Monday, May 16, 2011

A Messy Morning At SEA

Do you every have one of those days when you start to wonder how the rest of the day will go?

After a wonderful weekend with granddaughter Avery that included a magical performance of the stage musical Mary Poppins, we're up in good time to take our 6:00 a.m. shuttle from the Southcenter Hampton Inn. We'd reserved it last night but eight hours later there's no record. No problem since we're the only ones who want to go at 6:00 a.m. and we're only a few minutes late.

We're flying Air Canada today and couldn't check in at a kiosk, because it's an international itinerary (we suspect most AC flights out of SEA are). Once we're at the airport, it's obvious the United counter (which handles AC check-ins in SEA) is woefully stressed, due to a SFO flight being canceled. We end up waiting in line for over 20 minutes, a lot for us. These days, people in line to see an agent often have really complicated problems, so an elite line can move extremely slowly as the employee spends time, for example, trying to rebook a passenger all the way through to India after a flight cancellation (the folks in front of us).

Once it's our turn, the agent can only check us as far as Vancouver, but we have a huge layover there so that's no problem. We'll pick up our YVR-LHR BPs at YVR. It does feel funny to stand in line so long just to pick up a couple of BPs when we're not even checking luggage. The explanation is that the airline computers don't "talk to each other" all that well. Oh, we know about that. The UA computers then spits out our boarding passes with our UA Mileage Plus numbers on them. We don't want that. Why?

We're crediting this AC flight to Continental. If we credit it to UA we'll re-qualify for 1K and, under their new rules, we'd receive our Systemwide Upgrades immediately, but they now expire in 12 months. Thanks to that corporate decision, we'll be flying on other airlines or using points for much of 2011 to avoid having more upgrades than we can use by the end of May 2012. Pretty silly (of us and them). The agent manages to fix it after a couple of tries. Funny that we're going out of our way to avoid the "honor" of re-qualifying for 1K.

Then it's time to endure the TSA checkpoint. We're in the elite line but it's not all that quick. Still, we're up to the front and have chosen a magnetometer line instead of the X-Ray scanners. Whew, but there's one more hitch...

Two of the little presents Kathy packed for Australian friends look suspicious in the X-Ray so back they go for a re-screening. It's amazing how much trouble two little candles can cause. From the time we were dropped off to the time we arrive in the RCC isn't much over an hour, but it seems longer.

So now we finally sit in the SEA RCC, our little airport oasis. We board our AC flight to YVR in an hour and we're looking forward to a good day of travel.


  1. At least you are able to self-select away from the nude-o-scope. Not so easy at my 2 primary airports . . . .

    I definitely agree that the new early SWU deposit policy is most annoying. Sadly, because I want 10 SWUs for 2012, I've got to post all my EQMs to UA.

    Enjoy your travel odyssey on the way down under. See you in DRW in about 10 days.

  2. While there's no choice to opt out in favor of a search at LHR, we were fortunate to use an elite line that didn't have them in March. We'll see if our good fortune in this regard continues Wednesday.

    We're definitely looking forward to DRW.