Int'l Upgrade Policy needs review!!

 
Old May 13, 04, 5:33 pm
  #1  
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Question Int'l Upgrade Policy needs review!!

While enroute BKK -- departed SEA for NRT April 27th Flight#7...Of 67 BC seats only 36 filled --- Spoke with GA about possible upgrade (knew it was against policy of NWA) and she curtly stated, "for $2,000.00 you can upgrade"! It was obvious I am handicapped and an elite (gold) traveler --- I shrugged it off...thinking since NWA has had so many difficulties in their handling of handicapped..would be nice to have some testimony that they will, when possible, provide additional space for those in need - but no such luck. THEN after boarding I discovered many of the upgrades that WERE PROVIDED were given to Non-Revs (employees and Retirees etc.) - in fact the same GA came aboard and had a young couple moved up front..(she was an employee as she later displayed her ID)...Then during the flight a FA mistook me for an employee and asked if I was not seated in 11D!!!! The more I began checking around (former 30+ Yr. investigator) the more I discovered the front of the plane was obviously being controlled by employees or non-revs. As a frequent traveler AND a shareholder --- I think there is simply something wrong with this picture???? My co-workers and I have decided to look into flying another airline that may have some better control or policy regarding the Int'l upgrades... Am I out of line here???
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Old May 13, 04, 5:49 pm
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I'm sorry, but I have no sympathy for you.

I have traveled extensively with a co-worker who has significant mobility issues, and we simply make it a point to book upgradeable seats we can upgrade at booking, find deep-discounted business seats, or simply grin and bear it. And we do a lot of travelling (87,000 miles on the past 6 months) and represent a significant amount of revenue to Northwest in flying those miles.

Steve

Last edited by sllevin; May 13, 04 at 5:56 pm Reason: re-read original post
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Old May 13, 04, 6:00 pm
  #3  
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I think buck hunter's original point was that the front of the plane had turned in to a "Jolly" for friends and colleagues of the NWA agent, who had previously tried to imply that WBC was far too special and important a place for upgrades to be allowed. I would be annoyed too. bh's mobility is not the issue here.
Simon
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Old May 13, 04, 6:42 pm
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You have a good point, but the same FC situation is on most North American airlines. Just search the United forum for the words "employee class".
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Old May 13, 04, 7:10 pm
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NW has an international upgrade policy?
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Old May 13, 04, 8:54 pm
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Question Changes are needed!!

I also do not understand NWs reluctance to upgrade passengers, especially Elite members flying on upgradable tickets. I was on a recent flight SFO-NRT-NGO that had two tires fail on take-off from SFO. We ended up having to spend another night in SFO and upon arrival at NRT were told to check with the GA for our flight to NGO. I knew that my nice aisle seat in the front of the plane was gone, as I was a day late, but I asked the GA about an upgrade to BC for the short flight, 45min. I was told that BC was full, so I took my middle coach seat like a good boy. Only problem was only one customer flying in BC, 1 out of 20+ BC seats , yeah that is full alright. My question is why was I lied to by the GA and why in the heck wouldn't NW want to give a PE member a BC seat on a short flight after stranding him in SFO for another night? Yes, I have written complaints to both NWA Japan and NWA USA, still awaiting their reply. Anyone else with similar experiences?
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Old May 13, 04, 10:06 pm
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There's only a good point if the OP wasn't upgraded when he should have been, and employees were brought forward instead.

However, based on the original post, I suspect that's not the case, since the OP stated:

"! It was obvious I am handicapped and an elite (gold) traveler --- I shrugged it off...thinking since NWA has had so many difficulties in their handling of handicapped..would be nice to have some testimony that they will, when possible, provide additional space for those in need
Which implies that he's basically saying "if they were giving to employees, why not to me?"

FWIW, I consider being able to travel up front on the space available a reasonable employee perk and that comparing it to a free upgrade for a regular pasenger is NOT fair at all.

Steve
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Old May 13, 04, 10:34 pm
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Let's seperate things here a bit.

If there were empty wbc seats available, either before or after non revs were upgraded, and one was willing to use miles to do an upgrade, then it would be great if NW would allow an upgrade. While it would be great to get an op-upgrade, I would not expect it.

Where I think NW needs to enhance their approach to WBC upgrades is if there is space, and you are willing to use some miles (maybe more miles for a lower fare, fewer miles for higher fare), then allow an upgrade to occur.

Sure its a nice perk for the employees to get an WBC upgrade, however it is also a nice perk for customers who are contibuting to the salries of those same employees.

Food for thought - Hoover
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Old May 13, 04, 11:48 pm
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I think the GA followed the policy and I don't feel that it needs review. First, employee upgrades is a benefit of their employment. At the rate they are paid that seems to be a fair perk.

I think if they started giving them away to every elite that asked than no elites would buy them and the revenue to the company would drop not improve.

I don't feel that the OP was treated unfairly at all. I would also be willing to bet that there were other PE and GE sitting in the back. IF the policy was to give free U/G on intl flights on a space available at the gate I am not sure that a GE would have much of a chance anyway. Since the PE and their companions would be eligible first.
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Old May 14, 04, 12:17 am
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Originally Posted by hooverer
Where I think NW needs to enhance their approach to WBC upgrades is if there is space, and you are willing to use some miles (maybe more miles for a lower fare, fewer miles for higher fare), then allow an upgrade to occur.
Hoover -- I agree. I'd love to see a policy where you could waitlist any fare but the upgrade would only clear at the gate (i.e., only if the seat was going to go empty).

Heck, even some "fare class waiver" certificates for those of us who fly far beyond 75,000 miles (even if we don't typically travel on the expensive fares to get many Platinum Points).

If AA is successful in its changes, I suspect such things will be coming down the road at NW.

Steve
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Old May 14, 04, 6:52 am
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Little sympathy

NW's policy is clearly stated regarding int'l upgrades. Airline FA/ramp workers/reservation clerks/etc - ie every line worker except pilots and mechanics - are not paid a whole lot. One of the reasons they stay with the airlines is the possibility of travel. That's one of their perks. If I or my company buy a business class fare across an ocean, I really don't want other people in the same cabin who bought economy and got upgraded free. If they used miles or paid a bit extra for the upgrade, fine. I don't mind FAs taking up free seats, because they're underpaid to start with and it's a defined perk.

As for the handicap reason, handicap parking spots enable handicapped people with limited mobility a chance at shorter transits to where they're going. I doubt moving handicapped people to the front cabin just because they're handicapped reduces their need for mobility during the flight. As a handicapped person, you must notice the pathetic lazy people who hang a handicap tag on their mirror and practically sprint into their store or wherever they're headed. What if the airlines started a policy of upgrading people because of "handicaps". Can you imaging all the sleazes that would all of a sudden have "handicaps" that magically exist for the duration of their flights?
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Old May 14, 04, 7:06 am
  #12  
 
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Policy Tweeking - Maybe

The reason that International Upgrades are difficult is that Northwest is making efforts to retain the "value" of the product. If anyone could upgrade i.e. Elite, Mileage or Paid Upgrade similiar to the domestic product, it would errode from the revenue base they expect to attain from P, C and Z from upgradeable fares. I agree 100% on this side of the policy. If International F/C is so important on a particular routing to myself, I either pay for WBC or an upradeable Y fare and troll the Coupon Connection for a WBC upgrade voucher.

Regarding employee travel. I believe this has been adequately addressed here. It is a benefit of employment and these individuals are the last to get seats on the aircraft. For each time one may seat in WBC, there are many more times where that seat was 36F (middle) or spending several days getting home as flights are full. We all enjoy benefits through our employers that are not available to all. Flight benefits are the perk of an airline employee. A well earned perk.

Regarding seating for passengers with a disability. There is designated seating in the forward cabin as well as he second bulkhead (a/c type permitting) which are restricted for assignment and designated for disabled passengers. I would suggested amending your Elite profile to reflect your desire for disability seating and these can be yours. They are excellent seats!

Last edited by mjcasta; May 14, 04 at 7:25 am
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Old May 14, 04, 8:04 am
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Originally Posted by mjcasta
The reason that International Upgrades are difficult is that Northwest is making efforts to retain the "value" of the product. If anyone could upgrade i.e. Elite, Mileage or Paid Upgrade similiar to the domestic product, it would errode from the revenue base they expect to attain from P, C and Z from upgradeable fares. I agree 100% on this side of the policy. If International F/C is so important on a particular routing to myself, I either pay for WBC or an upradeable Y fare and troll the Coupon Connection for a WBC upgrade voucher.
Problem with this is that ultimately WBC will fill up with non-revs, which is the same, to me, as devaluation of the product.

I would like to see an upgrade voucher system based on elite status (which equates miles flown). Give system wide upgrade coupons that is usable with higher fares - could be M- or higher for example. Give out a limited numbers, non-transferable to for top elites. That would reward the top flyers, make them purchase higher fares, and satisfy our thisrt for WBC seats.
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Old May 14, 04, 8:05 am
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Originally Posted by buck hunter
I shrugged it off...thinking since NWA has had so many difficulties in their handling of handicapped..would be nice to have some testimony that they will, when possible, provide additional space for those in need - but no such luck.
NW has recently won significant awards for their handling of people with disabilities.
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Old May 14, 04, 8:44 am
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from YXU - Upgrade vouchers already exist on NWA for International travel from fare basis Y B M. They are available on the Coupon Connection as well as occasionally through Elite Service Center assuming that a history of "over water" travel is documented and appropriate fare basis was used. Another means of obtaining is through your travel agent or corporate travel departments. If they have an established NWA relationship, they should have a small stack. There are also ANY FARE upgrades which are floating around as well. These are not as frequently available as SWU (UAL) but are around.

Thoughts for those who disagree with Non-revenue benefits - We all enjoy perks through our repective companies that are not available to the general public whether it may be free printing services, free rooms, stock incentive options, discount merchandise, company cars, moving expenses, expense accounts, etc etc. I don't complain when I shopped for my Acura TL when the person selling it to me drives one for free, so I want one free too!!

For those who would like to join the "non-rev" party in WBC. Here is the deal, take a 50% pay cut, work a rotating schedule, more than likely relocate, get layed off every six months, get 7 vacation days (after the first year) and then look in the mirror and imagine what it would be like to have to deal with yourself from the opposite side of the counter

Last edited by mjcasta; May 14, 04 at 8:59 am
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