Yesterday I blogged about a LA Times story bemoaning the fact that more passengers are being bumped off of flights.
Just an hour after posting, I got a bump of my own. My Sunday evening IAD-PHL flight was zeroed out, but I wasn’t expecting to be bumped (based on past flights that had been zeroed out and departed with a dozen empty seats) and did not even present myself to the gate agent before the flight. For those of you familiar with the A Terminal at Dulles, you know that 4-5 flights depart out of the same gate simultaneously and UA is chronically understaffed.
Last night there was only one gate agent loading all those flights so I did not want to bother him with my trivial bump request when he was in the midst of boarding flights to St. Louis, Charleston, Buffalo, and Savannah.
Finally the PHL flight was called and as I handed him my boarding pass I asked if he needed any volunteers. "Yes," he said and motioned for me to step behind him.
It turned out there were already two people who had volunteered to give up their seats and they soon joined me behind the podium. About ten minutes later, a final call was made for boarding and there was still one seat open. I feared that even though VDBs are suppoed to be processed based on status, I would be forced to get on the flight since I volunteered last.
But the agent knew what he was doing and told a General Member standing next to me that she would have to board. He had more flights to board so he told me and the other bumped passenger to take a seat and he would deal with us in a few minutes.
40 minutes dragged by (time that I would have liked to use to return to the LH Lounge for a light dinner), but he finally got around to us and had no qualms about issuing me $400 in travel credits instead of a round-trip voucher.
I got into PHL about four hours late, but it was worth it. Always ask about bumps. You never know.