On my trip to Seoul last November I was short a bit on GPU and on cash. So I only booked in an upgrade-eligible fare class for the outbound half of the trip (cleared at booking); the return was the cheapest possible with no chance of an upgrade. And then T-24 hours rolled around and it was time to check in for the flight. Much to my delight a good friend indicated that he had a spare GPU which was going to otherwise be wasted and so it was time to play a bit of a game. Not only was I looking to SDC on to a more direct routing home (originally purchased via IAH) but I also wanted to re-fare up to W without paying a change fee. Turns out I didn’t even have to ask for that to be waived. It was a minor case of shenanigans, to be sure, but after about 10 minutes on the phone I was confirmed in business class for the flight home.
Well, most of the way home. My seat from Seoul to Narita was still in economy (exit row on the Micronesia config 737-800) and I had the “pleasure” of a “snack” on that flight.
But from there on it was actually a pretty good experience.
The connection in from Seoul is well-timed for the bank of US departures at Narita. I had enough time to grab a meal of my favorite airport sushi and even poke my head into both the ANA and United lounges to remind myself that there was pretty much no point in doing so unless I really need a shower. And then it was off to board the 777-200ER and head home.
There’s nothing new about the seat, the IFE or even really the meal service. But that doesn’t make it any less comfortable for the 12ish hours en route to New York. Oh, and this time around the flight had wifi via the Panasonic Ku-band satellite system. It was $17 for the flight and performance was reasonably good throughout the trip.
But on to the bits which are somewhat photogenic, the meals:
OK, so the sushi appetizer needs a bit of help. Probably not worth bothering on that one. But the rest of the meal was actually quite tasty.
Yes, I had the fish. It was spectacular. A bit hard to tell from the photo but it was properly cooked, moist and flaky. Sure, the veggies might not be what were listed in the menu, but it was a good meal. Given how frequently the beef option is a miSteak I’m changing my tune in general: The seafood option has been consistently passable to good every time I’ve had it on United (and Continental) for the past 5+ years; the beef has not. Seafood is now my default choice.
Also worth noting is that we had garlic bread available departing Asia; this is an option which was supposedly cut late in 2014 for TPAC flights returning to the USA. And yet here it was on my plate and in my belly.
Wrap up with an ice cream sundae (and cheese plate, if you so desire, though I’ve started avoiding that in general) and a digestif and then zone out for a quite necessary nap.
I was fortunate to get one of the few Japanese options for the “breakfast” meal served just prior to the mid-afternoon arrival in Newark. I say the mostly because it is the most like a proper mid-day meal of the offerings and I really dislike having a breakfast mid-day, even if it is morning where I was when the flight departed.
The flight was mostly about catching up on some sleep and I did plenty of that. I can sleep pretty well in the United BF seat and this trip was no exception. And for ~$1500 round trip, plus the upgrade instruments, it is hard to complain at all. I won’t much have that opportunity going forward with no more 1K status, but I’m getting over it pretty quickly.
And, FWIW, comparing my notes on this flight to the same route and almost same seat in July 2011 yields some entertaining similarities. I have switched to preferring window seats over aisles in that time.
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