There really is no such thing as a sure thing, except gravity, thermodynamics, and the deliciousness of sandwiches.
I thought that spending 15k on an upgrade on the United Premium service flights would pretty much guarantee me the upgrade. There can't be that many people doing it? Can there? Well, since all the airlines decided that customer comfort and convenience is not really important to them, they've reduced the number of flights across the board, making the remaining flights much more crowded. This means that where there used to be 2 people vying for an upgrade, there are now 95 billion. On the P.S. flights, I've usually been the first or second on the list. But for my flight back to NYC from LAX a couple of weeks ago, I was number 4!
4 is such a stupid number. 1 is a glorious number, 2 is an incredible number, 3 is a fantastic number... all the other numbers (except for infinite) are stupid. But 4 is ESPECIALLY stupid because it is so close to 3.
When I first sat down at the gate, the monitor told me that there were 6 seats available in business class. That number then jumped to 5, then to 4, then to 2, then to -3 (for some reason), then back to 0. However, when it was at 0, I noticed that I was suddenly number 2 in line, which meant the first two people in the list received their upgrade. After 20 minutes, the third person on the original list disappeared, yet the number remained 0. Clearly, a quantum flux vibrated a reality distortion within the plane as it was being maintained on the ground, and an extra nega-seat appeared in business class. Alas, I was then the first person on the list of losers. NUMBER 1 ! But number 1 of people who were assuredly not getting an upgrade.
What a disaster. It was a good thing that the flight home was much shorter. I don't remember suffering too much more discomfort than normal.
At least I ate some ULTRASUSHI™ at the airport before I left. I'm not joking.