Monday, March 14, 2011

Leave my wife behind?

United Airlines could have been responsible for me getting divorced. But despite their best efforts, they ULTRA-FAILED™.

Let me explain. My wife and I were taking a vacation to San Francisco last week. The only way to get from JFK to SFO direct on United is to use their inappropriately named Premium Service. United P.S., as I've mentioned before, is a three cabin airplane that features an unusually large business class. Now, what is different about this service is that United's unlimited domestic upgrade policy does not apply. Any other domestic flight on United (and even some technically international flights such as Newark to Cancun) falls under the unlimited domestic upgrade policy. This means that any time I'm on any of these flights, I am automatically put into the upgrade pool. As you've seen, sometimes I'm first in line and get the upgrade, other times I'm 476th in line and get a punch to the face instead.

If you want to be upgraded on P.S., you've got to pay, fool! It is 15,000 miles per ticket per flight. So, for my wife and I, it would be a 60,000 mile cost for the whole trip.

Well, it was our vacation, so I thought (gloriously) that I'd pony up the miles. I never thought there would be a problem with the upgrade.

When we got to the gate, we checked out the monitor to see our names on the upgrade list. That is when I discovered where United's unlimited domestic DIVORCE-CAUSING policy exists. Its in the way they handle companion's upgrades. I was number 1 in the queue, my wife was number 19. There was 1 seat available.

Sure enough (after boarding the plane), the United representative approached me at my seat and said "Mr. E, we've upgraded you to business class". I turned and look at my wife, sitting there in the middle seat in economy, and for a moment thought "She'll be fine back here by herself". But then my cerebellum overrode that thought with a thought that had much better long term prospects. I turned to the woman and asked "what about my wife"?
"I'm sorry sir, there is only one seat available", she responded.
"Ok, I'll have to pass then, be gone now". I turned to my wife and gave her several chances to thank me. She took none of them. Apparently I didn't do the right thing, I just avoided doing the wrong thing.

Its a tough job being a man.


  1. No lapsies? When you get married you become one person, you should be able to share 1 seat.

  2. I think FAA regulations require that no married couple may enjoy each others company on any airplane operated in United States airspace or those of her allies.

  3. I would bet your wife would be the kind of gracious person that would thank you in that situation. In fact, I would be willing to bet that she DID thank you.

  4. what will earn you points is if you let her sit in your business class, and you sit in the economy. :)