Sometimes you just gotta do it. In this case it was going to Dubai for half a day. Yup that’s right I said it, I went to Dubai for half a day. Sure call me crazy I have flown this far (to some other amazing places) before but only to turn back and get on the same plane and head home. But this time I decided to stay a while and enjoy the sights. Last October, there was an amazing mistake fare posted by a very small airline/website, in Norway, that allowed you to purchase tickets for travel on United Airlines or codeshare partner. The “deal” was only alive for 24 hours tops but, the website/airline http://www.Wideroe.no was selling flights all over the world originating from the US to points unknown without the fuel surcharges. That translated to fares from the East coast to Europe under $150 US roundtrip, or from the West Coast to Europe or the Middle East and Africa under $300. In anyone’s book that’s a good deal, you just had to find the right dates and viola all was set. There have been many stories posted about the “mistake fare” and I’ll refrain from rehashing it here, but if you’re curious juts google the website name and “United mistake fare” or check out this amazing deal post on Flyertalk to get more info.
So in my case I picked the furthest place I could fly on United at the cheapest price and booked it. For me that translated to Dubai, UAE. This was and has been someplace I’ve always wanted to visit but have not had time and or opportunity, until now. But since I could get a fare under $300, I signed myself up. In fact I did that three times, yes I am that loony. For me the prospect of getting 60,000 miles in the span of three quick trips that will get me 60% of the miles I need to keep my status for next year was just that hard to pass up. Plus I’d get a chance to do what I love fly, sleep, eat and sightsee. How bad can it be.
On this trip I HAD “got” to fly United, as some of you have noticed over the past year I’ve been having a hate hate relationship with them. They used to be my go to carrier of choice for domestic travel, and the airlines that has allowed me to experience some amazing trips on other carriers, with the miles I’ve earned from traveling them, they used to have the best premium reward redemption but not anymore. And with all of the shenanigans they have gone through with their merger with Continental, I’ve just gotten more bitter with age, quite the opposite of a fine wine. In any event the flights were actually pretty good, it just goes to show you how a good crew and decent seat can sure make a HUGE difference. This was a very simple routing to boot, San Francisco>LA>DC>Dubai and the exact return. Since I think I’ve covered many domestic trips on this blog, I’ll only talk about the flight from DC to Dubai. In fact on the trip home I think I slept 11 of the 13 hours between Dubai and DC, so there’s really not much to talk about anyway.
United flies a Boeing 777-200 between DXB and DC in a three cabin configuration. I was booked in coach all the way, YIPPEE and although on the free upgrade list for the domestic portions, with my new status (read that as downgrade), I had a snowballs chance in hell of being upgraded. Consider that I was number 25 on the upgrade list from LAX to DC after they upgraded 12 customers into a cabin that seats 24, that’s how low I have fallen. Ouch. But upon arriving in DC I went to the kiosk to look at possibly changing my seat on the long 13 hour flight, I was hoping I could get a row with an open middle seat or better a whole open row. But to my surprise they were selling upgrades to business class. UA like many other carriers will try and sell upgrades at time of check in, and in this case I lucked out and was able to secure one. Sure it cost me a few miles, but hey to be able to enjoy a 13 hour flight in Business instead of Coach is always enjoyable. So I bit and took the offer. Not a bad middle to my trip.
The super cool limited edition amenity kit with various covers featuring the United hubs. I got Cleveland…rocks…sadly come April it’ll no longer be a hub for UA. As for the fun stuff inside, they contain the usual hand of hope lotions and lip balm, socks, eye mask, pen and a few other goodies.
The food was really great. I started with super jumbo shrimp and a spicy cocktail sauce, followed by a fresh green salad with creamy garlic dressing. My dinner was supposed to be Chicken Tikka Masala, but wasn’t. It was Beef curry rice lentils and spinach. Although not what I ordered it was super delicious. Somehow catering just swapped out the chicken for beef, but still an amazing dish, although not very appealing to look at. Somehow United does Indian food really really well.
One dead soldier
Oh and for desert yup an ice cream sunday with all the fixings. Sure it’s not Fentons, but for some reason getting ice cream on an airplane is just so darn decadent. It was just a fitting end to a nice meal, and to top it off with a little Baily’s on the side.
As I mentioned service was actually really good, and the food was also very good too. Food at 35,000 feet is always a crapshoot, and in this case I rolled the point so I was happy. Besides that I got to watch a couple of really good movies and enjoy about five hours of sleep so I was very happy when I landed at 3:00 PM an hour earlier then expected.