Most of my non-rev stories come from working for ASA and getting to non-rev on Delta, except for my first story.
AirTran: BOS-ATL. I was booked on the last flight of the night back to ATL. When I checked in, the agent said the flight was delayed, and if I wanted to, I could fly on the plane that was getting ready to leave. I declined so I could have a little more time planespotting. When the plane arrived (about an hour late), there was 11 pax for the flight. We all got to sit up in Business Class on a 717 (My preferred a/c of choice back then).
Delta: BOS-ATL. I had just gotten my flight pass, so I decided to fly up to Boston for the day. No problem getting up there, sat in Business Class, all was good. Until I tried to fly home that night. Several BOS-ATL flights had been cancelled that day, including the last flight of the night. Those passengers were reprotected on the flight I was supposed to be own, so I got bumped, and ended up staying at the airport all night, because there were no hotels available that night. I barely got on the first flight the next morning, ended up in coach on a 757, very cramped indeed.
Delta: JFK-ATL. I got the very last seat on this flight. When I called earlier in the day to check the status of the flight, the flight was very open (20 open seats in Business Class), by the time I got to the airport, that had all changed by a group of Delta F/As returning to ATL. I got the very last seat on the plane (it was in Business Class
like I had listed myself for) and as soon as I sat down, I asked for a scotch and drank it before we even left the gate.
Delta: MCO-ATL. I tried to get back to ATL and got bumped off of three flights. I started to check my options on either Delta Express and Comair, but my options out of most of the cities I looked at back to ATL looked a little tight. I ended up taking a flight to TLH on a Comair Brasilia to catch a Delta flight back to ATL. The agent in TLH told me that he gets a lot of non-revs trying to get back to ATL from MCO his way.
Delta: DCA-ATL. The flight I was listed on was delayed due to weather, and the gate agent for a flight that was getting ready to depart paged me to see if maybe I wanted to get on that flight. I declined. of course (more planespotting time!) but was surprised that they paged me over the airport p.a. system, as I was not in the gate area at that moment.
My only other Delta non-rev story was on a flight from PDX to ATL. It has nothing to do with barely getting on a flight, but more with something the flight attendants did. I had ordered the steak with my meal, but unfortunately they did not have enough for the entire Business Class. Instead of giving me the choice of fish or chicken, they offered to get me a steak out of coach (I didn't care where the meal came from, I was getting pampered for free, so I didn't mind a bit). I was surprised that they went to that much trouble to make sure I was satisified. And on top of that, they were a little more attentive to me than some of the other pax for the rest of the flight.