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Empty Delta One Seats, No Upgrade List, But no Paid Upgrades? (RDU-CDG)

Empty Delta One Seats, No Upgrade List, But no Paid Upgrades? (RDU-CDG)

Old Oct 27, 17, 2:47 pm
  #1  
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Empty Delta One Seats, No Upgrade List, But no Paid Upgrades? (RDU-CDG)

I'm flying tonight on the 757-200 from RDU-CDG. Despite the small J cabin, there are 4 empty D1 seats with no one on the upgrade list. If I ran into this situation on say American or United I'm certain I'd be offered an option to buy up to Business, in fact I usually am. I'm quite willing to pay $500-750 to do so tonight but according to the ticket agent, gate agent and Skyclub Agent in RDU, Delta does not sell upgrades on this route. Seems a little silly to me as the inventory is going to spoil and people are willing to pay for it but I'm sure they have their reasons.

I'll have more legroom in row 36 as it is
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Old Oct 27, 17, 2:54 pm
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Happened to me on my return from JNB to ATL. 1 empty seat after those DM used GUCs. They flew it empty. At check in I asked about buying up to Business Class / D1 and wasn't told Delta doesn't run any specials. They recalculated what my fare would be and it was $8000 if I wanted it.

Oh well. I was willing roughly $100-120/hr of flight time. I like Delta bc I'm a hub captive at ATL, but it's not worth that price. I was in D1 on the way to JNB due to mileage upgrade clearing. Comfort + on the return.

I know people are going to say Delta doesn't want to cheapen its product, but in reality it's not as good a product as its competitors are. (SAA excluded, Delta wins that one). In my case the nonstop and avoiding a long layover elsewhere was the overall trump card for a time-limited trip.

Last edited by G-man82; Oct 27, 17 at 2:56 pm Reason: Typo
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Old Oct 27, 17, 2:59 pm
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Originally Posted by CMK10 View Post
I'm quite willing to pay $500-750...
What was the difference in fare between coach and business when you bought the ticket? Do you think they would be successful getting people to buy business tickets if people routinely thought they could buy up to business for $500 on day of travel?

FT really ought to demand proof of successful completion of a college microeconomics course before they let somebody start a thread on pricing.
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Old Oct 27, 17, 3:00 pm
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Originally Posted by 3Cforme View Post
What was the difference in fare between coach and business when you bought the ticket? Do you think they would be successful getting to buy business tickets if people routinely thought they could buy up to business for $500 on day of travel?

FT really ought to demand proof of successful completion of a college microeconomics course before they let somebody start a thread on pricing.
American and United and many other airlines including KLM sell upgrades day of departure. Again it's all about spoliation, the people with money to pay for Business Class ahead of time strike me as unlikely to play a gate lottery for the chance at maybe buying a seat later for cheaper. My theory is if inventory is about to spoil why not get a few hundred bucks for it instead of letting it spoil?
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Old Oct 27, 17, 3:20 pm
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My wife was offered an $800 upgrade on SEA-LHR earlier this year at check-in, so they do occasionally offer it. The key is protecting the premium product price point. That is why there are no complimentary upgrades. They can document they make more money selling fewer seats at the very high price and letting the rest be empty than trying to get those last few sold at discount since then everyone will wait for the discount. Each airline has their own views on marketing and revenue management and each is happy with their outcome or they would change how they do things.
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Old Oct 27, 17, 3:26 pm
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Originally Posted by 3Cforme View Post
What was the difference in fare between coach and business when you bought the ticket? Do you think they would be successful getting people to buy business tickets if people routinely thought they could buy up to business for $500 on day of travel?

FT really ought to demand proof of successful completion of a college microeconomics course before they let somebody start a thread on pricing.
Well I'm sure MSP will like to get her post count up and comment on this.

However, your example is in a single silo. If I am hearing you correctly, a restaurant should allow a specific high end product to spoil vs running a special on it?
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Old Oct 27, 17, 3:27 pm
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For what it's worth, the captain's wife is in 2A. She was printed a BP at the gate and I overhead the gate agents talking about that. This isn't a non rev complaint thread but it does seem odd they'd rather give away a seat than sell it for the extra revenue. Especially if the argument is against cheapening the product.
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Old Oct 27, 17, 3:48 pm
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Originally Posted by CMK10 View Post
For what it's worth, the captain's wife is in 2A. She was printed a BP at the gate and I overhead the gate agents talking about that. This isn't a non rev complaint thread but it does seem odd they'd rather give away a seat than sell it for the extra revenue. Especially if the argument is against cheapening the product.
I had a similar experience to this SLC-CDG back in March. Y and C+ were completely full, 3 unsold seats in J. I asked at gate about a buy-up to J and was given the same $8,000 speech.

Right around the time of take-off, one of the FA's in F comes back to his friend and offers him one of the seats (not sure if he was non-rev or a buddy). FA's friend doesn't want to leave wife and kids in back while up front, so he in turn offers the seat in J to his seat mate, who promptly took it (and coincidentally is a friend of mine). I would have made an issue of this with the purser if the beneficiary wasn't my friend.

So while Delta wants to protect the value of their product, giving it away for free to a non-status PAX seems to me a much worse business decision than selling it to someone for a marginal rate of $100 - $150 per hour of flight time, which i would have happily paid -- or letting me redeem miles day of flight, which I would have happily turned in.
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Old Oct 27, 17, 4:02 pm
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Originally Posted by Paplover View Post
The key is protecting the premium product price point. That is why there are no complimentary upgrades. They can document they make more money selling fewer seats at the very high price and letting the rest be empty than trying to get those last few sold at discount since then everyone will wait for the discount. Each airline has their own views on marketing and revenue management and each is happy with their outcome or they would change how they do things.
This. It's amazing how many people on here don't seem to get this.

It's the same reason major sport venues don't drop their prices to $1 right before the game to make some extra $. In doing so, you condition people not to pay the retail price and cannibalize your own business.

Having said that, I can see one scenario where selling gate upgrades is a great idea: If coach is overbooked, and D1 isn't, instead of taking VDBs you sell upgrades.
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Old Oct 27, 17, 4:04 pm
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Originally Posted by Paplover View Post
The key is protecting the premium product price point.
Which always strikes me as odd since the amount of people who know about the upsell will be pretty small for the most part.
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Old Oct 27, 17, 4:07 pm
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Non-revenue passengers, generally airline employees or families, are entitled to the best seat available on all Delta flights as a perk of employment. They are either not paying at all or a fixed (low) fee regardless of seat. Giving them a D1 seat that no one has paid for does not cheapen the brand since they are not paying for it anyway. On domestic flights, they rarely get F seats (except for Sheena) due to Medallion upgrades. For D1 flights, there are no free upgrades, all revenue passengers pay either with $, GU certificates or SM so there are more empty D1 seats available for non-revenue passengers. In talking with employees, this often makes it easier for them to get on international flights than domestic flights since they fly standby.
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Old Oct 27, 17, 4:10 pm
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Originally Posted by HDQDD View Post
If coach is overbooked, and D1 isn't, instead of taking VDBs you sell upgrades.
Then they give OP-UPs to Medallions to avoid the VDB/IDB. It still protects the price point of the product and promotes good will with the lucky upgraded frequent flyers.
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Old Oct 27, 17, 6:36 pm
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Originally Posted by Paplover View Post
Non-revenue passengers, generally airline employees or families, are entitled to the best seat available on all Delta flights as a perk of employment. They are either not paying at all or a fixed (low) fee regardless of seat. Giving them a D1 seat that no one has paid for does not cheapen the brand since they are not paying for it anyway. On domestic flights, they rarely get F seats (except for Sheena) due to Medallion upgrades. For D1 flights, there are no free upgrades, all revenue passengers pay either with $, GU certificates or SM so there are more empty D1 seats available for non-revenue passengers. In talking with employees, this often makes it easier for them to get on international flights than domestic flights since they fly standby.
Agree, except that Delta has started to overbook Y now on routes with low loads in J which will then require the gate to roll their top flyers after they have dropped the no-shows. I have been on flights with J +20 and Y -20 on day of travel.
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Old Oct 27, 17, 6:56 pm
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Originally Posted by Christefan View Post
Agree, except that Delta has started to overbook Y now on routes with low loads in J which will then require the gate to roll their top flyers after they have dropped the no-shows. I have been on flights with J +20 and Y -20 on day of travel.
What specific city pairings? And how often have you seen that, given you said flights, plural, and state this as a trend? And where are you getting the +20/-20 figures? (I don't know all the flight tools but I know it's been said here some will show 9 but no higher on a seat availability count. If there's one that goes as high as 20 I'll check it out, thanks.)
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Old Oct 27, 17, 7:09 pm
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Originally Posted by CMK10 View Post
American and United and many other airlines including KLM sell upgrades day of departure. Again it's all about spoliation, the people with money to pay for Business Class ahead of time strike me as unlikely to play a gate lottery for the chance at maybe buying a seat later for cheaper. My theory is if inventory is about to spoil why not get a few hundred bucks for it instead of letting it spoil?
Hey... if you've got nothing to do today, why not sell your professional services (I have no idea what you do) for $5 an hour instead of what you usually charge? After all, you're not making any money anyway.
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