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Eminem has his 8 Mile, I値l take my 4 Mile (United Int値 and Premium Service F)

Eminem has his 8 Mile, I値l take my 4 Mile (United Int値 and Premium Service F)

Old Jul 22, 12, 11:14 am
  #1  
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Location: HKG
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Eminem has his 8 Mile, I値l take my 4 Mile (United Int値 and Premium Service F)

Disclaimer – This is a Trip Report reporting the experience of the “4 Mile Island Experience” and the United First Class Service.
Whether or not you agree or disagree with how people got these tickets, United’s action or other merits, this is only a Trip Report, please place your displeasure at this thread below

http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/unite...redeposit.html


Route Map


Flights (4 Flights, 19000 Miles)
All Flights flown
United Airlines 862 - Hong Kong to San Francisco (First Class)
United Airlines 870 - San Francisco to New York Kennedy (First Class)
United Airlines 265 – New York Kennedy to San Francisco (First Class)
United Airlines 869 - San Francisco to Hong Kong (First Class)


Trip Parts
Part 1 - The lead up to the UA 4 Mile, to getting ticket numbers to day of flight
Part 2 - The Big Day, testing out the foggy Environment
Part 3 - What are the 2 most important vocabularies in the United Airlines dictionary, Cancellations and Delays
Part 4 - 2 days of Half Awake/Half Asleep in New York City
Part 5 - Finally something called a regular travel day
Part 6 - Vicente comes for a visit
Extra Extra - Final CPM calculations


Links to Other Written Trip Reports
Click Here for Other Trip Reports




Part 1 - The lead up to the UA 4 Mile, to getting ticket numbers to day of flight

Who said Frequent Flyer mile tickets can’t be free?
I assume many of you have booked UA or other Star Alliance F/J ticket due to United Airlines IT generosity and only charging 4 miles for any ticket to/from or through HKG/PEK/PVG.
Otherwise you wouldn’t be reading this trip report
Let’s look back to the timeline, as least from my prespective, note these above times are HKG based.

Monday 0:55am HKG, Sunday 12:55pm EDT
Just about to go to bed, gets a PM from a fellow FTer, and it literally can be sold perceivably as the “Best Promo” of the century, 4 miles per ticket with no seat restrictions. This deal in my opinion makes the Rangoon Myanmar Kyat deal look like we just suffer a 400% inflation rate in a month.

Read around some more, rats, I don’t have UA account, tries frantically regardless.
Even woke up my parents who were dead asleep at the moment at 1:30am, thankfully they know the rules of the game, find any remote date and starts looking.
Defeated without a UA account, calls up a friend to remind him of what’s happening.
The best thing to describe my word?
“Dude, where are you, DEAL OF A LIFETIME, 4 UA MILES FOR UA F TO HKG. PEARL HARBOR, PEARL HARBOR, THIS IS NO DRILL!!!!”

In some of these cases, even if you can’t benefit, you try to help your friend look for inventory or other suggestion. I have to thank my friend for giving me this ticket by the way. Without his effort, I will not be here today as one of the Guinea Pigs to tell everyone what happened.
Friends gets 4 tickets which are fantastic as he can come more to HKG and Asia to visit me.
Confers with friend, my own ticket was booked around 2:10am.
I pester him to finish his booking, sometime I have a sense where things are dying, and unfortunately this friend was hitting the short end of the travel gods the past few weeks.
Well, all deals have to die sometime, this one died around 2:35-3am, pretty much every single blogger you can think off was reporting this deal or snafu, or mistake.
No wonder United caught what happened.
Similar to the recent “SQ Flood-Gate” incident where they open their own F/J availability to other * programs, United decided to pull the same move.
Instead of Singapore Airlines not being in the United dictionary, this time HKG doesn’t exist in the United Airlines dictionary.

First reports comes back a person on dansdeal got on a flight on LH F YVR-FRA by 5:25am, now I’m impressed how someone can take off literally in 4 hours.

As United debates their actions, the popcorn starts popping and later overflowing
Literally all day Monday, this excitement and the best reality show on earth begins to unravel.
People were starting to plan New Year Eve DOs in HKG, to maybe exclusive F flights for FTers. Hell I even saw 2 days just around that period where the seat map was already 10/12 or completely full. My suggestion to UAers is that the HKG CX group does hold a NYE DO for the last 2 years, for details, ask on the CX board.

I really do like this comment so much that I have to quote it from “escapefromPHL”
“Given that F tickets to Asia sell for about the same amount as a small sedan, it just isn't logical that this can or will be honored. It's like walking off the lot with a free Hyundai”
http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/18939476-post392.html
Thankfully, I am not one of those that drives a Hyundai

I will say here, I am a pro-for ticketing obviously; otherwise I wouldn’t be flying or writing this TR right now.
We were all told at one point to “Suck Up and deal with it”
United obviously had a “programming error” as UA spokeperson Rahsaan Johnson put it on USA today.
No doubt about that!!!

In the meanwhile in the calm before the storm, some people who had the miles for the regular published amount of miles report getting were regular amount deducted. Others reported more flying during this time

[9pm HKG, 9am EDT Mon] – Someone reported United is very unhappy about this. NO SH!T, borrowing from “escapefromPHL”, you sold a Ferrari for a price of a Daewoo, what manager wants to deal with that crap and the possible fallout

[9am Tues HKG, 9pm EDT Mon] – Shannon, or more likely a UA Lawyer authorized a statement to be release to Flyertalk stating United will not honor the mistake and whomever booked will have the choice of going ahead by taking the trip but by paying the higher amount of miles or putting their miles back into account without having to pay a penalty fee.

[12am Wed HKG, 12pm EDT Tues] United Airlines website drops off the nets for 90 Minutes during a mid business-day. Others scrambled to see if their mile balance, status or tickets have been disturbed. United reports system error and nothing has changed.

[5am Wed HKG, 5pm Tues EDT], the UA 4 miles ticket info was released to USA today, and subsequently, other media such as Fodor and ABC release similar info during the day

[10am Wed HKG, 10pm Tue EDT] Bill Mosley, a spokesman for the Transportation Department, reveals to USA Today, says the department is looking into several complaints it received about the frequent-flier tickets. Such new rule he states would apply to frequent-flier tickets, "particularly when they also entail cash payments”, mine was slightly more safer due to the 21 day close-in fee as UA had to accept additional cash payments

[5am Thurs HKG, 5pm Wed EDT] I’m still awake 7 hrs before flight lying on my bed, Associated Press and most other media grab this story.

Unable to close my eyes, what’s going to happen today…



Next Part
Part 2 – The Big Day, testing out the foggy Environment

Last edited by Short hair Francis; Nov 6, 13 at 8:28 am Reason: All Completed :)
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Old Jul 22, 12, 11:16 am
  #2  
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Part 2 The Big Day, testing out the foggy Environment

July 19, 2012 Thursday
UA 862 HKG SFO 11:30am 9:07am (744/F)

5am Thurs - Finally fell asleep
6:30am - Woke up, 1hr 30 mins of sleep. Quick Shower and out of the apartment.
7am Down at the bus stop
7:15am At the MTR station to go to HK airport express station

7:45am - Check-in at the Airport Express station



8:30am At HKG airport
8:55am Passed security and walked to UA lounge above gate 60.

HKG United Airlines First Class Lounge








Went for some eggs here, but I couldn稚 get the wifi to work and I want to see some postings on anything new, so soon moved over to the TG lounge.

For all the UA lovers out there


HKG Thai Airways Lounge


First class side was completely open, no one but me

COdbaUA Boeing 777-200 to Newark


United Airlines Boeing 747-400


I thought those were for cars, not planes


United Airlines 862
Hong Kong to San Francisco
Scheduled - 11:30am 9:07am, 12 hr 37 mins flight
Delayed Departure 12:07pm, onboard aircraft servicing/problem
Delayed Arrival 9:35am
First Class, Seat 3A
Food Lunch, Breakfast
Equipment Boeing 747-400



10:30am Time for butterflies, am I going to get deny or not. Even if its new equipment, I will not be a premium gate lice today, not stupid enough to stand first in line
10:45am Boarding commences
10:50am Gets onboard, all the 1K and GS head elsewhere, time for pics

United Airlines Boeing 747-400 First Class Cabin


United Airlines Boeing 747-400 First Class Seat



Part 2 Continues Below
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Old Jul 22, 12, 11:17 am
  #3  
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Rick was the 1st FA to greet me in the First Class Cabin, he gave me a couple minutes to snap away some pictures which were fantastic then came back with a PDB of champagne

Coach cups for PDB in Global First????

If you need to use plastic, can’t you at least go the AA model and use plastic wine glasses?

We were fully booked today in First and Business Class today

I started calling my contacts to indicate I was onboard, the time started to click away to pushback time.
Am I good to go…
What were people complaining the most lately against UA, Cancellations and Mechanicals.

This was no exception as I repeatedly had to call back for updated reports from people and vice versa.
Sorry, but I was withholding information at that time until I was in the air to be sure.
The FAs noticed I was making a lot of call and suggest not to worry, we are usually early on this flight. The passenger in 4H look like Kumar from White Castle. Rick also noted he had heard United about the 4 mile story on the HKG flights, apparently it was on CNN Headline News on wed nights which I later found out en-route. Oh Sh!T !!!
I need to study some more political science and learn how to divert attention away.

Two rolling delays of 15 mins each, first to 11:45am and then noon. You didn’t know how nervous I was, imagine if the GA suddenly came onboard. What will I do, the small mechanical problem got fixed and Door 2L got shut at 12:07pm, plane took off at 12:35pm after waiting in a line of 6-7 planes.

You know this was a flight you were praying where you didn’t want a reject takeoff, nothing fancy, make sure we’re over the Pacific and I’ll be good.

Took off on a similar route as most Japan, Taiwan and North America flights, first south of Hong Kong then Eastward toward Kaohsiung before turning Northeast toward Japan.
Captain Berne indicated 11 hr 45 mins of flight time today to San Francisco




Was I in Hong Kong or this is closer to Hawaii?



I had 2 wonderful FAs onboard today, Purser Katie, and Rick which I say definitely match and went above the service of my June CX F flight on YVR-HKG.
Yes my last CX F wasn’t great at all.
Instead of Honey, I shrunk the Kids, its Honey, I shrunk the lobster
Forgotten salads, desserts, pralines, drinks on that flight

F service is all about teamwork, the 3 FAs in F, Auggie in the galley and Katie and Rick in rotation back and forth brings a very steady service. No hesitation on drinks or taking plates whatsoever by both Rick and Katie.
Smi/J, bring more of these customer service orientated FAs and this is a change I like

What with condensation on the 747, I always get ice droplets, this time, on and off for 2 hours

Especially after what happen with the 4 mile deal, I wonder if this holds true?


UA 862 Lunch

Warm Appetizer
Pesto Prawn in saffron potato and vegetable spanakopita with puttanesca sauce

Soup
Roasted Pepper and Eggplant

Fresh Seasonal Greens
Sun-dried tomatoes, bell pepper and croutons with your choice of classic Caesar dressing or honey sesame soy vinaigrette

Main Course
Herb-Onion Crusted Filet Mignon
Red wine jus, truffled parsley mashed potatoes and Mediterranean style vegetables

American-style Barbecue Baby Back Pork Ribs
Barbecue sauce, potato wedges, herbed green beans, and roasted tomato

Fillet of Red Snapper
Orange-Miso glaze, wheat soba noodles, carrots and spinach

Three Cup Chicken
Jade Fried Rice, broccoli, carrot flower and bamboo tips

To Finish
International Cheese Selection
Grapes and Crackers
Served with Graham’s late bottled Vintage Port

Dessert
Ice Cream with your choice of toppings
And assorted petite treats

A quick water and nuts service to start off first then by personalized drink service by Rick. No rolling carts in the aisle for drinks, all tray service


Bread Basket

Went with my favorite Garlic bread

Are you two having an identity crisis? COdbaUA indeed



Philipponnat Brut 2006, Way too sour, didn’t even bother to finish the glass



Appetizer, Pesto Prawn in saffron potato and vegetable spanakopita with puttanesca sauce

Delicious but petite, it is better than the AA appetizers I’ve seen although its been a while since I flew Flagship F TPAC.

Soup, tasted fine, close to burnt my tongue, so hot


Salad, went with Sesame vinaigrette


No meats or special side dish like AA but it was delicious


Part 2 Continues Below

Last edited by Short hair Francis; Jul 22, 12 at 1:16 pm
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Old Jul 22, 12, 11:19 am
  #4  
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Main Course, Filet Mignon

Couldn’t decide on what to eat, so went with that, meat was overcooked but that mashed potatoes was so tasty.

Was still a bit hungry. Smi/J, take note, int’l first class is supposed to be over-catered so guest are more likely to get the meal choice they want.
United only caters on a 1 to 1 basis, so they were no extra First Class Main Course to be eaten.

This was an Economy meal, yup! Simply too hungry to care if you ask me
Some sort of tomato-based beef with string beans and carrots


Skipped the Cheese plate as usual


Dessert Time





Green Tea to finish the service


After the service, took me about 2 hours to write this exact report.

UA 862 Mid-Flight Snack
Asian-Style Noodle soup
Dessert

Had the Asian Style noodles about 7 hrs out from SFO

I was just so flabbergasted and blown away, don’t know if this is cut back or what not. You serve one snack and the one you decided to pick is Noodle in Soup with Kailan, carrots, Chinese Mushroom. I mean this is completely designed for vegetarians or my mom

Dessert was like a Black Forest Cake which was tasty


Adrenaline or no Adrenaline, the ones that knows me know I can be a crazy traveller.
I had a travel day last year where I did 17 hour of non-stop driving between Coeur D’Alene, ID to Calgary, AB via West Yellowstone, WY should display that. Haven’t been to Yellowstone and Old Faithful in so many years can change someone’s travel habits.

Still, some shut eyes after 1 1/2 hr sleep would be better for travel.


Had a couple of cheese and onion wraps in the galley, they really should put those on the menu.


UA 862 Breakfast
Breakfast breads with butter and fruit preserves

Scrambled Eggs Benedict
Hollandaise sauce, bacon, and grilled tomato

Congee
Traditional Chinese-Style rice porridge with garnishes

Cereal and Banana
Served with milk

Rick, and Auggie were both pushing me to choose the Scrambled Eggs Benedict. In fact, my dad flew on an ex-HKG UA F flight and complained about only catering 1 congee onboard.
I think both FAs hit it on the spot, the congee is basically white congee with beef slices in them, nothing else, no spring onion, no nothing.
The eggs turned out to be very good as promised but I did have a second breakfast planned in SFO with someone so I held off being offered 2nds by both FAs


Breakfast




Descent started around 9:10am as we made our way into NorCal approach.


With the late pushback from HKG, flight ended up late parking at the gate at 9:30am.

I would love to thank the service of the United HKG based FAs, they were very good and by no means, “Grandmas”. Of course, service can only go so far, but as least they know its possible to keep par with Cathay Pacific in terms of service anyway.
Now Smi/J, empower your employees with a better soft product offering like duvets and catering.

How do I compare United Global First to American 3 Class TPAC First “its been a long time since I’ve been on AA First TPAC”
Seat – Slightly more room and functionality on AA but otherwise a draw
Entertainment System – UA by a mile, the new improved F seat has a good system in my opinion, Music Content worked for me, ipod adapter, buttons can be laggy though
Storage Space – Around the seat goes to UA so much places to put your stuff in, and all readily accessible to the travelers, AA’s bins are bigger on the 772s vs. UA 744s
Cabin Environment – AA is less packed with its 777 vs. the 747 cone on UA. Back in J and Y is where it was packed like sardines.
Channel 9 – I know UA guys love it, but it wasn’t on this flight.
Appetizer – AA has more quantity while UA is smaller but looks better
Soup – What soup? Cant remember the last time AA serving soup on a flight
Salad Cart – Edge to AA, more things like cucumber salad, chicken breast etc. to add on the salad, UA only croutons or peppers.
Main Course – AA meals taste better, UA meals taste healthier if I can state it in such a way.
Bedding – AA has bedding and duvets, UA has the same blanket as AA J, AA wins here
Mid-Flight Snack – UA has way bigger portion, but vegetable noodles leave me dumbfounded, I’m leaving this open until the return trip.
Breakfast – Very tasty and it has MEAT in it!!! AA can’t touch that with a yard stick!


Finally I will thank you United for giving me this opportunity to try their Global First product, I understand why they are sulking about it, Who wouldn’t? But you also left a very good impression on me that US carriers F doesn’t necessarily completely suck. This flight certainly beat all my expectations and hopefully when that opportunity arises for myself, I will use my mile in REGULAR AMOUNT for a UA F product.

That being said, as I found later on in the day, the situation has turned extremely foggy and messy just like bad days with the SFO ATC.


Where am I going next?

Next Part
Part 3 – What are the 2 most important vocabulary in the United Airlines dictionary, Cancellations and Delays
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Old Jul 22, 12, 11:54 am
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Thank for you staying for staying at the JFKEZE Hostel in New York.
Next time, have a cup of coffee so you don't fall asleep on a Saturday night... and we can party harder next time!

BTW: How did you eat the majority of a $100 dollar of Sushi?
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Old Jul 22, 12, 11:57 am
  #6  
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Great report Francis. Congrats on being one of the lucky few to fly before the hammer came down! Sounds like you had an excellent crew, who made the best of the weak catering that is UA GlobalFirst.

My favorite pic says it all.

Originally Posted by Short hair Francis View Post
What on earth is the thinking here? Plastic cups for our PDB champagne?
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Old Jul 22, 12, 1:09 pm
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Short hair Francis FTW!
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Old Jul 22, 12, 1:28 pm
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Originally Posted by jfkeze View Post
Thank for you staying for staying at the JFKEZE Hostel in New York.
Next time, have a cup of coffee so you don't fall asleep on a Saturday night... and we can party harder next time!

BTW: How did you eat the majority of a $100 dollar of Sushi?
Let just say this trip was horrible for my sleep, my body was literally flipping on/off every 3 hours

Wake Up, Sleep, Wake Up, Sleep. Not my brightest trip
Can't believe you couldn't even wake me if you wanted to
Stay tuned on the $100 sushi


Originally Posted by SFO777 View Post
Great report Francis. Congrats on being one of the lucky few to fly before the hammer came down! Sounds like you had an excellent crew, who made the best of the weak catering that is UA GlobalFirst.

My favorite pic says it all.



What on earth is the thinking here? Plastic cups for our PDB champagne?
At least it was champagne and not sparkling wine

I mean i understand if we need to use plastic on the ground for safety reason but still, classier cups a la AA would be nice

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Old Jul 22, 12, 1:31 pm
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Good report, Francis

Hopefully the flight back to HKG is enjoyable


Originally Posted by jfkeze View Post
Thank for you staying for staying at the JFKEZE Hostel in New York.
Next time, have a cup of coffee so you don't fall asleep on a Saturday night... and we can party harder next time!

BTW: How did you eat the majority of a $100 dollar of Sushi?
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Old Jul 22, 12, 1:32 pm
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^Well Done! Short hair Francis! Well Done!^
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Old Jul 22, 12, 1:52 pm
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Originally Posted by Short hair Francis View Post

If you need to use plastic, can稚 you at least go the AA model and use plastic wine glasses?
Originally Posted by Short hair Francis View Post
At least it was champagne and not sparkling wine
I mean i understand if we need to use plastic on the ground for safety reason but still, classier cups a la AA would be nice
OK AA is better than UA, but that's not saying much.





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Old Jul 22, 12, 3:46 pm
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Thanks for a great report!
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Old Jul 22, 12, 4:01 pm
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Originally Posted by Short hair Francis View Post
Dessert Time
This is the first time I've seen a Sunday cart, and it looks quite nice. The PDB is especially tacky, as others have noted. Thanks for the great TR!
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Old Jul 22, 12, 5:02 pm
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Originally Posted by vandiemen View Post
This is the first time I've seen a Sunday cart, and it looks quite nice. The PDB is especially tacky, as others have noted. Thanks for the great TR!
If I'm not mistaken... American also has a Sundae cart on their Transcons 762s and International F on the 777/ J on 763...
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Old Jul 22, 12, 5:16 pm
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Originally Posted by vandiemen View Post
This is the first time I've seen a Sunday cart, and it looks quite nice. The PDB is especially tacky, as others have noted. Thanks for the great TR!
the little girl looks miffed for being denied baileys on her ice cream. Wonder if she paid 4 miles also?

would love to have snatched up this deal. The days when work keeps me from FT and I am normally reading at exactly this time.
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