Thursday, September 12, 2013

JFK-SFO-BUR and a Surprised Upgrade on UA p.s.

Background:

I fly United for westbound flights and JetBlue for eastbound flights. Most of the flights are nothing to write home about because I sit in coach (not Y+) but this time it’s different. I recently became Premier Silver in June and am excited about the opportunities for CPUs, Priority Access, and access to Economy Plus T-24hr at check-in. I know that Silver is the lowest of low status so I probably won’t be getting any upgrades for JFK/EWR/LGA to DEN or SFO/DEN to BUR flights. Also, transcontinental p.s. flights are not eligible for CPUs so I was only hoping for a CPU on SFO-BUR on this trip. As you can see below, all First Class seats are taken on this tiny CRJ-700 and I was #3 on the waiting list. I thought to myself, “hey, maybe...just maybe I’ll get upgraded at gate.”

UA766/6410 JFK-SFO-BUR

The Trip:

I took the Long Island Rail Road from NY Penn Station to Jamaica then AirTrain to JFK. LIRR service has been stable for me (thankfully) and there was no AirTrain service interruptions. I checked in at the Priority Access desk tucked away in Terminal 7 and checked my luggage. Everything went smoothly and the agent informed me that the flight is completely full. It took me a total 1h15m to get from door to gate which was not that bad considering taking the taxi may get me stuck on Van Wyck. As I sat at Gate 10 waiting for boarding, I got curious and checked the upgrade list, standby list, and seatmap on my phone. I suddenly saw that my seat (18A, Economy Plus) was open! I figured there must be a glitch in the system or something because sometimes the app gets a little crazy. Right before I went on line for boarding, I got a push notification saying my seat has been changed to 7A! I thought to myself, “wait...isn’t that business class?” However, I didn’t believe the notification because I JUST became a Premier Silver, the flight is completely full, and p.s. flights are not eligible for CPUs. I quickly pushed the thought away and convinced myself the app is really acting crazy today. I thought I would just use the paper boarding pass printed at home to board the flight.

UA766/6410 JFK-SFO-BUR

UA766/6410 JFK-SFO-BUR

Boarding:

Pre-boarding was called and people who required additional help/time started to board the flight. Then, the gate agent called boarding for Global Services, military personnels in uniforms, and Group 1. Everyone boarded the plane in an organized and efficient manner. Since I am a Silver, I get to board in Group 2. When the gate agent scanned my paper boarding pass, the machine beeped. I got a little excited considering there may be a chance for a surprised upgrade because where else can they move me?? The gate agent shuffled around the boarding passes on his desk and informed me that I was upgraded to Business Class! I was dumbfounded and muttered, “ oh wow!” He scanned the new boarding pass, handed me the new boarding pass, and I checked the seat assignment...it WAS 7A. The app didn’t lie...I was moved to 7A! I thanked the gate agent and went on to the airbridge.

UA766/6410 JFK-SFO-BUR

I quickly board the plane and settled into my lovely seat at 7A. It was a transcontinental p.s. plane in the old 3-class configuration. The only downside of 7A was that I only had one window but who cares! It’s a complimentary upgrade on a p.s. flight without using cash or miles! :D Needless to say, I was very excited for my first experience of p.s. Business Class.

Flight Information:
Airline: United Airlines
Aircraft: Boeing 757-200
Registration: N554UA
Cabin: Business Class (old p.s. 3-class configuration)
Seat: 7A, window
From: New York- JFK
To: San Francisco- SFO
Date: September 04, 2013
Scheduled Departure: 12:00 EDT
Actual Departure: 12:29 EDT
Scheduled Arrival: 15:15 PDT
Actual Arrival: 15:02 PDT
Duration: 5 hours 33 minutes

I will let the photos speaks for themselves from here on now because I’m sure many of you have read plenty of United’s p.s. trip reports. All the FAs were nice and sweet. Lunch was good enough to eat.

Legroom shot after I settled in:

UA766/6410 JFK-SFO-BUR

UA766/6410 JFK-SFO-BUR

At JFK Terminal 7, Gate 10:

UA766/6410 JFK-SFO-BUR

Take-off from runway 4L and a distant view of Manhattan:
UA766/6410 JFK-SFO-BUR
UA766/6410 JFK-SFO-BUR
UA766/6410 JFK-SFO-BUR

Drink and warm nuts after reaching cruising altitude. I had a rum and coke:
UA766/6410 JFK-SFO-BUR

The portable media player was passed out. The collection of movies are surprisingly good. I watched Argo and Life of Pi. The FAs then started lunch service. I had chicken (my second choice). Beef/steak was offered but the full-fare passengers and higher elite members probably all ordered the steak. Haha! I wasn’t complaining though. It was nice for UA to upgrade me to being with.
UA766/6410 JFK-SFO-BUR

Then, the dessert came. I had a sundae with chocolate syrup and strawberries. By this time, Pi was trying to figure out how to survive with a tiger out in the Pacific.
UA766/6410 JFK-SFO-BUR

Another legroom shot after the meal service ended and the trays were taken away. I was in a cradled/reclined position and still had a lot of legroom:

UA766/6410 JFK-SFO-BUR

Well, good things never last long. We were approaching SFO flying near the Yosemite fire. It looks really awful and I hope the firefighters can contain it soon. I want to send a big thank you to the firefighters who are battling the fire in such intense CA summer heat.
UA766/6410 JFK-SFO-BUR

Approach, landing, and taxiing to Gate 81 at SFO:
UA766/6410 JFK-SFO-BUR

UA766/6410 JFK-SFO-BUR

UA766/6410 JFK-SFO-BUR

UA766/6410 JFK-SFO-BUR

A last look at seat 7A before I deplaned. This is probably my last time to experience the old transcontinental p.s. Business Class and the only time I’m lucky enough to get a complimentary upgrade on p.s. flights.
UA766/6410 JFK-SFO-BUR

The next leg of the flight is SFO to BUR on a tiny CRJ-700. Here are the flight info:
Airline: United Airlines
Aircraft: Canadair CRJ-700
Registration: N724SK
Cabin: Economy Plus
Seat: 5A, window
From: San Francisco-SFO
To: Burbank-BUR
Date: September 04, 2013
Scheduled Departure: 16:02 PDT
Actual Departure: 16:46 PDT
Scheduled Arrival: 17:01 PDT
Actual Arrival: 17:31 PDT
Duration: 51 minutes
UA766/6410 JFK-SFO-BUR
UA766/6410 JFK-SFO-BUR
UA766/6410 JFK-SFO-BUR

I slept for the last leg of the flight probably because I had plenty of wine during the previous flight. I took a cab home and that was the end of the trip. I enjoyed the p.s. Business Class very much and the services were great. Thanks, United, for the upgrade and an opportunity to experience the 3-class p.s. Business Class before they’re all reconfigured. :) :) :)

Thanks for reading.
foppishbum

Previous Trip Reports:
21FEB2013 - From John F Kennedy to Bob Hope - A Photo TR
14NOV2012 - JFK-BUR Via SLC // SNA-JFK Via SLC
15AUG2012 - My Provence Trip & LCY-JFK BA 001
02MAY2008 - VX LAX-SFO First Class
25DEC2007 - B6 - SMF-JFK-BUF-JFK-BOS-IAD-LGB

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