LGA-IAD-LGA on UA

Old Nov 7, 99, 7:53 pm
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LGA-IAD-LGA on UA

Booked this trip over six weeks ago via UA Connection on the Web with an E-ticket, and also requested an upgrade when the appropriate time period for my status came up. Called UA Premier Reservations on Friday, and of course there was no record of my upgrade request. Fortunately, there was space available in F, so no harm done.

Decided to go right to the gate at LGA since I wasn't checking anything. The sign before security says "ticketed passengers only". When you tell them you are on an E-ticket, they ask "what airline?", and if you answer "United", you get waved through. So what is the point of having the restriction? Anybody could give the same answer. At JFK, at least they used to have a list to check your name off of. Anyway, for some reason the clueless couple ahead of me at the magnetometer had trouble understanding the mono-syllabic grunts from the clueless security geek. (Sorry to harp on this subject in every report. It's nowhere near this bad at foreign airports. Surely the U.S. airline industry can manage this idiotic system better.)

Got my boarding pass at the gate, no credit card asked for, no upgrade coupon either! (Third time this year.) On to UA 1229, in 3B. Only 4 seats out of 12 in F occupied. At least 3 uniformed FA's walked straight through to coach. Matt Wald's letters must be having some effect, after all! Just before departure, 2 uniformed Captains who had been hanging out in the cockpit went to take two of the open FC seats. The head FA suggested they wait to get settled until boarding was over, then a few minutes later, just before door closing, gave them the "all clear".

As we taxied, I found out why the two Captains had been hanging around in the cockpit. This flight had a female Captain. Seats had music, but Ch. 9 turned off. By the way, it's been a while since I've been on a 727, and it's kind of weird now to see three pilots working in the flight deck. I have little doubt that when I'm 80 there will still be 727's flying. Actually, I have a theory about 727's: I think they have to be the safest aircraft flying because they are so old that anything that was going to break probably has already done so.

I'm guessing that there was some beverage service on this flight, but I slept from taxi at LGA to touchdown at IAD.
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Old Nov 7, 99, 7:54 pm
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Washington Dulles Airport Marriott

Quick trip on shuttle bus to hotel.
Quick check-in
Clean room. Everything worked.
Had 2 meals in hotel (very unusual for me). Both very good.
Telephone charges: 75 for local calls, no charge for 800 #'s. No complaint from me.
Quick check-out, shuttle back to terminal.
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Old Nov 7, 99, 7:56 pm
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UA 1708 IAD-LGA 3C

My meeting got all its business done Saturday, so I can leave half a day early. First challenge: find the Premier queue at IAD. Aha, it's on the other side. I didn't even know there was a there there. Instead of 60 passengers and 5 agents, we now have 2 passengers and 8 agents. I ask about getting on an earlier flight (I'm booked on a 6:30 p.m. departure, and it's 1:00 p.m.). The counter agent tells me the 1:30 flight is available, and even though there's a $75 change fee, since I'm upgrading and giving him a coupon, he'll waive the $75 fee. I think he's wrong, since I can stand by on the same day without charge, but obviously don't say anything and just thank him. (No tip, though )

I don't understand why people complain about the IAD mobile lounges. Maybe they were a pain years ago, but now with both mid-field terminals completed, and the dedicated lanes on the tarmac, this system doesn't really take any longer than the train at ATL,CVG,DEN, or LAS.

I waltz onto the plane, and the FA's are in ignore mode. No check of my boarding pass stub, which is odd since I take a seat in FC, no offer to take my coat, and I'm in my seat a good ten minutes before a beverage is offered. Fortunately, coffee is available before take-off. I notice that the styrofoam cups now have a UA logo on one side and Starbucks on the other side. Hope UA got a great deal in exchange for the advertising!

This time, I'm on a 737, all 8 FC seats occupied (one by a uniformed FA). No music. Uneventful flight, more coffee served, with pretzels. Please bring back peanuts. Say what you will about LGA, taxi time on landing is almost always very, very short. Like today. End of report.

[This message has been edited by RichG (edited 11-07-1999).]
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Old Nov 7, 99, 8:17 pm
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Thanks Rich...nice concise report.

Re: peanuts; my experience has been only on DL, but recently have asked FC FA's for them and they usually do have some stashed away in the galley. Happened on the last 2 flights I was on.

PIP is officially over, though we're still here until tomorrow morning. Just said g'bye to Catman who is leaving for Maui in the morning.

OMNI: see my response under OMNI.
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Old Nov 7, 99, 8:47 pm
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doc
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Thanks for the great rapid fire style report Rich. Like the "ignore mode" comment. Please note, however, that this may be an Eastern Airlines (predemise) trademark infringemnet case!

BTW- Poor Catman! You may want to try to get over to Hana if you have never been there before! have a great "side"trip!
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Old Nov 7, 99, 10:19 pm
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Love your reports, Rich. Hunnybear and I stock up on mixed nuts in the Alaska Boardroom and eat them on United shorthaul flights.
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Old Nov 8, 99, 9:48 am
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Thanks, Rich, for the great trip report. I've been doing this trip on US and don't notice much difference between it and UA except:

US gives you a little box of stuff including a mini Toblerone, raisins, cheese, stuff that I don't eat

and US cancels more flights!
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Old Nov 8, 99, 1:01 pm
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Rich, Thanks for the well written report. The reason they just ask e-ticket holders what airline they are on, and waive them through if they say UA, is well...Many people would not think of saying they are on a different airline if they needed to get down to the UA gates. It would never occur to them to say they had an e-ticket on UA. So, they would be told they could not go to the gates. Like the person that picks somebody up at the airport once each two years? They would not think to say "oh yah, I have a UA e-ticket." They would say "oh, I'm picking up my brother Al." Such a seemingly unsophisticated system can work to keep the infrequent flyer out of the gate areas, because they believe the system works, and do not know the lingo that we know. How simple systems can really be.
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Old Nov 8, 99, 1:38 pm
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It's possible the two uniformed pilots were jumpseaters (from a different airline?) whom the captain said could take seats in the cabin only after seeing that everyone was seated and that there were seats available. Why would the captain being female explain them being in the cockpit prior to flight?

[This message has been edited by letiole (edited 11-08-1999).]
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Old Nov 8, 99, 4:55 pm
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letiole: I suspect the two Captains were jumpseaters, and I certainly wasn't complaining, as I thought everyone would realize from the context of previous discussions on the subject. As for your question, sometimes a little imagination is called for.
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Old Nov 8, 99, 8:09 pm
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Rich the deal on the $75 charge is that if you ask to change to the flight they can apply the charge. What I used to do in my Premier and PE days was ask the agent to put me on the standby list. Sometimes they would just go ahead and confirm me without the charge. It's all in how you phrase the question. As a 1K the charge is, with very few exceptions, always waived.
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