Before the merger with United, when I was flying Continental I would occasionally find myself on an internationally-configured 757-200 on a domestic flight. Those birds had great business class seats, and every once in a while when flying Newark-Ft Lauderdale or Newark-Las Vegas I would be pleasantly surprised to be upgraded into one of those great seats.
After the United merger, I haven’t seen an international 757-200 (with lie flat seats, now) on a domestic flight. Perhaps I was just unlucky, but a friend who frequently flies to Vegas also reports a dearth of them on that route.
So I was more than thrilled when I saw a couple of those guys flying Newark-Orlando. I’m flying down to Orlando today and chose this flight (far later in the day than I would have liked) because the 757-200 (int’l) was available. And though I’m flying on a $200 ticket, I’m upgraded into one of those lie-flat seats. United seems to be flying 2 or 3 of these a day (check the seatmap – it’s the 757 with 4 rows in business class, not 6) down to Orlando (with mine flying down in between flights to Lima, Peru).
I’ve read lots about how excited people are to fly JFK-Vancouver on Cathay because of their best-in-North-America business class seats (and those sure are fantastic). But you can’t get a free Elite upgrade on those – you can on the United 757-200 if you get lucky. As I just did.
I really did think this little perk was gone, so I’ll consider myself lucky to be lying down (at 5 in the afternoon?) on my way to visit a call center in Melbourne, Florida (yawn).