This is not starting well

The good news is this: I went through TSA Precheck at O’Hare Airport quickly and without a hitch, and not a human hand touched my buttocks.

The bad news is that I came three hours early to enjoy the amenities of the United Club Lounge, which, I was assured by United on the phone (who had my full itinerary), I’d be able to use since I was flying business class.  I show up at the lounge, hungry and coffee-less, and they said, “Nope: unless your international flight [Houston to Puebla] is also business class, you can’t use the lounge.” The thing is that there is no business class on that flight.

My looks of hunger and dejection did not suffice; I was heaved out like a Republican trying to speak at Berkeley. Now I am sitting at the gate with 2.5 hours to go, drinking Starbuck’s coffee, eating a bagel that has the consistency of a feather pillow, and using PURCHASED INTERNET (you get only 30 minutes of free wi-fi at O’Hare–what pikers!), which is interminably slow.

Perhaps once I’m on the plane I can get some decent comestibles, but I don’t even know if they feed you in business class.

This is clearly a First World Problem, and I really shouldn’t kvetch, but I’ve been a United customer and frequent flier member for years, and have accumulated over 250,000 miles (that’s ten times around the globe), and it would have been easy for them to simply let a hungry and tired boy into their lounge.

But at least nobody touched my buttocks. . .

And wi-fi should be free at ALL airports.

Get off my damn lawn!


  1. Posted November 16, 2017 at 11:03 am | Permalink

    I’m a Senior. Give me my damn discount!

  2. Posted November 16, 2017 at 11:04 am | Permalink

    …& such a fine pair of buttocks they are! You should not keep them to yourself! In the UK there is a ‘rear of the year’ – we should enter you, if you’ll pardon the expression…

  3. Gary Seth
    Posted November 16, 2017 at 11:07 am | Permalink

    Next time get the multigrain bagel , I sure you will be satisfied .

  4. Tim
    Posted November 16, 2017 at 11:07 am | Permalink

    It’s 2017. WiFi should be free EVERYWHERE

  5. GBJames
    Posted November 16, 2017 at 11:08 am | Permalink

    Two days ago United sent me an email with the subject “Can you bring your bicycle as checked baggage?” They wanted me to Read now their gigantic Contract of Carriage Document.

    Obnoxious. I will try to avoid United.

  6. Jenny Haniver
    Posted November 16, 2017 at 11:10 am | Permalink

    Hope you brought some good books along.

  7. rickflick
    Posted November 16, 2017 at 11:13 am | Permalink

    We always carry a few granola bars to gnaw on as we dash between gates. That-a-way if we have over estimated the airlines generosity we can at least keep from fainting until we get somewhere. Once or twice that’s all we ate all day.

  8. Randall Schenck
    Posted November 16, 2017 at 11:16 am | Permalink

    United is not one of the worst airlines for nothing. They have been at the bottom of the pile for many years. If you have to show a passport and you are actually landing in another country, how is that not international. Also, you have to go through customs…

  9. David Harper
    Posted November 16, 2017 at 11:20 am | Permalink

    You have my sympathy. I quit flying United ten years ago after they stiffed me and my wife out of premium economy seats that we had already paid for, and put us in regular cattle class on a London to Chicago flight. Fly the friendly skies, my ***. We’ve flown British Airways since then, but we just cashed in our air miles earned from 10 years of flying BA between London and Seattle, so we have no reason to stick with BA, and we plan to give Virgin Atlantic a try for our next flight to Seattle.

    • Randall Schenck
      Posted November 16, 2017 at 11:38 am | Permalink

      You never forget those wonderful experiences. I still well remember being kicked from two airplanes while flying military standby 45 years ago. Spent the night in that lovely Chicago airport. Good old United.

  10. ThyroidPlanet
    Posted November 16, 2017 at 11:26 am | Permalink

    What [$@@&:/-@&]



    I feel like everyone says “unless” more and more.

    I blame lawyers.

  11. Wonderer
    Posted November 16, 2017 at 11:31 am | Permalink

    WiFi hotspot on your phone – close to free internet almost everywhere in the US. (As long as you are doing low bandwidth stuff like reading text.)

    • Gregory Kusnick
      Posted November 16, 2017 at 11:39 am | Permalink

      Second that. Get a tethering plan for your phone and you need never rely on crappy airport or hotel WiFi again (so long as you can get a decent LTE connection).

  12. Posted November 16, 2017 at 11:37 am | Permalink

    Well, it is United. As long as they don’t drag you down the aisle and off the plane, it is a good trip.

  13. Posted November 16, 2017 at 11:42 am | Permalink

    250000 miles, eh? About the equivalent of making it to the moon, and I’m sure they’d feed you on *that* flight. 😉

  14. Karen E Bartelt
    Posted November 16, 2017 at 11:48 am | Permalink

    Never fly out of O’Hare if you can help it.

    • Posted November 16, 2017 at 4:51 pm | Permalink

      I use Midway whenever I can, flying Southwest. But someone else made these reservations and paid for them.

  15. JonLynnHarvey
    Posted November 16, 2017 at 12:01 pm | Permalink

    After reading this, I am imagining a Republican speaker at Berkeley getting their buttocks groped.

  16. Posted November 16, 2017 at 12:08 pm | Permalink

    I was once the last person boarding the plane, and took the closest path to the gate, which was over the little privileged red carpet for frequent mile people.

    The uniformed individual insisted I go back and take the pleb ‘entrance’.

    I obeyed. With a serious eye roll.

  17. Andy
    Posted November 16, 2017 at 12:14 pm | Permalink

    Yup, they’ve got me this way too. I had assumed that domestic business class (upgrade) would get me in…
    Note that you can use miles to get a membership.
    I have written to customer support saying “I’ll never use your airline again”, but the problem is that there is very little choice, so most airlines are just as bad.

  18. nicky
    Posted November 16, 2017 at 1:51 pm | Permalink

    I think that by dissing you the company has forfeited the privilege of hosting you.
    Just never fly United again, I’d say.
    I never flew United, but from the reactions above I gather they have the habit of not respecting their customers. Ditch them!

  19. John Frum
    Posted November 16, 2017 at 2:52 pm | Permalink

    I always fly business or first from Oz and the lounge access is only based on the next ongoing flight.
    Seems odd that United take later flights into consideration.

  20. Jay
    Posted November 16, 2017 at 3:22 pm | Permalink

    United lounges suck anyway; you didn’t miss much. The food is crappy and the selections limited. The food in business class, on the other hand, is pretty good.

    • Posted November 16, 2017 at 4:53 pm | Permalink

      Yes, they were nice. I could have unlimited booze but I don’t drink much on planes (or in general) and so had a Jack and Coke and then plain orange juice. I fell asleep during the “snack service”, and the flight attendant told me she’d bring me any of the food from Economy that people normally purchase, for free. SO I got a Gouda cheeseburger AND they threw in a veggie wrap.

      The guy next to me, on the other hand, started with a vodka tonic and then had about six largish glasses of wine. .

      • Randall Schenck
        Posted November 16, 2017 at 7:02 pm | Permalink

        Ah, so they could pour him off the plane…

  21. alexandra Moffat
    Posted November 16, 2017 at 3:41 pm | Permalink

    write a polite/furious letter to the management of the airline. To the CEO.
    The Nerve!!!
    Writing to the CEO doesn’t get it read by the CEO probably but it may get it opned and read by somebody….

  22. Filippo
    Posted November 16, 2017 at 8:21 pm | Permalink

    “And wi-fi should be free at ALL airports.”

    If private corporate tyrants could they’d make us buy the air we breathe.

    • Posted November 16, 2017 at 8:40 pm | Permalink

      Reminds me of that Lorax movie.

    • Gregory Kusnick
      Posted November 16, 2017 at 11:52 pm | Permalink

      O’Hare is a public facility operated by the City of Chicago.

      • Filippo
        Posted November 17, 2017 at 6:27 pm | Permalink

        I’m aware of that. (As my dear late aunt was wont to say, “I have enough sense to know that.”) You’re making an assumption, an inference.

        All the more reason that the Wi-Fi should be free.

        As with the air, so with the (greater likelihood of) airports being owned by private corporate tyrannies. They would if they could, and make us pay.

  23. Posted November 16, 2017 at 8:42 pm | Permalink

    Someone should send up drones carrying Wi-Fi hotspots all over the world. We need global free Wi-Fi.

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