Looking great, even under a stormy sky â€“ Photo: Manu Venkat | AirlineReporter
Everyone remembers their first time. Their first time getting upgraded on an international flight, that is. For some people, it’s aÂ splurge with miles. For others,Â it’s the result of hard-won top-tier airline status. Or a cash upgrade offer at check-in that is too good to be true. But no matter how it happens, your first time flying in first or business class isÂ theÂ highlight of any AvGeek’s flying career.
Earlier this year, I had the pleasure of my first long-haul upgrade â€“ in a shiny new Dreamliner, no less. And yes, itÂ was everything I wanted it to be and more. But the circumstances were a little unusual, because my upgrade wasnâ€™t thanks to miles, or cash. I was upgraded because of a typhoon in the western Pacific.
This is NOT the ideal weather forecast for flying â€“ Photo: Manu Venkat | AirlineReporter
Wait … what? Well read on forÂ the backstory, plus plenty ofÂ photos and thoughts about myÂ experience in United’s BusinessFirst 787 cabin. And once you’re done reading, share your own stories about your first times getting bumped up.
MileagePlus X: A simple way to earn free #UA787 flights – Photo: JL Johnson
Let’s get something out of the way. I am not a United fan. In fact, I have said numerous times that all things equal, I’d rather fly Spirit. Why do I bring this up? Because after using United’s MileagePlus X App for a year, I’m starting to come around. And that, my friends, is a pretty big deal. Opinions formed from years of disappointment and failures at all levels don’t change overnight. TheyÂ certainly don’t change as the result of side-project ancillary revenue apps. But here I am, about to tell you why you should be a MileagePlus X user too.
The United MileagePlus X concept is simple: Use the app to buy gift cards for everyday purchases at thousands of retailers and get United miles as a kickback. Earnings per dollar spent at merchants vary widely, typically between one and five miles. Earnings are dependent upon on the merchant and the time of year. For example, the standard for Amazon seems to be one mile per dollar, but I have seen up to three. The norm for Gap/Old Navy/Banana Republic is five, but for a while during back-to-school season earnings jumped to ten miles per dollar.
This arrangement is win/win/win. United gets a slice of the transaction (yay ancillary revenue!), the retailer gets a sale they may have otherwise lost, and the consumer gets miles. The concept United is using is far from theÂ typical dining or shopping programs offered by nearly every other airline. When I think of the words “innovative” and “pioneer” United does not come to mind. But both apply in the context of MileagePlus X.
An American Boeing 787-8 (N812AN) at LAX; the 787-9 is a stretched version of the -8
This story has been updatedÂ to include new information about the availability of premium economy and anticipated dates for domestic operations.
American Airlines today announced new details and routes for its newest addition to the fleet, theÂ Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner (789), which isÂ set toÂ arriveÂ in the lastÂ quarter of this year. While American already operates 17 BoeingÂ 787-8s (788s), four of the stretchedÂ -9s, with new business class seats and a cabin configuration to include a new Premium Economy section, will be delivered by the end of December 2016, with a total of 22 on order.
The 789s will initially be based out of American’s home base, Dallas-Fort Worth Airport (DFW), and on November 4 will commence service to Madrid-Barajas Airport (MAD) and Sao Paulo-Guarulhos International Airport (GRU).
AirlineReporter has received exclusive details on the inauguralÂ route the 789 will actually fly…
United employees get excited for their newest Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner
What makes the 27th delivery of a Boeing 787 to an airline special? Its employees.
Recently, United took delivery of a 787-9 Dreamliner and invited 200 employees along, to celebrate their dedication and hard work. Team leaders, around the world, were asked to select top performers and they were invited to fly to Seattle, attend a VIP dinner, and take a Dreamliner delivery flight back to home-base in Chicago.
The United 787, sitting at Boeing Field
The road to… well… unite United has not been easy and there is still a lot of work ahead. With new leadership, there is renewed hope for bringing everyone together for the purpose of making the airline stronger. From what I saw during the delivery flight, the airline seems to be on the right path. I have become optimistic about their future.