Since moving to New York, I’ve flown to Los Angeles for Thanksgiving. To save on airfare, I taken to flying on Thanksgiving morning itself. While last year’s trip was an uneventful journey of domestic first class, this past year’s was more interesting.
To begin this story, I paid $159.80 for one-way coach ticket between New York and Los Angeles on UA927. While the absence of complimentary upgrades on United’s p.s. service increases my odds of flying in the back of the plane, I booked the ticket figuring I’d get paid to fly (by being bumped) or get an operational upgrade. With the flight completely sold out in coach for weeks leading up to the departure, the odds were good.
I made it to the airport and fought off fatigue (6:30AM departures are not my cup of tea!). In light of the holiday, the premium cabins were still on-sale, leaving me to go hat in hand for an op-up rather than a bump. My inquiry as to “whether we’d need volunteers today” (to dance around asking about my upgrade chances explicitly) lead to a new boarding pass on the spot for 9B.
New York Kennedy (JFK) – Los Angeles (LAX)
Thursday, November 22nd, 2012
Duration: 6 hours, 7 minutes
Aircraft: Boeing 757-222 (N525UA)
16D (Economy) 9B (Business Class) 3C (First Class)
Ah. Row 9. The seats with just too much legroom.
I settled in, read the breakfast menu, and began drifting off to sleep.
On our taxi out, the purser came back to the business class section with a simple pronouncement: “I need 4 volunteers to sit in first class.” The statement registered and I was moving forward, now to 3C. With the plane steadily taxing to the runway, I was handed a new menu, which read as follows:
With the plane beginning to turn onto the runway, the purser came to my seat to take my order. I chose the cereal, making my breakfast markedly similar to the one I had in p.s. Business Class in August.
The two course breakfast seemed better structured than the single-tray approach from August, but having not had a recent business class breakfast service, I could not determine whether this was one of the few distinctions of the first class product.