I had a nice quiet weekend in Frankfurt: plenty of sleep, leisurely meals, and even some time for free reading. But it was not the weekend I wanted--Moldova and the breakaway region of Transnistria were calling and I was unable to answer. The reason? Unseasonably full flights. That is the nature of non-rev flying.
Tools like Fly ZED (Zonal Employ Discount) and Luftahansa's own intranet tool generally give me a good idea of what loads are like prior to travel. In fact, with Lufthansa I can get real-time booking numbers and load projections. That means when a flight has 124 seats and it is booked to 140 with a projection of 128, it is probably not worthwhile to try to standby for the flight.
That was the case over the weekend on flights from ChiÅinÄu, Moldova. Getting there was not an issue--both the Austrian Airlines flight from Vienna and the Lufthansa flight from Munich were looking good. But the return was another story--flights through Istanbul, Vienna, Munich, and even Air Moldova's own non-stop flight to Frankfurt all looked packed on Sunday.
So I did not risk it. I did not fancy the idea of spending Monday sitting in an airport in Modlova instead of being in the office.
The weekend home was refreshing, but there are no more weekends left this year to travel to Moldova and Transnistria. That makes me sad.