'Easy' EXP upgrades no longer so easy

 
Old Apr 21, 13, 7:44 am
  #1  
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'Easy' EXP upgrades no longer so easy

I'm on flight 510 from phx to ord on 4/29. This is a mid day flight from a non business heavy route. I would have expected this to be an 'easy' upgrade for an EXP, but I've noticed that the entire first class cabin is already completely sold out. I know it is just conjecture, but does anyone have any theories about why AA is all of a sudden having so much success selling out first class cabins? Is it reduced fares on First fares? I know...."if I wanted to sit in first, I should have paid for it". I'm just interested in this communities opinion.
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Old Apr 21, 13, 7:48 am
  #2  
 
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I think you'll find broad agreement that AA is not only selling F seats cheaper but also pushing paid upgrades (i.e., up-sell at check-out, check-in) more frequently than in the past
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Old Apr 21, 13, 7:52 am
  #3  
 
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Not an EXP, only lowly platinum, but am also seeing that previously easy upgrades are no longer in the cards. Saturdays and Wednesdays used to be gimmes, but now only happen about 25 percent of the time.
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Old Apr 21, 13, 7:52 am
  #4  
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Yes, the reason is called "revenue enhancement" - as expressed in First, First Flexible, Instant Upgrade, etc. No wonder AA made a profit (other than special one-time reorg expenses) in Q1!
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Old Apr 21, 13, 8:06 am
  #5  
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The OP is complaining about lack of confirmation of an upgrade for a flight more than a week away. If he winds up sitting in back, it's evidence of a (slight, given thousands of upgrades processed a day) slip in service. Today it's nothing but AA waiting to see if it can sell out F before giving away seats - a responsible thing to do.
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Old Apr 21, 13, 8:09 am
  #6  
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Originally Posted by 3Cforme View Post
The OP is complaining about lack of confirmation of an upgrade for a flight more than a week away. If he winds up sitting in back, it's evidence of a (slight, given thousands of upgrades processed a day) slip in service. Today it's nothing but AA waiting to see if it can sell out F before giving away seats - a responsible thing to do.
1. Im not complaining
2. F is already sold out. More than a week away. Hence my question. Reading comprehension is important.
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Old Apr 21, 13, 8:31 am
  #7  
brp
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Originally Posted by rikramer View Post
1. Im not complaining
2. F is already sold out. More than a week away. Hence my question. Reading comprehension is important.
Still irrelevant. We've received more than a few upgrades in cabins that were "sold out" a week before. So, yes, it all depends upon what happens when you're on the plane. Things change. In some cases, it's due to coach oversells. In other cases people switch flights.

So, yeah, 3Cforme is spot on...on both counts. And this has been complained about a lot.

Cheers.
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Old Apr 21, 13, 8:41 am
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I've seen the phenomenon and have a few thoughts. One is that we certainly have more aggressive F pricing which leads to seats being sold. This is indeed not check-in upgrades we're talking about. In cases where there have been one or two seats in F available day before, say, I've gotten my upgrade; at the gate, perhaps, a squeaker for sure, but I've got it. They aren't selling them away from under me at the last minute.

The other thing I think we have to account for is SWU inflation this year: a lot of folk got a lot of SWUs last year during match frenzy, and I myself right now have one, maybe three more than I can use before they expire; I am considering applying them to a BOS-DFW-SFO in ten days which is at F3A2. You get enough of that going on, it could explain how cabins end up selling out a week or two ahead. I'd never in my right mind consider using it this way under normal circumstances.

BTW, what I am seeing is honest to god F0/all seats taken sell out. Not F0/Y0 but there are a couple of seats open in F, which is usually indication of Y oversell and have usually meant a gate upgrade for me.
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Old Apr 21, 13, 8:49 am
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I have noticed First Class full on heavy tourist routes, PHX-ORD, PSP-ORD and such because it is a good place for people like me with a lot of miles to give a wheel-chair bound Mom and Dad a first-class seat. With rare exceptions, these are the only types of routes on which I am denied upgrades. I doubt that many SWU's are burned on domestic routes.
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Old Apr 21, 13, 9:05 am
  #10  
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1. Capacity cuts affect F more than Y (because of the proportion of F to Y seats).
2. Improved economy means more paid F
3. AA wised up to F pricing. They used to price domestic F as though it was still the old days of real F service.

I wouldn't look at any one flight on any one day, but the fact is that economic viability is about finding the right price point. In the past, AA and others had way too much capacity and they cut their fares and handed out F freebie as a means of generating business. That didn't work. Now, they cut capacity to a profit point and it shows on their books.
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Old Apr 21, 13, 9:44 am
  #11  
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So is understanding AA is trying to sell F and turn a profit, has reduced capacity, rescheduled and tiered seat sales in ways designed to enhance full, paid cabins. AA succeeds in selling F seats, our successes for UDUs diminish. It does affect us - SMF-DFW used to be a lead pipe cinch to upgrade with UDUs - it's less so now.

Originally Posted by rikramer View Post
1. Im not complaining
2. F is already sold out. More than a week away. Hence my question. Reading comprehension is important.
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Old Apr 21, 13, 9:50 am
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I still averaging over 95% on upgrades. Missed only one time because flight had a lot of kids due to spring break and there are a number of them in first. I did missed one other time on an Eagle flight from LGA. But I booked very late and it was the first flight out on a Monday so that is not unusual.
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Old Apr 21, 13, 10:05 am
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Originally Posted by ORDflyer View Post
I have noticed First Class full on heavy tourist routes, PHX-ORD, PSP-ORD and such because it is a good place for people like me with a lot of miles to give a wheel-chair bound Mom and Dad a first-class seat. With rare exceptions, these are the only types of routes on which I am denied upgrades. I doubt that many SWU's are burned on domestic routes.
ORDflyer is right. This is now the snowbirds going back home season. I fly ORD-PHX-ORD a few times and F gets full a lot from ORD-PHX during NOV to JAN/FEB. Now it's the reverse.

I've got a trip in May & June that I need to take to Scottsdale and I haven't booked it yet, but I expect to not get an upgrade on the PHX-ORD segment unless I pay full F or I booked back in JAN requesting the upgrade.
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Old Apr 21, 13, 10:08 am
  #14  
 
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Advice to the OP:

All of the other direct flights for April 29 have 5 or more F seats available on that day with the exception of two flight (AA 510 has none and AA 350 has two) If a seat in F is important to you, pay for CFC to an earlier or later flight.

As to why your flight may be sold out, there are many possibilities that could solve the mystery...most of them will be or have already been mentioned here. Yes, it's a bummer when this happens, but our EXP upgrade benefits are a privilege, and not a guaranteed given.
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Old Apr 21, 13, 10:51 am
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That is - mercifully - a prime snow bird exodus flight and is likely booked very very far in advance.
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