I got to Portland Airport (PDX) around 8.30am for my 10.23am flight to San Franciso (SFO) connecting to Austin (AUS). While standing in line to get checked-in, I notice there were some what long times in the non-premier lines. What was even more surprisingly was that there was a United employee serving drinks to those in line. I was like "hmm.. surprisingly good service for United!". I later found out that the folks in line for 5 hours! There was a computer downtime United wide causing a ton of flights to be delayed and cancelled. Ouch!
My flight to SFO would be delayed by 2 hours causing me to misconnect to my Austin flight. The computer system had auto-routed me on the same SFO flight but instead of a direct flight to Austin, I would have to fly down to Los Angeles and then only Austin getting in at midnight instead of the original 7pm arrival. This flights are all on regional jets so that much flying on this planes would not be fun.
I headed to the Red Carpet Club (RCC) and inquired if there were better options or if they needed my seat, which I assumed they needed since a bunch of flights were cancelled in the morning. The really friendly and good agent manning the RCC originally put me on the volunteer list for the PDX-SFO flight and routed me on PDX-LAX-AUS getting in an hour earlier. I still wanted a bump and vouchers! Indeed the PDX-LAX flight was expectedly oversold and I asked about putting me on the PDX-IAH(Houston) red-eye but in First Class.
A couple of phone calls later I had a first class seat on PDX-IAH and a 400 voucher for future United flights. I am writing this from the RCC where I have to wait another 12 hours. The weather sucks and it's raining so I'm not too keen on heading back to town but with the free drinks and internet connection to get some work done, I ain't complaining.