This is a quick mileage run. I had two expiring SWU's on UA that I had to use by the end of January. So I decided to do a quick trip to Lisbon and back. I scheduled myself on United from LAX via IAD to AMS, and then onto LIS on TP. While the ticket was in Y, I upgraded the UA flights to C.
Word to the wise.... Remember that when booking a flight with a stop, you only earn miles based on origin to destination. When you book a flight with a connection, you earn miles per segment. This can get confusing, as many direct flights still have stops, and the typical flyer will lose out on earning valuable miles! So I made sure to ticket LAX-IAD and IAD-AMS as two separate flights, even though it is all UA 946.
Check in at LAX was quick and painless at 6:30am. Security was a breeze. I skipped over the UA Red Carpet Club in favor of the Continental President's Club. You see, for whatever reason, there is no wireless access in the RCC while the PC offers free t-mobile. Makes a difference. (I have access to the PC through membership, which does not require a same day ticket). I did make a quick stop in the RCC, just to get my ticket's worth!
UA 946 LAX-IAD
I boarded the flight toward the end of the announcements. I had no bags I needed to store, so bin space was not a problem. I settled into 9D on the 777. Rows 8 and 9 on international 777's are in the "mini cabin." I like the privacy of it. We took off on time for the 4 hour flight. Meal service was a choice of cheese omelets with turkey saussage and fruit or a large fruit plate. FA came by with warm breads, including danish, croissants, and bagels. The meal was perfect. After the service, I plugged in my laptop to the empower and watched the 40th anniversary of "The Sound of Music." Amazing, I still cry when Maria leaves the Von Trapp home!
Warm cookies and milk before arrival. Truly a great flight with great service. My only complaint was the guy at the bulkhead who put his feet up on the wall much of the flight. I just find this kinda vulgar!
Dulles airport was busy. I took the shuttle to the B gates, as I like the shopping there better. Again, I used my Continental membership to get into the NW lounge. Stocked up on Walker's Biscuits. Left, and headed back to the C gates. I also went to the RCC for a few minutes, as wireless does work in this club. I was asked if I wanted drink chits, which I did not. These drink coupons are a huge deal to many. I don't get it!
UA 946 IAD-AMS
Flight boarded on time. I settled into 9F to find an amenity kit (basic bag with the usual stuff/ no little trinkets with official airline branding) and noise-cancelling earphones. Was offered drinks before departure. We took off on time and soon menus were distributed. I like the new UA menus. Very artsy and classy. Meal began with drinks and warmed nuts. Appetizer was a smoked salmon plate with a side salad. Warm focaccia and garlic bread was also served. Dinner was a choice of Beef Fillet, Pasta, or Fish. I chose the fish, which was excellent. Only problem was that the FA somehow forgot to serve me until dinner service was almost done! A simple oversight! Dessert was either a cheese plate or ice cream. I choose the cheese which was perfect. IFE was not AVOD, but UA has increased its offerings to 8 video channels. I took a melatonin and slept about 2.5 hours. Woke for breakfast, which was a croissant, fruit, and juice. Again, perfect. Landed and off-loaded on time.
I had 4.5 hours to kill at AMS. Wasn't in the mood to go into the city. I sat in the contract lounge and watched a DVD while eating biscuits. Did some light shopping. Soon, my TAP flight was to leave.
Now, I was originally going to go to MAD. But I realized I hadn't flown TAP in over 15 years, and I wanted to see what they were about. As this trip was purely for earning miles, I was flexible. So a few weeks ago, I changed my plans to fly to LIS instead of MAD.
The A320 was about 1/3 full. I was in Y with a full row. Leather seat not nearly as comfy as the cloth UA seats in Y. This is in part because of the pitch. But I also prefer cloth to leather. Everything was on time. Meal included a small (but sufficient) smoked turkey and havarti sandwich with a muffin on the side. Coffee/ tea/ drinks also available. We landed into a cold Lisbon afternoon.
Now, get this.... This Lisbon airport had the MARCH issue of Airways Magazine on their rack. I couldn find this at all in the states!
I asked the cab driver if it ever snows. He told me, "Not in 50 years."
Well, it snowed! Everyone was out in the streets with the cell phones taking pictures. And I was drenched to the bone, as I wasn't prepared. So I went to a spa and dethawed in the jacuzzi for a few hours.
And tomorrow, I fly back. TP to MUC, UA to ORD and LAX!
[Edited 2006-01-30 03:19:50]