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Going on a MR, 2 segments seem oversold, need tips on getting bumped

Going on a MR, 2 segments seem oversold, need tips on getting bumped

Old May 6, 11, 1:06 am
  #1  
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Going on a MR, 2 segments seem oversold, need tips on getting bumped

I'm going on the following MR on Saturday (all flights depart on same date):


BOS-LAX 08:24AM-12:00PM (F0 Y0 B0 M0 E0 U0 H0 Q0 V0 W0 S0 T0 L0 K0 G0 A0)
LAX-PHX 12:39PM-02:05PM
PHX-SFO 07:43PM-09:47PM (F1 Y0 B0 M0 E0 U0 H0 Q0 V0 W0 S0 T0 L0 K0 G0 A1)
SFO-BOS 10:32PM-07:00PM

* Availability taken from EF

I'd like to take as much advantage of this as possible but as you can see, both of my (potentially) oversold segments are followed by very short stop-overs to continuing flights so bumping me will not be easy for the agents.

Will they be willing to put me on a UA marketed US flight non-stop to PHX? If they'd be willing to do that I would make it in time to SFO for the second potential bump.

I would love to hear what you guys think about this. How can I maximize my bump-potential here?
G-fly is offline  
Old May 6, 11, 5:07 am
  #2  
 
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Do you need to be in PHX for those 4-5 hours? If not, there are quite a few connecting flights from BOS to PHX operated by UA and CO (via ORD, EWR, IAH) that will get you there in time for your second potential bump. The benefit of being put on UACO metal is that you're auto-rebooked into Y --> jump to the top of the UG list if there's still F availability. Plus, if you're looking for segments, 2 x 1.5 = 3 as opposed to 1 or 1.5 from the US nonstop option.

As for maximizing your chances of getting bumped: get to the airport early and be at the gate when the GA first starts working in the flight. To make it as easy as possible for him/her (which also means they'll be more likely to work with you) have the itinerary you'd like to be rebooked on ready, with flt#'s/departure times/connection cities. If you can, check availability on those other flights to be as prepared as possible. I only recommend this last step because I've seen tired and overworked GAs refuse to continually look up new routings for availability if the first one you suggest doesn't have any seats open.

Good luck! Oh, and I'd like a 10% agent's fee off whatever VDB comp you get...
o mikros is offline  
Old May 6, 11, 7:57 am
  #3  
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Awesome advice! Thank you ^

I searched ITA and found routing through DEN (BOS-DEN-PHX) with both flights looking wide open on EF. Would there be any reason why the agent wouldn't want to put me on this (or any) particular routing? In other words, should I prepare more alternatives?

As for the second possible bump (PHX-SFO), it's looking much more problematic. From ITA it looks like the only other available routing to BOS that day is through LAX on UA6528 and that's what it looks like on EF:

UA6528 Y5 B5 M3 E3 U3 H3 Q3 V3 W3 S3 T0 L0 K0 G0

So this brings me to two other questions:

1. What is the likelihood of the agent allowing me to use non-UA/CO metal? Should I prepare routing for *A or will any airline do?

2. What is the likelihood of the agent giving me a hotel room for the night and a flight for the next morning? If I offer to pay for the hotel room myself would that help?

BTW, I don't really care about UDU or collecting segments. Unfortunately I'm not elite (yet) this year and I'm aiming for miles, not segments. I'm only looking for UA/CO flights since I'm assuming the agent would be more likely to allow it.

Originally Posted by o mikros View Post
Good luck! Oh, and I'd like a 10% agent's fee off whatever VDB comp you get...
Oh... but you're so kind... I'm sure a heartfelt thank you would suffice
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Old May 6, 11, 8:08 am
  #4  
 
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Originally Posted by G-fly View Post
Awesome advice! Thank you ^

I searched ITA and found routing through DEN (BOS-DEN-PHX) with both flights looking wide open on EF. Would there be any reason why the agent wouldn't want to put me on this (or any) particular routing? In other words, should I prepare more alternatives?

As for the second possible bump (PHX-SFO), it's looking much more problematic. From ITA it looks like the only other available routing to BOS that day is through LAX on UA6528 and that's what it looks like on EF:

UA6528 Y5 B5 M3 E3 U3 H3 Q3 V3 W3 S3 T0 L0 K0 G0

So this brings me to two other questions:

1. What is the likelihood of the agent allowing me to use non-UA/CO metal? Should I prepare routing for *A or will any airline do?

2. What is the likelihood of the agent giving me a hotel room for the night and a flight for the next morning? If I offer to pay for the hotel room myself would that help?

BTW, I don't really care about UDU or collecting segments. Unfortunately I'm not elite (yet) this year and I'm aiming for miles, not segments. I'm only looking for UA/CO flights since I'm assuming the agent would be more likely to allow it.



Oh... but you're so kind... I'm sure a heartfelt thank you would suffice
1. The priority for rebooking will be UA, CO, US, then anyone else very reluctantly. Also think about midpoint cities that might be served by one or both other than hubs (i.e., PIT).

2. If your bump requires you to stay overnight, a hotel room plus meal vouchers will be part of the package. I think that it's part of the requirements for this to be the case because they can't get you to your destination within 4 hours. Offering to pay for the hotel won't make a difference.

As someone else previously stated, when the desk opens go up and ask the GA if it is oversold and if they're looking for volunteers. They'll probably ask your final destination and let them know what cities you'd be willing to connect through if they can't get you there directly. I just did this on US on Tuesday and wound up with $500 for a 2 hour delay.
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Old May 6, 11, 8:29 am
  #5  
 
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Originally Posted by G-fly View Post

So this brings me to two other questions:

1. What is the likelihood of the agent allowing me to use non-UA/CO metal? Should I prepare routing for *A or will any airline do?

2. What is the likelihood of the agent giving me a hotel room for the night and a flight for the next morning? If I offer to pay for the hotel room myself would that help?
Get to the gate at least an hour a half early and let the agent know right away that you would like to volunteer. Also ask if they are oversold. I wouldn't start offering alternative routings right off the bat, just get on the volunteer list, be helpful, and hang around the counter. You can work all the routing, hotel, meal, and other details later. (BTW those look like really good candidates for a bump).

You will only be put on non-UA metal as a very last resort. This costs the airline a lot more, so they will route you all over to avoid this, good for a MR.

If you aren't elite the likelihood of a hotel are lower. However, with a bump this is negotiable. I would suggest that once the bump is available and they are looking at routings that require you to stay overnight, casually ask if it is possible to get a hotel with an overnight stay. You will almost always get it and if they don't you can always pull the bump. Ask for a dinner voucher as well. Good luck!
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Old May 6, 11, 9:24 am
  #6  
 
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Anyone know how willing United is to rebook onto Frontier?

I have a flight tonight that's oversold but Frontier is still selling seats on the same route tomorrow morning.
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Old May 6, 11, 9:31 am
  #7  
 
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Originally Posted by IADtoWhere View Post
Anyone know how willing United is to rebook onto Frontier?

I have a flight tonight that's oversold but Frontier is still selling seats on the same route tomorrow morning.
Several years ago I took a bump DEN-SAN and UA told me they were going to put me on the next F9 flight. When they got around to actually ticketing me though a seat on the next UA flight was available so I go that instead. I don't know everything that goes into the decision but it's certainly possible.
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Old May 6, 11, 10:03 am
  #8  
 
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You are displaying married availability by pulling up the journey availability. That doesn't mean they are sold out, just sold out on the path you are taking. It is very possible (too lazy to check) that on the individual legs, or on a more "lucrative" path, those flights are still selling seats. Y0 doesn't mean they aren't selling seats anymore, just that they won't sell them on the path (not leg) that you have requested.
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Old May 6, 11, 10:25 am
  #9  
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As United is still selling seats on all four of these flights, I think the chance of a bump is not that good at all.

Bumps are very hard to come by anymore, they have gotten very very very good at their modeling.
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Old May 6, 11, 11:25 am
  #10  
 
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Originally Posted by cordelli View Post
As United is still selling seats on all four of these flights, I think the chance of a bump is not that good at all.

Bumps are very hard to come by anymore, they have gotten very very very good at their modeling.
Had I bothered to look, this is what my conclusion would have been as well. The best way to tell if the flight is oversold is to try to purchase a ticket on that leg alone. If the airline is selling anything below Y or B, it's still got open seats. If they're selling only Y or B for $800+, then the flight is probably exactly full (not oversold at all). If the flight doesn't even show up among the search results, then that's your best bet for a straight-up oversold flight.

Of course, you could always be on the rare flight that's not oversold until a couple Fit Athletic Males show up....
o mikros is offline  
Old May 6, 11, 2:13 pm
  #11  
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Originally Posted by fastair View Post
You are displaying married availability by pulling up the journey availability. That doesn't mean they are sold out, just sold out on the path you are taking. It is very possible (too lazy to check) that on the individual legs, or on a more "lucrative" path, those flights are still selling seats. Y0 doesn't mean they aren't selling seats anymore, just that they won't sell them on the path (not leg) that you have requested.
How embarrassing... Just when I think I'm starting to get the hang of it, the airline industry finds yet another another way to complicate things... I was already picturing myself coming back with $1000 in flight vouchers and a whole lot of miles...

What is married availability and how should I perform the search on EF to get a better indication?

I'm not sure what I did before but now when I'm searching for those two flights on EF I get

UA 378 F0 Y7 B7 M7 E7 U7 H7 Q7 V6 W6 S3 T2 L1 K0 G0 A0

UA 6883 F1 Y2 B2 M1 E1 U1 H1 Q1 V0 W0 S0 T0 L0 K0 G0 A1

What's going on here? Am I doing something different now? I'm pretty sure I did the same search this morning and got very different results...
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Old May 6, 11, 3:17 pm
  #12  
 
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Originally Posted by IADtoWhere View Post
Anyone know how willing United is to rebook onto Frontier?

I have a flight tonight that's oversold but Frontier is still selling seats on the same route tomorrow morning.
A couple of years ago, I misconnected in DEN (last flight to AUS). I asked if they put me on the Frontier flight and they did so without any problems.

About 2-3 times a year, I've always have been sucessful when asking to be placed on another airline due to delays and potential misconnects.

Earlier this week, I was booked on CO SJC-IAH-LGA. The SJC flight had a 41 minute delay, which gave me less than 15 minutes to (mis)connect. I called CO reservations and asked to go via DL, SJC-MSP-LGA. They tried to reroute me on UA via DEN, but it required for me to get to the airport 45 minutes sooner (which I wasn't able to do). The odd thing was the SJC-DEN UA portion appeared to be sold out (i.e. United web site wasn't selling any tickets, all 0's in fare catagories). I'm assuming they would "force" my reservation and create an overbooked situation. After waiting for 20 minutes on the phone, I was rebooked on Delta.

I get the impression that CO's policy is stricter than UA's. This was the first time I tried to ask CO for a different (non star alliance) airline. I got the impression CO is very reluctant to do so. My experience with United was this wasn't much of a problem and was handled quicker.

My assumption is that if I wasn't a 1k, they wouldn't be so willing to help.
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Old May 6, 11, 5:26 pm
  #13  
 
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Beyond the excellent information already given, I would add that, when you approach the GA, don't simply ask about volunteers, but rather point out that you have some flexibility so if they need to re-route anyone, you'd be happy to volunteer.

Yeah, it's saying the same thing as "Are you looking for volunteers?" but in some cases I've heard people asking that in a manner that seems more opportunistic and sometimes close to demanding than trying to help out.

It's educational to hang around around the counter and listen to what goes on. Just imagine it's you behind the counter, listening to some of those stories.
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Old May 6, 11, 5:57 pm
  #14  
 
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Originally Posted by G-fly View Post
How embarrassing... Just when I think I'm starting to get the hang of it, the airline industry finds yet another another way to complicate things... I was already picturing myself coming back with $1000 in flight vouchers and a whole lot of miles...

What is married availability and how should I perform the search on EF to get a better indication?

I'm not sure what I did before but now when I'm searching for those two flights on EF I get

UA 378 F0 Y7 B7 M7 E7 U7 H7 Q7 V6 W6 S3 T2 L1 K0 G0 A0

UA 6883 F1 Y2 B2 M1 E1 U1 H1 Q1 V0 W0 S0 T0 L0 K0 G0 A1

What's going on here? Am I doing something different now? I'm pretty sure I did the same search this morning and got very different results...
Married availability is a function of higher level inventory systems that allow s carrier to give different inventory to different paths on multiple leg trips, on the same flight segment. Let's say stl-ord-ind has a cheap fare structure due to competition, but nrt-ind has high fares due to the LCCs not competing. An airline may give less availability on the stl ord ind path on the same ord ind flight as someone making the nrt ord ind journey on the ord ind flight. The stl ind guy may want the last seat on an oversold flight and it may not be offered to him, but it may be offered to the nrt ind guy as his $ given to the system is better (more) than the stl ind guy. Filling a plane up with low yield customers does not make sense if there may be demand for the high yield.

Would any good business sell out of a product to a customer at a low price when they expect people who will pay more for it? Not that some stl ind customers wouldn't pay more, but the pricing structure of some other paths prohibits them from possibly contributing as much as some very high yield paths.

Nothing you can do to avoid this. Availability in no way reflect passengers booked. The science of revenue management is complex and airlines as a rule, don't give out the info you are looking for.
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Old May 6, 11, 7:53 pm
  #15  
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As to your prospective bumps, make sure you hit a lobby agent first at your outbound airport to add yourself to that VDB list for your return flights as you want to be on the VDB list as soon as possible as even if return flights are not oversold at that point, anything in terms of iirops can happen while your flying and if there are enough volunteers by the time you land, you're hosed (and I say flights as if your first return leg is not oversold but your second return leg is you're already on the list )
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