As I hinted at earlier in the week, I had a bit of gate agent fun at ORD this past weekend. Something tells me this post won’t be quite as exciting as my flight attendant story, but I’ll share it nonetheless. 😉
Now I know most of the gate agents at my home airport of TPA, as I almost always take the same flight and I’m pretty sure I’m United’s most frequent flier out of TPA, but it’s rare that I get to know gate agents at any of the larger stations.
Earlier in the year, I was booked on a flight with my favorite United captain, and they ended up needing one volunteer, so as tough as it was to do, I took the bump. The funny thing was that we (FlyerTalkers and the captain) were having dinner after the flight, so I told the gate agent to let Captain Denny know that I’d still make it to dinner. I also asked if the gate agent could please give Captain Denny the chocolate I had brought along for his crew. This turned out to be quite funny on a couple of levels.
First of all, there were standbys trying to get on the flight, and they saw me all happy (since I was getting bumped) and saw me give the gate agent chocolate. Their initial reaction was that they thought I was bribing the gate agent to get me on the flight, trying to cut ahead of the other standbys, and they even accused me of that. When I explained it was quite the opposite, they chuckled and backed off. Secondly, the gate agent was absolutely mystified by the fact that I somehow knew the captain, and went so far as to quiz me on his name to make sure I wasn’t making this up.
Now at the time, I had the suspicion that this gate agent is a certain ORD gate agent that frequently posts on FlyerTalk and is known for being very “by the book” (without being too fast to pull any names out of thin air). 😉
I remember when this gate agent bumped me he was talking about how he was going to take care of me. I tried to negotiate an upgrade, which isn’t uncommon in cases where one gets bumped, and he says “don’t worry, I’ll take care of you.” He kept rolling his eyes at me jokingly as I became needy, but in the end, we both left laughing. Of course his definition of “taking care of me ” was going exactly by the book. He pulled upgrades for the later flight and even had called inventory management to open up a lower fare bucket on the flight he was rebooking me on so that he didn’t need to rebook me in full “Y” (which would have meant a 50% elite qualifying miles bonus).
Anyway, after getting bumped on Saturday I was rebooked on a later flight. Amazingly enough, who do I see at the podium? The same guy. As he saw me approach the podium to ask if they might need volunteers, he (jokingly) told me in his condescending Bruno-meets-Filipino accent “not you again, what do you want?” Anyway, as it turned out he wasn’t actually working the flight, he was just awaiting the inbound plane, which was running late. He continued — “don’t say a word to me, I don’t want to talk to you.” I explained “but I’m only here to help. I just want to volunteer to help you guys out.”
He looked at my boarding pass, which was for 17B, a non-Economy Plus middle seat, and I asked if he might have anything better available. He said “oh yes, I have a great seat just for you,” and printed me out a boarding pass for seat 22E, a center seat in the last row. He then walked off and said he had to work another flight. Ouch!
But he redeemed himself. About 20 minutes later he came back to the gate, goes up to the podium, prints out a boarding pass for the exit row, throws it at me, and says “here, just for you this one time,” and walks away.
Can’t figure out whether he loves me or hates me…