Monday, June 26, 2006

adventures - part 1 (of probably 1)

To set the stage, I'm flying out west tomorrow to go to Vancouver and the Canadian Rockies. The flight is insanely early in the morning (6:45-ish). We want to save as much time as we can, so we're doing the online check-in.

Plus #1: United was kind enough to send me an e-mail to remind me to check-in this morning, so I went to their site to do it.

Issue #1: While the e-mail had a handy link to the check-in pages, the page needed my frequent flyer number, which, like everyone else, I don't have.

Plus #2: Knowing that United does let me log in using my e-mail address from the homepage, I went there to log in. E-mail address, password, done.

Issue #3: After clicking the button to submit my e-mail and password, I noticed a dropdown telling me where I wanted to be dropped off after I log in. I knew I wanted to check in, but I left the dropdown at my summary page. Partially because that's generally where I would like to be taken, and partially because I figured I can get to the check-in page from there. Apparently, I didn't have the patience for it. I checked "My Itineraries" to see if I could check in from there, and I couldn't. I was really hoping for something on my summary screen that would let me check in. Eventually, I ended up returning to the homepage to find the check-in feature since I knew that it was there.

Issue #4: Back on the homepage, the site asked me for my frequent flyer number and password again. Remember, I already logged in. Why should I need to do this again?

Plus #3: Thankfully, since I asked the site to remember me, it already had my frequent flyer number pre-filled. Whew!

Issue #5: When choosing seats, it tried to trick me into upgrading seats. I've seen this before and I know their tricks, but it's still damn annoying.

Plus #4: For the seat selection, it told me where the wing was. I like that... a lot.

Issue #5: Printing glitch #1: Checking in for 2 flights for 4 people means 8 boarding passes. I didn't want the boarding passes to be split across pages, so I tried printing one person at a time. So I selected the boarding passes for the first passenger and asked Firefox to print the selection.
...blank page
...blank page
...blank page
...blank page
...blank page

This clearly wasn't right. I raced over to my printer status to see if it would ever end. When the thing finally opened, I saw that it was trying to print over 5,000 pages... and it kept growing too. I canceled as fast as I could, but not before it killed 25-50 pages.

Issue #6: Printing glitch #2: OK. So printing the selection was no good. Next attempt I just tried to print like a normal person. Print the whole thing and see what happens. Instead of getting my boarding passes, I got a printout with an error message on it. At least it was one page...

Third time's the charm: So I finally decided to click on the United provided print button. After saying I was OK with printing 8 documents, I got my 8 boarding passes. Easy!

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