Falling Backwards Into One Of The Worst Domestic Flights I Could Imagine

I fly at least 100,000 miles a year, most of which is domestically.  That adds up to a lot of flights.  Booking all those flights, hotel rooms and rental cars is time-consuming and leads to the occasional snafu on my part.  I joke that I book a flight for the wrong date of travel at least once a year, but in reality I’ve only done it a couple of times.  And, as sad as that sounds, I’ve only compounded that once by actually showing up at the airport on my date of travel without a ticket for the right day.

Unfortunately, due to the complications of my upcoming travel schedule I backed myself into a flight that I’m sure will be the opposite of glamorous.  Due to a myriad of schedule changes I had very little choice for an upcoming trip.  Since it was a binary choice I booked the only flight that really allowed me to satisfy the other requirements on my schedule.  As I’ve gotten older, my wife consistently reminds me that I may be better off trimming my commitments, but what fun is that?

And, that’s how I ended up on a 5:30 am flight from my home airport of Washington-Dulles (IAD) to Houston (IAH).  Now, I wouldn’t call a 5:30 am flight on its own miserable, but getting up at 3:30 in the morning isn’t something I do so well nowadays.  And, it’s certainly not the worst part of the trip.

I have a friend that was willing to give me an RPU (Regional Premier Upgrade) on United to make the flight a bit more enjoyable.  I needed to check the United website to see if inventory was available to clear an upgrade.  I was so oblivious to the details of my trip that I was puzzled when I couldn’t find any upgrade buckets listed for the flight.  It took a few seconds as the pit developed in my stomach.  My eyes shifted to the left on the page, and that’s when I saw I’d be on an ERJ-145 for 3 hours and 45 minutes.  I’m not certain it’s the longest flight in terms of time in captivity transit time, but I remember a post the Wandering Aramean had last year that seems to indicate there are longer distances.

You may have traveled on one of these planes before.  You can’t stand up unless you’re really short.  Overhead bin space is non-existent.  There is a lavatory, though an exercise in transitioning yourself to origami is required to enter and close the door.  And, the seats are kinda small.

There’s certainly no first class cabin or anything that closely resembles comfort.  And, it’ll be my home for almost 4 hours after getting a few hours of sleep in a few weeks.  Maybe if I’m lucky, I’ll get one of those new United torture seats.

Yes, America.  Business travel is all glitz and glamour.Regional Jet


The post Falling Backwards Into One Of The Worst Domestic Flights I Could Imagine was published first on Pizza In Motion.

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  1. Sorry to hear about the flying prison. Can you at least get seat 18A, or the solo exit row seat? It’s better than the seats up front.

  2. I am sure you will never again not check the metal before hitting that “purchase” button, especially on a RJ for almost 4 hours. This happened to me once on a much shorter flight via a propeller plane that looked like a bug. Never again!

    1. Henry, I haven’t actually showed up at an airport with a ticket for the wrong day again, so hoping I learned this lesson the first time!

  3. I tend to confront E145s on somewhat shorter flights, but at least manage to get the single exit seat for added leg room. They are not a joy, but on AA I get a free alcoholic drink and BoB choice. On UA it’s just the free drink albeit with a 1K/Plat voucher.
    But last week I suffered an even graver insult than Pizza. His flight was 1190 miles, but mine was 1210 miles (DEN-YYZ) in a CRA700, thus a somewhat longer endurance than his too. Fortunately some would say, I was in what passes as F. On that particular UA flight, over the dinner hour, there is nothing offered but a box of miscellaneous micro-foods and drinks. And while a normal roller board case can be stored overhead further back in the plane’s overheads, this is not so in the front two rows of the so-called F cabin. UA has a penchant for keeping substandard aircraft in its fleet…or putting regional jets on flights they’re not intended for. I’d have more sympathy if I hadn’t experienced an even worse insult on a flier myself.

  4. One major reason I don’t fly united, even though I’m based out of a hub in SFO. Way too many long flights on small aircraft. and those in turn have more delays. Deltas got a terrible FF program but I’m almost always on large aircraft, all with wifi, and most with IFE.

    1. Steve, I agree Delta has a better fleet. I don’t find much United is a leader on for my travel with the exception of route network (I live near IAD).

  5. For the past 4 years, I routinely fly ORD-BUF, and in the off-season, those flights are almost exclusively RJs. I went 2 years without ever being able to use my free upgrades because none of my flights during that time period had an up-class. I simply got used to gate-checking bags, tiny overhead bins, and the surprised looks of first-time tourists that thought they’d be boarding a 747 like what they see in the movies, and instead they realize that they are going to spent the next 1-1/4 hours in a cramped bus.
    I earned status the hard way on these short trips — 130+ segments every year, almost exclusively on RJs…

  6. Oh! One more thing that I wanted to mention — I’ve been spending time lately flying to other destinations, and have been in a lot of A320s. I actually miss the little RJs to Buffalo because honestly, they have more seatback storage for my bottle of water than the new A320s with their lame mesh pockets!

    1. Pat, the mesh pockets do suck. 130 segments on RJs should earn you a statue and a medal. Instead, it just earns you diluted benefits from United.

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