I flew American into Mobile, Alabama. But to stick with them for the return I’d have had to spend an extra 3 hours in the airport. That’s way too much time to spend in the MAA Executive Lounge.
There were Delta options, but they were at least 50% more expensive.
Now, I made a point not to fly United as the actual merger of operations with Continental approached at the beginning of 2012.
I’ve flown mostly American, and that’s worked out great for me. American was providing the best value for a top tier elite in my view, especially during its bankruptcy. And once I started flying American, I wouldn’t go back to an airline without inflight wifi.
I’ve flown other carriers, of course, but it just never happened to be United. So I was pretty excited to fly with them.
After a single one-way connecting trip through Houston I don’t claim to be any sort of an expert, but a few observations:
- There were only 2 check-in kiosks in Mobile, and one wasn’t working. There was only one employee working the check-in counter.
- Those kiosks have an interminable number of screens! It prompts for a phone number or email address. The person in front of me, using the kiosk in German, took about 5 minutes to figure out how to get through that screen.
- My flights left on time. I arrived in Houston 5 minutes early at a regional jet gate in terminal B.
- It’s sure a trek from B to C, a lot of walking to get to the train that takes you between terminals, and then a lot of walking to a gate at the far end of a pier. Everything may be bigger in Texas, but the train at DFW has more stops strategically located so there’s far less walking.
- I was surprised to find wifi onboard. I know United has made quick progress, but I didn’t expect to actually have it.
- The A320 cabin with slimline seats is actually really attractive. After a long day of work and a connection from an Embraer 145 regional jet, they’re not especially comfortable.
- I often say I don’t mind coach at all, but that’s extra legroom seating. I had plenty of legroom, just not enough to work very effectively.
- I wasn’t going to pay $44 for economy plus or $108 for a first class buy up on a flight scheduled at less than an hour. What happened to Tens of Dollars upgrades? 🙂
While there was no material benefit to me of Star Alliance Gold status on this trip — I cleared security in Mobile, with ‘expedited screening’ in lieu of PreCheck thanks to Global Entry and I wasn’t checking bags, and didn’t need early boarding because I had only my laptop bag for the one night trip so didn’t need overhead space — I decided to use my Aegean account because though I’d earn relatively few miles, Aegean does inactivate accounts without flight activity. I have awhile before that happens (I’ll have to get downgraded from Gold status at the end of the year first) but the tradeoff to credit there wasn’t great.
I had two on-time flights, with friendly crew and captains that made engaging announcements. Which for short domestic flights is all I can ask for.
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