Free Upgraders

Old Aug 6, 16, 4:18 pm
  #1  
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Free Upgraders

I was ticketed in Business AUH to CMB. The flight was overbooked in Y and there were at least 12 people upgraded to J. Business Class cabin ended up full with free upgraders.

My issue is how the decide whom they upgrade as some of the westerners upgraded were noisy, inadequately dressed and with no regard to any sort of manners.

The upgraders were a mix of SriLankan Locals (30%) and young westerners (70%).


The crew was clueless making no distinction between paying customers and op-ups. i ended up without my choice of meal.

It was impossible to sleep due to the constant drinking, pic taking and chatting of the free upgrades.
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Old Aug 6, 16, 6:24 pm
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Mainly by status with the airline,once upgraded they would get treated the same as a paying guest,a perk of status with the airline i suppose
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Old Aug 7, 16, 1:09 am
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Originally Posted by gmoule View Post
Mainly by status with the airline,once upgraded they would get treated the same as a paying guest,a perk of status with the airline i suppose
+1

All pax in a cabin are supposed to be treated similarly irrespective to upgrade, cash, or award. Some airlines like BA prioritize service by a internal score.

There is no reason to bash the upgraded pax. If there was insufficient food, EY is to be blamed not the upgraded passengers.
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Old Aug 7, 16, 5:38 am
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A lot of airlines do leave meal choices to opups last. That's how it should be too.
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Old Aug 7, 16, 5:39 am
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None of the passenger seem to have status and several commenting it was their first time in Business. I am convinced status did not play any role It was a bus gate and it seemed to me that they randomly upgraded the last few people that boarded

The whole boarding process was a disaster.


Ticketed passengers should have priority over op-ups. Common sense.
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Old Aug 7, 16, 6:34 am
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How a carrier chooses which passengers to upgrade is solely its choice. These are done in cases such as this for the "operational needs" of the carrier. The most common reason are that the flight is overbooked in Y and at risk of an oversale in Y. It is far better and cheaper for the carrier to simply move some passengers from Y to J than to send the aircraft out with empty J seats and fuming ticketed passengers on the ground.

Carriers may have procedures, but ultimately, it is ground staff who make the final decisions because they are the people on the spot. Usually it is status, but it could be anything from totally random, to the ground staff's friends, to people who smiled and asked.

A very few carriers will tell the UG passengers that there will not be enough meals, but those are rare because it becomes a branding matter.

If there was a violation of the dress code, the time to report that was before the cabin door closed. But, there does not appear to be a published dress code for J, so not much to be done. As to noise, how the passenger gets to the cabin is irrelevant, simply bring it to the CC's attention.

If you are disappointed in the service, you should write in. The issue of UG's and trying to make this about status and who paid for what will fall on deaf ears. Make it about the ticket for which you paid and the fact that you did not receive the service standard you expected, not what others do and do not get.
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Old Aug 7, 16, 8:31 am
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They ran out of choices AUH - CMB yesterday in J also...
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Old Aug 7, 16, 9:02 am
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I have seen this on EY flights to KTM a few times where half the cabin was guest workers. No issue to me and I am happy they get to try the service - but clearly the upgrading is done last minute with people picked at random. Likely because some of these flights are overbooked and/or they want to see if there are no-shows before they upgrade.

I've seen the same on QR.
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Old Aug 7, 16, 9:40 am
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Originally Posted by erik123 View Post
I have seen this on EY flights to KTM a few times where half the cabin was guest workers. No issue to me and I am happy they get to try the service - but clearly the upgrading is done last minute with people picked at random. Likely because some of these flights are overbooked and/or they want to see if there are no-shows before they upgrade.

I've seen the same on QR.
I would not have an issue at all if it had been Sri Lankan workers coming back home as it would have been once in a life time experience for them and I have the highest respect for subcontinent and south east asia people working in the Gulf as i know how tough life can be for them.

The issue was with the european crowd which was particularly upgraded as it showed zero thoughtful consideration from the AUH operations staff and how that would impact the paying J customers.

One more thing that goes to show that AUH land service is in shambles and this extends to the gate agent operations.

Also to clarify, I am not being snob here. It is just that this particular circumstance made the flight uncomfortable and CMB is a 4 hours flight which is certainly not short. For an expensive flight, I wanted my choice of breakfast and a quiet cabin and had none of that.

My return was in Qatar and It was SO much better in a A340 with very organised service which resulted in 3.30 hours of good sleep and a nice breakfast delivered very efficiently shortly after take-off
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Old Aug 7, 16, 5:10 pm
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Didn't mean to sound like you weren't right. I would complain.
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Old Aug 7, 16, 6:05 pm
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Originally Posted by erik123 View Post
Didn't mean to sound like you weren't right. I would complain.
No offence taken erik123. I did want to make the point that my comment was not targeted to the local people who had been upgraded
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Old Aug 7, 16, 7:08 pm
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Originally Posted by palermo View Post
None of the passenger seem to have status and several commenting it was their first time in Business. I am convinced status did not play any role It was a bus gate and it seemed to me that they randomly upgraded the last few people that boarded

The whole boarding process was a disaster.


Ticketed passengers should have priority over op-ups. Common sense.
They might travel 3 or 4 flights a week in economy and pay full price economy not discounted. Because they haven't travelled in business before doesn't make them a non status passenger.
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Old Aug 8, 16, 12:28 pm
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While annoying, this is not unique to EY and is something rife with many airlines. Airlines overbook, it's a fact of life and it's called "yield management". Generally, they use sophisticated models to predict how much to overbook by, and with those seats that need to be upgraded they generally follow protocol of tier level members and after that by fare basis type. Nevertheless, station supervisor can override and make manual adjustments as needed. Key is for cabin crew to identify those op-up passengers and make it priority to give meal choices for those booked in J over the op-ups.
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Old Aug 9, 16, 7:54 am
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Experienced the same circumstances 2 weeks ago on the 2130 AUH-CMB flight. The seat map was showing 4 pax in J right up until an hour before departure. I boarded the business bus and waited for a long time with 2 other people. Once the economy bus left they just let everyone remaining board the J bus until it was completely full. Wasn't terribly comfortable for anyone as the business bus doesn't have handrails so people had nothing to hold onto which made corners fun.

On boarding the J cabin was full except for 4 seats. Everyone I could see had economy boarding passes with handwritten J seat numbers on them. Judging by the reactions of many of the op-uppers I'm guessing program status wasn't a factor. The cabin crew did prioritize meal orders and quite deliberately went around the 4 paying J pax first. I thought that was a good touch. Overall though once I stepped off my JFK-AUH flight EY didn't provide a (paid fare) premium experience.

That was my second AUH-CMB flight in 4 weeks and the previous one had only three people in the cabin but no 1st choice meal by the time they got to me so I guess things balance out. I like EY to/from the US but my last 6 times through AUH on shorter flights via bus gates have been shambolic so I'm going to return to QR for the foreseeable future, or at least until the new terminal is open.
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Old Aug 10, 16, 5:37 am
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Originally Posted by Annalisa12 View Post
They might travel 3 or 4 flights a week in economy and pay full price economy not discounted. Because they haven't travelled in business before doesn't make them a non status passenger.
Indeed.

But given that this was EY operating out of their home base - where they run a totally shambolic operation - then I am pretty sure that they were just random upgrades.

Last time I flew from AUH on EY - in F - there was no priority boarding and I was made to join the very end of the very long boarding line.
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