Club Completely Empty but Upgrade Refused

Old May 30, 22, 2:22 pm
  #1  
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Club Completely Empty but Upgrade Refused

I recently took a domestic Comair flight as part of internal travel in SA on my honeymoon. I looked online before and saw the flight looked like it would only be about 10% full. At check in I enquired about a free upgrade as was on my honeymoon (as a long shot bet). The answer was a short and sharp no.
When the plane departed, the whole of Club was empty. Every seat empty.

I have no issue about the upgrade being refused and want to make it clear this isn't a post to moan about them saying no. But it got me thinking more broadly about upgrade policies, when they are given for free etc. Given Club was completely empty it seemed odd they didn't entertain it but thought maybe Comair only upgrade for certain status passengers?
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Old May 30, 22, 2:29 pm
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Originally Posted by 12d121 View Post
I recently took a domestic Comair flight as part of internal travel in SA on my honeymoon. I looked online before and saw the flight looked like it would only be about 10% full. At check in I enquired about a free upgrade as was on my honeymoon (as a long shot bet). The answer was a short and sharp no.
When the plane departed, the whole of Club was empty. Every seat empty.

I have no issue about the upgrade being refused and want to make it clear this isn't a post to moan about them saying no. But it got me thinking more broadly about upgrade policies, when they are given for free etc. Given Club was completely empty it seemed odd they didn't entertain it but thought maybe Comair only upgrade for certain status passengers?
upgrades are usually only given if the lower cabin is overbooked. If its not and everyone can be accomodated then no need to upgrade anyone.

Upgrades to empty seats to reward status is more a US thing.

Different market practices
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Old May 30, 22, 2:34 pm
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I do not know about Comair specifically but I do know a bit about upgrade scenarios and I believe there are several reasons for not entertaining your request:

if the Business Class Cabin was really empty then they were not planning to manning/operating it so it would not have made sense to upgrade anyone, for free or otherwise.

when I attempted to ask for a free upgrade with BA in JFK (we flew in Business but return was booked in Economy), the BA employee at check in offered me one at a price, saying that free was not possible. Did they offer you an upgrade for a price?

from reports here and elsewhere, and direct feedback from people that I know, I believe free upgrades are only given as service recovery for oversold flight, where they would try to upgrade first status holders. The other scenario is when they ask for volunteers to miss the flight and take the next one, usually sweetening the deal with an offer of an upgrade on the next flight or the whole booking and/or a voucher for another flight (Middle East airlines are/were particularly generous offering both, but European airlines may only do one of the two).
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Old May 30, 22, 2:38 pm
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I have heard of the rare, free non-operational upgrades being given for special occasions, but these are even rarer to be given at the request of the passenger.
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Old May 30, 22, 2:41 pm
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I did wonder if the reason for saying no was simply because as they hadn't sold any tickets, they weren't planning on staffing it as you say. As part of the conversation they asked if I wanted to pay to upgrade but given it was a short flight, didn't entertain that or ask how much it would be.

I think probably fair to presume that given they hadn't sold any tickets for it, there was a risk the only 2 people sat in the cabin were there for free and then the impact that has on stock levels etc
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Old May 30, 22, 2:51 pm
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You paid for economy and sat with the others the did the same, why should you have been upgraded when they weren’t, please don’t say because you were on your honeymoon because you had a choice of paying for business class and chose not too?
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Old May 30, 22, 2:57 pm
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Originally Posted by Can I help you View Post
You paid for economy and sat with the others the did the same, why should you have been upgraded when they weren’t, please don’t say because you were on your honeymoon because you had a choice of paying for business class and chose not too?
Just to be clear, I did say in my original post I have no issue with them declining the request at all and knew it was a long shot.

I'll entertain your question though and presume it is asked in good faith. The answer to this part of your post "why should you have been upgraded when they weren’t" - is simply because if you don't ask you don't get.

I didn't expect an upgrade and I wasn't annoyed or disappointed when they said no. I was just wondering more generally (as I said in my post), about upgrade policies and when they are given etc.
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Old May 30, 22, 2:59 pm
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The whole idea of free upgrades from honeymooners/birthday boys/charming grandmas is very much an urban myth across most of the world’s contemporary flying industry.

if you are GCH and on your honeymoon, the sccm may well decide to bring the two of you a glass of champagne to your y seats or a signed greeting card, but realistically, that’s about as far as this will likely go.

congratulations and hopefully you had a great honeymoon nonetheless.

Last edited by orbitmic; May 30, 22 at 3:04 pm
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Old May 30, 22, 3:01 pm
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Originally Posted by 12d121 View Post
Just to be clear, I did say in my original post I have no issue with them declining the request at all and knew it was a long shot.

I'll entertain your question though and presume it is asked in good faith. The answer to this part of your post "why should you have been upgraded when they weren’t" - is simply because if you don't ask you don't get.

I didn't expect an upgrade and I wasn't annoyed or disappointed when they said no. I was just wondering more generally (as I said in my post), about upgrade policies and when they are given etc.
“If you don’t ask you don’t get” really!!!
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Old May 30, 22, 3:02 pm
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Originally Posted by 12d121 View Post
The answer to this part of your post "why should you have been upgraded when they weren’t" - is simply because if you don't ask you don't.
That’s another urban myth, indeed, In upgrade terms, I know many ground staff who’d argue that’s about the most inaccurate statement you could make.
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Old May 30, 22, 3:02 pm
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Originally Posted by orbitmic View Post
The whole idea of free upgrades from honeymooners/birthday boys/charming grandmas is very much an urban myth across most of the world’s contemporary flying industry.

if you are GCH and on your honeymoon, the sccm may well decide to bring the two of you a glass of champagne to your y seats or a signed greeting card, but realistically, that’s about as far as this will likely go.

congratulations and hopefully you had a great honeymoon nonetheless.
Thanks, that's useful info. Our outbound flight from LHR was in CS and the cabin crew did actually give us a signed greeting card
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Old May 30, 22, 3:05 pm
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I have no problem making anyones flight special for them but I believe in fairness and upgrades have to paid for.
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Old May 30, 22, 3:05 pm
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Originally Posted by 12d121 View Post
Thanks, that's useful info. Our outbound flight from LHR was in CS and the cabin crew did actually give us a signed greeting card
i think that’s a nice gesture even if it may not feel like a big deal and I’m glad they did!
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Old May 30, 22, 3:22 pm
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Originally Posted by Can I help you View Post
“If you don’t ask you don’t get” really!!!
only ever been upgraded twice in 30 years of OCCASIONAL travel and only once did I ask - and was rewarded..
flying from Ottawa to LHR via IAD on a Y class, inflexible, UA ticket.
Arrived at an empty terminal with a colleague, we were faced by a bank of auto check in machines.
Not being either AC nor UA members, I 1st went to the sole representative at the desk asking for assistance in how to use them.
As we walked to a machine, where she checked us in, I joked how "the problem with these machines is you cant ask for an upgrade"
and in reply she said "come back to the desk when your done and I'll sort it out for you" !!

so as the OP said, if you don't ask you dont get

meant to add, my colleague was impressed.. he had only joined the company about a week before
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Old May 30, 22, 3:30 pm
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I would never ask, I maybe old fashioned but have too much respect for myself to do this.
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