights have posted. I wonder if it is worth a call to mileage plus to see if they will give me platinum due to my return flights being Thursday and having a mileage run Friday.

On this 737-800 there was no directTV or economy plus, only dropdown monitors. While DirectTV is good, I actually prefer this because there is normally nothing on the TV worth paying for. (rare exceptions, sporting events or maybe primetime shows) My thighs and upper hamstrings are a bit sore at this point. I don’t think it really matters too much between F or Y because sitting for these long periods of time are still sitting.
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Old Dec 3, 12, 7:33 pm   #7
 
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Great report TrekWars2000!
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Old Dec 4, 12, 10:37 am   #8
 
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Great TR! Good luck with the rest.
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Old Dec 6, 12, 10:06 am   #9
 
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Flight #9: EWR-BWI, UA 4227, ERJ145, N????? (AC 115, but sure which tail #), N/A Ch9
Scheduled: 500p-607p Actual: 456p-604p. Flight on-time, upgrade n/a
Flown Miles: 500 EQMs Running Total: 76035 Delta to 1K: 23965

I’m now sitting in the IAH C gate lounge typing this on my flight home from my work trip. This was an uneventful 34 minute flight from the exit row on this regional jet. These are the types of flights that RJs are meant for, not 1300 mile SLC-IAH flights. People complain about the length of some of this RJ flights but I guess if the alternative is to not have a non-stop, the non-stop option wins – so I think these long RJ flights will be here to stay. We sat in the penalty box for about 25-30 minutes without an update from the pilot prior to taking off at about 530p. When we never get an update about anything from the cockpit this is when I wish we had Ch9 on the most.

Flight #10: BWI-IAH, UA 1491, 737-900, N38446, N/A Ch9
Scheduled: 739a-1015a Actual: 733a-933a. Flight on-time, upgraded at 36ish hours before (+companion)
Flown Miles: 1234 EQMs Running Total: 77269 Delta to 1K: 22731

Upon online check-in I thought about changing this flight to pick up a few extra EQMs by routing through SFO or EWR, however, due to the fact that I had to be at the airport with coworkers it didn’t make much sense to change the flight at this point. Again this flight was uneventful. Breakfast was served but being in 5E I didn’t get my choice because the FA didn’t prioritize meals. I had Total cereal, fruit, yogurt, and a cinnamon roll served with black coffee (barely drinkable – I miss the starbucks of old) and ice water. I watch the movie The Candidate for the second time and the censoring of the movie made it almost unwatchable. Why do they censor some movies but not others? When I flew a pmCO 752 from TPA-IAH earlier this year The Hangover 2 was not edited at all (and on demand) – wonder why they feel the need to edit a movie when it is via the DirectTV interface (we have a different discussion about the overhead videos). Side thought, I have pretty much recouperated from the SLC MR and flights out to BWI. My rearend doesn’t hurt like it did on Tuesday

So I will be back to Vegas on the noon flight and hopefully get home by 230p. I will then be back out on the IAH redeye for a BOS mileage run tomorrow. That has a 787 segment and should net around 5750 EQMs. I’ll probably have my next update from IAH in the morning.
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Old Dec 7, 12, 9:06 am   #10
 
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Flight #11: IAH-LAS, UA 338, 757-200, N570UA, Ch9
Scheduled: 1152a-119p Actual: 1159a-112p. Flight on-time, not upgraded #3 on list behind 2 GS
Flown Miles: 1222 EQMs Running Total: 78492 Delta to 1K: 21508

I am now typing this from the ORD lower B gates lounge. The service in Y on this flight was outstanding. One of the flight attendants personally came up to the couple across the aisle from me and introduced himself and let them know if they needed anything they would be taken care of. This happened to be a couple where the husband was a GS stuck in coach. They were the only 2 ahead of my on the upgrade list (I assume). I think I would have actually been upgraded on this because when the sweeps were running I was still showing as Gold level but when I checked in I was Platinum, moving me towards the top of the list (only under the GS and his companion).

As predicted I was back to my house prior to 2p. After grabbing some lunch on the drive home I took a 2 hour nap. After visiting with my wife and having dinner for a few hours, I checked on the status of all my flights. I quickly saw that my IAH-ORD leg looked to be operated by a 767-400 now instead of the 787. If this indeed stayed then I would be 0/2 on trying to schedule the 787. I also saw there was zero shot of upgrade on the flight, double bummer. I guess instruments will have to be the way to go to get upgrade on the 787 – I will not burn one for a flight under 4.5 hours. After watching a little TV and discussing the weekend plans, I took another nap prior to returning to the airport at 1130p. I’m so glad I am close to the airport – being able to make it from my house to the gate in less than 30 minutes is great.

Flight #12: LAS-IAH, UA 555, 757-200, N551UA, Ch9
Scheduled: 1250a-533a Actual: 12xxa-535a. Flight on-time, upgraded at 48ish hours before
Flown Miles: 1222 EQMs Running Total: 79714 Delta to 1K: 20286

So, presumably, we had everyone onboard the flight about 20 minutes prior to departure because the door closed quickly after that. I can’t remember the last time I saw the first class cabin go out with empty seats but it did this flight. It wasn’t because there were people on the upgrade or standby list, there was really no one else to upgrade.

As I said the service was outstanding on this flight, so much so, that I am going to write a note into UA commending the crew. For this 2h34m flight, the crew provided two full drink services, one coffee service and two water services for Y. They also were more than happy to get me another beer when I was running low without much prompting from me. This has to be the best service I’ve had in Y in a long time.

As you can imagine, like my last redeye, I slept this whole flight. The only thing I can comment on it that it took a while to get the weight and balance numbers at the end of the runway and we sat there for a while. After the numbers were delivered we took off to the west and I was asleep before the turn back to the east.

When we landed in Houston, the fog was very very thick. On final I was wondering if it was a marine layer effect like LAX, but it was indeed fog. Without Ch9 it was tough to know the exact visual range but after landing the complete length of Runway 27 (not sure if that is normal) and pulling into our E gate I can say it was tough to see the aircraft parked at the other pier/spokes.

After seeing this thick fog and taking advantage of our on-time arrival I check the departure board for an earlier ORD flight. Knowing that I was no longer flying the 787 and seeing that the 6a ORD flight was departing 3 gates away I went to talk to the GA. I asked her how full the flight was and she said it was wide open. After confirming that I could get an aisle seat with no one in the middle (she did mention it was in the rear of the plane), I opted to be put on this flight to get to ORD earlier.

Flight #13: IAH-ORD, UA 486, A319, N804UA, Ch9
Scheduled: 6a-836a Actual: 556a-837a. Flight on-time, no upgrade (standby), but was #3 on list when flight closed
Flown Miles: 925 EQMs Running Total: 80639 Delta to 1K: 19361

After settling in my E- seat I immediately remember why I like E+ so much. This is what frequently happens when I end up in E-. My last work task was in Denver. The flight time is like 85-90 minutes to and from Vegas. I would routinely standby to get home earlier and occasionally end up in E-. Each time I would just remember how good E+ and the exit aisle were. However, that said, I think for a flight of IAH-ORD length (2.5 hours) I would take an E- seat with no one in the middle over an E+ with someone in the middle (remember it’s always a gamble with how much space people take up – with wide shoulders it is really tough on me…)

Flight time on this flight ended up being 2h4m. It took us quite a while to take off. This was the first flight in this trip report that had Ch9 on and because it was turned on I was able to get all the visual conditions updates. At times on the taxi out planes were unable to see other planes about 1500 feet away. The RVR (runway visual range) was being reported between 1400 and 2000 feet with an average of 1600. In fact due to the visual conditions an United flight had to do a go around. Even though we were #3 for takeoff and in position at about 610a, ATC did not clear us to take off until 625a. I could only imagine what the 730a departures were going to look like if the fog held up… (turns out my original IAH-ORD is currently due in about 10 minutes late – not worth the risk IMO at the time).

Again, I slept pretty much this whole flight so I am unable to speak on the service. We pulled into the high C gates on time and I made my way to the lounge thinking about the possibility of getting onto the earlier BOS flight. As my flights stand now, my BOS connection to EWR is a tight 41 minutes and it looks like a terminal transfer from C to A (there is an airside van that will do it). I am currently upgraded on the 1057a ORD-BOS flight and EWR-LAS flights. In addition, my BOS-EWR flight looks grossly oversold (seat map zeroed out for about the last week). That said, having extra time in BOS would serve two things: 1) Help me make my connection to EWR and preserve my upgrade on the 6h (blocktime) EWR-LAS flight and 2) Give me more time to be in the gate area for a bump for the EWR-BOS flight. However, after looking at the 945a ORD-BOS flight, it is very full and the only seats left after about 2 middles in E+ and 2 in E-. While I’d love to get the bump, I have decided that it is not worth it to sit in a (possibly) E- middle for 2.5 hours (vs my confirmed F seat on the 1057a flight).

Well, I have about another hour until my BOS flight and with the short layover in BOS I wouldn’t expect an update until I get to EWR. I have 1h20m in EWR before my LAS flight. I always try to avoid EWR on mileage runs due to the ATC delays that always occur so, knock on wood, hopefully we are good today. I didn’t have much of a choice as I need to maximize mileage on these end of year mileage runs and the EWR route is the longest UA route from Vegas.

I think on my next update I will try to talk about my cost per mile (cpm) criterion for mileage runs and how I book my runs.
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Old Dec 7, 12, 7:15 pm   #11
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: LAS - I'm All In!
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Flight #14: ORD-BOS, UA 1653, 737-900, N71411, n/a Ch9
Scheduled: 1057a-214p Actual: 1050a-156p. Flight on-time, upgraded ~36 hours prior (after my plat status posted the evening before)
Flown Miles: 867 EQMs Running Total: 81506 Delta to 1K: 18494

I am now typing this from the EWR Marriott. My luck has run out… Overall flight time for this flight was a quick 1h 46m which gave me ease in making my EWR connection. There was some computer issues happening at the time when I was sitting in ORD where I was unable to bring up any flight info via the mobile website. Thankfully that had no issue in an early pushback and arrival into BOS.

On this flight the crew was very good serving drinks/nuts first and then serving lunch. They also kept the drinks refilled during the course of the flight. Again, this was non-eventful with us arriving well early. After arriving I took the shuttle from the C gates to the A gates with plenty of time to make the connection. When I got to the A gates my EWR flight was posted at a delayed 311p departure.

Flight #15: BOS-EWR, UA 1152, 737-800, N78509, n/a Ch9
Scheduled: 255p-434p Actual: 305p-551p. Flight way late, not upgraded #20 on list.
Flown Miles: 500 EQMs Running Total: 82006 Delta to 1K: 17994

After a quick visit to the lounge they announced that my flight was boarding at 235p. I quickly checked my upgrade status and saw I was number 20 on the list (wow!) out of 62. That is more people on the list than E+ seats… Settling into my E+ aisle we quickly pushed back at a little after 3. We taxied out to some holding area with 5 parking spots and at 320p the pilot announced that there would be a weather update for us a 4p and our flight time to EWR would be 57m. I hate when this happens for me (a mileage runner) because I could have easily gotten on a 6p to SFO/LAX or 5p to IAH, but they don’t plan for runners and I was not at the mercy of sitting on the taxiway. After looking up all my options I realized if I didn’t make my flight I was going to have to overnight in EWR… ug!

At 330p the pilot came on and comped DirectTV to take the sting out of a possible missed connection. Reruns of Law and Order SVU were in my near future… At 355p the pilot let us know that the weather in EWR was lifted and we had a wheels up time of 432p. If this held I would be fine, of course it didn’t. After firing back up the engines at 420p we didn’t end up taking off until 442p. Flight was uneventful (as normal) with one beverage service provided. We landed at 538p on the south runway and had a long taxi to the gate. At about 546p, when we were sittin g near gate 87/88 the pilot came on and said there was equipment in our way and that we had to wait for it to move… After a few more minutes we were into the gate at 551p. I then received a call from UA saying I was rebooked in the morning on the EWR-LAS flight and that I would still be booked on the Vegas flight tonight if I could make it. Well, we arrived at gate 97 and I had a connection at 72. After about 4 rows of people let me pass them I got off the plane and ran to gate 72. I had never had an overnight due to weather for a flight on UA (over .5M miles), and I arrived at the gate at 554p, scheduled departure time for the LAS flight.

Of course no one was there and after seeing the departure time change on the board from 554p to 605p I got my hopes up, but the bridge was pulled from the A/C and the GAs came back up. I asked if they could let me on and they said no; they had asked OPS for a slight hold for connecting passangers and they said no. F Ops…

Wow, my first missed connection resulting in an overnight. I was told to go to gate 90 for rebooking but heading across from there to the lounge. Both rebooking and that lounge was a bit of a mess so I left there for the lounge at the 100s gates. No line to get in or for rebooking. The agent confirmed there was no options to the west coast (at least to Vegas) tonight and I asked her to secure a seat for me on the flight. She said I was in 3F, already confirmed in F, a little sweet to this sour story.

I decided to sit in the lounge a while and secure a hotel and have a few cocktails. After discovering that Marriott (I am a Platinum) has a hotel at the airport, I quickly booked it on points and proceeded to drink some whiskeys to help the “pain” of a misconnection (and being on the BOS-EWR plane for like 3 hours)…

I just got my room service delivered so I guess the discussion about CPM will have to come another time. I shouldn’t have made that “knock on wood” comment about EWR connections on mileage runs, as it has finally caught up with me. I will be on the 715a flight back home to Vegas tomorrow. I would normally try to get good routing (via LAX on the 630a) but my family was not expecting me to be away on Saturday so I need to get back home as early as possible.

Last edited by trekwars2000; Dec 8, 12 at 3:28 am..
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Old Dec 7, 12, 9:11 pm   #12
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Good luck with your push to 1K
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Old Dec 9, 12, 9:46 am   #13
 
Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: Texas
Programs: AA Gold, Starwood Gold
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Hope that everything else goes smoothly for you. One of these days I may try for Plat and it is nice to know that I will not be the only one mileage running at the end of the year!
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Old Dec 9, 12, 7:01 pm   #14
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
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You're mad ... Doing his all in domestic Y. Just reading this makes my neck hurt.
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Old Dec 9, 12, 8:40 pm   #15
 
Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: SoCal
Programs: UA 1K-this year then back to The Great Unwashed
Posts: 77
Thumbs up Great Blog!

Made 1K myself today. KOA>SFO>LAX redeyes so I'm reading your posts with the post readye fog and laughing with you. Particularly the sore bum part. Am I the only one that thinks economy seats are actually more comfortable than domestic first class? Safe travels and hopefully the weather holds across the country to faciliate your progress. I promised myself no end of the year push in 2013 so I've already booked LAX>EWR>IST and 2 SAN>SFO>IAH>COS mattress runs to get a jump on 2013. Godspeed my son........
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