How Complimentary Upgrades Work

Old Dec 30, 18, 11:56 am
  #691  
 
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Originally Posted by dmodemd View Post
. ... so I watched first class and Group A board before eventually I was handed a BP. The dual line arrangement was being ignored so I had to get in the back of the line, boarding by Group C. Fortunately they did hold space in FC for a couple more bags.

I really wish they would clear F before boarding if check-ins are not 100% at that point!

YES YES YES, I wish they would do this too.
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Old Dec 31, 18, 1:14 pm
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I don't think it's unreasonable for you to just go ahead and use the line being "ignored" to "cut" (it isn't cutting obviously) the main line in those instances... and I've seen it happen plenty.
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Old Jan 10, 19, 10:42 am
  #693  
 
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I tried to use the search function to answer this question... but does the waitlist upgrade system only move a MVPG and companion up if there are two adjacent seats? Or if there are just two seats at all. (In other words does it split parties up?)
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Old Jan 10, 19, 10:49 am
  #694  
 
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Originally Posted by williwaw View Post
(In other words does it split parties up?)
IME it will split them up, if there is only one seat available...even though they say it will not. Have a data point from last Saturday TPA-SEA confirming yet again.
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Old Jan 10, 19, 11:57 am
  #695  
 
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Originally Posted by williwaw View Post
I tried to use the search function to answer this question... but does the waitlist upgrade system only move a MVPG and companion up if there are two adjacent seats? Or if there are just two seats at all. (In other words does it split parties up?)
It will split the parties up across the two available seats - they don't need to be beside one another. In some cases, folks can be willing to trade, but others have selected their preferred seats and don't want to trade.
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Old Jan 10, 19, 3:59 pm
  #696  
 
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I had a bizarre upgrade experience during Christmas break. I was booked on a single PNR with my 2-year old son, who has no status (I'm 75K). When I booked we got instant Premium upgrades and were both listed as "First class waitlisted". But when I checked in at T-24, only I was on the upgrade list in the app; my son was not on it. I called reservations, and they gave me a weird explanation about how he wouldn't appear unless there was U space, but eventually they said nothing would happen until the list moved to airport control.

Next day we go to SFO. He's still not on the upgrade list. When we board there are 3 F seats available, I'm #1 on the upgrade list, and no upgrades (from the list) have cleared. Around T-25 minutes the gate agent boards the aircraft and tells me that I've been upgraded to F. Two other passengers behind me on the list also get upgraded on board after me, but my son is not. When I ask why he wasn't upgraded, the agent agrees that under policy he was supposed to be, but says the system "wouldn't let her."

Fast forward several days, and I find out that the SFO gate agent split our PNR. That explains why my son didn't get upgraded, but it's not clear why she did it since we never asked for it. When I talked to the AS 75K line later they hypothesized that she did it because there was just one F seat available and she wanted to make sure I got the upgrade. But in fact there were 3 F seats available, and it also doesn't explain why he never appeared on the upgrade list to begin with. The separation of PNRs also caused a bunch of headaches for the return flight that took multiple phone calls to sort out.

My questions are:
  • Does it make sense that my son never appeared on the in-app upgrade list after we checked in at T-24? I thought 75k and Gold members were allowed to upgrade one companion with them, but I got varying answers from AS reps about what this actually means.
  • Is it common for AS to split PNRs even when the customer never requests it? On UA they would specifically ask if you wanted to split the PNR. Knowing this might happen at an AS employee's whim certainly makes me more nervous when traveling with small children.
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Old Jan 10, 19, 4:06 pm
  #697  
 
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Thanks for posting this bizzare experience. I think your calm description is commendable given the circumstances. I tend to be calm and forgiving myself, but would find this quite upsetting.

Originally Posted by milypan View Post
Is it common for AS to split PNRs even when the customer never requests it? On UA they would specifically ask if you wanted to split the PNR. Knowing this might happen at an AS employee's whim certainly makes me more nervous when traveling with small children.
No, not at all. Moreover, in this case, splitting PNRs means that someone subject to Alaska's minors policy is travelling on their own PNR. This is technically allowed provided an adult's PNR is linked to theirs, but hardly best practice.

My best guess is that none of the three F seats were in the same half-row, and perhaps the agent intervened for this reason...? But even there, it's egregious to let a 2 year old fend for themselves in coach...

I'd definitely take this up with Alaska listens. You both should have cleared the upgrade list.
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Old Jan 10, 19, 4:16 pm
  #698  
 
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Something in the explanation you are receiving from AS isn't making sense.

If there's only 1 seat left in FC and you're on a 2 person PNR... I think I've seen this handled 1 or 2 ways:
1. GA asks if you want to be split up. I've seen this happen once before because the person was called up to get the last seat... and upon realizing she'd be split from her partner she declined. Guess who was next on the list?
2. You just get skipped over for the next single passenger - not sure if they do this without checking with you - I feel like its happened but I maybe thinking back to my MVP (non Gold) days

However, in your case, there was more than 1 seat to begin with. And its extremely common to get upgraded and split up in the first class cabin... and 90% of the time people will just move for you.

I'm guessing there was some sort of system error, or someone accidentally split the PNR, and people are just grasping at straws.

I do not think they'd split a PNR without your approval because it could have negative impacts later down the line. If its your outbound leg for example and your return flight got cancelled and you had to be rebooked, it could result in you & your companion being severely separated.

Is your son of the age to be considered an "unaccompanied minor" if he was split up from you in first? Maybe there's some rule like if they can't seat you next to each other... but still they should not have split your PNR without your consent. It's actually be even worse because then on the return leg he'd look like an unaccompanied minor in the system on his own PNR.
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Old Jan 11, 19, 8:57 am
  #699  
 
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Seems silly to complain about being upgraded, but it is getting a little ridiculous lately. Its been months since I've received an upgrade at my window, weeks since T-2. My last 6 have all occurred after boarding has begun or after i have already sat down at my originally booked seat.

I can usually tell im going to get upgraded because the seat number either disappears or changes at the bottom of the ap, but boarding pass remains original booked seat. I've had a couple of times where I am in limbo and cant board because I technically dont have a seat and have to wait for the system to place me. You would think they would process all the upgrades before boarding begins. I had to gate check my bag once because space was filled by the time i was let on in 1st.

The last minute limbo of trying to figure out where I will actually end up is a bit frustrating.
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Old Jan 11, 19, 7:11 pm
  #700  
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Originally Posted by brentyb View Post
The last minute limbo of trying to figure out where I will actually end up is a bit frustrating.
With the reconfiguration of the Airbus series aircraft, I don't think this will change anytime soon, and will probably get worse. Aircraft configs of 8, 12 and 16 F seats will be interesting. Once everything is 12 seats or more, things should stabilize some I'd hope.
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Old Jan 12, 19, 8:36 pm
  #701  
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Had an Airbus flight from SFO this morning. I was #1 on the upgrade list with two open first class seats. Boarding commenced about 40 mins out and I approached he counter to ask if they'd be clearing the upgrade list. Agent told me she'd do that in 15 minutes.

We'll, about 10 mins have passed and I'm the only passenger standing at the gate, as everyone else has boarded. I ask about upgrades again. A different agent tells me she has just released seats at the 30 min mark and assigns me one of the two open seats.

Last time I cleared at the gate at SFO, I received notice in the Alaska app and boarded with other first class passengers. I just can't see the logic in boarding the entire aircraft before clearing upgrades. Does Alaska sell a bunch of first class seats 30-40 mins prior to departure to delay upgrade processing?

Today there was overhead space left, but can't imagine that's always the case if you're among the last to board.

Tom over Nebraska
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Old Jan 12, 19, 9:54 pm
  #702  
 
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Originally Posted by DaveH View Post
Thanks for posting this bizzare experience. I think your calm description is commendable given the circumstances. I tend to be calm and forgiving myself, but would find this quite upsetting.
I wasn't thrilled about it, but there were two mitigating factors. First, this is the first bad CS experience I've had with AS in 80,000 miles. Coming from UA I'm accustomed to regubad CS, so I'm willing to cut them some slack. Second, my wife and daughter were on the same flight on a different PNR. I gave my wife the F seat, sat in Row 6 with the two kids (which was plenty of room for a two and five year old), and accrued some marital capital on what was frankly a pretty easy flight.

I'd definitely take this up with Alaska listens. You both should have cleared the upgrade list.
I did. Their response was disappointing. It boiled down to, we're sorry this happened, maybe the gate agent did it because there was only one seat left, but not even a small voucher or a few miles as a gesture of good faith.

Originally Posted by nearlysober View Post
Is your son of the age to be considered an "unaccompanied minor" if he was split up from you in first? Maybe there's some rule like if they can't seat you next to each other... but still they should not have split your PNR without your consent. It's actually be even worse because then on the return leg he'd look like an unaccompanied minor in the system on his own PNR.
Yeah the return leg was the real headache. He's too young to qualify as an unaccompanied minor. I noticed the PNR split several days before departure and called in. After a lengthy wait the agent said she had linked the reservations using a deprecated method and promised that there was no way I'd get upgraded without him. The next day I got upgraded without him, and he was sitting alone in Row 6. I called again and got a very unhelpful agent who said there was nothing she could do and insinuated that I must have asked the SFO gate agent to do this. I did a HUACA and reached a more helpful agent who said they could make an exception and bump up our booking class from T so that I could upgrade my son using miles. I asked if I could use a GGU instead, she agreed, and that solved the problem.
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Old Jan 14, 19, 12:45 pm
  #703  
 
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I had an odd upgrade experience yesterday. I was flying with a friend and booked us together on the same PNR. It showed us both as wait listed for first class on our apps, but when we checked in I only saw my name listed on the UPG list and not my friend. I was 2nd on the list so we thought if I cleared, but he didn't, we'd try to talk to someone at the gate. However, 1st class filled up quickly with either last minute buys or SDCs and it looked like I wouldn't even clear at 2nd on the list.

Odd behavior I noticed in the app:
- About 4 hours before the flight, I tried to move us to better seats in PE - but whenever I tried to move myself it'd give an error that "The seat is no longer available".
- When we went to board, I still showed in 7D but my boarding group had gone blank, my friends still showed the proper boarding group

Based on that, I figured I might have been upgrade but it just wasn't reflected. As I walked down the jet-way I ran into a GA going up who got the radio call to upgrade me. So while I didn't make it all the way to my seat, I guess it counts as a battlefield upgrade.
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Old Jan 14, 19, 7:21 pm
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I've seen blank boarding group a couple of times lately. The first time, I asked a gate agent, and they said, "that's strange" and wrote in a B using a pen (B was the correct group).

It was missing on both paper and digital boarding passes.
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Old Jan 14, 19, 7:35 pm
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Originally Posted by VegasGambler View Post
I've seen blank boarding group a couple of times lately. The first time, I asked a gate agent, and they said, "that's strange" and wrote in a B using a pen (B was the correct group).

It was missing on both paper and digital boarding passes.
My boarding pass in the iOS app seems to lose the group whenever I do a post-checkin seat change. I know my group based on status, but its a little odd.
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