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Never flown Air NZ, some questions about upgrades and bidding

Never flown Air NZ, some questions about upgrades and bidding

Old Apr 21, 2023, 9:42 pm
  #1  
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Question Never flown Air NZ, some questions about upgrades and bidding

I am flying to New Zealand for the Women's World Cup in mid-July. I have a flight from JFK to Auckland with an Economy seat. I don't see a way to buy an upgrade on the Air NZ website and I can't get through on the phone to Air NZ to ask for help, but I see in the app that I can bid on either Premium Economy or a Skycouch. Given that this flight is 17 hours, I'd like a way to recline if possible, and I'd like a more comfortable experience.

-Do I need to bid on one or the other? Or can I bid on both a Skycouch and Premium Economy and see which I get?

-If I win a bid for Premium Economy, do I still get to pick a seat? I'd rather have an aisle seat on Economy than a middle seat on Premium Economy.

-What is the range for winning a Skycouch seat? The bidding starts at $190 USD.

-Is there a way to just buy an upgraded seat, like Skycouch, or do I have to go through this bidding system?

-Any other advice for how I can secure an upgrade? I'm worried about blood clots, so I want to be on an aisle so I can get up and walk around, and the ability to lay flat would be incredible since I just cannot sleep sitting up.

Thank you!
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Old Apr 21, 2023, 9:51 pm
  #2  
 
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Have you considered that there may not be any seats? Particularly as youve mentioned there is a large event on. Might help if you post a date and flight number.
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Old Apr 21, 2023, 9:55 pm
  #3  
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Originally Posted by codyc1515
Have you considered that there may not be any seats? Particularly as youve mentioned there is a large event on. Might help if you post a date and flight number.
I have considered that, yes. But I've never flown Air NZ, and I figured if they have a bidding system, maybe they don't let you buy upgrades. Departing July 15 on Flight 1. (Yes, the flight number is really #1.)
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Old Apr 21, 2023, 10:02 pm
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Originally Posted by oreocookies
-Do I need to bid on one or the other? Or can I bid on both a Skycouch and Premium Economy and see which I get?
You should be able to bid on both, personally I'd pick the Skycouch due to the increased space but the chance (if any) is higher with the PE seat

Originally Posted by oreocookies
-If I win a bid for Premium Economy, do I still get to pick a seat? I'd rather have an aisle seat on Economy than a middle seat on Premium Economy.
Yes you'd get to pick a seat but only once the upgrade is approved a few days before the flight. This means you're likely to have the worst pick of seats and could be forced with a middle, there is no guarantee if they accept the bid that you'll even have any choice (all others could be taken).

Originally Posted by oreocookies
-What is the range for winning a Skycouch seat? The bidding starts at $190 USD.
Skycouches to buy at time of booking at US$605 on that route. So obviously if bidding closer to the $605 you've got a greater chance. Bidding the minimum amount is unlikely to end with any wins.

Originally Posted by oreocookies
-Is there a way to just buy an upgraded seat, like Skycouch, or do I have to go through this bidding system?
Yes, pending availability Sky couches can be purchased before, as above they're US$605 (per direction priced on 1 passenger) which in my opinion is great value. It's worth noting that the space is 1.55m long and 74cm wide meaning smaller than a single bed and if you're tall you'll need to watch out as you can't stretch out straight.

It's worth noting that Skycouches on the JFK-AKL route are in hot demand and so unless you pay before hand I wouldn't expect to win anything.

In July only flights on 1, 3,6, 8 and 31 July from JFK-AKL have any skycouches available so unless you're on one of those dates just listed then you're already out of luck.

Originally Posted by oreocookies
-Any other advice for how I can secure an upgrade? I'm worried about blood clots, so I want to be on an aisle so I can get up and walk around, and the ability to lay flat would be incredible since I just cannot sleep sitting up.
I'd say your chances of getting an upgrade are close to zero.

Edit: You've now added your flight on the 15th, there are no skycouches (all fully booked) on the 15th so whilst you can submit a bid it's unlikely to get anywhere (even if one does come free I'd expect it to be snapped up quickly).

Right now there are also only 4 premium economy seats for sale. If you really want to fly in Premium Economy (or Business) your only real option would be to pay the fare difference between your fare and the current pricing. Air New Zealand Silver/Gold/Elite members receive 1-2 "recognition upgrades" each year, these are processed before any bid upgrades are considered meaning I'd expect at least 4 people to have some form of Air NZ status and use their upgrade on this flight meaning even yourself bidding the highest price is unlikely to get a look in.
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Last edited by henrus; Apr 21, 2023 at 10:10 pm
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Old Apr 21, 2023, 10:09 pm
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Originally Posted by henrus
I'd say your chances of getting an upgrade are close to zero.
lol, thanks. This flight was booked through my company, so at the time of booking, I had no choice - corporate policy would only let me book economy, and my company travel department booked it. I also think it was booked through Delta, as I am connecting to JFK first.

But, like I said, I do not see anyway to upgrade my seat at all on the website - all the other classes of seats are X'ed out, and I can pay $50 to sit somewhere else in economy, which they call a "preferred seat," which I don't understand. Right now I have an aisle seat, which I guess is as good as it'll get. I'll just get up and walk around a lot, and buy some compression socks, I guess.
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Old Apr 21, 2023, 10:10 pm
  #6  
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Originally Posted by henrus
Right now there are also only 4 premium economy seats for sale. If you really want to fly in Premium Economy (or Business) your only real option would be to pay the fare difference between your fare and the current pricing.
Sorry, where are you seeing this? I do not see any upgrades for sale. I would pay for a Premium Economy upgrade if I could get an aisle seat, but I do not see any way to buy one. When I try to call Air NZ, I sit on hold for hours and no one answers...
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Old Apr 21, 2023, 10:10 pm
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Originally Posted by henrus

I'd say your chances of getting an upgrade are close to zero.
Basically this - with no Air NZ status you're literally at the bottom of the list when it comes to any upgrades and I'd honestly rate the chance of a Oneup upgrade succeeding at 0%

BP and PE cabins are typically full on every NZ1/NZ2 flight and while some of those will be upgrades there are plenty of people paying for these cabins due to the long flight.
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Old Apr 21, 2023, 10:13 pm
  #8  
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Originally Posted by oreocookies
I am flying to New Zealand for the Women's World Cup in mid-July. I have a flight from JFK to Auckland with an Economy seat. I don't see a way to buy an upgrade on the Air NZ website and I can't get through on the phone to Air NZ to ask for help, but I see in the app that I can bid on either Premium Economy or a Skycouch. Given that this flight is 17 hours, I'd like a way to recline if possible, and I'd like a more comfortable experience.

-Do I need to bid on one or the other? Or can I bid on both a Skycouch and Premium Economy and see which I get?
-If I win a bid for Premium Economy, do I still get to pick a seat? I'd rather have an aisle seat on Economy than a middle seat on Premium Economy.
-What is the range for winning a Skycouch seat? The bidding starts at $190 USD.
-Is there a way to just buy an upgraded seat, like Skycouch, or do I have to go through this bidding system?
-Any other advice for how I can secure an upgrade? I'm worried about blood clots, so I want to be on an aisle so I can get up and walk around, and the ability to lay flat would be incredible since I just cannot sleep sitting up.
Is a big difference between upgrade policies for USA and non USA airlines. Non USA airlines will fly with unoccupied premium seats. With non USA airlines *always* expect to fly in the seat/class you buy.
Claiming a "medical" reason for an upgrade. Phone & check agents have heard it before. They may challenge if you are fit to fly. Airlines will not take risks.
If you want a better seat get out your credit card and upfare to PE or business with $$$$ (for the retail fare difference). That's the harsh reality.

Originally Posted by henrus
.....
I'd say your chances of getting an upgrade are close to zero.
Yes.
And will be many with Air NZ status ahead of the OP. And flights have high passenger loads.
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Old Apr 21, 2023, 10:19 pm
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Originally Posted by Mwenenzi
Claiming a "medical" reason for an upgrade. Phone & check agents have heard it before. They may challenge if you are fit to fly. Airlines will not take risks.
If you want a better seat get out your credit card and upfare to PE or business with $$$$ (for the retail fare difference). That's the harsh reality.
Pretty unhelpful reply. If you read what I wrote, I am 100% willing to pay for an upgrade - I don't see a way to buy one. The only thing I see is the bidding system, and I cannot get Air NZ on the phone. I never said I was going to try to claim a medical excuse to upgrade, so I frankly have no clue what you're on about.
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Old Apr 21, 2023, 10:22 pm
  #10  
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Keep phoning Air NZ or try your company travel agent. Very likely Air NZ will not touch a TA issued ticket (as common practise)
Like others expect you will fly in the seat/class as booked
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Old Apr 21, 2023, 10:24 pm
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Originally Posted by oreocookies

-Do I need to bid on one or the other? Or can I bid on both a Skycouch and Premium Economy and see which I get?
You can bid on either the Skycouch, Premium Economy or both. If you bid for both, your bid for Premium Economy will be considered first. If thats not successful, your Skycouch bid will be considered.

Originally Posted by oreocookies

-If I win a bid for Premium Economy, do I still get to pick a seat? I'd rather have an aisle seat on Economy than a middle seat on Premium Economy.
Technically yes, but since one-up bids are last in line upgrades, there often isnt much choice left at this point. This is especially the case on the routes like JFK/AKL, given there is heavy premium demand but limited premium capacity.

Originally Posted by oreocookies

-What is the range for winning a Skycouch seat? The bidding starts at $190 USD.
There is a separate thread on successful oneup bids, you may wish to have a look at that. Mind you, given this route is fairly new, Im not sure how much data there is on winning Skycouch bids just yet.

Originally Posted by oreocookies

-Is there a way to just buy an upgraded seat, like Skycouch, or do I have to go through this bidding system?
Yes, if you want to purchase a Skycouch, you can go into manage booking and add it within the seat select screen:




If you want Premium Economy, you can pay the fare difference. You can go into manage booking and change flights, and choose the exact same flight youre already on, but in premium economy. The change fee (I think $50) is waived if youre simply upgrading from Economy to Premium/Business, for the same flight on the same day.

Originally Posted by oreocookies

-Any other advice for how I can secure an upgrade? I'm worried about blood clots, so I want to be on an aisle so I can get up and walk around, and the ability to lay flat would be incredible since I just cannot sleep sitting up.
Tbh given the length and nature of the route with its premium-heavy demand, the premium cabins are often full of cash paying passengers, and its limited premium capacity (only 27 business/33 Premium seats), your best bet is to purchase the Skycouch or pay the fare difference for premium economy, especially if youve got health concerns.

Also, there are plenty of Elite/Gold/Silver customers who will have requested recognition upgrades on this route. Recognition upgrades rank above one-up upgrades and many members are not having much, if any success with these clearing (plenty of chatter about this in other threads in this forum, and across pretty much all routes).

If you think youll still be okay to tough it out in economy, then you can place a one-up bid for Skycouch/Premium Economy, but Id say expect nothing and if your bid for an upgrade is successful then thats a bonus.

Hope that was somewhat helpful
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Old Apr 21, 2023, 10:36 pm
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Originally Posted by oreocookies
But, like I said, I do not see anyway to upgrade my seat at all on the website - all the other classes of seats are X'ed out, and I can pay $50 to sit somewhere else in economy, which they call a "preferred seat," which I don't understand. Right now I have an aisle seat, which I guess is as good as it'll get. I'll just get up and walk around a lot, and buy some compression socks, I guess.
Paying to upgrade your seat = changing the ticket. You wouldn't be able to select a premium economy seat until you went back to your travel agent and paid them to change the ticket (at this point it'd be over US$2000 one way).

Originally Posted by oreocookies
Sorry, where are you seeing this? I do not see any upgrades for sale. I would pay for a Premium Economy upgrade if I could get an aisle seat, but I do not see any way to buy one. When I try to call Air NZ, I sit on hold for hours and no one answers...
You've been booked through a work travel agent so it's game over. Air New Zealand won't even talk to you about changes/upgrades because you've booked through a travel agent so calling them and waiting on the phone is just wasting your time and theirs.

Now there are a few if's to the following however if your ticket is issued on an Air New Zealand ticket number meaning it starts with 086 and the flight number on your ticket starts with NZ then another option would be to purchase a Koru membership for ~US$582. This is Air New Zealand's version of the a Delta Skyclub or United Club membership.

The membership lasts one year and comes with some perks that would really help your trip
- Lounge access (Air New Zealand lounge in Auckland and Lufthansa lounge in JFK)
- Priority check-in and boarding at Air NZ counters
and the biggest perk for you would be "Frequent Flyer seating", I've logged in looking at NZ1 on the 15th of July and see the following options:


36C would be a really good one with almost unlimited legroom to stretch out (noting it sticks in to the aisle) but otherwise some of the "Frequent flyer" seats on the 787's have an extra 2 inches of legroom (row 37 and 38) so these would be good picks.
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Old Apr 21, 2023, 10:40 pm
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Originally Posted by Nightowl888
Yes, if you want to purchase a Skycouch, you can go into manage booking and add it within the seat select screen:

If you want Premium Economy, you can pay the fare difference. You can go into manage booking and change flights, and choose the exact same flight youre already on, but in premium economy. The change fee (I think $50) is waived if youre simply upgrading from Economy to Premium/Business, for the same flight on the same day.
OP won't see either of those options. The change flight option will be greyed out due to it being a travel agent booking plus there are no skycouches left on NZ1 15 July 2023 meaning they can't purchase one.
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Old Apr 22, 2023, 9:34 pm
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Originally Posted by henrus
You've been booked through a work travel agent so it's game over. Air New Zealand won't even talk to you about changes/upgrades because you've booked through a travel agent so calling them and waiting on the phone is just wasting your time and theirs.

Now there are a few if's to the following however if your ticket is issued on an Air New Zealand ticket number meaning it starts with 086 and the flight number on your ticket starts with NZ then another option would be to purchase a Koru membership for ~US$582. This is Air New Zealand's version of the a Delta Skyclub or United Club membership...
My ticket does start with 086 and the flight is NZ 1, but given that I cannot even see if any seats are available, I'm worried I'd be paying $582 and end up with nothing. I'm not even sure it would change my reservation because this booking seems so disconnected by the fact that it was booked by a travel agent and/or was booked through Delta.

Someone here said there are no Skycouches left on this route, so my best-case scenario is Premium Economy. A Skycouch (and the ability to lay down flat as a short person) would've been worth paying $600 for, but I am not sure Premium Economy is. I guess I will call "GBT Travel Services" who booked this for me, but when I asked about upgrading they didn't help me at all and just said I have to do it on my own because my company's policy doesn't let me book anything above economy. Sigh.

This trip is gonna stink - I'm not getting a wink of sleep on this flight, and I land at 7:30 a.m. Auckland time, surely before my hotel will let me check in. 😵‍💫 I'll just look at the bright side: I'm getting a free trip to New Zealand out of it.

Thanks for the explanations everyone.
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Old Apr 22, 2023, 11:12 pm
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Unfortunately it's probably unlikely the hotel will let you check in at 830am or thereabouts if you're booked to check in on that day. Maybe get your company to purchase an extra night's hotel room the night before so that you can check in when you arrive? It would be very poor form from the company if they didn't allow this considering you just flew 17 hours direct in economy. It's probably the least they can do.
May I ask what you do for a job?
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