N thought MacGyver would disapprove of my blue duck-brand duct tape, but i think it is perfectly acceptable.
He was off, apparently, only after some few hours of sleep to work jet-lagged in a 24 hour taqueria near the airport.
He advised me to get on the phone and fuss at United over their "inability" to assign me seats on my flight from Tampa to SFO via Newark. It was a thirty minute call just to find out that, indeed, they are "unable" to assign me seats due to the same flight number on both sides of the connection despite the change of planes. Presumably, if i do nothing, i will show up at the airport, and will be waiting for the folks who are trying to upgrade their seats to move to better ones. I'm trying to decide which will be more distressing. Minimally an hour hassling airline staff by phone when i could be doing something at home, or being pissed off at the airport when i would just be waiting around at the airport. I expect the airline to be required to get me to SFO somehow. ... and Hipmunk shows that there will still be flight choices from United from Tampa to SFO and from Newark to SFO. So, worst case they put me on a later flight. I'm still indignant that i have this complication.
I'm wondering if i get a first class upgrade out of this, wondering if being the pleasant but distressed passenger ends up being rewarded over the jerk. Or if it's the Yes-I-AM-entitled-I-paid-for-a-ticket behavior that wins.