Following a Plane As It Crisscrosses The Globe

one of my favorite sites, the great circle mapper, has a wonderful blog series of featured maps (well worth perusing if you’re even remotely interested in aviation).

the latest follows a single united airlines 777 for a roughly two-week period (the green shows the next destinations as of the time the original post).

i know that it’s really rare that a plane flies just back and forth between two cities, but to see its globetrotting plotted out on a map is pretty damn amazing. just think: according to wikipedia, united alone has 55 of these (33 pre-merger).

Map generated by the Great Circle Mapper – copyright © Karl L. Swartz.


Holding Pattern for United’s Overwhelmed Call Centers

poor united. i know it’s not an easy thing to integrate two disparate passenger service systems, but egads, my call center (or, as they call it, phone-contact center) experience tonight was absolutely deplorable.

united clearly says on their “hub” website (and they also announce something similar on the phone when the voice response system picks up):

You may have a longer wait time to reach our phone-contact centers and we are working to reduce the time it takes for you to reach us.  We have increased staff at our contact centers to serve you better.

yeah…i called the premier gold priority line at 6:51 PM to add an in-cabin pet to my reservation for next week (yes, aubrey will be coming with me to philly — couldn’t do it online, i’m thinking, because it has a codeshare with us airways*). at around 9:15, still on hold for the gold line, i used another phone to call the regular 800-UNITED1 phone number.

which do you think answered first?

the regular line (no complaints, i just wanted to talk to someone). at around 11:15. yes, even after almost 4.5 hours, the premier gold line still didn’t pick up.

i’m not upset, just a little frustrated. i left my phones on speaker so it’s not like i wasted any time (i made and ate dinner, folded my laundry, got some work done…), but over four hours on hold for an elite status priority line? that’s unacceptable. yes, you’re going through hard times and you say you’re adding staff, but at this point you really need to bring in the reinforcements.

it’s not just me:

a friend even semi-joked:


i know once things settle down i’ll be getting the great service i’m used to from the gold line, but at this point in time, it’s atrocious. good luck to anyone needing phone support from united! definitely try and see if you can’t accomplish what you need online first. this definitely takes the record for the longest time i’ve ever been on hold for anything, ever.

* i have to pay us airways their in-cabin pet fee as well as united; luckily it’s just the outbound journey that has two airlines involved.

Poll: Regular aisle seat or extra legroom middle seat?

long story short, i’m on a flight that doesn’t have any United Economy Plus window or aisle seats left, just one measly  E+ middle or an aisle in the back (E-, aka standard economy) — and upgrade chances on this flight are slim. there have been almost seven years of discussion on flyertalk about it, but i was wondering what you’d pick. would you rather have the extra couple inches of legroom but be stuck between two people, or have the (relative) comfort of an aisle seat at the expense of squished kneecaps and being reclined into? for now i’m going with the regular economy aisle.

for what it’s worth, this is a >5h transcon, i’m about 5’8″, more than likely i will be watching movies on my macbook air (no sleeping), and let’s just say i’ll have to go to the bathroom once (full transparency!).

EDIT: also, yes, i’m constantly checking to see if upgrades are clearing and thus better E+ seats are opening. *crossing fingers*

TATL 757? No thanks.

one of the reasons i refuse to fly 757s TATL. (the main being well, i just prefer a widebody for longer flights.) i remember actively choosing flights/times/stops that did not have a 757 overwater segment on last year’s glorious SFO-LHR-JNB-FRA-AMS-ORD-SFO trip.

(via Nonstop Flights Stop for Fuel –