Does this picture look familiar? It’s pretty much looks like the seats Kris and I had on our trip to Cancun. I wish now that we had of taken pictures because it’s still almost unbelivable. Add to the close confines, we were in the last row and we could hear the toilet everytime someone flushed. Oh and if you think the aisle seat is bad try the middle seat. 😦
While the leg room is apparent, the seats aren’t. The ones United has are slightly (note the word slightly) more padded than what you’d find in McDonalds. On the layover going down I talked with a lady that said United had recently changed their seating so they could get more seats in. From row 22 back the seats are closer together than the seats from 21 to the front of coach which you now have to pay extra for. One good thing, because Kris and I are 5’2” we had maybe an inch between us and the seat ahead.
We didn’t know this, coming back we purchased seats for $49. This means it cost right at $200 more for the flight. If we had of purchased seats both ways it would have added $400 to the flights. Again we weren’t aware of all of this. In the future United will be our last carrier of choice. Heck, guess I need to honest here. If the trip isn’t an absolute must do we’d stay home before taking another United flight. And it could be worse. $39 was the cheapest these seats went for. You could pay up to $194 and still be in coach.
So booking flights — we will try to patronize airlines that check the first bag without a fee and no additional seat costs except for upgrading to business or first class and that cost will be for a ticket not additional fees. Right now I’m thinking Jet Blue or Virgin. We may pay more for the ticket but then again maybe not with all the additional fee’s some airlines are charging.
Okay so that is our experience with seating and what I call hidden or at least partially concealed fees. Now for airport management. As you can see the Cancun trip went from high highs to low lows. In fact when we stepped off the plane back home in Seattle I took a look at us and said, “You know if I didn’t know better I wouldn’t guess we were coming back from a relaxing luxery vacation. Instead I’d be thinking we look more like we need one.” 🙂
For the past few years it has been harder to get through the airports but this is pretty much universal and we just allow more time. Except — Coming back we had a layover in Houston and of course that meant customs. The connecting flight was less then an hour, but thinking that the airline wouldn’t have set it up if it wasn’t possible we weren’t worried. WE SHOULD HAVE BEEN WORRIED.
- First get off the plane. Easy. NOT. With a lot of people not wanting to pay the $25 to check their bags they have more carry on’s. In fact on all of our flights they announced that the overheads were full and they would check the bags for free. What this means is it takes longer to get out of the plane. Especially since the overheads the bags are in can sometimes be rows behind the passenger. Result: It takes longer to get off the plane. A lot longer and if our experience is anything to go by the airlines haven’t caught up with the fact so that they make allowances when scheduling connecting flights.
- Get through customs. They have an automated keosk now. It’s supposed to speed things up. Or at least I think that’s why they are using it. Whatever, trust me, it isn’t working.
- Get your checked baggage. This may be less than it used to be but it still takes awhile to get off the plane and onto the carousel. Still this might have been the best managed part of the procedure. Or maybe it was just that we were familiar with this part.
- Go through customs with the baggage. This might have worked except that there were mulitple lines and ours wasn’t manned. You can’t see this when you get in line as you’re a few blocks back. The two manned booths were supposed to take turns with our line but… didn’t happen.
- Back to recheck the bags. This worked well. The people were even really courteous.
- Last point through security. The lady looked at me and asked my age. For once it was an advantage to be old. She motioned me through a quicker portal.
Now for the sprint to the gate. We hadn’t even stopped for a potty break. At the one check point I knew we couldn’t make it and asked for a courtesy cart. The attendant said and this is a direct quote. “Oh, you can make it, but if you don’t, just go up to the desk and they will reimburse you.” You’ve got to be kidding.
I think you can guess the scenerio here. We came in on E9 and were going back out on E9 but they had routed us a long ways from that gate. By the time we got there the boarding was done and we walked right on. Another 5 to 10 minutes and we would have missed the flight.
If you haven’t stopped reading by now—conclusion. When shopping for a flight the cheapest isn’t always the cheapest. Pay more and oh my gosh I hope this equates to ‘get more.’
Happy flying. We are (maybe were) thinking of next year in Jamaica but it will for sure depend on the flights. As I write this I’m thinking of one I’ve already book. In fact I booked it before the Cancun flight. It’s with US airways and yes I paid for a seat and it’s only a couple of hours. Still not looking forward to it.
There are a number of quotes around journey. Like this one. “Getting there is half the fun…” Oh yeah try flying the friendly sky’s with United. 🙂 🙂