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Old May 3, 05, 3:16 pm   #1
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
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I Dont Understand???????????????

Im a platinum member who flies every week between Chicago and Phoenix for 9 months out of the year. Lately ive had little success in upgrading to first class. I get the e-mails telling me there is no first class available and then by calling reservations i may get upgraded. Whats going on????????????????
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Old May 3, 05, 3:30 pm   #2
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TS2020
Im a platinum member who flies every week between Chicago and Phoenix for 9 months out of the year. Lately ive had little success in upgrading to first class. I get the e-mails telling me there is no first class available and then by calling reservations i may get upgraded. Whats going on????????????????
I share your frustration. HP is selling F seats at a lower price and they are filling up quicker with paid seats. This combined with only a 3 day upgrade window have given half the upgrades from last year.
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Old May 3, 05, 8:48 pm   #3
 
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Originally Posted by enviroian
HP is selling F seats at a lower price and they are filling up quicker with paid seats.
Well, clearly that's not what's going on here, as the op has stated that he can call reservations and get upgraded. So the seats are not being sold.
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Old May 3, 05, 9:59 pm   #4
 
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I've been getting those same wierd emails. The email says no first class available, yet when I go online, it shows that I've already been upgraded. I think something's wrong with that part of the system... I just know to always check online when the upgrade window hits, and then I'm always sure to check in online the day before the flight to make darn sure I've got that F boarding pass in hand
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Old May 4, 05, 5:35 am   #5
 
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Originally Posted by dmfriedman
I've been getting those same wierd emails. The email says no first class available, yet when I go online, it shows that I've already been upgraded. I think something's wrong with that part of the system... I just know to always check online when the upgrade window hits, and then I'm always sure to check in online the day before the flight to make darn sure I've got that F boarding pass in hand
When I get the common "FIRST CLASS NOT AVAILABLE" email I too, call and still don't get it. Although there are two seats left, HP tells me they hold them for sale until 24 hours before departure. Unfortunately even this last minute window has yet to put me up front in such a position.
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Old May 4, 05, 8:42 am   #6
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dmfriedman
I've been getting those same wierd emails. The email says no first class available, yet when I go online, it shows that I've already been upgraded. I think something's wrong with that part of the system...
Yep me too. I keep track; Jan to April 29 I've been upgraded 89.5% on of all of my flights. (xPHX to YYZ, DTW, DFW, MIA, SNA mainly) I received "Sorry no seat available" emails for many, and didn't receive an email for about 8 flights.

I should point out, if there are multiple flights, I will take the late flight or mid-day flight for a higher chance of upgrade. I used to be the daily 05:00 return at 6:00 guy, but as I get older, I really need to quit abusing my body in those awful AirBus coach seats. I feel stiff for 2-3 days after getting stuck in one for more than 60 minutes. Man they are hard! Maybe I should become fat to gain some padding back there?

Last edited by KevAZ; May 4, 05 at 8:44 am. Reason: Tip Addition at end
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Old May 4, 05, 8:51 am   #7
 
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I flew PHX-IAD a few weeks ago and got the "no upgrades available" email too. I called HP and was told the same thing. The rep stated that she would "flag" my name in case something opened up at the last minute. I arrived at check-in and was told I was "first on the list" for a possible last minute upgrade if one became available. Twenty minutes later the gate agent called over the intercom that there was "one upgrade left for $150." Some huge guy almost knocked me to the ground trying to be the first one to nab his prize. Needless to say I sat in 5C.
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Old May 4, 05, 10:22 am   #8
 
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Originally Posted by rjp6902
I flew PHX-IAD a few weeks ago and got the "no upgrades available" email too. I called HP and was told the same thing. The rep stated that she would "flag" my name in case something opened up at the last minute. I arrived at check-in and was told I was "first on the list" for a possible last minute upgrade if one became available. Twenty minutes later the gate agent called over the intercom that there was "one upgrade left for $150." Some huge guy almost knocked me to the ground trying to be the first one to nab his prize. Needless to say I sat in 5C.
That's not cool. IIRC, I thought cash upgrades were only to be offered after all elites were upgraded? Did you call the gate agent on that?
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Old May 4, 05, 1:34 pm   #9
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AgtMulder
That's not cool. IIRC, I thought cash upgrades were only to be offered after all elites were upgraded? Did you call the gate agent on that?

No, there was a guy that shot up there like lightning with credit card in hand.
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Old May 4, 05, 4:13 pm   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KevAZ
but as I get older, I really need to quit abusing my body in those awful AirBus coach seats. I feel stiff for 2-3 days after getting stuck in one for more than 60 minutes. Man they are hard! Maybe I should become fat to gain some padding back there?
Amen the new leather will be nice. I have yet to find a comfortable seat in coach. Feels like a wood seat. It must be HP beacuase the RJ's are just as bad. I got spoiled on a United Express leather seat to DEN.
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Old May 5, 05, 8:14 am   #11
 
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First Class Upgrades

Quote:
Originally Posted by TS2020
Im a platinum member who flies every week between Chicago and Phoenix for 9 months out of the year. Lately ive had little success in upgrading to first class. I get the e-mails telling me there is no first class available and then by calling reservations i may get upgraded. Whats going on????????????????
Following a flight attendant's direction, I wrote to Doug Parker about frequently not being able to upgrade. His office forwarded my letter to Anthony.Mule@Americawest.com who replied that I was only one of a very few who had a problem with upgrading and therefore he felt there was no problem. I got an apology and an assurance that it will be better in the future. Months later, I'm still waiting to see the improvements!

I guess the answer is to bombard Mr. Mule and Mr. Parker with complaints. Perhaps then something will be done.
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Old May 5, 05, 10:17 am   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Snaggletooth
Anthony Mule . . . replied that I was only one of a very few who had a problem with upgrading and therefore he felt there was no problem. I got an apology and an assurance that it will be better in the future. . .
That is absolutely ridiculous.

First of all, if there is no problem, what's to get better?

But more importantly, they are too smart to believe that their aggressive sale of first class seats hasn't had a significant impact on elite upgrades. "Very few having a problem" just isn't reality, for certain on the major business routes during typically heavy business travel times.

I'll bet that YTD more than 50% of my flights are not available for elite upgrade when the Platinum upgrade window opens. There is frequently one or two seats open, but they're holding on to those "for sale" until some magical time prior to departure. Given that I had in the range of 125K EQM's (elite qualifying miles) last year, I know I'm one of the first to be upgraded and I have never had upgrade problems like I've had since this program took off.

To say that things haven't changed drastically in the elite upgrade arena is just plain insulting and they certainly have the data to prove that to themselves if they cared to look.

HP management should just admit the truth, which is that they're doing everything possible to keep the airline afloat and the selling of those seats is a key element of the strategy. I don't fault them for that -- I'd probably do exactly the same thing and would have done it long before they did (although very differently). But don't try to pretend there isn't an upgrade issue for elite members.
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Old May 5, 05, 11:21 am   #13
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AZ Travels the World
That is absolutely ridiculous.

First of all, if there is no problem, what's to get better?

But more importantly, they are too smart to believe that their aggressive sale of first class seats hasn't had a significant impact on elite upgrades. "Very few having a problem" just isn't reality, for certain on the major business routes during typically heavy business travel times.

I'll bet that YTD more than 50% of my flights are not available for elite upgrade when the Platinum upgrade window opens. There is frequently one or two seats open, but they're holding on to those "for sale" until some magical time prior to departure. Given that I had in the range of 125K EQM's (elite qualifying miles) last year, I know I'm one of the first to be upgraded and I have never had upgrade problems like I've had since this program took off.

To say that things haven't changed drastically in the elite upgrade arena is just plain insulting and they certainly have the data to prove that to themselves if they cared to look.

HP management should just admit the truth, which is that they're doing everything possible to keep the airline afloat and the selling of those seats is a key element of the strategy. I don't fault them for that -- I'd probably do exactly the same thing and would have done it long before they did (although very differently). But don't try to pretend there isn't an upgrade issue for elite members.
Come on now folks. A courtesy upgrade is not a God given right. It is a courtesy provided our best customers that allows them to potentially buy the cheapest seats available and get to move up front for free including, for free, all the amenities that come in first class. You can't blame HP for trying to generate revenue from those seats. With fuel up over 200% from a few years ago and fares relatively flat the money needs to come from somewhere, in this case the ability to sell an upgrade rather then give it away.
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Old May 5, 05, 2:05 pm   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hp_fa
Come on now folks. A courtesy upgrade is not a God given right. It is a courtesy provided our best customers that allows them to potentially buy the cheapest seats available and get to move up front for free including, for free, all the amenities that come in first class. You can't blame HP for trying to generate revenue from those seats. With fuel up over 200% from a few years ago and fares relatively flat the money needs to come from somewhere, in this case the ability to sell an upgrade rather then give it away.
I would encourage you to read my message again. With all due respect, I did not come close to implying that an elite upgrade is a God given right. In fact, I said that if I were in charge at the airline I would have done something similar long before HP management did. (I just would have structured and handled it quite differently.)

What irritates me are two things:

1) We elite members, especially at the upper mileage levels, make a significant commitment to an airline in exchange for a promise that they will deliver on the benefits they establish to entice our business and loyalty. In this case, when they launched this new push on the sale of deeply discounted first class seats, they sent a very nice letter to us elite members explaining the new program and how what they’re really doing is selling seats that are otherwise going empty in order to make some extra money in tough times. Sounded reasonable. They went out of their way to promise that they will carefully control the sale of these discounted seats in order to preserve the coveted upgrade benefit for elite members.

While they may have intended to do that, if they ever did it, that approach has long sense been abandoned.

Elite upgrades at America West are now a very different benefit than they were before this new strategy was implemented.

2) Rather than simply admit that they're selling all the seats they can in order to offset fuel costs and the ridiculously low fares they must compete with, the "Customer Advocate" reportedly explains that, in fact, nothing has changed and that elite members are not being adversely impacted. If he truly believes that, he is out of touch with reality.

Doug Parker trumpeted in at least one management conference call how much money they are making from their "highly successful" discounted first class program. To think those sales are not happening at the expense of the elite members who used to sit in those seats is either naive or deceitful. Neither is acceptable.

Hp_fa, when you fly 125,000+ miles a year, you make your choices based upon the airline that offers you the best overall service and comfort with the least amount of hassle. Upgrades are a critical component of that mix for many of us. America West used to be the best in this regard, which is the biggest reason we became such loyal customers. Things have changed drastically. And while, yes, it is no doubt a function of the industry’s economic realities, that isn’t our fault. (A few of us are still paying nearly $1000 to fly PHX to DFW or $500 to fly PHX to DEN -- hardly the "cheapest seats available" on the route.) Granted, it is what it is, but we have a right to be irritated.
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Old May 5, 05, 2:43 pm   #15
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AZ Travels the World
I would encourage you to read my message again. With all due respect, I did not come close to implying that an elite upgrade is a God given right. In fact, I said that if I were in charge at the airline I would have done something similar long before HP management did. (I just would have structured and handled it quite differently.)

What irritates me are two things:

1) We elite members, especially at the upper mileage levels, make a significant commitment to an airline in exchange for a promise that they will deliver on the benefits they establish to entice our business and loyalty. In this case, when they launched this new push on the sale of deeply discounted first class seats, they sent a very nice letter to us elite members explaining the new program and how what they’re really doing is selling seats that are otherwise going empty in order to make some extra money in tough times. Sounded reasonable. They went out of their way to promise that they will carefully control the sale of these discounted seats in order to preserve the coveted upgrade benefit for elite members.

While they may have intended to do that, if they ever did it, that approach has long sense been abandoned.

Elite upgrades at America West are now a very different benefit than they were before this new strategy was implemented.

2) Rather than simply admit that they're selling all the seats they can in order to offset fuel costs and the ridiculously low fares they must compete with, the "Customer Advocate" reportedly explains that, in fact, nothing has changed and that elite members are not being adversely impacted. If he truly believes that, he is out of touch with reality.

Doug Parker trumpeted in at least one management conference call how much money they are making from their "highly successful" discounted first class program. To think those sales are not happening at the expense of the elite members who used to sit in those seats is either naive or deceitful. Neither is acceptable.

Hp_fa, when you fly 125,000+ miles a year, you make your choices based upon the airline that offers you the best overall service and comfort with the least amount of hassle. Upgrades are a critical component of that mix for many of us. America West used to be the best in this regard, which is the biggest reason we became such loyal customers. Things have changed drastically. And while, yes, it is no doubt a function of the industry’s economic realities, that isn’t our fault. (A few of us are still paying nearly $1000 to fly PHX to DFW or $500 to fly PHX to DEN -- hardly the "cheapest seats available" on the route.) Granted, it is what it is, but we have a right to be irritated.
Excellent post AZ.
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