United Airlines – Meh

I haven’t posted much about traveling lately.  In fact, now that I think about it, it has been quite a while.  My work travel ebbs and flows, it always has.  I can go several weeks to a month without traveling to having to travel 3-4 weeks in a row.  I do my best to keep my trips as short as possible.  I know it is cliche, but there is very little about traveling which is glamorous.  In fact there is a lot of it that just plain sucks.

I have been a loyal American Airlines passenger for 20 years but as AA’s service out of RDU has scaled back, I sometimes have to fly other airlines.  Spreading oneself around a bunch of airlines is (IMNSHO) a bad idea as there is nothing worse than traveling a lot and not having and status to show for it.  For a number of years Continental has been my second choice airline.  A few years ago I became a OnePass Gold member on Continental which was nice because their upgrade policy is waaaaaaay better than AA’s is.  Of course, I then didn’t fly enough on Continental to retain my status, in fact, I didn’t fly enough to even keep Silver (big mistake on my part).

I have Lifetime Platinum status with American Airlines so there really isn’t a lot of motivation for me to fly AA.  They treat me well and I like the fact that their planes have more spacing between the seats and most have power in them but I have zero desire to travel enough to qualify for Executive Platinum.  This year I’ve flown on Continental again quite a bit so I am in the ballpark for qualifying for OnePass Gold.  The United-Continental merger is a great unknown so I’ve tried really hard to keep my Continental flying on real Continental flights.

This week I had to fly United (best price, best schedule) to SFO but I booked it as a Continental flight.  I was curious to see how this turned out.  For the most part it was fine although moving my seat worked sometimes and didn’t work other times.  Not real sure what is going on there.  I ended up with an exit row aisle seat from IAD to SFO (yeah) only to find a huge guy in the middle seat when I boarded the plane (ugh).  I spent most of the flight leaning into the aisle (bleh).

The thing which bothered me the most about these United flights (on United equipment) was the lack of seat power on any of them.  Most AA flights have seat power in all rows up to the exit row and then pretty much every other row from the exit row on to back.  The AA seating map on their web site denotes which seats have power so you can move yourself around to get one that does.  I like power.  I like to be able to use my laptop while I am on the plane.  I get lots done.  Many of the CO flights I’ve taken this year have power in the seats.  The four United flights I was on this week had none.  Even in First Class (I was upgraded once).

I was thinking that the UA-CO merger might be ok because it might offer some more options for me but if none of the planes have power, I may have to rethink it.  It may all be a moot point as I am inline to get a new laptop soon (mine is 3+ years old) so whatever I get will likely have plenty of battery for a 6-7 hour flight.

Still, the United equipment was visibly old.  I thought the merger would address some of it but it looks like all they did was paint the planes with the Continental colors.