Sunday, March 05, 2006

Bump Story # 3 -- Highly Profitable Bump

This story is the third in a series of stories about memorable bumps. The first story is here; and this link brings you to the second one. (I would love to hear readers' stories about getting bumped!) Tips on playing the bump game can be found here. (I am talking in this article about voluntary bumps rather than involuntary bumps.)

Thanksgiving is the most busy time for travel in the United States and if you travel on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving and on the Sunday after the holiday, you are practically guaranteed to get bumped if that is what you are looking for. Of course, you can increase the odds by taking a route where you have to change plane. For several years, we sustained an mini vacation at Thanksgiving by using vouchers from previous bumps, and then earning new vouchers the following year. In 2001, we went to visit Ms. M and her family in Seattle. We had no luck getting bumped on the way out, but the return journey was excellent.

All four Moyeys were traveling on United, which, of course, multiplies the potential profits. We were also traveling using vouchers earned at Thanksgiving when we went to Phoenix the year before. Our return itinerary was from Seattle (SEA) to Baltimore (BWI) via Chicago (ORD) at about 11:00 in the morning. That plane was full, and we were given four $400 vouchers and transferred to a flight to Washington Dulles (IAD) at about 11:30 with vouchers for a taxi to take us back to BWI. The desk where they were checking in passengers for Washington was just steps away, and we asked again if they needed volunteers. We were given a second set of four $400 vouchers, and this time we were put on a flight to San Francisco (SFO) with an onward leg into Washington Dulles. We got back late that night with $3,200 in vouchers.

Naturally, we tried our luck again on both the flight from Seattle to San Francisco, and the flight from San Francisco to Washington. But we had probably had more than anyone can expect in a single day! Interestingly, the flight from San Francisco to Washington was practically empty, and the flight attendant explained that the flight's primary purpose was to move a plane from San Francisco to Washington.

We had a long and moving conversation with the flight attendant, who was not busy on an almost empty plane. When she asked me what I would like to drink, I said that I would like Champagne. She reminded me that I was traveling in Economy, where Champagne was not offered. I replied, jokingly, that she had not asked me what I expected her to offer. Rather, I had responded to her question which was what I would like to drink. I added that I would also be grateful not to be reminded that I was traveling in Economy. She laughed and brought an entire bottle of good Californian sparkling wine, which I think was Chandon Blanc de Noirs), from the First Class cabin.

She spent about an hour chatting to us and told us that her usual route had been from San Francisco to New York, but she had begun to find it too depressing flying to New York. She had known people who had died in the 9/11 attacks, and it was just too sad to see people traveling to New York on business related to lost relatives. I will never forget this flight attendant -- so kind, friendly, and placed in such a sad situation as a result of that incident.

1 comment:

Poil de Chien Wine Club said...

Trixie and Basil are wondering when you will redo your historic trip to Seattle with the hopes of garnering more and even larger bump tickets. Missing you --- A&B