I’m traveling to San Jose today out of New York Kennedy, stopping by Washington Dulles and Denver along the way. JFK is a relatively small base for United, compared to even New York LaGuardia let alone Continental’s Newark fortress. p.s. flights to LAX and SFO fly out of here, along with small regional jets–like the one I’m on today–traveling back and forth from Dulles.
While demand for extensive premium seating justifies United’s p.s., American’s Flagship, and Delta’s BusinessElite flights between New York, I haven’t quite placed my finger on this flight’s niche. There’s international Star Alliance flights to catch from JFK and a vast swath of United destinations out of IAD. Judging by the number of passengers presenting passports while boarding, my speculation probably isn’t idle.
18 hours out from my departure, ExpertFlyer was showing “Y0” for all of these JFK-IAD flights today. A full fare, one-way economy ticket runs $877, but with no full fare inventory remaining, United is not even willing to gamble that it might have to bump someone. Yesterday’s New York weather waiver probably didn’t help.
At check-in, I added my name to the volunteer list as the flight was, in fact, overbooked. At the gate, they were checked-in even but asked me to wait around a bit more. For a passenger wanting a bump off a small regional jet, hearing gate agents count up the number of checked and carry-on bags about to go on the plane is music to his ears. Smaller planes are prone to weight and balance issues, requiring the airline to send the plane out with empty seats. While these sorts of issues don’t require compensation to be given, United tends to do so for the sake of good customer service.
They ended up not needing my seat so I took my flight as scheduled. As far as viable reroutings go out of JFK, there were a few p.s. flights to the West Coast with only business and first class seats left: Not a bad way to get to my destination in addition to some travel credits in-hand had I gotten bumped.
The CRJ200 exit row seat even came with a palatable amount of leg room given the short duration of the flight:
Our CRJ200 at IAD: