Re: Rule 240
I don't do a lot of traveling by air, maybe once or twice a year...but I've found just being curteous to counter employees can get you a long way. I was traveling from Phoenix to Dayton through Chicago last summer and upon arriving in Chicago I found the flight to Dayton had been canceled. I immediately went to the gate and began looking at other options (with several other people). I found the only way to get back to Dayton that night was to take a flight to Columbus and just have my ride pick me up there. No big deal, just a little extra driving.
Well, I went up to the gate (this is in Chicago around 9:30 PM) and there is only one poor girl working the desk getting hammered by all of these business travelers going to Dayton who can't wait to get on the quickest flight or who are demanding hotel accomodations. I observed this for a few minutes and saw she was just putting most people on stand by for the flight to Columbus in case a seat opened up. Well, I got to the front of the line and instead of raising my voice I just struck up a conversation about how terrible it must be to deal with all these business yahoo's who think their meeting in Dayton is the most important of anyone in the airport. She immediately started telling me horror stories including one person who threw a piece of luggage across the counter at her a few weeks ago (no joke!). So we continue chatting as she processes through my stuff and she gives me a stand by ticket for the Columbus flight.
I walk over to the Columbus flight and see some of the same people grumbling about there are no open seats and how mad they are to spend the night. I walk up and give the person my stand by ticket to check in, just in case something opens up. Well, she scans in my ticket, seems really surprised, and says "Someone must like you because they gave you an extra seat up front (area with more leg room)." So I was able to cruise right past all the others and get right on without having to wait. A couple others got on but most of the people ended up stuck in Chicago for the night and had to wait for the next flight to Dayton in the morning.
Moral of the story, 240 rule or not, if you are just nice to people at the counter they will oftentimes hook you up beyond what you think they can.