Due to terrible weather this past weekend a number of flights were canceled stranding thousands of passengers at airports across the country. American Airlines was hit hard as Dallas Fort Worth airport had rolling cancellations over several days with a cascading effect on planes and crews in the wrong places.
This past weekend many of the UPGRD writers met in Los Angeles to discuss plans for the site for the year ahead. Last Friday, while our own Kyle struggled to reach Los Angeles for our UPGRD meeting, I had an uneventful flight from Laguardia to Charlotte then onto Los Angeles. I even managed to escape the embarrassment of a faulty lock on the first class lav that made new friends out of many passengers.
After our meeting on Saturday and a great Reach for the Miles meetup at the Westin near LAX, I was scheduled to return from Los Angeles to New York on the 8am flight Sunday. I went to the boarding gate at 7:30am and I was one of the last people to board. (Why does AA board so early?!)
American A321T at LAX
Just as I sat down the gate agent announced over the aircraft PA, “We need five volunteers to take a later flight at 12:30pm. We are offering a $500 travel voucher.”
My head nearly hit the overhead bins as I leapt out of my seat and headed forward.
After a short wait for the flight to close, the gate agent processed my new boarding pass, travel credit voucher for the Voluntary Denied Boarding (VDB) and a breakfast coupon as well. Luckily Brad was still in town as he was staying for work. I opted to forgo the airport breakfast for a planespotter’s “brunch” at In-N-Out.
Important points about American Airlines Transportation Voucher Exchange Coupons:
- They are not replaced if lost – so treat them like cash
- It is not electronic and cannot be redeemed online
- In fact, they can only be redeemed at the airport or by mail after calling in
- Valid for one year from date of issue
- Vouchers are tax exempt (except vouchers marked OU)
- Vouchers are not transferable but you can present the voucher and buy a ticket for someone else
About an hour before the next flight I approached the gate and asked the new agent if they needed volunteers. She replied she did and the amount this time was $600; the catch: that the guaranteed seat was on the redeye nearly 11 hours later. Didn’t matter… sold!
As she took my boarding pass, she smirked and said “Oh you again?” I guess I’m not good at remembering faces.
I then headed to Brad’s hotel for some plane spotting, get some food and sight seeing. Overall it was a very profitable day. And I consider myself infinitely more lucky after seeing the number of stranded passengers sleeping in cots at JFK upon my arrival.
Qantas 747 Landing at LAX
Cots at JFK for stranded passengers