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Alaska sold upgrades flight before clearing waitlist

Alaska sold upgrades flight before clearing waitlist

Old Aug 25, 19, 9:56 pm
  #1  
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Alaska sold upgrades flight before clearing waitlist

Currently I'm on AS 1934. Flight was F6 yesterday, and on top of that it was later swapped from 8 seats in F to 12 (new Airbus config) so there were plenty of seats in F. As a 75K, I was 100% expecting an upgrade based on my past experience.

To my surprise, a couple hours before the flight, the F cabin was nearly full, and I was still #3 on the list. Indeed, I wasn't upgraded. I contacted AS over twitter (DM) and the agent told me that some of the people that cleared into F were paid upgrades.

I've read a few times in this forum that that's not how it should happen. Does anyone have any ideas what to do now? The Twitter agent insists this was fine with AS policy (even though it shouldn't be, but I can't point to anything to back my case).
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Old Aug 25, 19, 10:12 pm
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If it didn't happen at the gate (as has been reported before, but shouldn't) it could have happened online when people were OLCI'ing. U space would need to be open, and theoretically with the a/c swap, this could have happened. One would need access to AS' internal systems to see what happened. AS' mobile website only indicates one upgrade at the gate.

https://m.alaskaair.com/prioritylist...?rp=fs&arr=SFO
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Old Aug 25, 19, 10:33 pm
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Originally Posted by beckoa View Post
If it didn't happen at the gate (as has been reported before, but shouldn't) it could have happened online when people were OLCI'ing. U space would need to be open, and theoretically with the a/c swap, this could have happened. One would need access to AS' internal systems to see what happened. AS' mobile website only indicates one upgrade at the gate.

https://m.alaskaair.com/prioritylist...?rp=fs&arr=SFO
Unfortunately I didn't set up an alert for U space. so I can't confirm if it did open. However, the agent did confirm that people paid for upgrades, so it must have happened. In that case, it seems like an issue with the upgrader (we've seen reports of the upgrader failing recently, so perhaps I shouldn't be surprised). Thoughts on what I can do next? (I'd want to at least get some compensation out of this) What do I respond if the agent just says it was OK to sell upgrades before clearing me? Or how to explain that their system might have failed?
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Old Aug 25, 19, 11:48 pm
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Originally Posted by SEA737 View Post
Unfortunately I didn't set up an alert for U space. so I can't confirm if it did open. However, the agent did confirm that people paid for upgrades, so it must have happened. In that case, it seems like an issue with the upgrader (we've seen reports of the upgrader failing recently, so perhaps I shouldn't be surprised). Thoughts on what I can do next? (I'd want to at least get some compensation out of this) What do I respond if the agent just says it was OK to sell upgrades before clearing me? Or how to explain that their system might have failed?
People have been reporting that the upgrade processor is broken for at least a couple of years now, and so far AS hasn't done anything to fix it, despite maintaining that GAs aren't supposed to offer paid upgrades if there are any elites on the waitlist.
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Old Aug 26, 19, 4:03 am
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The system is just broken for a long time and AS IT has no interest in fixing it...
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Old Aug 26, 19, 4:50 am
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It may help you, in the longrun, to be surprised, shock & awe, when an upgrade happens. The Upgrade bot/system is still broken, and Rev Mgt has significantly reduced U space, even at T-24. I've been on flights with F booked to *0*, at or near the top of the list, and still didn't clear an upgrade.

Even on my current flight, I purposely bought a higher fare to apply a GGU to try to upgrade to F in advance (xVX Airbus)- F remained booked at *0* with U also at *0*.. ug cleared about 3 hrs before flight time.

So Alaska has lost out on 2 selling opportunities on my flight:

1. Ability to offer mileage, GGU, or Insta-Upgrade fares (esp on a transcon).
2. Ability to offer buy-up into Premium to the masses since all of us in F were in Premium. Seems that all our seats went to 8 of the 10 non revs.

But hey, what do we know at FlyerTalk. We are just moochers in the eyes of Alaska management.
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Old Aug 26, 19, 7:40 am
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Originally Posted by SEA737 View Post
... (I'd want to at least get some compensation out of this)...
I just don't understand this way of thinking. You bought a Y seat, you got a Y seat.
If you had wanted an F seat, you could have purchased an F seat outright.
Why should you be compensated for getting what you bought?
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Old Aug 26, 19, 9:20 am
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Originally Posted by SEA737 View Post
Thoughts on what I can do next? (I'd want to at least get some compensation out of this)
Why? Is there anything in Mileage Plan rules stating that they won't do this?
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Old Aug 26, 19, 9:56 am
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Lately, I see a lot of day of travel purchases into F up and down the west coast especially when Y is full at peak times (i.e. Mon/Fri/Sun). So don't expect free upgrades they once were available.
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Old Aug 26, 19, 12:35 pm
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Originally Posted by IluvSQ View Post
I just don't understand this way of thinking. You bought a Y seat, you got a Y seat.
If you had wanted an F seat, you could have purchased an F seat outright.
Why should you be compensated for getting what you bought?
You're wrong. I bought a Y seat that qualifies for upgrades based on some rules. If they didn't follow the rules, they didn't give me what I paid for.

Edit: and by rules I mean the FF program that says that if you fly enough, you'll get complimentary upgrades when available. Presumably it would also include not selling upgrades into U space before clearing waitlist, based on what Alaska reps have said before (and on the fact that the value proposition of the program would be much less if this was the norm)
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Last edited by SEA737; Aug 26, 19 at 12:51 pm
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Old Aug 26, 19, 12:40 pm
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Originally Posted by flyingstudent View Post
Lately, I see a lot of day of travel purchases into F up and down the west coast especially when Y is full at peak times (i.e. Mon/Fri/Sun). So don't expect free upgrades they once were available.
This was still beyond anything I had seen. Flight was F7 in the morning (in fact more, but that's the most that is shown in Flyertalk). There were no flight cancelations on the route (so people didn't have to be accommodated in my flight), and the waitlist had barely 10 people (so not a super elite heavy flight). I fly plenty and any other time this would have been a shoo-in.

In any case, the Alaska rep did confirm that upgrades were sold, and I suppose that would explain it, presumably meaning the upgrader wasn't working.

Last edited by SEA737; Aug 26, 19 at 1:27 pm
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Old Aug 26, 19, 12:48 pm
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Originally Posted by bmvaughn View Post
Why? Is there anything in Mileage Plan rules stating that they won't do this?
I don't think it should be this way, simply because assuming the upgrader is working perfectly, my upgrade would have cleared before others can see it for sale. Additionally, people on this forum have said that Alaska has confirmed this shouldn't happen (although admittedly I don't have any official source myself, so I can't use that yet -- and I would appreciate a link if anyone has it somewhere).

Lastly, there's the basic premise of honoring loyalty. If Alaska demands trust (loyalty in order to receive future benefits), it should honor the benefits when they are due. Selling upgrades for $50 before upgrading elites wouldn't be a way of showing they value loyalty. However, I think this was just a glitch, and in that case I think Alaska should just compensate for that (show they care to make sure they don't lose trust) and then hopefully fix the issue.
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Old Aug 26, 19, 1:13 pm
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Originally Posted by SEA737 View Post


I don't think it should be this way, simply because assuming the upgrader is working perfectly, my upgrade would have cleared before others can see it for sale. Additionally, people on this forum have said that Alaska has confirmed this shouldn't happen (although admittedly I don't have any official source myself, so I can't use that yet -- and I would appreciate a link if anyone has it somewhere).

Lastly, there's the basic premise of honoring loyalty. If Alaska demands trust (loyalty in order to receive future benefits), it should honor the benefits when they are due. Selling upgrades for $50 before upgrading elites wouldn't be a way of showing they value loyalty. However, I think this was just a glitch, and in that case I think Alaska should just compensate for that (show they care to make sure they don't lose trust) and then hopefully fix the issue.
I have had the same happen to me multiple times out of SEA. And the gate agents swear they are allowed to sell the upgrades before processing the list. I write Alaska listen or tweet them and they have said it should not happen, should process list first then sell what is left over, but it continues to happen. And it is usually the SkyWest or Horizon planes it happened to me. The one that bugs me the most is when I'm on a full fare Y or B, which is an instant upgrade fare if U is available, then they sell the upgrade before processing the list. So I have most likely paid more for my ticket than the person who paid $50 paid for theirs including the $50. I have pretty much just resigned myself to the fact that the process is broken and AS shows no desire to fix it.
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Old Aug 26, 19, 1:21 pm
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I flew round trip PDX - MCO last week and was at the top of the list and had what I expect were paid upgrades clear before me. No one was bumped up from the upgrade list despite having 2 open seats 24 hours out. Super frustrating.
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Old Aug 26, 19, 8:34 pm
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Would not the question be why you are unaware that upgrades are being sold? If you know then speak to the gate agent and ask for the upgrade based on your status or pay?
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