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.

Review of United’s new Premium Plus seat on the 777-300ER

A few weeks ago, I was flying United direct from San Francisco to Hong Kong. At the time, I was a United Silver premier member (that flight bumped me up to Gold, though!). As a Silver member, I was able to move to Economy Plus for free within 24 hours of my flight, and I considered myself lucky enough when an Economy Plus aisle seat opened up.

But I didn’t realize how lucky I really was.

When I was asked to select a seat, I was a bit confused as the setup was 2-4-2, rather than the typical 3-4-3 setup on this route. I actually thought it was a glitch, but didn’t let that stop me from changing my seat.

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When I got on the plane, I was shocked. It turns out that United is slowly rolling out its Premium Plus product (which is basically the same as Premium Economy). Premium Plus is a class of service between Economy and Business.

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There was a welcome screen telling me the basics — mainly, that one day (soon) United is going to charge extra for these seats, and that they will come with separate pillow/blankets, meals, and service that will make it stand out even more than regular economy.

The seats are new and very comfortable. There is a foot rest in front of you and the recline is much better than economy or Economy Plus. The screen is massive (I’m used to having no screen at all on this route), and there is a really handy storage area that’s perfect for your cell phone, charger, and headphones. Speaking of headphones, the headphones provided by United in Premium Plus were very sharp and comfortable.

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The little touches were nice, too. This included a table extension (pictured below) that made it easy to watch your iPhone/iPad/tablet without needing to hold it up yourself.

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Even though the flight took off at around 1:05pm, I was able to nap comfortably, which I attribute to the recline and comfortable seat. There was plenty of leg room, which I also really enjoyed.

These Premium Plus seats are available on a few routes from San Francisco, including Hong Kong, Auckland, and Taipei.

Overall, I had a great experience. Right now, as a United Gold member, I’m able to move into Premium Plus seats at booking, so I’m taking advantage of it for as long as the seats remain free. I’m not sure if I’ll continue to book these seats once United starts charging a premium for them (it will depend on how much they’re charging), but I’d definitely be temped.

4 reasons why United should allow emotional support peacocks on its flights

Recently, a woman tried to board a United Airlines flight leaving from Newark Liberty International Airport with her emotional support peacock, but the airline denied the bird entry on the flight.

Below are 4 reasons why United should consider revising its policy and allowing emotional support peacocks on board.

They are majestic as hell

In all of the reporting following the recent incident, no one — not even United — has denied how freakin’ majestic these beautiful creatures are.

Nature’s drag queen, the peacock struts about like it’s the cock of the walk and for good reason.

I’m guessing United never even considered that the peacock could use the aisle as a fashion runway, providing free on-board entertainment for its customers (or maybe that’s why they blocked the peacock, since it could take away from their in-flight entertainment revenue).

It would would serve as an emotional support peacock for all passengers

In recorded history, no one has ever seen a peacock and said, “Oh no, a peacock!” Instead, people smile, their hearts warm up, and some even cry tears of joy when looking at this majestic AF (see above) animal.

Allowing such a beautiful creature on a plane would bring joy to otherwise stressed and anxious passengers.

Some already have black eyes, making it easier to conceal typical United customer service policies

We all know how you like to give your passengers black eyes, United, so it might excite you to know that some peacocks come tailored-made with black eyes already in place. This lowers your workload and allows the airline focus on providing other passengers with the type of service we’ve come to expect from United.

What are you, my doctor?

Who is United to say that emotional support dogs are okay but emotional support peacocks are not? Where did they get their medical degree from? Did they examine me?

Maybe I had a dog-related trauma and only feel safe when accompanied by a peacock. Or maybe I was raised by peacocks and need to be around them to find any sense of belonging in the world. Both are sensible and all-too-common reasons why people may need an emotional support peacock, and my reasons for having one should be between me and my doctor.

Do you agree with United’s policy? Let me know in the comments!

San Francisco Trip Deal: $332 round-trip from SFO to Rome, Italy on United

There’s an awesome deal from San Francisco to Rome, Italy right now on United that you can’t find on Google Flights or related travel searches. Some itineraries are both United and other Star Alliances members, such as Brussels Airlines, Swiss Air, Air Canada, and Lufthansa.

The flights are very limited, with departure dates of either March 12th or March 13th, and returning either March 20th, 21st, 23rd, or 26th.

You can find the flights through momondo search engine (I’ve linked to a March 13-26 itinerary where you can find the $332 price).

I’ve booked a number of amazing flight deals this way, but note that you’ll have to book with a separate travel agency, which can add a layer of complication if you need to change your travel reservations. That said, this ticket price is hard to beat!

H/T: Secret Flying

Alaska Airlines announces new daily service to Everett, Washington

Alaska Airlines announced today that it will begin non-stop service from Paine Field-Snohomish County Airport, located in Everett, Washington. The flights to Everett, which is just north of Seattle and in an area referred to locally as the North Sound, will increase the ease of travel for local residents, particularly those living in the northern suburbs, and provide an additional hub for those looking to explore northern Washington and southern British Columbia.

Although the number of flight frequencies in each market and the starting dates will be announced later, there will be daily flights from Paine Field to the following destinations:

  • San Francisco
  • San Jose
  • Portland
  • Phoenix
  • Los Angeles
  • Orange County
  • Las Vegas

This announcement follows United’s announcement in August that it would begin daily, non-stop service between Paine Field and its San Francisco and Denver hubs.

Los Angeles Trip Deal: $196 direct, round-trip from LAX to Mexico City, Mexico on United, Delta

Delta and United Airlines are putting direct flights from Los Angeles to Mexico City, Mexico on sale! Flights start at $196 round-trip, after taxes with very good availability from January through May 2018.

Volaris also has some availability for those dates, with flights as low as $191 round-trip, after taxes.

To find this deal, use Google Flights and search for flights between LAX and MEX.