Flying on New Year’s Day! Is There a Better Way to Greet 2017?

Leaving Boston Logan Airport

Leaving Boston Logan Airport

From the first moment I set foot on an airplane (I was 12 years old and headed to the Bahamas) I have loved flying. I loved it so much as a teenager that I even looked into being a flight attendant (at 5 foot 1 inch tall, that was a no-go).

I started traveling when I was 6. My life was pretty dull and I remember very little of it before then. But once I started going places…well, now THAT was something. Pre-flying I remember Cape Cod, Lake George, Lake Placid, and the Catskills (all in upstate New York; my family being from New York City), Vermont, New Hampshire, Bar Harbor and Freeport, Maine. Those are the places I remember most fondly.

And then once my family started flying…oh, the places you go! While I was a teenager we went to Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, Mexico City, Acapulco (back when that was still an amazing place), Hilton Head Island in South Carolina , and Hawaii.

Made Premier 1K with United Airlines!

Made Premier 1K with United Airlines!

No need to innumerate all the places I’ve been since then, because that is what this blog is about. Lets just say I feel completely at home flying and, well, going. Which is a good thing since so much of my family lives on the other coast, and also a good thing since my husband and I share traveling as a hobby.

Back to today. Applause to United for a great experience flying; my first as a Premier 1K. I cleared both of my RPU upgrades (one last night and one at the airport). I already had printed out my boarding pass for the one that had cleared yesterday but they still called me at the gate and gave me a new and improved boarding pass that said in giant letters PREMIER 1K at the bottom. Since this was my first notice that all had gone as planned for my December 30th flight I was a happy camper.

I love the United Boston terminal. It’s like a small airport in a big city; never too crowded and very short walking distances to the gates from the curbs. I also love the United Club in Boston; very pleasant with lovely views of the airport and Boston, nice bar and again, usually not overcrowded. So I whizzed through TSA Pre-Check (with no one ahead of me) and enjoyed the Club before I boarded. I realize that the undercrowding was enhanced by traveling on the holiday, which was quite nice.

Then to Washington Dulles which is my least favorite airport in the USA. Well, there is LaGuardia….but even though LaGuardia is decrepit and the traffic is definitely 3rd world, the distances to walk are pretty short so it has that one saving grace.

IAD Washington Dulles airport practically empty!

IAD Washington Dulles airport empty!

Not so with Dulles. My United Express flight landed at the very old A gates, deplane outdoors, and then walk and walk and walk, then take a train to the C gates, then walk some more and finally you get to your gate. This is important if you have a disability; if I am in RA flare-up when flying, I’d have to get wheelchair assistance to do this. Only one people mover in the whole thing, and I swear A gates and C gates are in different zip codes.

Today, no flare-up, so I walked, and from deplaning to arriving at the United Club at the C gates was about 25 minutes. Not a problem, mind you, since I had a long enough lay-over, but I’d hate to arrive late and negotiate all that to catch my connection. Now, usually IAD is wall-to-wall people. Not so at 6pm on New Year’s Day. It was actually pleasant! Same for the United Club–I usually can’t find a seat, and a seat with a plug is a miracle, but today it was great! I also appreciate the new food at the United Clubs…remember the little packages of cheeses and crackers and cookies they used to serve? Well if you do, now you get hot soups, salads, and different actual deserts. I love soups, and when you are hungry a soup goes a long way. On the way out I had a tortilla soup and today a creamy tomato basil. Deserts vary too–on the way out a really good brownie, and today a really good cookie loaf. Since I don’t drink much I truly appreciate the food being better.

img_7073I’ve just finished dinner on my flight…the only meal I’ve had during my 3 upgraded flights since it’s the only one over 2 hours. On the other flights a basket of chips and cookies and such was passed around. I think United could do better here, because if you’re in First Class you’ve either paid a bunch or you’ve gotten an upgrade you’ve earned through loyalty and flying, and a basket of meh goodies is meh.

On this flight, however, United served a lovely meal for a domestic First Class. The drink and hot nuts to start (and since it was New Year’s Day and also along day, that drink was Proseco!) then a separate salad course (salad with goat cheese and watermelon, Pomnegranate vinagrette) and a choice of a barbeced chicken breast, salmon, or a veggie dish. I got the barbecued chicken; on the bone and actually very tasty, with nice white rice and some ok veggies. I’m on the ice cream sundae now; hey, its a holiday right? So, excuse me while I dig into my now melting ice cream. I’m off to read Carrie Fisher’s The Princess Diarist (and be sad because I adored her) and watch some Direct TV.

I’m on the move and all is right with the world! Next stop Lake Tahoe. Happy New Year to one and all.

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