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Stories From the Road: The Benefits of United’s Priority Waitlist

(A guest post today from Tom, who works, as his company might say, for a large North American-based consultancy and has made United 1K this year flying Dash 100s. There are easier ways to make status than that…)

Mileage Plus’s recent changes drew a rash of commentary. From what I can tell, as some point in 2012 I will go from Premier Executive to Premier Platinum . And apparently someone who has lower status but has paid more will be upgraded before me when I am traveling on a reward ticket– which of course I’ll have no way of knowing.

But, what hasn’t changed is the most underrated benefit for those that fly frequently and change travel plans constantly – priority waitlist.

A little story: This past week I was scheduled to fly from Toronto to Pittsburgh on Wednesday evening. Mid-day Wednesday it was clear I needed to stay another day in Toronto. The afternoon flight on Thursday was sold out so I booked the late evening flight and waitlisted the afternoon flight. Low Lo and behold on Thursday at noon the afternoon flight cleared….but as I was about to leave for the airport some additional work came up and I needed to stay longer. Except, at that point (and thanks to a day of security strikes at Pearson) there was only one seat remaining on the late flight. And, that also meant there were no actual seats – I needed a no show to not spend the night in Toronto.

Which all is a long-winded way to bring me to the point that I when I showed up at the gate there were at least 5-6 people waiting for a seat on the last flight to Pittsburgh in the next 12 hours. Some had clearly been at the gate for many hours. But, my name was at the top of the list and I got the last seat on the plane.

This is not a one time event – at least three other times in the last year I’ve jumped to the top of the list and been able to make it home to my family instead of sleeping in another city.
Reminds me of this United commercial (replace the sword with Powerpoint). For all that is made of the small luxuries that come with status – nothing comes close to simply getting on the plane and making it home.

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  1. “Low and behold” should be “Lo and behold”. It’s “lo” as in “look”.

  2. Low (sic) and behold……

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