The United Airlines route from Boston to San Francisco is much maligned, and for good reason. It's always a 757 configured to maximize the number of coach seats, even though most of the fliers seem to be Global Services Million Mile Fliers who all expect to sit in first class. The plane is boarded in 4 boarding groups, and I thought I was doing well by being in group 2. Oh how wrong I was. At least 3/4 of the full flight was in group 1, and every single passenger brought on the maximum-allowed-volume roller board. So, 45 minutes after boarding began, I stepped into the plane, only to be told that my bag would have to be checked, and not the kind of door-check where you get the bag back on the jetway.
During those 45 minutes, I listened to a conversation among a large group of United employees in which they could not stop talking about how much they love flying Jetblue whenever possible. Even a jumpseat on Jetblue is preferable to anything United offers them. I couldn't have agreed more.
Finally, an hour into the flight, I chatted with the guy next to me, who seemed very amiable. He was going to Berkeley to visit his girlfriend, who is a sociology PhD first-year. I told him I would probably be in Stanford or Harvard's PhD program in economics next year, to which he responded "oh, that's great, I'm going to MIT next year. In economics." After a stunned silence, we started talking about economics for the next few hours. He was a Chicago undergrad (though unfortunately he didn't know any of the Chicago people I know) who deferred two years to work for BCG, and is now going to be at MIT with NSF funding. He should be living comfortably I suspect.