BUFMD90PL From United States of America, joined Dec 2009, 42 posts, RR: 0 Posted (1 year 1 month 1 week 23 hours ago) and read 4037 times:
Well hello everyone, it has been close to 3 years since I have posted anything, let alone a trip report here on a.net. In that time I left Embry-Riddle due to personal reasons, hired as a flight attendant with Compass Airlines, layed off, hired by Regional Elite, then FINALLY hired with United Airlines as a Airport Sales Agent (Subsidiary Continental).
Travelling as a Non-Revenue Space Available passenger is always a "great" time to say the least. I get no more joy then running from gate to gate in hopes of getting a seat on a flight! Don't get me wrong, the benefit ALWAYS out weigh the risk. Especially when you get premium cabin seats in J or F.
Todays journey was to travel back to my old college town of Daytona Beach, Florida (DAB). I managed to score a few days off so I figured I would make the treck down to visit and party with my friends for a few days! Now United doesn't fly into Daytona Beach anymore but, in BUF, we have whats called a "Counter to Counter" agreement with US, WN, B6, FL and AA in which we can list NRSA for free, unlike a ZED or ID-90. It really is a great perk and greatly widens your options as a non-rev.
Buffalo Niagara International Airport (BUF) - Charlotte Douglas International Airport (CLT)
US Airways 2908 operated by Mesa Airlines (YV)
Scheduled Departure Time: 19:05
After I completed my shift and helping Adamspotter with his 787 downgrade/ subsequent last minute upgrade, I decided to get out of my uniform, change and hop over to to the US Airways gate to play Non-Rev Roulette. As I get to the gate, I begin to hear the dreaded announcment I despise making as a gate agent; "This flight is still in Charlotte due to a mechanical issue, as of right now all connections will misconnect". As I heard this, my non-rev instincts kicked in and I grabbed by Rollerbag and decided to list myself on United to MCO since the new ETA in Charlotte was going to be at 22:40, 20 minutes after the CLT-DAB flight would depart.
After chatting with some co-workers as to why I was still in BUF, they cleared me a sear on the flight. Last I checked, the flight was booked to capacity at 50. Thank god for people who miss check-in cut off time! Tonight's special would be filled with the Buffalo special- the Chinese Tour Group! At minimum, 80 percent of our flights into and out of BUF will have Chinese tour groups on the. This is due to Buffalo's close proximity to Niagara Falls. After observing my co-workers struggle with the language barrier; they all had more then the allowed 1 Carry-on and 1 personal item, I decided to board the quaint Barbie Brazilian Jet!
I was greeted by a rather pleasant flight attendant who noticed me as one of her gate agents she had on a turn in BUF once. she gave me one of those "Hello nice to see you again" greetings. I made my way to my seat in the exit row and noticed when I got there, that one of my Tour group friends was sitting in my seat. They tried arguing with me in Mandarin, presuming that it was their seat? Yeah, they couldn't speak a lick of English. The flight attendant came over and instantly made them move to their respective seats.
As we settled in for departure, one of the Chinese groups passengers had a rather large laptop roller bag that clearly would not fit under his seat on the "A" side and wouldn't fit in the overhead bin. The pleasant FA asked me if I wouldn't mind if we put his bag under my seat on the "B/C" side. Now in this industry, we are all one big family. If you scratch my back I will scratch yours type mentality. I happily obliged to help her as it would have been more of a hassle to valet check his bag (remember: language barrier). As soon as the FA placed his bag under the seat and walked away, the passenger jumped up from his seat and plopped his butt next to mine. The FA turned around and saw this, ran back over and demanded he move back to his seat!
We pushed back a few minutes early and we were soon on our way!
We had a few bumps on initial take off but cruise was much more smoother. The flight attendant completed a full beverage service on today's flight even at 45 minutes! Legroom wise- well I am only 5'7" so even a CRJ is comfortable.
Started writing this report with this gigantic bottle of water Untitled by Bufmd90, on Flickr
We landed on runway 19L using full brakes and thrust...woo fun! We had to wait on ramp for a few minuted due to ramp congestion. Blocked into gate C-18 at 21:05...right on schedule!
My transit in IAD was short lived and was spent trying to find a friend (sober enough) to drive from Daytona to Orlando to pick me up. Even as the flight departed, I still had no clue how I was getting up to DAB! Oh what an adventure!
Alright, Washington Dulles Terminal C/D... how do I put this- It is like putting lip stick on a pig! The terminal is very clean and "airport like" but, you can tell it is a pre fabricated, temporary building. Time to get that new terminal under construction!
Washington Dulles (IAD) - Orlando International Airport (MCO)
Boeing 737-900 (S-CO metal)
I soon arrived at Gate D-32 and asked the gate agent how the flight was looking, how many possible misconnects, and held seats not checked in. She said it was looking very good for me!
A few minutes later, I was cleared a seat in the exit row and boarded. Even with this load factor of 95 percent, I snagged a empty seat next to me AND even had space in the overhead for my bag! That's a shock!
Now I love this snack box. Seriously Rondele, Hummus, Olives and chocolate covered blueberries? MY FAVORITE!
I settled into the flight and as I was flipping through the channels I stumbled on the movie "Meet the Parents". The scene were Ben Stiller is in the airport is just hysterical because it really does show the truth behind customer service with airlines!
We arrived in Orlando right around midnight. I must say US has a pretty respectable operation in MCO. Every gate was full with no plane smaller than a A-321. They even had a 767-200 RON which was a big surprise to me. (and apparently they even have a A332 turn throughout the day!
With my friends still too intoxicated to come down to MCO to get me, I had to kick into Amazing Race mode and figure a way up to DAB. My first thoughts were to take one of the two shuttles up to DAB, but, they all stop running right at midnight. After almost an hour, I was lucky to get a rental car for only 60.00 (including under age 25 fee) for a one-way, 24 hour rental!
I finally made it to DAB at around 3:30 in the morning!
The next few days would be a debauchery of partying, drinking and more partying!
Had some great Bloody Marys for breakfast at The Shores resort in Daytona Shores. Later we made our journey back to Orlando to party the night away! "Lets Have a KiKI" by the Scissor Sisters was the theme song of the evening. Dive. Turn. Work.
We hit up Ember, Monkey bar and finally, the S*** Show otherwise known as "The Parliament House". If you've ever been to the Parliament house, then you know how CRAZY it can get there. Oh so much fun!
The day started with at 04:40am alarm. I only managed to get about an hour of sleep as I usually am going to bed at 4 in the morning!
My friends roommate gave me a ride to the airport as he had to instruct a flight at Embry Riddle at 06:00.
I arrived curbside in DAB at around 05:50 and proceeded to the "US Airways Express" counter. The US ground staff in DAB are contracted out to a wholly owned subsidiary, Piedmont Airlines. This is okay since there is about 3-4 flights a day on US. What I don't like, however is how the staff all wear ramp clothes. I understand it is a cross-utilized station, but it just looks so tacky and unprofessional.
Meanwhile Delta actually staffs with mainline employees with there 5, granted all mainline, departures.
There was a problem with my PNR that I noticied the night before. When I was in Buffalo, I told the agent to cancel the first two segments, ARNK the other 2 segments (to avoid a cxl on the entire PNR) and to reissue or adjust the ETKT. Well apparently the agent did none of the above as the entire PNR cancelled. The Reservations/ Sales agent said she would be able to put the segments back in but would not be able to reissue the ETKT and that it HAD to be done at the airport. I thought this was very peculiar, maybe just a lazy agent?
Anyway, the check-in/ gate/ ramp agent in DAB was able to quickly adjust the issue and have me on my way!
I was able to go from the ticket counter, through security and to the gate within 5 minutes! I love this airport!
The flight seemed to be pretty full today and I was starting to get worried that I would not get a seat and have to sit around until 13:00 for another flight back home!
Boarding started a few minutes late. Boarding was done very efficiently and to the book...just how I like it! Finally at the end of boarding, I was cleared a seat, again in the exit row! That seems to be the theme on this trip!
The crew on this flight were groomed impeccably! I love how US mainline allows their regional carriers to wear the same uniform. It creates a more uniform and seamless experience across the entire brand!
Our departure was on time and we were soon underway to Charlotte!
I don't remember too much from the flight since I was so exhausted. There was a beverage service and I had a Coke. I passed out after that until final approach into Charlotte!
We landed in Charlotte on time and made our way to gate E-11.
Charlotte is a very bustling airport. There were a lot of connections to the Caribbean so it was mainly leisure tourists walking slow, dragging their huge "carry on" bags. This caused a painful transit from E to C. I wanted to snag some shots of CLT and grab some breakfast but was worried I would cut it too close with my short connection time.
I managed to get some Quiznos before I boarded the flight back to Buffalo.
US Airways US1492
Charlotte Douglas International Airport (CLT) - Buffalo Niagara International Airport (BUF)
Scheduled Departure: 09:24
The boarding area at gate C-2 was crowded with passengers on the Buffalo flight along with other gates simutaneosly boarding flights to Fort Lauderdale, Fort Meyers, Key West and Miami. I was cleared a seat right at boarding. 12A, another exit row. I have officially renamed the exit rows as Non Rev rows because that seems to be the row I am ever cleared in.
Impressions: Us Airways needs to overhaul these cabins if they don't plan on retiring them soon. The seats are VERY comfortable but, this plane needs new side paneling, overheads, PSU's, and an overhaul in the Lavatories. A lot of the other passengers were saying this as well.
Standard beverage service on this flight. The one thing that really annoyed me was the 10 minute spiel on selling their branded credit card. I could tell a lot of the passengers were getting very annoyed by this and I was myself. Of the nearly full flight, only one person grabbed an application. Maybe there annoying tactics work? They should do what Delta and United do and just leave the applications in the seat pocket!
Overall My airline and US Airways do a efficient job getting passengers to were they need to be. Service wise, United does provide a much better product! US Airways should really invest more into their onboard product. I know they just installed wi-fi on their 321 fleet. Is there more to come?
I hope you all enjoyed reading my trip report! I will make a concise effort to make more on my next non rev trips!
Feedback would be GREATLY appreciated!
[Edited 2012-11-13 17:37:04]
[Edited 2012-11-13 17:55:20]
[Edited 2012-11-13 17:57:23]
[Edited 2012-11-13 18:17:01]
Views expressed are MINE only and NOT of United Airlines, United Continental Holdings
777ord From United States of America, joined May 2010, 429 posts, RR: 0 Reply 6, posted (1 year 1 month 1 week 10 hours ago) and read 4036 times:
Nice TR. But, I have a few questions...
I too, work for UA. And commute to ORD for work. You mention we have this "counter to counter" agreement (at least in BUF). Can you elaborate on the procedure for it? I cannot find it ANYWHERE on "flyingtogether.ual.com"
Thanks for the heads up!
PS: I have a co-worker friend of mine who commutes from BUF and is dying to know when you're going to get the seasonal upgauge of aircraft.
xjramper From United States of America, joined Dec 2003, 2440 posts, RR: 51 Reply 9, posted (1 year 2 weeks 6 days 19 hours ago) and read 3539 times:
Quoting bufmd90pl (Reply 7):
This counter to counter agreement are local agreements at each airport. It is pretty common in the industry. A friend of mine who works for FL in MCO has agreements with VS, BA and DL I believe.
Counter agreements are pretty hush hush and usually very non-standard. I have worked at 4 airports as an agent and worked TDY at quite a few others and i would say roughly 20% offered counter agreements (and only 1 airport i worked at actually allowed it). And it is usually based on the local station management (as in corporate kind of overlooks counter agreements as a "don't talk about it and we won't be asking questions") and the discretion and agreement of the local other airline's managers.
I worked at DAB 2006-2009. Great airport and great people there. Nice report!
adamspotter From Netherlands, joined Feb 2011, 1008 posts, RR: 3 Reply 10, posted (1 year 2 weeks 6 days 1 hour ago) and read 3284 times:
As promised, I finally found time to read your TR
Nice report you made here, quite interesting to read a report on non-revving a very nice perk if you ask me!
Quoting BUFMD90PL (Thread starter): After I completed my shift and helping Adamspotter with his 787 downgrade/ subsequent last minute upgrade
Yeah, thanks for helping!
Quoting BUFMD90PL (Thread starter): Every gate was full with no plane smaller than a A-321. They even had a 767-200 RON which was a big surprise to me. (and apparently they even have a A332 turn throughout the day!
Yeah that A330 goes up to PHL and on to Europe if I remember correctly
Quoting BUFMD90PL (Thread starter): Impressions: Us Airways needs to overhaul these cabins if they don't plan on retiring them soon. The seats are VERY comfortable but, this plane needs new side paneling, overheads, PSU's, and an overhaul in the Lavatories. A lot of the other passengers were saying this as well.
They are getting rid of them pretty fast now I believe. They already retired their last 737-300
Quoting BUFMD90PL (Thread starter): Standard beverage service on this flight. The one thing that really annoyed me was the 10 minute spiel on selling their branded credit card. I could tell a lot of the passengers were getting very annoyed by this and I was myself.
Yeah, was pretty annoyed by that during my 2 flights with them a couple weeks ago