This morning I was booked on UA115 from IAD to ORD, which was scheduled to be an A320, but yesterday got switched to an A319. It has been showing zeroes across the board since yesterday, and when I got to the gate I was ready to bump. Everything was looking good. There were 14 passengers on the “confirmed awaiting seats” screen, while there were only two seats remaining. At the same time the flight was about 30 minutes late, which meant less misconnects or people arriving late for the flight.
The gate agent indicated she’d almost certainly need my seat and that I was number one on the list, so she protected me on the nonstop IAD-SFO flight (instead of IAD-ORD-SFO). She said I should come back and check with her shortly after boarding starts. I should mention that the gate area was packed and the agents were working their tails off.
Eventually I notice that they ask for volunteers, and the way it looks to me, they’re already processing some and giving them free tickets. I decide to get in line to see if they wanted to process mine already. After a long wait in line and getting in a verbal confrontation with the guy behind me in line (NOT in front of me!!!), it was my turn. The agent mentioned that their printer just broke, so I should go to the customer service desk near gate C19, where they’d process VDB’s. She mentioned they were expecting us.
A few of us get there, and the rather rude agent says that she doesn’t understand why the gate agent needs VDB’s, since they’re booked even. They eventually send back another couple, but I stuck around and mentioned that we already had a verbal agreement and that I was number one on the list, yet they had already VDB’ed passengers. She said there was nothing she could do and that I should go back to the gate.
I get to the gate, where one of the very friendly gate agents is waiting for me. She apologizes profusely and mentioned how angry she was that the agents were questioning her, since loads were her responsibility. She said they didn’t end up needing volunteers, but I just continued to stand there with a look of disappointment on my face, given that I was promised a VDB and that I believe they processed some out of order.
Eventually she says “can you give me just one moment, sir?” She calls a supervisor (yes, a supervisor, not a service director), so I tried to use my laptop bag to cover up my shirt (just in case he’s one of the two people in the world that likes Glenn). The gate agents talks privately to the supervisor, and after a couple of minutes the supervisor approaches me and apologizes profusely. He thanks me for my loyalty and said that “if you continue giving us your business, maybe we could afford to get this printer fixed.” He asked for my email address, and said he wanted to send me some compensation.
I’m still waiting, but that’s my “almost” VDB story of the day. I’ll report back on what the compensation is (if I ever receive it).