Well, that’s not how I meant to get to Seattle


When the check-in machine at the airport informs you that it is unable to rebook your connection that’s a bad thing. When the agent behind the counter has to back away from the computer and call in reinforcements to figure out the rebooking it is even worse. But, when they eventually work together to figure everything out it isn’t all bad.

With the snow in New York City not expected to begin until early afternoon I figured my 10:30am flight out of JFK was going to be just fine. And the connection on from Dulles to Seattle would be fine, too. After all, Dulles has plenty of spare capacity and nicely separated runways meaning that operations there rarely suffer. But they did. And so the issues in DC, combined with the rain in NYC, meant that my reasonably easy connection on the way to Seattle was not going to happen. Ruh roh.

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The issue was made even more challenging by the fact that the United Airlines operations at JFK are so limited. There aren’t a whole lot of alternate options out there once you’re stuck. Fortunately they managed to scare up space on the JFK-SFO flight and then connect me onward from there. I’m pretty sure there was some sort of overbooking involved to make that space appear but the flights ended up going out with folks clearing the standby list so that was apparently not a huge issue. And, even though I didn’t get the new line on my flight map (IAD-SEA) I did actually get to Seattle the same day I intended to. And that was pretty critical for catching my onward flights to China. Even better, I did it from the comfort of United’s p.s. Business Class.

The seat was much more comfortable for sleeping than the A319 seat I was supposed to be on. And the food was, much to my delight, quite good.

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The past few times I’ve done the p.s. flights it has been on the morning departures and the breakfast options aren’t much to get excited over, but the lunch I had was most impressive.

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If I had to quibble at all it would be on the fact that they don’t have as many toppings on offer for the sundaes, but they have the ones I like and they have chocolate and vanilla ice cream rather than just one. Hardly worth getting worked up over.

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Add in plenty of leg room and a blanket that I really should have kept for my onward flight to Beijing and I managed to both eat and sleep quite well for the five and a half hours I spent on the plane.

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The onward connection to Seattle was on a CRJ-700, not my favorite aircraft by any stretch. But it was a smooth flight and the approach in to Seattle offered up phenomenal views of downtown as we flew up the Sound and then circled back to land to the South.

Only about 3 hours later than originally expected and many, many hours ahead of my originally scheduled flights, even if I hadn’t missed the connection. Not bad at all in the end.

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Seth Miller

I'm Seth, also known as the Wandering Aramean. I was bit by the travel bug 30 years ago and there's no sign of a cure. I fly ~200,000 miles annually; these are my stories. You can connect with me on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and .

4 Comments

  1. Nice meals….nicer than I have had in business with United for a while.
    Sorry about not getting your new line on the map!

  2. The ps flights in C are among the best domestic flights. It adds a couple of hours on NYC-SEA but it also nets about 3300 EQMs each way when on paid tickets

  3. Wait – people actually take blankets off flights? Do you eventually leave it on another flight or just keep it forever and ever amen? Those intl C blankets are quite nice…

    1. I have, exactly once, taken a blanket off the plane to use on a different flight. It was the p.s. C blanket and I used it on my connecting LH Y flight from SFO-FRA. I knew that was going to be a tough one and I needed all the help I could get. I actually left it on my seat and was talking with the FAs in the galley. When I came back the woman in the seat next to me was asleep (prior to departure, mind you) using my rightfully stolen blanket. Apparently she recognized how nice it was and decided to use it. Getting it back was, well, a bit interesting. More on that incident here.

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