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I’ve gotten some feedback that I may be posting about my own travels a bit too much recently. I don’t actually disagree since I am in the middle of a ton of summer trips, and that is what is on my mind. While I am trying really hard to return to a slightly more balanced assortment of posts on different topics, something happened today on my trip to fly and pick up my kiddo from grandma’s that I think might be a useful reminder to others, even if it isn’t helping with a more balanced posting schedule.
My plan when I picked my daughter up today at the airport in Kansas was to land, hurry to the area just before security to meet her, tell Grandma thanks for keeping her, and then immediately turn right around to re-clear security with her and head back to the gate to take the same plane back to Houston. I wasn’t booked on that flight since it would be a tight turn for me to make, but I had hoped there would be room and I could do a “same day change” to get on that flight. I did a quick glance at the available seats on the plane (even though that is not a definitive indicator of how full the flight is) and there were enough available that I thought we could make it instead of waiting around for three hours for the next flight.
We actually got back to the gate a few minutes before they started re-boarding the regional jet. A bit out of breath, I nicely asked the gate agent if we could change to this flight instead of the next one. She quickly said no that there was a fee and it was full anyway. I said I have Platinum status so the fee would be waived, but we really wanted to try for this flight if at all possible. She said there was a wait list already and we wouldn’t get on.
I was so excited to have my kid back from a weekend away, and still a bit out of breath from running through the terminal, so I just plunked down in the nearest chair without saying anything additional. We stuck by close to the gate and let them know as they were paging missing passengers that we still wanted on if there was any room. I said we had no checked luggage and were ready to go. Ultimately we missed out by one seat and several standby passengers on the “official list” did clear.
This all happened really quickly, but I later realized I possibly should have used my elite status a bit more than I did. I hate the “Do You Know Who I Am” attitude that can come from some who have elite status, so I actually err in not using my status enough much of the time in situations where it might matter. This was one of those times.
“Customers standing by are ranked by MileagePlus Premier® status. Specifically, United Global ServicesSM members will have the highest priority, followed by Premier 1K®, Premier Platinum, Premier Gold, Premier Silver members and then all remaining customers. If there are multiple customers with the same Premier status, the fare class originally purchased will be used to determine priority. In the event there are multiple customers with the same Premier status and fare class, the time that the customer was added to the standby list will be the determining factor.”
I mentioned my status to the gate agent in reference to the standby fee she was trying to tell me about, but I should have pushed to be added to the standby list anyway. If it works as it should, and customers standing-by are ranked my Premier status, then it isn’t a stretch to think that my Platinum status might have gotten me ahead of some on the list and we might have made it on the flight.
Truthfully that feels a little like “cheating” since others were on the list first, so that may have been at least part of why I hesitated to do it in the heat of the moment, but as the 3+ hours drug on in the little airport with my daughter I thought maybe I should have used my status a little more than I did. At the very least, hopefully this is a good reminder to others on how the standby process works. Getting on the official list would have been the smartest play even if I didn’t have status. Of course, it could be argued the gate agent should have added me when I asked if we could get on the flight, but it wasn’t offered, and I didn’t push for it.
So, we ate junk in the airport for hours and talked about her weekend with her extended family. We had a fun time on our sugar highs, but getting home a bit earlier would have been nice, too.