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Is SCL now on the 'no-GUC list' when purchased far in advance?

Is SCL now on the 'no-GUC list' when purchased far in advance?

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Old Mar 28, 18, 8:17 am
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Is SCL now on the 'no-GUC list' when purchased far in advance?

I just tried to purchase OKC-SCL RT using GUCs for flights one year from now and was told I must be waitlisted.

I did not check to see about going through GRU rather than straight ATL-SCL, but in the past if I could not get upgrade inventory for GUCs one year in advance then I just added this to the list that started with places like SYD and JNB in high season.

Are others able to use their GUCs ro SCL and if so did you waitlist and then clear close to departure or even the gate?

Last edited by Xeno; Mar 28, 18 at 10:23 am Reason: misleading wording in title
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Old Mar 28, 18, 8:41 am
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The fact that GUC space was not available to SCL on the date(s) you checked does not mean that SCL is on a "no-GUC" list.
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Old Mar 28, 18, 8:49 am
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This thread makes no sense. GUC inventory is a day-by-day, flight-by-flight situation. There are not blanket "no GUC" cities. You are waitlisted. It is part of using a GUC is Delta thinks they can sell the D1 cabin. If they can't, you get it. If they can, you are out of luck.. No different from any other city pair.
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Old Mar 28, 18, 9:09 am
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I think the OP's "no GUC" list means routes where one is extremely unlikely to get a GUC upgrade before the gate and probably unlikely to be upgraded even at the gate. The OP isn't suggesting that DL has a list of international destinations with D1 service where GUCs cannot be used according to the T&C.
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Old Mar 28, 18, 9:23 am
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Note that unlike awards on Delta flights, upgrades are not necessarily more available in advance -- Delta even says so at https://www.delta.com/content/www/en...-upgrades.html : "Upgrade availability isn’t always better in advance".

In my experience Delta tends to make very little upgrade space available booking far in advance (I've seen cases where low-level business class award seats were available but no upgrade space), and then open up more of it in the few months before the flight depending how they expect business class to sell.

So, if you waitlist a GUC a year in advance, it may well clear sometime along the way in advance of the flight ... but on the other hand if you've booked a date that ends up having high business class demand, it might not.
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Old Mar 28, 18, 10:22 am
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The thread title was written in a hurry as I was hit with minor medical event. I asked the mods to admend my miscue.

I purchase most of my tickets one year in advance and I will not buy unless I clear an upgrade instrument at bookings. If GUCs or no other instrument can be used then I either do bizarre connections, skip the trip, or pay an absurd airfare like I did for SYD Dec 2017. I have no intention of repeating the SYD fiasco.

Getting D1 on these long flights is a medical issue for me as I am a DVT/PE patient. In the past, buying year in advance allowed me to use GUCs for even SYD and JNB. There was very little such inventory and those who did not clear far in advance had to waitlist and often did not clear until close to departure or even the gate. Anyway, now everybody knows that GUCs for JNB/SYD must be waitlisted if buying far in advance.

In the last 12+ months I could not clear at booking for HKG and one or two other places I do not remember at the moment. I posted about them and will search for that thread.

Last edited by Xeno; Mar 28, 18 at 10:27 am
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Old Mar 28, 18, 10:31 am
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My experience with long haul GUCs is actually that I’ve cleared every time, but not until somewhere between 30 and 3 days before the flight. I book unpopular midweek flights - tues/wed primarily - where I can claim a great Comfort+ deal at booking, and then I hunker down and wait. This strategy hasn’t failed me yet.

If you require confirmation of J at booking to SCL and already know travel dates so far in advance, I recommend looking at flying AeroMexico. Despite reports to the contrary here on FT, I’ve had nothing but good experiences with them. They aren’t CX and you shouldn’t expect premium catering, but the food is comfortable and tasty, and their 787 seats are totally fine. The usually very reasonable price for paid J more than accounts for the ordinary catering.
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Old Mar 28, 18, 10:35 am
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Originally Posted by Xeno View Post
The thread title was written in a hurry as I was hit with minor medical event. I asked the mods to admend my miscue.

I purchase most of my tickets one year in advance and I will not buy unless I clear an upgrade instrument at bookings. If GUCs or no other instrument can be used then I either do bizarre connections, skip the trip, or pay an absurd airfare like I did for SYD Dec 2017. I have no intention of repeating the SYD fiasco.

Getting D1 on these long flights is a medical issue for me as I am a DVT/PE patient. In the past, buying year in advance allowed me to use GUCs for even SYD and JNB. There was very little such inventory and those who did not clear far in advance had to waitlist and often did not clear until close to departure or even the gate. Anyway, now everybody knows that GUCs for JNB/SYD must be waitlisted if buying far in advance.

In the last 12+ months I could not clear at booking for HKG and one or two other places I do not remember at the moment. I posted about them and will search for that thread.
It might be more interesting if you are able to share where you have found ready availability a year out. In my experience confirming GUCs far in advance seems to have gotten more challenging, though of course trends can vary a lot by route, and without being able to search availability on Expertflyer any more, everyone's experience will be necessarily anecdotal based on whatever routes one happened to search at the time.

It only works if you're going in the right direction of course but FWIW I find that using GUCs on KLM does tend to remain easiest booking far in advance (and can be very easy even on some routes you might think wouldn't be, like South Africa). Wouldn't help for SCL or SYD but worth keeping in mind as an option, particularly for example if one was thinking of doing one trip to South America and one trip to Europe/Africa/Middle East and was planning to use GUCs for one and miles for the other.

I haven't explored how easy it is to use the newish option of GUCs on Aeromexico but that could be worth exploring for SCL. There are other downsides to flying Aeromexico, especially that you have to clear customs at MEX even for international-to-international connections (and that can sometimes take an hour or more), but if the alternative is flying coach, it could be worth considering.
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Old Mar 28, 18, 10:52 am
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Thanks for the alert about Aeromexico although my first impulse is to look at OKC-ATL-GRU-SCL which may have been my original route when I went to SCL last year. Although my memory is not reliable, I think a schedule change then let me move to OKC-ATL-SCL.

As I said, buying far in advance used to clear J at booking for even JNB and SYD but now the list - which I have not logged - of other popular cities that I frequent is growing thus requiring one to risk waitlisting when using GUCs or like upgrade instrument.

*Thanks to the mods for an improved thread title since I missed the mark earlier.
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Old Mar 28, 18, 11:51 am
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Originally Posted by Xeno View Post
The thread title was written in a hurry as I was hit with minor medical event. I asked the mods to admend my miscue.

I purchase most of my tickets one year in advance and I will not buy unless I clear an upgrade instrument at bookings. If GUCs or no other instrument can be used then I either do bizarre connections, skip the trip, or pay an absurd airfare like I did for SYD Dec 2017. I have no intention of repeating the SYD fiasco.

Getting D1 on these long flights is a medical issue for me as I am a DVT/PE patient. In the past, buying year in advance allowed me to use GUCs for even SYD and JNB. There was very little such inventory and those who did not clear far in advance had to waitlist and often did not clear until close to departure or even the gate. Anyway, now everybody knows that GUCs for JNB/SYD must be waitlisted if buying far in advance.

In the last 12+ months I could not clear at booking for HKG and one or two other places I do not remember at the moment. I posted about them and will search for that thread.
What was the SYD fiasco? Can you share what happened?
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Old Mar 28, 18, 12:04 pm
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Originally Posted by bgriff View Post
I haven't explored how easy it is to use the newish option of GUCs on Aeromexico but that could be worth exploring for SCL. There are other downsides to flying Aeromexico, especially that you have to clear customs at MEX even for international-to-international connections (and that can sometimes take an hour or more), but if the alternative is flying coach, it could be worth considering.
This is a really good point and worth factoring in. MEX customs can get stupidly backed up, and there's no priority lane. MEX T2's terminal itself is spacious enough but feels uncomfortably weird - it seems to borrow heavily from Jardine House in Hong Kong with all the circular windows, which isn't exactly the pinnacle of architectural excellence. Definitely not the most zen transit experience; I recommend allowing a few hours.

In AM's distinct credit, though, when I've been running the risk of missing my connection, they've sprung into action with a flotilla of staff armed with clipboards and beepy golf carts to get me to my destination; they seem to be acutely aware of the airport's limitations and to do everything within their power to work around it.
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Old Mar 28, 18, 12:06 pm
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Originally Posted by Billy Mumphrey View Post
What was the SYD fiasco? Can you share what happened?
I paid over $7K for airfare that got me J OKC-ATL-LAX-SYD-AKL then SYD-LAX-ATL-OKC.

I have never paid that much for airfare and close to the event I lost two of the main reasons for making the trip.

The end result is that I am closely watching my international trips so as to avoid that kind of failure.
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Old Mar 28, 18, 12:22 pm
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SYD is just not a cheap or easy place to get to in business class, no matter how you cut it. ($7K for that amount of flying in business class is actually a pretty good deal, IMO.) And unlike some DL frustrations, this one isn't appreciably better for AA or UA loyalists, either.

For now, about the only way to do it without breaking the ($ or miles) bank is to commit the extra hours of flying and redeem miles in a currency that will let you route via Asia, like United or Korean miles.

Maybe if the forthcoming DL-KE JV allows for GUC use on KE, as is the case with a few of DL's other JV partners now, that might get interesting in the future. (Although if it's set up like the other JV partners, you'll likely have to buy DL-marketed flights on KE in order to be able to use GUCs cost-effectively, and there's a decent chance DL won't sell DL-marketed KE flights to Australia. But this is all speculation for now anyway.)
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Old Mar 28, 18, 2:00 pm
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Originally Posted by Xeno View Post
I paid over $7K for airfare that got me J OKC-ATL-LAX-SYD-AKL then SYD-LAX-ATL-OKC.

I have never paid that much for airfare and close to the event I lost two of the main reasons for making the trip.

The end result is that I am closely watching my international trips so as to avoid that kind of failure.
It sounds like it was a combination of an expensive airfare and some personal reasons, after booking, that made the trip possibly in vain. The latter clearly isn't Delta's fault and you did agree to the price of the airfare. I thought you were going to say they messed up applying your GUC or that it didn't clear.

If you have enough miles there has been pretty good low-level J availability on the SCL flight recently.
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Old Mar 28, 18, 2:12 pm
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Originally Posted by Xeno View Post
I purchase most of my tickets one year in advance and I will not buy unless I clear an upgrade instrument at bookings. If GUCs or no other instrument can be used then I either do bizarre connections, skip the trip, or pay an absurd airfare like I did for SYD Dec 2017. I have no intention of repeating the SYD fiasco.

In the last 12+ months I could not clear at booking for HKG and one or two other places I do not remember at the moment. I posted about them and will search for that thread.
Sounds like a personal problem. That you have taken anecdotal evidence about maybe a week's worth of availability for you personally, tried to confirm upgrade space a year out, and of course the airline still wanting to sell those seats, wouldn't confirm it. Then you came on here and generalized about a city having no GUC availability.

Maybe you shouldn't buy then. Or use a different airline. It won't be any different anywhere else.

This is literally the most annoying type of thread on FT - when OP doesn't want to take any personal accountability and overly generalizes for no seeming reason other than to vent and rile up opinions.

Originally Posted by BenA View Post
My experience with long haul GUCs is actually that I’ve cleared every time, but not until somewhere between 30 and 3 days before the flight. I book unpopular midweek flights - tues/wed primarily - where I can claim a great Comfort+ deal at booking, and then I hunker down and wait. This strategy hasn’t failed me yet.
Exactly this. Availability has been best for me 1-2 months out. Plus, I don't expect availability a year out, and wouldn't want to make my travel plans that far in advance because so many variables can change in that year.

There was recently a poster waitlisting a GUC on DTW-NRT on the A350 and it was down to J2 a few days before flight and in the middle of a weather fiasco, meaning empty seats were at a premium. They ended up clearing the upgrade at the gate.

Originally Posted by Billy Mumphrey View Post
It sounds like it was a combination of an expensive airfare and some personal reasons, after booking, that made the trip possibly in vain. The latter clearly isn't Delta's fault and you did agree to the price of the airfare. I thought you were going to say they messed up applying your GUC or that it didn't clear.
Exactly this. No personal accountability, and it became a "fiasco" only because OP thought they paid too much after the fact. First world problems to have $7,000 to spend on airfare and then come complain online about the airline not offering you a certificate-sponsored upgrade when YOU wanted to book a year out.

Plus, in a year a lot of things can change - sounds like things did change with the OP that made the trip in vain - so I don't understand why OP INSISTS on booking a year out (likely a habit without good cause they have developed that they refuse to now change).
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