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Policy violation or just bad luck? Upgrades clear at T-80 before check-ins finish

Policy violation or just bad luck? Upgrades clear at T-80 before check-ins finish

Old Feb 4, 19, 6:02 pm
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Policy violation or just bad luck? Upgrades clear at T-80 before check-ins finish

Had a last minute flight come up and had to buy a full fare Y ticket ATL->West Coast this evening. I bought it at T-180, ticketed by T-160, and checked in on the way to the airport (at T-80). This is a $1400 one-way ticket (probably the most expensive on the plane, even including F passengers).

I check in and see that I am #1 on both the C+ and F upgrade list... but two people already cleared (one into F and one into C+ aisle). I get to the airport and rush to the gate asking for an explanation, and all they give me is gibberish that upgrades are not guaranteed, and that just because I am #1 on the upgrade list now doesn't mean I was #1 when they cleared (note that the person that cleared into C+ was 23/27 down on the F upgrade list - and unless the passenger that cleared into F was using a RUC I'm pretty sure I would have beaten them on all tiebreakers).

Basically they told me to pound sand and offered to put me in a C+ middle seat.

Has anyone else experienced this? What is the policy for when they are supposed to clear upgrades at the gate? I've literally been told by prior gate agents asking when they would clear that they are not supposed to clear until T-45 (including one instance where I had to wait until after boarding had already started because they were trying to get the plane out early unusually bad headwinds so they started boarding at T-50).
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Old Feb 4, 19, 6:19 pm
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Usually gate upgrades clear into empty FC seats (I don't know much about the process for C+ "upgrades") starting at the check in cutoff time, often T-30 but this depends on the airport. For no show FC seats, the GA should process upgrades and offload the no show passengers at the deadline to board for previously checked in and/or connecting passengers, which normally is T-10 for domestic flights.

Of course if there's upgrade inventory or empty FC seats in excess of the "rule" that DL normally holds for last minute FC ticket sales, you should clear whenever. I've been cleared on the way to the airport after being rebooked in IROPs so YMMV.
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Old Feb 4, 19, 6:19 pm
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Or the person who cleared into F was a D1 passenger connecting from an international flight and caught an earlier flight, or, just like you, was a walk-up purchase of an F ticket, or an SDC, or an actual change (had a flexible ticket), or was ticketed in F but there had not been availability so he was assigned F when it became available.
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Old Feb 4, 19, 6:29 pm
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Originally Posted by Often1 View Post
Or the person who cleared into F was a D1 passenger connecting from an international flight and caught an earlier flight, or, just like you, was a walk-up purchase of an F ticket, or an SDC, or an actual change (had a flexible ticket), or was ticketed in F but there had not been availability so he was assigned F when it became available.
Those people clear on the standby list, not the upgrade list. When I spoke to the gate agent it was very clear that they were upgraded. And that still doesn't explain the C+ passenger that cleared into an aisle seat that was, at best, a silver medallion.

This is what was on the app (note that the usual nonsense with 10C disappearing also occurred - optimistically due to a pax with disability but more than likely not).

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Old Feb 4, 19, 6:35 pm
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Originally Posted by MSPeconomist View Post
Usually gate upgrades clear into empty FC seats (I don't know much about the process for C+ "upgrades") starting at the check in cutoff time, often T-30 but this depends on the airport. For no show FC seats, the GA should process upgrades and offload the no show passengers at the deadline to board for previously checked in and/or connecting passengers, which normally is T-10 for domestic flights.

Of course if there's upgrade inventory or empty FC seats in excess of the "rule" that DL normally holds for last minute FC ticket sales, you should clear whenever. I've been cleared on the way to the airport after being rebooked in IROPs so YMMV.
"Normal" upgrades (not gate upgrades) occur transparently and don't require you to be checked in. I've had what you described happen before as well - I was not checked in, it was within T-24, and I got upgraded 3 hours before departure (similar situation - things opened up due to IRROPS). This was clearly not the case here.
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Old Feb 4, 19, 6:47 pm
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The only time I have ever seen any gate UGs clear that early is when there is a light load and there are going to be multiple FC seats still empty afterwords but this seems ridiculous early to clear UGs and you probably would have been UG’d. I generally don’t check in around T-24, usually wait until~ T-12 just in case I want to SDC, but this is one reason why I don’t like waiting until the last min to check-in just to avoid a. I would complain to DL and ask them to look into the situation.
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Old Feb 4, 19, 6:59 pm
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Probably worth sending a note in about it. Perhaps the GA was eager to get the flight loaded quickly and go home, or something like that. I hate ATL. Ironically it is always where I have the worst customer service.
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Old Feb 4, 19, 7:55 pm
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I submitted a complaint on delta.com.. we'll see what they come back with (I asked explicitly for what the policy is for when gate upgrades should clear - doubt they'll tell me but here's to hoping)...
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Old Feb 4, 19, 9:07 pm
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Could it be a fcm buy up at the gate or at check in?
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Old Feb 4, 19, 9:50 pm
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Originally Posted by El Boocho View Post
Could it be a fcm buy up at the gate or at check in?
I'm not sure how FCM shows up on the list, but I'm 99% sure they don't do C+ gate paid upgrades. Not to mention the gate agent kept repeating how the F upgrade went to a "million miler Diamond" over and over again (like I'm not one).
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Old Feb 4, 19, 11:28 pm
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Originally Posted by ethernal View Post
the gate agent kept repeating how the F upgrade went to a "million miler Diamond" over and over again (like I'm not one).
Yikes.
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Old Feb 4, 19, 11:56 pm
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Originally Posted by Widgets View Post

Yikes.
Yes, this is the thing that irked me the most. Both the gate agent and redcoat were incredibly rude. I realize I may have been a bit haughty and disheveled myself but still, at no point did either the redcoat or gate agent say "I'm sorry" or otherwise behave empathetically. I know it was probably a long day with the Superbowl and all, but here's some choice quotes (some may be slightly paraphrased):

"I wasn't here when they cleared the upgrades, so I can't help you."
"It's not my fault" (said multiple times)
"You weren't at the top of the list, otherwise you would have cleared"
"How do you know you would have been #1 on the [Comfort+] upgrade list?" (Lol, I don't know, I'm 23 slots higher on the F list than the person that cleared?)
"Upgrades aren't guaranteed" (ok, this one is fair, but still, if they are going to happen there is a documented priority order)
"We only cleared one person into F" (said repeatedly, implying I shouldn't have gotten it, as if the number of seats cleared is relevant

I would have been fine with a "I'm sorry, we cleared a bit early today - and unfortunately we can't de-upgrade people - please accept our apologies" and moved on with my life (slightly frustrated in my middle Y seat, but I would have lived).

That didn't happen though, so when I finally got fed up and said I would just file a complaint, I tried to snap a picture of the redcoat's name placcard (not badge, I'm sure those are somehow secret or something), he freaked out and said this conversation is over and he ran off back to another gate.
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Old Feb 5, 19, 4:44 am
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I escalated an issue before, and talked to a concourse manager (higher than red coat) in ATL, and he was not only okay with me photo'ing his badge, he even suggested I do that, as I was clear I was going to file a complaint with corporate. He actally seemed to have psudeo-magical powers, and un-upgraded someone, as they gave away my paid first class seat, because they didn't think I was going to make the connection. He instructed the red coat to do so, and said he would "deal with the consequences" of un-upgrading someone. No complaints with him of course, but the whole fiasco leading up to that point was maddening.
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Old Feb 5, 19, 5:09 am
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Was the flight oversold in Y and they cleared upgrades early to accommodate things like your last minute purchase?
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Old Feb 5, 19, 6:03 am
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Originally Posted by james318 View Post
Was the flight oversold in Y and they cleared upgrades early to accommodate things like your last minute purchase?
That was my first thought since it was the day after the Super Bowl very possible that they were oversold though it wasn't the right outcome if that's what happened
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