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 United.com and found this:
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):
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 AA.com:
And when you click on this, you’ll get to see EXACTLY what is going to be offered on your flight:
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!)
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 AA.com. 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 AA.com? What have your experiences been?
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