Recent Domestic FC Upgrade Funkiness

Old Oct 31, 18, 9:50 am
  #1  
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Recent Domestic FC Upgrade Funkiness

Over the past 3-4 years as a DM (and now a PM), I would routinely receive an automatic domestic FC upgrade at exactly 5:30pm ET 6 days prior to each flight. Over the past +/-year or so this FC upgrade time changed to T-120 hours. During this time period when FC space wasnít available during the 5 or 6-day advance window my name would go on the UG list at the gate. It was very black and white and never ever would any FC upgrade occur in between the window and the gate.

For the past couple of months my experience has completely changed. I am routinely no longer being upgraded at the T-120 window anymore (even when plenty of FC space is available) but virtually always being upgraded to FC randomly at 1, 2, 3 or 4 days prior to departure. This happened once again early this morning ET at approximately T-78. It often also happens around T-30 prior to check-in.

I am certainly not complaining as no one has a legal right to a free FC upgrade but I find it unusual compared with DLís stated policy of T-120 or at the gate and my past experience. This has happened both when traveling alone and with a companion.
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Old Oct 31, 18, 9:57 am
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I don't think the policy is 120 hours or at the gate - its clearance subject to availability, starting at 120 hours prior to departure.

I haven't noticed an uptick in UGs granted just before check in opens - most of mine remain at the 120 hour mark.

I am interested to see how this changes next year once the 250K Amex waiver manifests itself.
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Old Oct 31, 18, 10:25 am
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The change to exact T-120/72/24 upgrade windows occurred in May, 2017. There are several existing threads on the change --
Are Medallion Updgrades Clearing since Opt In/Out Enhancement?

Aside, from this change, I haven't noticed any other changes. Generally speaking, I would say flights with shorter stage lengths clear more often at T-120 than longer flights.
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Old Oct 31, 18, 10:38 am
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Purely anecdotal but on the routes I fly if I am not UG'd at T120 then it always goes to the gate. Haven't been UG'd at 72 or 24 that i can remember.
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Old Oct 31, 18, 10:45 am
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Several routes that I have taken since the change I have been upgraded somewhere between 120 and the gate. I do think having a companion on your reservation does affect it since I'm pretty sure I read that the system will jump to the next individual if a single seat becomes available. Most times when I have a companion if I am not upgraded at the window, has almost always been at the gate, versus individually when it is seemingly random.
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Old Oct 31, 18, 10:47 am
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I have noticed a trend on my upgrades clearing around 5 am ET the day after the PM window opens.
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Old Oct 31, 18, 9:27 pm
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Unfortunately, here is what I an recently seeing more and more. Skyclub rep. fixes issue but has no explaination. .

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Old Oct 31, 18, 10:06 pm
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As a long time Diamond and almost a 4 million miler, I have a lot of memories of what "used to be" with Delta, but as for current, present day, situations regarding upgrades, the world has changed. All bets are off given the current day world of First Class Monitization. Delta wants people to PAY to sit up front, and only if that doesn't come to pass, will they grant the few precious upgrades. Given the regional and global upgrade certificates, they trump the upgrade. As do mileage upgrades (with status) So, less and less seats are open at the "5 day window", so upgrades are less and less an option. And I, as a person who is bowing to Delta and paying $$ to upgrade (when reasonably priced), I enjoy the privilege of changing within the 24 hour same day confirmed window to whatever flight fits my needs with upfront space. Yes, I give up a FC seat, but I will take a FC seat on a more timely or enjoyable routing thereby taking a seat out of upgrade inventory. So, I want DL to hold back FC seats!

So, IMHO, the new world of Delta is requiring that if you want to be upfront, you pay to be upfront. As a Diamond, it makes no difference if you are #1 for the upgrade when then are NO seats to upgrade to. That has been my experience over the past year, and certainly in the past few months. Get used to this, Delta has changed, and wants us to pay to ride up front. I for one, accept the upgrade if I get it as a rare gift, as they just don't have them to give away anymore. Yes, you need to question your loyalty, as loyalty is a two way street, but ride in the other carriers, and you will come back to Delta.

Might not be a popular post, but at least it is realistic given the changes that Delta has put in place. I will make lifetime platinum (4 MM) late next year if all goes as planned, but given the changes, it gives me nothing. Diamonds are regularly traveling in back cabin, what chances does a Platinum have? Gold? Silver? So, as has been said so many times before here, Want First? Pay First! (WFPF)
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Old Nov 1, 18, 7:21 am
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Originally Posted by fpmurphy View Post
Unfortunately, here is what I an recently seeing more and more. Skyclub rep. fixes issue but has no explaination. .

Is this for C+ upgrades?
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Old Nov 1, 18, 8:45 am
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Originally Posted by fpmurphy View Post
Unfortunately, here is what I an recently seeing more and more. Skyclub rep. fixes issue but has no explaination. .

One this is a D1 international flight. Two, that appears to be the standby list, not the upgrade list, which as international would only have those using GUC listed.
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Old Nov 1, 18, 1:50 pm
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It is definitely clear that Delta is looking to monetize F. And they are successful so why shouldn't they, they have stakeholders to answer to.

I am flying SEA-MSP-BWI tomorrow and there were a handful of F seats available both legs yesterday. Today there are 2 left on the MSP leg and I'm #2 in position - I was #1 so either someone beat my DM ranking or they applied a RUC. I'm OK with the seat I have so an upgrade is a bonus at this point and I didn't see the value in paying their upgrade $ price or applying an RUC.
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Old Nov 1, 18, 3:31 pm
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I've only been a Medallion FO/GM for 2.5 months so I dont have a ton of insight other than to agree that there's no way to predict when the UG will occur, even if there are ample open seats. Example: Last month on a flight from IAD-MSP I was upgraded to FC about 30 minutes before the 24-hour window with only 2 open seats. However, last Friday on a flight from ATL-NAS (i.e. a leisure route with few elites), I did not get upgraded to first until 15 minutes before boarding (also with 2 open FC seats). My logic says that it would have made more sense to upgrade the second flight at the window rather than IAD-MSP, but what do I know?
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Old Nov 1, 18, 4:01 pm
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Originally Posted by Daitheflu84 View Post
My logic says that it would have made more sense to upgrade the second flight at the window rather than IAD-MSP, but what do I know?
Leisure routes tend to have more last minute impulse buy up offers during check in because people are going on vacation and want to splurge on F. Hence the handful of holdbacks, for that possible extra revenue
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Old Nov 1, 18, 4:54 pm
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Originally Posted by btonkid12345 View Post
Leisure routes tend to have more last minute impulse buy up offers during check in because people are going on vacation and want to splurge on F. Hence the handful of holdbacks, for that possible extra revenue
I guess that makes sense; I hadn't thought about it that way. I utilize FCM every so often when it makes sense, but $203 for a 1.5 flight on a 717 with no meal service or IFE? Hard pass. It was definitely nice to get for free, though!
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Old Nov 1, 18, 7:17 pm
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I'm flying DCA-ATL-BHM next Tuesday; I got upgraded on both segments at T -120. What was funny about this was that I was getting FCM offers to upgrade DCA-ATL (a 75-90 minute flight on an A321) for $111, and to upgrade ATL-BHM for $188 (a 25 minute flight in an MD-88), or both for $266.

When I've gotten upgraded the past couple of years prior to leaving for the airport, maybe half of them were at the 5 day window; I've gotten upgrades in the middle of the night 1-3 days out. I think I've won a gate lottery less than 5 times this year.

I've been buying more and more FCM offers; often, the Big D will charge only $100-150 or so for the return in F over the round trip coach price, so I fly out in a cheap coach seat and come back in F, with the possibility of getting upgraded outbound.
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