United Airlines

Getting ready for the World’s Longest Flight

I travel to Los Angeles today so that I can join United Airlines for the launch of their LAX to Singapore flight tonight.  At 17 hours 55 minutes, this will grab the title as longest flight from the U.S.

I’ll be one of the lucky ducks flying in the cabin of a 787 offering United’s swank Polaris service and surroundings but, still, that’s an awfully long time to spend on a plane.

So I’ve been putting together a list of activities and projects to make sure I stay occupied, entertained and productive.

Here’s what I have so far:

Watch some movies.
Learn some Italian (Next month: trip to Florence!)
Hem pants
Get to inbox zero
Have (only) one drink
Check out the menu, but don’t eat too much.
Charge Fitbit. Get my 11001 steps.
Interview at least 4 other passengers about how they are staying occupied.
Finish two or three assignements due next week
Start that will.
Outline my next book.
Finish reading that book about King Leopold.
Sleep some. Or a lot.

What else should I add?

Of course, I said yes to flying to Singapore because what many believe is the World’s Greatest Airport is there. Singapore Changi, with multiple gardens, free movie theaters, a giant slide, cool art, over-the-top floral installations, shops galore and much, much more, is a destination unto itself and while I’m in town a brand new terminal opens.  Joy!

Souvenir Sunday: 747-themed amenity kits on United

United Airlines is going to retire its Boeing 747 fleet on November 7 and to mark the occasion the airline is giving out 747-themed Polaris amenity kits starting Monday, October 23, through January 2018.

Silver kits go to first class customers, while blue kits will be handed out to business class fliers. In addition to the usual amenity kit items, each kit contains a pack of five 747 trading cards, so you can swap with your friends.

Passengers on United’s premium transcontinetnal routes (EWR-SFO, EWR-LAX, BOS-SFO) will receive (smaller, but just as charming) commemorative kits as well.

 

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United’s new safety video + ticket giveaway

United Airlines’ new safety video is rolling out this month and, to celebrate, the airline is giving away five pairs of tickets to anywhere the airline flies. Enter by October 4 here.

The video includes the necessary pre-flight safety information, of course, and offers it amid scenes of Rio de Janeiro’s Carnival, Munich’s Oktoberfest, India’s Holi Festival and a hot-air balloon festival in Steamboat Springs, Colorado.

Look for cameos by characters from previous videos, including the llama and the dinosaur, plus an appearance by United CEO Oscar Munoz.

 

Donate (and earn miles) to help Hurricane Harvey victims

The devastation in Texas caused by Hurricane Harvey is still being tallied, but it is clear many people lost their homes, their business, their livelihoods and, in some cases, their lives.

Donating money to groups such as the Red Cross is a great way to help right now and American Airlines is encouraging you to do so by offering you some bonus miles when you do.

Through September 24, 2017, AAdvantage members can earn 10 miles for every dollar they donate to the Red Cross, with a minimum donation of $25.  Donate here.

United Airlines is also encouraging you to donate to hurricane relief efforts and has set aside 3 million bonus miles and $100,000 to match contributions from Mileage Plus members made to the American Red Cross, AmeriCares, Airlink, or Operation USA through this fundraising page.

Donate $50-$99 to earn 250 bonus miles; $100-$249 to earn 500 bonus miles and donate $250 or more to earn 1,000 bonus miles.

 

 

 

An overnight ‘ride-along’ with United Airlines

My overnight ‘ride-along’ last week with United Airlines at Denver International Airport was exhausting – but exhilarating and extremely educational.

I’m working on a full-length slide show (so far, I’ve got 60 photo keepers) and report for my next At the Airport column on USA TODAY,  but sharing a few snaps today here on StuckatTheAirport.com to get the ball rolling.

At around 10 pm, my tour started at United’s Station Operations Center – a darkened room where about 50 people were seated in clusters at desks with multiple computer screens doing everything from making sure passengers made their connections to monitoring weather and  gate assignments.

Then it was off to the maintenance hangar, where 8 airplanes were undergoing service checks and repairs, included an engine swap for an Airbus 319.

 

While in the hangar, another airplane was visited by a fast-moving cleaning crew, who were doing everything from cleaning the lavs and galley (with different rags and cleaning solutions) to making sure seat back literature was refreshed and the tray tables were washed.

 

At 3 am it was back to the Station Operations Center, which was pretty much empty, except for Zone Controller Mike Lowrey, who I’d met earlier in the evening. He was checking with maintenance to see if all the planes they’d been working on overnight were ready for morning flights and doing what he could to make sure the first flights of the day would leave on time.

 

3:47 a.m. : A quick look in the concourse to see if anything was happening. Nothing. Yet.

The Flight Operations Center opens at 6 a.m.  That where captains and first officers such as Michael Daigneault can pick up supplies and plan for their flights.

My flight back to Seattle left, on time, at 8:08 a.m. I even got a set of plastic wings from the crew.

My full report on my overnight ride-along with United Airlines at Denver International Airport will show up during the week on USA TODAY.