United Airlines, And A 25 Minute International Connection, Rescued Me When American Failed Again

I spent a recent weekend on Moskito Island. That’s a story unto itself, which I’ll be sharing. But the return trip was revelatory for me, and I wanted to highlight the two lessons I learned.

I was scheduled to fly from Beef Island (Tortola) to San Juan on Cape Air, connecting to American Airlines to Miami and on to Austin. There’s now a San Juan – Austin non-stop, but American runs it as a redeye in both directions which was useless to me (and the idea of a redeye on an American Airlines Oasis aircraft is just brutal). They don’t have enough gates at San Juan and Austin, so you schedule what you can, and this gets them better aircraft utilization as well.

After checking in for my Cape Air flight, my American flight from San Juan to Miami delays by about 40 minutes, and then gets pushed back another half an hour. The inbound aircraft had gone mechanical in Miami. I now had a negative one minute connection there, and the aircraft that would bring me home to Austin was unlikely to delay since it would be sitting in Miami for a couple of hours before my flight.

Virtually everything on American Airlines was sold out. They didn’t have anything that would get me home same day – and I’d started out leaving my room at 4:30 a.m. A little while later one seat opened on a Miami – Austin flight that would see me home after midnight after an 8 hour delay. I called back to get that flight added to my reservation.

I did see a United Airlines flight that would work and cut my delay in half. The agent didn’t proactively offer to put me on another airline. But I didn’t push for it because I worked on another plan. There was a United departure from San Juan that American wouldn’t be willing to put me on because it was an illegal connection, 44 minutes international-to-domestic. I was going to go for it.

United wanted 73,000 miles for the only available first class seat San Juan – Houston with the connection from Houston to Austin in coach. But I have a large United balance, and I didn’t want to spend the cash for a fully refundable ticket. I knew that if I didn’t make the flight I could still cancel the award and get my miles back by paying a penalty. I booked through the app. And I was off.

I would have a 44 minute connection, meaning I’d be landing right as my United flight began to board. Really I’d have 29 minutes, since I’d need to be on board 15 minutes before departure in order to not lose my seat. And I was wearing loafers when I’d need to corner like I was on rails.

  • Clear immigration
  • And agriculture inspection
  • Then there’s a national guard check for arriving international flights
  • Go through security
  • Walk to gate

My Cape Air flight boarded in Tortola about five minutes late, but our Cessna landed on time. We had a long circuitous walk around the ramp and in unmarked doors and finally to immigration. There were no agents there, but I used the Global Entry kiosk and there was a single agent situation at customs. Once he’d signed off on me my bags were x-rayed and I was free to go. I had my negative Covid test to show, but the guard agents let me skip the line for their check when I told them I was just connecting. And there was only one person ahead of me for TSA PreCheck. It was inbound aircraft to boarding my connection in less than 25 minutes. United was still boarding group 5.

I’ll get a refund from American for my San Juan – Austin fare, so the United miles aren’t a total loss. And this all meant I’d be home for dinner with my three year old daughter after being gone not just over a three day weekend but having been gone for work the previous week. Being able to see her, and do bedtime with her, was my real priority.

On my United flight I was reminded of two things,

  1. How bad their internet it. And that’s when it actually worked. The Boeing 737-800 doesn’t even have connectivity over water, and I’d been avoiding the airline primarily because its internet is so bad over land.

  2. They’ve restored meal service in first class. I had a choice of hot items (eggs or French toast) for breakfast. I didn’t think I could face another American Airlines shrink wrapped turkey sandwich.

MileagePlus has been getting clearly less valuable. But United the airline seems to be getting better. The interior retrofit that’s adding seat back video to planes that do not have it is also putting in new internet. And what happened to Scott Kirby where they’re investing more in food?

My mental model of Scott Kirby was that he’s a destroyer of airlines. He’s largely to blame for the decline of American Airlines since being taken over by Tempe management. He throws shade at them now for not offering seat back video, but that was a decision that dates to his era at the airline. At US Airways he was resistant to installing internet at all for years because he believed they wouldn’t sell the service for more than it cost, and it was only once he saw clearly people choosing not to buy tickets on the airline because they couldn’t give up several hours of productivity to do it that he succumbed.

When Kirby arrived at United he started off as a cost-cutter. It was no surprised to see a pullback in the airline’s Polaris business class soft product. At the start of the pandemic United was flatly dishonest in keeping customer money for flights they did not operate, basically being willing to risk a DOT for acting illegally in order to conserve cash. They devalued MileagePlus twice in 2020.

Yet United was first among the major airlines to eliminate change fees on most fares (albeit initially with some squirrely rules meant to prevent customers from matching lower fares post-purchase) and they’re investing more in their product. I wish I understood what changed in Scott Kirby because then maybe I’d trust the recent investments to mean that they’d somehow committed to become a quality airline. United does seem to be ‘rising’. And the crew that flew me San Juan – Houston was great.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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Comments

  1. I’ve never heard of any island called “Beef island.” Is that the place where they cook “well done steaks?” :L 😛 L

  2. MileagePlus has been getting clearly less valuable.

    Prove it. In fact, I think that was a Freudian slip and you meant to write “American Advantage [aka the dAArk side] has been getting clearly less valuable”, instead of “MileagePlus”, a creative program that now towers over its US competition.

  3. @DCS United has moved to dynamic pricing and even added milage surcharges to some partner flights. That’s a devaluation. I was a United 1K flyer for many years and finally walked away due to bad Internet, constant delays on the routes I flew, and a worse program. I’m not saying MP is truly awful but it has not gotten better at all.

  4. I have had good experience after good experience on United over the past 2 years (despite Covid pause). I don’t fly that much but their crews have been great, aircraft on time and clean, and meals could be better but they are better than before.

  5. So they bailed you out with on time arrival from a flight option that wasn’t going to work. Yet you still bitch about them. How about thankfully I was able to book a last minute ticket for only 73k miles First Class, all connections worked, and I was able to be home with my family? Can you ever be unbiased towards Hilton or United? This type of write up lessens your credibility. It’s like reading the change away from individual shampoo bottles in a room ruined a 5 star weekend stay. You board a flight with a shit attitude, guess what, you have a shit experience

    @DCS: completely agree with you.

  6. I became a new United 1k in Dallas. My family are all direct flights from Dallas to United hubs. Many of the flights are on United Express. Still, I’ve spent my money on United instead of American. I have not regretted it so far.

  7. @DCS United has moved to dynamic pricing and even added milage surcharges to some partner flights. That’s a devaluation. I was a United 1K flyer for many years and finally walked away due to bad Internet, constant delays on the routes I flew, and a worse program. I’m not saying MP is truly awful but it has not gotten better at all.

    — Jack

    @Jack, let me offer my factual perspective as a UA 1K for over a decade and a Million Miler since 2016. The following comment is long out of necessity to be thorough in pushing back against yet another misrepresentation based on an incomplete understanding of a program.

    Just before the pandemic hit, I had considered dumping MileagePlus for SQ KrisFlyer, not because MileagePlus had moved to dynamic pricing (which is “bad” simply because self-anointed “travel gurus” claim it is) or increased award costs to certain partners (which all programs do from time to time), but because the program had increased the spend I would have needed to retain my 1K status from $15K to $24. I had already fully planned my travel for 2020 to make SQ Gold, and just remain UA/*A Gold based on my UA Million Miler status. Then the pandemic hit, and UA, within 24 hours of DL, extended everyone’s status for 2021-2022, causing me to suspend my plan to seek SQ top elite status.

    Recently, UA made it super easy for members to retain their elite status for 2022-2023 (but I still plan to go for SQ Gold by Feb 2022 by simply transferring enough AMEX MR and Chase UR points to my KrisFlyer account, as per an ongoing SQ promo). As a 1K, I only needed to earn 3K PQP to retain my status, a requirement I easily met with a couple of mileage runs that I am going to describe fully to show why the claim that “MileagePlus has been getting clearly less valuable” is pure hogwash.

    There were two great motivations for me to do the two mileage runs, which I completed in September: (1) to earn 3K PQP by the end of November in order to retain my UA Premier 1K status through UA’s “Fly to the Finish” promo, and (2) to earn 62,000 redeemable miles by completing 2 trips costing at least $1,000 each by the end of September, as part of a targeted UA offer called “Mile Play”.

    The combined “grand prize” of 1K retention and 62K redeemable miles was definitely worth a couple of mileage runs, so in August and September I flew JFK to SFO and back, and then JFK to HNL through LAX and back.

    After arriving in HNL, I met the requirement to earn the 62K bonus miles, which were promptly deposited. These bonus miles were on top of the regular miles I earned as a 1K flying on tickets that cost more than $1K per trip. So, I did truly rake in a lot of redeemable UA miles! Then a few days after returning from HNL, I was shocked when I noticed that I had in my account 550 PlusPoints, UA’s new highly flexible and creative cabin upgrade instrument. What happened is that after I met the requirement to retain my 1K status following my mileage run to HNL, UA simply awarded me the new status immediately (September 2021 to February 2023!), rather than waiting until the current status year ends in Feb 2022. The new 1K “easy” status came with 280 new PlusPoints which, combined with 270 PlusPoints that I already had in my account and will expire in Feb 2022, resulted in the total of 550 PlusPoints that shocked me.

    But that is not all! Those were two mileage runs that kept on giving! Just for the heck of it, I clicked the link to UA’s helpful “status tracker” to confirm that I had, in fact, been awarded my 2022-2023 1K status in September 2021. Sure enough, the display had changed from letting me know how far I still had to go to retain 1K to this:

    Keep flying to earn more PlusPoints

    Keep earning PlusPoints as you fly with United and our Partner Airlines.

    Your next milestone includes + 40 PlusPoints

    9,032 PQP of 10,000

    That is right: I was just 968 PQP shy of earning another 40 PlusPoints, which I easily earned in early October when I flew JFK-FCO-JFK (with Swiss on a UA biz ticket)! Why did I earn the 40K PlusPoints when I hit 10K PQP? Well, it is because even though I’d already retained my 1K status the “easy” way, I still qualified for Premier Platinum the “hard way” when I hit 10K PQP, and that milestone comes with 40 PlusPoints! That means that currently (October 2021), I have in my account 590 PlusPoints, only 270 of which will expire at the end of Feb 2022. To ensure that I do not lose the latter 270 PlusPoints, I recently sponsored cabin upgrades for family and friends totaling 320 PlusPoints, which, depending on how many of the requested upgrades clear, will still leave me with at least 270 PlusPloints that won’t expire until March 2023!!!

    But that is not all! In addition to the JFK-FCO-JFK trip, I recently flew EWR-AUS-ERW (on a UA biz ticket) and the “status tracker” now displays the following:

    Keep flying to earn more PlusPoints

    Keep earning PlusPoints as you fly with United and our Partner Airlines.

    Your next milestone includes + 280 PlusPoints

    12,187 PQP of 10,000

    That is right: I am just 2,813 PQP shy of earning another 280 PlusPoints, which I will easily earn by the end of the year with LGA-PIA-LGA and EWR-CUN-EWR trips already booked, and one more international trip to book for my year-end holiday. Why will I earn the additional 280K PlusPoints when I hit 15K PQP? Well, it is because even though I already retained my 1K status the “easy” way, I will still requalify for Premier 1K the “hard way” when I hit 15K PQP and that milestone comes with 280 PlusPoints!

    Combined with the 590 PlusPoints I currently have in my account, I will have 590+280 = 870 PlusPoints, less whatever number of the 320 PlusPoints will clear from the cabin upgrades I have requested for family and friends.

    I suggest you learn about PlusPloints upgrades to understand why this is a big deal. For instance, one can use PlusPoints to Skip the Waitlist to certain international destinations by confirming cabin upgrades at booking!

    Bottom line: Only one who knows nothing about MileagePlus would claim with a straight face that the program has been getting clearly less valuable

    … au contraire!

  8. So they bailed you out with on time arrival from a flight option that wasn’t going to work. Yet you still bitch about them.

    — Ray

    Very well put Ray! The blogger wrote a post documenting that “United Airlines, and a 25 minute international connection, rescued him when American failed again”, and his conclusion is that UA “MileagePlus has been getting clearly less valuable”!!!

    Does that make any sense?

  9. @DCS, to each his own, as everyone’s scenario and situation is different

    But the reality is that TODAY (not taking the rumored upcoming devAAluation into account) UAs program is far less valuable than AAs. I’m speaking as a current multi-year EXP and 1k simultaneously. 57k vs ~74k miles to fly J to Europe for example, provides FAR more outsized value on the redemption side. Let’s not even bring up the ridiculous ‘surcharges’ UA imposes for close in bookings and adding partner segments.

    On comp upgrades, it isn’t even close. My 1k status has me sitting in back far more often than not (with no consolation snack or drink “due to COVID”), whereas I’ve missed only ONE upgrade as an EXP in 2021. And on the occasions I get the elusive 1k upgrade, it’s never at the window it’s always 1-2 days out.

    PlusPoints are a fun program if you keep track of its growing complexity, so there’s some merit to that argument as the AA SWUs are certainly not getting more valuable or flexible lately. But to say MileagePlus isn’t losing value after the 2020 devaluations, you’re just kidding yourself. UA MP is far closer to SkyPesos on the scale than AA, at this moment in time.

    Now, operationally and product-wise: DL>UA>WN>AMTRAK>F9>NK>NY Subway>AA

  10. @DCS, to each his own, as everyone’s scenario and situation is different.

    That is like barking up the wrong tree! You should direct that comment at self-anointed “travel gurus” who constantly disparage programs that they know very little about in order to try to shine a better light than is warranted on their preferred program(s), with this site being by far the worst offender.

    But the reality is that TODAY (not taking the rumored upcoming devAAluation into account) UAs program is far less valuable than AAs.

    You cannot possible make the comment that “@DCS, to each his own, as everyone’s scenario and situation is different”, and then turn around and do precisely what you just advised against!!!

    That AA is more valuable than UA, TODAY or ever, is simply laughable, especially following my illustration above of how UA MileagePlus is rewarding TODAY! Comparing raw award costs (e.g., 57k vs ~74k miles), without taking into account the relative ease/difficulty of earning miles or points in the different programs, is totally meaningless. It is like saying, as many do, that Hyatt awards that cost 40K points/night are cheaper than Hilton awards that costs 120K points/night, without considering that a Hilton Diamond (base earn rate: 20 points) earns 3 times more points than a Hyatt Globalist (base earn rate: 6.5 points) for the same spend (20/6.5 = 3)!!! Earn rates are more similar for US airline flight miles per elite level, but I earn lots of points that I can convert to UA miles from other sources, and I am not even including signup bonus points from new credit cards, which I seldom go for (I stand at 0/24 on Chase’s 5/24 rule).

    “YMMV” should be the rule, however!

    G’day.

  11. Corrections to my long comment above:

    — I did not earn 40K or stand to earn 280K PlusPoints. Rather, I earned 40 or stand to earn 280 PlusPoints.

    — PlusPoints do not expire at the end of Feb or March. They expire on Jan 31 following the program year in which they were earned, unless extended.

    It would be nice if all sites offered the ability to edit and clean up comments like Loyalty Lobby does!

  12. @DCS PlusPoints aren’t that valuable. Read the 1K FB group and you will see stories of confirmed upgrade peeps getting bumped for example. And the fares required to use PlusPoints (unless you want to deplete those PPs a little too rapidly) can be as expensive as a discount business ticket on another airline. I’m still a 1K but went the opposite route. In one month I’ll have Gold Status with Sky Team, One World and Star all while doing very little flying (all business so no need for PPs) and far less spend that if I would stick to United’s even temporarily reduced spend requirements. My issue with United is trust. As Gary pointed out United did two (!) devaluations in 2020. This after years of reducing the value of Mileage Plus. I would be o.k. with dynamic pricing if there was some kind of floor and actual discounts but instead it’s a move to drop all accountability. I was not put on this earth to buy the equivalent of a small car every year from United. There are so many great airlines out there so rather than spending all that money on United try a Sky Team (not Delta) or One World (not AA) carrier — they too have massively reduced elite qualification terms and often times better food and good seats. Not to mention award redemptions tend to be lower.

  13. @EndlosLuft — I do not need to read 1K FB group, whatever that is but is likely filled with “sour grapes” by serial complainers who do not play the game with a “full deck”, to know how valuable PlusPoints are. There is a comprehensive FAQ on PlusPoints that anyone can read to know how to take advantage of them to the fullest.

    The notion that “the fares required to use PlusPoints (unless you want to deplete those PPs a little too rapidly) can be as expensive as a discount business ticket on another airline” is pure bunk. Below is how many PlusPoints are required for various upgrade options. Notice the flexibility, and even discounted economy fares are included for long-haul flight upgrades!

    Upgrade from: Upgrade to: PlusPoints
    ___________________________________________

    Short-haul flights:
    United Economy® United First® or United Business® 20
    United Economy United Premium Plus 20
    United Premium Plus United Business 10

    Long-haul flights:
    Discounted Economy* United Polaris business 80
    United Economy United Polaris business 40
    United Premium Plus United Polaris business 30
    United Economy United Premium Plus 20

    ________________

    The following are actual the upgrades I have requested for 3 family members, two friends and myself:
    — EWR-BOM and back(economy to Polaris business): 40 PP each way.
    — PDX-DEN-EWR-BOM and back (economy to Polaris business): 40 PP each way
    — EWR-ORD and back (economy to United First): 3 tickets on the same PNR; 20 PP per ticket each way = 60 PP each way
    — LGA-ORD and back(economy to United First): 20 PP each way.

    Total requested = 80 + 80 + 120 + 40 = 320 PP out of my current total of 590 PP, with 280 more PP earn by the end of the year — a minor dent in my PP total!

    Skipping the Waitlist costs more (as it should!), but the costs are not unreasonable.

    Educate yourself before pontificating.

    Your other claims, like trust, “devaluation”, alliance preference, are all subjective (i.e., YMMV) and not worth my time to address. The only thing that would get me to drop UA will be if it becomes too expensive for me to retain my 1K status, as nearly happened had the pandemic not derailed it. The airline has one of the most comprehensive int’l destinations of any global airline, and it is a co-founder and pillar of the largest airline alliance. The notion that I would be better off spending my money on Sky Team or One World carriers is nonsensical. MileagePlus has always been and remains one of UA’s best features, even during the airline’s rough patch following the merger with CO. Claims to the contrary are just misinformed bunk.

    G’day.

  14. @Joe T. AA is a major airline with potentially the most convenient schedule for a particular route. What’s your beef?

  15. @Joe T – first of all, I love American Airlines, there’s no airline with greater potential to be better than it is today. I criticize some of the decisions made by its CEO, President and Chief Operating Officer.

    Second of all, they’re the largest network carrier in my home airport by a lot, serving 34 non-stop destinations. I don’t fly United because their internet is unusable (for now).

  16. I’m not going to go into a long winded explanation like another, but I have plenty of my own experiences where I’m earning less miles and using more for flights I take. It’s not even close. Mileage Plus has clearly been devalued but if it works for you, good for you.

  17. That lunch plate needs more fruit. And, where’s the sliced healthy Turkey to go weith that bread and bun? Bread and butter alone ain’t gonna cut the mustard, meaning “they’re going to eat that and it’ll be satisfying to their stomach.”

  18. Some people’s favorite color is red. For others, it’s blue. For yet others, it’s green. Each person has one’s own set of experiences that leads one to decisions and preferences. Many things are subjective. Along this line, the value that one experiences on airline X will be different than that experienced by another person.

    Some people say that hotel loyalty program Y has the best value. The facts and the math prove it. But, Y doesn’t have a single hotel at my destination city. Or, no hotel of the quality that I’d like. As such, no matter how “valuable” Y’s program is to the self-anointed prophets, hotel loyalty program Y is of no value to me (in this situation).

    So, the notion of presenting facts and calculations is absurd given this subjective nature. A person who does so believes he has all the answers and is going to enlighten the ignorant masses. Such a person is a self-absorbed know-it-all . . . who also purports to have all of the answers about COVID as well.

    To those who are critical of Gary, I would ask you to consider the following. The average person who comments on this blog and other platforms is doing so as the specific subject affects oneself. On the other hand, Gary is an influencer and an advocate. His job IS to complain . . . to push the airlines or hotel networks to improve this or that . . . because the airlines and hotel networks (believe it or not) read the content on blogs and other platforms.

  19. I’m not going to go into a long winded explanation like another, but I have plenty of my own experiences where I’m earning less miles and using more for flights I take. It’s not even close. Mileage Plus has clearly been devalued but if it works for you, good for you.

    — David

    I am confused. With AA, DL and UA awarding miles based on the same formula that depends on ticket costs rather than on distance traveled, how are you earning less miles with UA than you would with either AA or DL, supposing you would purchase comparably-priced tickets? On the redemption side, devaluations are a fact of like, as all programs (especially now that they are being flooded with ever increasing numbers of miles/points from banks and other sources) adjust their award costs from time to time, despite claims that make it seem like UA is the only culprit in that regard…

  20. Likey your crew on the San uan to Houston flight were ex Continental becasue United (Divided) crew suck.

  21. Gary, I think Kirby sees an opportunity to gain market share from AA. He knows that he will not get customers who are dedicated to DL, so with all of AA’s self inflicted messes, make some incremental improvements into more revenue. And perhaps long term customers. Dollars and cents decision. Will it last though? That is a good question. I am saying yes, because as the economy opens, United is doing things that make people trust it. Like all vaccinated employees. Miles that don’t expire. Small things that are not costly to do. There are others but those 2 just popped up in my mind.

    And, yes I agree that UA is better than it was 4 years ago. From where I live, I can take AA or UA, but not DL. Dl does not even fly from my airport anymore. I am retired so I don’t fly that much, but my experiences lately are better with UA.

  22. I think Scott Kirby learned a lot from Oscar Munoz and his leadership at United. It is no secret Kirby was a cost cutter and had a reputation that followed him from American over to United. What is impressive is instead of just biding his time at United waiting from Munoz to leave he actually learned from Munoz how to be a leader and how to lead United Airlines.

    Kirby and United both have a ways to go in my opinion before they can match Delta, but at least United is trying to to do better, to treat their customers better, and trying to catch up to Delta and in my opinion they are the most improved airline during this pandemic. Whereas American Airlines still seems to be on the race to the bottom path.

  23. Gary, I think Kirby sees an opportunity to gain market share from AA.

    — JohnB

    Kirby’s increasingly solid performance at UA is another pie in the face of the “thought leader in travel” who repeatedly predicted that Kirby, “The Destroyer of Airlines”, would be true to form as UA’s CEO. Wrong again! At least now “the thought leader” seems to be conceding that he might have been wrong:

    I wish I understood what changed in Scott Kirby because then maybe I’d trust the recent investments to mean that they’d somehow committed to become a quality airline. United does seem to be ‘rising’. And the crew that flew me San Juan – Houston was great.

    About 3 months ago Ben Schlappig of One Mile at a Time had already noticed the positive changes at UA in a post that asked, pointedly, “Can United Airlines Become Premium?”, and the blogger’s own answer surprised me considering that back then “UA Bashing” was still the favorite pastime in travel blogosphere:

    United is doing all of the right things

    United Airlines is becoming a fantastically well rounded airline, and so many of the changes that we’ve seen in recent years, months, and weeks, have been positive:

    — United has long had the most impressive global route network among the “big three” carriers, in particular for ultra long haul flying
    — Over the past few years United has been investing in its Polaris business class experience, introducing new seats, an improved soft product, Polaris Lounges, and more
    — Now United is investing in its domestic product — not only is United refreshing its narrow body fleet (which we’ve also seen American do), but United is configuring these planes in a way that customers will appreciate
    — United has a huge emphasis on premium seats, with a lot of first class and extra legroom economy seats on aircraft, particularly for upcoming deliveries
    — While I question the value in this, United is becoming the technology leader, with plans to acquire everything from supersonic jets to electric air taxis.

    In many ways United is already overtaking Delta:

    — Delta’s international business class hard product is underwhelming and inconsistent, especially with the number of 767s that Delta flies, which feature an inferior business class seat
    — United has international premium cabin lounges, while Delta doesn’t
    — While Delta does a great job configuring its old planes with new cabins, United will have the advantage of having new planes with cutting edge technology (for example, United will allow bluetooth connections to inflight entertainment)
    [….]

    The whole post is worth reading, especially in view of the growing recognition that something positive is animating at UA. You can find the post by searching the title I provided above.

    G’day.

  24. @DCS do you have a job or are you retired? If you have a job please get back to work. If you are retired please learn to 打飞机.

  25. @John H like you I am a Dallas based 1K after bolting AA as ExPlat 3.8 MM due to abysmal service over a long period. Happy I switched. UA has been far better. Had a DUB r/t last week and great crews both directions.
    Meanwhile, UA ought to target DFW since there has been so much business relocation from California, Chicago and NY to the Dallas area. Many of These fliers likely had UA as their primary carrier. UA could discover a critical mass of incumbent UA business travelers that now travel out of DFW and would welcome the chance to stick with them.

  26. Maybe in 2030 all of the United flights will have this “Polaris” installed. I’ve flown int’l many times since 2018 and *still* have never seen this on any Euro flights.

    And I agree with Gary, UA internet is a joke. Instead of investing in electric airplanes, use UA capex to lure back profitable biz customers with upgraded internet.

  27. Perhaps it’s the way your article was written, but I’m scratching my head. SJU to anywhere in the USA (even Texas) is NOT an international flight. There are no customs or immigration formalities to clear. There is a brief agricultural inspection upon entering the airport, but this takes little time at all. So, how is SJU-IAH an international flight? Fact is, it is not – it’s a domestic flight. Yes, you can buy duty free at the San Juan airport before departing. But that’s it. You arrive as you would from Little Rock.

  28. @DCS you lost me at PQP versus points plus. Mileage plus is highly complex and too complicated to understand. It’s a garbage program. I used to fly MSP > ORD, and in MSP the UA and AA gates are near each other. I would always laugh as I’d see the UA upgrade lists of 80 people and I was getting my upgrades as an exp on AA. Can’t imagine why anyone would see value in UA.

    Maybe Scott’s master plan all along was to destroy American and then leave and make United better, not just by improving, but making it just a little better than the AA he destroyed.

  29. @DCS I’m glad MileagePlus works for you. After flying United for ~10 years the program didn’t work for me anymore which is why I left. I still do fly United if needed (I’m not one of those I’ll never fly United again). I enjoy Alaska’s program and their redemption opportunities. I’m sure there will be devaluations there in the future too just like United.

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