Friday, January 25, 2013

Flashback Friday: Flying United's "New" Business Class

...or at least it was new back in 2009 when my husband and I flew San Francisco to Frankfurt on the way to India. The lay-flat seats were still more or a novelty than an industry standard at the time, and we just thought we were the coolest kids ever after my dad let us burn a couple of his Systemwides to sit there. Of course that was back in the day when you could actually use Systemwides (now Global Premier Upgrades) on a discounted coach fare.

Before our "miles and points" days we would actually buy our tickets to go visit my husband's family in India. I've been to India 5 times now, and most of them were in paid-coach. We simply didn't know any better. Sure, I'd been in international business class once or twice before, but it was usually on a 777 and in an old-school recliner-style seats with the tvs that only got like 3 channels...even then I thought it was nice. But now there were these cool rear-facing seats with lay-flat beds, and an on-demand entertainment system with a huge screen- I was so excited and busy playing with it all that I didn't sleep the entire way to Germany! We were trying really hard to act like we'd been there before but it was tough. The only thing tougher was going back to economy after that.

When I think of the good old days at United, this flight stands out. It wasn't just the novelty of getting to try out a new premium product, but it was that combined with the legacy of my once all-time favorite airline that went along with it. It was getting to fly around the world on a big blue-and-white 747 with a tulip on the tail. It was the really good service we got that day from flight attendants that remembered what it was like to work for the "Friendly Skies".

It's been a while since I've been that excited about flying United. I don't know if it's because I'm getting old and jaded, because now I've been there and done that or if the service is really that much worse now...and don't even get me started on the "changes" since the merger. The airline I used to love to fly is almost unrecognizable now. And I really don't like the globe logo or the new ugly-blue color scheme either. There, I said it. More and more I find myself on unfamiliar Continental aircraft with Continental crews- not that it's all bad (BusinessFirst is ok and some of the Continental people are actually really nice), it's just not United.

In a few weeks, we're off to India again, and I managed to score us some of those same lay-flat United Business seats using our miles coming home from Hong Kong. I'm sure the logo on the tail has been painted over, but it's still a United plane, it should be a United crew, and I'm hoping for a little nostalgia and maybe a bit of that same excitement we had back when it was all "new".

Tulip Tails at SFO
They never let our Jack and Cokes go empty
Our Blue and White 747 at FRA

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