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The Big UPGRADE Thread – all you need to know about AY upgrades

The Big UPGRADE Thread – all you need to know about AY upgrades

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Old Jul 20, 22, 11:11 pm   -   Wikipost
Please read: This is a community-maintained wiki post containing the most important information from this thread. You may edit the Wiki once you have been on FT for 90 days and have made 90 posts.
 
Last edit by: Steve_Hun
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General
Upgrade space is capacity controlled, separately from revenue space in J cabin. The number of seats released to the different upgrade types are driven by a number of factors, but never by the "there are unsold seats in J cabin, let's fill them" policy some other airlines employ.

Upgrades now book into fare bucket U, which is also used for business class awards. Note that availability tools such as Expertflyer etc. may or may not show correct U availability as AY tends to offer additional U availability to Plats and Lumos, and this hidden availability is not shown by non-AY affiliated availability tools.

Do note that the process of upgrades type 1,2 has dramatically changed. There is now a dedicated webpage for upgrades at https://www.finnair.com/en/business-...pgrade-renewal. The searches below very often show zero availability. Moreover, type 4 seems not to exist anymore (10/2019) but might be back when they add more features. Very few seats (if any) are published to the search tool. Instead upgrades must go on waitlist, from where a robot processes upgrades from an unknown set of parameters. A waitlisted upgrade can clear in minutes or never, and there is no way to know. Waitlisted upgrades are checked at T-59, 21, 10, 5 days, and at T-37 hours.

Check available seats before buying ticket (upgrade-types 1,2) Tool currently unavailable. Said by AY rep in OCT-2021 to be in development for new site.
Check upgrades offered via booking reference (upgrade-types 1,2,3)


Upgrade-types
1. Upgrades with points
2. Upgrades with vouchers
3. Cash upgrades (targeted and not targeted)
4. Upgrades by bidding
5. Cash upgrades at airport
6. Complimentary upgrades



Upgrades with AY+ points

Requirements:
  • flight marketed and operated by AY (operated by Norra is also eligible)
  • ticketed booking in paid economy (there must be a ticket number in your reservation)
  • all paid economy booking classes are eligible
  • award flights and points+money combos are ineligible (booking class X)
    • however, some reports state that it is possible to upgrade these
  • you cannot upgrade any codeshare flights
  • It is not required to have a Finnair-issued ticket

Cost:
  • Northern Europe (GOT, CPH, SVO, OSL, ARN, WAW, VNO, KEF, BGO) 7,500 points one way
  • Rest of Europe, DXB, TLV 10,000 points one way
  • long haul 50,000 points one way
    • as you upgrade a longhaul with points, the SH feeder upgrade will be included in the price.
  • there have been some occasional promotions especially for short haul upgrades (winter and summer campaigns)
    • Northern Europe 5,000 points, rest of Europe, DXB, TLV 7,500 points

Process:
  • you can check availability here before booking (Tool currently unavailable. Said by AY rep in OCT-2021 to be in development for new site.)
  • once you have a ticketed booking, you can process your upgrade online here
  • you may also call AY to process your upgrade
    • note that during the campaigns the campaign prices are only for self-service upgrades
  • If there is no availability, you can waitlist. A waitlisted upgrade may clear within hours of your request or up to 37 hours before STD. If it doesn't clear, after T-37 you may call AY, use the chat or go to the check-in desk at the airport and enquire about an upgrade.
    • your status will play a role in this
    • If there is no SH availability you can still upgrade the LH and waitlist the shorthaul. You'll pay the same points price even if SH does not clear though.
    • NOTE: If you wish to do Advance Seat Reservation (ASR) in Economy class, select the desired seats before waitlisting. After waitlisting it is not possible to select seats via Manage My Booking, however one can do that via Chat or Call Center.
  • if you waitlist, your points will be taken from your account immediately; if the upgrade does not clear, your points will be returned to you but you will lose any points that have expired during the waiting time
  • your points need to be valid at time of processing the request but they do not need to be valid on the day of the flight
  • you will receive a new e-ticket showing booking class U but you will receive points/miles according to your original booking class (this may require a retroclaim if earning on other programmes than AY+)
  • Once you have a new ticket, your upgrade is confirmed. However, if J is overbooked on your flight, you will be among the first pax that AY will bump back into Y. J rarely gets overbooked, though.
  • as an unpublished perk, you may choose to change your upgrade from a points one to a voucher one by calling AY; your points will be returned to you save for any points that may have expired
  • If you change your mind about the upgrade you may conctact CS and ask to cancel the upgrade and have points returned. There likely must be seats left in Y cabin to allow this, and your points expiry date must not have passed.

Perks:
  • Most of the J perks like priority check-in, priority security where available, lounge access, priority boarding. However the luggage allowance is one additional piece at 32kg (on top of your existing economy allowance).
  • you will receive points/miles according to your original economy class booking class (this may require a retroclaim if earning on other programmes than AY+)

Upgrades with vouchers
Vouchers are given to Finnair+ members upon advancing to and retaining the platinum and gold tiers. You can see number of vouchers, their type and expiry in your Finnair+ account.

Requirements:
  • flight marketed and operated by AY (operated by Norra is also eligible)
  • ticketed booking in economy (there must be a ticket number in your reservation)
  • all paid economy booking classes are eligible
  • award flights booked via AY+ are also eligible (booking class X)
  • most likely, points+money combos are eligible, too, since they book into X, but we have no verification of this
  • award flights booked via parners (eg. Avios, AAdvantage etc) are not eligible
  • you cannot upgrade any codeshare flights
  • It is not required to have a Finnair-issued ticket

Cost:
  • Northern Europe one "European" voucher for a one-way flight
  • Rest of Europe, DXB, TLV one "European" voucher for a one-way flight
  • longhaul one "Longhaul" voucher for a one-way flight
  • LH voucher does not include upgrade for connecting shorthaul (like it does with points upgrades), SH flight requires a separate voucher/points upgrade
  • you may exchange four European vouchers for one "Longhaul" voucher by calling AY

Process:
  • you can check availability here before booking. Tool currently unavailable. Said by AY rep in OCT-2021 to be in development for new site.
  • once you have a ticketed booking, you can process your upgrade online here
  • you may also call AY to process your upgrade
  • If there is no availability, you can waitlist. A waitlisted upgrade may clear within hours of your request or up to 37 hours before STD. If it doesn't clear, after T-37 you may call AY, use the chat or go to the check-in desk at the airport and enquire about an upgrade.
    • higher tiers will be prioritized
  • if you waitlist, your voucher will be taken from your account immediately; if the upgrade does not clear, your voucher will be returned to you but you will lose any vouchers that have expired during the waiting time
  • you will receive a new e-ticket showing booking class U but you will receive points/miles according to your original booking class (this may require a retroclaim if earning on other programmes than AY+)
  • Once you have a new ticket, your upgrade is confirmed. However, if J is overbooked on your flight, you will be among the first pax that AY will bump back into Y. J rarely gets overbooked, though.
  • If you change your mind about the upgrade you can contact CS and ask to cancel the upgrade and have voucher returned. There likely must be seats left in Y cabin to allow this, and your voucher expiry date must not have passed.

Perks:
  • all usual J perks like priority check-in, increased baggage allowance, priority security where available, lounge access, priority boarding
  • you will receive points/miles according to your original economy class booking class (this may require a retroclaim if earning on other programmes than AY+)

Cash upgrades, offered via email / SMS / app or found under "Last minute offers"
AY will contact you about these targeted upgrade offers; you might receive an email or an SMS suggesting an upgrade at a fixed price or it can pop up in the Finnair app. You can find and report offers in this thread.
These fixed price upgrades might also be seen at the upgrade page, at earliest 4 days before take-off, under the section "Last-minute-offer". Offer can stay active on the page until as late as 2-24 hours before take-off, depending on route and availability.

Requirements:
  • Finnair selects targets for these upgrades on unknown factors
  • you might be contacted roughly 3–14 days before your flight
  • Same offer might be announced on website to all 4 days before the flight
  • flight marketed and operated by AY (or operated by Norra)
  • ticketed booking in paid economy (there must be a ticket number in your reservation)
  • all paid economy booking classes are eligible
  • you cannot upgrade any codeshare flights
  • you do not need to be a AY+ member

Cost:
Process:
  • follow the link on your email / SMS to process the upgrade
  • If no solicited offer, monitor webpage from T-4 days
  • Do not sloth if you want the upgrade, as they may send out more offers than actual seats available
  • you will receive a new e-ticket showing booking class F but you will receive points/miles according to your original booking class (this may require a retroclaim if earning on other programmes than AY+)
  • Once you have a new ticket, your upgrade is confirmed. However, if J is overbooked on your flight, you will be among the first pax that AY will bump back into Y. J rarely gets overbooked, though.

Perks:
  • Most of the J perks like priority check-in, priority security where available, lounge access, priority boarding. However the luggage allowance is one additional piece at 32kg (on top of your existing economy allowance).
  • you will receive points/miles according to your original economy class booking class (this may require a retroclaim if earning on other programmes than AY+)

Upgrades by bidding in an auction
These upgrades are not mentioned on the new (10/2019) upgrade webpage https://www.finnair.com/en/business-...pgrade-renewal but as the page promises to add more features in the future, it is possible that it will be back.

These upgrades are called "Name your price" on the upgrade webpage.
Requirements:

  • only available on some flights; if your flight is eligible, you can follow a link from MMB
  • availability may change over time, checking again later may prove successful
  • flight marketed and operated by AY (or operated by Norra)
  • ticketed booking in paid economy (there must be a ticket number in your reservation)
  • all paid economy booking classes are eligible
  • award flights and points+money combos are ineligible (booking class X)
  • you cannot upgrade any codeshare flights

Cost:
  • you will determine the cost by committing to an amount you decide for yourself
  • there's a starting price below which you may not bid
  • AY will place your bid in one of five categories; a five-star bid has the highest odds and a one-star bid the lowest odds (and yes, FTers have placed one-star bids that have been accepted)

Process:
  • you will place your bid online following the Upgrade link in MMB
  • all bids will be put on a waitlist
  • offer is not binding, you can cancel it at any point, even after Finnair accepted the bid
  • bidding is closed 7 days before flight, and accepted bidders are notified 6-7 days before flight with a call to pay.
  • at this point, you can decide which (all, none, any) of the passengers in the reservation should be upgraded.
  • you will receive a new e-ticket showing booking class F (??) but you will receive points/miles according to your original booking class (this may require a retroclaim if earning on other programmes than AY+)
  • Once you have a new ticket, your upgrade is confirmed. However, if J is overbooked on your flight, you will be among the first pax that AY will bump back into Y. J rarely gets overbooked, though.

Perks:
  • all usual J perks like priority check-in, increased baggage allowance, priority security where available, lounge access, priority boarding
  • you will receive points/miles according to your original economy class booking class (this may require a retroclaim if earning on other programmes than AY+)

Upgrades paid in cash at the airport

(Note that check-in agents are able to process last-minute points and voucher upgrades.)

Requirements:
  • upgrades may be available for purchase at check-in
  • flight operated by AY or Norra
  • ticketed booking in economy
  • all paid economy booking classes are eligible
  • most likely AY+ & partner award flights in economy are eligible, too, though this is unconfirmed
  • the marketing carrier does not matter, so this is the only upgrade where codeshares are eligible

Cost:
  • varies, expect to pay some hundreds of euros for long haul one way

Process:
  • the upgrade will be processed and paid for at the check-in desk of the airport of departure
  • most likely the above means the airport of departure of that particular flight, so to upgrade HEL-BKK on a CPH-HEL-BKK itinerary, you would need to contact (transfer) check-in at HEL
  • you will receive points/miles according to your original booking class (this may require a retroclaim if earning on other programmes than AY+)
  • Once you have a new ticket, your upgrade is confirmed. The odds of being bumped back into Y are close to 0 as AY will not offer these upgrades if J is overbooked

Perks:
  • in practice, priority check-in is not possible since you will be an economy passenger when choosing the queue at the airport
  • all other usual J perks like increased baggage allowance, priority security where available, lounge access, priority boarding
  • you will receive points/miles according to your original economy class booking class (this may require a retroclaim if earning on other programmes than AY+)

Complimentary operational upgrades
  • usually just a new boarding pass & seat either at the gate, at check-in or even after you have boarded
  • few and far between
  • the decision whom to upgrade on a particular flight seems a bit random but is at least partially dependent on the price of your ticket, booking class and status
    • an overheard policy was AY Plats, AY Golds and then anyone else
  • in theory, all usual J perks apply but in practice this depends on when you get to know about your upgrade; if you receive the upgrade at the gate, you will have checked in and there's no time to visit the lounge etc
  • you will receive points/miles according to your original economy class booking class (this may require a retroclaim if earning on other programmes than AY+)
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Old May 10, 22, 12:24 pm
  #2026  
Ambassador: Finnair
 
Join Date: May 2003
Location: HEL
Programs: AY Plat, BA Silver, HHonors/Carlson Gold
Posts: 3,802
Originally Posted by lento View Post
How good is the possibility to clear waitlist on SIN - HEL route ? App allowed me to waitlist using voucher.
Traditionally one of the toughest AY routes to upgrade but it doesn’t mean it’s impossible, over the years I have upgraded many SIN flights, some at ticketing, some from waitlist, must have been lucky but never flown to/from SIN in coach either.

If you tell the day of the flight, it’s easier to guess
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Old May 10, 22, 12:37 pm
  #2027  
 
Join Date: Dec 2014
Location: HEL
Programs: AY+Plat, TK Elite (*G)
Posts: 635
Originally Posted by NoWindowSeat View Post
Traditionally one of the toughest AY routes to upgrade but it doesn’t mean it’s impossible, over the years I have upgraded many SIN flights, some at ticketing, some from waitlist, must have been lucky but never flown to/from SIN in coach either.

If you tell the day of the flight, it’s easier to guess
Thanks for sharing your experience. Pre-covid I was successful few times as well. I suppose it is different nowadays.
Flight is on 21 July.
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Old May 10, 22, 12:43 pm
  #2028  
Ambassador: Finnair
 
Join Date: May 2003
Location: HEL
Programs: AY Plat, BA Silver, HHonors/Carlson Gold
Posts: 3,802
Originally Posted by lento View Post
Thanks for sharing your experience. Pre-covid I was successful few times as well. I suppose it is different nowadays.
Flight is on 21 July.
21JUL AY132
J9 C3 D0 R0 I0 U0 W9 E8 T0 P0 Y9 B9H9 K9 M9 L9 V9 S9 N0 Q0 O0 Z0 G9 X0

No el cheapo J on sale anymore, 16 J pax have seat reservations. It looks relatively heavily booked >2 months out. For Plat I’d give at least 1/3 chance of clearing but can go close to departure
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Old May 10, 22, 1:26 pm
  #2029  
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Join Date: May 2011
Location: MMX (CPH)
Programs: Eurobonus Diamond, QR Platinum, AY+ Platinum, A3*G, Nordic Choice Lifetime Platinum, SJ Prio Black
Posts: 12,700
The upgrade process...

On may 9, at 20:50 I bought a 4 segment intra-eu ticket in Y for october. All segments showed U availability. A few minutes later I applied 4 SH vouchers in the online tool to be upgraded.

21:11 Email from "Frequent flyer Internet sales office" with a new e-ticket issued, where segment 1 is upgraded.
21:13 Email from "Frequent flyer Internet sales office" with a new e-ticket issued, where segment 2 is upgraded.
21:14 Email from "Frequent flyer Internet sales office" with a new e-ticket issued, where segment 3 is upgraded.
21:15 Email from "Finnair customer service" confirming I have requested upgrades, that 4 SH vouchers have been taken and that if/when upgrades clear I will be issued a new e-ticket

Next day
03:25 Email with order-confirmation for the Y ticket, confirming my Y ticket and seats in Y cabin

(At this point I started to check up what was going on. In MMB I was upgraded on 3 segments, with J seats. On the forth segment there was now no U availability. I did not have the time to do anything about it though, before the next email came)

14:17 Email from "Finnair customer Care" with new e-ticket with segment 4 upgraded.


All E-tickets were sent by amadeus, while other mails were sent by finnair.com domain.

My guess is
The robot doing the upgrades is pretty dumb and cannot process an entire ticket at once. It seems to do each segment in order.
If U is available, the robot is quicker than the booking system, so the upgraded e-ticket exists before they even confirmed the initial Y booking.
If U disapears for the robot, it looks like it is handed over to manual ("other department").


Should I say "well done Finnair, you managed to process upgrade vouchers in less than 24h" or "Well, Finnair, the old system was quicker because plat line processed all upgrades at once within minutes. And I don't really need a new e-ticket every minute"?
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Old May 10, 22, 2:18 pm
  #2030  
 
Join Date: May 2017
Programs: AY Lumo, HH D, BW DS
Posts: 395
Originally Posted by intuition View Post
The upgrade process...

Should I say "well done Finnair, you managed to process upgrade vouchers in less than 24h" or "Well, Finnair, the old system was quicker because plat line processed all upgrades at once within minutes. And I don't really need a new e-ticket every minute"?
The emails for the upgrade flow when using the online tool are indeed all over the place. Upgrade ticketing happens rapidly when there's direct availability, new tix arrive via email, one segment at a time, and then sometime after the "thanks for requesting an upgrade" email. Similar thing with the actual bookings, tix come out fast like they always have, but the booking confirmation email (which should be the first one to get triggered, even before ticketing) arrives sometime in the middle of the following night. Go figure...
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Old May 10, 22, 11:54 pm
  #2031  
 
Join Date: Dec 2015
Location: QND, BEG, BUD
Programs: AY Platinum; TK Elite Plus; QR Silver; MR Platinum
Posts: 99
Is it still possible to waitlist with 50k points for a LH upgrade and then replace it at a later point with a LH voucher?

I know the voucher doesn't cover the the feeder flight, so I assume if my previous query is positive that when I do the switch they will just revert me back to economy for the SH?

Also could some kind soul tell me how is SIN looking on Nov 11, trying to grab 2 upgrades there, the seat map looks empty, but sadly I know this means nothing these days
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Old May 11, 22, 12:04 am
  #2032  
 
Join Date: Sep 2018
Location: ZRH/HEL
Programs: AY+ Plat
Posts: 88
Originally Posted by deleter View Post
Is it still possible to waitlist with 50k points for a LH upgrade and then replace it at a later point with a LH voucher?
I'm interested in that, too. If you waitlist via CS, then it'll be even 51k points. Learned it the hard way as I wanted to upgrade with 1 SH voucher and 10k points for a SH flight. CS said they charge nowadays 1k points for upgrade requests via CS. Complained that I was forced to go via CS because the system wasn't able to handle it. Let's see about the reply in the complaint case...

Originally Posted by deleter View Post
Also could some kind soul tell me how is SIN looking on Nov 11, trying to grab 2 upgrades there, the seat map looks empty, but sadly I know this means nothing these days
I checked the J Award availability for the SIN route and booked a Y flight on dates where J Award was available, recently. Applied upgrades afterwards and the upgrade request went through right away

Last edited by Teppo; May 11, 22 at 12:05 am Reason: typo
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Old May 11, 22, 12:05 am
  #2033  
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Hel-sin:

j9 c9 d9 r9 i0 u0 w9 e9 t9 p9 y9 b9 h9 k9 m9 l9 v9 s9 n9 q9 o9 z9 g9 x9
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Old May 12, 22, 2:26 am
  #2034  
a_k
 
Join Date: Mar 2022
Programs: AY
Posts: 53
If I pay for an upgrade and then need to cancel the (flex) ticket, I'm assuming I will get a refund (or credit? or voucher?) for that paid upgrade. Similarly, if I need to change the dates, the upgrade will be applied to the new dates, if available, and if not available then refund/credit/voucher?

Also, just confirming that points can't be used towards codeshare upgrades at all?
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Old May 12, 22, 2:46 am
  #2035  
Ambassador: Finnair
 
Join Date: May 2003
Location: HEL
Programs: AY Plat, BA Silver, HHonors/Carlson Gold
Posts: 3,802
Originally Posted by a_k View Post
If I pay for an upgrade and then need to cancel the (flex) ticket, I'm assuming I will get a refund (or credit? or voucher?) for that paid upgrade. Similarly, if I need to change the dates, the upgrade will be applied to the new dates, if available, and if not available then refund/credit/voucher?

Also, just confirming that points can't be used towards codeshare upgrades at all?
Yes, points and/or unexpired vouchers are returned.

No upgrades on codeshares, only on AY metal/wet-leases and on AY stock.
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Old May 12, 22, 3:37 am
  #2036  
a_k
 
Join Date: Mar 2022
Programs: AY
Posts: 53
Originally Posted by NoWindowSeat View Post
Yes, points and/or unexpired vouchers are returned.

No upgrades on codeshares, only on AY metal/wet-leases and on AY stock.
Cheers, thanks! But upgrading with cash = refund of cash?
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Old May 12, 22, 3:57 am
  #2037  
Ambassador: Finnair
 
Join Date: May 2003
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Originally Posted by a_k View Post
Cheers, thanks! But upgrading with cash = refund of cash?
On that I have no personal experience but would be very surprised if the money is not returned.
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Old May 12, 22, 11:24 am
  #2038  
 
Join Date: Dec 2015
Location: QND, BEG, BUD
Programs: AY Platinum; TK Elite Plus; QR Silver; MR Platinum
Posts: 99
Originally Posted by Teppo View Post
I'm interested in that, too. If you waitlist via CS, then it'll be even 51k points. Learned it the hard way as I wanted to upgrade with 1 SH voucher and 10k points for a SH flight. CS said they charge nowadays 1k points for upgrade requests via CS. Complained that I was forced to go via CS because the system wasn't able to handle it. Let's see about the reply in the complaint case...
I checked the J Award availability for the SIN route and booked a Y flight on dates where J Award was available, recently. Applied upgrades afterwards and the upgrade request went through right away
I got confirmation via WhatsApp that you can still waitlist via points yourself and then replace when you get the vouchers.
I wish we could choose when to go to SIN so sadly the robot roulette for me
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Old May 12, 22, 5:55 pm
  #2039  
Ambassador: Finnair
 
Join Date: May 2003
Location: HEL
Programs: AY Plat, BA Silver, HHonors/Carlson Gold
Posts: 3,802
Originally Posted by deleter View Post
I got confirmation via WhatsApp that you can still waitlist via points yourself and then replace when you get the vouchers.
I wish we could choose when to go to SIN so sadly the robot roulette for me
Good luck, I’ve a similar situation, booked a trip in PE Flex out / J in as it was way too expensive in bisnetic for the outbound, called to be put on waitlist, first PE-J upgrade for the agent so needed to verify the cost but in the end it was still smooth. Maybe this will break my record of never flying AY to/from SIN in coach..(PE is still coach in my books..)
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Old May 13, 22, 5:40 am
  #2040  
 
Join Date: May 2022
Posts: 5
Originally Posted by seldomrfly View Post
"Upgrade not available" (Finnair website)
Doesn't necessary mean there isn't any upgrades. The Finnair website seems to search your full trip for upgrades, if one of your "less important/connecting" legs doesn't have biz available it might give you upgrade not available even if your desired longhaul leg would have availability.
Thanks, I'm traveling only HEL-BKK. So apparently there is nothing to be done at this point since no upgrades available on the online tool? Just have to wait and hope for the best that an upgrade would come available. Not having high hopes for that..
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