Operational Upgrades

 
Old Oct 9, 01, 3:59 pm
  #1  
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Operational Upgrades

I have heard from one frequent flyer that in the past week he has had success in obtaining operational upgrades (free upgrades given without any payment or deduction from account). Have other frequent flyers had the same experience?
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Old Oct 9, 01, 4:08 pm
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On AA? When monkeys fly out of my ...
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Old Oct 9, 01, 4:48 pm
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Yes, they happen; and when they do they're a gift from heaven. 'happened to me 4 times so far.

Op upgrades occur on AA when coach is overbooked, and there's spare seats in business and/or first. Elites in coach will then get upgraded to business. Paid business will sometimes get bumped up to first to make room.

These days, with so few leisure travelers, I'd imagine coach is rarely oversold and so op upgrades are rare.
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Old Oct 9, 01, 9:13 pm
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Fly at Thanksgiving and you might be in luck, though you would likely need to be an ExecPlat or Platinum member to be ahead of the dozens of other AAdvantage elites on any given flight. As you don't give you current elite status level, it is hard to say if you might have any chance at such an upgrade.
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Old Oct 10, 01, 10:39 am
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I recently flew Mia-SJU on an A300. I requested an upgrade but was told F was full.
Amazingly there were only 15 people in coach and yes, F was full!!. Good luck with the Operational upgrade!
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Old Oct 10, 01, 3:25 pm
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This is a bit of an elaboration of my earlier post. I just returned from my ORD-CDG-ORD trip on Monday. On the outbound on Thursday, I was seated in Business and there were 7 empty seats there. There was only one person in F, the Sky Marshall we all were assuming. I was seated next to two other Platinums (as I am) and we were commenting that it would have been nice if they had comped some of us from Business to First. They had just come from Hawaii to ORD and were on their way to CDG, hence a lot of flying. (And nobody from AA came to any of us to thank us for our loyalty either as was remarked in other threads.) We all believed that it would have made good business sense to have comped some of these Business customers to F. Just for the record: I was on a paid ticket and used my VIPOW's to upgrade; the couple from Hawaii were on award tickets. I don't know if there were any EXP on the flight either, although the 4 other people around me were not even Golds. Hey, if they comped the EXP's or the paid Business tickets, that certainly wouldn't bother me either. But to have a fully-staffed First Class cabin with only one person in it seems like a waste to me and a lost opportunity FOREVER to do something nice for the people who are good customers. This was actually a trip I scheduled to make Platinum for the year, so I didn't even have to take it, but I figured why not give my money to the airline. The return was similar - Business was full and First had only 3 pax.
Just my thoughts.
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Old Oct 10, 01, 3:41 pm
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AA doesn't upgrade people on a space available basis because it would reduce the motivation to buy front-cabin tickets or use miles to upgrade, especially among elites who expect a given flight not to be full. Those of us who would benefit from a more liberal policy might not like their reasoning, but it has a certain logic to it.
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Old Oct 10, 01, 3:53 pm
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My husband and I were booked to Brussels over spring break last year. They were oversold and offered business class, but when they saw I had a special meal ordered said I couldn't get it. When we arrived in Brussels, I called AA and canceled my special meal for the return. Sure enough when we checked in - we were 2nd to check in- we were told we were put in Business Class. What a nice treat! Holidays are the best time. But, for now, I think it will be a rarity that coach is full - unless flights were canceled before and after the designated flight.

------------------
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Old Oct 10, 01, 4:01 pm
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<font face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif" size="2">Originally posted by dgordon:
My husband and I were booked to Brussels over spring break last year. They were oversold and offered business class, but when they saw I had a special meal ordered said I couldn't get it. When we arrived in Brussels, I called AA and canceled my special meal for the return. Sure enough when we checked in - we were 2nd to check in- we were told we were put in Business Class. What a nice treat! Holidays are the best time. But, for now, I think it will be a rarity that coach is full - unless flights were canceled before and after the designated flight.

</font>
Thank you dgordon, I have always wondered whether ordering a special meal precluded you from upgrading either operationally or by paying with miles at the gate. It seemed obvious that it would but I was never sure and know you have told me so.

I am actually on a "how many straight miles can I do in economy with no flights in business or first" kick. Since my last flight in business which was October 99 I have done 151,000 miles, all in economy. I will keep ordering special meals so I can avoid temptation at the gate when it is clear business/first will not be full and thus keep my "run" going!
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Old Oct 10, 01, 4:19 pm
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It is very, very unlikely that the person in First was a Sky Marshall. Remember, you were flying from CDG, which the last time I checked was in France. France is a foreign country, and the US would require a special agreement with the French government to permit a US Sky Marshall to operate on French territory -- even to get off and back on a flight from the US. The US government has made no request for such authority to foreign countries. We know up here, because this is a big issue relating to the ability of transborder flights to have Sky Marshalls, be they American or Canadian airlines.

So the person in the front cabin could very well have been a revenue passenger of some sort, who would not likely appreciate a sudden influx of rabble from business occupying the seats around him.

As for the special meal request restricting operational upgrading, that may be AA's policy but not all carriers. I was given an operational upgrade on CX from Y to J out of JFK as a oneworld Sapphire. On the flight into JFK the regular Y menu was so unappetizing that one of the FAs suggested I take the Kosher special meal that nobody had claimed. It turned out to be a very nice chicken dinner, boiled but tastier than most airline meals. So I decided to call CX and order a Kosher meal for the flight back. I was still upgraded, and the Y meal I had ordered was brought to me in my new seat. I was also offered anything from the regular J menu.

But I can see AA's point about feeling they couldn't offer you a J special meal, and perhaps not wishing to embarrass you among the other J passengers with a Y meal.
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Old Oct 10, 01, 5:06 pm
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<font face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif" size="2">
As for the special meal request restricting operational upgrading, that may be AA's policy but not all carriers. .[/B]</font>
All the more reason to fly AA

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