Thursday, August 14, 2008

The friendly skies

This morning I flew back to the US. I have to say it was a very pleasant experience. I've been a loyal flier with United Airlines since 1997, so I'm a member of their frequent travelers program. I love the perks that come with it. Priority handling on the phones, priority check-in, lounge access, better seats, more baggage checked free and shorter security lines. If you travel a lot, it really makes a difference, especially when there's a cancellation or other issue.

Today I was seated in economy in an aisle seat on the bulkhead. It's a good seat with lots of legroom so I was happy to score it. Then a flight attendant came and asked me for my boarding pass. It turns out that I was assigned the same seat as another passenger. While she went forward to the galley to sort it out, I saw another flight attendant walk from the galley towards us, eyeballing me and the other passenger. I had heard that they sometimes look at how people are dressed if they're going to upgrade them. I was wearing a t-shirt, jeans and street hikers. Not terribly professional looking. Luckily for me, the other guy was wearing jeans, a loud Hawaiian shirt and a baseball cap. The woman came back and said "miss, get your things and come with me." Then she said "You're not dressed for business class." I was kind of surprised that she actually said that to me, but wasn't going to protest.

I was escorted to business class where I enjoyed a tasty 3 course meal and a very comfy seat. I'd been pretty annoyed with United recently (they wanted to charge us $500 in change fees when it was too hot to fly with the dog back in June - saying that "people can travel even if pets can't" - implying that we should have left Holly behind)- but this freebie went a long way towards restoring my happiness.

A few other tidbits from the day:
1) You don't have to take off your shoes or get your baggie of liquids out when going through security in Amsterdam
2) You get screened after arriving at the gate instead of right after check-in
3) You can't bring ANY water with you on the flight as they don't sell it after you've gone through security.
4) If the passport control guy sees that you live in Amsterdam he will try to speak to you in Dutch. When you tell him you'll take Dutch lessons soon - he'll tell you "I'll check your progress next time" Yikes!! I guess I better get cracking on scheduling classes :-)

1 comment:

Kristin said...

Glad you made it back to the US safely! Hope to see you while you're in town.

I'm really enjoying reading your blog every day, too. Makes me want to move to Europe! Well, except for the roller-skating man in a thong...