14 Apr I am Booking United Flights

UPDATE: I BOOKED United flights

United Airlines is NOT having a good run here recently. It started with that whole leggings debacle… and then of course the much talked, posted, tweeted, reported story about Dr. Dao and his violent removal/dragging from United Flight 3411…

Oh ya, and then there was that weird scorpion thing? 

There has been an overwhelming amount of coverage on each of these incidents and I don’t have the time or patience to dive in into all the detail (but if it is details you want – head to Live and Let’s Fly, who has been doing the best job of covering all things United).

In summary, United is on America’s sh*t list (for good reason)… but that won’t stop me from flying United

While I do not like or support any of United’s actions that led to their recent demise, what I do like is non-stop flights at reasonable prices. Unfortunately for me, I am, stuck between that current dislike for United and the opportunity to fly the one and only non-stop Tampa – San Francisco flight on… you guessed it, United!

I tried to find other flights… I really did!


Seriously! I did! Here is a snippet of the email I sent my wife laying out some flight options!

We have 3 Flight options for our Napa Trip.. and I need your input!

Option #1:
Non-stop United TPA-SFO 8:38AM – 11:33AM
Non-stop United SFO-TPA 4:15PM – 12:31AM
Cost: $0, using Merrill Lynch Rewards
Pros: Free flights, non-stop flights both ways, not rushed on Sunday morning to get from Napa to SFO airport
Cons: It’s United lol, no lounge access anywhere, no preferred seats (though may be worth paying up to preferred seats since its free and its a 6 hour flight…), and the biggest con – arrive home LATE past midnight on Sunday and have to work Monday…
(Option #2 deleted for this post as it was also United)
Option #3:
Delta TPA-LAX-SFO 7:00AM-11:30AM
jetBlue Mint Class SFO-FLL 8:00AM-4:40PM, then SW FLL 7:25PM-8:30PM
Cost: Free on points… Using Merrill Lynch Rewards & Amex Membership Rewards
Pros: Free flights, Delta lounge access, get to fly MINT!!! Arrive home at a reasonable time on Sunday.
Cons: Connections both ways, including one into Ft Lauderdale in which we will have to exit and re-enter security, and the biggest con – we will have to get to the airport before 7:00AM – thats early if we are coming from Napa, though we could change the trip a bit and do Saturday afternoon in San Fran so we can be closer to the airport…

My mind is telling me United, but my heart is telling me I NEED jetBlue MINT CLASS!! 

Final Thought

The non-United flights just won’t do. Bad timing, risky connections, and hefty ticket prices on competing airlines leave me with an unfortunate “best available flight” – United it is folks. I’m not happy about it.

Photo cred – http://aero-shots.boardingarea.com/

At the end of the day I will be flying United because it presents me the best possible itinerary – the price is right, the routing is right, and the timing is mostly right.

Some of you may be protesting United – and if you are, good for you! The fact that you have the money and flexibility necessary to take a moral stand and avoid flying one of the largest US airlines, offering arguably the best route network, is impressive.

But me, and it sucks to say, I’ll be flying United.

How many of you out there are taking a stand?

And how many are currently looking at/booking United flights regardless of the recent blunders?

Happy Travels!


  • Shaun
    Posted at 15:32h, 14 April Reply

    I’d take the United flights and not think twice. United f’d up so many ways this week, but at the end of the day, there’s still a vast majority of good people working there. I’m ORD based and split my flights pretty much 50/50 UA and AA. This could have just as easily happened on an AA flight to SDF as the United flight. AA’s operational reliability is even worse than United’s….and in Chicago, there’s always a chance the cops will beat the shit out of you regardless on which airline youbfly, or what color shirt you wear that day.

    If you were choosing between several nonstops, I’d say chose the non UA option this time, but at the end of the, I’d take convinience over making a statement.

    • DW
      Posted at 18:07h, 14 April Reply

      Thanks for the comment! Seems you and I are aligned here. At the moment, with all things being equal, I’ll opt for anything but United… but if United wins out on price and/or convenience, United it is!

  • dubaych
    Posted at 18:03h, 14 April Reply

    Snippet is a word.

    • DW
      Posted at 18:05h, 14 April Reply

      Good looking out, friend!

  • Christian
    Posted at 03:14h, 15 April Reply

    If you truly dislike United, either don’t fly them unless required to do so, or deal with it. Otherwise it seems disingenuous, as if you want it both ways. Talk is cheap, whiskey costs money.

  • Garrett
    Posted at 12:44h, 17 April Reply

    I stopped flying United years ago because I had plenty of bad flights with them. Usually paid first class, with terrible service and bad food. I say option #3 no question. LAX-SFO if plagued with delays right now (I fly that route a lotttttttttt) because of some runway situation at SFO, but it looks like you’re scheduled to get in early enough that you could accommodate an hour or two delay. When are you flying? With the airlines moving mid-May at LAX, the lounge situation might not be the best.

    • DW
      Posted at 12:53h, 17 April Reply

      Thanks for the input! I ended up going with Option #1 – Non-stop United TPA-SFO-TPA. The non-stop was just too good to pass up and really maximizes our time on the West coast. The kicker was really the Sunday flight, where if the routing involved a stop it would force us to be at the airport by 7am, wasting the entire Sunday flying. Since the trip is Thursday – Sunday, we really wanted that extra time!

      Not a United fan, but when it comes to flying I am as loyal as my options, and United wins out here.


      • Garrett
        Posted at 14:30h, 17 April Reply

        I booked a trip to Napa in May for my 30th birthday. We’re having dinner at the French Laundry, and since Virgin America is disappearing we decided that we should fly first one last time. Staying at the Andaz Napa…we’ll see how that is (wish they had a pool). Enjoy your trip!

        • DW
          Posted at 15:16h, 17 April Reply

          That sounds amazing! I am hoping I can land a French Laundry res this time around… any advice!? Enjoy the Andaz, that would have been my choice by visiting Napa with friends so opted for a 2 bedroom Airbnb within walking distance of downtown!

          • Garrett
            Posted at 15:27h, 17 April

            Yeah! They changed their reservation system to where you have to prepay (non-refundable). It actually wasn’t that hard, since I think some people are deterred by the idea that they have to pay right at that moment. Use this link: https://tfl.tocktix.com/ it was super easy…it just wasn’t that fun paying for 4 people up front. lol. Alinea in Chicago uses it too, and hoping to get that reservation for July. It looks like right now French Laundry is booking out through June 30th. Bardessono was my first choice, but this trip got super expensive very quickly, so we decided to calm down and do the Andaz. Good luck!

          • DW
            Posted at 15:30h, 17 April

            Thanks!!! Wow lol upfront payment… we will see if my travel group is ready to stomach that!

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