Friday, November 30, 2012

Cambodia April 2012 - United Airlines 480/1405 First Class (LAX-SFO)

***This post is the conclusion to a full trip report. The index can be found here***

Originally, I wasn't going to include this flight in my trip report, given how short and mundane it was. I did, however, want to give a shout-out to the good folks at United, who have gotten plenty of flak this past year. They really went out of their way to accommodate me, and I wanted to make sure I thanked them for it.

Upon arriving at Tom Bradley International Terminal, I breezed through customs (surprisingly) with hardly anybody in line. My checked duffel, still in the Asiana plastic wrap, was one of the first to come out of the carousel, and I quickly made my way over to Terminal 7.

After dropping off my baggage at the check-in counter, I asked the agent about the possibility of catching an earlier flight up to SFO, since I was looking at an almost three-hour layover with UA480 departing at 2:55 pm. I wasn't expecting much, given that I have no status with United and this was also an award ticket. My entire itinerary, however, was in first class, and I made sure to tell her that I didn't mind being bumped into economy if it meant I could get on an earlier flight.

She clicked away for a minute on the computer, and said unfortunately, it didn't look possible. She then suggested that I ask the gate agent to see if they could do anything for me. After a painless security check, I decided to visit the United Club, which granted me access since I arrived on a Star Alliance international first class flight.

Despite being a fairly large space, the lounge was ridiculously crowded, and I found myself circling around looking for a place to sit. I finally snagged an empty table near the bar, put my stuff down, and grabbed some water and snacks. I played around with the WiFi for a bit and then headed back outside to inquire about my flight situation.

At the United information desk in the middle of the terminal, I found my way to seriously one of the nicest agents I've ever had the pleasure of meeting. It was slightly ironic since the gentleman next to me was having a nasty argument with his agent, who looked like she wanted to punch him in the face. I proceeded to inquire about switching to an earlier flight, even if it meant changing to economy. Surprisingly, she said there were open seats, but she wasn't sure if my checked duffel could be found and re-tagged in time for the earlier flight.

She typed on the computer some more, then made a phone call, and with a big smile, said that everything should be taken care of. She even put me in an exit row seat with extra legroom since I was being downgraded. Finally, she said I was still on the waitlist for first class just in case a seat remained empty at the last minute. Happy that things worked out perfectly, I made my way over to Gate 72, where boarding for UA1405 was just about to begin.

Unfortunately, it didn't look like I would be bumped up to first class, although it really didn't matter to me for this one-hour hop. But as luck would have it, when I had my boarding pass scanned just before entering the jet bridge, the agent told me to head back to the counter to get a new boarding pass because I was being upgraded! :)

United Airlines 1405
Boeing 737-800
Los Angeles (LAX) - San Francisco (SFO)
Sunday April 8, 2012
Departure: 1:30 PM (scheduled) / 1:29 PM (actual)
Arrival: 2:53 PM (scheduled) / 2:42 AM (actual)
Duration: 1h 23m (scheduled) / 1h 13m (actual)
Seat: 3F (First)

The short flight up to SFO was completely innocuous, and I think I passed out for about half the time. The large recliner seat was comfortable, pitch was generous, and the usual snacks offered were certainly sufficient. I grabbed a small bag of Popchips and a banana and called it a day. Apologies for the lack of pictures... I was pretty exhausted at this point.

After a smooth landing on a pleasant Bay Area afternoon, I headed over to the baggage claim and waited for my checked duffel. I waited... and waited... and waited some more, until there was nobody left standing there. Starting to feel a sense of dread that my duffel didn't make it onto the flight, I approached the lost luggage desk and proceeded to explain the situation to the agent.

I was surprised when he told me that the duffel had made it onto the flight and should be there. Maybe it was the exhaustion, or maybe I'm just blind... but when we both walked back to the carousel, there it was, sitting on the side along with a few other unclaimed luggage. Man, I felt stupid :P

Despite having an amazing time in Cambodia and experiencing some truly epic flights along the way, I was definitely glad to be home and in my own bed. Thanks for reading, and I hope to get started on my Easter Island/Santiago trip report very soon!

No comments:

Post a Comment