2010 SOUTH AMERICA TRIP REPORT
II: Los Angeles to Washington Dulles via Denver in United First
III: Washington to Buenos Aires in United Airlines Business Class
IV: Business Class (Cama) Bus Service from Buenos Aires to Iguazu Falls on Crucero del Norte
V: Breakfast in Paraguay, Lunch in Brazil, Dinner in Argentina + Brazilian Side of Cataratas
VI: Iguazu Falls from the Argentinian Side + Sheraton Iguazu Falls
VII: First Class (Super Cama) Bus Service from Iguazu Falls to Buenos Aires on Rio Uruguay
IX: Day trip to Colonia del Sacramento, Uruguay
X: Review: Park Hyatt Buenos Aires
XI: Buenos Aires to Washington, DC in United Economy
XII: Outstanding Service on United from IAD-LAS-SFO-LAX
We’ve reached the final segment of this trip report!
I’m not going to dwell a lot on my domestic flights or my brief visit to Las Vegas. Instead, I want to use this post to commend two UA employees who went way above and beyond their call of duty to remind me why I love United Airlines.
After a long overnight flight from Buenos Aires without sleep and a forgettable experience at customs and immigration at Washington Dulles, all I wanted was a quick breakfast and some shuteye on my flight to Las Vegas.
Although I was among the last to board and pushback was only moments away, the purser offered me the beverage of my choice and served it with a big smile on his face. I didn’t think much of it, but a few moments later he came back to collect the cup and said, "May I offer you any more tea Mr. Klint?" Now he caught my attention–he called me by my name. I politely declined, but told him I would have another cup once we got up in the air.
The purser’s nametag said "Terrence" and the name sounded familiar to me. Then it dawned on me. Terrence was the FA Lucky was raving about a few month earlier. I’m 100% sure it was the same IAD-based purser because his attention to detail, demeanor, and work ethic impressed me and most of the cabin for the entire flight.
Once we were airborne, Terrence began taking meal orders. When he got to me, rather than saying, "Eggs or cereal?" he knelt down and said, "Mr. Klint and Mr. Seatmate, will you be joining us for breakfast this morning?" When we both responded affirmatively, he stated, "Today for breakfast we have scrambled eggs with chives served with a side of potatoes, turkey sausage, and a small bowl of fruit or corn flakes with a banana and small bowl of fruit. Both meals are served with raspberry yogurt and a choice of breakfast bread."
Yes! A few extra seconds and a little more care makes all the difference in the world. When taking beverage orders, he remembered that I had ordered tea earlier and asked, "Mr. Klint, in addition to your tea, may I bring you another beverage?" Yes!
Breakfast was great and rather than retreating into the galley after the meal service, Terrence attentively strolled through the cabin every few minutes, insuring everyone was properly hydrated for the entire 3.5 hour flight to LAS. He also made multiple runs with the snack basket during the final hour of the flight and learned the last names of most of the passengers (on a 757 with 24 first class seats) by the time the flight was over.
His great attitude was so refreshing I had to dig out a "Going the Extra Mile" certificate from my bag and present it to him. Clearly, he knew what they were, but thanked me profusely for it and said it was his pleasure to be of his service.
What a difference a purser makes…
I had to go into Las Vegas for a little while, but finished my work earlier than I anticipated and was back at McCarran International before 3:00p. My flight to LAX was not until 8:30p and there was not another flight before then–I had just missed the 2:30p flight.
After spending a few minutes in Continental’s Presidents Club, I walked over to the United gate area to check on alternative options.
As I reached the gate, I saw that a 757 bound for San Francisco would be departing in 35 minutes. I pulled out my mobile phone, consulted ExpertFlyer, and found that routing to LAX via SFO on the flight that was about to board would get me home two hours earlier.
Pulling off a successful standby on this flight would not be as easy as it might sound. My reservation had only one "coupon" left, the LAS-LAX flight, so unless I could find an agent was willing to add another one, I would be out of luck.
Fully expecting to be told no (and I wouldn’t have complained about it if I was told no), I approached an agent and pitched my request. At first he didn’t understand why I would want to add an additional connection in SFO, but after he realized it would get me home earlier, he started tapping away on his keyboard, and out shot two boarding passes: LAS-SFO and SFO-LAX.
But he wasn’t done yet. He tapped away again and moments later two first class boarding passes popped out. I was gratified.
Not only did I get home earlier (with extra miles): my upgrades were preserved–something I really did not expect.
Both Terrence and the great agent at LAS, who I won’t name just in case what he did was technically not permitted, made my day and illustrate why I maintain that on a good day, service on United beats even Singapore.
I got home early and well-rested. Another trip report is in the bag.
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