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American Airlines Upgrades Employee before Elite

American Airlines Upgrades Employee before Elite

Old Nov 23, 2021, 1:05 pm
  #46  
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Posts: 166
Originally Posted by Hotelwings
Who's noticing American Airlines upgrading their own employees before elite status paying cusomters? I'm Executive Platinum, 175K this year. 150+ segments. Have witnessed several times employees get the last 3 or 4 first class seats before paying customers. Not just once or twice, have witnessed this first hand about 20+ segments the past few months.

Who else is seeing this with American Airlines? How can we constructively inform the loyalty program management about this monkey business the staff seems to be pulling off?

Side note. Seems to be more frequently with the old timer self entitled legacy AA staff and not so much of the original perky America West employees.

I have seen this happen. It is usually a position situation where a pilot needs to be x to fly. It sucks, but I would rather be in coach and have a flight not have enough pilots.

Remember, upgrades are a benefit, not a gurantee.
wrdouglas is offline  
Old Nov 23, 2021, 2:40 pm
  #47  
 
Join Date: Jun 2019
Posts: 224
Originally Posted by GlobalMatt
While I have no solid evidence of this happening on AA, I do have a friend that has near-ZERO (2 years) seniority as an FA with DL who flew with her friend in Delta One on a fully-booked flight where they were initially in row 500 yet magically found their way to the front of a fully booked 767 after boarding.
Delta has given out confirmed passes that allow for upgrades into Delta One (after any hold & confirmed passengers but before nonrevs). I would guess that is what happened here. Or they were nonrevs who got upgraded after boarding. Lots of potential explanations.
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Old Nov 23, 2021, 3:39 pm
  #48  
 
Join Date: Apr 2000
Location: Palm Beach/ New England
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At risk of lengthening this thread, I will say that I _rarely_ see pilots or other employees in domestic two-class first. Like once or twice per year -- I fly 150 AA segments per year.

It is somewhat more common but still unusual (once per two or three flights) in three-class first or international two-class service, where automatic upgrades are not possible. (AAdvantage upgrades must be instrument-supported for those flights -- not saying that e500s are not an instrument, but I think everyone understands my meaning here).

I think that the pilots are usually positive-space. The other employees I suspect are taking unoccupied seats. I cannot recall the last time I thought a gate agent did something untoward during upgrades (they do have some quirks, like going out of sequence for "missing" pax at T-30, but these are not shenanigans, just peculiarities of the program).
fastflyer is offline  
Old Nov 23, 2021, 5:20 pm
  #49  
 
Join Date: Jul 2011
Posts: 2,374
Originally Posted by ChurnieEls
The level of pushback in here to the OP is mildly surprising, one would have thought fellow elites would be sympathetic to the upgrade inventory being snatched up unexpectedly (when it is of course something AA uses to sell the program!). I'd be very miffed myself if EF showed 6 open seats and I was #1 and didn't clear tbh.

I also think that anyone who has done the volume of travel needed to be status'd, its not that difficult to pick out non-revs not in uniform in my experience.

I posit that the staffing challenges have likely shifted the balance of power to the rank and file, thus there's probably more propensity to 'chance it' given the less likelihood of severe repercussions to past times (which itself would be borne out by the anecdotes of GAs rolling back an UG for someone else when a pax has complained, obviously the 'downgraded' pax must be AA otherwise it wouldn't happen). Its not just this thread either, there was a particularly egregious example on a CLT-HNL service where a member was proactively downgraded from F to PE.
For one, I'm skeptical when someone makes a statement that something controversial and improper is happening while using a brand new flyertalk account created just to make the posting. I think that's part of the forum pushback. Others have said they know who the poster is as he or she has a different user name. 🤷🏻‍♀️
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Old Nov 24, 2021, 6:37 am
  #50  
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Programs: AA EXP, UA Silver (Thanks Marriott!), Marriott Lifetime Titanium & Hyatt Globalist
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I have been #1 on the UG list more times than I have been able to take the J1 remaining seat.

Im at the point in my career where I dont care who takes the last seat because its not meant to be mine. I nestle in to my exit row seat, fighting the linebacker next to me for the arm rest. Even if I get the sympathy bottle of water, I dont have enough room to wiggle out of my seat to open it (or adjust the air nozzle, but thats another story).

These past 2 years, Ive been booking J and not worrying about the UG list. This next year is back to battlefields, MCE and free bottle of water.

I have to travel anyway for work, I just deal with it and let the IT system do whatever it wants to do, employee influenced or not.
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Old Nov 24, 2021, 8:32 am
  #51  
 
Join Date: Jun 2019
Location: CLT
Programs: AA
Posts: 451
That there are regularly 3-4+ open seats up front, and regularly that many employees filling them (to the tune of a 1-in-7 rate), and whatever bit about being able to differentiate between employees from an airline that ceased operations 14 years ago... none of this adds up to me.
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Old Dec 30, 2021, 11:57 am
  #52  
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I'm EXP as well and in my 118 AA segments this year I did not notice this happening.

The closest I've experienced was in 2016 when I stood by on an earlier flight and they cleared all the F seats for non revs and refused to put me on the upgrade list and upgrade me to a F seat. I had to go to the AC to get them to override this.
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Old Sep 29, 2022, 6:12 pm
  #53  
 
Join Date: Jul 2012
Posts: 47
Skipped for wrong class

I was recently on a paid economy ticket DFW-EZE. As EXP I was 1 on upgrade list with my points + copay. I got leaped frogged by 3 people further down the list and 2 not on the list. I was told by GA that they oversold premium economy by 5 and had to move those people up first because I couldnt go over premium economy to business.

seemed seriously fishy to me. Any thoughts?
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Old Sep 29, 2022, 6:28 pm
  #54  
 
Join Date: Aug 2017
Programs: AA PLT, IHG Spire
Posts: 552
If it was a true oversell situation, I could see why they would want to upgrade PE passengers rather than involuntarily downgrade one of them to coach and give compensation/refunds just to upgrade you. Those 5 technically received an op-up not a instrument upgrade, and AA sometimes oversells lower cabins if there is space in J or F. The fact that two were not on the list at all supports that theory.

The line about not being able to skip over PE is false, but they would want to fix the oversell situation first. If they had 6 J seats then the next one should have been yours.
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Old Oct 2, 2022, 11:36 am
  #55  
 
Join Date: May 2002
Location: Arizona
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If your flight was EZE>DFW I would laugh and tell you of course it is fishy!

Originally Posted by domthegreat
I was recently on a paid economy ticket DFW-EZE. As EXP I was 1 on upgrade list with my points + copay. I got leaped frogged by 3 people further down the list and 2 not on the list. I was told by GA that they oversold premium economy by 5 and had to move those people up first because I couldnt go over premium economy to business.

seemed seriously fishy to me. Any thoughts?
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Old Oct 4, 2022, 5:43 am
  #56  
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I saw this yesterday DFW - SJU.
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Old Oct 4, 2022, 7:48 am
  #57  
 
Join Date: Feb 2022
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I've seen on happen on very short mainline flights like MIA/TPA or MIA/MCO.
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Old Oct 4, 2022, 7:57 am
  #58  
 
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Originally Posted by domthegreat
I was recently on a paid economy ticket DFW-EZE. As EXP I was 1 on upgrade list with my points + copay. I got leaped frogged by 3 people further down the list and 2 not on the list. I was told by GA that they oversold premium economy by 5 and had to move those people up first because I couldnt go over premium economy to business.

seemed seriously fishy to me. Any thoughts?
Why is it fishy. They paid for PE and got an OPup at the gate. You were in Economy and wouldn't be eligible for F in the first place. The people further down the list would have had a different code on them. This doesn't happen as much but certainly doesn't seem fishy.
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Old Oct 4, 2022, 8:25 am
  #59  
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Originally Posted by porphyra
Why is it fishy. They paid for PE and got an OPup at the gate. You were in Economy and wouldn't be eligible for F in the first place. The people further down the list would have had a different code on them. This doesn't happen as much but certainly doesn't seem fishy.
DFW-EZE is flown by a 788 and doesnt have an F cabin.

Even so, upgrades can only happen if seats are available. If PE is oversold, that has to be dealt with. Upgrading those passengers is preferable to downgrading them and having to pay refunds/compensation. If there are no more seats in J after theyve dealt with the oversale, then thats tough luck for anyone trying to upgrade with SWUs.

It would make no sense to downgrade a passenger who purchased a higher cabin ticket and have to pay them a refund/downgrade compensation just so they can then upgrade a passenger who purchased a lower cabin ticket.
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Old Oct 4, 2022, 6:01 pm
  #60  
 
Join Date: Jul 2012
Posts: 47
Thanks for the input so far. Another detail I failed to mention in my original post. At least one of the people upgraded before me had to pay with miles and a copay. I was standing at the desk listening to the agent tell me the story about bumping paid passengers up first because they oversold PE, but then right next to me I heard the agent asking the guy getting upgraded for his credit card info and confirming he was ok paying the miles + the copay to get upgraded on the flight.

So that means that either (a) these people that were in PE and needed to be upgraded to make space were charged miles + copay for the privilege or (b) the entire story if bull and they gave the miles + copay upgrade to someone other than #1 on the list (me) who had asked to upgrade with miles + copay.
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