Starting tomorrow, Continental will move to the D-gates and Continental Express to the lower A-gates at Washington Dulles. Up this point, CO has operated at the far A-gates right about where the B-gates start as a separate entity from United. The move means the Continental folks at Washington Dulles will lose their jobs as UA takes over the gate and ground operations for the CO flights and you could tell the mood was somber today before my flight from Dulles to Houston.
But whether out of bitterness or goodwill, the CO agents were very accommodating today. I was waiting in line to check on an upgrade and a young couple in front of me was trying to move their flight to Houston from tonight to tomorrow afternoon. After initially saying it was not possible, the agent said, “Oh, what the heck. It’s our last day,” and rebooked them for free on the flight they wanted tomorrow.
Intrigued, I thought I might as well try my luck. The flight to Houston was full, though not oversold, and I was not looking forward to a few hours in the back of the bus before continuing down to Sao Paulo, Brazil on another flight I had been unable to upgrade. So I asked if it might be possible to move to the non-stop UA flight from Dulles to Sao Paulo tonight. The agent, a different one than had helped the young couple, tapped on her keyboard for a few minutes and said, “Sure, why not. We’re outta here tomorrow.” Soon, a new itinerary popped out that included the n/s UA flight to GRU tonight.
The CO agents were so accommodating, I decided to press my luck further. I saw that I was rebooked in H class and asked the agent if she would mind moving me up to Y or B class to help my upgrade chances. She took my ticket, begin typing again, then asked me if I wanted Y or B. With a smile, I suggested C or F but she laughed and said Y or B. Choosing Y was a no-brainer.
I’m still on the waitlist for the flight down to Brazil tonight, but that little change from H to Y will earn me an extra 2,500 EQMs and shaved the upgrade fee from 25,000 miles + $250 to 12,500 miles and no co-pay. Not bad for such a reasonably priced ticket!
Normally I would never gloat about something like this (and I have had similar good fortune before). But I share this with you because I know the CO folks will be checking out for the last time tonight and to show that even with SHARES coming to UA it is possible to work situations to your advantage.
Let’s hope that upgrade clears. Even if it doesn’t, I’ll be enjoying Economy Plus and earning lifetime flight miles on UA. That’s worth more than the ~2,500 RDMs I sacrificed by bypassing Houston. And I still prefer being on UA to CO.