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Best way to check for systemwide upgrade possibility chances?

Best way to check for systemwide upgrade possibility chances?

Old Dec 29, 17, 10:16 pm
  #1  
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Best way to check for systemwide upgrade possibility chances?

So I have to fly on some international legs and I'm wondering how you all feel is the best way to check the different flight options to determine which has the best possibility of an upgrade.

The obvious method I know of is to look at the flights online and see what the seat map shows and then try putting in 6 passengers traveling (the max AA allows you to search by) to see if those seats are truly available to book (since AA seat maps may show seats "open" that are taken and not yet assigned)

Is there a better way to go about searching for this? Calling AA is a total waste because I've come to discover they aren't exactly forthcoming with the numbers of seats open in a cabin other then to say "a couple", "a handful", "some" or another useless term....
eddilev is offline  
Old Dec 29, 17, 10:20 pm
  #2  
 
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Expertflyer.

Though of course, for advance bookings there's no way to predict the future. A business class cabin can go from nearly empty to sold out (with no possibility of upgrade) within a month.
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rjw242 is offline  
Old Dec 29, 17, 10:30 pm
  #3  
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Originally Posted by rjw242 View Post
Expertflyer.

Though of course, for advance bookings there's no way to predict the future. A business class cabin can go from nearly empty to sold out (with no possibility of upgrade) within a month.
I played around with that, and excuse the ignorance, but what would this show me above and beyond what I can see on the AA seat map? Example? The LAX-SYD flight on 5/18 shows 0 upgrade seats available in business which, while maybe true because you cannot auto upgrade right now, the cabin according to the seat map is virtually empty. Yes I suppose this could fill up, but I also have a strong feeling a number of those seats will eventually clear for upgrades....

So anyway, is there something EF is showing that is more valuable than AA.com that I am missing?
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Old Dec 29, 17, 11:02 pm
  #4  
 
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Originally Posted by eddilev View Post
I played around with that, and excuse the ignorance, but what would this show me above and beyond what I can see on the AA seat map? Example? The LAX-SYD flight on 5/18 shows 0 upgrade seats available in business which, while maybe true because you cannot auto upgrade right now, the cabin according to the seat map is virtually empty. Yes I suppose this could fill up, but I also have a strong feeling a number of those seats will eventually clear for upgrades....

So anyway, is there something EF is showing that is more valuable than AA.com that I am missing?
Yes, it shows you the availability of all the fare classes - if J is 5 and I, R, etc are all 0 then your chances are slim unless the flight is the next 2-3 days, whereas if J and I are both 7 then you know there is plenty of room. Combine that knowledge with seat map information and you can make reasonable decisions.

However, there are some routes where I is regularly zero'd out even when the cabin is very empty - but I presume this is an indication that they know they can sell those seats at high prices.
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Old Dec 29, 17, 11:58 pm
  #5  
 
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I signed up for EF for my chance at a swu. It told me how many of the upgrade seats were available then when AA released them I got upgraded. It really made the whole process a lot simpler for a small yearly fee.
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Old Dec 30, 17, 11:34 am
  #6  
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Originally Posted by eddilev View Post
I played around with that, and excuse the ignorance, but what would this show me above and beyond what I can see on the AA seat map? Example? The LAX-SYD flight on 5/18 shows 0 upgrade seats available in business which, while maybe true because you cannot auto upgrade right now, the cabin according to the seat map is virtually empty. Yes I suppose this could fill up, but I also have a strong feeling a number of those seats will eventually clear for upgrades....

So anyway, is there something EF is showing that is more valuable than AA.com that I am missing?
The AA seat map tells you nothing, other than the number of unassigned seats. There can easily be flyers without assigned seats.

Making spurious bookings to play with the seats is likely to get one in trouble. It’s expressly forbidden by the CofC.

ExpertFlyer can tell you if there’s inventory on flights you can upgrade immediately, the number of seats sold (e.g. J7, D7, I7 Business Cabin a couple of days out is pretty wide open; J1, D0, I0 you are very unlikely to get upgraded).
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Old Dec 30, 17, 5:25 pm
  #7  
 
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I use ExpertFlyer all the time.

Choosing a flight where your upgrade "might" clear is far more "art" than "science".

Obviously, you first want to look at the upgrade space (e.g. 'C'). Those seats are rare birds. Jump on them quickly whenever you find one.

Next, I look for 'I' class. That's deep-discount business class. I figure that AA sells that class only when they need more butts in seats. If AA is willing to sell the biz seats cheaply, it seems reasonable to assume that the flight has sparsely populated. (Note: This is not a hard-and-fast rule, which is why I said "all other factors being equal". For example, the Consultant Army likes to fly late Sunday or early Monday, and late Thursday or early Friday. They often buy at the last minute. So flights during those times will be difficult to upgrade, because the folks who fly All The Time are likely to choose those times.)

I also look at "D" class, which is another discounted Business Class fare. Lots of D fares = better chance of eventual upgrade/ Lots of I fares = an even better chance

Another important factor is Time Of Day. For the LAST flight of the day, AA must accommodate people on that flight, plus all the passengers (from earlier in the day) who bought biz but misconnected. If you book the first flight of the day, there's a smaller chance of losing your upgrade to someone from an earlier flight.
Originally Posted by eddilev View Post
I played around with that, and excuse the ignorance, but what would this show me above and beyond what I can see on the AA seat map? Example? The LAX-SYD flight on 5/18 shows 0 upgrade seats available in business which, while maybe true because you cannot auto upgrade right now, the cabin according to the seat map is virtually empty. Yes I suppose this could fill up, but I also have a strong feeling a number of those seats will eventually clear for upgrades....

So anyway, is there something EF is showing that is more valuable than AA.com that I am missing?
CloudCoder is offline  
Old Dec 30, 17, 5:53 pm
  #8  
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Originally Posted by rjw242 View Post
Expertflyer.
So much this.

While I've been known not to complain much about SWU at booking availability () if it's there EF is the way to find it effortlessly and within a few minutes.

Well worth the $9.95/month
enviroian is online now  
Old Dec 30, 17, 11:35 pm
  #9  
 
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Not to mention you can set up alerts to notify you when C opens up.

The biggest issue with AA.com is that they show SWU for J to F, so when looking at flights they show a lot of SWU available when there are no Y to J actually available. EF allows you to see the Y to J UG's easily.

When I'm looking to book a vacation and want to use SWU I can quickly search multiple destinations by week to available UG's
deac83 is offline  
Old Jan 13, 18, 7:51 pm
  #10  
 
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I recently searched for a flight to europe that i could apply a SWU to upgrade from economy to business. on AA.com i found a flight JFK-CDG that showed that a systemwide upgrade was available. clicking on the systemwide available it the new window showed available from coach to business from JFK to CDG. i put the itinerary on hold and called American to verify availability before completing the booking. the agent said that just because it showed on the website that it was available it did not mean for immediate redemption...only to be put on the waiting list. is this the way this is supposed to work?
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Old Jan 13, 18, 9:30 pm
  #11  
 
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Originally Posted by geezersrule View Post
I recently searched for a flight to europe that i could apply a SWU to upgrade from economy to business. on AA.com i found a flight JFK-CDG that showed that a systemwide upgrade was available. clicking on the systemwide available it the new window showed available from coach to business from JFK to CDG. i put the itinerary on hold and called American to verify availability before completing the booking. the agent said that just because it showed on the website that it was available it did not mean for immediate redemption...only to be put on the waiting list. is this the way this is supposed to work?
Not in my experience. I would call back and try someone else. Like others, I use ExpertFlyer but I have had times when C inventory opens up, I call and the agent says no inventory. I usually say thank you, hang up and call right back. (one time the agent called me right back as her co worker showed her that there was inventory)
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Old Jan 13, 18, 10:29 pm
  #12  
 
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thanks phxbarcelona. i am going to get ExpertFlyer and will be prepared to make a call back as necessary.
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Old Jan 14, 18, 5:01 am
  #13  
 
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I just checked on a reservation and noted that I was upgraded. However, my seat alert I set on my assigned seat thinks I'm still occupying it. I've check AA.com and the seat is available though. Doesn't seem like the two systems are communicating.
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Old Jan 14, 18, 6:46 am
  #14  
 
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Originally Posted by Zacnlinc View Post
I just checked on a reservation and noted that I was upgraded. However, my seat alert I set on my assigned seat thinks I'm still occupying it. I've check AA.com and the seat is available though. Doesn't seem like the two systems are communicating.
It takes AA's systems a bit to synch up, don't fret.

EF is the best $10 i spend each month.
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Old Jan 14, 18, 10:04 am
  #15  
 
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What about calling the airline direct (undoubtedly needing to do it frequently)? On hight density routes, like JFK-LAX or JFK--SFO, I call and ask if anything in the inventory is available for upgrade. On DL's route (they have 7 non stops a day JFK-SFO) I can usually find one of the flights available for upgrade at the time of ticketing. Not so much AA. Ironic, since DL's FF program is generally the stingiest.
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