A horrendous (yet awesome) two days of flying

Sunday night when I was leaving Maui, I felt like crap. I’m not sure if I got too much sun while in Maui or what, but I just hadn’t ever felt as exhausted before. And of course being the brilliant planner I am, my return journey back home included a double redeye. First I was on a redeye from Maui to Los Angeles, then scheduled to hop around the coast, and then a redeye from San Francisco to Philadelphia.

I almost never get sick. I credit that to the amount of flying I do, which must make my immune system pretty strong. But I was just feeling awful on the redeye, freezing like crazy and then sweating, in addition to being totally congested. I had no clue how I was going to make it through the next two days.

I made it to Los Angeles, where I was then booked on the 6AM Los Angeles to San Francisco flight. It showed as being zeroed out, but I don’t think I’ve ever been bumped off a 6AM flight. There are always too many people that oversleep. But for once, this flight was actually oversold. And they needed quite a few volunteers. I was originally scheduled to fly Los Angeles to San Francisco to Portland to Seattle, but was rebooked on the nonstop Los Angeles to Seattle flight. That was fine, though it meant flying coach. That’s no big deal, but coach is especially bad when you’re sick and just want personal space, especially since the flight was operated by a regional jet.

I also did something I’ve never done before. I got bumped at 6AM and my next flight was at 12:47PM. Since I was feeling like crap, I decided to book a dayroom at the Holiday Inn. Not the cheapest way to spend a few hours, but the few hours of sleep made a huge difference, and being able to shower before continuing flying made me feel much better.

Then I got on the flight from Seattle to San Francisco. Yet again, it was a regional jet. In well over 100 segments since unlimited domestic upgrades started, this was the first time my upgrade really didn’t clear. Then again, it was zeroed out in first class when I booked, so I wasn’t expecting the upgrade. The short flight from Seattle to San Francisco is never a big deal, but when you’re sick it feels like forever. Unfortunately the aircraft had a bird strike on the inbound flight, which meant we had a 90 minute delay on the ground as the contracted Horizon Air workers took a look at the plane (and the captain kept talking crap about the contract guys over the PA). Unfortunately they only realized there was a bird strike after everyone was already aboard. That made for about six hours in coach on a regional jet while sick as a dog. Not fun!

Then I made it to San Francisco, where yet again, the San Francisco to Philadelphia redeye was sold out. I went to the gate early, and the agent bumped me almost instantly. Sweet, another $400 in travel credits! I got rebooked on the Chicago redeye, which made me a happy camper since it would get me home earlier than originally scheduled.

The San Francisco to Chicago redeye was yet again sold out, but unfortunately they didn’t need volunteers.

On a somewhat unrelated note, has anyone noticed that the United gate monitors no longer display all the good info? For all the flights I could see, they didn’t display the upgrade waitlist, confirmed awaiting seats list, or standby list. The only thing displayed was the “cleared” list. Is this a new trend? Not sure if United doesn’t want us to have access to that much info or what. I can see displaying all the gate information being United’s new version of Channel 9, and making it at the sole discretion of the gate agent. šŸ˜€

As luck would have it, my seatmate from San Francisco to Chicago was a non-rev. Her aunt worked for United, and she wouldn’t shut up. I tried to put on my headphones, but she kept talking to me. I thought it was pretty funny when the flight attendant took our drink orders. She asks my seatmate what she wanted to drink, and first she stares at the flight attendant blankly for about ten seconds. Then she says “well what do you have?” Really?

Anyway, it has been a torturous two days of flying, yet very profitable. I’m happy to finally be home, and I’m about to start hibernating.

Comments

  1. @ fooko2002 — They don’t usually, but since they don’t have a maintenance base there for regional jets, Horizon takes care of any last minute CR7 maintenance for Skywest.

  2. I was at ORD yesterday and the board only showed the “cleared” list. We thought maybe it was because the flight had 90 people on the standby list (the RCC agent told me when he put me on in and I jumped to #2 and my 1P wife jumped to #6).

  3. When I flew from ORD on Saturday night all the usual display information was there, including 12 people confirmed awaiting seats and 0 seats available.

  4. Lots of bumps recently, lucky! How far in advance do you book all these mileage runs and still manage to get bumped so often?

  5. @ mpw81 — It seems to be a pattern.

    @ Pat — Hmm, strange.

    @ AJ — Actually not far out at all. Lately United’s IM seems to be very aggressive. For most of the bumps I’ve taken, the flights were Y9 just a couple of days before, or often even the day of, but they’re selling a lot of last minute seats or at the very least rebooking people. I’m booking most of my flights one or two weeks out lately.

  6. Last week I flew JFK/SYD and stayed 1 day before returning. I had a blowout cold for 2 days, and I’m still a bit under the weather. I felt a little better after my miles posted!!

  7. Congrats on the multi-city routing (good to see some still in play) and of course the bumps!

    My Mon afternoon flight ORD-LGA had only the “cleared” list on display. I can’t tell you how long I stared at the screen waiting for the other info to appear.

    Feel better

  8. Same issue with the lists on JFK-IAD on Sunday. Very odd and frustrating. Lucky, did you notice it before Sunday? If not, perhaps the changed kicked in then, which would be consistent with the above anecdotes.

  9. I hate to be the Debbie Downer…but did you ever think about how you flew all those segments, knowing full well that you were “sick as a dog,” and knowingly passed germs to fellow passengers?

  10. @ FBKSan — Looks like things are back to normal now!

    @ Molly — I was on a non-refundable ticket and most flights for days were booked out. What was I going to do?

    @ Paul — Y9 is the highest fare bucket visible for coach. That means that United is selling at least nine more seats in coach (Y is a coach fare bucket). So if a flight is Y7, it means they are selling seven more coach seats. Numbers never go beyond nine, though.

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