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Entree reservations and my recent last-minute award booking

I recently did a quick weekend trip to San Francisco (like straight to the airport on Friday after work and back Sunday evening). I booked my outbound ticket on jetBlue using True Blue points to go from Austin to San Francisco via Long Beach. Because I am currently a TrueBlue Mosaic member (thanks to a recent status match), I am able to cancel award tickets free of charge.

I didn’t love my routing as I wouldn’t get into San Francisco until after 10pm Friday night, so I was watching other options. I was really hoping Virgin America would have a last minute fare sale so I could jump on that non-stop flight, but their fares kept rising and rising.

United Airlines has several non-stop flights between Austin and San Francisco and in the weeks leading up to my departure, I noticed there was some pretty good award availability that would come and go. Anecdotally, I noticed the most award availability in the mornings and less in the evenings. Nothing scientific here, just an observation.

Well, the day before my flight to SFO, I checked and found this: award availability

Award availability the day before I wanted to fly.

While there wasn’t a low level award (12.5K miles) for the exact flight I wanted (last flight out of AUS into SFO for the day), there was a low-level first class ticket available. I made the impulse purchase on the 25K mile first class ticket and within a few minutes I received my eTicket confirmation email.

Reading the confirmation to ensure proper ticketing, I noticed this (far right column):

UA award itinerary

AUS-SFO flight details.

This flight had a meal. And as I wrote last week, I love plane food. This made my impulse purchase even more of a score for me! I couldn’t wait to try out a United’s #omnomnom offerings!

I mostly fly American Airlines, so I’m quite used to their food selections. One thing that I have taken for granted with American is their option to pre-order your meal (as long as your upgrade clears more than 24 hours in advance).  What I’ve grown to love about this is I can tell what I’m going to have in the air so if it something truly atrocious, I can pick something up at the airport. Also, pre-reserving ensures that I’ll get the option I want (as opposed to hearing, “Oh I’m sorry sir, we only have the pasta left.”)

When the option is available, you see this in your online reservation on entree reservations

Entree Reservations screen from entree reservations

Entree Reservations screen from

And when you click on this, you’ll get to see EXACTLY what is going to be offered on your flight: entree reservations

Shall I have the chicken or the pasta?

I was in first class on American Airlines on my return flights (SFO-LAX-AUS), I chose the Grilled Herb Chicken and of course I loved it (it is plane food after all!)


Grilled Herbed Chicken. LAX-AUS. 2014.

While I enjoyed the non-stop flight on United and of course the meal served (I had the chicken; it was okay), it made me realize how much I have come to rely on the entree reservations option on Since I don’t fly United very often, I wasn’t sure what their meal service would be like. Fortunately they served an actual plated meal (that was edible) and not some sort of non-meal snack. If United had online meal reservations like American, I would have known ahead of time what was in store for me in-flight.

Have you used the entree reservations feature on What have your experiences been?

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