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Airbus A321T / 321T “32B” Transcon JFK <--> LAX / SFO Upgrade Success / Help

Airbus A321T / 321T “32B” Transcon JFK <--> LAX / SFO Upgrade Success / Help

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Old Jul 11, 19, 11:01 am   -   Wikipost
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A321T / 321T / Transcontinental JFK to/from LAX & SFO: Upgrade Success & Assistance


American flies the transcontinental A321T with three classes including solo First and Business pairs that fully recline horizontally. (Note the "32B" designation applies to all Airbus A321-100 and -200 - aircraft with "Sharklets" blended winglets in accord with ICAO standards, including two and three class A321s used by AA.)

It appears demand in J is high, supply less so, making this a tricky upgrade from coach to business. First sometimes looks like there’s good availability until close to departure, and it’s common that this cabin is filled deadheading.

Upgrading is challenging, and Y to J SWU or miles + copay always trumps 500 mile or DODU / courtesy upgrades within an elite tier. (500 mile and courtesy upgrades from Business to First is not allowed).

Remember, upgrade priority for these flights is:
  • Elite status tier
  • SWU & miles and copay
  • Business Extra and “special corporate agency upgrade certificates”
  • 500 mile (“stickers”) and complimentary / DODU upgrades*
  • Award upgrades (CK, EXP, PRO)*
  • Last 12 months’ rolling EQD spend
  • Etc.
*Y to C/J only; C to F not allowed


Cabins will generally not be “rolled” forward (e.g. J to F) to accommodate upgrades.

Those confirmed in Flagship First on these (between JFK and LAX or SFO) can access Flagship Lounges as well as Flagship First Dining at JFK or LAX, or the Admirals Club at SFO (or the LAX TBIT Qantas First lounge).

Related threads:

Aircraft guide: Which Airbus A321? (including “321”, “32B”, A321neo)

A321 Transcon / A321T / "32B" 3 class began service Jan 2014 (consolidated)

Best Business / First seat on AA transcon Airbus A321 / A321T / "32B" (consolidated)

Best Economy / MCE seat on AA transcon Airbus A321 / A321T / 32B (consolidated)

Posts from 2014 through 2016 have been archived, and may be read here.

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Old Feb 27, 19, 11:04 pm
  #331  
 
Join Date: Dec 1999
Location: LAX or NYC
Programs: AA MM; AS Gold; Nexion, LLC/Travel Leaders
Posts: 630
Originally Posted by platbrownguy View Post
...this was my strategy that paid off...
Nicely done! Enjoy the ride.
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Old Feb 27, 19, 11:13 pm
  #332  
 
Join Date: Jan 2019
Location: LAX & JFK
Programs: AA Plat Pro
Posts: 9
Can always do a SDC to earlier / later flight that is showing open, I did it to the 6am on wednesday and immediately cleared.

Last edited by DuncanCrowdSync; Feb 27, 19 at 11:26 pm
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Old Feb 28, 19, 9:34 pm
  #333  
 
Join Date: Dec 2016
Programs: AA EXP, UA Silver
Posts: 199
Originally Posted by iadisgreat View Post
This is exactly the point that you said I didn't make that I did - that 500 upgrades will clear before SWUs (or Miles and copay) within the window if they don't open C space. Reading comprehension? 🤷.♂️
Appreciate the kind words. Your point is inaccurate though, there is no case where requesting SWU or miles+copay hurts you in the upgrade list. It can only help if C space opens up. If C space doesn't open up, you are no worse off than before requesting the upgrade with an instrument.
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Old Mar 1, 19, 8:21 am
  #334  
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Location: Gatwick, UK
Programs: UA *G, AA EXP
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Originally Posted by Finsup72 View Post
Appreciate the kind words. Your point is inaccurate though, there is no case where requesting SWU or miles+copay hurts you in the upgrade list. It can only help if C space opens up. If C space doesn't open up, you are no worse off than before requesting the upgrade with an instrument.
This is exactly my experience. I was waitlisted with a SWU for LAX-JFK-LHR and I cleared LAX-JFK at about T-28 hours and never cleared JFK-LHR. I was very annoyed at having wasted a SWU on LAX-JFK. Two days later I noticed that I still had my SWU and that I had cleared as complementary sticker upgrade, not as SWU.

So, it is indeed very possible to request Miles or SWU upgrade and have a sticker upgrade request in and the one that comes available first is what you will get. Hence no harm from requesting a C upgrade as well.
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Old Mar 1, 19, 11:10 am
  #335  
 
Join Date: Dec 2016
Programs: AA EXP, UA Silver
Posts: 199
Originally Posted by SeattleDavid View Post
This is exactly my experience. I was waitlisted with a SWU for LAX-JFK-LHR and I cleared LAX-JFK at about T-28 hours and never cleared JFK-LHR. I was very annoyed at having wasted a SWU on LAX-JFK. Two days later I noticed that I still had my SWU and that I had cleared as complementary sticker upgrade, not as SWU.

So, it is indeed very possible to request Miles or SWU upgrade and have a sticker upgrade request in and the one that comes available first is what you will get. Hence no harm from requesting a C upgrade as well.
Yes, exactly - and your priority on the waitlist for LAX-JFK or JFK-LHR was not negatively affected by requesting a SWU or receiving the comp upgrade.
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Old Mar 2, 19, 2:16 pm
  #336  
 
Join Date: May 2018
Location: PHX
Programs: HH Diamond - Marriott Titanium- AA EP
Posts: 62
Roll the dice on complimentary upgrade or be wait listed on $75 & co pay?

Hi FT community,

Seeking your expertise on this route as it'll be my first time from LAX-JFK. Been to JFK many times from PHX but not on a 3 class cabin.

Just booked a flight for 3/18 on AA10 getting to JFK at 5:21 am. Since I'm EP w/ rolling EQD just north of $30k not sure if i should roll the dice on the comp upgrade or pay $75 and 15000 miles to be wait listed for upgrade. I still also have SWUs to burn but saving those for the 2 HKG trips later summer/fall. Anyone ever flew AA10 and what are the chances of complimentary upgrades clearing?

Mods - Apologies if this post should be in a different thread and feel free to move. Thanks all!
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Old Mar 2, 19, 3:24 pm
  #337  
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: DCA
Programs: AA EXP, UA Silver, Hyatt Diamond, M/SPG Plat Prem, National Exec Elite, mlife platinum
Posts: 3,779
Originally Posted by A651346 View Post
Hi FT community,

Seeking your expertise on this route as it'll be my first time from LAX-JFK. Been to JFK many times from PHX but not on a 3 class cabin.

Just booked a flight for 3/18 on AA10 getting to JFK at 5:21 am. Since I'm EP w/ rolling EQD just north of $30k not sure if i should roll the dice on the comp upgrade or pay $75 and 15000 miles to be wait listed for upgrade. I still also have SWUs to burn but saving those for the 2 HKG trips later summer/fall. Anyone ever flew AA10 and what are the chances of complimentary upgrades clearing?

Mods - Apologies if this post should be in a different thread and feel free to move. Thanks all!
J is pretty open as of now. I'd check it every couple days and hope for a comp upgrade... but, as the 100-hour window rolls around, if C space opens and there are fewer than 7 or 8 seats left open in J (that's my threshold at least), then I'd probably confirm the C upgrade. (Also consider signing up for Business Extra if you are eligible & fly this route much -- BXP1 upgrades are a great substitute for miles/copay on this route.)
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Old Mar 2, 19, 11:20 pm
  #338  
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: DCA
Programs: AA EXP, UA Silver, Hyatt Diamond, M/SPG Plat Prem, National Exec Elite, mlife platinum
Posts: 3,779
Tonight's (Saturday night redeye) SFO-JFK has had zero people on the upgrade list since the list loaded on the app at T-4. Since then, the number of open seats on the seat map has gone from four to two, presumably to LFBU buyers paying for upgrades at check-in on the kiosk. (Which are presumably $300+?) SFO Admirals Club is vacant -- fewer than 5 people around.
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Old Mar 11, 19, 3:53 am
  #339  
 
Join Date: Mar 2019
Posts: 1
Flew JFK > SFO (9pm) and was booked in discount Biz (code I). 5 min before departure, I was handed a ticket for First class. This is the first time I’ve ever been upgraded to first without SWU, and rules say they don’t upgrade to first. Anyone else had this happen?

Also, when I went up there were 2 squatters pretending they were in F class. Awkward.
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Old Mar 11, 19, 5:29 am
  #340  
 
Join Date: Aug 2012
Location: KHOU + KSFO
Programs: AA EXP | Marriott Bonvoy Ambassador | Hyatt Globalist
Posts: 5,054
Originally Posted by Ryan DeVoe View Post
Flew JFK > SFO (9pm) and was booked in discount Biz (code I). 5 min before departure, I was handed a ticket for First class. This is the first time I’ve ever been upgraded to first without SWU, and rules say they don’t upgrade to first. Anyone else had this happen?

Also, when I went up there were 2 squatters pretending they were in F class. Awkward.
AA does cabin roll people for operational reasons. If J was oversold, they will upgrade paid J customers to F. Another possibility is your seat was inop, so that resulted in an upgrade as well.

the rules about not upgrading is in regular operations. They wont roll people to F in order to open seats in J for upgrades etc.
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Old Mar 11, 19, 10:41 am
  #341  
 
Join Date: Dec 2016
Programs: AA EXP, UA Silver
Posts: 199
Originally Posted by Ryan DeVoe View Post
Flew JFK > SFO (9pm) and was booked in discount Biz (code I). 5 min before departure, I was handed a ticket for First class. This is the first time I’ve ever been upgraded to first without SWU, and rules say they don’t upgrade to first. Anyone else had this happen?

Also, when I went up there were 2 squatters pretending they were in F class. Awkward.
Yes, this has happened to me a handful of times. Likely that J or Y was oversold and you were one of the lucky ones that got cabin-rolled into F.
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Old Mar 13, 19, 4:32 pm
  #342  
 
Join Date: Mar 2015
Location: Los Angeles
Programs: BAEC Gold
Posts: 342
Apologies I'm a bit of a newbie on AA. I'm booked in J on a LAX-JFK. Don't have status with AA (i'm a BA bronze which makes me I believe OW emerald),
do they offer any discount upgrade maybe at checkin? either online, or at the counter? Before check-in time, is there any way to upgrade, besides clicking on "change flight" and recalculating the fare?

thank you
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Old Mar 13, 19, 9:48 pm
  #343  
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: DCA
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Posts: 3,779
Originally Posted by hyperspace View Post
Apologies I'm a bit of a newbie on AA. I'm booked in J on a LAX-JFK. Don't have status with AA (i'm a BA bronze which makes me I believe OW emerald),
do they offer any discount upgrade maybe at checkin? either online, or at the counter? Before check-in time, is there any way to upgrade, besides clicking on "change flight" and recalculating the fare?

thank you
BA Bronze makes you OW ruby (bottom tier) not emerald (top tier).

I have never seen any reports of an online or kiosk offer for J to F on this route. That said, it is usually quite easy to upgrade from J to F with $175 + 15,000 miles (see mileage upgrades: https://www.aa.com/i18n/aadvantage-p...with-miles.jsp). The $175 co-pay does not apply if you're actually in full "J" (as opposed to discounted business booked into I, D, or R; of course, if you're in full J, odds are that discounted first class -- "A" class -- will cost the same or less as your current ticket). You can use ExpertFlyer to search for "A" availability, which is also the inventory that needs to be available in order to upgrade from J to F. If you don't have the 15,000 miles, you can buy them for $477.50 from AA, so ~$650 for the upgrade.
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Old Mar 13, 19, 10:00 pm
  #344  
 
Join Date: Mar 2015
Location: Los Angeles
Programs: BAEC Gold
Posts: 342
Originally Posted by platbrownguy View Post
BA Bronze makes you OW ruby (bottom tier) not emerald (top tier).

I have never seen any reports of an online or kiosk offer for J to F on this route. That said, it is usually quite easy to upgrade from J to F with $175 + 15,000 miles (see mileage upgrades: https://www.aa.com/i18n/aadvantage-p...with-miles.jsp). The $175 co-pay does not apply if you're actually in full "J" (as opposed to discounted business booked into I, D, or R; of course, if you're in full J, odds are that discounted first class -- "A" class -- will cost the same or less as your current ticket). You can use ExpertFlyer to search for "A" availability, which is also the inventory that needs to be available in order to upgrade from J to F. If you don't have the 15,000 miles, you can buy them for $477.50 from AA, so ~$650 for the upgrade.
thank you very much for the clarification and the information.
once I purchase miles, can I proceed for the upgrade online from the reservation? Or has to be done via phone? Thank you
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Old Mar 13, 19, 10:12 pm
  #345  
 
Join Date: Dec 1999
Location: LAX or NYC
Programs: AA MM; AS Gold; Nexion, LLC/Travel Leaders
Posts: 630
Originally Posted by hyperspace View Post


thank you very much for the clarification and the information.
once I purchase miles, can I proceed for the upgrade online from the reservation? Or has to be done via phone? Thank you
You'll need to call to use miles...but please don't! $650 o/w for an upgrade from J to F on this flight is an abysmal value proposition.
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