Elite upgrade/bypassed

Old Aug 13, 13, 4:26 pm
Original Poster
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: ATL
Programs: Delta Gold, WN A-List Preferred, Marriott LT Titanium, Hertz President's Circle
Posts: 225
Elite upgrade/bypassed

Last Friday flew ATL-PNS (evening flight). I had checked in one ahead of my husband. Asked at T-40 about upgrades and the GA asked my name, checked her list and said no, that there WAS one open seat but it wasn't for me.
OK, fair enough.
Then we board and my husband's boarding pass dings that he has been upgraded. Mine does not. And that one empty seat in BC? A FA hopping a ride came on last minute and sat there (according to my husband, who watched it happen since he was in BC).

We both paid the same fare for our tickets (and to add insult to injury, I booked them both through my work corporate site!) and have both been elite for a couple of years.

Now on the return, he checked in one ahead of me. About 90 minutes before flight, he calls up seating chart to check BC availability and notices he's already been upgraded. I had not (and we were numbers 4 and 5 and there were seven seats open in BC at this point).

So at T-40 I ask the gate agent about upgrades, give him my boarding pass, he first thinks I'm my husband because of the last name and starts to hand me his boarding pass, but I correct him. He then checks computer and says, "Hmm...you're not even on the list."

He was nice about it, clicked around a bit and I did, in the end, get upgraded (he actually moved my husband to put us together, which I did not request, but it was a kind gesture!).

But on two flights I've apparently not been "on the list."

Any ideas what could be happening, because I would really like this not to become a habit!

Last edited by melissaru; Aug 13, 13 at 9:24 pm
melissaru is offline  
Old Aug 14, 13, 8:51 am
Join Date: Jul 2013
Posts: 5,215
There have always been hiccups in the process. Sometimes I get to the gate and am already upgraded sometimes the GA doesn't seem to know what to do and occasionally there appears to be favoritism going on. In fairness if the flight is very full and there aren't many Business seats available (or there are a lot of Elites) then not upgrading Elites in advance seems like a prudent precaution.

Last week I had an unusual conversation with GA about where my ticket was booked (it shouldn't make any difference). They had already upgraded a couple of other passengers and even tried to give me someone else's boarding pass. I got upgraded and Business had 4 employees and an empty row.

I find it hard to complain too much about free upgrades unless the problem is obvious, like the time I watched a GA upgrade a people in front of me at the gate then refuse to upgrade me and tell me to come back later or occasions I've been told Business was full and find after boarding it was full of employees or not full at all.

I once tried to figure out what the actual policy was and got an answer from Airtran which basically said that:
Upgrades would be offered in the order Boarding Passes were issued regardless of fare, unless the Gate Agent decides to do something else.
I assume that is to allow GA the ability to take care of unusual situations like missed connections or other customer service issues.

By the Way have you verified your profile still has you as Elite? I had mine go weird on me because of some unusual activity to correct an unrelated problem. I even had my wife's changed to a totally different A+ number for no apparent reason resurrecting a number from many years ago when she accidentally created two accounts.

I suggest contacting Airtran with your specific concerns, particularly the issue with Flight Attendant. It is possible the FA actually had a reservation and simply showed up late. I have observed a lot of reserved Business passengers often board late, either because of connections or just cutting it close.

Finally I had a Station Manger tell me that Elite upgrades can get messed up on multi leg flight because when the first leg is upgraded it moves the passenger further down the list for the next leg.
rsteinmetz70112 is offline  
Old Aug 14, 13, 8:02 pm
Join Date: Oct 2010
Programs: My opinions are my own and not that of my employer(s)
Posts: 1,412
Originally Posted by rsteinmetz70112 View Post
Finally I had a Station Manger tell me that Elite upgrades can get messed up on multi leg flight because when the first leg is upgraded it moves the passenger further down the list for the next leg.
That is true. Save your original BP with it's sequence number and present it at the gate prior to T-40... and they should honor it.

Of course if you have a 30 min minimum connection in ATL you likely will get bypassed. But still worth asking.
traveller001 is offline  

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