Denver nuggets, Part I

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United Airlines batted 500 on my flight from New York to Denver for Travel Weekly's Technology Conference.

The aircraft was hideously overbooked, resulting in several unlucky passengers being bumped up to first class. I was not among them.

On the other hand, I got the emergency-exit seating I requested. And a crackerjack flight crew managed the botched-booking situation quickly, efficiently, and most surprising for the carrier in question, amiably.

Even more startling, United's new commitment to on-time departures (a program that I initially found somewhat suspect) seems to be working. We left on time and arrived 15 minutes early. Great, especially for a westbound flight. Also, my luggage popped out of the carousel in no time. Maybe United's skies are getting friendlier.

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