Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Lee - New York-JFK layover

16APR08 New York-John F. Kennedy International, Queens NY (JFK)

JFK layover
We get into JFK at 5:00 p.m. which is prime-time for trans-Atlantic departures and I have never seen so many Delta Air Lines (DL) planes in the remote parking areas getting prepped for their long journeys. I got to see one of the new Delta 777-200LRs during its ground time before departure to Mumbai, India (BOM). I was supposed to be on the first revenue flight to Los Angeles, CA (LAX) but mis-connected due to snow in Birmingham, AL (BHM). SNOW IN BHM?!?! Oh well, I am still a little bitter…

So I go by the gate (#20) for the Atlanta, GA (ATL) flight to see if there are any Gate Agents there. The flight loads I got off of showed the flight was sold out and I know from my experience, there could be a good chance for a bump, or I volunteer my seat in exchange for a flight voucher for future travel if Delta needs the seat because more people show up for the flight than seats they have. With good weather in JFK the chances of misconnects drop and the bump opportunities increase.

I talked to a Gate Agent and she took my information, as they would probably need volunteers. The routing the agent offered was Economy class on the 6:15a departure tomorrow morning and it gets into ATL at 8:44 a.m. I did not like that option as I have to check in by 8:55 a.m. and I would only have 11 minutes in a perfect world to check in and we all know JFK operations and how often that would happen. So I go to the Delta Crown Room Club (CRC) and use expertflyer to find a better routing. I would go JFK-DCA [Washington Reagan National] at 8:50 p.m. and get in at 10:00 p.m. on a Bombardier CRJ-900 and then stay overnight in DCA and leave on the 6:00 a.m. flight that gets in at 7:44 a.m. First class was available on both flights so I knew I could get confirmed F instead of Y.

I go down to the gate at boarding time and the gate agent definitely needs the volunteer. They are so overbooked that she processes my voucher for 400.00 now instead of making me wait around the gate until departure. I get my confirmation and new F boarding passes to DCA. Since I added a segment, I had to get a paper ticket for an online transfer in conjunction for the routing change. I still have my Shanghai flight on my mind and am hoping to find a way to get into Business Elite on that flight.

I am worried about the hotel situation because the Gate Agent told me to check in DCA on getting a hotel (DL would provide). I go outside security to the medallion check-in in Terminal 2 and there is a “red coat” at the check-in desk. Red Coats are supervisors that can bend rules and make things happen when needed. I ask him about the hotel and he calls the DCA station to make sure they would have a hotel for me. After a long delay, he gets confirmation that I will not have any problems.

During this layover, I am discussing my flight to Shanghai and after I pull out some of my tricks and secrets, when its all said and done I am able to use miles to upgrade my flight tomorrow to Shanghai.

After getting confirmation, I am bouncing off the walls with excitement – I just turned a $600 RT ticket into a $5,000 OW ticket with an Economy return! It has been a REALLY good day.

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