Help with GUCs

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Old Jul 3, 19, 8:06 am
  #1  
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Help with GUCs

Have not had a chance to get these in years. Back then, it was easy--generally got confirmation of upgrade at time of booking. Now it seems much more mysterious.

Am trying to use the GUCs for a trip to Sydney in late October, and am targeting the LAX-SYD leg, I understand this is one of the hardest flights to get upgraded on and had a few questions: At the time of booking, the Diamond rep said the flights looked "wide open" and that with our status (DM for me, PM for my wife) that she was confident we'd get upgrades. Problem for me is that the trip really depends on the upgrades--my wife would skip the trip if she had to fly main cabin. Is there any guidance on how long it will take to know if we get upgraded off the wait list? I'm reluctant to make ground arrangements until I know if we're going to go.

Is there any way to monitor how likely we are to get them? Or is this such a difficult flight to use the GUCs that I should just give up and use them on another trip? Any advice appreciated!
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Old Jul 3, 19, 9:29 am
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GUC's are tough now. I basically re-write the same tweet and ask on Twitter so I don't have to call and wait. Ask if my route has opened up.
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Old Jul 3, 19, 9:58 am
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Originally Posted by bretthexum View Post
GUC's are tough now. I basically re-write the same tweet and ask on Twitter so I don't have to call and wait. Ask if my route has opened up.
OMG, I'm an old guy who has resisted Twitter, but this may be the tipping point. It's a great suggestion. How much information do you have to give them? Do you give name/Skymiles number, or just cite the flights in question?
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Old Jul 3, 19, 11:09 am
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You're correct LAX-SYD and the return flight are very hard to get. After reading other people's messages in the main "Yeay I got it! GUC Upgrade" thread, it seems like the majority of those that clear will be at the time of boarding. If you're worried about going that long then you're probably better off using them on a different flight/route. Of course, some people have reported them clearing ahead of time. But I think others on here would agree with me when I would call that the "unicorn" of GUC's. I'm not trying to rain on your parade. Just being honest and trying to give you an idea of how hard it is for a GUC to clear, and clear ahead of time, on the LAX-SYD-LAX route.

OPS
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Old Jul 3, 19, 12:24 pm
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Originally Posted by clinresga1 View Post
OMG, I'm an old guy who has resisted Twitter, but this may be the tipping point. It's a great suggestion. How much information do you have to give them? Do you give name/Skymiles number, or just cite the flights in question?
For anything directly touching your account and/or flights they'll need to authenticate you; you can bypass this most of the time by having your Twitter handle stored in your Delta profile (you still randomly get asked to verify details of itineraries etc. before they'll touch them but not universally)

If you're just asking if upgrade space exists on such and such flight on certain dates then no ID process should be necessary.
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Old Jul 3, 19, 12:58 pm
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Yeah, no skymiles or anything. Just tell them to/from and dates, and let them check.
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Old Jul 3, 19, 3:04 pm
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Unfortunately it's going to be really, really hard to guarantee anything on this route. Delta does tend to be pretty good, I find, about opening upgrade space within a month of departure or so -- I've seen many of my own RUC and GUC requests (on other less high-demand routes) clear in that timeframe, and I think I've seen occasional reports of GUCs clearing on LAX-SYD ~2 weeks out. So in theory if you could wait to book your ticket until closer to departure, you might find some options that are confirmable at booking ... but your cash coach ticket will probably cost a lot more by then. And it's still not a guarantee, especially on that route.
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Old Jul 3, 19, 3:13 pm
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The other thing I would point out is that Premium Select has now arrived on the 777 serving SYD, no there is now the option to book that cabin instead of coach, providing a serviceable fallback seat if the upgrade does not clear -- albeit at a heavier price than coach. What I don't know is whether those booking into Premium Select would be ahead of someone on any coach fare when it comes to upgrade clearance. I would assume so, but Premium Select could be less expensive than some full Y fares I would think.
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Old Jul 3, 19, 3:46 pm
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Originally Posted by Robert Leach View Post
The other thing I would point out is that Premium Select has now arrived on the 777 serving SYD, no there is now the option to book that cabin instead of coach, providing a serviceable fallback seat if the upgrade does not clear -- albeit at a heavier price than coach. What I don't know is whether those booking into Premium Select would be ahead of someone on any coach fare when it comes to upgrade clearance. I would assume so, but Premium Select could be less expensive than some full Y fares I would think.
My understanding is that the standard upgrade policies still hold in place - with Medallion Status being the premier deciding factor. I looked into this and asked about it when booking trips to TPE and SYD this year.
MrsBHammy dropped to PM this year, but had 4 GUCs to use by mid July. We booked her into PS on the way to TPE, applied a GUC for her and I to go D1, I (being the DM) cleared at the gate with the last D1 seat (she got the seat up front).
According to the upgrade rules, if another DM, in coach had a GUC applied direct to D1, they would have been second in line.

It's noticable that when booking a PS seat on int'l, that the domestic segments only 'clear' into C+ - which PM and DM get anyway. So PS is seems to be the int'l equivalent of C+.
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Old Jul 3, 19, 3:55 pm
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Originally Posted by BHammy View Post
My understanding is that the standard upgrade policies still hold in place - with Medallion Status being the premier deciding factor. I looked into this and asked about it when booking trips to TPE and SYD this year.
MrsBHammy dropped to PM this year, but had 4 GUCs to use by mid July. We booked her into PS on the way to TPE, applied a GUC for her and I to go D1, I (being the DM) cleared at the gate with the last D1 seat (she got the seat up front).
According to the upgrade rules, if another DM, in coach had a GUC applied direct to D1, they would have been second in line.

It's noticable that when booking a PS seat on int'l, that the domestic segments only 'clear' into C+ - which PM and DM get anyway. So PS is seems to be the int'l equivalent of C+.
According to the various details here ("what to know about being on the waitlist" being the most relevant section), before the gate, the clearance hierarchy is medallion status, then time of request, so in theory it doesn't matter if you bought PS if your upgrade clears in advance. Then at the gate, the order becomes the same as complimentary medallion upgrades, in which case fare class is the first tiebreaker after medallion status and having bought PS would in theory help you. But in either case, medallion status is supposed to be the first factor being considered.
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Old Jul 3, 19, 3:58 pm
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Originally Posted by clinresga1 View Post
Have not had a chance to get these in years. Back then, it was easy--generally got confirmation of upgrade at time of booking. Now it seems much more mysterious.

Am trying to use the GUCs for a trip to Sydney in late October, and am targeting the LAX-SYD leg, I understand this is one of the hardest flights to get upgraded on and had a few questions: At the time of booking, the Diamond rep said the flights looked "wide open" and that with our status (DM for me, PM for my wife) that she was confident we'd get upgrades. Problem for me is that the trip really depends on the upgrades--my wife would skip the trip if she had to fly main cabin. Is there any guidance on how long it will take to know if we get upgraded off the wait list? I'm reluctant to make ground arrangements until I know if we're going to go.

Is there any way to monitor how likely we are to get them? Or is this such a difficult flight to use the GUCs that I should just give up and use them on another trip? Any advice appreciated!

My experience with GUCs (from another thread) - both MrsBHammy and I have been DM for the past 4-5 years.
- We fly to once Australia every year for business, every time the upgrades are waitlisted. 40% of the time, they clear a few months out, 40% they clear at the gate, the other 20% they don't clear at all. And this was before upgrading the 777s to a lesser number of suites in D1.

This year: booked flights for late Oct in March, the return cleared in April. The outbound still hasn't cleared - showing 22x D1 seats available....still waiting.

- I think the only ones cleared at booking was for a trip to TPE we just got back on: we adjusted out trip to return on Wed because that's when they were available. On the way over, one GUC cleared at the gate (Mrs sat up front). On the way back, The Mrs was going on from ATL-CDG, her last GUC of this year cleared at gate.

Our experience overall is probably:
- 5% cleared at booking, 95% waitlisted
- 30% cleared more than a month before flight
- 60% cleared at gate
- 10% did not clear at all.
(again, before D1 Suite/PE upgrades - now there are less D1 seats, but an additional PE seats that can burn a GUC right away)

So yes, if you really WANT to fly D1, only guarantee is to book D1.

Understanding Delta's fare "buckets" as to when how many D1 seats "open up" is like guessing the weather 6 months out.
I used RUCs on the way to Hawaii this year for my daughter and I (ATL-HNL with D1 seats). Both waitlisted at booking. (I understand that DMs get comp'd upgds to Hawaii, but using RUCs puts us above all comp upgds.)
On the return flight (Memorial Day) there were 3 seats available - we cleared about a month before the flight.
On the outbound, there were 18 seats available...didn't clear until about 5 days out.

There is really no way to guestimate what availability there is. And I get it from Delta's perspective. They are a business and want to make money by selling those seats and will wait until the last minute to keep the possibility/probability that some last minute business flyer will book the very expensive D1 seats on company dime.

By the way, when are you looking at booking? Wonder if we'll be vying for the same seats? We're jumping the lake Oct 21.
I'll have the earlier request and (possibly) MM'er advantage (not sure if you're MM or not?)
But you would beat my wife's chances being DM, with her only PM - or if you're a corporate traveler - or have the Reserve card.
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Old Jul 3, 19, 10:23 pm
  #12  
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While it has happened, I think clearing lax-syd before the gate is rare. Unfortunately you’re going to have to gamble.
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Old Today, 8:25 am
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Hi all, as the OP, really appreciated all of the expertise. Figured I'd give you the final update--in the end, I bailed out. I just wasn't going to book hotels, guides, cars, etc, without knowing upgrade status, since at our ages, neither of us would really contemplate flying that long a flight in coach. Having waited a couple months with no signs of an upgrade, and based on what you all had indicated, I canceled that trip. We decided to do Europe instead and I was happy to be able to book round-trip ATL-CDG using the GUC's with immediate confirmation at the wonderful price of $707/ticket. Thanks again--your expert advice was a huge help in moving forward.
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Old Today, 9:15 am
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Originally Posted by clinresga1 View Post
Hi all, as the OP, really appreciated all of the expertise. Figured I'd give you the final update--in the end, I bailed out. I just wasn't going to book hotels, guides, cars, etc, without knowing upgrade status, since at our ages, neither of us would really contemplate flying that long a flight in coach. Having waited a couple months with no signs of an upgrade, and based on what you all had indicated, I canceled that trip. We decided to do Europe instead and I was happy to be able to book round-trip ATL-CDG using the GUC's with immediate confirmation at the wonderful price of $707/ticket. Thanks again--your expert advice was a huge help in moving forward.
Thanks for the update. All's well that ends well. Have a safe trip and enjoy Delta One.
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