Saturday, December 01, 2012

Olympics & More: UAL 9304/941: BCN-FRA-ORD Economy/Business

We wake up in Barcelona and need to immediately get ready and go to the airport. My flight was at 08h15 and I was moving slowly. I was a little maggoty (hungover) from a final night of tapas and bar hopping (visiting all the places that MS frequented when he was a student in Barcelona).  It would be a long day since I was flying 700 miles the wrong direction and connecting in Frankfurt.

Carrier: Lufthansa (BCN-FRA)

Flight #: 1137 (UAL 9304)
Seat: 8A 
Departure: August 19, 2012 -  08h15 / 10h35
Arrival: August 19, 2012 - 08h15 / 10h36
Travel Time: 2 hours 20 minutes / 2 hours 21 minutes
Flight Miles: 667

The flight was pretty full, but I was lucky enough to have the aisle, middle and window seat to myself. I curled up and slept against the window for the entire flight to Frankfurt.  The stew was kind enough to leave me a breakfast roll during service, which I promptly ate while we descended into the Airport.

In Frankfurt, I was denied access to the the first two Senator Lounges I came across. Since I was flying home on United they wanted me to spend my time in the nasty overcrowded Lounge near the United planes.  I even told them I was meeting a colleague at this lounge and had no way to let him know that I would be in the other lounge. That didn't work -- but it was a good try, I thought.

My upgrade had cleared and I was assigned a seat in the first row of BusinessFirst. Luckily, my hangover was gone at this point.

Carrier: United Airlines (FRA-ORD)

Flight #: 941
Seat: 6A (Forward Facing BusinessFirst Seat)
Departure: August 19, 2012 -  12h45 / 12h40
Arrival: August 19, 2012 - 14h41 / 14h15
Travel Time: 8 hours 56 minutes / 8 hours 30 minutes
Flight Miles: 4,342

The flight was full and I was in a window BusinessFirst seat.  I really like having access to the aisles - I drink a ton of water on every flight I am on and need access to the lavatories without disturbing everyone around me.

This flight was very uneventful. The meal on this flight was the exact same as the flight to London a week prior. I opted for the beef dish, in lieu of the chicken and was equally disappointed - the food was bland and pretty dry - actually a little worse than normal airline food.  Unlike the first flight, I did get the ice cream sundae which I found better than the cheese course.

I watched the Goonies in French and slept for a bit, then watched The Hunt For Red October (in English) and before I knew it, it was time for us to land in Chicago.

Every time I make that long walk from our arrival gate to Customs and Border Protection I kick myself for not signing up for Global Entry.  This time was no different.  The lines for US Passport Holders was the longest I have ever seen. It snaked through the corrals then out into the hallway leading to the arrival gates. From the time I stepped into line until I walked into the Arrival Meeting Point it took nearly 2 hours.  Outrageous.  I really need to sign up for Global Entry.

United offered a discount on BusinessFirst upgrades over the summer - instead of charging $550 plus 20,000 miles, they charged $440 and 16,000 miles.  While my trip to Europe was totally worth the upgrade cost, the return was not. The seats were the same, but I didn't want to sleep on the return flight. I would have been perfectly content sitting in a nice Economy Plus/Exit Row for this flight back home.

Our summer trip had come to an end.  Time to get working on our next vacation.

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