You are probably wondering who I am referring to. Is it you perhaps? Am I making a reference to a frequent reader? Or someone you might know? Is it a famous actress? Is it an actual minx that I ground into a delicious marinara sauce?
You know who it is. Its obvious I think. Why don't you take a guess.... did you guess? If you guessed United's business class cabin on their Premium Service, then you were correct.
I had to fly to Los Angeles for a high-powered ultraimportant™ business meeting and I thought that since I was weary from too much travel that I deserved some high class seating. As you know well know by now (since I talk about it all the time) United has a flight from JFK to LAX (and also JFK to SFO) that they call Premium Service. It is a three cabin airplane, instead of the standard two cabin airplane, some extra mediocre amenities, and... well, that is it. Its not really all that premium.
The annoying thing is that unlimited domestic upgrades do not apply to this flight. So if I want to be upgraded I have to pay 15,000 miles. I always tell myself that I shouldn't do it, but then I always break down and do it anyway. Its just... too hard to resists.
Look at the seats...
Look at the hot fudge sunday, plus a special cocktail, plus my iPad doing something awesome (I can't remember what it was doing or why Ewin's face was on it).
This is how you do it. Become a Premier Executive member by flying 50,000 elite qualifying miles in a year. Then, when you book your tickets, select upgrade and choose 15,000 miles as your payment method (you can't pay with cash, only miles or upgrade certificates), then, go to the airport, get into the elite security line, skip ahead of all the riff raff, arrive at the gate and look at the monitors. In my case, I was number one for an upgrade and there were 2 or 3 business class seats available. My heart still pounds in anticipation, even though I know I will most likely get the upgrade. And I am really glad I did because while I was boarding on the red carpet lane, in front of everyone else, I heard the gate agent say that the next boarding priority was some Continental 75k Chairmen Elite something something..... WHAT THE HELL IS THAT? If I hadn't been upgraded, I should I have been the first of the economy passengers to board because I have Premiere Executive status. But this other elite level she called for was technically above me, and would have boarded before me, which would have sent me into an ultrarage™! I can't deal with that level of disrespect from United, its really a good thing I forked over the miles for that upgrade. I haven't heard that elite level being called up before Star Gold or Premiere Exec since, so I am hoping it was just a fluke, because if it wasn't, and I see a pattern, I'm just going to have to resolve myself to flying in first class 100% of the time.
Normally, I would end my blog post there, but I wanted to share with you one additional thing. When I arrived at JFK to the United terminal, I noticed that there was an unusually long line at the security entrance, even for the elite line. I got in line and found that some passengers were yelling at the fake, non-TSA, security workers who were screwing up the line management. This caused a lot of stress and slow-down in the line. People's tempers were high and there was a lot of frustration. Then I noticed that the television monitor above the security zone that usually plays some looped video about how to pass through security smoothly was frozen... on a frame that pretty much summed up how everyone was feeling:
I love it! It just said "Why?"! Frozen on that screen, perfectly capturing the thoughts of everyone stuck in that line. Why do these red coated security people fail at their job? Why do the TSA not care? Why is this line so annoying? Why can't they make it go faster? Why has airport security become such a ridiculous joke these days? Why do I feel less safe than I ever have with these guys running the show? WHY!?