Flight Review: HER to SEA on United and Aegean in Economy
As our travels in Greece were ending, I had kept my eye on mileage redemptions from Crete back to Seattle. I had found availability on this flight from HER→SEA in Economy, but was hoping some saver Business Class space opened up last minute. Sadly it didn't, but this was a surprisingly comfortable journey across the Atlantic.
Check-In: The Aegean Economy economy counter was completely slammed this morning, there was probably a 45 minute line to check-in. For some reason, I could not check-in online or on the app, so I had to check-in at the airport. Thanks to my United 1K status though, I was able to skip the line and use the Star Alliance Gold / Business Class line where there was only one other person in line. It took all of 5 minutes before they handed over my boarding pass. It was only one pass that they said I could use for all three flights which was cool - I had never seen that.
Flight: A3 432
Date: August 15, 2017
Departure Time: 07:05
After security, it was a short walk to the gate. There is a duty free shop up a flight of stairs from the gates, from which I bought a few final bottles of Greek wine and olive oil. The flight started boarding with Star Gold and Business Class passengers. We went down the stairs and hopped onto a bus to that took us to our gate.
I was seated in 4A, which was the first row behind the business class curtains. It was a pretty standard seat, with solid legroom since there was no divider between the econ and biz cabins.
The sun was just coming up, so there were beautiful views of some other Aegean A320s.
We took off right around on-schedule before the FAs kicked into gear for their breakfast service. On the menu today was a cheese pastry, a piece of bread and some greek yogurt. It was all pretty good, and being used to domestic flights in the USA, anything is a plus. The meal was served with tea, coffee, water or juice. The rest of the flight was pretty uneventful and we made an early arrival in Munich.
Lufthansa Senator Lounge MUC: After arriving in Munich, I made my way to the Lufthansa Senator Lounge close to gate H24. I love the Lufthansa lounges in Frankfurt, so was hoping for a similar experience. As you enter the lounge, the Senator lounge is straight ahead. There is a self-scanning machine that a lounge employee watches over. The entryway opens up to a large lounge area with a buffet in the middle and a bar towards the back. Breakfast was still being served which included scrambled eggs, bacon, yogurt, bircher museli, fresh fruits, juices and bread.
The pretzels were amazing as usual and they had pour your own german beer. The aesthetic of the lounge was nice, but did not feel as fresh as the lounge I had visited in Frankfurt.
After I grabbed a bite to eat, I put my name down for a shower before my long-haul to SFO. The shower itself was serviceable, though not as clean as many other lounge showers. There were still bits of hair from the previous patron and the shower was still wet. After the shower, I saw my gate was boarding and made my way to H8.
Flight: UA 195
Date: August 15, 2017
Departure Time: 12:10
Cabin: Economy Plus
Right before H8 there was security pre-clearance for all flights departing to the USA. They basically asked a bunch of random questions about why I was traveling before allowing me to proceed to the gate. There was beautiful views of the 787 we'd be flying today on offer. This flight is seasonal service only operated by United in the summer months.
Boarding group 2 was just finishing up as I boarded. I was seated on the aisle in 19D which was pretty comfortable and had tons of legroom. Below is picture of 19F which was on the other side of the aisle.
After boarding was complete, the pilot came on and announced a flying time of around 11 hours. He mentioned we should be taxiing soon for an on-time departure out of Munich. Without any hitches, we were airborne about 20 minutes later.
About 30 minutes after takeoff, the FAs started a beverage service before the main meal of the flight. Beer and house wine was complimentary, but with my 1K status I am also eligible to get free liquor so I went for a Gin and Soda. They handed out a shooter of Bombay Sapphire and a full can of soda water along with some salty breadsticks.
I had pre-ordered a vegetarian meal as I usually do in economy and it came out slightly before the full dinner cart rumbled by. This time it was a delicious veggie curry over rice service with a salad, bread and some fruit. The curry was perfectly spicy and full of flavor, I was yearning for more. The whole meal was really solid. Shorty after, the FAs came around with ice cream for dessert.
I fell asleep shortly after, and got a good 5 hours of sleep. I couldn't believe how comfortable these seats were. While I was sleeping the FAs dropped off a snack care package on my tray table equipped with a full size Kit-Kat and some other salty snacks. Safe to say I was pretty excited when I woke up.
I decided to get caught up on some House of Cards that I had saved on my iPad since there was nothing too interesting on the IFE. The quality of the screen was probably the nicest I have seen in the United fleet though.
About an hour before landing in SFO, another beverage service came through before a final pre-arrival snack was dropped off. Since I had ordered a veggie meal, mine was a vegetable sandwich and a banana. They definitely kept us well-fed on this flight!
We eventually landed in SFO slightly early before I had an uneventful connection onto Seattle.
Tsunami Says: I spent 30,000 United MileagePlus miles and $57.96 for a one-way from two of the furthest ends of United's Europe to USA zones. I appreciate that United had saver availability for a lot of routes available even during peak summer travel. The end to end experience was quite pleasant - from the economy flight on Aegean to the Lufthansa lounge to the United long-haul - and it is a testament to why international alliances are awesome! I would happily fly this route again, if need be in the future.