Club Completely Empty but Upgrade Refused

Old May 31, 22, 4:34 am
  #46  
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Originally Posted by noFODplease View Post
I wonder why BA stopped offering this - it seems like a decent revenue stream to have ...
Only if you assume that everyone taking advantage of it would never have bought a ticket in the higher cabin to begin with. Otherwise, you cannibalise your ticket revenue and only recoup part of that loss via a cheapie onboard upgrade. (It would have to be a cheapie, because if the upgrade were priced at the sort of numbers that a fare difference would be, almost nobody would be buying one onboard.)

IIRC, it also soaked up too much cabin crew resource at a time in the flight when they are already working very hard and thinly stretched.
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Old May 31, 22, 4:50 am
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Going on a honeymoon is something we usually only do once. I totally understand wanting to fly in the highest comfort possible. Why, therefore, didn't you just book it that way in the first place?

European and US airlines treat upgrades completely differently, but on neither will you ever normally get it simply by asking. On European airlines you get it through status when they must move passengers around or when you somehow pay for it. On US airlines it's traditionally been due to status to such an extent that if you haven't got an upgrade by check-in then you cannot even get one through paying because all seats have been allocated to "elites". More and more though, people are paying for upgrades in advance. Premium seats are more subscribed than they ever were and that is even pushing upgrade prices up for those willing to pay it.
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Old May 31, 22, 4:57 am
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Originally Posted by Tafflyer View Post
Going on a honeymoon is something we usually only do once. I totally understand wanting to fly in the highest comfort possible. Why, therefore, didn't you just book it that way in the first place?

European and US airlines treat upgrades completely differently, but on neither will you ever normally get it simply by asking. On European airlines you get it through status when they must move passengers around or when you somehow pay for it. On US airlines it's traditionally been due to status to such an extent that if you haven't got an upgrade by check-in then you cannot even get one through paying because all seats have been allocated to "elites". More and more though, people are paying for upgrades in advance. Premium seats are more subscribed than they ever were and that is even pushing upgrade prices up for those willing to pay it.
We did pay for business on the LHR to CPT leg and enjoyed the CS cabin. The flight in question was a c.1 hour internal flight in SA which we didn't care about sitting in Club. At check in I thought might as well ask the question, because thought "why not, the worst they can say is no". For further context, we also flew to Mauritius as part the trip and as that was a longer flight, we did pay for Club rather than trying to get an upgrade

As noted in my original post, the Club cabin was completely empty for the whole fight so it just got me wondering what are the operational considerations at play. I wasn't expecting an upgrade, or upset when it was refused. I just wondered if anyone had insight into the decisions made by Comair. For example, Comair might have a policy that if nobody has paid for Club, they don't give any free upgrades because of the impact of staffing, which some people have covered in their replies
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Old May 31, 22, 5:14 am
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Basically BA and I presume Comair don’t give free upgrades wether the cabin is full or empty.
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Old May 31, 22, 5:14 am
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I get that, and sometimes sitting in an Economy exit row instead of an Economy seat, for which the airline charges 5 times as much, calls it business and then puts somebody in the middle seat anyway, is sometimes even preferred. Based on the routing you describe, I suspect business class may not have been much of a price uplift anyway, but I understand your logic. I still would not have asked, but that's probably the "Brit" in me, and if you can handle the probable refusal, then ask by all means.
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Old May 31, 22, 5:23 am
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I'm puzzled by people continuing to write "if you don't ask for an upgrade, you don't get it" (or words to that extent). This is simply empirically false. There are reports of hundreds of upgrades on this forum, and hundreds on other airlines fora too. Many of us have experienced it many times on many airlines. In the immense majority of cases (in my case in every single case) that happens without asking.

Now, I can completely accept the "the worst they can say is no" argument if people feel like asking, however saying that asking is a pre-requisite to being upgraded on airlines is simply incorrect.

As for the why some of us do not ask, you can take your pick. Mention of worrying about being told no is I'm sure correct for some people but we are not talking about asking someone on a date here, and quite frankly, I'd think that for the vast majority of people, there is no such fear of rejection. Indeed, I have seen so many people asking others to swap seats over the years that I can now predict with >90% reliability who will say yes and who will say no when they are approached by another passenger with such a request. So if this was all about wanting what's best for yourself but worrying about being told no, every time I see someone with a better seat than me and have a half decent story to make a claim I could decide what the outcome would be and could always go and ask the poor victim when I identify them as an accepter with near certainty of success and yet I do not do it. Why? Because some of us don't think it is fair to ask for something which we do not think we have a legitimate right to, because some of us acknowledge that saying no to someone who asks you something is not emotionally costless to many people, makes them feel like the bad person, and it is unfair to expose them to that just to get your own gratification, or simply because human beings are projective and can ask themselves: "would I like it if it was the other person asking me?" or "what if everyone goes and ask them for the same thing?" and may consider that the answers to those questions make it right not to ask.

In this case, I think that the OP felt that he/she had a genuine case and was thus right to ask and I would never criticise them for it. I have already explained that in my view, their assessment was however incorrect and that this was not a case where a "space available" upgrade upgrade would occur (not matter whether the cabin was empty or half full or had just 2 seats left), though it may have got them somewhere if Y had been oversold and upgrades had to be attributed anyway and somehow the computer had not sorted it out just yet.

However to go back to my main point, upgrades happen, pretty much by the bucketload every day, and in the immense majority of cases (I'd guess 99+%), that without the upgraded passenger ever asking to that upgrade in any way, so in many cases, if you don't ask, the answer can absolutely be yes.
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Old May 31, 22, 5:41 am
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Been upgraded 3 times - twice with BA, once with VS. Both BA ones were for operational reasons I suspect (didn't ask for it) but gratefully accepted! The VS one, I was in a PE seat, someone came up to me with an identical boarding pass from a connecting flight. Looks like there was an IT hiccup and she was travelling as a carer for the person next to me. As it was a busy flight, I said to the CC, I'd happily move to accommodate the person, but as it was a busy flight, if I needed to move cabin, I'd prefer to move forwards, not backwards.

Five mins later I was seated in upper class, with the furious passenger who ended up in my seat shooting evils at me! :-)

When I first started flying 25yrs ago, it was a rumour that if you flew smartly dressed on the Virgin Atlantic service when using it with MOD, you'd get an upgrade. I was young and believed it, and thats why I flew in suit a couple of times, before realising that it was nonsense!
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Old May 31, 22, 6:11 am
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Originally Posted by orbitmic View Post
Now, I can completely accept the "the worst they can say is no" argument ...
It is a fallacious argument, though.

Surely the worst that can happen if you ask for an upgrade is this: Because you asked, the agent cancelled the upgrade that you were due to get, and that would have got if you hadn't asked for one.

I think someone hinted at this in Club Completely Empty but Upgrade Refused
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Old May 31, 22, 6:53 am
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Originally Posted by noFODplease View Post
I wonder why BA stopped offering this - it seems like a decent revenue stream to have; if was sat beside a screaming baby or maybe a row with no window, I could see myself using this!
I think they have essentially replaced this with upgrade offers at check in, whether online or at the desk. Much better system and way less awkward for crew and passengers.

I wouldn’t personally feel comfortable for table asking for a free upgrade. I often ask for a price at check in and usually take it. Once last year I asked at JFK on the way back to LHR and got a price but declined as it seemed steep for such a short flight. I was in J so boarding in group 2, but I had recently broken a few vertebrae and went straight to the front when they started boarding. Apologised for jumping ahead of my group and agent just scanned my BP. I then got what sounded like the magic beep. But she just looked at her screen and waved me through. I’ll never know but I think she might have punished me assuming I was making up an injury to get something she didn’t think I deserved. Anyway, went straight to sleep and had a solid flight. So no complaints.

I would echo other comments that “you don’t ask you don’t get” is BS. You can severely harm your chances in many cases.
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Old May 31, 22, 7:10 am
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Originally Posted by RichieMc View Post
I would echo other comments that “you don’t ask you don’t get” is BS. You can severely harm your chances in many cases.
I guess I would point to the fact that as Club was completely empty, in my particular case asking didn't hurt my chances because nobody else got upgraded

Also conscious that my query was about the operational reasons for declining a request, rather than whether people feel it appropriate to ask or not so don't want to get sidetracked. It has however been very interesting seeing the varying views on whether asking for an upgrade is okay or not. It seems those who fly regularly/have been on the receiving end of the request are on the whole against the idea of it.
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Old May 31, 22, 7:42 am
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Articles about getting a complimentary flight upgrade appear regularly in the press. Readers are encouraged to try a range of tactics to curry favour. Some are bizarre, most are pointless, and a few are funny. You gave it a shot, '12d121'. Flyertalk is a great place to learn about upgrade policies.

Upgrades do happen, without asking, in my experience. Nothing to do with 'dressing to impress' or offering chocolates to the cabin crew. Luck, I guess. On my last two CW flights with BA, I was 'flubbed'. Before FT, I had no idea what a Flub was. So, stick around.
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Old May 31, 22, 7:53 am
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Originally Posted by 12d121 View Post
Also conscious that my query was about the operational reasons for declining a request ...
This is still not the right way to look at it, which may be why you're getting some pushback here.

If you're looking at it from the perspective of "operational reasons for declining a request", your wording includes an implicit assumption that in the absence of operational reasons for saying "no", your request should have been granted: it should have been a "yes" unless there were reasons for it being a "no". However, that's simply not the way the system works.

The question is really about "operational reasons for granting a request". Sometimes there are. If economy is oversold but Club is not full, some people are bumped from economy to Club rather than bumped off the flight altogether. But in the absence of operational reasons for saying "yes", the request will be denied. That's probably why you got "a short and sharp no".
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Old May 31, 22, 7:59 am
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Originally Posted by Globaliser View Post
This is still not the right way to look at it, which may be why you're getting some pushback here.

If you're looking at it from the perspective of "operational reasons for declining a request", your wording includes an implicit assumption that in the absence of operational reasons for saying "no", your request should have been granted: it should have been a "yes" unless there were reasons for it being a "no". However, that's simply not the way the system works.

The question is really about "operational reasons for granting a request". Sometimes there are. If economy is oversold but Club is not full, some people are bumped from economy to Club rather than bumped off the flight altogether. But in the absence of operational reasons for saying "yes", the request will be denied. That's probably why you got "a short and sharp no".
Completely understand your point and hadn't considered it could be interpreted that way. I certainly didn't expect it to be a "yes". Despite being a very infrequent flyer, I do find all the operational considerations for an airline fascinating and therefore am appreciative of all the replies, even the ones pushing back, as it gives a new perspective.
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Old May 31, 22, 8:04 am
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I'm pretty sure they have to staff it-or at least have the same number of staff regardless as staffing is based on number of seats on the plane-not number of passengers. What they didn't have to do was cater it.
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Old May 31, 22, 8:58 am
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Originally Posted by Globaliser View Post
It is a fallacious argument, though.

Surely the worst that can happen if you ask for an upgrade is this: Because you asked, the agent cancelled the upgrade that you were due to get, and that would have got if you hadn't asked for one.

I think someone hinted at this in Club Completely Empty but Upgrade Refused
Indeed or to spell it out too: I’ve had several check in agents tell me explicitly they are asked about upgrades so many times and get fed up with it so much that if upgrades had to be fished out on a full flight, they’d specifically ensure it won’t go to those who ask especially if they come across as demanding.

in some cases it was people I know or just got to know from regular interaction but since the thread is getting its share of upgrade anecdotes, one of the weirdest cases occurred when I was flying Nce-lis on TP. I was patiently waiting in the y line as I was travelling y and had zero *A status whilst the lady in front was having a go at negotiating an upgrade despite firm but continuous refusal by the young check in agent. The second she left and I could finally approach the desk with relief, same agent told me quite loud and with a huge smile “sorry you had to wait sir, I think I may be able to upgrade you as the flight will be full”. She hadn’t even looked up my name yet (she would have found I was the equivalent of minus 20 if tp has anything like civ scores) and I was surprised she’d address me in English (clearly to be heard and understood loud and clear by her recent torturer) but while I would have happily played the pretence game without a real upgrade, my bp indeed mentioned 2A. Even more surprising, in the end Y was not overbooked (though near full) but 2A stuck when bp was scanned.
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