I just returned home to the UK from a long weekend in the states. As a UA guy I booked Manchester (MAN) - Frankfurt (FRA) - Washing Dulles (IAD) round trip. Sure this is now a UA non-stop from MAN-IAD operated by B757 but upgrades are never opened in-advance on that flight. I was able to use my System Wide vouchers on both the UA flights to and from Frankfurt to Dulles. The FRA-MAN flights are only a little over an hour and still operated by bmi (till Oct 31 2012) as a Lufthansa wet lease. I’m on the MAN-FRA flights a lot and always have luck with the middle seat getting blocked at a Star Alliance gold member, this is a real nice perk that the LH group extends to all *G’s.
So flying out to Washington via Frankfurt was nice, no problems at all. The UA crew going to DC was also good, not great but good. The B777 had the new lay flat seats in business, so I was happy.
A few days before my return I noticed “R” class had opened up on UA100, “R” is upgrade space on UA. I was dialing the number then hung up and started to look how many miles (mostly qualifying miles) I would lose by not going via FRA. I was on a Y class ticket so I would also be getting 50% more on both the UA and LH flight. It was a good deal of miles so I skipped it. Then at check in the agent asked if I wanted the non-stop flight to Manchester from IAD. She told me she would book me in Business. I asked what fare class, she said “R”. I asked why are you offering this? She said, “the FRA flight is oversold by a few. I asked would I get some compensation for taking the bump, she said “no”. After thinking about it, I told her I’ll keep what I booked. My two reasons were, they might offer something at the gate to take the bump and I had 5 hours to get the MAN flight if I did it at the gate. If I took the bump I could also request original milage credit to get all qualifying miles like I did go via FRA. After thinking about it more and more, I told myself, that IAD-MAN flight is always late. There was no offer I took my IAD-FRA-MAN flights..
When I got to Manchester I noticed there was no UA B757 around as there should have been. I pulled out the iPhone and the UNITED app showed that UA 100 did not leave IAD until 4:21AM (it was scheduled to depart at 10:16PM)
Happy I did not make the jump I was tempted 3 times, but stuck with my IAD-FRA on a B767. I also had a great crew on that flight. Easy connection in FRA, time for a quick shower in the LH lounge, and a nice quick on time flight to Manchester.
So go with your gut. It would be the best travel advise out there!