Kathy's upgrade (Hong Kong to San Francisco) into Business Class had cleared quite some time ago but United kept Brian waiting until the last minute. We're pretty sure there were two seats available but the staff have probably been burned before and want to keep their options open.
We checked just as we left the HKG RCC at 11:00 a.m. to board the 11:45 a.m. flight, the woman made a phone call and Brian had his seat. Kathy was upstairs and Brian was downstairs, but we reunited as we left the plane, were fortunately toward the head of a huge line of passengers at SFO Immigration, and are now sitting in the SFO RCC for a few minutes before boarding our flight to Seattle.
It was a great trip but it always feels good to come home too.