Category Archives: United Airlines

United Upgrades to 767-400ER on Houston – Honolulu So You’ll Get Lie-Flat Business Class

For travel from April 1 to June 14th, United is upgrading its aircraft on the Honolulu-Houston route from the 777-200 with the domestic first class seating to a 767-400ER with lie-flat BusinessFirst seating. For those looking for a comfortable option to Hawaii, there ya go.

Sadly, best of luck getting award seats up front though – I see a couple of dates in April and no dates at all in June.

How Adorable, I’m on an Ancient United 757-200

I fly United a fair amount and somehow I have never ended up on a non-Continental 757-200. Until today.

I’m going to Vegas, and this aircraft has tv monitors in the aisles and no power ports. It’s like 1982.

I had no idea United still flew these (how have I never ended up on one?). From what I’ve heard from my perch in 21C (along with its friend 21D, the best coach seats in United’s fleet – exit row, full recline), literally every single person has complained about the state of this aircraft.

People whine about US carriers because of this inconsistency – nowadays a 5-hour flight without seat back tv or, at least, wi-fi (or power ports) seems nuts. But here it is…

(I have nothing else to add – I somehow just had no idea they were still flying these around).

United: Our Domestic First Class Is Worth about 79 Bucks

Nothing (well, almost nothing) has driven United Elite members crazier in the past few years than the idea that United is selling upgrades before giving free upgrades to Elites. This has been discussed ad infinitum on Flyertalk, and if you’re a United shareholder you should be happy about this.

Anyway, the offers I’ve received in the past few years to upgrade have, for the most part, been unreasonable. But today I saw that I could upgrade my rather cheap ticket tomorrow to San Antonio (~$300) for $79. That seems crazy cheap to me, considering it includes a LaGuardia – Houston leg that (supposedly) is incredibly different to get upgraded on (it’s a 737-700 with only 12 FC seats.

I turned it down because the exit row in Economy Plus was available for free (and I’m perfectly happy with that for 3 hours), but I’m surprised how little they were selling it for. Is that normal?

United: We Have Successfully Destroyed the Environment With Our Old Coffee Cups, So Now It’s Time to Move On to Different Cups

Let me ask you a couple of questions:

- Are you one of the millions of people who choose their airline based on the cups in which their beverages are served?

- Do you love your piping hot beverage served in a styrofoam cup?

Well, if you answered yes to that second question you’ve got a decision to make:

United Airlines has announced that it will no longer serve coffee (or tea!) in styrofoam cups (like it’s 1973), and will be switching to – wait for it, beverage lovers – insulating InCycle® cup, manufactured by Washington-based technology company MicroGREEN, which is made from 50% recycled materials, and is, itself, 100% recyclable.


Yep, that’s it. It holds hot beverages, cold beverages, lukewarm beverages, beverages of indeterminate temperature – and everything in between! In the United Club (where it debuts this month), you can fill it with those little cheese crackers and yogurt-covered raisins (where available). If you’re not in a Club, you can fill it with all of the extra miles you’ll need to fly anywhere now that they’ve devalued their award chart. Your choice!

If you love styrofoam, I suggest getting a bunch of flights in before Mid-March, when they roll out the new cup in the skies.

A Clarification on Which US Airways Flights Earn United Miles

Based on what I’ve seen elsewhere, there is still some confusion (including my own confusion) around which US Airways flights earn United miles, now that US Airways is owned by American. Here we go…Until March 30th:

- US Airways flights on US Airways metal will earn United miles, as they always have.

- US Airways flights that are a codeshare with American Airlines that are on American Airlines metal will NOT earn United miles.

- US Airways Express flights operated by any of their express partners WILL earn United miles.

- Keep in mind that Republic flights Express flights for both US Airways and American. That is confusing. Just saying.

- American Airlines codeshare flights that are operated by US Airways WILL earn United miles.

The rule of thumb is that the operating carrier determines whether you’ll earn miles with United.

(Thanks to this FT thread…)

Using the United Gift Registry to Get Your $200 Amex Platinum Reimbursement

My Amex Platinum card is coming up for renewal in a bit (I won’t be renewing), but I did want to take advantage of the $200 annual airline fee reimbursement before then. As I did last year, I chose United as my airline for reimbursement. Last year I purchased a $200 gift card (two, actually – one with my card, one with my wife’s), and they were reimbursed no problem.

I’ve been reading on Flyertalk, though, that people are not being reimbursed for $200 gift card purchases on United right now.

Here’s a way around that: create a United gift registry and contribute to it.


Go to and under Products & Services in the top menu, choose Gift Registry. Then set up a gift registry for yourself (NOT the MileagePlus gift registry – do the gift registry). Then you can contribute money to it. And if you use your Amex Platinum to contribute the $200, you’ll be reimbursed. I did that, then used my wife’s card to add to my registry (thanks, Susan!). The funds are stored in your United Travel Bank, which can be used toward purchases.

This is actually even better than buying gift cards because you can use a partial amount of the total in your travel bank and use the rest later.

The funds expire after 2 years of inactivity in the account, but you can always just add $25 to the account at a later date to extend the time.


Up to 15,000 Bonus Miles for Flying United PS Service

United is offering up to 15,000 bonus miles for flying roundtrip PS service between New York and Los Angeles or San Francisco. You’ll get 15,000 miles for flying BusinessFirst (J, C, D, Z, Pclass round trip, 10,000 miles for flying full-fare economy (Y and B), and 5,000 for flying most discounted economy (M, E, U, H, Q, V, W, S) – that excludes the most discounted economy fares. You’ll receive half the miles if you only fly one-way.

Purchase by March 31st for flights between January 7th and March 31st.

Register here.


United Launches Nonstop Service from Chicago to Kahalui, Maui

United is re-launching nonstop Chicago O’Hare – Kahalui, Maui Saturday-only service beginning April 6th.

Departs O’Hare at 10:30am, arrives 2:24pm.
Departs Maui 4pm, arrives Chicago at (gulp) 5am.

Service is on 777-200 with non-lie-flat business class seats. But don’t worry about that because there’s almost no award availability in either cabin.


New York/Philadelphia United Mileage Run Opportunity: Philadelphia Rail to Las Vegas, $121 Round Trip

Saw this on Flyertalk and thought it worth sharing:

Anyone needing a mileage run on United from Philadelphia or New York:

On December 10, 11 and 17th you can travel on United from Philadelphia 30th Street Train Station (ZFV) to Las Vegas for $121 round trip. You can do a same-day turn, returning on the red-eye nonstop to Newark. Nets around 4,800 EQM if you travel via Houston on the outbound and about 4,400 if you fly nonstop from Newark.


- Here’s the deal with the ZFV-EWR leg of the trip. You SHOULD NOT skip that leg if it is at the start of your trip. In other words, if you are traveling ZFV-EWR-LAS, you SHOULD NOT skip ZFV-EWR. They may cancel out the rest of your reservation. If you are traveling LAS-EWR-ZFV, the general consensus is that you are fine skipping EWR-ZFV. These are one way fares, so to be safe you may want to book each leg separately.

- Amtrak legs earn 250 miles, but they DO NOT count toward Elite status (ie, they are NOT EQM).

- If the return flight LAS-EWR is canceled, they MAY put you on a LAS-(ORD/IAH)-PHL flight since United thinks you are going to Philadelphia. Pretty outside chance, but it’s possible.

Why Is United Adding Daily Service from Chicago and Houston to Atlantic City? (Answer: Trains)

An OTR reader passed along this article noting that United Airlines announced that it will begin once-daily service from Atlantic City to both Chicago and Houston beginning in April.

Spirit Airlines is currently the only carrier serving Atlantic City, focusing on getting people out of Southern New Jersey and down to Florida and Myrtle Beach.

So is there demand for a 6am flight to Houston? Well, no. I was thinking that UA must want something from the Port Authority (which now runs the Atlantic City Airport), and as that thought crossed my mind, the reader who sent me the original story pointed out this piece that says Governor Christie offered to extend PATH train service to Newark Airport in exchange (in part) for United flying to Atlantic City. (BTW – if you can’t read that Wall Street Journal article because you don’t have a subscription, just Google the phrase “Mixed Signals on New PATH to the Airport” and you can get to the article for free).

There you have it: United is flying from Atlantic City to Houston to encourage more people to take the train from Hoboken to Newark. Obviously.

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