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Old Dec 9, 12, 4:48 pm   #1
 
Join Date: Jan 2011
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Failed VDB today, what did I do wrong?

Flying DL 131 ATL-LAS today, was at the gate about 1hr early to volunteer for bump (traveling alone). The GA told me that they would "certainly" need people, said comp would start at $400 for me and would go up if any subsequent volunteers got higher comp. It sounded like she was expecting to have multiple bumps. I asked if she wanted me to stay close or if it would be alright to go to the club, she said it was fine to swing back 30 min prior to departure. She took my BP and wrote #1 on it.

Came back at the prescribed time and the boarding area was packed . Visited the GA who didn't remember me at first but then the lightbulb went off and she said they didn't need me after all. I was a bit surprised as I was told by club agents it was oversold and (not sure of it matters) according to the screens there were still around 15 names on the standby list.

All in all it's fine since I'm enroute to LAS as planned right now but I definitely would have liked the opportunity to pick up a voucher today. I've never had much experience with VDB; is there anything I could have done to facilitate it? Is it possible that someone else was bumped before me if they happened to be at the gate? Would appreciate any tips!
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Old Dec 9, 12, 4:55 pm   #2
 
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Originally Posted by nkedge View Post
Flying DL 131 ATL-LAS today, was at the gate about 1hr early to volunteer for bump (traveling alone). The GA told me that they would "certainly" need people, said comp would start at $400 for me and would go up if any subsequent volunteers got higher comp. It sounded like she was expecting to have multiple bumps. I asked if she wanted me to stay close or if it would be alright to go to the club, she said it was fine to swing back 30 min prior to departure. She took my BP and wrote #1 on it.

Came back at the prescribed time and the boarding area was packed . Visited the GA who didn't remember me at first but then the lightbulb went off and she said they didn't need me after all. I was a bit surprised as I was told by club agents it was oversold and (not sure of it matters) according to the screens there were still around 15 names on the standby list.

All in all it's fine since I'm enroute to LAS as planned right now but I definitely would have liked the opportunity to pick up a voucher today. I've never had much experience with VDB; is there anything I could have done to facilitate it? Is it possible that someone else was bumped before me if they happened to be at the gate? Would appreciate any tips!
You didn't do anything wrong. Delta's oversell stats worked in their favor. Other factors could have played in such as missconnects due to delays. And several of those 15 names on the standby list could have been non-revs, as non-revs show up on the same standby list, while the rest were accomodated due to no-shows.
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Old Dec 9, 12, 5:04 pm   #3
 
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Yeah nothing you can do. For future reference, I used to have more luck if I did not return to the club and hung out around the gate. Always wanted the GA to see you waiting (patiently, not right in her face but off to the side).
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Old Dec 9, 12, 5:11 pm   #4
 
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According to the seat map, one seat went out empty.
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Old Dec 9, 12, 5:11 pm   #5
 
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Thanks guys. Yeah, I figured that it was just unlucky this time. Disappointing though since it seemed like such a sure thing! Something about counting chickens before they've hatched, right?
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Old Dec 9, 12, 5:16 pm   #6
 
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Point - the fine folks in RM.
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Old Dec 9, 12, 6:59 pm   #7
 
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Originally Posted by nkedge View Post
Disappointing though since it seemed like such a sure thing!
Ah, yes! This is surely at the top of a FlyerTalker's list of travel disappointments! I can tell you that it's certainly my #1!
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Old Dec 9, 12, 9:22 pm   #8
 
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As a VDBer for decades, I can recommend that you chalk it up as ENTIRELY typical. Situation normal.
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Old Dec 9, 12, 9:55 pm   #9
 
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Originally Posted by SpinzCity View Post
As a VDBer for decades, I can recommend that you chalk it up as ENTIRELY typical. Situation normal.
the wonder of revenue management....
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Old Dec 9, 12, 10:59 pm   #10
 
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Another data point...

Last week LAX-JFK 9:30 pm red-eye flight was oversold....

Went to the gate and did everything right including hanging out at the gate.

Towards the very end of boarding the GA signals to me and the two other people who came after me and asked if the GA need volunteers.

She tells us all to board as there is a party of FIVE that has not even checked in yet and as it is now 15 minutes before departure she releasing their seats and those five seats means that she won't need us as volunteers

She did thank us for volunteering....in hindsight I could have at least asked for a HOOU (Have One On Us) certificate...

The point is that sometime even if they are oversold people do not show up which is why they oversell in the first place....
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Old Dec 10, 12, 9:02 am   #11
 
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Originally Posted by SpinzCity View Post
As a VDBer for decades, I can recommend that you chalk it up as ENTIRELY typical. Situation normal.
Dear expert VDBers...

On a somewhat related note. Do VDBs ever happen earlier than when everyone else has boarded?

Last edited by Delta Dude; Dec 10, 12 at 9:10 am..
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Old Dec 10, 12, 9:02 am   #12
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This is the essence of WHY they oversell flights. People don't show up. People miss connections. People change their flights. If they didn't oversell, they would consistently have empty seats going out.
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Old Dec 10, 12, 10:07 am   #13
 
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Originally Posted by indufan View Post
This is the essence of WHY they oversell flights. People don't show up. People miss connections. People change their flights. If they didn't oversell, they would consistently have empty seats going out.
Before you become familiar with the system, you really do not realize how much the list of confirmed pax for a given flight changes in the 24 hours before departure. I can remember thinking to myself, "barring an emergency, who doesn't show up for their flight?" Once you become aware of all the ways that pax end up on a different flight than the one they booked, you begin to see how, more times than not, "oversold" simply becomes "completely full."
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Old Dec 10, 12, 10:18 am   #14
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Delta Dude View Post
... Do VDBs ever happen earlier than when everyone else has boarded?
While my success rate with VDBs is very low, I do recall one experience where my VDB was successfully completed before boarding:

After flying SEA-MSP on a Friday afternoon, I checked my 1830 connection status to ORD - it was on-time, but what caught my eye was that the MSP-ORD 1700 flight had been cancelled ...

DING DING DING: I immediately realized that the cancelled flight would b a prime flight chock full of "very important" businessmen (ie full Y tickets). I proceeded immediately to my gate to volunteer, where I found pandemonium -- all the passengers booked on my sold out 1830 flight plus nearly all the passengers from the cancelled 1700 flight (including hundreds of guys in business suits: DING DING DING).

I asked the gate agent if they were seeking volunteers; she replied yes ... and it appeared she had not even solicited volunteers yet or begun a list. She took my name, then made an announcement for volunteers. Ten minutes later the GA called me back to the podium and fully completed the VDB process: issued vouchers, and rebooked in F on the next MSP-ORD flight leaving about 1:30 after my ticketed flight.

This was before any boarding had begun - in fact, I think it was well before any boarding got underway given the level of confusion at the gate. (I ran away to the Club with my vouchers at this point should anything jeapordize my VDB).

My new flight departed on schedule, while I suspect my original flight pushed back 30 to 60 minutes late, so I arrived in ORD about 45 minutes later than my original flight.
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Old Dec 10, 12, 10:27 am   #15
 
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Just to clarify the terminology - I understood that a flight is overbooked when they have confirmed reservations for more passengers than there are seats on the plane. The flight is not oversold until enough confirmed passengers show up at the gate that they actually have to turn someone away either through VDB or IDB.
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