A VDB is the holy grail for any self-respecting mileage runner. Usually, I will go out of my way to seek them and plan my trips around cities and routes that have tend to be more overbooked than others.
I’m taking a little vacation in Montreal this week and was scheduled to fly from ONT-SFO-IAD-YUL, leaving this evening. This morning I got a call from UA’s Easy Update informing me that my 7:29p ONT-SFO flight had been cancelled.
I was in Central California at the time and could have re-booked myself on an earlier flight out of ONT, rushed home, and hoped that the now zeroed-out earlier flight would have needed volunteers.
I also could have flown out of LAX, about a 35 minute drive from my house, on a flight that was F0, Y4 or F0, Y3.
But I chose to fly out of Burbank instead, despite the flight being lightly filled.
Sometimes, convenience is more valuable than a shot at a VDB. The Bob Hope Airport in Burbank is only 15 minutes away from my home, I know the United Express/Skywest staff, and security lines are rarely busy. The flight departs at 8:38p, allowing me to avoid rush hour traffic and skim time off what would have been a long layover in SFO.
VDBs are nice, but with the recent reluctance of UA’s inventory management to overbook by more than one or two, I’m not willing to take the "risk" I once did, when it results in inconvenience.