I didn't get upgraded today, but an employee did

Old Mar 12, 2005, 10:54 pm
  #1  
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I didn't get upgraded today, but an employee did

As a newly minted HP Silver (I'll admit it straight up, via a trial elite challange) I was looking forward to my first trip on them in over a year. My first impression was great, the women working the phones at Flight Fund are wonderful as are the airport staff. Today I was on HP 711 from PHX to LAS and while at the airport I asked twice if there were any First Class seats to which I was told no. No matter, it was a 44 minute flight, so I headed onboard the oversold flight to 11F. All around me in rows 10 and 11 were uniformed crew members who were rather friendly. However, about five minutes prior to departure, a gate agent came up to the uniformed pilot in 10F and said "would you like to move to 1C? You'll be more comfortable there". Now I am quite miffed, I specifically asked TWICE about an upgrade and was either lied to or two independant people were wrong. I hope things turn out better for me on my return flight next week.
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Old Mar 13, 2005, 12:14 am
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If I were you I would write a letter straight to the top. I know one member had success Fedexing a letter straight to Doug Parker. Perhaps Doug Parker should come out with a statement like Joe Leonard and state categorically that employees don't belong in first class seats.
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Old Mar 13, 2005, 4:29 am
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I've seen employees refuse to sit in first because it's supposed to be against company policy except (so I was told) in the situtation where the pilot was being flown some place to immediately fly a plane (then I guess they want the pilot to be comfortable and rested) or if it's staff from another airline (and they're extending courtesy to people beyond the reach of their head office...)

I don't know if ANY of that is true, but that's what I've been told.
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Old Mar 13, 2005, 10:49 am
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This happens all the time. I suspect first class was, in fact, booked full, maybe even checked in full. Someone who checked in on-line or was making a connection didn't make it for whatever reason, so 10 minutes before departure they realized they have an empty seat. Rather than look at their elite list and upgrade from it, they went for a pilot.

I don't know if the gate agents who do this don't know how much it frustrates their company's elite customers, or just don't care.

Either way, employees commuting to or from their base (which is what is happening most of the time) should not be put in first class over an elite member. A pilot who lives, by his choosing, in PHX and flies out of LAS is commuting to work. He doesn't need to sit in first class for his commute when he's filling a seat that an elite passenger has earned. HP needs a firm policy on this issue and the agents need to follow it.
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Old Mar 13, 2005, 11:17 am
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Originally Posted by AZ Travels the World
This happens all the time. I suspect first class was, in fact, booked full, maybe even checked in full. Someone who checked in on-line or was making a connection didn't make it for whatever reason, so 10 minutes before departure they realized they have an empty seat. Rather than look at their elite list and upgrade from it, they went for a pilot.

I don't know if the gate agents who do this don't know how much it frustrates their company's elite customers, or just don't care.

Either way, employees commuting to or from their base (which is what is happening most of the time) should not be put in first class over an elite member. A pilot who lives, by his choosing, in PHX and flies out of LAS is commuting to work. He doesn't need to sit in first class for his commute when he's filling a seat that an elite passenger has earned. HP needs a firm policy on this issue and the agents need to follow it.
Exactly. I couldn't agree more. Honestly, what is the pilot going to do on the 40 minute filght in F? Enjoy the complimentary alcohol? I hope not. I honestly cannot believe that there was a good reason for this (such as the pilot not being able to fly after sitting in coach for 40 minutes, I mean, come on! How many 2+ hour CRJ flights have we all suffered through?) Therefore, the only reasonable connection is that for some reason the GAs are engaged in a you-scratch my back- I'll scratch yours type of situation, which is equally unacceptable.

I had a similar situation the other night, PHX-LAS. Employees in F, and I passed a PLATINUM who sat down in coach. Unless he was a last minute-stand-by or on an award ticket, why in the world was *I* in F and not him (not that I was complaining, but in the sake of fairness I did wonder), and why were there two employees up front?

I'd be happy to sign an FT based petition or letter to Doug or FlightFund if we ever choose to pursue this on a group basis.

Last edited by AgtMulder; Mar 13, 2005 at 11:18 am Reason: Grammar
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Old Mar 13, 2005, 1:15 pm
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We have to get management to go give us the official word on these situations. We cannot accept "we'll look into it" or a voucher, this kind of situation happens all too often. How many of us have seen first class seats go empty or with employees while we look on from the exit rows, another pet peeve of mine . Line employees will look upon us as whiners but we need to have our voices heard by upper management who realize exactly how important we are. We need to organize a petition to show Doug Parker and the rest that it is not just a few who are fed up. If they want to hold on to their beloved freddie they need to earn it. It worked for Delta flyers and even US members we can do it. If there is any petition I will proudly offer my support and more if needed.
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Old Mar 13, 2005, 6:22 pm
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Unhappy Same here .. but with employees boarded first

Originally Posted by AZ Travels the World
This happens all the time. I suspect first class was, in fact, booked full, maybe even checked in full. Someone who checked in on-line or was making a connection didn't make it for whatever reason, so 10 minutes before departure they realized they have an empty seat. Rather than look at their elite list and upgrade from it, they went for a pilot.
I would normally assume that it was for this same (non-excusable) excuse.

It was also on a LAS to PHX flite so no big deal. Tho being that late nite 1 or 2 am arrival, it would've been nice.

I thot it was odd that I didn't get the upgrade in advance but figured they had actually sold out in First, or at least down to one or two seats that they still wanted to try and sell. So I checked with the Agent just before boarding and she politely says that First is sold out. Ok, no problem.

Well they start the boarding with crew members first (yea ... even before the chairs and babies My only possible excuse for this was maybe the Flight Attendants working the trip hadn't shown up yet so that can't legally allow "passengers" who aren't trained in HP's emergency procedures to board. I kid you not .... there were at least 50 pilots who boarded !!!

So they finally get down in the boarding order to us lowly Elites and First Class folks. And what do I see in First as I pass thru ?? 3 uniformed Pilots

Not to mention that they all had their kit bags in addition to personal luggage so the overheads were full before the plane was even half full. My "seatmate" in the middle seat was a pilot. Insisted on sitting with arms on both armrests and elbows protruding into the other seats the whole flight AND both legs spread with his feet under the window/aisle seats (no bag under the middle). He was a tall dude but come'on. I guess he was upset over not being one of the lucky 3.

Steve
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Old Mar 13, 2005, 6:46 pm
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It's also very likely that even if they did pull an elite, it wouldn't be you. Silvers are pretty low on the food chain.
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Old Mar 13, 2005, 10:04 pm
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Originally Posted by Jaimito Cartero
It's also very likely that even if they did pull an elite, it wouldn't be you. Silvers are pretty low on the food chain.
Well, that is true, but I believe the principle of the matter is important here. ANY Elite, full paying Y/H/B pax, any paying-non-elite, should be put in F before they upgrade an employee.

So, they didn't upgrade him? Well, I bet the OP wouldn't be complaining if they found a gold and moved him to the front, etc. The problem is the fact that they appeared to go outside the policy (if there is a policy) and upgraded a non-rev.

My 2.
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Old Mar 13, 2005, 10:11 pm
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Originally Posted by steve64
I would normally assume that it was for this same (non-excusable) excuse.

It was also on a LAS to PHX flite so no big deal. Tho being that late nite 1 or 2 am arrival, it would've been nice.

I thot it was odd that I didn't get the upgrade in advance but figured they had actually sold out in First, or at least down to one or two seats that they still wanted to try and sell. So I checked with the Agent just before boarding and she politely says that First is sold out. Ok, no problem.

Well they start the boarding with crew members first (yea ... even before the chairs and babies My only possible excuse for this was maybe the Flight Attendants working the trip hadn't shown up yet so that can't legally allow "passengers" who aren't trained in HP's emergency procedures to board. I kid you not .... there were at least 50 pilots who boarded !!!

So they finally get down in the boarding order to us lowly Elites and First Class folks. And what do I see in First as I pass thru ?? 3 uniformed Pilots

Not to mention that they all had their kit bags in addition to personal luggage so the overheads were full before the plane was even half full. My "seatmate" in the middle seat was a pilot. Insisted on sitting with arms on both armrests and elbows protruding into the other seats the whole flight AND both legs spread with his feet under the window/aisle seats (no bag under the middle). He was a tall dude but come'on. I guess he was upset over not being one of the lucky 3.

Steve
Absolutely unacceptable. You should definitely write HP with this story. Reading this thread reminds me of the same story that happened to me late last fall when I was in Y and a uniformed pilot sat in F--ridiculous. Just like agtmulder says at the bottom the point is not whether or not the OP was a silver, it's the way it's handled and carried out is the problem. This drives me nuts
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Old Mar 14, 2005, 1:06 am
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This happens out of LAS to PHX quite a lot. The hoard of FA and Pilots board first, and fill up the overheads so you have to get on fast to find any space at all. That irks me the most, much more than them putting pilots up in First.

I rarely (if ever) see FA sitting in front, and only occasionally Pilots. There are some work rules with putting pilots up front, but I can't see that would apply on a deadhead run home at night. Even with all that said, if anyone should be happy, spoiled, and well taken care of at HP, its the pilots. I want them to love what they do and do it well, and if it pleases them to be in FC, than so be it. If this was happening on 5 hour flights I would be bummed and would change my tune, but on these 1 hour flights I can live with it.

I would like to see the FAs gate check their bags, tho.
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Old Mar 14, 2005, 12:56 pm
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Originally Posted by PHXTraveler
I would like to see the FAs gate check their bags, tho.
I was shocked to see just this happen on the last mainline flight of the night from LAS to PHX a couple of nights ago. Several crew bags were gate checked.
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Old Mar 15, 2005, 11:08 pm
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Getting the upgrade

Saying that an employee does not belong in first class is downright disrespectful. Airline employees work for the benefit to travel and by chance experience First Class. The front line employees, flight attendants, pilots have all taken huge pay cuts since 9-11 and air fares are still very low. The industry is on very shakey ground with fuel costs sky rocketing. Also airlines are doing things to make extra money and America West is no exception. They have same day travel first class upgrades. Maybe that ONE seat was being held for a purchase upgrade (seats are held for that) and the agent forget to release the seat in a timely manner and instead of delaying the flight to upgrade the silver member (which silver status is very easily obtained) the agent just moved the pilot. In the big picture of our society/world/economy, getting bent out of shape over a first class upgrade on a 40 minute flight is petty. Starting a petition will get you nowhere really. AWA will probably send you a form apology letter and a travel voucher. This would be a total different story if this was a long haul flight and the originator said this was an oversold flight, so maybe they moved the pilot in order to get another passenger on.

Griping about sitting in your exit seat...I know many frequent fliers who would rather have the exit seat than first class.
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Old Mar 15, 2005, 11:12 pm
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Crew getting their bags gate checked. Did you know as a passenger the airline carries insurance on your bag so if it lost or damaged they are responsible but if a CREW members bag is lost or damaged the airline will not replace the bag or the contents in the bag...that is why you rarely see crew/employees gate checking their luggage. Also if passengers adhered to the FAA carry on policy and the FAA sizer limitations, there would be plenty of space for carry ons. But everyone is only worried about themselves and no one else...the carry on bins are not designed to hold all those overstuffed rollerboards and laptop cases. This is a huge safety concern that you as a traveler should be concerned about.
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Old Mar 16, 2005, 12:32 am
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Not only are employees' luggage and contents not insured, but suppose the employee was deadheading to work and their "checked or special-handled" luggage did not arrive with them. They are not obligated to travel without their luggage. This would result in either a flight delay or cancellation. In addition, they have a contract with the airline that allows them to preboard and carry their luggage with them. As I understand, they are presently negotiating a new contract. I seriously doubt they would allow this portion to be deleted.
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