United Airlines: Stop Bouncing People Out of Reserved Seats


I’ve had bad experiences with United but nothing this bad, or consistent.

Originally posted on Kellblog:

Dear United:

Just when I thought you couldn’t get worse, you have managed to again perform well below expectations.  How?

I now believe that you have a deliberate policy to bounce low-tier flyers from reserved Economy Plus seats.  How do I know this?

  • I am a relatively high-tier United flyer, happily achieved not through flying you much anymore, but through legacy status as multi-million mile flyer.  With that status, you treat me just barely well enough for me to think about flying on your airline on competitive domestic routes.  (Though I avoid your international business like the plague.)  You may have noticed I dropped from flying about 100-150K miles/year to maybe 30K/year as a result of changing to alternatives like Virgin America.
  • My wife, however, is a low-tier United flyer.   The way you treat her is simply appalling and quite possibly illegal.  One purpose of this blog is to highlight the myopia of your CRM…

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Reflections on Recent Visitors

Last month my youngest sibling, my baby sister with whom I’m closest of all of my siblings, spent a week with us. We had so much fun — riding bikes, scampering from wine-tasting to wine-tasting up and down the Napa Valley, to hiking the Tower at Lagoon Valley, and walking the dogs & catching up.

On Monday my husband’s oldest sister, her husband and their daughter-in-law landed. We toured Old Sacramento ( they’re recreationists and love history), spent time at V. Sattui and St. Helena, explored Muir Woods & the Marin Headlands, spent several hours at the Heirloom Cafe with our son and his SO. Today we scuttled plans to drive to Drake’s Bay and hiked to the tower at Lagoon Valley and had a picnic lunch afterward. So low-key and so much fun.

The visits from family & friends this year have been so fun: we see our everyday scenery through new eyes, and sharing #NorCal with them is always gratifying and fun for us — we love their positive reactions, as well as our renewal of why we live here.

We love having family and friends stay with us — they are unfailingly helpful (we always appreciate the offer of payment or labor, whether or not we need it, and often take them up on their offers), aware of overstaying their welcome (only 1 person has taken advantage of our hospitality and overstayed her leave in our 17 years in #NorCal). And we love to take off work and revisit places we love, as well as exploring new places, with them. They’re agog with their first look at, say Muir Woods, and we’re happy to see those awesome redwood forests again.

This year has been so full — and it’s only June!

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Observations on Bike Riders

Observations on Bike Riders.

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Observations on Bike Riders

So tonight our usual group had other plans — a couple were riding the Eastern Sierra, others were watching the Golden State Warriors trounce the Cleveland Cavaliers (go Dubs!), so a motley group showed up at the shop. Right away there were two groups: Those who are beginners and those able to hold a wheel at 25 mph.

We rode to the shop, and the ride started nearly 20 min. late. The shop manager decided early on to take two newbies on a slower, shorter route. The rest of us were kind of on our own; our erstwhile leader was dropped early on.

So Chris ended up pulling both the two riders that the shop mgr. was to pull. One of them is eager to learn tips and tricks to ride more efficiently and faster; the other, who has been riding for a year now and hasn’t changed any of her habits, thus she’s not much better of a rider than she was when she started.

We ride occasionally with another wine/horse/bike person, who has done some very challenging rides in the past but lately has lost bike fitness and doesn’t seem to care. When we ride with her (and usually another mutual horse/bike/wine friend) we know that we’re going to drop her, go back or wait for her, and thus she dictates the ride. She has no desire to improve her cycling.

We both find this aspect of these two people very frustrating. We love sharing our passion with others, whether that translates into helping someone over a hill, or offering a pull into a headwind, or being a domestique in a bike race. As long as that person is open to the coaching, we’re happy to help.

OTOH, those who expect us (and others) to pull them around a ride, who expect us to wait for them, and refuse any and all advice, despite their wanting it, make me want to smack my head. What’s the point? Why go out and ride every ride the same way? If one doesn’t change every ride one will never adapt to different conditions.

So after tonight, after C spent so much time hauling a willing learner & a non-willing learner over 20 miles, and red-lining to catch me, and some discussion between us on the ride home, we’ve decided we’re not going to be bike patsies anymore. Those people who don’t want to improve — you’re on your own. Those that do want to improve, and demonstrate that improvement — you’re welcome to sit on our wheels until you decide to pass us and pull us. Thanks! We appreciate that very much.

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Monday, Monday

So the predicted temps were 100+. Yesterday we saw that, only they weren’t predicted. Hot is hot is hot, so whatever, weatherpredictors/meteorologists. I believe what I see my Outback’s temperature recording.

This morning, early, The Mister & I agreed on a game plan: Shut the vents & shutters to the rooms we don’t use. Supplemental watering, check. Shades/shutters closed downstairs, check. When I left the house (a third time) at 3:45 it was 101*. When I came home at 7 it was 104*. I kind of dread and love tomorrow’s club ride. It’ll be hot, and we’ll hate & love it, and relish the salt scrub when we shower.

Let’s see if the cooling trend happens, and if it rains (thanks, Hurricane Blanca, in advance) on Wednesday. We had an unusually cool May, so the heat is overdue and even welcome. Stray rain from the Baja? Yes, please!

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Patio Time = Time to Reflect

Saturday wasn’t special, as it began.

Our dogs have no respect for weekends, holidays, or lazy days. They begin campaigning in their not-so-subtle ways about 5 a.m. Whoever wakes first and pets them to keep their whining at a minimum is the hero. Today, that was me.

So I rolled out of bed, let them out (they don’t even go pee, they expectantly sit by their food bowls), turned on the coffee maker, and then fed them so I could steam milk and make espresso and deliver the mix in a tall, insulated mug, to my ever-loving. He does it for me during the week, and I’m happy to do likewise for him when he can sleep in.

So as he slept I delivered his coffee and checked my email at 5:30 a.m. The dogs hung out with me downstairs, and after 7 he rolled out of bed.

Breakfast he made. We stripped the bed and I got a load of wash started. We put away our clean clothes, then walked the dogs about 2+ miles. Then we ran errands and shopped. Got home, he made almond butter and banana sandwiches on whole wheat bread, then I made potato salad while he prepped cherries and strawberries for the dehydrator.

Then he took a nap while I cleaned the kitchen. I watched American Pharaoh win the Belmont stakes to become the first Triple Crown winner in 37 years. The hairs on my arms stood up as I watched him practically float over the turf. What a race! What a ride! It was amazing and inspiring to watch.

The mister made an Italian pasta arrabbiata dish featuring carnitos (you who know us know how he likes to make up stuff. This was delish. Well done!) and then retired to the patio with some Vinho Verde and a cigar. We watched the sunset and the decorated clouds, discussed the day and our accomplishments, and what’s to come tomorrow.

Patio time in Vacaville is like no other. The sun sets, the heat and wind are no longer a factor, the temps cool to nearly sweatshirt-necessary, the smoke keeps the few mosquitoes at bay, the birds sing and then stop, and the quietude is huge. It’s peaceful, and we talk about whatever we want. The dogs lay under our chaise lounges, ready for a long sleep, at at 5 a.m. Sunday we start over.

I love this patio. I love NorCal. I love that Sunday starts with a hearty breakfast, a long bike ride with our friends, and another opportunity to relax and reflect on what we did in prior days, what we plan to do, and the time to do nothing at all.

And those dried strawberries. Nom.

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What A Difference A Day Makes

Twenty-four little hours.

Last Friday our friends’  D & R friend of 40 years passed unexpectedly. Her husband, E, came home and found her in bed, gone.

He, as a trained first responder, administered CPR, but the paramedics that came contacted the county coroner and he called her deceased on the scene.

Their worlds changed in ways we can only imagine. We expressed our condolences via social media, as that was how the husband shared it, and via text and a card to our friends D &R.

Today D & R hosted a Celebration of Life. We shared with B’s family and friends how we knew her.We gained so much insight into who she was, and how much she touched people’s lives. I was sad that we didn’t know her better before she passed.

Mostly we were there to support her husband and our friends, and took care of details that they  couldn’t, due to overwhelm, their hosting duties, and so on. Their support systems are strong and cross many lines, and that’s good. They need and deserve that. I hope that those people will be there for them in the months and years that follow. When you stop feeling numb from shock and need a hug. When you plan a couples’ vacation to Hawaii and there are only 3, not 4. That’s when they’ll need their friends.

We all know life goes on, and how that does is based on who is around you for support. We know because my grandmother and father passed within 6 weeks of h each other (grandmother just before my daughter’s 2nd birthday, just before Thanksgiving; my wonderful husband made cupcakes for our daughter’s play group while I was with my family. My dad passed the day after Christmas; I talked to him and sent him a living Christmas tree as he was in the hospital from Dec. 12th [my sister’s birthday] until he passed Dec. 26th). We were preparing to return to the Republic of Korea a 2nd time for my amazing husband’s work, and our toddler was ill, I was ill, the stress was wearing us down, and we had a celebration of life for him on New Year’s Eve 1984. That’s a year I will well remember.

Our friends and family who’ve passed would not have wanted any of us (including our new friends and their families) to put our lives on hold. And so we did not. We went to Korea and carried on, knowing that we had 2 fewer family members to greet us on our return. D, R, and E will continue on, process what their lives will be like when they gather and she isn’t there, and will continue to live, without that gaping hole B’s death leaves them.

Losing anyone isn’t easy, and as we learn how to process grief (it’s different with each death, depending on who that person  was and how they fit into their lives) and learn to live without that person, how we deal with everyday events often have a gravitas we can’t imagine until we’re in the thick of it. Sometimes, when you least expect it, a memory of your dear departed one will show up in the simplest of things…and suddenly the tears flow. And that’s fine. Take the time to acknowledge your feelings, your memories, your sadness, and then keep moving. Eventually you learn to integrate the loss into your life.

You never get over it. You just learn to live with it.

And you learn who your true friends are, who are with you when you need to cry, vent, and otherwise express your grief.

We’ve had a couple of opportunities to support D & R, and we were honored to work behind the scenes today, as literally hundreds of family & friends descended on them with stories, remembrances, questions, and gifts. Today I felt out of place yet right in place.

And I still miss my grandmothers, my dad and my mother. The void your loved ones leave never heals, and offers opportunities for a different way to communicate.

I hope D, R & E find peace, and a way to communicate with B. Because she sure is raining down stuff on us. And we wish B peace. Rest well, B.

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