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Can gate agents manually add someone to the top of the upgrade list?

Can gate agents manually add someone to the top of the upgrade list?

Old Jan 25, 2024, 10:54 am
  #1  
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Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Georgia
Programs: DL DM/2MM
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Can gate agents manually add someone to the top of the upgrade list?

I'm a DM 2MM, and with the change in upgrade priority favoring MMs, I've been testing whether I'd get upgraded without using RUCs for my flights between ATL and PDX. Yesterday I was #1 out of 32 for one available FC seat. I was refreshing the upgrade list in the DL app every few minutes. Just before boarding started, I noticed someone was added to the list, dropping me to #2. I refreshed the list, and he/she had already been given the last available FC seat. About a minute later, the GA announced the start of boarding.

Maybe the timing was a coincidence, but it certainly seems like the GA added another passenger to the UG list and then immediately cleared him/her so she could start the boarding process. I'm not upset at this, I just want to understand what might have happened.

On a related note, is it possible to apply a RUC after control of a seat map is transferred to the GA?
safigan is offline  
Old Jan 25, 2024, 11:15 am
  #2  
 
Join Date: Sep 2012
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Are you sure this passenger wasn’t cleared as a standby passenger before being upgraded? That might explain why they appeared on the list at the last minute?
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tardyturtle is offline  
Old Jan 25, 2024, 11:38 am
  #3  
 
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My guess is they were already confirmed in paid F from another same-day flight and their connection got into ATL either early or late which made your flight time more suitable for them.
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Old Jan 25, 2024, 11:53 am
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Join Date: Feb 2019
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Originally Posted by tardyturtle
Are you sure this passenger wasn’t cleared as a standby passenger before being upgraded? That might explain why they appeared on the list at the last minute?
this is extremely unlikely. Upgrades are cleared before standby list (mostly to free up space to clear standby pax into).

to answer OP, gate agents can do pretty much anything. I don't know if they can manipulate the list directly but it doesn't really matter because they absolutely can manually clear anyone they want into any seat.

to answer the question you really are wanting to know but didn't ask, you almost certainly did not get screwed and the GA almost certainly did not do anything improper. The reason for this is that even though GAs have a lot of direct ability to do things when the flight is under their control, everything they do is logged and someone can review it later, so if they DO try shenanigans they are very, very likely to be found out.

to answer your last question, no, by the book you cannot apply a cert less than 3 hours before departure (this is in the T&C for the certs). It's sometimes possible depending on who you talk to (there are ways to do it but not all agents know them) and you aren't entitled to it.
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WillBarrett_68 is offline  
Old Jan 25, 2024, 11:59 am
  #5  
 
Join Date: Apr 2017
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Originally Posted by safigan
On a related note, is it possible to apply a RUC after control of a seat map is transferred to the GA?
I believe they need to be applied 3 hours prior to departure.
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Old Jan 25, 2024, 12:04 pm
  #6  
 
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The only way I'd suspect shenanigans is if you observed the name under you, and then suddenly above you, on the list. Then you'd have a good enough reason to question it (assuming another passenger with the same three last name letters and first name first letter didn't just suddenly book the flight or get added from another IRROP.

Assuming the above did not happen, my best guess is either this passenger that leaped you on the list either booked the flight last minute or was on another flight and got moved to this by Delta and they had status greater than yours. If they were 360, or DM with 3mm lifetime miles, or had exactly the same status as you but a payment instrument you didn't, then they'd trump you on that basis.
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Old Jan 25, 2024, 12:28 pm
  #7  
 
Join Date: Apr 2016
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Two likely options here:
1) Could be irrops and someone with higher status (and same day travel disruptions) got moved to your flight.
2) Cutoff for checkin is T-45 and your name does not appear on the upgrade list until you check in for your flight. If you say the name appeared a few minutes prior to boarding and if boarding begins at T-40, that timeline fits for someone who checked in at T-45. Last minute checkins happen a lot more than you think. I checked in for a flight a month ago at T-50. Had an interesting conversation with a GA over the weekend too about this. My flight was oversold by 1 and I volunteered, but the GA managed my expectations saying the pax purchased a refundable F ticket and had status so they probably won't show up. With refundable tickets being reasonably priced now and non-refundable tickets turning into ecredits, they have a lot more people that either check in at the very last minute or check in and don't show up for their flights, or never bother checking in at all. The person did not check in and did not show up as expected and I received their seat (even though I was #10 on the upgrade list). In this case, they moved me without ever showing an empty seat on the app and without me showing up as cleared so nobody would have known that I was not the originally scheduled occupant of the seat.
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Old Jan 25, 2024, 12:34 pm
  #8  
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I can't even begin to say how many times I have been added to the list at the relative last moment and was at the top of the list. On the flip side, I have made way more than I ever thought I had a chance to. Flight inventory is incredibly dynamic.
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indufan is offline  
Old Jan 25, 2024, 12:41 pm
  #9  
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Originally Posted by WillBarrett_68
to answer the question you really are wanting to know but didn't ask, you almost certainly did not get screwed and the GA almost certainly did not do anything improper.
Thanks for the info, and I wasn't focused on shena. I'm trying to understand the behavior of the UG list in order to decide when to use my RUCs and when I'm likely to clear without one. Until a few weeks ago, I would never clear on this route without a RUC. So far this year, I'm 1 for 2. I figured I'd ask people who had more experience with it.
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Old Jan 25, 2024, 4:00 pm
  #10  
 
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Another option: someone on a AF/KL codeshare ticket who is not getting on the upgrade list automatically but has to be "activated" by the GA. Happens to me all the time when i arrive in US from an TATL flight connecting to an Delta flight.
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BER Flyer is offline  
Old Jan 25, 2024, 6:34 pm
  #11  
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
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If it makes the OP feel better, I've been on the wrong end of similar situations, where I was on top of the UG list as boarding was about to begin, and, boom, just like that, someone popped up and passed me on the UG list and got the last F seat. To be fair, I have gotten the last UG seat several times as well as scoring some great OP-UPs such as JFK-PRG.

There is a shenanigans thread on here providing many tales of woe like yours.
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Old Jan 26, 2024, 6:43 am
  #12  
 
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Originally Posted by safigan
Thanks for the info, and I wasn't focused on shena. I'm trying to understand the behavior of the UG list in order to decide when to use my RUCs and when I'm likely to clear without one.
Use the certs when it matters to you. Trying to "calculate" when you're likely to clear without one is a losing game.
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WillBarrett_68 is offline  
Old Jan 26, 2024, 10:23 am
  #13  
 
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Originally Posted by WillBarrett_68
Use the certs when it matters to you. Trying to "calculate" when you're likely to clear without one is a losing game.
Agreed. Several times I've felt like a "sucker" for applying a cert on a flight that remained wide open up until boarding, but then I remember that I had the peace of mind knowing I'm riding up front, was able to select my preferred seats, preselect an entree, etc. It's much preferred to seeing a flight wide open at booking, only to see the F cabin fill up well ahead of your UG window or find yourself in the teens or twenties on the upgrade list at check in.
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captaink is offline  
Old Jan 26, 2024, 11:40 am
  #14  
 
Join Date: Apr 2015
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I believe they have latitude at the very least to upgrade people because I've been been on the losing end probably five times (similar scenario as you've described) and on the winning end once.

On the winning end: I had a flight take off but had an issue with the landing gear not retracting so we had to land (that was an ordeal! They weren't sure of the integrity of the landing gear so we had emergency crews on the runway, a flight attendant saying a prayer, circling many times to reduce fuel and give the tower a chance to get a good visual, etc.). Rather than getting us a new plane, they rebooked everyone on other flights that day (the original flight was fairly empty) and we were put on a nearly full flight with a very long upgrade list (no big deal; I didn't care). I got to my new gate and was making small talk about how it was our anniversary and we were going to miss a nice dinner but were just glad to be safe. The agent winked at me and quietly said "I'm upgrading both of you to first class." So the people sitting #1-2 on the UG list were probably like "WTH?!" It ended up being a memorable trip.
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Old Jan 26, 2024, 11:50 am
  #15  
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Originally Posted by WillBarrett_68
Use the certs when it matters to you. Trying to "calculate" when you're likely to clear without one is a losing game.
Originally Posted by captaink
Agreed. Several times I've felt like a "sucker" for applying a cert on a flight that remained wide open up until boarding, but then I remember that I had the peace of mind knowing I'm riding up front, was able to select my preferred seats, preselect an entree, etc. It's much preferred to seeing a flight wide open at booking, only to see the F cabin fill up well ahead of your UG window or find yourself in the teens or twenties on the upgrade list at check in.
Agree 100%. I've had this same experience where in the days leading up to the flight, I was second guessing having cleared my RUC to F (instead of taking my chances) only to get to the boarding gate during the Diamond boarding slot and seeing a fair number of folks who kept walking to economy (and would've trumped me as a PM for any comp upgrades) . It always comes back to the ultimate FT saying, WFBF (or WF use RUC/GUC to effectively BF).
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