My Observations As A GS Newbie

Old Jan 20, 2024, 3:59 pm
  #1  
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My Observations As A GS Newbie




I’m not sure how I even got here.

Didn’t think much of it to be honest. It was a busy year last year travel wise and I think a couple of years ago, got fed up with the whole upgrade lottery pish and just started buying domestic F.

I suppose I am semi fortunate in the sense that I work for myself and for the most part, when it comes to travel, my boss is not an unhinged lunatic when it comes to the cost of travel.

Its funny. I didn’t really pay much attention to GS prior to being back in the US. I don't even remember if it was a thing when I was based in SIN and traveled a ton more.

Apparently it’s been around since God was a boy. Albeit with a lot of unresolved issues.

And as far as long haul goes, I was quite happy with being a 1K minion because I would for the most part, buy Premium Plus and apply PPs and as we say down under, Bobs Your Uncle.

Or confused cross dressing Aunt. Take your pick.

I think I did something like 8 trips to and from Oz in the last year.

For the OCD folks, my 2023 scorecard went something like this. (see screenshot)

I actually met a UA sales person at a work conference a while ago and for the past year, he was pushing me to purchase Pass Plus. I couldn’t get our CFO over the line and given that I don't have any more functioning body parts to sell, couldn’t muster up the $50K large to drop on UA’s roulette table.

Given all the arm waving and years of data, I didn’t think I would make it.

But voila, on Jan 3rd, the billion dollar IT system at UA regurgitated the numbers and I made the cut.

To celebrate my newfound fame and glory, I promptly stripped down to my underwear and walked around the kitchen in my underwear yelling “Its Good To Be The King!” just to upset my adult children.

Sadly they are used to my antics and simply ignored me as usual.

Then there was a knock at the door.

I thought that it was the UA GS team sending me flowers, and a scantily clad Scarlett Johansson. Alas, it was just the creepy neighbor telling me to pipe down.

My first UA trip of the year was last week. Simple DEN-ORD. I was already in revenue F.

Was heading to ORD to jump on an ANA flight to HND, and a connection to SYD. I had managed to arm wrestle the ANA website into forking over an award ticket - but man was it a struggle. That system was up and down like a brides nightie.

You can’t call anyone. Trips have to be round trip. And unless you speak and read Japanese, you’re SOL because every email they send you is in Japanese.

Anyway. This is for another time maybe.

Some of the sober people on this platform will realize that last Monday was Snow-Mageddon. Especially in ORD. There was a lot of arm waving and hysterical screaming and even the mafia folks all ran home to their parents.

When I woke up Monday morning, the UA app was having a small tantrum. My DEN-ORD trip was delayed 2.5 hours and my connection to my ANA flight was now looking anorexically thin.

I decided to wait.

But an hour later, and the UA flight was getting worse (ended up being 7.5 hours late!)

I decided to ditch the ANA trip and the flight to ORD and re routed to SFO and pulled the trigger on a revenue Prem Plus ticket downunder. I would deal with canceling the ANA trip later (mistake)

Called the GS line and some nice man helped me. Wasn’t able to shake the upgrade algorithm into giving me a seat on the MEL or SYD flights that day, but we all yelled Eureka at the same time when we found a seat on the BNE flight. Boom. Done.

I was quite surprised at the load to BNE to be honest.

“BrisVegas” as we Aussies refer to it as, is the place you live if you are running from the ATO (our IRS), are in witness protection or are trying to avoid your in laws.

Very strange route selection from UA if you ask me.

Because I had to cash in my DEN-ORD ticket for a DEN-SFO ticket - there was nothing left in F. No matter what money you were prepared to cough up for Smiseks retirement. The system couldn’t even assign me a seat and basically said, listen, you’re lucky we’re even talking given the all the drama today so go to the airport and just suck it up.

So I did.

Went to the GS lobby at DEN and there I met 3 of the nicest ladies ever. They all peered at my reservation and saw that the system had assigned me a middle seat down the back in East Jesus. As in right in front of the crapper. I had no idea there were so many seats behind the curtain. The Charlies Angels (as I will call them) started tapping away at keyboards and cussing in Russian and said to go to the gate and they would work on my seat.

I was 1st on the upgrade list for what it’s worth.

I get to the gate and get a call from the Angels. They said refresh your app. I did. And magically I am in an aisle seat way closer to the front. No idea what they did, but I was grateful.

Then this flight starts to delay but I wasn’t stressed as I had many hours to kill in SFO.

Then someone makes an announcement and says that due to the weather and dreadful conditions, catering wasn’t loaded for us minions down the back. Actually what they said was that they didn’t load the cart with all the booze. There was nearly a riot…

Ok, maybe not a riot. But much swearing and teeth gnashing.

So when the drink service started, I asked the FA for a bloody mary. She looks at me as if a piano had just fallen on my head and said something like “didn’t you hear, we dont have any booze on board” Then she looks at her iPhone thingy, says something about me being a GS and says wait right there.

She scampers up to First Class and grabs 2 bottles of Titos finest and hands them to me.

My seat mate was apoplectic and says he wants the same. She defiantly says “no soup for you”.

The 737-800 was loaded to the gunnels and I was amazed the thing got into the air.

Rest of the flight was uneventful apart from a pissed off seat mate…

Sadly no golf cart welcome at SFO, no Jag, no turtle doves being let go into the atmosphere and the only scantily clad female was a poor old lady who had some toilet paper stuck to her clothes and had half the crew chase her up the gangway.

The flight to BNE was uneventful as well. When the FA came around to ask me for my meal selection it went something like this:

“What would you like to eat? Please give me your first and second choice”

This is sort of like asking a person if they would prefer herpes or chlamydia.

“I’ll take the fish”
“What’s your second choice”
“The fish”

She rolled her eyes, then checked her phone and said, “never mind”

And that was it really. The crew weren’t that great on the BNE flight, but you couldn’t really blame them as a lot of the people who were flying to BNE had obviously never flown before as they were trying to figure out ways to steal everything they could touch.

So my first flight as a GS was in coach. I made 3 new friends at the DEN GS lobby and think this is a huge perk. I can’t quite tell the difference between the phone agents yet and I have noticed a slight advantage in applying PPs to other peoples reservations.

Am I in love with the program? Not quite yet.

Is it miles apart from being a 1K minion? Not that much.

What I have found slightly amusing is the vitriol over on the GS threads about people who didn’t make it, despite spending eye watering amounts of money.

Now that is a story.

Travel safe my pathetic FT friends. May our paths cross soon…
eightblack is offline  
Old Jan 20, 2024, 4:51 pm
  #2  
 
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Love the post. Thanks for sharing!

I wish I could say the GS experience you described is an anomaly. Unfortunately that’s not the case.

United has done an exceptional job gutting any sorta benefits the program had while somehow still preserving the hype associated with the program. That said the only true benefits remaining are
1. Ability to apply upgrade points to award tickets
2. opening up saving awards XN when T>2

besides that it’s really not worth it. GS has lost its shine and glory and is nothing but waste of extra ink on the boarding pass - surprised United still spells out Global Services on the boarding pass and not just state G.S. - that move could’ve saved them printing $$$ and I’m sure it’s under consideration.

side note - where did you find the “Your premier Journey” video?
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Old Jan 20, 2024, 4:58 pm
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You're back!

Great to see you posting again.....looking forward to reading about all your adventures as you "fly the friendly skies"

All the best
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Old Jan 20, 2024, 5:00 pm
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Originally Posted by ua_sp_102366
Love the post. Thanks for sharing!
side note - where did you find the “Your premier Journey” video?
I had to ask the same thing as I wasnt sure where the video was initially. It was in my Welcome email - which went to a weird work email address. I received it on Jan 12...
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Old Jan 20, 2024, 5:21 pm
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You will soon learn that the best benefit of being a GS is having one more thing to ..... about while you bounce around the planet. And we all need that. So just be patient. As you get sucked deeper into the black hole created by all the vitriolic GS veterans being unceremoniously dumped out of the back door of the program, you too will advance into the coveted ranks of the disheveled “you really DON’T care who I ams” getting trampled at the boarding gate by a herd of aggressive 1ks trying to guess what your handicap is (because why else would you be in front of them?).
One last thing. As a GS, you are encouraged to walk around the cabin in your underwear. Can’t hurt to say “It’s good to be king” to anyone who notices. Why not? You are. Might as well claim all the benefits that come with the status.
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Last edited by WineCountryUA; Jan 20, 2024 at 6:27 pm Reason: Even if trying to be funny, limit the personal comments
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Old Jan 20, 2024, 5:51 pm
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Super interesting to read! Thank you
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Old Jan 20, 2024, 6:26 pm
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Originally Posted by fly747first
Super interesting to read! Thank you
As someone who will never reach GS, I agree with the above. I encourage the OP to continue commenting on his 2024 journey as a GS for the benefit of all of us in the cheap seats!
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Old Jan 20, 2024, 6:46 pm
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It makes my day and lifts my spirits to see @eightblack amongst us once again. Few others have the same skill with a keyboard.
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Old Jan 20, 2024, 7:09 pm
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Originally Posted by SanDiego1K
It makes my day and lifts my spirits to see @eightblack amongst us once again. Few others have the same skill with a keyboard.
Nor such skill with a pair of underpants, apparently.

I'm enjoying the ride-along.
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Old Jan 21, 2024, 12:04 am
  #10  
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Originally Posted by Rock214 (Post # 5)
One last thing. As a GS, you are encouraged to walk around the cabin in your underwear.
The only occasions I have witnessed this has been nighttime trips to the lavatory, when most passengers were asleep. That seems to be the only instance when this could be halfway appropriate.

But I doubt that most front-cabin underwear-walkers are UA MileagePlus™ Global Services members.
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Old Jan 21, 2024, 4:55 am
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Great post! Keep us updated on your experiences
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Old Jan 21, 2024, 7:09 am
  #12  
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Originally Posted by mmack
Great to see you posting again.....looking forward to reading about all your adventures as you "fly the friendly skies"
All the best
Thank you mmack

Originally Posted by Rock214
You will soon learn that the best benefit of being a GS is having one more thing to ..... about while you bounce around the planet. And we all need that. So just be patient.
Patience is not one of my strong suits Rock214 but I will try - I appreciate the humour and advice!

Originally Posted by fly747first
Super interesting to read! Thank you
Thank you very much...

Originally Posted by halls120
As someone who will never reach GS, I agree with the above. I encourage the OP to continue commenting on his 2024 journey as a GS for the benefit of all of us in the cheap seats!
Never say never halls120

Originally Posted by SanDiego1K
It makes my day and lifts my spirits to see @eightblack amongst us once again. Few others have the same skill with a keyboard.
You are way too kind Your Highness. It is so good to see you here...

Originally Posted by fumje
Nor such skill with a pair of underpants, apparently.

I'm enjoying the ride-along.
My misfortunes are many my friend. You are welcome to join me anytime for the ride along...

Originally Posted by SPN Lifer
The only occasions I have witnessed this has been nighttime trips to the lavatory, when most passengers were asleep. That seems to be the only instance when this could be halfway appropriate.

But I doubt that most front-cabin underwear-walkers are UA MileagePlus™ Global Services members.
You'd be surprised - I have seen it all on an airplane. Especially up the front

Originally Posted by david_oz
Great post! Keep us updated on your experiences
Thank you my friend. I will be sure to remind you of my next adventure. Trouble seems to find me easily!
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Old Jan 21, 2024, 7:41 am
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This could be a dedicated thread, similar to ua1flyer thread except with an expiring date of January 31, 2025 when you will no longer a GS newbie😄😄: ua1flyer - A "Real" Up-In-The-Air GS

It was amazing to read your post. Please keep documenting your newbie experience in the coming 12 months.
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Old Jan 21, 2024, 8:59 am
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Only question that comes to mind: Was the fish the metaphorical herpes or chlamydia?
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Old Jan 21, 2024, 9:10 am
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Originally Posted by Dave510
Only question that comes to mind: Was the fish the metaphorical herpes or chlamydia?
Dave it was neither. More like a slightly annoying itch

I should probably be easier on UA and their attempt at catering. And to be fair, things are improving. The wines on long haul are now actually drinkable. And all of the long haul crew seem to be visibly excited when they tell you can have a toasted sandwich and tomato soup mid flight.

Originally Posted by Kmxu
This could be a dedicated thread, similar to ua1flyer thread except with an expiring date of January 31, 2025 when you will no longer a GS newbie😄😄: ua1flyer - A "Real" Up-In-The-Air GS

It was amazing to read your post. Please keep documenting your newbie experience in the coming 12 months.
You are very kind Kmxu - thank you. And if my liver holds out, I will do my best at documenting my GS experiences. Be well...

Last edited by WineCountryUA; Feb 2, 2024 at 11:22 am Reason: merged consecutive posts by same member
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