It’s the end of January and I’ve started my flying for the year. It’s never too early to work towards next year status and I started this year up in the air—not knowing who to be loyal to, an onging question for me. Originally I was ready to divorce Delta, but then Delta really helped me out when I was in predicament and I decided I would stay loyal, however then Delta threw a wrench in my plane when they announced spending requirements for Medallion status and they have now left me to rethink my loyalty once again. Yet despite this, last week when flying home from New York to San Diego on a last minute expensive “Q” class ticket, I found myself aboard Delta. It was Friday and I was fighting for an upgrade on my way home to San Diego via MSP from LGA.
When I dragged myself slowly from bed around 430am, I struggled to keep my eyes open when searching for comfortable clothes to fly in. I sluggishly collected my belongings and headed toward the airport. I was ½ awake when I caught my cab and prepared myself for an addition 15 minutes of sleep in the cab on my way to LaGuardia. I checked the upgrade list one final time and found myself bumped from #1 to #3 with 5 first class seats still open while I slept. Being less than 1.5 hours from flight time, I thought my upgrade was secured. My second leg was on an oversold flight from MSP to SAN, I was #12 of 20+ on the upgrade list with only 3 seats open in F. I knew there was no way I was going to clear that upgrade. I thought about my options: Fly coach to San Diego (after stopping by the SkyClub and knocking a few drinks back increasing my odds of sleeping) or taking the bump and hoping for an upgrade to F on another flight. I initially thought about taking the bump, but after searching expertflyer, I could not find a routing that would get me home before midnight the same day, 12 hours after my initial landing time. I would normally take the bump and be able to tolerate a new routing with an extended layover however, this weekend, I only had 36 hours at home and I was not going to reduce my time in my own bed and with my friends to instead spend my ¼ of my free time in an airport! The SkyClub and drinks was worked into my plan.
As I got to LGA, I checked out the new SkyClub in terminal C (very nice!) and then headed to my gate a short time later. On my way to the gate, I checked the upgrade list one last time, and found myself #7 on the list! Somehow, I lost my upgrade due to last minute IROPS or Diamonds making same day changes, DARN! This now meant I was going to spend the day in the back of the plane!
Flying all day in economy is a situation I’d normally avoid as a Platinum medallion, yet my options were extremely limited due to my need to get home. I boarded last and found myself in a very comfortable bulkhead economy comfort row with only 1 other person in it. My legroom was greater than those in first class; therefore, I was satisfied with my seat. After all, it was 6am and my plan was to sleep. Then minutes later, I heard them announce they were closing the boarding door. I looked around and saw an extremely empty plane! I grabbed my bags and plopped down in the middle seat of the first exit row. All other rows had only 1 or 2 people in them. Although this is a row I would normally avoid since the seats do not recline, I didn’t give it a second thought. We took off, no one tried to move next to me, and the minute we hit 10,000 feet, I laid across the three seats and made myself a bed of the row. Who needs to recline when you have three seats to yourself!?! I quickly fell asleep. I was dreaming of the sugarplum sugar plum fairy and cavalier pas de deux (not really, I actually dreamt about being denied access to a SkyClub and a blog reader stalking me—I know crazy!) before I knew it the plane was descending on MSP! This was definitely better than frosted flakes and a first class seat!
By the time I landed, I had only 45 minutes between flights and my flight to San Diego ALWAYS departs from the G gates. It is a hike to get there and takes at minimum 10 minutes from either SkyClub (depending on what G gate it is). Since I landed in the F concourse, I stopped by the newly remodeled SkyClub between the F & G concourses. Although I prefer the more intimate and old NWA feeling WorldClub, with the self-serve bar and fireplace in concourse C, there was not enough time to make the journey, so I stuck it out (I know, I know, poor me lol) in the SkyClub. Then, 25 minutes before the scheduled departure time, I trekked to G22 to make my flight. I was among the last to board and I saw a “Redcoat” helping the travelers who were bumped from the flight. I thought to myself, “that should have been me,” and boarded the plane, bag in tow, ready to make the journey home in an extremely packed plane. I took a deep breath, handed the agent my pass and made my way down the jet bridge. While doing so, the agent was ½ distracted with getting the plane out on time and I was in my own drowsy world; only half awake and 3 screwdrivers deep. I made it ½ way down the jet bridge when I heard my name being called. The agent was chasing me with my new seat assignment.
My first thought was, Great—I lost my economy comfort exit row on the 757 and have been moved elsewhere on the plane. Despite the fact this has never happened to me, I knew I wasn’t about to get upgraded since I was #12 on the list with only 3 seats open. Then to my surprise, she smiled and said, “Mr. Horan, you’ve been upgraded to 1D. Thank you for your loyalty.”
WHAT?!?! I was flabbergasted! I honestly looked at the agent and told her I wasn’t expecting an upgrade today and thanked her! It was a great surprise! Somehow, despite being #12 on the upgrade list I found my way to the front of the plane! My flight had just gone from semi-comfortable to extremely comfortable! What a great way to travel home.
So what did I learn today? Never count yourself out of an upgrade until the fat lady sings—or the boarding door closes! Sometimes an upgrade comes out of left field. Or at least that was my luck last week when flying home! The year is young and I’ve been upgraded on 3 out of 4 flights on Delta thus far. Not bad really, and honestly the 1 time I didn’t get upgraded, I got 3 seats to myself, which is a true #DoubleWideDelight!