We purchased the plane tickets early enough that we able to book a fantastic itinerary. When you travel a lot and have to compete right after travel, things like your itinerary make a big difference. For this flight, we were scheduled to leave Colorado Springs at about 6:20pm, connect in Denver, and take the direct from Denver to London arriving at just after 11am. Any time you can get to Europe in less than 12 hours door to door, you have a great itinerary. So I have been looking forward to this flight more than I typically do.
The agent in Colorado Springs told me I had a great chance of receiving a free upgrade on the flight to London. The only thing better than a fast itinerary is a fast itinerary where you get upgraded to business class. Because I am now a Premier Executive on United, something I earned by flying nearly 60,000 miles last year, I often get upgraded if the flights are full. However, my hopes were dashed when I checked in in Denver and was told I would not be getting upgraded this flight. Oh well, can't win them all...
I was able to use my United status to board the London flight early, giving me time to unpack my carryon and settle in before the crowds hit. As I boarded the plane, the flight crew was there greeting people. Still a little disappointed that I had not made the cut for an upgrade, I wasn't paying much attention to my surroundings. That is until one of the flight attendants turned to me and said "hey, you're that pentathlon guy." Boy was I surprised! I've been flying a lot the last few years, but I have never been recognized by an international flight crew. Turns out, I flew this attendant's flight back from London in April. I'm pretty outgoing and spent about an hour hanging out in the galley talking with the crew. Airline crews have a tough and thankless job and are largely underappreciated, so I always try to befriend them given the opportunity. Anyway, this guy was one of the flight attendants and remembered me from that flight.
After getting seated, the flight attendant came and found me in my seat, and asked where I was going. Then he came and brought another attendant over and introduced her to me. We talked for a little bit until the flight started to fill up.
After takeoff, the second flight attendant came around and proudly told me she was training for her first triathlon. We talked a little while longer, and then she again had to get back to work.
A while later, she returned manning the drink cart. I received small consolation prize for missing the upgrade, my own bottle of water and a complimentary glass of wine. So no seat upgrade for me this trip, but my new and old flight attendant friends made sure to give me business class service even if I was assigned Economy Plus.