I returned home from Europe yesterday and would be remiss if I did not mention what superb flights I had on United for both the outbound and inbound journey.
You’ll have to wait on the trip reports—Afghanistan and the Caucuses are coming first—but my Chicago – Frankfurt flight last week and Paris – San Francisco flight yesterday were about as close to a perfect flight as you can get on United.
I’ll name names here. My friend Leigh Ann, the United FA I sat next to on my Istanbul – Newark flight in February, was working the Chicago – Frankfurt flight and recognized me immediately. She worked economy, but did stop by twice to check on me and chat, which was appreciated. Joanne and Diana took care of my side of the business class cabin and were great—charming and gregarious, attentive and prompt.
On my flight back today from Paris to San Francisco, I experienced United BusinessFirst (a two-cabin longhaul flight on a retrofitted 767-300) for the first time and found the hybrid business/first service a step above tri-cabin business class. The purser was Michael, a purser I flew with on the special Flyertalk2 San Francisco – Chicago flight with Captain Denny a few years ago. He was extremely friendly, went around and personally checked on each passenger in business class several times, and thanked all passengers repeatedly for their business. A FA named Annette worked my side of the aisle and shared with me that she has been working for United for 47 years! She had a great attitude—truly a pleasure to fly with and demonstrative that some FAs still love their jobs despite so many years of service and ups and downs in the industry.
I’m a pretty happy camper right now when it comes to United. I’m now only about 16K miles away from Million-Miler status and my last several journeys, both domestic and international, have exceeded my expectations. Service is most important to me, but upgrades have all cleared, food has been good, and IFE more than adequate. I even had an open seat next to me in business yesterday, giving me more room to stretch out.
I’d like to think this is a new trend we are seeing, but I may simply have been fortunate in my flight selection lately, which is very deliberate though I had no idea I would run into familiar faces onboard. My travel on UA is grinding to a halt for the summer, so further analysis will have to wait until the fall when regular travel resumes.
I flew IAD to LHR in BFfirst last week, and was also pleasantly surprised. Slept quite well (though I did borrow the blanket from the empty seat next to me for a mattress), food and service was quite good, and I had forgotten how good the AVOD system is. I did just fly Cathay Pacific from JNB to HKG yesterday, and American carriers still have a ways to go. But let’s hope the improvement in service is a trend, Matthew, and not us just getting lucky on our flights.
Glad to hear you’ve had a streak of pleasant flights lately. I think that’s the problem with the service on most legacy carriers, the inconsistency. I used to fly AA a lot (as a non-rev) and witnessed that a lot. It gets to the point where you pray prior to your trip that you will receive and witness good service delivery. It shouldn’t be that way, we should fly an airline expecting the same consistent service delivery!
Although there are a lot of frictions and differences between the UAL and Conti crews and equipment, it is the personal connections I have made over the years (950K miles) that keep me coming back to United. Almost odd in a way, but meeting someone again at 39,000 feet and renewing a conversation is, well almost like catching up with a familiar cousin at a back yard BBQ. Know what I mean? It’s just a nice boost. Just happened again this past weekend GUM/HNL, and that’s what makes UAL my more frequent carrier.
I flew LHR-IAD this week in BF and it was pretty good. Service attentive, crew pleasant and available, aircraft in good shape (and on time). No complaints, really.
One thing about your reviews is that you always mention how you know the FA and how they checked on you because they recognize you and so on. That makes your experience, by definition, different from others’, so your reviews are not going to reflect the “average” passenger’s experience. Yes, you can see how they are treating the other travelers, and judge from there, but just remember that if you’re as chummy with the FAs as you describe, you’re not the typical customer.
Wow, glad to hear things seem to be on the mend and are treating you well in the air.
IDK, I still can’t seem to get over giving my money to UA again until “Smisek and team” are gone.
A little irrational I know, but I cannot get passed what they’ve done to this new company.