One of my claims to fame during my military career is that I was in a team of three that established inter-agency Provincial Reconstruction Teams in Iraq. I am quite proud of this achievement and have kept up with my Department of State comrade. Greg now is on assignment to the U.S. Embassy in Panama and I had promised myself that I would visit him as that sounded like a great destination. What better time to go than during the D.C. winter?
I was surprised to see that Panama is almost due south of D.C. Somehow I tend to think of it as West Coast since it is on the Pacific. Nice, no jet lag! a 4.5 hour flight from EWR to PTY sounded great.
Searching back in December, I found pretty good fares to get down there on United, about $311 one way. Interestingly, I noticed that flying First Class (P fare) was only $100 more than Coach (G fare). Although these flights are eligible for a complimentary upgrade as a UA Gold, I thought why take the chance for only $100 each. The flight back didn’t have that same opportunity, and normally would look at changing days to get a better deal, but I needed to get back to work. Then after I bought the tickets, United came out with the announcement that P fares would earn a 100% bonus to EQM rather than the 50% bonus that had been in place for years.
Both the, relatively, cheap First Class ticket and the bonus to EQM are all part of their plan to try to sell First rather than give it away for free to upgrades. Their evil plan certainly worked in this case. More to follow…