This week I wanted to share with you a story from a reader. You already know Chris a little as he drove down from Detroit to take a 24 hr DeltaMileageRun with me to San Diego. This young guy is a total travel nut and I say that in a good way. I did not know Ben from One Mile at a Tim here at BA when he was this young, but I bet he was a lot like Chris who is a Delta Diamond already! One way is via runs like this one. Enjoy!
I got in on the deal to Sweden from Los Angeles, but live in Detroit so had to get there. I checked the ITA Matrix software for a reasonable fare to LAX from nearby airports but could not find anything good so I ended up burning 25k on a couple of directs that fit my time windows.
I landed in Los Angeles at about midnight and had 8 hours until my early morning flight out of LAX. I could have booked an airport hotel for around $100 but I chose to grind it out with a pillow in a quiet part of the airport. My scheduled route was LAX-PDX-AMS-GOT. My upgrade had cleared well in advance on the CRJ up to Portland. However, by the time I booked the ticket there was no economy comfort left on the 9-hour flight to Amsterdam.
I checked into the sky club (was able to get 2 massages before I left), and the reps mentioned it was overbooked by 4 in the back and First Class was fully checked in so I headed down to the gate nice and early well before a gate agent was there.
When she got there I immediately offered up my seat. She said she wasn’t sure if she was going to need me and to check back in about 20 minutes when she had a better idea. I went for a walk through the always overcrowded terminal 5 and when I came back she called me up to the counter. She offered a $400 voucher and to be rerouted an hour later from LAX-SEA-AMS-GOT. I would get into Sweden at the exact same time so I told her I was more than happy to take it! She said she could put me in first on the CRJ up to Seattle but after calling someone she was not able to put me in Business to Amsterdam. She suggested I page a red coat at my new gate and see what they could do for a Diamond.
Things did not go well and resulted in my flight leaving without me and an upset GA and Redcoat so I footed it back up to the sky club while dialing the Diamond line. The rep was understanding and offered to put me on the direct from LAX-AMS but it was a KLM 747 and I hate KLM especially their economy product. Meanwhile I logged onto Delta.com and found an option from LAX-SLC-CDG-GOT. She was able to put me in the last seat but not in business class because it was full. With one seat remaining up front to Salt Lake City, my upgrade cleared at the gate (I was rebooked in Y class this time). When I landed in SLC I headed straight to the gate after finding out the flight was well oversold. Well over an hour before departure there were 2 gate agents working on the flight. Because I was booked so late, I was in the last row of the plane right by the bathrooms. I handed my boarding pass to the gentlemen and told him I was more than happy to be bumped. He told me I would have to go out tomorrow and I told him I was very flexible. I asked about business class on the same flight 24 hours later and he said he could do it. He was happy to help and printed out the $600 voucher and confirmed me in business class.
I was originally booked by Delta at the Sheraton but I asked for a Marriott property instead (because they care about me more) and he made a call and could do it. The red coat working next to him was happy to print me out 3 $10 meal vouchers and I was off to the airport shuttles. I checked in at the Courtyard SLC Airport and got a room upgrade to a Junior suite. I then watched my Michigan State Spartans win their basketball game and fell asleep shortly after. The next morning I headed down and the same Guest Relations Manager that I checked in with was still working. I asked if she could throw in breakfast (because of a Gold Elite status and because I didn’t have a choice of a full service Marriott Property). She told me to get whatever I wanted and she would take it off my room’s bill. After eating I showered and took the free airport shuttle back to the airport to catch the train to Downtown Salt Lake City. There was not much going on in the city even though it was a Saturday so I only recommend going to Salt Lake City if you plan on skiing/snow boarding.
I then called Delta and they told me that the flight was oversold by 27. By the time I got to the airport they had done an aircraft change to a different 767 with a lot fewer business class seats and much more room for the oversold economy passengers. I offered up my seat but they did not need it so I boarded for Paris.
I was not all that impressed with the food but the great FA’s made up for it. In addition, because the aircraft came from JFK it was wifi-equipped (it normally runs the JFK-LAX route) so I had about 3 hours of GoGo before we got out of range. I landed in Paris and then had to take a shuttle bus to a different terminal.
By the time I got there it was a final boarding call so I was relieved I made it because it was the last flight of the day. The Air France FA was very rude (why I choose Delta metal ONLY if possible) but it was only an hour or so flight. I exited Gothenburg Airport and found the bus stop right outside the door. I used my Chase Sapphire Card with a chip (double points on travel) to pay for my bus ticket and then refreshed my social media and e-mail because the bus offered free Wi-Fi!
About 30 minutes later I got off at the last stop and walked about 2 minutes to the Raddison Blu Scandinavia hotel (nice to have Club Carlson points to use). I checked in and as a Gold-Elite Member there was a junior suite available for a free upgrade. It turned out to be one of the only rooms in the hotel with a balcony so that was very nice. The hotel reps were VERY willing and helpful with suggesting how to spend the rest of my day. He gave me a map and pointed out what he recommended I see and how to get there. It was a beautiful day outside (Sunny and 65) so I threw on some shorts and headed outside. I covered a lot of ground over the next few hours, collected some souvenirs and headed back to the hotel around 8:30 PM because it was a Sunday and most things were closed. I then logged into the Wi-Fi (very fast) and connected with the rest of the world. One complaint is that the wifi does not work on the balcony! If it was summer time it would be very disappointing to not be able to enjoy the weather and be on your devices at the same time!
I stopped by the front desk and mentioned I had to leave very early in the morning and would not be able to catch breakfast so he offered a boxed lunch. I collected it when I checked-out around 5 am and walked back over to the bus station. I took the bus back to the airport, checked in through the self-automated system, and waited in the Skyteam lounge until we were to board for Paris.
I had the same rude FA from the day before but she was in a better mood this morning. I then landed on time in Paris and stopped in the huge Sky Team lounge near my boarding gate. Unfortunately, the flight was not oversold and there were no upgrades to business class because it was filled with non-revs (employees flying on a free ticket). I slept most of the flight and avoided most of the food as I think it is straight dog food (even in economy comfort!). Anyway, I landed in Cincinnati and breezed through customs. My next flight was on a dreaded CRJ-200 so there was no first class cabin to upgrade to. Once again, I slept through the flight because I wanted to be awake for my next two first class flights from DTW-LAX and back.
The flight to Los Angeles was oversold by a couple but after waiting to be last to board, she ended up not needing me and I took my seat. The flight experienced a lot of turbulence but the FA’s still did a good job and served the new menu options. I went with the chicken and it was slightly above average. Not my best meal but certainly better than others I’ve had. When I landed in LA, I checked into the sky club and was alerted that the red-eye back to Detroit was oversold by 16. I arrived at the gate nice and early and was put at the top of the volunteer list. I hung around the gate with my fingers crossed. The flight ended up oversold by 8. Three people did not show which left 5 volunteers, and I was one of them!
I spent the night in the Crown Plaza LAX because they could not put me in the Marriott. I rushed to the front desk and about 15 others filled in behind me. The property was sold out for the night so no room upgrade was available. I got a few hours of sleep and then took the airport shuttle back in the morning for my 7 am departure. I got to the airport around 6:20 and rushed through security to make my flight. I was one of the last to board but made it.
I landed in Detroit half an hour early and drove home. I ended up with $1400 worth of vouchers on a $609 ticket. Still can’t believe how perfect the trip was. I’m headed on a similar DeltaMileageRun to Oslo, Norway just 48 hours after landing in Detroit and I couldn’t be more excited! – Chris
Chris, thanks for sharing. You are a bit crazy, but in a good way. Talk about turning a “fun run” into a voucher treasure trove – wow. So you earned a TON of points, more vouchers and spent either Delta money on hotel rooms or points. What a way to travel! – René
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