Trip Report - LAX-DEN-LAX (678 and 1519) w/ Purchased Upgrades

 
Old Feb 26, 06, 11:16 pm
  #1  
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Trip Report - LAX-DEN-LAX (678 and 1519) w/ Purchased Upgrades

On 8 days notice flew party of 3 (Mr TAK, Mrs TAK and cute little 7yo TAKjr) to Denver. From Expedia saw AA was least expensive by wide margin at less than $300 RT. I thought of calling res line for compassion fare info, but really didn't want to hassle given the situation. We were flying out for a memorial service of a direct relative and the price was right.

AA 678 LAX-DEN on 2/24. Got to LAX 2 hours prior to take-off and went to T4 self-check-in. Swiped handy dandy Citi AA card and started the process. Due to purchasing tickets on popular flights so close to date of travel we had 3 seats, but not together. Second screen of the process asks if I want to upgrade for $100 per tix. Yes, yes I do. Pay at the same screen, check 1 bag, and up to screening. Screening was a disaster. Friday afternoon and long lines. Grumpy pax all around us. At 1:40 they call out for pax on the 1:45 to LAS. Had to let 25!!!! pax cut in front of us for a flight that was allegedly taking off in 5 mins. Very grumpy making.

Clear screening (any shoe with a heel, regardless of composition was being x-rayed) and get to the gate. GA was great, confirmed the upgrade and worked with other FC pax to seat us together. Very helpful, believe the name was Linda Wapner. We board, get comfy and are only offered water pre-flight. I really don't mind, but it did seem a little odd. Once in the air we get drink of choice and bag of honey raosted bits of crumbled things that used to be nuts. Decent service, but nothing exciting. Very uneventful flight. Nice landing. Plenty of EXP and Plat up front.

AA1519 DEN-LAX on 2/26. Get to DEN 3 hours early hoping for reroute to SNA as it is closer to home and our ride home! Flight is oversold per AA 800 line. Since we are flying a Q fair any reroute would be terminally, egregiously expensive. Go to self serve check-in, swipe handy dandy Citi AA card, and history repeats itself. Yes, I would like to upgrade at $100 per. Very long story short, we flew LAX-DEN rt in F for less than $500 per. Closest coach fare at time of booking was $525 on Frontier.

Board on time, offered choice of beverage as plane fills and we wait for a few connecting pax. Once airborne we get warm nuts. Then towells (paper, but warm), dinner of roast chicken breast or turkey and cheese croissant, and a bag of cookies. Much more attentive service and a very pleasant experience. Sat next to a fellow FTer. Both of us shocked at a meal on a sub 2 hr flight. So was the cabin crew.

Overall, a fine experience. Flight back was much better than way out, but a part of that is our mindset. I was very surprised to see the upgrade option once, let alone twice. Bags came quickly and the thing AA could control went well. Not an earth shattering travel experience, but good to know it wasn't horrible.

PS - to anyone still reading, some of my favorite moments were watching families board, see a 7yo in F, and walk back muttering. Yes, I am a snob.
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Old Feb 27, 06, 12:42 am
  #2  
 
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I do this route periodically (no, it wasn't me you sat next to). The flight is listed at 2:16, so when you are in a meal window yes, you do get actual food. Not a bad route, and at least you don't have to fly 757's.

Not to rain on your parade, but since the flight is a 2 sticker upgrade AA is charging you nearly double what they would charge someone with status to upgrade the flight. Personally I think it is a good use of 2 stickers for the upgrade (which I can usually still get even since dropping to gold) but not sure I would part with an extra $100 each way for such a short flight. YMMV.

it is definitely cheaper than buying an F ticket though. So, as long as you enjoyed yourself (or given the sad circumstances of your trip - as long as you were comfortable) then more power to you.
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Old Feb 27, 06, 12:59 am
  #3  
 
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Originally Posted by tak29813
Second screen of the process asks if I want to upgrade for $100 per tix. Yes, yes I do.
...
GA was great, confirmed the upgrade and worked with other FC pax to seat us together.
Great trip report!

I thought the "anyone can upgrade" scheme only kicked in when FC was almost empty. Yet you're saying other FC pax had to move around to get three together. So was the FC cabin mostly full, or mostly empty?
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Old Feb 27, 06, 1:15 am
  #4  
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Originally Posted by SquareDanceGuy
Great trip report!

I thought the "anyone can upgrade" scheme only kicked in when FC was almost empty. Yet you're saying other FC pax had to move around to get three together. So was the FC cabin mostly full, or mostly empty?
And here I thought it only "kicked in" once it was posted on AA.com.

No one ever said FC had to be "almost empty" for the lbfu thing to pop up. If all elites have been upgraded, and there are no non-elites traveling on full fares, and leaving a seat or two for walk-ups, there's no reason for the system not to sell upgrades and grab in some $$.
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Old Feb 27, 06, 9:32 am
  #5  
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I think what surprised me most of all was the availability, both directions, for 3 upgrades. I had (wrongly) assumed that F would be full.

The price of the upgrades was interesting, but not the determining factor. Having three seats together, instead of 18E, 21E and 22E was a determining factor. Had I had the foresight, and extra stickers, I would have gone that route. I priced it out and found that our next cheapest coach option was over $500, so I didn't mind the extra cost this time.

First was completely full, there and back. However, the plane was completely full, there and back. From DEN-LAX I sat next to an EXP who was on stand-by from a later flight. Some FC pax loaded very late. I am guesing they were stand-by or last minute upgrades.

Last edited by tak29813; Feb 27, 06 at 10:11 am
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Old Feb 27, 06, 11:57 am
  #6  
 
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You're a lucky guy

Originally Posted by tak29813
Had I had the foresight, and extra stickers, I would have gone that route.
I'm confused. I thought the Load Factor Based Upgrade was only offered to passengers with no elite status. It's only an academic question anyway, because even as an elite you can't upgrade that third person with stickers.

Congratulations for scoring three upgrades as a non-elite on a full flight!
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