Friday, December 30, 2011

Flight Report: To Sin City and Cheating on United

For the past few years, I've been a bit of a purist: United was my preferred airline, followed by Lufthansa. Continental was a good option because of the ARN-EWR flight, but overall I never really enjoyed them and I never experienced any perks with them except for a couple of lucky domestic upgrades. On Lufthansa, on the other hand, they once bumped me to first class for no apparent reason on a transatlantic flight and United   bumped me to business on my way back from Japan. That's very welcome.

However, now Continental has taken over United and there have been changes. Most notably, to the mileage program and as a direct result, I'm now shopping for a new carrier. Heading down to Las Vegas was a great opportunity to try out Alaska which is an airline I used to fly a lot with as a kid back in the late 80s and early 90s, but haven't used recently.

After the break, photos from takeoff and the flight, plus Mt. St. Helens.

This is one of my favorite photos from the flight. For some reason, a fog rolled in just as we were about to take off and on the other runway, a Delta plane was landing. It's great to see it cutting through the fog like that and it's not that often that there is a plane that lands at the same time our engines are spooling up.

I have been struggling to figure out which side is best to sit on and today I ended up on the wrong side. During the climb, I could see Mount Rainier out of the port side of the plane and it look fantastic. My consolation prize was this extremely difficult shot of Mt. St. Helens. This was the volcano that blew up in 1980 and it's still active today.

Welcome to Vegas! This is the first thing we saw coming off the plane: Slot machines. This is a very different world.

Overall, I'm pretty happy with the flight. The drink service was ok, although you still have to ask for the can, and they left on time, which is more than I can say about some of my other recent experiences. I think I will have to give them another shot and doubly so since they agreed to match my status on United. They have a pretty eclectic set of partner airlines, so if this works out, I might switch over to them. Good bye, Star Alliance?

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