What's Up With Limited "U" Availability?

Old Sep 23, 18, 2:52 pm
  #1  
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Join Date: May 2006
Location: Hawaii
Programs: AS 75K, HA Gold, Hyatt Diamond, SPG Gold, Hilton Gold
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What's Up With Limited "U" Availability?

Has something changed at Alaska??? You used to be able to find a few up-gradable seats. I just checked out for 330 days and found approx 5 "U" fares. What's up, has it been restricted. Makes the Gold upgrade certs worthless, not to mention being Gold or 75K and trying to plan a trip/vacation with your family. Been my experience they usually released 2 U's per flight. Just venting.

Just received this response from Alaska.

" October 5, 2018


Thank you for sharing your concerns regarding the availability of "U" space for complementary first class travel. It's our goal to make sure every trip you have on Alaska goes smoothly. The best way for us to do that is hearing from you.

I apologize for any disappointment caused when searching for a "U" space upgrade. Our Yield Management monitors the supply, demand, history and many other factors to determine how many seats are offered as upgradable "U" space seats.

MVP Gold Guest Upgrades are unparalleled to other programs. These versatile upgrades allow guests of MVP Golds the opportunity travel on their own, without having to book their flights in the same reservation as the MVP Gold who gifted them the upgrade coupon. Unfortunately continuing to offer these guest upgrades for tickets sold in G and T fares was simply making this upgrade program unsustainable. Based on higher fares purchased as an MVP Gold or MVP Gold 75k member "U" seats may be assigned at the time of booking verses using an upgrade certificate or being added to the waitlist to be cleared as it gets closer to flight time, if all the full fare first class seats have been sold. Again, our apologies for any disappointment this may be causing.

Alaska Airlines has always made every effort to provide exceptional service to all of our customers, with understandable emphasis on our MVPs and MVP Golds. I wanted to take this opportunity to apologize, once again, for your experience. My sincere hope is that you will enjoy the high levels of service that Alaska is known for, and that I am certain you have become accustomed to as a loyal customer, on future Alaska flights.

Sincerely,



Erica B.
Customer Care Representative


Reference#: 4257283
"

Last edited by thepinenuts; Oct 5, 18 at 1:07 pm Reason: Info update
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Old Sep 23, 18, 3:45 pm
  #2  
 
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Originally Posted by thepinenuts View Post
Has something changed at Alaska??? You used to be able to find a few up-gradable seats. I just checked out for 330 days and found approx 5 "U" fares. What's up, has it been restricted. Makes the Gold upgrade certs worthless, not to mention being Gold or 75K and trying to plan a trip/vacation with your family. Been my experience they usually released 2 U's per flight. Just venting.
I think you mean lack of U availability, which is quite noticeable compared to 1-2 years ago. The lack of W and A is also quite obvious. Important factors (along with shrinking SFO ops) for why I've made the jump to UA.
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TheDudeAbides is offline  
Old Sep 23, 18, 3:48 pm
  #3  
 
Join Date: Mar 2016
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This is something that suddenly vanished within the last week. I suspect it left the same time that holiday fares went sky high. I have 9 alerts on expert flyer for a 12 day window to multiple destinations in different directions. Most I can find is a few segments of PDX>SEA or SEA>PDX U 2. Everything else is 0. Award space is 7. Saver is 0. I am hoping that middle of October it will come back suddenly.
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Old Sep 23, 18, 4:08 pm
  #4  
 
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Originally Posted by Idaho Territory View Post
I am hoping that middle of October it will come back suddenly.
LOL. Good luck with that. Maybe plan on a meeting with Santa too before he gets too busy.
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Old Sep 23, 18, 9:43 pm
  #5  
 
Join Date: May 2017
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My glitch was that I found a U space immediate upgrade, booked the flight but my confirmation showed me as waitlisted. I ran a search again and U space was still available. So I cancelled the ticket and when I went to rebook, the U space was gone. I’m hoping a U space opens up again at some point.
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Old Sep 23, 18, 10:21 pm
  #6  
 
Join Date: Nov 2010
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I was looking for U space to use our GGUs on for a trip to Hawaii in Feb. Took some searching and being very flexible on dates and islands, and to be willing to connect, but ended up finding a LIH-PDX that had space on a Monday so got it and set alerts on Expert Flyer for the outbound SEA-LIH. Took a few weeks but space opened up so grabbed it via a phone call, where the agent went ahead and applied the GGUs rather than having me do it online. In the meantime the PDX-SEA got switched to an E75 so got the first GGUs applied to that leg (though our seat assignments disappeared for a week even though the Twitter rep confirmed they were in the system.)

All in all, I'm pleased to have an all-U itinerary to and from Hawaii even if it took searching, waiting and an Expert Flyer subscription. But I can understand how this isn't an ideal scenario!
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Old Sep 26, 18, 9:08 am
  #7  
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
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there is basically 0 U inventory at all now on transcons even looking months in advance where they have sold no first class seats and almost no econ...
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Old Sep 26, 18, 10:19 am
  #8  
 
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Originally Posted by richiezc View Post
there is basically 0 U inventory at all now on transcons even looking months in advance where they have sold no first class seats and almost no econ...
Not just transcons, I'm finding 0 U on short-haul flights, too. And these are also flights where it seems not one single seat, Y or F, has been purchased yet.

We didn't make Gold this year, but I'm wondering - are they still giving the GGU's to those of you that did?
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Old Sep 26, 18, 10:39 am
  #9  
 
Join Date: Mar 2016
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Originally Posted by Eujeanie View Post
Not just transcons, I'm finding 0 U on short-haul flights, too. And these are also flights where it seems not one single seat, Y or F, has been purchased yet.

We didn't make Gold this year, but I'm wondering - are they still giving the GGU's to those of you that did?
The 4 GGUs are still a listed benefit for Gold and 75K. I've got a few more flights til Gold re-qualification, but assume they're still providing them.
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Old Sep 26, 18, 11:02 am
  #10  
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I got four when I requalified in May; currently on track for 75K by early Dec, so will see if another four show up
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Old Sep 27, 18, 8:14 pm
  #11  
 
Join Date: Jun 2009
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I've also had little luck finding U space on SFO-NYC in January and February.
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Old Sep 27, 18, 10:26 pm
  #12  
 
Join Date: Jul 2017
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No U Space

Originally Posted by richiezc View Post
there is basically 0 U inventory at all now on transcons even looking months in advance where they have sold no first class seats and almost no econ...
It seems as if Alaska continues to lurch from one strategy to another on revenue management. They had the FF redemption issue highlighted in the last earnings call, they're still trying to figure out how to price first class on trans-con flights, and now they seem to be all but eliminating U space on anything longer than about 700 miles. We used a handful of GGUs in the past several weeks, so feel fortunate to have burned them before the new revenue management iron curtain descended. No company has ever cut its way to success, and it won't work in this case either.
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Old Sep 28, 18, 11:49 am
  #13  
 
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I have a midcon flight this weekend, there are plenty of unfilled F seats, but AS still not releasing U space as of approx. two days out. :-(
Buster CT1K is offline  
Old Sep 28, 18, 12:05 pm
  #14  
 
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It really sounds like they are going to ramp up offering the upgrades for a fee to non-elites at check-in. My no status neighbor gets the offers all the time. He checks in as soon as available and almost always gets (and takes) the offer.
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Old Sep 28, 18, 12:19 pm
  #15  
 
Join Date: Mar 2016
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Originally Posted by Eujeanie View Post
It really sounds like they are going to ramp up offering the upgrades for a fee to non-elites at check-in. My no status neighbor gets the offers all the time. He checks in as soon as available and almost always gets (and takes) the offer.
Paid upgrades at check-in require U availability, too. So if your neighbor is getting offers frequently, it's because all elites have cleared and there is still U available or the upgrade processor issue reported elsewhere is still occurring (which is my guess as to why AS is holding back much of the U space and more manually clearing folks within a few hours of departure).
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