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Multiple Day VDB Conga [EZE-IAD]: January 3-8, 2010

Multiple Day VDB Conga [EZE-IAD]: January 3-8, 2010

 

Old Dec 18, 09, 10:51 am
  #1  
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Multiple Day VDB Conga [EZE-IAD]: January 3-8, 2010

All of my bumps have been domestic (except for MSP-NRT on NW years ago, and even that was leaving the US). We're flying EZE-IAD shortly after the new year, and all the flights seem close to F0C0Y0 -- I'm guessing things are pretty full. And we have some flexibility.

So what is the best way to go about this? Do you volunteer at the front counter? At the RCC? At the gate? If you get VDBed at the gate, does it cause issues going back through immigration? I guess our new ARG reciprocity fee is good for 10 years, so that shouldn't be an issue.

The reason I ask, is that we were on the VDB list for SYD-SFO 2 years ago (CNZ!). They thought they would need us, and asked us to wait pre-immigration, basically at the front counter. Well, we waited, and waited, but in the end, all we got was a rushed trip through security, and not enough time in the Koru Club! I guess I learned my lesson, and am trying to figure out how you are supposed to do the international VDB.

Please tell me the mechanics of how this works.

Last edited by FlyinHawaiian; Jan 6, 10 at 2:12 pm Reason: changed thread title per OP's request
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Old Jan 3, 10, 7:43 pm
  #2  
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OK, based on my experience at EZE tonight, I can answer my own question. But I'm still looking for more advice, so read on please.

EZE-IAD was WAY oversold tonight. We got there around 630p for the 10p flight. A united rep (station manager I sort of assume) was actively seeking volunteers, by walking up and down the line of pax waiting to check-in. Check-in had not even opened yet!!!! Offer was $600, and we immediately took it. They processed it immediately, and sent us to the hotel in downtown BA (room, cab, seemingly unlimited room service). From watching the VDB recruiting process, I would say they got 10-12 VDB's, and still might have been on the verge of IDBing a really upset kid. So yes, WAY oversold.

Interestingly, they offered to rebook us for tomorrow night's flight. (next flight). But that flight is already 4/0/0. I insisted upon 2 seats in E+ together (or C!) and the agent said that they don't have them (Y) right now, but assured us that they will have them tomorrow. (not sure how!) Moreover, she was trying to talk us into staying for 2 days, 3 days, a week, whatever we wanted! Reading between the lines, I'm guessing they are WAY oversold for tomorrow too.

Now here's where it gets interesting. Since they seem to have no seats right now (and with the flight 4/0/0, I cannot even look at the seatmap), we are on the BP5 waitlist for tomorrow, 'waitlisted for economy'. When they arranged the cab, they specifically said that a driver would pick us up at the hotel such that we would be back at EZE at 6pm tomorrow. We were told 'they need us there before check-in begins.' Now why is that? To get us seats?

So yes, we would love to play the multi-day bump here. Domestically, I have had 5 bumps in a row, but that's at a station where there are enough flights that the agents don't remember you, or just don't care how many times they bump you. But that ain't going to work at EZE -- they are just TOO nice and courteous here to forget who I am! They personally told they'd see us tomorrow even! So if I am going to get a double out of this, it is going to be pretty obvious to the UA staff.

In my experience, United doesn't really care how they get the seats, just so they get them. i.e., they don't care if they bump the same people over and over again. I mean, it's not my fault they keep putting us on an oversold flight! But for some reason, I fear they are going to push us out of here tomorrow, even if they do end up needing volunteers. And if they end up IDBing again tomorrow, when we specifically offered to volunteer, that brings up an interesting DOT issue I would think.

So, anyone been bumped in EZE? Any multi-day bumps in a row? What should I expect?

And yes, I understand the concerns about the BP5 waitlist right now. As long as we get E+, we won't mind where we sit. Without that, we'll raise H, as I specifically insisted upon it! But I'm not too worried, as they seemed ready to take care of us.
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Old Jan 3, 10, 7:58 pm
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Hi Hobo! Sounds like you are in the driver seat. I've only been bumped a single time on an Int Flt. I wound up in F on the flight the next day. I see you said there were 4 F's? Hmmm, have you thought about asking for C or F since E+ is 0? Or how about seeing if they need more vol bumps and ask if you can be sent out the following day in C or F? Just a thought, but I wish you and your wife the best of luck!
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Old Jan 3, 10, 8:00 pm
  #4  
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I don't have much to add, but I say go for the multi-day bump. You may run into the same personnel, but it is worth a shot. I would also ask for C or F seats.
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Old Jan 3, 10, 8:40 pm
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You really have nothing to lose in going for the multi-day bump. Sure, they know you, but that can be an asset if they need volunteers and want to avoid IDBs. If it is real bad, they might call you tomorrow and ask you to stay another night.

I took a bump for my Christmas flight on the 23rd to ORD from IAD and got the $600 travel credit. It was my first bump, and I could see that the GA had a large group of people that wanted to get on the flight. I almost got a bump on the return flight but ended up with an op-up instead. For the return flight, I volunteered at a RCC in ORD. They can add you to the VDB list. I was the only volunteer at that point, and I was told that there was a good chance that they would need me (which did not happen). My op-up happened before they started boarding.
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Old Jan 4, 10, 7:19 pm
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OK, time for the daily update.

Overnight, our locator updated to show us confirmed on today's flight, but without seat assignments. My theory: Since the flight was 0/0/0, they couldn't add anyone to the flight. However, after 10pm, the flight comes under airport control, and they can manually add people, thus overselling it. Hence, they put you on a BP5 waitlist until it comes under airport control, at which point they confirm you. Seem reasonable.

Anyway, we were offered another VDB. Same terms, except I asked for C/F. That didn't work though, because they claim C is oversold tomorrow as it is. Oh well. The sup (or station manager, not sure which) was great nonetheless. The agent said they were 19 over, and by the looks of the people going to the hotel, they VDBed 12. I didn't see any evidence of IDBs.

So, we're now standing on second, looking towards third......
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Old Jan 4, 10, 7:29 pm
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The drama continues! Thanks for providing an update. Good luck making it to home base!
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Old Jan 4, 10, 10:17 pm
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Keep the updates coming, man. You're living the dream.
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Old Jan 5, 10, 3:09 am
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It looks like hobo13 made the right call - no one flew on 846 tonight. We taxied to the runway, when the pilot announced an "air-conditioning issue" and we returned to the gate area (not the gate) for the mechanics. By around 1:30 am, they cancelled the flight, and said that we are now going to be on a new flight (same plane) at 9:30 pm tomorrow (actually today at this point). Hopefully that flight will actually take off, since I am leaving for India at 3 pm on Wednesday (and am now scheduled to arrive back home at 9:30 am on Wed - gulp!).

UA put everyone up in a hotel in the Retiro area, but we're still awaiting an update on when they will be taking us back to the airport. The EZE RCC was bursting to capacity last night - I wonder what it will be like tonight with two full flights leaving at around the same time.

Last edited by mechteach; Jan 9, 10 at 5:56 am Reason: Removed descriptive details of myself to preserve the mystique ;^)
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Old Jan 5, 10, 1:17 pm
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Daily update:

Got a call at 445pm, to our hotel room, from United. Offered to preemptively bump us for tonight. Same deal as yesterday, just no need to go to the airport. (and presumably save United the 200 peso RT cab ride!) Asked for C, but again told that as much as they would like to, 'it's just already full'!

Yep, we're livin' the life. That's the HAT TRICK for those keeping score at home.

(mods, maybe you should change the title, from 'potential' to 'multiple'!)
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Old Jan 5, 10, 1:21 pm
  #11  
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Went to BA last year this time (New Year's) with my wife and also another couple. We had to get back on time but my friend did 3 rounds of IDB (he was on Delta, I think). Pretty much the same deal -- didn't even have to go to the airport the 2nd and 3rd times. All the flights are crazy oversold post-Jan 1. They made a few thousand dollars cash, got hotel rooms, etc. for sticking around a few extra days.
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Old Jan 5, 10, 1:27 pm
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Wow I must commend you on your luck! Nice that you have the time to keep getting bumped too.

You got another bump even though UA is operating an extra flight tonight EZE-IAD, flight 9785. Flight 846 is 0/0/0, but 9785 is 0/0/4. Maybe they should start subbing a 747 or 777 for a few days to get caught up.

Was there a cancellation in the last few days that has caused this massive oversold situation that would warrant them adding an additional flight?

FYI, 846 tomorrow is 0/1/0... 1 C seat for sale. But indeed everything is sold out for many days in the future. I wonder how many more bumps you can get??
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Old Jan 5, 10, 1:36 pm
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You keep this up and you will end up paying to make GS next year with bump vouchers
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Old Jan 5, 10, 2:13 pm
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Good job, and keep us posted!

I've done a number of el doble's in my day, but never the tri-fecta. Very well done, my friend!
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Old Jan 5, 10, 2:25 pm
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Originally Posted by channa View Post
Good job, and keep us posted!

I've done a number of el doble's in my day, but never the tri-fecta. Very well done, my friend!
I learned from some of the best....

Originally Posted by SEA1K4EVR View Post
Wow I must commend you on your luck! Nice that you have the time to keep getting bumped too.

You got another bump even though UA is operating an extra flight tonight EZE-IAD, flight 9785. Flight 846 is 0/0/0, but 9785 is 0/0/4. Maybe they should start subbing a 747 or 777 for a few days to get caught up.

Was there a cancellation in the last few days that has caused this massive oversold situation that would warrant them adding an additional flight?

FYI, 846 tomorrow is 0/1/0... 1 C seat for sale. But indeed everything is sold out for many days in the future. I wonder how many more bumps you can get??
As mechteach said above, last night's EZE-IAD got canceled. Of course, we were already VDBed and sleeping peacefully in our hotel room by the time they pulled the plug at 1AM. So the special segment is really just last night's flight, which of course was full.

We met some other people at the hotel who were bumped yesterday (FT lurkers it seemed!) They also got the call and stayed for tonight. So the count is clearly 4 VDB's already. I'd assume that UA was a little more proactive in buying back seats tonight, since they are going to have 500 people to process, rather than the standard 250. And last night they took it almost down to the wire, completely with potential VDB's (and IDB's) sweating it out at the counter. Not pretty.

Last edited by FlyinHawaiian; Jan 6, 10 at 6:17 am Reason: multi-quote
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