Random Notes From My United Mileage Run on Saturday

This past Saturday I flew a “simple†mileage run on United from Reno to Washington Dulles, connecting in San Francisco in both directions. It was a long day with flight 1 of 4 departing at 5:30 a.m. and flight 4 of 4 arriving back in Reno at midnight. I had Regional Premier Upgrades to burn, so I was relatively comfortable and well fed in first class for the day.

Anyway, I thought I’d share a few random notes, observations and musings from the trip. And don’t worry… I won’t be making this type of post a regular series or anything.

  • The Reno TSA agent standing near the entry to the full body scanner said after watching me put my carry-on on the belt, laptop out, shoes off, etc., “You’re obviously well traveled… good morning.â€Â  😉
  • SkyWest flight attendants continue to impress me. With the exception of one flight during the past few years, they are consistently the friendliest flight attendants I seem to encounter in the U.S.
  • Concourse E appears to be coming along at San Francisco Airport, though I’m surprised it doesn’t extend out on the apron a bit further.
  • Both of my United Express flights arrived/departed at T3, so I didn’t get a free SFO airport tour from T1.
  • I’m a fan of the multi-lane boarding separated by group numbers. It seems to minimize gate lice.
  • There were two glaringly obvious Federal Air Marshals in first class on my SFO-IAD flight, one of whom I sat next to. My seatmate did an excellent job tugging at the back of his untucked shirt every time he got up to ensure his weapon and cuffs didn’t reveal themselves. His constant laughing while watching a movie on his iPad was a bit annoying, however.
  • Breakfast from SFO-IAD was the typical choice of cereal or an omelette.

    a plate of food and fruit on a tray

    Breakfast from SFO-IAD

  • The Great Gatsby was the movie in both directions… so much for “eastbound vs. westbound†differences as listed in Hemispheres.
  • I had a stellar ex-Continental crew on my SFO-IAD 757-300. The purser even thanked each first class passenger near the end of the trip and held coach back from deplaning to give the first cabin priority. Very international style touches – nice!
  • I had enough time to jaunt over to Terminal B and visit the Lufthansa Senator Lounge, but instead decided just to camp out in the D concourse United Club to catch up on emails, etc. It was packed initially, but cleared out as the Europe-bound flights began boarding.
  • The United crew on my IAD-SFO 757-200 was also quite good, with the purser taking meal orders based on status. I was about the sixth person and received my first choice of a peppercorn steak (the other option was pasta).
    a plate of food on a table

    Dinner from IAD-SFO

    a bowl of ice cream with sauce and a spoon

    Dessert from IAD-SFO

  • I much prefer United’s domestic first class seat (even with the headrest piercing my shoulders for takeoff and landing) to Continental’s boxy seat. It’s the opposite for international business class, where I prefer Continental’s seat to United’s.
  • We arrived 47 minutes early at the gate in San Francisco due to favorable winds.

    an airplane wing with a sunset in the background

    A very purple sunset

In all, it was a very easy mileage run and besides the 4.99 cents-per-PQM airfare (higher than I normally would buy, but I had a reason for taking this specific trip that I’ll reveal later), I only spent $10 all day (the parking fee at RNO).

How have your mileage runs gone this year?

– Follow Darren Booth on Twitter, @FrequentlyFlyin, for more airline, hotel and travel industry news, reviews and opinions.

Related posts:

Save Time Using Hipmunk for Mileage Run Bookings

How to Find Mileage Runs – 2013 Edition

My ‘Run In’ With Two Federal Air Marshals

United Consolidation at SFO Delayed, Free Airport Tours Extended


  1. I will be falling short by 8 segments for my Platinum qualification for next year…any suggestions? i need more of a segment run rather than a mileage run 😛

  2. Great report 🙂 Nice to see air marshall’s keeping an eye on the entire plane from the front of the plane. lol 🙂

  3. This is the first year that I’ve ever done mileage runs (they were scattered between January-July) and I started out the year with no status. So…yeah…lots of flights in coach for me until I hit Silver, followed by Gold haha

  4. I must be hallucinating, or your camera has special effects, but that food looks semi-edible! I didn’t think that was possible on United F.

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