To get back to New York, I traveled along SJC-LAX-JFK. Once again, booking myself onto the p.s. redeye to New York.
United leaves SJC-LAX service to SkyWest.
Having noticed that my p.s. flight was looking a bit empty a week out, I chose to upgrade to business class with miles. While award tickets to Europe would constitute a better redemption value, the p.s. economy to business class is one of the few values for domestic redemptions available. Since I was in a T fare, the upgrade required 20k miles with the $75 copay waived for being an elite on United. In contrast, the fully paid upgrade offer made a week out was for $375, giving me a 1.875 cent per mile redemption value.
Ordinarily, domestic passengers do not have complimentary access to airport lounges operated by the US-based carriers. That said, p.s. business class passengers get access to the RCC at their departing airport and first class passengers the First Class lounge. With a roughly three hour layover at LAX, I stopped by the RCC to take a look.
I seated myself near the windows and had a view of gate 70A and most of Terminal 8’s gates:
Volunteers weren’t needed for the flight, so I took my assigned seat as ticketed: 5B. (The other emergency exit row on p.s., row 9 of business class was unavailable when my upgrade cleared.)
The redeye served a snack choice of either a fruit and cheese plate or a cold chicken sandwich. I opted for the cheese plate:
The only inconvenience on my return segments was check-in. Since I used my miles to explicitly upgrade for the p.s. segment rather than the entire direction of travel, risking burning 20k miles to only clear for a 45 minute long, regional jet flight rather than p.s., I could not check-in online. Even as an elite, I had to spend about an hour on the phone with United Web Support the morning of my flight, first on hold, then waiting while they diagnosed the problem, and ultimately, until they realized they had to remove me from the UDU list for SJC-LAX, allow me to check-in, and then restore me to the SJC-LAX upgrade list. Reservations with UA/CO seem surprisingly fragile. Due to how my standby and volunteer listing went for my IAH-LAS segment on Memorial Day weekend, Continental’s agents had to spend longer processing my Same-Day flight change.