I posted last night that two of my three flights were zeroed out for my trip back to Philadelphia and I hoped to spend the night at SFO with a $600 voucher in my pocket. Things did not go so smoothly.
The SkyWest staff at Burbank continues to frustrate me. Most workers are nice, but they’re not nearly as swift as the now departed mainline staff. Case in point: flow control at SFO meant delayed departures for flights to SFO. I arrived at the airport at 1940 to catch my 2023 flight to SFO, which was now scheduled to depart at 2150. There was a delayed flight to SFO, which happened to be a CR7 with open seats in First Class, that had not departed yet, but it did not dawn on the agent who assisted me to put me on the flight.
When Skywest took over at BUR, they removed the departure monitor so it did not dawn on me that there was an earlier (delayed) flight to SFO. Instead, the agent tried to convince me to find a way over to LAX because everything from SFO was "sold out." By the time I realized the earlier flight to SFO was sitting at the gate, the doors had closed.
I telephoned the 1K desk and was squeezed on the 2314 redeye to IAD (I was originally scheduled on the 2230 redeye to IAD). I asked the UA agent how full the flight was and she said there were 76 people on the waitlist, but it was only overbooked by one (but still zeroed out). I added myself to the VDB list just in case, and awaited my delayed flight to SFO.
At 2120, the flow control program was lifted and we were cleared for immediate takeoff. The problem: the passengers were still in the gate area. The agents began to frantically board the flight and we loaded up and pushed back in 12 minutes. Not too difficult with only 30 on the flight.
Normally, the flight to SFO is about 50 minutes, but the flight took longer as we circled many times around San Francisco. We finally touched down at 2253 and taxied to the gate. It took a couple minutes for the jet bridge to connect to our CRJ and it was 1104 by the time I dashed out into the concourse. With scheduled departure time ten minutes away, I darted to gate 86 and made it by 1107. The gate area was deserted, but the door had not closed yet.
The agents asked if I was "Mr. Klint" and told me to they needed me to board immediately. They took my boarding pass (middle seat) and handed me a First Class boarding pass. Turns out I was rebooked in full Y on the later flight to IAD, which qualifies for a free upgrade. The door closed behind me as I boarded. While sitting on the tarmac ten minutes earlier, I toyed with missing the flight and staying overnight in San Francisco on UA’s dime, but I am glad I ran for it. I do find it odd, though, that an overbooked flight with 74 on the waitlist went out with many open middle seats in Economy.
Onboard, our purser was…interesting–in a good way. She worked her way through the cabin before takeoff taking drink orders and asking passengers if they wanted the fruit and cheese plate. When she came to me, our conversation went like this:
ME: Will there be chocolate chip cookies tonight? If so, I’ll take milk and water.
PURSER: Cookies? Nope.
ME: That’s funny. All my redeyes have cookies lately.
PURSER: Hey Sue [another FA nearby], we have cookies on these flights? This one seems to fly it quite a bit and says we have cookies.
SUE: Usually we do.
PURSER: I aint seen any. You want me to grab you some shortbread cookies from the back?
ME: That’s okay, but thanks.
PURSER: Why not? I’ll go get them.
ME: Okay. Hey, would you grab me a mySmoothie while you’re back there?
PURSER: A what?
ME: One of those juice boxes
SUE: Yeah, we’ve got those.
PURSER (jokingly): This one’s [again referring to me] going to be a difficult one. Look how he pointed his fingers at me when he made that request and when he ordered his drink. I bet he treats his wife like that too. You’re like that guy behind you (motioning to the Economy cabin). His wife left her bag in the gate area and he made her go get it and wouldn’t even help her put it in the overhead bin.
PURSER: Uh-huh. <rolleyes>
SUE: She’s evil.
PURSER: You call me evil?
SUE: Yes I did.
PURSER: Just checkin.
A few minutes later, just before liftoff, she came back:
PURSER: Your cookies are baking sir. [To Sue:] This one must fly a lot. I aint never seen them cookies before. Been a while since I done domestic, though.
My snack tray came with a large package of Walker’s shortbread cookies and two warm chocolate chip cookies.
No bumps, but another eventful night of travel on United. I’m now back in PHL. G-minus 6 days till I’m back in the air.