Qualiflyer - Don't use e-checkin if you're hoping for a free upgrade
I'd like to share a recent experience:
On a full LX longhaul flight I wanted to check in with the e-checkin machine - it didn't work. I went to the counter and got my preassigned economy seat (23A). By chancer I chatted to somebody I know at the airport - she looked at my record and discovered something amazing:
During pre-flight editing I had been upgraded to C due to overbooking. I had been assigned 9A (business). I was checked in and right after that checked out again - both by the e-checkin machine. The upgrade got "kicked out"! Only by looking at my record history we were able to see that I originally had 9A. The ZRH transit counter then "onforced" the upgrade (last seat) after looking at the record history and finding out that a couple of TCGMs had been upgraded, and I as TCQG was still in economy.
Another tip: Don't try the machine for USA flights, it won't work and you won't get miles for trying.
Very useful information, thanks very much!
airOli (http://www.olimade.com/airoli), the Swiss Air Line. ;)
Sorry ch-usa I have to disagree with you.
Two weeks ago I did GVA-LON.
I did the E-checking as usual: my seat 26E (Y-class).
Then at the gate I asked if I could get a better seat: Sorry no seat available the flight is full. But when I wanted to give my tket to checkin, they asked if I was Mr... and then they gave me a new boarding pass: 3C (C-class).
So I did an E-checking and got upgraded. This is my experience.
Ah, yes. Kooks, we are both right. There are two different ways to get upgraded for free. (I have talked a great deal to folks at swiss about this.)
1) 24 hours (approx.) before departure long-haul flights are edited with help of a computer system. This summer, the following usually happened with most USA flights:
A flight on A330 holds 142 in Y, but is oversold by approx. 30. Say C has 10 seats open. Now, 24 hours before the flight a certain quota of Circle, TCQG and sometimes also TCQM Cardholders are upgraded, say 5, 7, 9 or even 10. This is the case where a e-ticket check-in will kick out your upgrade. Right - you could still get upgraded at the gate. But if the computer "misjudged" the no-show factor and there are over 30 no-shows, you WILL LOSE THE UPGRADE you would have had for sure otherwise. I have had quite a number of operational upgrades on flights that actually had 2-3 or more empty seats in Y, where I had already been upgraded when I got to the airport. In these cases, no upgrading was done at the gate.
2) You don't get an upgrade 24 hours before departure because during flight editing it is judged that it will "work out" and nobody needs to get upgraded or even be denied boarding. If in this case more people show up for check-in than there are seats in Y, these people are put on standby and the gate agent upgrades to free up seats in Y for the folks on standby. This is what happened to you. In this case the e-checkin machine wouldn't do any harm. But how do you know beforehand if you got upgraded during flight editing? I tried calling reservations before getting to the airport, and it seems they couldn't tell. It might just be the check-in system (DCS), and not the reservations system, that shows this operational upgrade.
Another tip: From my experience, it is next to impossible to get an "operational double upgrade" to first. However, it is fairly easy to use miles even last minute at the gate or on board, once you have received an operational UG to C.
I also believe longhauls and european flights are treated differently. European flights (from what I've heard) aren't edited that far in advance, and from my experience all upgrading is done by the gate. I'm not sure on that though, they might still do upgrades in advance on badly oversold european flights, and I've just never witnessed it.
For my part I stopped using the machine for oversold flights, just to be on the safe side. But I always use it when the flight is "wide open" or "just pretty full".
Thanks very much for this usefull informations.
Dec 26, 02, 9:52 pm
However, what happens with these upgrades (whether or not using the e<check-in machine) if you originate elsewhere and are on a connecting flight to a long-haul, for example GVA-ZRH-Longhaul?
Dec 30, 02, 3:32 am
I don't know if operational upgrades saved in your booking before getting to the airport are also processed for connections - all operational upgrades out of gva where given to me at the gate, or by the lounge calling the gate and asking them. The former seemed to be an exception though - they frowned on me asking them to call the gate.