Earlier this afternoon at SJU Airport, I was scheduled to board American Airlines flight 868 to Miami at 1:35pm. I arrived at the airport at 11am and went to the Admiral’s Club. I asked the AAngel if my flight was oversold and she said the flight was oversold by 4. I relaxed for an hour and a half before proceeding to the gate at 12:30pm.
At boarding gate 11, I asked the male Hispanic gate agent if the flight was oversold and he said the flight was oversold by 3. I asked him if I could volunteer my seat since I was fully flexible and had no checked luggage and he said yes. I also confirmed with him that I was number one on the volunteer list and the compensation was for a $300 voucher. He told me to come back at 1pm so I went back into the Admiral’s Club to relax.
As I left the Admiral’s Club at 12:55pm, the AAngel told me that she saw my name on the volunteer list and I said yeah, I volunteered. I didn’t even ask her, but she was checking up on me. I knew they were called AAngels for some reason.
At 1pm, I stationed myself right next to the gate agent’s desk. This time, he called for two more volunteers and I overheard that their routing was SJU-MIA-ORD. My routing was SJU-MIA-LAX. I saw three boarding passes on the gate agent’s desk which all had the word “VOL” written on the boarding passes, one of which is mine. At this time, the standby list was growing at 35! The gatehouse was a madhouse with passengers bombarding the gate agent with standby questions and likeness of making it on the flight.
The boarding process began at 1:00pm. At 1:20pm, the male Hispanic gate agent made a phone call to protect two passengers on the next flight and the Chicago flight from Miami. At this time, I thought I had it in the bag since I was first to volunteer and the gate agent was making phone calls to protect Volunteer #2 and #3 on another flight.
A few minutes later, the gate agent advised me that he no longer needed me. I said I was number 1 on the volunteer list and you gave #2 and #3 priority over me. He proceeded to tell me that he only needed coach seats and I was travelling in Business Class. At this point, I was floored by his response and I was last to board which of course means no overhead bin space. The gate dragons were forced to check my bag.
I’ve never had this happen before. Was I part of upgrade shenanigans at SJU Airport? Could this clearly be #firstworldproblems?