A hectic holiday weekend full of travelers and chaos at the airport. Arrived by 7:15A and already big lines at the check-in counters. Security lines are getting long, even at the special F and elite lines. Last minute equip. change from a 757 to 763 the night before. Checked res and still had seat 1A so I thought I was safe. Used an award tkt for F and booked into class inventory XF.
Checked in at the Premier Exec. counter and agent gave me boarding pass wishing me a good trip. Was in a hurry to get through security so I went to the Intl. side and entered through there. Seasoned travelers standing in line as well. Handed boarding card to security along with ID and noticed on the boarding card seat 9A in J - what the heck? Why didn't agt tell me about the downgrade? Going through security was a breeze. Less people and quicker. Headed to UA F lounge since I was flying p.s. in F originally and sort things out.
Agent at UA F lounge checked my reservation and advised me that full revenue passengers were protected before me. Felt really special! She apologized and advised to contact Customer Service for compensation. She then allowed me into the lounge without hesitation and apologized.
UA Intl F lounge in SFO
Entrance from intl terminal.
Once you enter and you are checked by reception, you proceed downstairs through the stairs or elevators. Service counters downstairs.
Flight was delayed until 10:20A so I had plenty of time to enjoy lounge. Later I decided to go to UA Club at domestic side and it was crowded. I stayed for 10 min. and left.
At the gate, agt checks my reservation and apologizes for the downgrade. She makes a call and then gives me 3 options: a) $200 credit towards domestic tkt, b) 9,000 miles or c) 10% off any worldwide fare. I said that I will think about it and contact Customer Service later. I asked for an aisle seat. She gladly gives me 10J.
Flight attendant offered water or OJ for pre-dept. drink. Crew was nice and efficient. Menu was distributed and there were 3 choices - egg omelette with turkey sausage, apple pancakes with turkey sausage and fruit with muesli. Hot towels were offered before the meal. After the meals were distributed FA offered scones, croissants or bagels. Some of the scones were broken. Seatmate asks for scone and then a croissant. FA advised that she has to make sure that everyone gets a choice and then offered to return if she has extras. Seatmate replies whatever. To her credit she comes back but by now passenger refuses the croissant. Very cheap for UA to not load a full assortment of breads and pastries so that passengers have a choice of each item. After all, how much extra is it going to cost when you consider the price of a J ticket?, especially on a premium market like SFO-JFK.
Snack before arrival
Galley and bathroom
Flight arrives late but in the same terminal that my connecting CX flight departs, saving me from going through security one more time.
United First International Lounge
San Francisco - SFO
New York - JFK
My downgrade came as a last minute surprise due to equipment change and it was not a pleasant one. I was really looking forward to trying the F suite on this route. Fortunately the downgrade was with a larger equipment so I was protected in J class. It was originally on a 757 with special configuration and then changed to an intl. 767-300. On the positive side I saved some miles since they credited me for the difference between a F and J award, and I gained 9,000 additional miles for the inconvenience.
The crew did the best they could under the circumstances and they were polite and professional throughout the flight. Catering is deficient and not having enough breads and pastries for everyone is embarrassing. That is not a surprise since U.S. carriers try to cut cost everywhere, even in premium cabins. Once upon a time U.S. aviation set the standard in service with iconic airlines like Pan Am and TWA at the helm. Sadly nowadays domestic travel is as glamorous as taking a bus with a la carte pricing.
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