Positive first United Airlines trip post-system conversion

Yesterday I flew my first trip with United Airlines since the system conversion this past weekend and while I witnessed other people having issues (check-in, upgrade priority, United Club access), I had absolutely no problems. Granted, I called in advance to clear up a ticketing issue a few days ahead of time and was already upgraded, so everything was smooth sailing.

I took a “quick” LAX-JFK-LAX turn on United’s p.s. service and checked-in the day before without issue on the mobile app. For backup, I also had the boarding passes emailed to me in case the sometimes glitch-prone app decided to conk out at the gate. I also tried to visit the check-in page on United.com, but it did fail out and just plopped me back to the homepage without so much as an error message. No worries… I printed my backup copies from the email.

At LAX, I decided to use the kiosk to see if it was working and sure enough, it spit out both my outbound and return BPs without issue. I made my way to the United Club and was scanned in using my club card as boarding passes currently don’t work. One of the agents I’ve gotten to know mentioned they are coming up with a fix, but the old Mileage Plus numbers are still needed for access.

At the gate, I noticed the overheads now show the full seat map identical to what’s viewed online noting which seats are booked, available, etc. There was an agent I hadn’t seen before at LAX (probably from the Continental-side) helping the gate crew with the manual “GG” Shares GDS commands. The boarding time printed on the BP was incorrect as United only boards p.s. 757s a half hour before departure time, but I was soon onboard and settled into seat 9A.

I had a fantastic crew and the flight was on-time. Breakfast has improved slightly as I’ve already experienced on non-p.s. flights and I’m loving the cinnamon roll addition. Catering forgot to board maple syrup, though, so I had dry French toast for breakfast… I survived.

At JFK, I got quite a bit of work done in the lounge before heading to my 8:24pm departure back to LAX. It, too, was on-time and I again had a fantastic crew. The late flight JFK-LAX was historically a snack flight – and it still shows up as such online – but now features full dinner service.

We landed nearly a half hour early, though had to wait about 10 minutes to be ushered into the gate as the ground crew wasn’t ready for our arrival. All in all, it was a seamless travel day for me and I was happy to get my first post-system conversion flight under my belt. Now I’ll just have to wait to see how long it takes for my MileagePlus account to be credited.

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  1. I just booked my first flight today as a Premier Silver minus the privilege to book E+ and it stinks. Row 29 on an A320. I flew over 45k miles last year, and basically now I’m treated the same as someone who gets the United Explorer card for $95. Maybe it’s time to status match to AA.

  2. Thanks for this timely post. I’m headed out on my first PS Business Class flight this weekend. I’m hoping my 7pm departure from JFK on my return will be dinner service as well, it shows as Snack. Would be nice to get my first inflight sundae.

    I’m overall very impressed with how well the system conversion went. There were definitely some issues on 3/3 and still some lingering ones but not bad for a change of this magnitude. IMO, the United employees deserve a pat on the back.

  3. Was this an MR?

    I flew for the first time post 3/3 conversion yesterday too, and I experienced the same things you did. My flights were on time and landed early. My BPs listed boarding 45 mins before departure on a UA 757-200 and 35 mins before departure on connecting A319. Actual boarding times were the old UA 30 mins prior. BPs could not be used to access the UC in either SEA or ORD. The agent in ORD said that membership cards need to be shown consistently. On boarding at SEA they could not scan the BPs for boarding and one agent read the seq. no. on the BP to an agent at a computer who marked pax as boarded. In ORD the BP scanning work.

    On the whole everything went smoothly for me. Return tomorrow.

  4. @JA: I can’t disagree that Premiers got a shaft with the loss of E+ until check-in, but they at least have free access vs. American’s new product AFTER 12/31/2013.
    @WhatWdJamesDo: You’ll definitely get dinner. You’re gonna love p.s.
    @Carl: I believe only United’s p.s. 757s board 30 minutes early… the rest at 45 minutes. A319s definitely only need 30 min. Hope your return is smooth!
    @Matthew: Have a great trip!

  5. Darren

    are you positive the 824 pm flight is a dinner flight? I am taking it in about 10 days time, and have also requested a special meal but the website still says snack. Have my fingers crossed for the sundae!

    • @Teabagpartier: Well, my 8:24pm did end up being dinner as you see in this post. It, too, was listed as a “snack” flight, but I was happily surprised. Didn’t United do away with special meal requests?

  6. The cinnamon rolls are great. I’ve been disappointed with the lack of upgrades. 1K flyer and MM with 30K in miles so far this year and not a single upgrade. I know Newark or JFK to SFO is a tall order for any upgrades, but am hoping as the year progresses I can get upgraded.

  7. @Darren, you can still request special meals on P.S. flights and on flights to Hawaii.

    @Chris, you do realize you need to upgrade with a CR1 right – i.e. no more complimentary upgrades on EWR/JFK-SFO? Hard to believe you would miss an upgrade if using a CR1

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