Domestic Upgrade with $ [money] Alone

 
Old Apr 2, 12, 6:16 pm
  #1  
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Domestic Upgrade with $ [money] Alone

I was sitting in my LGA-ORD X seat the other day and the man beside me told me how he got to sit in first. He told me that he doesn't have status, he purchased a cheap (~$200) fare in economy, and then when he went to check in online he was offered the ability to move into first for only $90. Can someone please explain to me how this works? The upgrade list was over 20 people long for this flight. How exactly does AA determine how many of X inventory to sell as upgrades vs. providing for "free" to those with status?

Thanks.
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Old Apr 2, 12, 6:19 pm
  #2  
HNL
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Originally Posted by rikramer View Post
I was sitting in my LGA-ORD X seat the other day and the man beside me told me how he got to sit in first. He told me that he doesn't have status, he purchased a cheap (~$200) fare in economy, and then when he went to check in online he was offered the ability to move into first for only $90. Can someone please explain to me how this works? The upgrade list was over 20 people long for this flight. How exactly does AA determine how many of X inventory to sell as upgrades vs. providing for "free" to those with status?

Thanks.
Search for LFBU Load Factor Based Upgrade in the forum for all you answers.
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Old Apr 2, 12, 6:22 pm
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Originally Posted by HNL View Post
Search for LFBU Load Factor Based Upgrade in the forum for all you answers.
Yes, but the OP claims there were 20+ people on the upgrade list. This being LGA-ORD, I believe it.

This also replicates a recent experience from DEL-ORD where an EXP whose eVIP had yet to clear but was offered a cash upgrade upon online check-in.

Not cool AA.
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Old Apr 2, 12, 6:23 pm
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This is a big complaint over at the UA board. The legitimate reason would be if, somehow, the difference between the Y and F fare was only $90, as unlikely as that seems. The illegitimate reason, which is unfortunately all to common at UA, is that the airline is selling these cheap upgrades before offering sticker upgrades to folks who have requested them via stickers (or, in the case of EXPs, for free). Hope the real explanation in this case is that there was a misunderstanding or some glitch.
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Old Apr 2, 12, 6:23 pm
  #5  
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Originally Posted by HNL View Post
Search for LFBU Load Factor Based Upgrade in the forum for all you answers.
This doesn't sound like a LFBU, though, as those are not supposed to be offered if there are folks awaiting an upgrade. There was a thread recently on this "offered at check-in" paid upgrade option, and I thought that this was something different.

Cheers.
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Old Apr 2, 12, 6:27 pm
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Yup - this appears to be something different. It was a Thursday evening flight - lots of people trying to get upgrades including EXPs (based on the fact that a whole group of people boarded and headed for coach when they announced EXP). I really hope this isn't a sign of changes to the upgrade handling. I'd be interested to hear if there are any other cases of this beyond just my single data point.
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Old Apr 2, 12, 6:40 pm
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Originally Posted by rikramer View Post
Yup - this appears to be something different. It was a Thursday evening flight - lots of people trying to get upgrades including EXPs (based on the fact that a whole group of people boarded and headed for coach when they announced EXP). I really hope this isn't a sign of changes to the upgrade handling. I'd be interested to hear if there are any other cases of this beyond just my single data point.
Here is that DEL thread:

http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/ameri...swu-evips.html
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Old Apr 2, 12, 6:46 pm
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I am a case study of only one passenger, but I was able to upgrade with cash in a situation where as a lowly GOLD, I had no expectation of being about to get an upgrade just for the asking.

However, it was a lot more than $90.
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Old Apr 2, 12, 6:47 pm
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Well randomly looking at a ticket for tomorrow from LGA to ORD...

The walk up is $264. The instant upgrade YUP fare is $370. So the difference between coach fare and a first fare on that route can be $106. So, $90 is in the zone, depending on the day.
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Old Apr 2, 12, 6:49 pm
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OP said OLCI and $90 -- that equals LFBU. Maybe AA has changed the rules of LFBU recently. Worth watching.
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Old Apr 2, 12, 7:00 pm
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Originally Posted by HNL View Post
OP said OLCI and $90 -- that equals LFBU. Maybe AA has changed the rules of LFBU recently. Worth watching.
I agree, because it doesn't match what I remember being documented for it
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Old Apr 2, 12, 7:04 pm
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Originally Posted by mvoight View Post
I agree, because it doesn't match what I remember being documented for it
I thought LFBU was only offered at the self service machines and were not offered online or through an agent?
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Old Apr 2, 12, 7:05 pm
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Originally Posted by HNL View Post
OP said OLCI and $90 -- that equals LFBU. Maybe AA has changed the rules of LFBU recently. Worth watching.
If AA has changed the rules, we will get lots of reports of this happening in the next few days. Everybody who gets offered this and has not yet cleared will be posting about the outrage.

If we don't get lots of those posts, we will conclude that this is either a one-time snarfle or else the OP got the standby list confused with the upgrade list. Time will tell.
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Old Apr 2, 12, 7:06 pm
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I don't know for sure - just throwing this out as a possibility:

Could it be that when the OP's seat opponent checked in and purchased the upgrade, there were no more passengers on the upgrade list? Then, subsequent to the LFBU purchase, many more passengers added themselves to the upgrade list?

Might there have been standby passengers who cleared the standby list and then wanted an upgrade? Generally, as we've discussed here before, you have to clear into economy and then your name is added to the upgrade list.

I frequently see Golds and even Platinum members ask the gate agent at the podium to add their names to the upgrade list within 45-60 minutes of departure even though there are already plenty of names on the list.

My point is this: is it possible that all the passengers awaiting sticker upgrades had cleared when the OP's neighbor checked in online? Perhaps not likely since it was a Thursday evening, but possible?
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Old Apr 2, 12, 7:08 pm
  #15  
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Originally Posted by JIMBOLIGUY View Post
I thought LFBU was only offered at the self service machines and were not offered online or through an agent?
LFBU has been pushed to OLCI too. My non-status spouse was offered a LFBU for $90 on an ORD-DCA flight last week - the flight was F6X0 and went out with First Full. When I got to the gate at T-35 min there was 1 person on the UG list.

In the case of the OP, the people on the UG list could have only requested their UGs when they checked-in and asked to be added to the UG list.
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