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Elite business class upgrade success (master list)

Elite business class upgrade success (master list)

 
Old Jul 30, 2013, 11:53 pm
  #391  
 
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: ATL
Programs: Delta Platinum, WN A-List Preferred, Marriott LT Titanium, Hertz President's Circle
Posts: 296
Flew ATL-BWI Saturday morning (10:10 a.m.). Asked GA at T-30 about status of Elite upgrades and she told me she hadn't assigned them yet. Sat down and about five minutes later, the boarding process began with no one called to the desk. My boarding pass did the "bong" sound when she scanned it and she swapped me (and my husband, who is also Elite) there for BC upgrades.

For the return from BWI-ATL today (a Tuesday at 6:30 p.m.), my husband and I didn't harbor much hope as we had forgotten to set our phone alarms to check in at T-24 and wound up 22nd and 23rd, respectively.

But at T-40, we approached the desk and figured we had nothing to lose by asking. The GA clicked around and typed for a few seconds and we both received upgrades. No one was ever called to the desk and BC went out full.
Now, could it REALLY be possible that we were the first two Elites on the list even though we checked in late or was it because we asked and got lucky (and possibly - inadvertently - screwed two Elites who might have checked in right at T-24)?
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Old Jul 31, 2013, 3:15 pm
  #392  
 
Join Date: Jul 2013
Posts: 5,813
Yesterday MSY 2 ATL Upgrade at gate appox 1:00 before departure. Business Left Full.

Tomorrow ATL 2 MSY on ticket issued by Southwest. According to email from Airtran should be eligible for Upgrade. We'll see what happens. I get a lot fewer upgrades out of ATL due to thru passengers. I have a copy of the email with me.

Last edited by rsteinmetz70112; Aug 1, 2013 at 3:15 pm
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Old Aug 1, 2013, 3:12 pm
  #393  
 
Join Date: Jul 2013
Posts: 5,813
SUCCESS First Time is a Charm.

This is the first time either of us has flown on Airtran using a ticket issued by Southwest.

ATL 2 MSY on ticket issued by Southwest my wife got upgraded in ATL. They could not print a new boarding pass so marked up her old one. Weird.
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Old Sep 4, 2013, 11:13 pm
  #394  
 
Join Date: Sep 2010
Programs: Avis Preferred Plus
Posts: 622
Werll looks like not many want to pay the $89 upgrade to Boston. ATL-BOS on Aug 27 7:35 pm. SUCCESS. Upgraded at the checkin counter itself. Flight was full. Not sure how many were upgraded because mine was automatic. I wonder if a full economy usually triggers automatic upgrades when checking in at the counter because they want to get more passengers on the plane.

On the way back, Sep 2 6:20am, easy success. It was sad really. Only 5 passengers in BC with 2 of us getting elite upgrades. So only 3 paying. I am actually surprised why they didnt just give me the automatic upgrade like I did in ATL with such low capacity. A polite lady near the airport entrance helped me move my suitcases as I had two checkins with a carryon. But she said I could not get into the Elite line because she had to check for the Elite Card. Never heard of that in my life. But she did it out of ignorance rather than rudeness. The southwest lady at the checkin counter was annoyingly ignorant and indifferent of airtran type questions. At the gate, the airtran lady asked me to wait 10 min to get my upgrade and she was very polite. Then I overheard the WN lady next to her asked in wonder "how can you even tell who is elite and who is not". wow, these boston WN employees seem to be behind the learning curve.
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Old Sep 5, 2013, 8:10 am
  #395  
 
Join Date: Jul 2013
Posts: 5,813
Sometimes if a flight is oversold or very full they will upgrade Elites to make more seats in the back. Sometimes if a flight is very light they will upgrades Elites before T-40. Sometimes if they recognize your name they will upgrade you early. I don't think any of this is automatic, the GA just does it based on the situation.

I had one the other day out of ATL walked up and they had my pass. Last week out of DEN I was checking seating and Biz was full. A few minutes before T-40 a seat opened up and I snagged it (free).
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Old Sep 5, 2013, 10:03 am
  #396  
 
Join Date: Sep 2010
Programs: Avis Preferred Plus
Posts: 622
When all these automatic upgrades are given to me, it's usually done even before I get to the counter. Though when the old crew was there in PBI, they would do it once in a while when they saw me come in. So let's say we are in Atlanta which has quite a few Airtran flights. How does this automatic upgrade happen in a place like this because agents do not have the free time like in other stations whch have only limited AIrtran flights. Do they periodically just go through upcoming flights in the next two hours and see if any flights could use some automatic upgrades or is there someone in airtran central office which monitors this?
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Old Sep 5, 2013, 12:25 pm
  #397  
 
Join Date: Jul 2013
Posts: 5,813
I believe it is done by the GA at the gate based on the way they work a flight. They are being proactive about moving Elites up to allow themselves time for handling the boarding.

In ATL the standard time to start boarding is T-40. That is also the same time Elites are supposed to be upgraded. If one person is working the flight they do not have time to both start boarding and do upgrades. Even if two people are working the flight doing the upgrades at the same time as you start boarding seems confusing.

Even if they were to upgrade Elites and fill Biz, if someone comes along to buy an upgrade they could simply downgrade the lowest elite on the list. There is a small possibility they will not be able to give the Elite their original seat or they could simply tell the passenger that Biz is full.

This is based on observation with some speculation but also based on chatting up the GAs, when they seem friendly and not too busy.

Occasionally I have been told there is an official move to create more up sales and to conform more closely to the official policy. That is when you hear the announcements about upgrade in the Gate area and then they sometimes call upgrades out by name just before boarding. But then some of that may also just be people in petty position of power.

Occasionally I've had them not identify me as Elite. I usually try to have a pleasant visit with the GA as soon as I arrive at the gate just to let them know I'm there just be be sure. Often they hand me my boarding pass of upgrade me on the spot.
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Old Sep 5, 2013, 3:32 pm
  #398  
 
Join Date: Sep 2010
Programs: Avis Preferred Plus
Posts: 622
So when I get an automatic upgrade when I am checking in with a bag 60-90 min in advance at the ticket counter, that upgrade was actually processed by the gate agent at the designated gate?
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Old Sep 5, 2013, 3:53 pm
  #399  
 
Join Date: Jul 2013
Posts: 5,813
Originally Posted by saneman
So when I get an automatic upgrade when I am checking in with a bag 60-90 min in advance at the ticket counter, that upgrade was actually processed by the gate agent at the designated gate?
The TA's can do it too at the ticket counter. I seldom go to the ticket counter because I seldom check a bag. Usually when those upgrades happen to me it's my home airport and the person knows (or at least recognizes) me. I chalk it up to personal relationships. Sometimes at my home airport when I don't get upgraded at the counter they apologize and tell me to check at the gate.

I fly through ATL a lot and don't remember ever having gotten an upgrade when checking a bag. I sometimes don't get upgraded at all there.
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Old Sep 5, 2013, 5:11 pm
  #400  
 
Join Date: Sep 2010
Programs: Avis Preferred Plus
Posts: 622
OK so you are talking about something slightly different then. My advance upgrades hve nothing to do with the gate agent.
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Old Sep 5, 2013, 10:26 pm
  #401  
 
Join Date: Jul 2013
Posts: 5,813
I don't think I'm saying anything different. If I am I apologize for any confusion I may have inadvertently caused..

As far as I have observed there aren't any "automatic" upgrades. There are "early" or as you say "advance" upgrades, given at the discretion of the the GA or TA depending on the given situation.

My observation is that an upgrade may be due to obvious availability on a specific flight, creating space for standby or over booked passengers, or individual preference.

I have only recently begun trying to determine exactly when I am upgraded. So far I have no data on Ticket Counter upgrades.
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Old Oct 16, 2013, 6:02 pm
  #402  
 
Join Date: Sep 2010
Programs: Avis Preferred Plus
Posts: 622
I guess some gate agents take initiatve to do the upgrades more than an hour in advance. What I thought were some central office generated upgrade was generatefd by the gate agent on my flight from PBI to ATL 10 days ago MOnday afternoon. When I went to the gate, my name was called and I told her that I already received the upgrade at the ticket counter at which point she told me that she issued it a while ago and that was what happened.

BC went out full and I sat next to a Southwest passenger who got upgraded thanks to his WN Preferred. I find that kind of lame that WN people get the same upgrade as the Airtran people. It would be fairer if tHey issue all the upgrades to the Airtran flyers first and then only issue them to the WN elite members. The Business benefits are not comparable on both airlines.

OCt 11: PBI - Houston via Atlanta : Failure for both segments at PBI and at ATL. No one got upgrades that I know of. At least my exit row seat on the second segment had an empty middle.

Oct 15: Hou - ATL: SUCCESS. This time, my parent and I both got upgrades on my reservation. BC went out half empty.
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Old Oct 16, 2013, 9:14 pm
  #403  
 
Join Date: Jul 2013
Posts: 5,813
Originally Posted by saneman
It would be fairer if they issue all the upgrades to the Airtran flyers first and then only issue them to the WN elite members. The Business benefits are not comparable on both airlines.
I can't really agree with this. I think that Southwest should offer the same benefits to all their best customers. It takes more to become and stay A-list on Southwest. Their A-List Preferred has even higher qualifications.

With the declining number of Airtran flights there will be fewer Airtran Elite passengers.

I am shifting my bookings to Southwest but will miss Airtran. I think Southwest is making a strategic error abandoning Airtran's product model, which I think is superior to Southwest's. Airtran's product offered the opportunity to really reward frequent fliers and enhance revenue while still offering low cost travel to occasional travelers. Southwest is largely limited to selling early boarding.

Last edited by rsteinmetz70112; Oct 21, 2013 at 9:10 am
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Old Oct 17, 2013, 7:21 pm
  #404  
 
Join Date: Sep 2010
Programs: Avis Preferred Plus
Posts: 622
Since there aren't that many Airtran elites left, then I guess it should not be a problem for A List Preferred to get second priority as we won't take up many seats. Airtran passengers are already treated as second class to WN passengers on Airtran flights with the WN passengers getting two free bags(not an issue for the elites). I understand Airtran guys get the free seat assignment at online checkin which the WN passengers won't on Airtran flights.

I understand that it makes sense for WN to do it as a corporation. It's just frustrating to see it from an Airtran elite perspective.
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Old Nov 1, 2013, 8:15 pm
  #405  
 
Join Date: Sep 2010
Programs: Avis Preferred Plus
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Oct 11 Friday morning : PBI - HOU via ATL.: FAIL on both segments. Not even a chance. THank god, I had an exit row as a backup. I had an empty middle on the ATL-HOU segment which was almost as good as BC.

Oct 15: HOU - ATL: Success for me and the other person booked on my reservation.

OCt 21: ATL - PBI FAIL (monday afternoon. 2 seats were available when I checked in at the Ticket counter, so I am guessing two people got upgraded ahead of me).

Oct 23: PBI - ATL: Success. Brandy , one of the the Airtran ladies was back in PBI. Nice to see an old Airtran employee back in that location which is full of WN employees who just dont have the same flair for frequent passenger relations at this location. Wasn't feeling the LUV lately at this location. But Brandy had my upgrade in her hand as I approached the gate.
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