My United redeye flight to Philadephia Monday turned out to be oversold. But I did not take a bump. It simply wasn’t worth the effort, a stark change in the post-merger world.
Overnight bumps used to be an incredible jackpot–netting $600 on legacy United. Back then, your compensation would be based on how late you reached your destination. For a delay of up to 2 hrs, you would recieve a $200 credit. For delays of 2-6 hrs, you would receive $400, and for delays of more than 6hrs you would receive $600. In certain cirucmstances, like on interantional flights, this amount could be even highter. A free r/t ticket in the Lower 48 was also offered for any bump.
Then, about a 1.5yrs ago, United simplified things and offered a flat $400 voucher, eliminating the free r/t tickets. Vouchers were harder to use (requiring airport ticketing or ticketing by mail) and forced you to buy a more expensive fare or lose the residual value–a clever scheme that actually encouraged additional business on United.
Post-merger, as with most things, United has gone the Continental route and the voucher amount in an oversell situation is determined by the almighty SHARES computer system. Agents can work around it and offer any amount, but most do not know how to or do not dare cross the system.
It’s still summer and planes are running full. But for the third time in a row for me, the bump amount has been a measly $250 voucher. Sorry, but that just does not appeal to me anymore. Sure, I’d like the voucher–but the alternate options were not good. A redeye to Newark or Washington in economy class, a long layover, then a flight to Philadelphia on a small regional aircraft. Half the day would be gone by the time I landed in Philadephia.
Even if I would have been upgraded on the overnight flight, the $250 voucher would not have been worth the lost morning. So I passed.
The sad thing was (for me at least) that there were a lot of takers–in fact, there were several more volunteers than seat needed (three). I guess that means the medicore voucher amounts are here to stay…