Trip Report: San Diego United Club and SAN-IAD A320 United Economy "Minus"
My trip back to Spain started with a slight hiccup. At the airport, I lined up in the Premier Gold line, so I actually had an agent rather than a kiosk attend to me. That turned out to be really lucky, because she saw that my flight to Chicago was delayed, putting my connection to Frankfurt at risk, so she looked around for alternative routings. She found one of the last remaining seats on a flight to Washington-Dulles, which surprisingly was a faster overall trip time, since that flight left more than an hour after the Chicago flight.
So I had extra time in the United Club to hang out. The San Diego United Club is really pretty, with natural finishes like wood and marble, and an open and airy feeling.
For the holidays, they had a hot chocolate station! I guess you’re supposed to put hot chocolate in your cup, and then whipped cream on top (and/or marshmallows), and then on top of the whipped cream, toppings like sprinkles and toffee bits. But since I forewent the whipped cream, my toffee bits sank to the bottom. :(
I also had some of the usual oatmeal and fruit, including cantaloupe, honeydew, and pink grapefruit segments.
After breakfast, I had time to go to a long area separated by a glass wall and glass door, open to the terminal below and with views onto the tarmac and runway. Power outlets abounded on the tabletop.
Then it was down the escalators and to my gate, to board my A320 to Dulles.
Since I switched onto this flight at the very last minute, I was seated all the way in the back, just a few rows in front of the lavatories, in Economy “Minus.” I was lucky though, to get an aisle seat. And I sat next to a mother with a son in the window seat, and two more sons not one row but two rows in front. They were the most polite kids ever! Always asking their mom if it was okay to stand up, asking the flight attendant about the beverages she had… And the flight attendants on this flight were particularly friendly, too, chatting with passengers as they went down the aisle.
I had my mind set on ordering the (pork) Chorizo Breakfast Sandwich on my Chicago flight, so I was a bit worried that they’d run out of these by the time they made it to the back of the plane. But I was surprised that they had a basket still full of these sandwiches! I paid, and the flight attendant even noted that I was paying with a United credit card, “so you get 20% off! Woo hoo!” she said, and did a little dance.
This was served with a packet of Cholula hot sauce, as well as the regular maple wafers given to all Economy passengers, and whole can of tomato juice. The sandwich was really delicious, though it needed the hot sauce to give it an extra boost. The bread got a bit dry at the corners, but that’s to be expected with ciabatta bread. Overall, the mix of egg, chorizo, and cheddar is a winning combination! I’ve also liked the maple wafers a lot since they were introduced - light and crispy, with just a hint of maple flavor from using natural maple syrup.
On this flight, I discovered something new by observing another passenger: how to watch streaming video on the phone, without craning one’s neck looking at a phone sitting on the tray table.
See, United made an improvement to inflight entertainment by bringing movies and TV shows to almost all of their fleet. Yay! But they didn’t install TV screens, so you have to stream using your own phone or tablet. Boo! They installed power outlets on almost all aircraft. Yay! But the power outlets stop at the exit row on the A320 (and other narrow body aircraft). Boo!
So there I was, in Economy Minus, with no power and the thought of looking down at my phone sitting flat on the tray table made my neck hurt. But then I saw another passenger cleverly bend one of the thicker card stock credit card advertisements in the seat pocket in front, and put their hone on top. The card stock gave just enough resistance to hold the phone up, while not folding all the way forward. Brilliant!
With good flight attendants, good food, and Sandra Oh in Killing Eve streaming onto my phone, this flight turned out to be a pretty good one.