2010 SOUTH AMERICA TRIP REPORT
After a long bus ride in from central Buenos Aires, I arrived at EZE about an hour and a half before departure. Most United passengers, it seemed, had already arrived and there was no wait to check in.
As one agent was checking me in, another one sitting nearby said, "Hey–you want to fly in business class tonight?"
AGENT: "It’s only $449 to upgrade tonight."
ME: "Can I use a systemwide upgrade?"
AGENT: "Let me check." <she checked> "Nope. Your ticket doesn’t allow for it."
ME: "Well you’ve got a lot of open seats in business class, why not just take one of my upgrades and let me get some sleep tonight?"
AGENT: "Nope. But you can have it for only $449!"
ME: "Thanks anyways."
Boarding pass in hand, I quickly cleared security and immigration and checked into the Red Carpet Club. A couple of agents there, who looked very SEA-eque (if you know what I mean) greeted me.
For the heck of it, I asked if I could use a systemwide upgrade from my account to move up to business class. Both looked confused and one started tapping on her computer screen. She said to her colleague, "It’s telling me no. Why?" I knew why, but didn’t say anything. She picked up the phone and called her supervisor (who might have been the woman downstairs I spoke with earlier for all I know…) who must have straightened her out. When she got off she told me that I could not upgrade my ticket, failing to even offer me the buy-up or a miles+co-pay upgrade.
I would characterize the lounge as one of the nicer Red Carpet Clubs in the system. The furniture and interior was a bit worn, but not to the point of needing replacement. Alcohol was free and the snack selection was about the same as any domestic Red Carpet Club, though there was some decent bread (rather than just crackers) to go along with the cheese. Wi-Fi was also free for everyone.
A boarding announcement was made and most people hastily gathered their belongings and boarded early, but I hung around for a while: I was in no mood to get to my economy seat any earlier than I needed to.