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Empty seats in 1st... how do you handle it?

Empty seats in 1st... how do you handle it?

Old Feb 17, 12, 4:40 pm
  #1  
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Empty seats in 1st... how do you handle it?

Recently had an experience where the flight left with an empty seat in 1st. Must have been a last minute no show because there was a long list waiting for upgrades on that flight. While I wasn't even near the top of the list, it really annoyed me to see that empty seat the whole flight.

Soon after I happened to be on the phone with a CSR for another reason and mentioned the empty seat and how much it annoyed me and I was told that I should have said something to a FA. But in the past when similar has happened and I've said something to a FA I've been told 'only the gate agents can process upgrades'.

So what really is the best (or right) way (or time) to handle (or complain about) such a situation?
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Old Feb 17, 12, 4:43 pm
  #2  
fti
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Originally Posted by srodr View Post
Recently had an experience where the flight left with an empty seat in 1st. Must have been a last minute no show because there was a long list waiting for upgrades on that flight. While I wasn't even near the top of the list, it really annoyed me to see that empty seat the whole flight.

Soon after I happened to be on the phone with a CSR for another reason and mentioned the empty seat and how much it annoyed me and I was told that I should have said something to a FA. But in the past when similar has happened and I've said something to a FA I've been told 'only the gate agents can process upgrades'.

So what really is the best (or right) way (or time) to handle (or complain about) such a situation?
DL has been very clear that if you board the flight, you lose your right to the upgrade. The best way to handle the situation is to not board if there are any seats available in F (since most elites board even if not UG'd but on the list, your position on the list goes up very quickly). I ask the GA if F has checked in full, then ask if F has also boarded full. If she says yes and I board, and see an empty F seat, I ask the FA if anyone is in the restroom. If so, fine. If not, I would go back to the GA to question him/her about the empty seat. It has to be taken care of before the boarding door closes.
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Old Feb 17, 12, 4:56 pm
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Originally Posted by fti View Post
... ... ... If not, I would go back to the GA to question him/her about the empty seat. It has to be taken care of before the boarding door closes.
I never before considered this. Once you're on board and seated, will they really let you off the AC to speak to the GA?

Like I said... never, ever considered it...
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Old Feb 17, 12, 5:04 pm
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Originally Posted by bartendress View Post
I never before considered this. Once you're on board and seated, will they really let you off the AC to speak to the GA?

Like I said... never, ever considered it...
I have never gotten to that point yet. I did ask an FA once about a pax in F being in the bathroom since I saw an empty F seat. Once she said yes, I continued to my Y seat. But I have seen pax ask the FA to go speak with the GA before (for various reasons). I would not be seated at this point - I check F seats as I board (remember, the GA said F "boarded full") so every seat in F should be taken. Doesn't work with 757's if you board through 2L. But most times it works. I am one to hang out at the gate if there is any chance of an UG.
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Old Feb 17, 12, 5:08 pm
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Originally Posted by bartendress View Post
I never before considered this. Once you're on board and seated, will they really let you off the AC to speak to the GA?

Like I said... never, ever considered it...
No - they view that as a security risk...they will not just let you deplane without a fight
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Old Feb 17, 12, 5:12 pm
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Originally Posted by FlyAO2 View Post
No - they view that as a security risk...they will not just let you deplane without a fight
Well, I have seen it done more than once without a fight. YMMV.
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Old Feb 17, 12, 6:51 pm
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When someone upsets me I usually urinate in the bathroom waste basket. You could easily make this work in an airplane.
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Old Feb 17, 12, 6:58 pm
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Originally Posted by bartendress View Post
I never before considered this. Once you're on board and seated, will they really let you off the AC to speak to the GA?

Like I said... never, ever considered it...
Yes.... not sure if it's usually allowed, but I've done it twice, most recently last year.

And just to be clear, I didn't deplane because of an UG
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Old Feb 17, 12, 7:13 pm
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Wait around too long and you are left with no place to store bags on full flights. Flying in first is not as nice if your bag is flying in coach!
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Old Feb 17, 12, 7:29 pm
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Originally Posted by view-with-a-room View Post
Wait around too long and you are left with no place to store bags on full flights. Flying in first is not as nice if your bag is flying in coach!
That is the trade-off and is a different decision for each person. Because most elites don't want to check their carry on, it bodes well for those who want to hang back to try for an UG. Once I had to check my roller bag, but I took all valuable and fragile items out of the case while I was waiting for the last person to not arrive at the gate
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Old Feb 17, 12, 7:31 pm
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Originally Posted by fti View Post
DL has been very clear that if you board the flight, you lose your right to the upgrade. The best way to handle the situation is to not board if there are any seats available in F (since most elites board even if not UG'd but on the list, your position on the list goes up very quickly). I ask the GA if F has checked in full, then ask if F has also boarded full. If she says yes and I board, and see an empty F seat, I ask the FA if anyone is in the restroom. If so, fine. If not, I would go back to the GA to question him/her about the empty seat. It has to be taken care of before the boarding door closes.
I am confused. You say that if you board, you lose your right to the UG. Then you say if you find an empty seat after boarding, then you deplane to speak with the GA. If you boarded and you weren't #1 on the UG list, it wouldn't go to you anyway since you already boarded, no?
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Old Feb 17, 12, 7:38 pm
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Originally Posted by Sez_Who View Post
I am confused. You say that if you board, you lose your right to the UG. Then you say if you find an empty seat after boarding, then you deplane to speak with the GA. If you boarded and you weren't #1 on the UG list, it wouldn't go to you anyway since you already boarded, no?
In post #4 fti admits "I have never gotten to that point yet. " I think if it ever does get to that, fti is in for an unpleasant surprise.
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Old Feb 17, 12, 7:49 pm
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Originally Posted by srodr View Post
Recently had an experience where the flight left with an empty seat in 1st. Must have been a last minute no show because there was a long list waiting for upgrades on that flight. While I wasn't even near the top of the list, it really annoyed me to see that empty seat the whole flight.

Soon after I happened to be on the phone with a CSR for another reason and mentioned the empty seat and how much it annoyed me and I was told that I should have said something to a FA. But in the past when similar has happened and I've said something to a FA I've been told 'only the gate agents can process upgrades'.

So what really is the best (or right) way (or time) to handle (or complain about) such a situation?
Three weeks ago the seat next to me in BE on a lax-jfk flight was empty..

As they where closing the door I asked the FA about the empty seat and she said the recliner electronics was broken on that seat, so they wouldn't seat someone there..

I leaned over pushed all the buttons and it all worked just fine.. She quickly called the GA to find to next person on the upgrade list and moved them up form the back..

But if, I didn't show them it worked they would have left the seat open..
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Old Feb 17, 12, 7:50 pm
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Originally Posted by Sez_Who View Post
I am confused. You say that if you board, you lose your right to the UG. Then you say if you find an empty seat after boarding, then you deplane to speak with the GA. If you boarded and you weren't #1 on the UG list, it wouldn't go to you anyway since you already boarded, no?
True, but by being able to deplane, I would ask the GA why they either lied to me or didn't read their computer correctly, explaining that I was waiting in the gate area for the very reason of the UG (which they would have known by that point, since I would have told them earlier).
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Old Feb 17, 12, 7:53 pm
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On a flight last month while I was boarding I heard a lady ask the GA if all the upgrades had been cleared and the GA said yes. After most of the plane had boarded one F seat in front of me had remained empty at which point I saw a FA bring that same woman from Y and sit in the seat. Just moments later though the rightful owner boarded the plane and the lady had to get back to Y.

Perhaps the FA saw it was past the 15 minutes before departure and asked the GA and was given the seat of the passenger next in line? I've also been in the same situation as that lady and it really sucks, especially when you're flying an int'l airline with a much nicer business cabin!
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