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Old Aug 16, 09, 5:50 pm   #1
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 2,260
Elite business class upgrade success (master list)

I thought it might be helpful to start a thread (maybe make it sticky if it catches on) on the success that AirTran elites have had in getting the complimentary upgrades to business class.

Here are my experiences:

MKE-MSP on 5/23/09:
Successful (+1 companion on different PNR)

MSP-MKE on 5/25/09
Successful (+1 companion on different PNR)

MKE-DEN on 8/14/09
Unsuccessful. For whatever reason, GA allowed passengers to get elite up before 40 minute window...I was too late and there was only one seat left (Mrs Newsman and I wanted to sit together, so one seat didn't work). That flight ended up with 11/12 biz class seats occupied.

DEN-MKE on 8/16/09
Successful (+1 companion on same PNR). In fact, I approached the GA one hour before departure and she already had our upgraded passes printed (and had even paged us in he gate area before that, apparently). 8/12 Biz class seats were occupied on the flight.

MKE-BOS 8/22/09 6am
Successful (+1 companion on same PNR). 8/12 seats occupied. There were 4 kids in biz class. Weird.

BOS-MKE 8/24/09 6am
Successful (+1 companion on same PNR). 11/12 seats occupied.

MKE-SFO 9/3/09 8:35 am
Used credits to upgrade me and my companion the day before the flight. (I am not counting this in my success rate below). Biz class was full on this west coast route.

SFO-MKE 9/7/09 11pm (redeye flight)
Successful (+1 companion on same PNR). 12/12 seats occupied. Flight completely full. I was surprised to get the upgrade, considering how full this long-haul flight was. We ended up using credits to upgrade our earlier flight MKE-SFO on 9/3 (8am departure). That flight ended up being full as well, but I doubt we would have gotten the free upgrade then.

MKE-MCO 11/13/09 3:53 p.m.
Successful (+1 companion on same PNR). 10/12 seats occupied.

MCO-MKE 11/15/09 5:30 p.m.
Unsuccessful. Business Class checked in full on this high-volume leisure route.

2/4/10 MKE-LAX 7pm
Didn't attempt comp ugprade, used credits for me and my companion. Five emtpy BC seats on this flight.

2/9/10 LAX-MKE noon
Used credits to upgrade me and my companion. BC went out full.

MKE-SFO 9/9/10 8:30 departure
Didn't attempt to get a comp upgrade. 4 people on my reservation and we used credits to upgrade all of us. BC went out full on this long-haul flight.

SFO-MKE 9/13/10 Noon departure.
No comp upgrades. Used credits to upgrade three out of the four of us.

MKE-ATL 10/8/10 Flight 211 3:23p
Unsuccessful. #3 to check in, but there were no upgrades. Good to see they appeared to have sold all of them.

ATL-MKE 10/10/10 Flight 17 6:04pm
Successful. Companion and I both upgraded.

MKE-LGA 10/15/10 2:55 pm
Unsuccessful. GA told BC checked in full.

LGA-MKE 10/18/10 4:16pm.
Unsuccessful. Only one upgrade left, so my wife and I sat together in coach. Were #4 and #5 to check in.

MKE-LAX 1/15/11 9:55a (Saturday)
Companion and I auto upgraded at T-25 hours due to free auto-upgrade promotion for elites. Appeared to be the only two elites on board. Fare paid was $89 each way, so this was a great deal. Entire plane, including BC, went out full, including an infant.

LAX-MKE 1/23/11 11:55 (Sunday) companion and I auto upgraded on $178 round trip fare. Appeared that only one elite auto upgrade was given. BC still went out full, so they likely were able to sell some of them. After my long haul success, I've decided I will not use credits for confirmed upgrades for the duration of this promotion.

MKE-MSY 2/4/11 (Friday)
Due to promo, wife and I both upgraded at t-25 hours. BC and coach went out full. Appeared that only four elites were upgraded.

MSY-MKE 2/6/11 (Sunday)
Wife and I both upgraded at t-25 hours. Appeared that five elites were upgraded. They were still trying to sell one BC seat just before departure. Either they sold it or gave an op-up, because BC was full.

These are likely my last flights before the promotion ends. I have enjoyed the 2011 Elite promotion. My wife and I are both 100% upgraded during this time.

Back to the regular T-40 upgrade process:

MKE-CAK 11/8/11 (Tuesday)
Success +1 companion.

CAK-MKE 11/10/11 (Thursday)
Success +1.

MKE-CAK 12/22/11 (Thursday)
Success +1. BC was nearly full. Paged to desk at T-40 to receive new boarding passes. Total of 3 elites upgraded.

CAK-MKE 12/26/11 (Monday)
Success +1. 8 BC seats were empty. Paged at T-50 to get BPs. We were the only two elites upgraded.

FLL-MKE 1/21/12 (Saturday)
Success +1. BC went out full.

MKE-CAK 2/17/12 (Friday evening)
Success +1. BC was 8/12 occupied. Only 2 elites on flight.

CAK-MKE 2/19/12 (Sunday afternoon)
Success +1.

MKE-CAK 5/11/12
Success +1. Biz class full.

CAK-MKE 5/13/12
Success +1. Biz class full.

Last edited by newsmanhoss; May 15, 12 at 5:58 am..
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Old Aug 17, 09, 9:41 am   #2
 
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: MKE
Posts: 66
Great idea, Newsman! I'd like to see it as a sticky. I'm also interested in how early people are requesting and receiving upgrades. I will often approach the GA up to an hour prior to determine if there is any inventory left, and to ask when they plan to start processing upgrades. FL is known to begin boarding early, and I hate to ask for an u/g after boarding has started (even if that's when the 40-minute window opens).

MKE-SFO flight 342 on 8/17/09
Unsuccessful. Approached GA about an hour before the flight to assess availability and was told BC was full.

SFO-MKE flight 343 on 8/21/09
Successful. Called the elite 800# at 12:01 am EDT and redeemed four credits. Flight departed with one seat open in BC.

MKE-SFO flight 342 on 8/24/09
Unsuccessful. Approached GA about an hour before the flight to assess availability and was told BC was full.

Update 9/7/09: My only successful upgrades on this route in either direction were when I called the elite line at 12:01am EDT the day of the flight and upgraded with credits. While I feel this is an acceptable use of earned credits (certainly better than upgrading with credits on a shorter route, such as between MKE and LGA, and better than paying $100), it is somewhat of an inconvenience, and you're redeeming at 4 times the rate you're earning. Fortunately I built up a reserve of credits during the MKE to LGA promo.

I will be off of Airtran for now - until either my destination changes or the direct red-eye from SFO to MKE returns to the schedule. For the next month I'm on NWA/Delta MKE-MSP-SFO and back.

Last edited by MKE Sam; Sep 7, 09 at 4:50 pm..
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Old Aug 17, 09, 11:24 am   #3
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 2,260
Quote:
Originally Posted by MKE Sam View Post
Great idea, Newsman! I'd like to see it as a sticky. I'm also interested in how early people are requesting and receiving upgrades. I will often approach the GA up to an hour prior to determine if there is any inventory left, and to ask when they plan to start processing upgrades. FL is known to begin boarding early, and I hate to ask for an u/g after boarding has started (even if that's when the 40-minute window opens).

Here's an update from this morning:

MKE-SFO flight 342 on 8/17/09
Unsuccessful. Approached GA about an hour before the flight to assess availaility and was told BC was full.
That's too bad you're not getting these upgrades, considering how often you're taking this route. You're a frequent traveler, but you're missing out on the biggest benefit of the elite program.
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Old Aug 17, 09, 2:35 pm   #4
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Westchester Co, NY or Rio Grande Valley, TX or ???
Programs: Hanging onto BAEC(G); HH(D); SPG(P); no longer [UA 2P, WN A-, FL A+ Elite, BD G]
Posts: 1,402
Here are my experiences so far this month:

LGA-ATL on 8/5: Successful, even though when I got to the gate they were just starting to announce pre-boarding. (Biz class ended up filled)
ATL-LAS on 8/5: Unsuccessful - biz class was already full

I ended up using 4 credits to upgrade both of my return segments.

Since the "free upgrades at T - 40 minutes" policy started, I have gotten somewhere between 6 and 10 free upgrades, mostly on LGA-MKE & v.v. and HPN-ATL & v.v, with a few outliers. Once, coming back from PNS (or maybe JAX?), I walked up to the gate roughly 45 minutes before departure to ask about a complementary upgrade and the GA had already done it for me!

One last note: When flying two segments on one ticket, I almost always use 4 credits to ensure an upgrade - especially to the west coast. On my half a dozen or so cross-country flights on AirTran, biz class has always been full. I would be very surprised to hear of anyone getting a free upgrade out west to or from ATL, but maybe those of you routing via MKE will have more luck.
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Old Aug 19, 09, 1:04 pm   #5
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: BWI (Severna Park)
Programs: DL GM, WN A-List, *wood Gold, MR Silver, Hertz 5*, Fairmont L/T Plat, HH Gold, IC Plat Ambassador
Posts: 871
Successful:
BWI-PWM 7/4 (1 + companion (same pnr))
BOS-BWI 10/3 (1 + companion (same pnr))
BWI-BOS 11/14 (1 + companion (different pnr, but linked))
BOS-BWI 11/15 (w/ companion but only one seat open)
BWI-ATL 12/24 (1 + companion (same pnr))
BWI-BOS 3/23
BOS-BWI 3/23
BWI-BOS 3/30
BOS-BWI 3/30
BWI-BOS 5/29
BOS-BWI 5/30

Failed:
PWM-BWI 7/7 (1 + companion (same pnr))
BWI-BOS 10/3 (1 + companion (same pnr))
ATL-BWI 12/26 (1 + companion (same pnr))

TBD:
PWM-BWI 7/5
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Last edited by UNHBuzzard; Jun 1, 10 at 8:17 am..
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Old Aug 20, 09, 11:29 pm   #6
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: CLE
Programs: AA LT PLT, UA 1K+LT UC, Fairmont LT PLT, SPG PLT, Hilton Diamond, Hyatt Diamond, Avis CHM.
Posts: 2,580
CAK-LGA 08/17: Successful (+1 companion)
LGA-CAK 08/19: Successful (+1 companion)
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Old Aug 21, 09, 2:11 pm   #7
 
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: MKE
Posts: 66
Quote:
Originally Posted by newsmanhoss View Post
That's too bad you're not getting these upgrades, considering how often you're taking this route. You're a frequent traveler, but you're missing out on the biggest benefit of the elite program.
Agreed. Due to my work schedule, I'm switching to NW next month. They offer a Sunday evening MKE to SFO and Thursday night red-eye SFO to MKE, both connecting through MSP. FL does not currently offer a Sunday evening direct flight from MKE to SFO, and is dropping the direct red-eye return next month. If I have to connect to the west coast, I'd rather go through MSP than ATL.

Earlier this year I flew YX MKE to LGA for several weeks and banked those miles on NW (in preparation for YX's demise). Based on EQS/EQM balances, I should make Plat by the end of the year and not have to manually upgrade each flight.
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Old Sep 8, 09, 1:26 am   #8
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 2,260
Moderators: Please make this thread sticky if possible. Thanks!!

Last edited by newsmanhoss; Sep 8, 09 at 1:32 am..
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Old Sep 18, 09, 10:20 am   #9
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Westchester Co, NY or Rio Grande Valley, TX or ???
Programs: Hanging onto BAEC(G); HH(D); SPG(P); no longer [UA 2P, WN A-, FL A+ Elite, BD G]
Posts: 1,402
I agree, this should be a sticky!

28 Aug HPN-ATL morning flight: successful upgrade; 1 empty Biz class seat.

30 Aug ATL-HPN evening flight: successful upgrade

Today LGA-ATL morning flight: successful upgrade

Today ATL-PHX morning flight: almost got an upgrade! Arrived at the gate 47 minutes before scheduled departure time; the guy ahead of me bought an upgrade; I was then told that I might receive an upgrade & to check back in a few minutes. A few more people came up to the counter; one looked like he bought an upgrade. At T - 43 minutes, the GAs called up one customer; shortly after that a GA called me over & informed me that no Biz class seats were left.
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Old Sep 18, 09, 6:54 pm   #10
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 422
Would it be worth a mileage run to get elite for this benefit alone? We will have 6 one ways within two months but nothing else after that. Would it be worth paying for two real cheap round trips and traveling them to get elite since it now only requires 10 in a 90 day period? It could probably be done in a day and only cost ~$200 if one could find some $39 sale fares.

Since it will also allow a companion upgrade, it may be worth it. What are the requirements to renew elite once you obtain it? How long do you have elite for once you have it?
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Old Sep 18, 09, 8:30 pm   #11
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 2,260
Quote:
Originally Posted by dioxide45 View Post
Would it be worth a mileage run to get elite for this benefit alone? We will have 6 one ways within two months but nothing else after that. Would it be worth paying for two real cheap round trips and traveling them to get elite since it now only requires 10 in a 90 day period? It could probably be done in a day and only cost ~$200 if one could find some $39 sale fares.

Since it will also allow a companion upgrade, it may be worth it. What are the requirements to renew elite once you obtain it? How long do you have elite for once you have it?
I think it's worth it if you can find a sale fare to make it happen. Once you have elite status, it requires 12 flight credits annually to keep it, so it's a pretty good deal. Just know that you're not guaranteed an upgrade. It is space-available. But, as you can see here, you'll have pretty good luck with upgrades unless you are on a long-haul flight to/from the west coast.

Last edited by newsmanhoss; Sep 19, 09 at 2:31 pm..
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Old Sep 19, 09, 8:48 am   #12
 
Join Date: Jun 2000
Location: Arlington, MA USA
Programs: AA Gold; AirTran Elite; Southwest A-List; Choice Privileges Diamond
Posts: 307
Quote:
Originally Posted by newsmanhoss View Post
Once you have elite status, it requires 12 roundtrips annually to keep it, so it's a pretty good deal.
It's even better than this. You only need 12 credits to maintain status, so just 6 RTs. Further, according to their Terms and Conditions you can purchase the needed credits to maintain status, so not even a mileage run would be necessary.
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Old Sep 19, 09, 2:37 pm   #13
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 2,260
Quote:
Originally Posted by Drummer View Post
It's even better than this. You only need 12 credits to maintain status, so just 6 RTs. Further, according to their Terms and Conditions you can purchase the needed credits to maintain status, so not even a mileage run would be necessary.
Thanks for that. Yes, only 12 one-way trips. Once you have status, AirTran will make you an offer to purchase credits if you are close to renewing it, but I don't think you can do that if you are trying to initially qualify for status.
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Old Sep 20, 09, 9:32 am   #14
 
Join Date: Jun 2000
Location: Arlington, MA USA
Programs: AA Gold; AirTran Elite; Southwest A-List; Choice Privileges Diamond
Posts: 307
Quote:
Originally Posted by newsmanhoss View Post
Thanks for that. Yes, only 12 one-way trips. Once you have status, AirTran will make you an offer to purchase credits if you are close to renewing it, but I don't think you can do that if you are trying to initially qualify for status.
I'm pretty sure you're right. That's why I said 'maintain status' in my post.
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Old Sep 23, 09, 6:25 pm   #15
 
Join Date: Sep 2001
Location: Juneau AK & Ocean View HI
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Posts: 2,137
Wierd situation.

Myself + Companion upgraded on FL70 FLL-ATL (545AM) per my online reservation seat assignment.

However, we got stalled in TSA and we missed the flight by *2* minutes (they pushed back 10 minutes before departure).

Ended up giving money to Southwest to make our meetings, as where we were going would have forced us to abandon the trip if we stayed with FL.
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