A full recount of my 20,000+ miles of travel over the last week on United and Continental is coming, but tonight I want to briefly share about hitting the jackpot on my Washington Dulles-Frankfurt flight on United Tuesday night.
The flight was lightly filled and I had a full day of work ahead of me upon arrival. Thinking about trying to sleep in an economy class seat brought back bad memories of my flight from Buenos Aires to Washington Dulles last summer when I barely slept a wink on the 10 hour flight. I wanted an upgrade to business class.
I did my best, but the agents were pretty good about following the rules. I was on a L-fare which meant a systemwide upgrade could not be applied and I had to fork over 30K miles plus a ~$400 co-pay for the 7.5 hour flight. Not worth it. Even the $649 cash price for the upgrade was not worth it on a plane that still featured UA’s old recliner business class seats that do not fully recline.
While I did not get the upgrade, I am making more and more friends at Dulles (shmoozing always seems to help) and despite the immigration woes if you’re landing in the afternoon, Dulles is now one of my favorite UA hubs to connect in. I know that cultivating these friendships will come in handy sometime.
Anyway, I pulled up the seat map prior to boarding and saw that a couple of the five-across center sections in the Economy Plus cabin were open. I assigned myself to 24E, right in the middle of the five seats of an empty row, and asked the gate agent to hold off putting standbys in that row. She agreed and I soon found myself onboard the aircraft with a row to myself.
20 minutes later the door closed and the other seats in the row remained unoccupied. Whew! I had grabbed five sick bags on my earlier Continental flight because they feature the words "This Seat is Occupied" on one side and placed one down on each seat. The FAs seemed to get a kick out of it, which led to royal treatment during the flight.
Best of all, I was able to stretch out across five seats, with five blankets and five pillows. I got over five hours of uninterrupted sleep on the flight! Upon arrival the following morning, I proceeded right upstairs to my office and put in an eight hour day with only minimal fatigue. Not bad, huh?