United Airlines = Santa Claus
I have arrived in Hong Kong, having spent most of Christmas Day in the air and having lost most of the 26th to the International Date Line. No Boxing Day for me this year!
On the first leg of my journey--from Hartford to Chicago--I thought it would be good to come up with a ranking system for the various air segments I’ll be flying in the weeks ahead. At first I figured there should be three categories: good, mediocre, and abysmal. Then I concluded I should add another rating at the high end for those times when you a get a row to yourself or similar such good luck. Little did I expect what happened to me in O’Hare Airport: I was summoned to the desk at the gate and bumped up to Business Class for my United flight from Chicago to Tokyo! And then the same thing happened again in Narita, for the final segment to Hong Kong! I had been bumped up to First Class once before--around 1991, I believe--on a Savannah to Hartford flight after spring break with the tennis team. That was nice for a relatively short trip, but these flights became worlds better because of the upgrades. I mean, if you are going to get a free upgrade, there’s no better time than a transcontinental flight! Here are a few of the advantages: significantly more room (in the seat itself, in the space between you and your neighbor, and in front and behind the seat), a much more comfortable chair--one that reclines to an acute angle for better sleeping, far better food and service, no charge for alcoholic beverages, a choice of free newspapers, less competition for the onboard lavatories, and first exiting privileges upon arrival. I concede I did adopt a certain air about the “great unwashed masses” behind me in the plane while sitting in the lap of luxury up front. I hope I have such good luck again on this round-the-world trip.
Anyway, after clearing immigration and customs and arranging transport to my hotel in the city, it’s now early in the morning on the 27th and I am going to crash.