SFO777 The First Class Travel Blog

The First Class Travel Blog

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Cleveland Cavaliers NBA East title

Cleveland Cavaliers NBA East title
via United Airlines First Class
May 2015

 

Mrs. SFO and I are off today for a quick one day trip to our adopted home town of Cleveland, and Game 4 of the NBA Eastern Conference finals. Our sports hearts will always be in Cleveland and especially with the Cavs and jinx or not, I wanted to be there for the potential Conference clinching game.

We were season ticket holders at both Richfield Coliseum and The Gund (now the Q) and I was at both Lebron James' first game in Cleveland with the Heat and his first game back as a Cavalier. I was planning to go solo but after Sunday's exciting OT win, Mrs. SFO said she wanted to come as well. So thanks to flashseats.com, we have Row 4 Center Court seats. She declined the chance to be on national TV with Row 1 seats right behind the Cavs bench, opting for seats with an actual view of the game. LOL. As usual at the last minute, United offered most of the F cabin at Saver mileage rates and we jumped at the chance to deny two more 1Ks their complimentary First Class upgrades. 

• United First Class DEN-CLE 
• The Ritz-Carlton Cleveland
• Hyde Park Steakhouse
• Quicken Loans Arena and Game 4 of the NBA Eastern Conference Finals
• United Express First Class CLE-DEN

PreCheck South today was a mess with tons of kettles.

Fortunately, we used the CLEAR to bypass most of the PreCheck queue. Lots of pax waiting for the trains this morning.

With bulkhead seats this morning and now thoroughly familiar with United gate lice, we became overhead space seeking UA gate lice and commandeered the head of the Zone 1 lane.

Denver-Cleveland
United 833
A320
Wifi and Personal Entertainment but no power (brilliant Jeff!)
10:03A-2:55P
May 26, 2015
First Class

Another outstanding UA crew led by Purser Kevin. And yet another United open bar PDB, a rarity on AA mainline.
 

Lunch choices today were pretty much the same as last week, cheeseburger or chicken cobb salad with mushroom soup. The salad was a little skimpier than last week.

But the cheeseburger was actually not bad.

About 30 minutes after lunch, a delicious fresh baked chocolate chip cookie.

Our descent and glimpses of our old home town.

Another excellent United flight. After years of being loyal to American, Dougie's quick trashing of a once great premium domestic airline was all it took to explore greener pastures. Would never fly UA internationally, but for domestic service, they are currently at the top of my list.

With UberBlack 18 minutes away, we opted for a taxi and were pleasantly surprised at the city has gone with a dedicated fleet of airport only vans. Clean and spacious and only $35.50 to downtown.
 

 

Another excellent United flight. After years of being loyal to American, Dougie's quick trashing of a once great premium domestic airline was all it took to explore greener pastures. Would never fly UA internationally, but for domestic service, they are currently at the top of my list.

With UberBlack 18 minutes away, we opted for a taxi and were pleasantly surprised at the city has gone with a dedicated fleet of airport only vans. Clean and spacious and only $35.50 to downtown.

While we checked in, the Hawks DeMarre Carroll walked up and Mrs. SFO wished him good luck tonight. Seriously?? 

Our room, apparently the basketball players got all the King Size beds.

 

And the pleasant 14th floor Club Lounge.

Mrs. SFO opted for a nap while I headed out to take some pics of a downtown that has seen better days.

Iconic Terminal Tower, once the tallest building in the country after the Empire State Building... a long, long, long time ago.

And our home for the evening...

More pics from our Ritz-Carlton room before heading out for dinner.

Every now and then you get a stinker and tonight was that night. We had a choice of Morton's or Hyde Park Steakhouse. After a couple less than stellar Morton's experiences including in Cleveland, I opted for Hyde Park. Bad call. Wow, how depressing is this place with tired decor right of the 70's. Unfortunately, the food wasn't any better.

Yo chef, how about seasoning your steaks before your put them on the grill. And how do you get soggy fries??

For dessert, we decided on Key Lime Pie "made fresh daily". OK, whatever, Hillstone is still way better.

Then the table next to us offered a bite of their chocolate cake, which apparently serves 6-8. OK, that was good.

At around T-45, we headed up the street toward the Q.

And Mrs. SFO with my favorite pic of the trip.  Channeling her inner LeBron.

The TNT Inside the NBA crew... Chuck, Kenny, Shaq and Ernie. The best in the business.

As the players came out, an absolutely electric atmosphere in the building as nearly 21,000 came to celebrate.

The National Anthem.

And player introductions.

Getting ready for the tip.

Not a lot of pics once the game began. And what a game it was with the Cavs playing their best game of the series, taking an early lead and building on every quarter.

Reviewing an altercation at the end of the half as the Cavs take a 17 point lead into the locker room.

Halftime entertainment.

Warming up for the 2nd half and all smiles with a comfortable lead.

As the Cavs poured it on and opened a 25 point lead, more smiles and the anticipation of the Eastern Conference Championship and heading to the NBA Finals.

And the post game celebration with most of us soaking up the atmosphere and staying for another half hour

A pensive Lebron, who came back home to try to end Cleveland's 51 year sports title drought, now just 4 wins away.

And the celebration continued outside.

What an amazing experience for a Cleveland sports fan. So glad we made the trip.

Before heading to the airport, we enjoyed breakfast in the club lounge.

We checked out and head downstairs to catch a taxi to the airport.  A friend of the hotel limo driver was waiting and for $36 drove us in a very nice Cadillac.  PreCheck was a breeze this morning with not a lot of other pax around 10:30A.   A once bustiling CO and then UA hub, how depressing to see empty concourses.

And the shuttered D concourse for which the geniuses at UA are paying over $1.1 million a month for another 12 years.  LOL.  Don't let them off the hook CLE.

CLE-DEN
UA 3539
E70
11:37A-1:05P 
May 27, 2015
Lunch

Color me totally impressed. Boarding this morning's 11:37A CLE-DEN flight. We were the 4th and 5th to board. I scanned both our electronic BPs and GA immediately stopped me and said "Oh, Mr. SFO777, Happy Anniversary". Had absolutely no idea what she was talking about but thanked her anyway. How did she know it was our anniversary 10 days ago? Turns out it was the anniversary of Mrs. SFO777's joining Mileage Plus (or rather One Pass) and was intended for her. OK, close enough. But wow, Mrs. SFO777 isn't a big UA flyer and whatever the reason, it was pretty impressive.  

We only took this flight since Mrs. SFO doesn't do early mornings. Choice of chicken wrap or Asian beef salad. By the time our FA got to 2CD, it was a choice of Asian salad or nothing. Mrs. SFO opted for nothing while I took the salad primarily for the photo op. OK, it was certainly better than a snack box and way better than getting stuck on USdbaAA Mesa from LAX-DEN but meh. Otis Spunkmeyer was the best part of this tray. FAs need serious training in the art of service, as among other things, the nuts were delivered on the tray with the meal. Yeah, I'm sure the manual shows that. 

Other than incessant Bose-challenging FA chatter from the galley, there was one amusing interlude, with a completely oblivious FA and Captain (or FO) fawning over each other in the galley... for 15 minutes.   The phrase "get a room" comes to mind.  LOL.

Although we were back home only a short 27 hours after we left, it was an exciting trip back to Cleveland to see the Cavs win the Eastern Conference championship.