A bumpy start to the year!

What a great day! Not only did I book a mileage run that would let me sleep in late, but I just scored a $400 bump. I was scheduled to fly from Chicago to Los Angeles this afternoon, which was showing “9s” across the board yesterday (meaning they were willing to sell at least nine more seats in each fare class), though when I woke up this morning the flight was sold out.

I got to the Red Carpet Club in Chicago and asked the agent whether the flight might be oversold. She laughed and said “ohhh yeah.” She added me to the list and already protected me on the next flight out. I asked again whether the flight was just oversold by a couple or was over by more than that, and she said “it’s quite a bit more than that.”

I got to the gate an hour before departure, and went up to the gate agent to mention that I was already on the volunteer list and was very flexible. She quickly responded with “okay, but we don’t need volunteers today.” I said, “well, if you need me, I’m on the list, just let me know.”

For 20 minutes nothing happened, at which point the service director showed up and asked that gate agent whether she solicited volunteers yet. She said “no, we don’t need them,” and he responded with “what flight are you looking at, this one is over by six, and we have no misconnects.” Sure enough, the other gate agent got on the PA soliciting volunteers, at which point I immediately jumped up. I had done my research before departure and saw that the next flight was still wide open in first class, and since it was a Saturday, I figured I’d clear without a doubt. I got rebooked in “full Y” (meaning I earn a 50% fare bonus and am at the top of the list for upgrades), which was great. At the same time I was being processed, a Global Services was also volunteering to bump, which sucks, since he would beat me on the upgrade list for the next flight! I wasn’t worried since the flight was still wide open in first class, though in the 10 minutes my bump was being processed, they cleared upgrades on the next flight to the point that the cabin was sold out. Fortunately I had 8D, my favorite Economy Plus, so I could deal with coach.

Nonetheless, I wasn’t quite ready to give up. I proceeded to the gate for the flight I was rebooked on, putting up with the militant announcements of the gate agents about gate checking bags. They insisted everyone in seating area four and most people in seating area three gate check their bags in advance. Ridiculous. The gate agent even made an announcement saying “I realize many of you would rather gate check your first born than your carry-on.”

Anyway, I was number two on the upgrade list (behind the Global Services member that also bumped) with one seat remaining, so I wasn’t going to get the upgrade.

Not wanting to give up, I ran to the Red Carpet Club and did a “same day confirmed change” to the later Chicago to Los Angeles flight, where an upgrade is now looking very likely, despite being an A319 with only eight first class seats. Given that I’m taking the redeye back, there’s no benefit to getting to Los Angeles any earlier than I need to, so I’m hoping it pays off.

Between this and my bump last week, 2011 is off to a good start! And a big hello to all those FlyerTalkers I ran into along the way today.

Filed Under: Mileage Runs, United
  1. Hello back at ya. We’re waiting for 24 connecting passengers coming from The E Gates. You may get out of here before me!

  2. Good to meet you, too, Ben. Glad you got the upgrade on the later flight. I wonder if that GS made it into First on my flight?

  3. There’s always a benefit to getting to LAX early: time for a run to In-N-Out Burger, via the Parking Spot shuttle to save on cab fare.

  4. I enjoy reading all the bump succcess storied. Although I don’t look for them for myself, I’m always rooting for flyers traveling on shoe string budget to succeed

  5. Nice work Ben! Good to hear you didn’t have to put up with coach. šŸ˜‰

    Sorry I missed you on the way out.

  6. Just did a MR from JFK-LAX-IAD-LHR-LAX-IAD and got upgraded on every leg! This was all over a three day holiday weekend! No complaints from me!

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