Monday, May 30, 2011

Start spreading the news

...that I love United Airlines.

Weren't expecting that, were you? I haven't had anything good to say about them since we purchased our super cheap tickets for this trip nine months ago. In fact I have been dreading the flights for this whole time. For some reason I held UA in very low regard and contemplated changing our tickets, at whatever cost, on numerous occasions.

However, my fears were unfounded. Our Sydney to LA flight was smooth and straightforward. Sure the staff don't see the need to over mollycoddle us cattle class plebs and obviously there is no clause about smiling at customers in their contracts but we were fed and watered regularly and the plane remained in the sky between take off and landing, which suits my basic air travel requirements.

I have to make special mention of the chicken dish we were given at dinner time. Delicious. Small but very tasty.

Onto LAX. Hmmmmm. Things got decidedly more unenjoyable upon disembarking. We had about three and a half hours between flights and were frankly worried about how we would occupy ourselves for that amount of time. Luckily the lovely people of US Customs have that figured out. They kept us standing in three separate queues for over two hours thus eliminating the need to fill in all that boring down time. Thank you US Customs.

Actually FUCK YOU US Customs. Do you know how much fun it is to stand in a barely moving line with two tired, grumpy children who are both busting to go to the toilet? Yes, it's even more fun than it sounds. By the time we got through I swore I would never again darken the doorstep of our American cousins, ever.

Cross and annoyed with each other and the universe in general we trudged off for a drink and a snack since we knew there was no meal service on this domestic leg of our journey. So $35 and two sandwiches and a couple of drinks later we turned up at our gate.

No sooner had sat down than a message came over the PA asking for my presence at the desk. We rolled our eyes, wondering if they had realized that they had let us through without the compulsory cavity search. Prepared for the worst we faced up to the burley UA man at the desk.

He looked us bedraggled travelers up and down and said the most wonderful words in the English language. "You folks don't feel like flying business class, do you?". My eyes bulged as my brain tried to digest the meaning of this sentence. I glanced at Big Jay. Was this a joke? Were they asking if we wanted to pay for the upgrade? Did they realise we were travelling with two bordering-on-feral children?

"If we have to," Big Jay said and next thing we know we're walking down the special line and being welcomed by the friendly, smiling business class stewardesses (only distantly related to their economy cousins). So began five hours of luxurious relaxation. There's only one thing better than business class and that's FREE business class.

Before you can say "I think you've got the wrong people" we were being offered drinks from a linen lined tray and choosing our dinner from the menu. Smoked salmon, salad, beef rib with freshly grilled asparagus. At one point they apologized that they only had the pasta dish from first class left and would Will be happy with that. He was.

Then some freshly prepared ice cream sundaes with hot chocolate sauce. Did I mention my cocktail and the copious amounts of red wine Big Jay managed to consume? Oh, and the freshly baked choc chip cookies right before we disembarked?

The staff were so friendly it was almost painful, I felt if I had asked for a glass of freshly squeezed Yak's milk they would have said "no problem, madam". It was surreal.

After a nap in our super comfy recliner seats we arrived at JFK relaxed and refreshed but that didn't last long.

1 comment:

Kath Lockett said...

Oh that's every long haul traveller's dream, being bumped up to business class. It happened to my brother and sis-in-law when we went to Singapore for Easter, but not us :(