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Very positive unexpected upgrade activities

Very positive unexpected upgrade activities

Old Apr 9, 21, 7:01 am
  #1  
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Very positive unexpected upgrade activities

I fly 8-12 flights per week, many on AA .

Over the past two weeks I have been getting very unexpected upgrades within 24 hours of departure. What is surprising is I am getting upgrades on flights at J2 or less, under 24 hours out.

Yesterday MIA DFW 772 flight J2, I was upgraded 18 hours out

This morning DFW HOU, flight has been at J1 for three days, just received upgrade notification e-mail. I checked 30 minutes ago, J1. I suspect flight went J2, but yet AA normally would not upgrade with just a few hours before departure (gate upgrade).

Vey unexpected, have no idea what is going on, but sure is nice......
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Old Apr 9, 21, 9:44 am
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Originally Posted by GunsOfNavarone View Post
I fly 8-12 flights per week, many on AA .

Over the past two weeks I have been getting very unexpected upgrades within 24 hours of departure. What is surprising is I am getting upgrades on flights at J2 or less, under 24 hours out.

Yesterday MIA DFW 772 flight J2, I was upgraded 18 hours out

This morning DFW HOU, flight has been at J1 for three days, just received upgrade notification e-mail. I checked 30 minutes ago, J1. I suspect flight went J2, but yet AA normally would not upgrade with just a few hours before departure (gate upgrade).

Vey unexpected, have no idea what is going on, but sure is nice......
Nice to hear you're pleased with the upgrades, but going from J2 to J1 for an upgrade within T-24h is quite common, all the way up until just a few hours before the flight (the system automatically processes upgrades off the list until T-3.5h, I believe). J1 to J0 would be very unusual, as the last seat is normally held for last minute purchases and could be a gate upgrade if unsold, but it seems the upgrades here happened while inventory was J2, rather than J1.
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Old Apr 9, 21, 10:06 am
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Some of those under T-24 upgrades are usually the result of cancellation/flight changes and seats become open. What I really see is fewer no show upgrades at the gate or onboard. Guess paxs buying upfares are determine to get their F experience, such as it has become.
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Old Apr 9, 21, 1:22 pm
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I agree that upgrades at J2 are not as rare as one might think. Heck, I've even been upgraded at J1 once or twice, back when I was EXP in 2017-2019.
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Old Apr 9, 21, 2:41 pm
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Originally Posted by GunsOfNavarone View Post
I fly 8-12 flights per week, many on AA
Then I suspect this thread is of no interest to you

Any potential they extend status again in '21?
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Old Apr 9, 21, 2:43 pm
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I was 4 out of 28 for a zeroed out DFW-ORD flight Wednesday
I was 1 out of 26 for a zeroed out ORD-DFW flight Thursday.
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Old Apr 9, 21, 3:26 pm
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AA should not be clearing many upgrades prior to D-30 minutes at the gate. AA needs to hold back as much inventory as possible for last minute paid F bookings and/or for IRROPS reaccommodation of paid F passengers.
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Old Apr 9, 21, 3:50 pm
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Originally Posted by Herb687 View Post
AA should not be clearing many upgrades prior to D-30 minutes at the gate. AA needs to hold back as much inventory as possible for last minute paid F bookings and/or for IRROPS reaccommodation of paid F passengers.
This is not human intervention. This is a machine algorithm that uses past data and once certain thresholds are met - processes the upgrade.

Could they change the thresholds? Sure. But that would just make upgrades more difficult across the board for the exceptional cases, like what you mention.
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Old Apr 9, 21, 4:01 pm
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Originally Posted by btonkid12345 View Post
This is not human intervention. This is a machine algorithm that uses past data and once certain thresholds are met - processes the upgrade.
I don't need a lesson in how revenue management works.

Could they change the thresholds?
They can and they do. Every flight, every market can have different parameters set and they can vary by season, day of week, relative reading day...

I am arguing that in many domestic markets AA has been too liberal for a couple of years now in its allocation of upgrade inventory prior to day of departure.

I've been locked out of buying last minute first class fares on several occasions. That's a problem and it's revenue sub-optimal for AA.
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Old Apr 9, 21, 4:58 pm
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Originally Posted by Herb687 View Post
I don't need a lesson in how revenue management works.
...
I've been locked out of buying last minute first class fares on several occasions. That's a problem and it's revenue sub-optimal for AA.
I know little to nothing of revenue management so I’m asking... isn’t it always a balancing act between the loyalty program driving long-term engagement to the brand vs immediate revenue from cash customers? I understand your argument that the current balance is not optimal for *you* but how can you assert with such certainty that it’s not optimal for the airline?

I say this as an AA elite who occasionally buys an F fare on UA when AA’s schedule or fare does not meet my needs.
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Old Apr 9, 21, 6:52 pm
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Originally Posted by btonkid12345 View Post
This is not human intervention. This is a machine algorithm that uses past data and once certain thresholds are met - processes the upgrade.

Could they change the thresholds? Sure. But that would just make upgrades more difficult across the board for the exceptional cases, like what you mention.
I would tend to agree, but I expect this algorithm is not yet mature enough for seasonal traffic/etc because the number of no shows and cancellations have increased quite a bit since there is no long a charge for changing your trip.
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Old Apr 9, 21, 6:58 pm
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Originally Posted by Herb687 View Post
AA should not be clearing many upgrades prior to D-30 minutes at the gate. AA needs to hold back as much inventory as possible for last minute paid F bookings and/or for IRROPS reaccommodation of paid F passengers.
One can dream.

Originally Posted by btonkid12345 View Post
This is not human intervention. This is a machine algorithm that uses past data and once certain thresholds are met - processes the upgrade.

Could they change the thresholds? Sure. But that would just make upgrades more difficult across the board for the exceptional cases, like what you mention.
Correct... certainly all automated. In the OP's case, it seems both flights mentioned were likely J2R1 when the upgrades cleared, with 'R' being upgrade inventory (separate from 'R' revenue), and upgrades when it's J2 are common within 24 hrs of the flight (usually goes to the gate J0 or J1, but not J2).
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Old Apr 9, 21, 8:37 pm
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Originally Posted by _kurt View Post
I know little to nothing of revenue management so I’m asking... isn’t it always a balancing act between the loyalty program driving long-term engagement to the brand vs immediate revenue from cash customers?
Not really. The former plays almost no role in revenue management. "Loyalty program" and "long-term engagement" are not things RM teams think about much at all. There may be some executives at airlines who think in grand marketing BS terms but it is very far from front-of-mind with yield management analysts and those who immediately manage them.

In practice, yield management seeks to optimize the airline's revenue across the network one departure day at a time.

I understand your argument that the current balance is not optimal for *you* but how can you assert with such certainty that it’s not optimal for the airline?
I can say with certainty that if a passenger books away from an airline because a cabin was filled with upgraders, it was sub-optimal for that day.

There is a core tenet of airline yield management that a cabin should NEVER be closed for sale. If a cabin is closed for sale, then theoretically you turned away a passenger who would have paid at least $1 more than the last one who booked.

I say this as an AA elite who occasionally buys an F fare on UA when AA’s schedule or fare does not meet my needs.
Sure, and if I can't buy an AA F fare because the flight was sold out then I'm either going to go on UA or DL or rent a car or just not go...

Originally Posted by mvoight View Post
I would tend to agree, but I expect this algorithm is not yet mature enough for seasonal traffic/etc because the number of no shows and cancellations have increased quite a bit since there is no long a charge for changing your trip.
You're overstating just how important the algorithm is. Yield analysts are constantly making manual overrides and fighting the black box.

I've posted elsewhere that one of the core issues in airline revenue management is that you have an incredibly sophisticated black box tasked with optimizing network revenue. Individual RM teams, however, are evaluated on their own markets.
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Old Apr 9, 21, 8:59 pm
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Originally Posted by GunsOfNavarone View Post
I fly 8-12 flights per week, many on AA ......
I think this is a major point...if you are flying this much then your EQDs (even with very low y fares) are probably higher than most EXPs, which means you are very high on the upgrade list.
I have traveled through the pandemic (healthcare related) but still my EQDs are relatively low since my corporate policy makes me buy the lowest y fare available. Even so, i have been fairly successful with upgrades, but it is far from guaranteed and actually LESS than when there were more flights from A to B. I understand the point of above posters who buy F fares last minute and find F full at T-48, but that has always been the case. It is just that now F is more full with other paid F fares along with (fewer) upgraded elites.
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Old Apr 9, 21, 9:02 pm
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Originally Posted by Herb687 View Post
I don't need a lesson in how revenue management works.
You know it decently based on the replies, but thereís no need to be rude.

To the topic at hand, itís working as intended. You book away? Fine. They may prefer a full Y fare in the back.

Or maybe they actually sold all the F seats, so holding out for a once in awhile last minute purchase isnít worth the bird in the hand.

And AA knows people will accept whatever on rebookings to get to their destination and could care less about holding back for SDCs or IRROPs.

RM is not there to hold out for the .1% chance of YOUR actions; it is to respond to major trends from 50+ years of data, and take to the bank guaranteed purchases in favor of holding out for last minute full F - something they learned about 20 years ago when F didnít sell because it was too expensive.
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