Hopefully everyone spent New Year's Eve like me - trying to figure out if I can fit a trip to Vietnam to try to take advantage of that CX mistake fare. Unfortunately, I was unable to find something that fits because my schedule is not at all open for the next year and I am not quite up to the level of traveling for several days purely to experience a luxurious cabin and nothing else.
As I alluded to in my last trip report, my flight home was cancelled. Weather at the destination airport was given as the reason - there were some heavy rains in the region. I did not want to wait until the next day, so I was re-booked onto a flight to next closest airport, Greensboro (GSO), about a 2.5 hour drive. I should note that I was rather confused when going to the help desk for re-booking and used the premier lane, thinking that the "Premier Access" label on my boarding pass was enough - turns out that lane was only for premier status. However, the agent was very kind and did not make me re-wait in the proper lane. The flight to GSO was scheduled to board at 5:50pm, leaving me with nothing to do for the next ~4 hours.
Earlier in the year I was rather regretting selecting United for my Amex airline credit, but it came in handy today because I was able to get an United Club pass for free using the credit. Sorry I do not have more pictures - was rather irritated about the cancellation.
United Club (Concourse F)
I have been to quite a few United Clubs over the years, and they're all rather lackluster. There was not any hot food. As usual for United Clubs, it was rather crowded, though not every seat was taken. I would estimate about 70% full. The food spread was also quite disappointing, nothing hot. Nothing substantial that was cold either. I had a few cookies and that was about it.
After making a few calls at one of the office spaces, I went over to the bar. The bartender was quite friendly, engaging in conversations with several guests and offered to top off my drink every time it was empty. There were some house wines and beers as well as a premium menu for slightly better beer, wine, and liquor. I had two glasses of prosecco, which were complimentary. Since I had nothing to do as I wait, I hammered out the previous trip report before taking a call from a friend. I lost track of time on the call and just happened to notice that it was 5:50pm before rushing out of the club.
UA3882 is a United Express flight operated by Air Wisconsin. I am used to flying them because they operate the only United flights out of my parents' home airport.
I arrived just a little bit after they called boarding for Group 3. The gate agent put a gate check tag on my carry-on. I usually don't mind the small regional jets, but the smaller overhead compartments are definitely a negative.
Unfortunately, this was a packed plane and I did not have any options when I re-booked. I ended up in 12D, the window seat in the last row on the starboard side of the plane. I would strongly advise you to avoid this row if possible. The position of the lavatory directly behind you means there is zero recline and its proximity means there is quite a bit of traffic around you. The only seats worse would be the two seats in row 13, which are directly adjacent to the lavatory.
We pushed back a minute early, at 6:14pm, giving me a little hope we might be able to get into GSO early. However, we ended up sitting on the tarmac for quite some time - takeoff was at 6:45pm. I think there was quite a bit of traffic in front of us.
There was no wifi on the plane (as I believe is the case on all of Air Wisconsin-operated regional jets). Of course, I do not expect there to be wifi on plane this small. Service was the usual - a small pack of pretzels plus a drink. I asked the flight attendant, Melissa, if there was anything with caffeine (foolishly hoping for some coffee). The only thing she had was coke. After learning that I had a 2.5 hour drive after this flight, she took pity on me and gave me the whole can. It was a small gesture, but much appreciated.
Despite my earlier hopes, we were 22 minutes late, arriving at 9:33pm. To make things worse, there was no gate for us and we had to disembark by remote stand. Sometimes it's nice to be able to get a picture of the plane. I tend to dislike it in the winter when I gate-checked a bag because you have to stand and wait out in the cold. In this case, it was also raining. However, to my surprise, the ground crew already had unloaded everyone's carry-on onto a cart by the time I walked down the stairs. I guess there are benefits to being in the last row. I paused for a quick picture of the plane as the ground crew looked at me like I was crazy.
Luckily, it was a quick walk up some stairs into the airport. The drive home was awful, rainy and foggy and took half an hour longer than expected. All worth it in the end to be with family.
United Airlines Red Carpet Club (Concourse F)
Chicago - ORD
Greensboro - GSO
Lounge: United Clubs are nothing special, but it (sometimes) beats sitting in the gate area. The bartender was very pleasant, however. If you do not have the Amex credit, I definitely would not advise purchasing a club pass on its own ($59.99). You're better off finding a restaurant or coffee shop.
Flight: This flight was worse than usual because of the delay, the weather, and my seat. Normally, I would not give such a low rating to the United Express flights. Otherwise, I tend to find the Air Wisconsin-operated United Express flights to be decent for what you pay.
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