Any chance for congratulatory upgrade for newlyweds? ORD-NRT J-F?

 
Old May 12, 08, 5:05 pm
  #76  
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I Got One

It worked for me, but things were different. 23 years ago we were on coach award tickets from LAX-Jamaica, via JFK. We had already paid for the upgrade to first on the LAX-JFK flight ($25 each, on a 747). I sent a letter to the JFK Station Manager, via FedEx, asking for honeymoon upgrade from JFK to Jamaica. 30 minutes before the flight they called me up and gave me the boarding passes in F. However:

1. FedEx was pretty new at that time and showed a high level of creativity and persistence.

2. I was flagged VIP in the AA system, because I was one of the most frequent individual travelers in the country (over 400k/year BIS, all domestic).
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Old May 12, 08, 5:10 pm
  #77  
 
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Originally Posted by jtrader View Post
Gee people here are awfully harsh. I don't think there is anything wrong with OP's question.
Wow, I couldn't agree more. The reaction of people here is just baffling to me. There are all sort of reasons people get upgraded, sometimes even things like being on there Honeymoon count. Airline employees are people as well (heartstrings and all) and do enjoy some measure of freedom of action.

I'll choose this point to share a story of a random upgrade by way of illustration and as a total aside:

Back in November of 2001 I was going through a bad breakup. Since 9/11 had just happened flights to LHR were dirty cheap from SFO (I think that I paid $300 USD) and I decided to take off for a couple of weeks. I was a lowly 20 y/o Gold at the time (was going to make plat that year), but I had enough stickers to upgrade the SFO-(JFK) portion of my flight, and I sleep well on planes so I was prepared for (JFK)-LHR in coach.

I think that I was flying on about the 15th (can't be bothered to go check) and when I got to JFK and moved from the Domestic term to Intl there was a bit of a problem. It seems that some snap inspection had resulted in the terminal being cleared of people and searched by bomb squads. (The FAA thought that security was not doing a good enough job searching secondaries or something like that.)

I ended up waiting for hours in the old TWA departures hall, with thousands of my fellow AA passengers. It was hot, and we were tired, but for me it was better than being with my psycho ex, so I was all right. I arranged a trip to McDonalds in a taxi to go get food, and we had a picnic there in the departures hall. I got a cute (underage) girls number and was feeling ok. Before too long, they started calling flights by number through, and off I went.

Once through security (full pat down and all) I was met by a lovely woman from AA standing behind a folding table with warm soda and snack mix appropriated from some plane. She was offering us a beverage or snack (not everyone was as enterprising as my group in getting food) and trying to be cheerful.

People were being AWFUL to her (sort of like some of the bittermen on this discussion thread if I don't say so myself) so I stopped and talked with her a bit, smiled, offered her some fries and told a few older gentlemen that it wasn't her fault they were late. She thanked me, and I smiled and told her I didn't deserve any thanks for not being an ......., and we parted ways. As I passed away from her, and older woman with a clipboard and radio asked me for my name and flight. I told her, made a joke about asking all of us and she laughed and said no.

When I made it to the plane there was a FA trying to work the gate reader, and he was taking more abuse. Some guy in a suit (all I really remember about him was that he had a red Swiss passport) was giving him trouble about not knowing what he was doing. Anyhow, once that was done I gave him my BP for 99Z or whatever and as he put it in, the reader kicked it back. I wasn't experienced enough to know good things were coming my way.

Anyhow, after I sorted it out at the desk, they told me I had a new seat assignment, and handed me 2A. I asked if there was a mistake, and they said no, but offered no further comment. Once I was on the plane, the purser came over and introduced himself and asked if I was Mr. Flying2Much. I said, 'Yes, but only if I get to keep the seat.' He then told me that the woman with the clipboard was the director of group operations (I think) at JFK and wanted to let me know that she really appreciated the nice way I had treated her employee(s). She'd upgraded me to first on my flight out and home.

I was very appreciative, and wrote a letter that I hope reached her thanking her and AA for their kindness. Today, I fly a lot more to Asia and AA doesn't always fit my flying pattern, but I make sure that I fly them from time to time, and part of the reason is that day in JFK they were human too.

I guess the short version of this (quite) long story is this: Smile, be nice and have a good time on your trip. You never know what might happen.
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Old May 12, 08, 5:23 pm
  #78  
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Originally Posted by Flying2Much View Post
I'll choose this point to share a story of a random upgrade by way of illustration[...]
Nice story, albeit a touch wordy, but I'm not sure it makes the point you think it does. Your upgrade wasn't random, it was connected to you being a pleasant human being on a day when airline staff were experiencing a lot of unpleasantness.

It's nice that someone made a gesture in response. And it's precisely because you weren't angling for a freebie that I'm sure no one here will begrudge you your 'reward'.

But I don't see a connection to the OP's desire to be "congratulated" by AA for getting married.
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Old May 12, 08, 5:38 pm
  #79  
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Originally Posted by Flying2Much View Post
Wow, I couldn't agree more.
Great story - but I think it just illustrates exactly the opposite. You were polite and pleasant, with (if I understand it) no particular plan in mind. You weren't expecting anything - why should you, you were just being a decent human being trying to make the best of a bad situation and empathizing with someone on the receiving end of everyone else's frustrations. You got your just reward.

Contrast that with the OP, who's trying to figure out what he has to do to get for free something he's not prepared to pay for. I agree that the responses are, shall we say, somewhat forthright but the vast majority of them are right on point.

Last edited by tt7; May 12, 08 at 5:39 pm Reason: Too slow on the keyboard - IMH beat me to it ...
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Old May 12, 08, 5:50 pm
  #80  
 
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Originally Posted by tt7 View Post
Great story - but I think it just illustrates exactly the opposite. You were polite and pleasant, with (if I understand it) no particular plan in mind. You weren't expecting anything - why should you, you were just being a decent human being trying to make the best of a bad situation and empathizing with someone on the receiving end of everyone else's frustrations. You got your just reward.
I suppose I see your point as well. While I agree if you need to sit up front you should pay for it ($ or miles) I guess my point is that it never hurts to be nice. Sometimes nice things happen to nice people, that is all.

I think that it'd be a lot easier to just say: 'be nice, and at some point appropriate mention you're excited about being on your honeymoon' than to tell the guy he shouldn't be allowed up front. That is all.
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Old May 12, 08, 5:59 pm
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[QUOTE=Flying2Much;9714326]Wow, I couldn't agree more. The reaction of people here is just baffling to me. There are all sort of reasons people get upgraded, sometimes even things like being on there Honeymoon count. Airline employees are people as well (heartstrings and all) and do enjoy some measure of freedom of action.




Tough Crowd -


The OP was looking for some strategies - I'll ignore all of the guys who think you are doing them out of an upgrade ( while they are doing ORD - BOS at the same time you are on your itin )

Before I was institutionalised on here I always liked the question......"how much would it cost me to upgrade to F ?.....ohhh...that much.....it's just that we are on our honeymoon.....etc"


The overrding theme is ....it cant hurt to ask.

I never begrudge anyone else getting an impromptu op up - just back from ICN - HKG and my new colleague - first flight - gets upgraded on CX while I had to do EXP apprenticeship without that sort of luck.....

Best of luck.....
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Old May 12, 08, 6:11 pm
  #82  
 
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Why AA would give up probably a $10-15K seat free to non-elites out of the generosity of their heart is beyond me. Why does OP feel obligated/deserving to ask for the same?

I may have been married on numerous occasions by now if I had thought it would swing me an F seat on international travel.

Sincerely, - jdburns11
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Old May 12, 08, 6:13 pm
  #83  
 
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Originally Posted by Danash View Post
Tough Crowd -
I don't see anything too tough about the responses here--just a good dose of reality, with a few "anything can happen" posts thrown in.

Many of us have received op-ups under different circumstances--irregular ops, flights oversold, etc. But none of that is going to help the OP get a free "congratulatory" upgrade, IMHO.
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Old May 12, 08, 6:22 pm
  #84  
 
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[QUOTE=Danash;9714564]
Originally Posted by Flying2Much View Post
Wow, I couldn't agree more. The reaction of people here is just baffling to me. There are all sort of reasons people get upgraded, sometimes even things like being on there Honeymoon count. Airline employees are people as well (heartstrings and all) and do enjoy some measure of freedom of action.




Tough Crowd -


.
Sorry you think this is a tough crowd.
Maybe 100000, BIS miles can toughen at least part of you up..

I don't think I ( or many others) would be very happy to learn that a non elite on an award ticket was upped to First before another exec or plat was passed over because of cuteness or honeymoon..
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Old May 12, 08, 7:14 pm
  #85  
 
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Originally Posted by Flying2Much View Post

The reaction of people here is just baffling to me. There are all sort of reasons people get upgraded, sometimes even things like being on there Honeymoon count. Airline employees are people as well (heartstrings and all) and do enjoy some measure of freedom of action.
Not as much as you think. Someone in AA special services told me that every non-mileage upgrade has to be justified in writing. I think that if an op-up is required, it's far better for the airline employee's relationship with management to justify picking Passenger X because the individual was EXP, or was flying full fare or was a multimillion miler.

Originally Posted by Flying2Much View Post
Back in November of 2001 I was going through a bad breakup. Since 9/11 had just happened flights to LHR were dirty cheap from SFO (I think that I paid $300 USD) and I decided to take off for a couple of weeks. I was a lowly 20 y/o Gold at the time (was going to make plat that year). . .

Originally Posted by Flying2Much View Post
People were being AWFUL to her (sort of like some of the bittermen on this discussion thread if I don't say so myself). . .
Ah, youthful exuberance coming from someone 26 or 27. . . Do you actually think that people who believe that they should be rewarded for their verified past business to AA are "bitter?" Wow!


Originally Posted by Flying2Much View Post
Some guy in a suit (all I really remember about him was that he had a red Swiss passport) was giving him trouble about not knowing what he was doing.
When you call other people bitter, it's not very nice to discriminate against others based on dress or nationality. By the way, all Swiss passports are red.

Originally Posted by Flying2Much View Post
I guess the short version of this (quite) long story is this: Smile, be nice and have a good time on your trip. You never know what might happen.
This was said about three pages ago.
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Old May 12, 08, 7:20 pm
  #86  
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I'm compelled to respond once again.

I don't see what all of the fuss is about for asking for a freebie. Part of why we're all here is to find out how to maximize our flying experience for minimal out-out-pocket. That's all I'm trying to do. If AA wants to give me a freebie, so be it. Like another poster here said, the chance is better than 0, so it's worth trying. It costs little more for AA to put me in F as J if the seats would have remained empty otherwise, and there's a good chance there will be empty seats up there during my flight. They have been known to dole our freebies - however infrequently - and there's no reason I can't put myself in the best position to receive one.

I don't think I deserve anything here. I don't expect to get anything here. i think J is fantastic. I just want to try to get us in F. I wanted to hear people's success stories to find out what works. I wanted to hear, "don't talk to the GAs in PHX, talk to the ones in ORD." Or, talk to the desk in the AC in ORD for your best chance. Obviously there's a "best" person to try this with, I'm hoping to find out who that is. If it's the skycap, tell me and I'll give it a try. Maybe showing up in a tux and bridal gown would help. That's all I want to know. So sue me. If I strike out, oh well. I like the advice about staying in J because it's more intimate.

My OP was obviously taken too seriously by many of you. It was supposed to be slightly humorous. I tried to make it over-the-top a bit to communicate this but I guess I failed.

FWIW, I didn't have the points available at the time I booked it. I am sure the award availability is not there for upgrade at this point.

And just because it's award ticket doesn't mean that AA didn't make anything off of it. There is an ROI on FF miles or AA wouldn't have them.

Last edited by azmojo; May 12, 08 at 7:30 pm Reason: Clarification.
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Old May 12, 08, 7:20 pm
  #87  
 
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Originally Posted by bdemaria View Post
I'm pretty sure they are in the private jet crowd
Hey, you never know. David and Victoria Beckham fly commercial (BA?). I don't know about "cute" though. Wasn't she known as Dangerous Spice?



Originally Posted by bdemaria View Post
The rest of your post is spot on!
Thank you for your kind words.

Last edited by Landing Gear; May 12, 08 at 7:22 pm Reason: typo corrected
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Old May 12, 08, 7:33 pm
  #88  
 
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Originally Posted by azmojo View Post
FWIW, I didn't have the points available at the time I booked it. I am sure the award availability is not there for upgrade at this point.
IME First Class awards (Z) are easier to get than biz-class awards (U). If you didn't have the miles then, but you've got 'em now, you can always call AA and change to FC award. They only charge the difference in miles (i.e. they don't charge any processing fee for upgrading to a higher class on the same exact routing).
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Old May 12, 08, 7:50 pm
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Originally Posted by SquareDanceGuy View Post
IME First Class awards (Z) are easier to get than biz-class awards (U). If you didn't have the miles then, but you've got 'em now, you can always call AA and change to FC award. They only charge the difference in miles (i.e. they don't charge any processing fee for upgrading to a higher class on the same exact routing).
why interrupt this thread with real information? OP great news I just checked EF for you..... June 19 ord -nrt Z ! THe bride can get what she deserves. not sure of return so couldnt check it..
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Old May 12, 08, 8:00 pm
  #90  
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Originally Posted by nytango View Post
why interrupt this thread with real information? OP great news I just checked EF for you..... June 19 ord -nrt Z ! THe bride can get what she deserves. not sure of return so couldnt check it..
Correct, if the OP thinks she deserves to be in F, he'll call and take the seat available.

The flight is F7 A5, with only 5 of 16 seats assigned. It's still a fair way off but it's not too crowded at this point (and before anybody does the "seat map isn't reliable" mantra, we know that). If you've got the miles (70,000), I'd call, explain you need 2 seats, there's only 1 available, you're on your honeymoon and would they ask revenue management if they'll open up the extra Z seat you need. If you don't have the miles (or can't get enough pronto), then don't bother but, if you do and you're willing to 'pay' for those Z seats, then calling and asking them to ask revenue management to open up the extra seat you need is perfectly reasonable.
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