There are few things worse for flexible frequent travelers than finding out when it is too late that you missed out on a bump, the opportunity to give up your seat in exchange for compensation.
I’m now in Belgrade, Serbia and at check-in this morning at Frankfurt, the Lufthansa agent mentioned that my flight was oversold by six. Big deal, I thought—it was an A320 and overselling by six did not matter. But at least the seat map was full--I had purchased a ticket for my friend and she did not even get a seat assignment, only a standby card. That should have been my sign.
The Lufthansa agent who checked us in was great—calling the Flight Manager for the Belgrade flight and upgrading my friend to business class (where I was already seated) without asking.
Here’s where I made my mistake—we went straight to the lounge for breakfast, rather than to the gate. According to the gate agent, they were sill under in business, so I figured there would simply be a few op-ups and a few no-shows.
Fast-forward one hour. We get to the gate and one of the gate agents is writing out a family of four each a 250EUR voucher. She has bumped six people and needed no more volunteers. The displaced passengers were re-booked on JAT, the national carrier of Serbia, for a departure less than two hours later.
You have no idea how much it hurts to miss an opportunity to score a quick 500EUR and miss the chance to fly on a new airline.
And yet, the op-up made my day and though I can feel pretty bad about losing potential income—at least I did not really lose anything. Or so I try to tell myself.