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Best Flight from Minneapolis to Hong Kong

August 13, 2009

If I were to picture the headquarters of United Airlines, I would picture a dank metal fortress on a mountain top or the Arctic.  Inside, a United executives meeting would go like this:

CEO: “Greetings!  I am pleased to announce that our policy of squeezing and screwing customers for the most money and least service is making excellent progress!”

All: Cheers and robot cheers (half of the United execs are evil cyborg robots sent from the future to make flying really unpleasant.)

Executive 1: “Yes, no one even noticed that we reduced international baggage allowance to a pathetically small amount and now charge $200 for every sucker who shows up with a 51 pound bag.  In fact, I’m pleased to announce that Chad Johnson of Fargo showed up with a 54 pound bag, 65 linear inches, and we were able to wring $400 out of his pathetic wallet.”

All: “BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!”

Executive 2: “We’ve also started a program to match people’s elite status from other airlines.  However, between the time it takes to….’PROCESS’….and the requirement to fly 7,500 miles within 90 days, almost no one hits the tiny window of eligibility that would allow them to get such perks as being able to take on a realistic amount of baggage.”

CEO: “Excellent work, gentlemen!  Any problems on the horizon for our glorious empire?”

Evil Cyborg Executive: “In the distant future, people will grow weary of watching one tiny movie screen overhead that just shows ‘Phat Girlz’ seven times on the 16-hour flight to Hong Kong.  Almost all other airlines will introduce personal entertainment systems in every seat with a wide range of music and movies.”

CEO: “What a terrifying thought!  Thank God that we’re eternally trapped in the early 90s and will never have to have such crazy things like personal entertainment devices and power plugs on our planes!”

I hate United.  They have a monopoly on flights to Hong Kong and China out of the Midwest, and they certainly know it.  I understand the reduced baggage size; almost all US flights went from 70 to 50 pounds as a union concession, but it’s typical of United to charge $200 for even a small extra bag.  They will go out of their way to extract money and deceive at every step, but that’s not the worst.  Hello, United, this is the year 2009 calling: get personal entertainment and power plugs on your long-haul flights, for the love of all that is holy. 

I was actually so enraged with United that I got them  to cancel my ticket and look for another flight.  Sites like Kayak and Orbitz are remarkably bad at finding cheap alternatives to the United death star.  Dohop.com, however, is the best.  It found me a number of evening flights to San Francisco, and then I shelled out an extra $50 to fly glorious Singapore Airlines.  SA is famous among travellers for being simply the best in customer service and amenities, so I’m looking forward to the experience.  Especially when I’ll have come so terrifyingly close to being another victim of the evil empire.

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