International (TATL/TPAC) OP-UP vs. SWU

Old May 15, 12, 12:22 pm
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The inconsistency with such things (GA not following DL protocol) really make it frustrating for us as a passenger.
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Old May 16, 12, 1:39 am
  #47  
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Originally Posted by MSPeconomist View Post
I don't believe that GAs have full discretion over who gets the OPUPs. My understanding is that on DL (unlike some airlines that do deliberately give OPUPs to kettles and new FFers to their programs) the order is supposed to be based on elite status then fare code, except that those who have ordered special meals are excluded. Groups can be passed over if fewer coach seats are needed. I've also heard that those with lap infants are not supposed to be OPUPed. They might also pick someone for an OPUP if another passenger with special needs can be put into the seat, for example a bassinet seat, but this would be more of a judgment call. I don't know how sitting in EC might be considered and whether there would be an attempt to move elites into vacated EC seats, but probably not to save time.
For PMNW DL employees, they seem to go by elite status then fare paid, not necessarily class (though typically correlates).
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Old May 16, 12, 2:51 am
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Originally Posted by SoraAoi View Post
Supposed to work and actually working are two very different things, of course. I was told by GAs that there are "recommendations," not rules, and GAs have a final say in who is OP-UPed and who is not. Not processing SWUs properly is a different story but, again, in the oversell situation, GAs can do pretty much as they please: the goal is to get as many people on the flight as possible, avoid paying out too much, and get the plane out on time. The company will close its eyes to everything else.

Anyway, I have written a polite inquiry to Delta. Will let you know what happens.
Good luck in this...i hope you get extremely generous compensation (really, to me, the only just compensation is they should allow you to treat a future sub-YBM fare as if it were a YBM fare and then you regain the upgrade priority you lost on another flight where you wouldn't have such priority). If they only give you miles or MQMs, the wrong is not really being remedied at all.

Also, if you do end up engaging in discourse, see if you can find out what the status and fare basis was of the numerous upgraded passengers. I am especially curious about the guy who was seated in 17F and then moved up by the gate agent with a new boarding pass at last moment before door closed.
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Old May 25, 12, 7:53 pm
  #49  
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DL Response

Got a response from DL. The usual "we value your business as a top customer" stuff, but the most surprising thing: "your upgrade cleared, we are sorry you were given inaccurate information."

Now, I know that it did not clear, that my BP was not changed, and that class paid/flown shows as B/B. Only reinforces what I wrote before: in an oversell situation, GAs can do (and actually do) as they please. They have pretty much unlimited discretion about the upgrades and can move anyone up, regardless of the status, fare paid, etc. In my case, the actual upgrade list was ignored and the GAs got their buddies moved to BE. While my suspicions remain just that for now, circumstantial evidence is aplenty, and this is not the first occasion: knowing a GA or offering a small token of appreciation will go a long way, certainly farther than your status or fare basis. We don't like to talk about it, it makes us uncomfortable and does not smell right, but this is how the world works after all. Most of the world anyway. Sorry if this sounds cynical, but the facts speak for themselves.

Safe holiday weekend travels (or, maybe, none of it, enjoy your time on the ground!)
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Old May 25, 12, 9:09 pm
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Originally Posted by SoraAoi View Post
Got a response from DL. The usual "we value your business as a top customer" stuff, but the most surprising thing: "your upgrade cleared, we are sorry you were given inaccurate information."

Now, I know that it did not clear, that my BP was not changed, and that class paid/flown shows as B/B. Only reinforces what I wrote before: in an oversell situation, GAs can do (and actually do) as they please. They have pretty much unlimited discretion about the upgrades and can move anyone up, regardless of the status, fare paid, etc. In my case, the actual upgrade list was ignored and the GAs got their buddies moved to BE. While my suspicions remain just that for now, circumstantial evidence is aplenty, and this is not the first occasion: knowing a GA or offering a small token of appreciation will go a long way, certainly farther than your status or fare basis. We don't like to talk about it, it makes us uncomfortable and does not smell right, but this is how the world works after all. Most of the world anyway. Sorry if this sounds cynical, but the facts speak for themselves.

Safe holiday weekend travels (or, maybe, none of it, enjoy your time on the ground!)
This story is ridiculously sick.

Basically, you wrote in to complain that you did not get what you paid for, and Delta's response was that Delta is sorry you did not get what you paid for -- you were supposed to receive it, but Delta employees stole it from you.

Did Delta offer to return to you what Delta employees stole from you? Either Delta should (a) refund to you the difference between the discounted fare that was available when you bought your ticket and the B fare you paid -- OR -- (b) allow you to use an SWU for an international upgrade when you travel on a fare class below YBM. Otherwise, you paid for something and Delta says they gave it to you, but an employee stole it and too bad -- which can't possibly be allowed to stand in civilized society.

The difference in price between a YBM fare and a discounted fare not eligible for the waiting list is ginormous. The ONLY reason to pay such an enormous differential when the lower fare is available is to get the upgrade or get on the waiting list for the upgrade. Delta basically is charging people huge amounts of money to get on a waiting list, and then Delta's employees are stealing from the people on the waiting lists. That is serious money being stolen -- felony serious. If this situation is being permitted by Delta management, then Delta management is either corrupt or congenitally incompetent.

Maybe i am misunderstanding the story here -- but if i have it right -- this is not run of the mill usual outrageous.....it is honestly truly outrageous.

I feel for you, OP.
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Old May 25, 12, 9:18 pm
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While I have only been to Moscow once, about 2 years ago, here are some experiences I have had recently on other flights across the pond.

First off, I should say that I no longer choose SWU's as a Choice Benefit. I can buy BE usually for less or only a few dollars more than a YBM fare, so why bother. (Others have often reported this here.) I either pay for discounted BE or I fly on a T fare.

So I was on an ATL-MUC flight a few months ago with a purchased BE ticket and leisurely strolled to the gate 30 minutes before departure, only to hear the GA call out to some obvious NRSA's that he had "upgraded them"! I walked up to him and said "I am a DM, have you upgraded me also?" His response was "We don't upgrade on international flights. Can I see your Boarding Pass please?" To which I responded "You just told those people you have upgraded them. Why did you not upgrade me as a DM?" When I showed him my BP, he said "You are already in BE" and I said that is not the point. "You told them they were upgraded, and you told me that DL does not do upgrades. Which is it????" While I have nothing against NRSA's taking advantage of their employee benefits for free SA travel, I have a real problem with putting them in BE ahead of putting a paying customer up there!

In March of this year, I flew ATL-FCO on a T fare. I knew the flight was overbooked (Y0 that morning) and so I asked at the SkyClub in ATL, about 2 hours before departure, what the status was. The agent said it was indeed overbooked in Y, but everyone had not checked in yet. Fair enough, I went back to work on my emails and checked again later at T-1 hour. The same agent got a really suprised look on her face, and said "Wow, you have already been upgraded. Here is your new BP!"

For my return trip to the US, I was booked on Alitalia for FCO-BOS and then DL for BOS-DTW. The DL upgrade cleared at the window with no problem. The AZ flight was showing a lot of available seats in all fare classes, right up to the night before departure. When I got up the next morning, I checked availability again before heading to the airport. I was shocked to see that overnight things had changed to Y0! Turns out that there was a last minute equipment change, and there were now far less seats in Y than originally planned! At check in, I asked about a possible upgrade, and they said it was indeed possible but would be processed at the gate. So after a little time at the AZ Lounge in Rome, I stroll to the gate just in time to hear them announce 6 passengers who should check with the agent for "additional information". Every seat in Y was full, there were a lot of empty seats up front, but I found myself in one of them!! Bottom line, $890 ticket scored me Business Class in both directions.

I certainly don't expect this to happen every time, but it is certainly quite nice when it does. This particular trip was a grueling week in Italy, and the upgrades made it a whole lot better.

And I agree that the OP got HOSED!!!
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Old May 25, 12, 9:26 pm
  #52  
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Originally Posted by NewYorkMoscowFlyer64 View Post
This story is ridiculously sick.

Basically, you wrote in to complain that you did not get what you paid for, and Delta's response was that Delta is sorry you did not get what you paid for -- you were supposed to receive it, but Delta employees stole it from you.

Did Delta offer to return to you what Delta employees stole from you? Either Delta should (a) refund to you the difference between the discounted fare that was available when you bought your ticket and the B fare you paid -- OR -- (b) allow you to use an SWU for an international upgrade when you travel on a fare class below YBM. Otherwise, you paid for something and Delta says they gave it to you, but an employee stole it and too bad -- which can't possibly be allowed to stand in civilized society.

The difference in price between a YBM fare and a discounted fare not eligible for the waiting list is ginormous. The ONLY reason to pay such an enormous differential when the lower fare is available is to get the upgrade or get on the waiting list for the upgrade. Delta basically is charging people huge amounts of money to get on a waiting list, and then Delta's employees are stealing from the people on the waiting lists. That is serious money being stolen -- felony serious. If this situation is being permitted by Delta management, then Delta management is either corrupt or congenitally incompetent.

Maybe i am misunderstanding the story here -- but if i have it right -- this is not run of the mill usual outrageous.....it is honestly truly outrageous.

I feel for you, OP.
I am sorry, I omitted one thing -- I was compensated. I should put "compensated" I quotes because all I was given is 9,500 miles. Other than that, the story is accurate to the letter, no exaggerations, nothing hidden/no information withheld, so you understand it correctly, I think. I agree thatit is outrageous. Of course, the official position is that it was a mistake, nothing else (I am not surprised by that; even if there's any kind of internal investigation, the outcome will not be shared with me. Standard for any large company). Formally speaking, no policies were probably violated though. Oversell is a special situation.
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Old May 26, 12, 10:16 am
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Originally Posted by SoraAoi View Post
I am sorry, I omitted one thing -- I was compensated. I should put "compensated" I quotes because all I was given is 9,500 miles. Other than that, the story is accurate to the letter, no exaggerations, nothing hidden/no information withheld, so you understand it correctly, I think. I agree thatit is outrageous. Of course, the official position is that it was a mistake, nothing else (I am not surprised by that; even if there's any kind of internal investigation, the outcome will not be shared with me. Standard for any large company). Formally speaking, no policies were probably violated though. Oversell is a special situation.
Totally outrageous. That is less than the cost of the OW UG you were denied. I would escalate.
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Old May 26, 12, 10:19 am
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Originally Posted by mrcimino1 View Post
So I was on an ATL-MUC flight a few months ago with a purchased BE ticket and leisurely strolled to the gate 30 minutes before departure, only to hear the GA call out to some obvious NRSA's that he had "upgraded them"! I walked up to him and said "I am a DM, have you upgraded me also?" His response was "We don't upgrade on international flights. Can I see your Boarding Pass please?" To which I responded "You just told those people you have upgraded them. Why did you not upgrade me as a DM?" When I showed him my BP, he said "You are already in BE" and I said that is not the point. "You told them they were upgraded, and you told me that DL does not do upgrades. Which is it????" While I have nothing against NRSA's taking advantage of their employee benefits for free SA travel, I have a real problem with putting them in BE ahead of putting a paying customer up there!
You may have a problem with it but that is DL's policy. Space-available UGs are a stated benefit of NRSA travel, whereas DL does not offer complimentary medallion UGs on TATL flights. The GA did the proper thing according to DL's policy and had no need to answer to you. If you think the policy should be different (and I agree, it should be), register your complaint with DL's management, don't take it out on GAs who are actually following policy.
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Old May 26, 12, 10:38 am
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Originally Posted by HongKonger View Post
You may have a problem with it but that is DL's policy. Space-available UGs are a stated benefit of NRSA travel, whereas DL does not offer complimentary medallion UGs on TATL flights. The GA did the proper thing according to DL's policy and had no need to answer to you. If you think the policy should be different (and I agree, it should be), register your complaint with DL's management, don't take it out on GAs who are actually following policy.
I have no problem with EMPLOYEEs getting the upgrade; giving it to a buddypass flyer ahead of a PM or DM is quite another thing.
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Old May 26, 12, 10:51 am
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Originally Posted by DL-Don View Post
I have no problem with EMPLOYEEs getting the upgrade; giving it to a buddypass flyer ahead of a PM or DM is quite another thing.
According to DL policy and the T&Cs of the buddy pass, they are entitled to space-available UGs. Medallion pax are not entitled to UGs on int'l flights. Simple as that. I'd like a complementary UG on all my TPACs too, but I'm not entitled to one. If you disagree with the policy and it's important enough to you, write to DL management.
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Old May 26, 12, 11:40 am
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Originally Posted by SoraAoi View Post
Now, I know that it did not clear, that my BP was not changed, and that class paid/flown shows as B/B. Only reinforces what I wrote before: in an oversell situation, GAs can do (and actually do) as they please. They have pretty much unlimited discretion about the upgrades and can move anyone up, regardless of the status, fare paid, etc. In my case, the actual upgrade list was ignored and the GAs got their buddies moved to BE. While my suspicions remain just that for now, circumstantial evidence is aplenty, and this is not the first occasion: knowing a GA or offering a small token of appreciation will go a long way, certainly farther than your status or fare basis. We don't like to talk about it, it makes us uncomfortable and does not smell right, but this is how the world works after all. Most of the world anyway. Sorry if this sounds cynical, but the facts speak for themselves.
You got totally hosed and 9500 miles is very poor compensation. I would be livid.

That said, I fly DL 30/31 regularly, at least 25 R/Ts in the past 5 1/2 years, with maybe 30% of that as Z-ups but the rest in Y. Only once or twice have I flown with an M+ fare not confirmed into Z at the time of booking since the rules were changed to allow DOD upgrades, and it happened to work out fine.

I have also received 5 or 6 op-ups on this route, including my last two flights (this past March and December) on DL 31. I can only recall one time I didn't get an op-up where it seemed like Shena was involved (AFAIK Expertflyer showed Y0 the morning of departure, and I was a DM on I believe a K fare). There was a time at SVO when they would give you the upgrade at check-in, but now it seems to be processed at the gate. So I'm not sure I would single out this route as a particular problem.

Still, I hope you will escalate. I have half a mind to send this thread to DL myself and explain that it's the fear of shenanigans like this that kept me from buying an M (rather than my U) fare on this Wednesday's DL 31.
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Old May 26, 12, 4:56 pm
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Originally Posted by SoraAoi View Post
I am sorry, I omitted one thing -- I was compensated. I should put "compensated" I quotes because all I was given is 9,500 miles. Other than that, the story is accurate to the letter, no exaggerations, nothing hidden/no information withheld, so you understand it correctly, I think. I agree thatit is outrageous. Of course, the official position is that it was a mistake, nothing else (I am not surprised by that; even if there's any kind of internal investigation, the outcome will not be shared with me. Standard for any large company). Formally speaking, no policies were probably violated though. Oversell is a special situation.
What a story! It really is inexcusable. I missed the original thread/discussion, just caught up now. I used to fly this route 4-5 times a year, still do, though not necessarily on Delta.

I am not very surprised by the story though, and agree with the OP's take that oversold flights are handled differently by GAs than normal ops, and all standard procedures/waitlists can be overridden. This is likely what happened to the OP. I do not know why the GA did what s/he did and what favors s/he received, but things do happen, from a cup of coffee and a dessert for overlooking an overweight bag or an extra piece of luggage to a small gift for an upgrade.

I flew myself in EC on this very route on an M fare in November, also an oversold flight, also many OPUPs, non-revs and others, but not a DM on M/SWU. Seems like this was not a singular occurrence.

The additional loopholes opened up with the recent changes in Delta's practice to hold the upgrades until the last minute at the gate, even when it is SWU and when there are plenty of seats in BE available (often 50% load, and the SWU waitlists still do not clear). Anything that is done at the gate is more prone to ... mistakes . Had to take less convenient flights on partners from Europe the other month even though DL's BE was 80% or so open. The upgrade did not clear even 6-7 hours before the flight, with the J9C9D9I9S9 cabin. Wonder if it went empty or was filled with the "usual clientele."

Sorry OP, what happened is not fair, but c'est la vie at Delta. Why would you fly DL to Moscow anyway, it still puts old and dilapidated 763s with those lousy seats on this quite long fight? One of the reasons I left it and either fly SU or UA. At least you get fully flat seats on UA and can UG to First, which is quite nice. SU is much, much nicer than DL now too.
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Old May 27, 12, 8:58 am
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BTW, not to keep harping on this point, but this is why I NEVER buy an M fare unless I can confirm and re-ticket the SWU/mileage UG IMMEDIATELY at the time of purchase.
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Old May 27, 12, 10:28 am
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Originally Posted by HongKonger View Post
BTW, not to keep harping on this point, but this is why I NEVER buy an M fare unless I can confirm and re-ticket the SWU/mileage UG IMMEDIATELY at the time of purchase.
I would give OP a break on this. I think everybody understands your point here, and anybody who thinks about it would prefer what you are saying. I personally feel very strongly the same way you do.

However, sometimes in life and flying, there are times when you get stuck in unavoidable jams. For example, what if you buy your ticket with UGs confirmed and then you are later required to change dates? What do you do then? Of course you do your best, but sometimes you have to chance it on the waitlist. Also, sometimes you cannot confirm the upgrade in both directions when you are doing your ticketing, but you can confirm the direction that you really need. What do you do then? It may be a close decision when you can lock in the UG one way and know you have a superb chance of getting in off the waitlist on the other direction. I do not like going on the waitlist one bit, but I recognize that sometimes it is simply unavoidable. The fact that going on the waitlist is not a preferable practice should not in any way be held against OP.

In theory, if you have the YBM fareclass, a high status rank, and you can see a lot of J9 on expertflyer, it should be a pretty reasonable gamble that you will get in off the waitlist. And, by the way, Delta should want customers to be thinking this way because it maximizes revenue for Delta. Customers who only pay YBM when the upgrade is guaranteed are less profitable for Delta than ones who are willing to gamble on the waitlist. Of course a waitlisted customer can lose out on the gamble because Delta sells all those open seats to customers paying Delta for them and that is a risk the waitlist customer takes. The risk that seems unreasonable and unfair for a Delta customer to take is that they will miss the waitlist chance not because Delta sold those seats but rather because Delta's employees preempted Delta corporate and instead sold those seats for their own account instead. This is akin to a cashier who pockets customers payments rather than putting them in the cash register -- it is the reason you see sings at stores and restaurants at airports that say your purchase is free if the cashier doesn't give you a receipt.

To me, we customers should not be the only people outraged here. Delta (and its shareholders) should be outraged. Delta spends a lot of shareholder money to have business class seats -- they are Delta corporate assets. Delta is in the business of selling these company assets either as business class seats or as upgrades. Why on earth should Delta employees be allowed to take those corporate assets and sell them for revenue into employees' pocket instead of the company coffers? It is in Delta's corporate interest to make the waitlist appear fair. If everybody thinks the waitlist is a sham, then Delta is losing out on profits it can make by selling the YBM fares to more passengers. Shareholders should be up in arms about this -- it is employees stealing and selling company assets.

I do not mean to be harsh to the poster I am replying to here...I just really think that, in the situation presented in this thread, the OP did absolutely nothing wrong and there should not be any suggestion that the OP brought this situation onto him or herself.
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