Is it worth upgrading to business class on United’s direct flight between San Francisco and Tahiti?


As a member, you now get better savings when you book direct.

United recently started direct service between San Francisco, California and Tahiti, French Polynesia (airport code: PPT).

Earlier this month, I took advantage of the flight, and was able to snag an incredible deal for both flight and 4 nights in an over-water bungalow.

I was able to fly economy over and business back, so wanted to share my experiences in case you’re considering taking the same flight, and don’t know whether the upgrade to business class is worth it. (Unfortunately, I lost some of the pictures I took, so you’ll have to rely on my account below!).

The verdict: It depends.

As a lawyer, “it depends” or “maybe” is perhaps my favorite response to any question. But it’s especially true here.

Economy service, particularly is you are in Economy Plus, is decent. The flight is roughly 8 hours each way, which can be difficult for a business class flight — practically speaking, it meant that after dinner service, there was about 3.5 hours to sleep before breakfast service started. While United offers you the opportunity to skip breakfast (you can tell them before you fall asleep), I’ve found that even with an eye mask and ear plus, I can’t sleep through the smell of cooked food.

On the flight over, you’ll leave SFO in the early afternoon and arrive in PPT at around 8pm, which means that you’ll be sleeping soon after you land, anyway. I did this leg in economy, and am glad I did.

On the way back, you’ll leave at night and land in SFO early in the morning, which means you may benefit more from a bed (particularly if you want to go into work the next morning).

I was a little nervous about the 2-2-2 business setup on the business flight, but the new Polaris seats were really comfortable, and I love the Saks Fifth Avenue products. While I haven’t confirmed this, I think the new SFO to PPT route is pretty coveted and that the flight attendants working it were assigned to the routes based on seniority, so you can expect some pretty great service on the flight.

If your only (reasonable) option for flying to Tahiti is on economy, don’t let that deter you. But if you have the means or found a great deal in business, it’s definitely a nice way to treat yo’ self.

Drug-sniffing dog overdoses on ecstasy while screening passengers boarding EDM party cruise ship

A drug-sniffing K-9 working for the Brevard County Sherrif’s Office in Florida was given an anti-overdose medication after falling ill while screening passengers boarding Holy Ship! — an electronic dance music (EDM) party taking place on the Nowegian Epic.

According to a report by Newsweek, the dog (Jake), “started having some problems with balance and had some type of seizure incident of some sort, was showing effects of having inhaled some substance. They administered the Narcan and got [him] to the vet.”

Jake is expected to make a full recovery and one man was arrested related to the incident.

Frontier Airlines now asking passengers to tip flight attendants

Low-cost carrier Frontier Airlines has just taken a bold step: asking passengers to tip their flight attendants when purchasing food or drinks.

This story was initially picked up by famous travel blogger JT Genter, who noticed the option to tip either 15%, 20%, or 25% when he was given a tablet to pay for his in-flight purchase.

The story has now become national news, with the LA Times reporting that the union representing the flight attendants opposes this practice, saying that, “Frontier Airlines needs to step up and pay aviation’s first responders a wage that recognizes their critical safety role onboard.”

With basic economy, segmented premium cabins, and a race towards reducing costs and increasing profits at the expense of the customer, I’m not surprised at all by this development. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if other airlines follow suit, especially American.

As an employment attorney/travel blogger who loves the intersection of law and travel (how many other people can say that?!), I think America’s tipping laws are antiquated, have a very racist history, and that servers, flight attendants, and all workers deserve a decent and living wage before tips are even factored in. This is a step in the wrong direction, and I really hope this experiment ends with Frontier.

Would you tip your flight attendant? Comment below!

New York Trip Deal (Business Class): $1,400 direct, round-trip from New York to Paris, France on La Compagnie

La Compagnie is a French, all-business class airline that offers direct flights between Newark Liberty (EWR) and Paris (ORY). The airline flights a  Boeing 757 aircraft that are equipped with with 74 business class seats that convert to angled flat beds.

La Compagnie is offering an amazing deal — $1,400 round-trip between EWR to Paris with open availability between January and April.

Sample travel dates include:

  • January 14-23
  • February 12-22
  • March 21-30
  • April 4-12
  • And many more

To support Josh Trips, search for travel on Google Flights and book using this link:

BOOK THIS FLIGHT

Air Canada flight turns back halfway to Hawaii, compensates passengers with $10 food vouchers

I get it, airplanes sometimes have issues mid-air (which is nothing any traveler really wants to hear).

That said, some Air Canada passengers had a pretty rough experience on Christmas Eve this year when a flight headed from Vancouver to Hawaii was turned around halfway to Hawaii due to a mechanical issue that was “not an emergency.”

The passengers eventually ended up in Hawaii 15 hours after originally scheduled and, in an attempt to make up for it, Air Canada offered these passengers $10 in food vouchers.

However, according to Dr. Gabor Lukacs, the founder and coordinator of Air Passenger Rights,  passengers on the flight could be eligible for damages worth thousands of dollars, in accordance with Canada’s Carriage By Air Act.

“Passengers still have to prove they’ve suffered losses, but they are liable for up to $8,700,” he said.

Since the plane was halfway to Hawaii, I’m wondering why they couldn’t fix the mechanical issues there.

Definitely not a pleasant way to fly, but hopefully these individuals enjoyed an amazing Christmas on Maui (particularly since it’s whale season!).

United announces new non-stop flights from San Francisco to New Delhi, Melbourne, and Toronto

This morning, United announced new service from San Francisco International Airport (SFO). The new flights are:

  • San Francisco to New Delhi, India (flight times are difficult though, with arrival in New Delhi at 12:45am and the return leaving New Delhi at 4am).
  • San Francisco to Melbourne, Australia
  • San Francisco to Toronto, Canada

United also announced additional flights and/or year-round service for their Seoul, Auckland, Tahiti, and Amsterdam routes.

United hypes this big announcement and I was hoping for direct flights to Guam, South America, and Africa, as Toronto is already well-serviced by Air Canada, there are currently direct flights between LAX and Melbourne, and there’s already non-stop service from SFO to Mumbai.

That said, will likely try out at least one of these new routes! Will you?

United is kicking customers out of its new Premium Plus cabin without telling them

Recently, I wrote about United’s new Premium Plus cabin which has, to this point, only been available on a limited basis (i.e., you get the fancy seat, but not the increase in service, meals, or products that typically accompanies Premium Economy).

As mentioned in that blog post, if you were a Gold premier member, you could book into the Premium Plus cabin directly at purchase. The caveat was that no one knew when United would start charging for these seats and what would happen if you booked into that cabin.

Well, that question has been answered.

As of December 3rd, United is now charging for Premium Plus for flights that take place after March 30, 2019. On my end, I had 2 flights that I booked in this Premium Plus class without paying: one between SF/LA and Auckland, New Zealand in February 2019 and another between SF and Hong Kong in September 2019.

Today, I checked my reservations and found that for my February flight to New Zealand, I’ll still be in Premium Plus, but for my trip to Hong Kong, I was moved to Economy Plus.

I don’t agree with United’s move here. On my end, when I booked my flight to Hong Kong, I booked it in a 2-4-2 setup, and they allowed me to secure this reservation. They then switched my seat to the 3-4-3 setup, which I did not agree to pay for.

I reached out to United on Twitter, asking them to move me back to my originally selected seat for the Hong Kong flights, but was told that they wouldn’t. United also initially would not give me a refund, but they eventually budged “as a goodwill gesture.”

I still love the product, though, and am excited to fly it again in February.