Second Annual Labor Day Weekend VDB

A funny thing happened on the way back from a Labor Day-weekend trip from Los Angeles.

I was scheduled to go from Burbank to Newark, via a connection in San Francisco. The flight from Burbank went as smooth as a flight could go, except for spilling club soda on myself, but what can you do? The other flight however was oversold, and they were looking for volunteers. This happened to me last year, and I was so pleased with the compensation that I always try to volunteer whenever possible. It’s what it’s known as Volunteer Denied Boarding, or VDB.

It turns out that they needed my seat, and about a dozen others, and I stayed behind, for a little compensation, of course.

Travel Credits

United’s policy is to offer $400 in travel credits, in $100 increments, and these are useful to have throughout the year. The best part is that, unlike the old free trip vouchers, these actually accrue mileage.

Hotel Voucher

Since I am an out-of-towner in San Francisco, the airline provided me a free hotel voucher. It was at the Holiday Inn Express in Burlingame, a relatively dingy property compared to the other Holiday Inn Express properties I’ve stayed. I did manage to get a full night’s sleep and a shower so that’s all I really need.

Amenities Kit

A few years ago I learned that if your bag leaves without you and you are stranded overnight, the airline will provide you with an amenities kit with your standard toiletries. To get one, simply go to the airline’s baggage claim office, present your baggage claim check, and you’ll get your kit.

Upgrade to Business Class

Instead of being rebooked on the first flight out of Newark, I was offered a business class seat to JFK. Last year, I got a double upgrade to First Class but Business class will do just fine.

Meal Voucher

I’m not exactly sure why I got one of these, but I received a dinner voucher. Since everything was closed by the time I got all my compensation coupons, I used it for lunch at Yankee Pier. The voucher didn’t cover my entire bill, but it was nice to have subsidized seafood at an airport. Much better than your usual airport offerings.

I’m about to board my flight to JFK so almost all the goodies have been used up. All that’s left is to figure out where to go with those travel credits.

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