Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Read carefully

Have you ever accidentally put Nayonaise on your sandwich? Bought a Sorny television? Visited the arts performing center? These things happen when you don't read carefully. In my case, I am capable of what scientists call ultrareading™ which is superior to whatever it is you do. However, ultrareading™ is not perfect (don't mistake it for ultramegareading™, which technically is perfect and can only be performed by gods and various dinosaurs which are now mostly extinct).

I had to fly to Los Angeles a little while ago, and I wanted to try something other than the United Premium Service flight. After all, you can't get a free domestic upgrade on that flight, and I was tired of paying the 15,000 miles to sit in business class. I wanted to see if I would just get upgraded for free.


The only other flights to the Angeles were Continental flights out of Newark. Newark, although not a terrible airport on the inside, is notoriously horrible for 2 things:
1) Security lines are very long and stupid
2) Getting to Newark from NYC requires the better part of a week
3) Not having a third thing

But, it was either that or fly out of JFK on the United P.S. flight. I don't know why I decided that the Continental flight would be better. Plus, it didn't fly direct to LAX.

Now comes the part where my ultrareading™ failed me. Somehow, I managed to book a flight to the airport in Orange County, otherwise known as John Wayne Airport (SNA). I wasn't reading the website carefuly when it quickly switched the available arrival airports. It would have made much more sense for me to fly into Burbank or even LAX. SNA is very far south. I had to pay for a $125 cab ride to my hotel in Universal City, that took 70 minutes... without traffic. Imagine if I had landed at 1pm? So next time you check the box "show nearby airports", be careful what you end up booking.

Arriving at the airport and waiting in the gate, I was already irritated by the fact that I was flying into the wrong airport. Needless to say, my irritation was maximized by the fact that there were no upgrades available. But my irritation was further increased by the boarding process.

Normally, as a United Premiere Executive, and a Star Alliance Gold member, I board right after first class, 1ks and global services. But Continental has another elite level, reached at 75 thousand miles (which I have subsequently reached since this flight) called Platinum something something something. These jerks boarded before me! I was enraged that I had to wait for these idiots to board. Not only was I not upgraded, not only was the plane smaller, not only was I flying into the wrong airport, not only was I at Newark, BUT I HAD TO WAIT FOR AN ADDITIONAL ELITE TIER TO BOARD BEFORE ME!!!!?!!??!!??! And you want to really know the worst part? I had a MIDDLE SEAT. What the sinusoidal wave? I thought I had booked an aisle, but I somehow screwed that up to. I really can't explain it, I can only state that this was the biggest FUBAR by Continental ever.

The lesson I learned that day was to simply identify members of a higher elite status and quickly light them on fire. They can't board if they're running around the airport on fire.

The only other way to beat them is to join them. And that I have. Although, now that Continental and United are joining, Platinum status (a new elite level in the new United for 2012) will not be given to me, even though I have achieved that status this year (and it should apply through 2012) for reasons I cannot explain. United has decided to not let anyone get that status until they reach 75 thousand miles in 2012. So, me and my 87 thousand miles can go stand upside down in a reverse-facing pit of confusion and mud....................dot..................DOT....... unless I reach 1k this year....... PRAY

The small bit of good news was that my Gold status got me a nice upgraded room at the Universal Hilton, complete with free snack plate and water bottles. Behold:

The room was very nice, had a fantastic corner view from a high floor. As a VIP Gold member I received $9 off the full breakfast buffet every morning, and free wireless internet which didn't work at all.


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