Thoughts on a United Travel DayTak's dispatch released on 12 October 2014

  1. When the TSA agent asked the 55 year old South African tourist, “Are you over 75?”…
  2. United has its branding down real well. Rather than describe the first class snack plate as “shriveled black olives, dehydrated lemon wedge, red pepper mush, cous cous, uninspired feta cheese and a glass of lukewarm iced tea” they struck marketing lightning with the more simple and just as accurate “black olives, red peppers, cous cous and feta cheese”.
  3. On the topic of iced tea: iced tea is supposed to be cold. Is this a craft cocktail only known to some ancient iced tea maestro pining away in a speakeasy? Should it really be beyond the realm of possibilities for a first class cabin crew to successfully execute this?

    Now don’t get me wrong, I am not vociferously anti-warm iced tea and will drink it with nary a word, but from a business standpoint, I am slightly mortified if this is the top of the top of the service team (as I presume a first class crew is?).

    To make it easy for United I hunted down that old guy in the basement and got the instructions: After brewing the hot tea, you are going to pour that bad boy onto a full glass of ice. That will yield an iced tea. Popping a couple ice cubes in a mug filled with steaming hot tea? I am afraid that will not make an iced tea. Shall we make a powerpoint on this to drill it home?

  4. Can we put stun-gun voltage in the top of seat headrests (or perhaps make it so that the seat just completely collapses backwards if pulled) or is it really truly impossible to stand up from your airline seat without whiplashing the person in front of you? This is a headrest. This is not a jungle gym bar.
  5. Back to the United First Class flight: a Chinese lady ordered a ginger ale and got a black tea. I ordered a ginger ale and received a strong gin & tonic. How does one order an elusive ginger ale in United First Class?
  6. California Pizza Kitchen takes cold subpar BBQ sauce and stirs it up with cold chicken, drops a spooned out “bbq chicken” lump on some chopped iceberg lettuce with some torilla strips and calls it a $13 salad. Nihilist cuisine? Perhaps I just can’t decode the enigma.
  7. Paying for checked bags will mean less of them and thus quicker luggage service. Remember that line? Is 25 minutes from arriving at the gate to the luggage wheel just turning on good service?
  8. If the hotel is 10 minutes from the airport, and they say the hotel shuttle van is on its way, why does it take 30 minutes for it to arrive? (Of course, now it is over an hour after you’ve arrived and you are still at the airport. This is called progress.)
  9. Holiday Inn Express – Hawthorne has one of the nicest low-grade “hotel breakfasts” I’ve seen in a while. Real eggs. Pancakes. Cereal. Yogurt. Even the orange juice was passable. Is it jockeying for position with Gili Lankanfushi? No. Was it a gourmet breakfast – no. Was it better than a diner – no. But for hotel breakfasts, which are usually quite sad, it was a good effort. Everything here was acceptable. No frills, no problems. Perfect for a one-night layover at LAX (if the price is right).

More later.

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