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I am wending my way to completion of my United 1K challenge, my wife has forcefully opted out of future United experiences, yet I drudge on. On Sunday I took a circuitous route back from Shanghai, I did the Pacific segments on China Southern + Delta so not to give them over to United, then a US return to NYC on United from Moline to Chicago to Los Angeles to Newark. Both Chicago-LA and LA-Newark I was upgraded and figured those as high-profile, business-heavy flights from United hubs they might get a shade better treatment than usual.
Some things to not expect when United puts you up front:
- First class boarding ahead of the half the plane lumped in to Group 1
- Power outlet
- Personal in-flight entertainment
- A pillow (even on a midnight redeye)
- A blanket that covers more than a small child
- Bottled water
- Meals (Chicago to LA at 7:51 pm had what was described as a “light snack.” Perhaps flights at some other times have meals)
- Snacks other than pretzels
- A stable tray
- A seat that doesn’t droop back when sitting back
- A seat that returns to landing position when pressing the button (I had to help the women next to me with a yank to get it back up)
And yet United flyers always fret that it is difficult to get upgrades. Hard for me to get so worked up when nearly the only difference is a wider seat. If my company or myself actually paid for this I would be livid. That’s a grim slog just to access Star Alliance partners and generous award availability.