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-   -   Int'l Upgrade Policy needs review!! (https://www.flyertalk.com/forum/northwest-worldperks/321129-intl-upgrade-policy-needs-review.html)

buck hunter May 13, 04 5:33 pm

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??? :( :confused:

sllevin May 13, 04 5:49 pm

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

NNH May 13, 04 6:00 pm

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

yevlesh2 May 13, 04 6:42 pm

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".

fromYXU May 13, 04 7:10 pm

NW has an international upgrade policy? :D

NGO-NWA May 13, 04 8:54 pm

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 :confused: , 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? :td: Yes, I have written complaints to both NWA Japan and NWA USA, still awaiting their reply. Anyone else with similar experiences?

sllevin May 13, 04 10:06 pm

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

hooverer May 13, 04 10:34 pm

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

wldtrvlr May 13, 04 11:48 pm

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.

sllevin May 14, 04 12:17 am


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

IAH-OIL-TRASH May 14, 04 6:52 am

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?

mjcasta May 14, 04 7:06 am

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!

fromYXU May 14, 04 8:04 am


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.

headstrong May 14, 04 8:05 am


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. :( :confused:

NW has recently won significant awards for their handling of people with disabilities.

mjcasta May 14, 04 8:44 am

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!! :D

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 :p

kyushuman May 14, 04 8:51 am

Can't believe I'm saying this but...NW should follow KL's lead
 
There is a thread in the KL forum talking about when people arrive at the Lounge in AMS, they have a process for same-day upgrades:
The pax just goes to the desk and ask about using miles to Upgrade. While the pax fills out an upgrade request form, the lounge calls the gate to see if there are seats in WBC.
If the gate gives the OK, the form is then faxed to the FD office, who then replies as to whether the pax has enough miles. Simple as that. Maybe 3-5 minutes.
The airline can say no if they have reason to, but then there aren't tons of empty WBC seats going out with 20 Plats in back wondering why they couldn't use miles to upgrade. As for "devaluation", while you could wait to get the seat at the last minute, the only way to guarantee yourself a seat would be to either buy a ticket outright or Rulebust.
So, as you can see, miles can be used up till the day of travel on KL, NW's closest partner. Why not on NW?

mdb May 14, 04 11:40 am

[QUOTE=IAH-OIL-TRASH]NW's policy is clearly stated regarding int'l upgrades. .........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.
QUOTE]

But that is the point - NW makes it extreemly difficult to do this - even with "upgradeable" fares. Upgrading Intl. on NW is a nightmare and the reason stated "is not to diminish a premium product" - then they "give" the seats away to emplyees, friends and family....

dave_261 May 14, 04 12:30 pm

I certainly agree with the whole devaluation of WBC issue. If I paid $3,000-$8,000 to secure a WBC seat, I don't want to be sitting next to someone who paid $350 and scored an easy upgrade.

I am aware that there are international mileage upgrades from select fare classes, but having never tried to go this route, I can't speak to the difficulty of obtaining one.

My though comes about with all of the outstanding miles out there, and rampant complaints about the difficulty of using them, this seems to be an opportunity for the airlines to reduce the liability at no cost.

As has been mentioned in this thread, why let empty WBC seats go out when there are "revenue" (by way of reducing the mileage liability) opportunities out there?

Maybe it's just an elite perk, only available within 60 minutes of departure, that opens up some/all remaining WBC inventory for mileage upgrades for certain fare classes. Perhaps it would "cost" 25,000 miles or something like that (or even miles + cash). That way, NWA:
- Fills an empty WBC seat
- Makes an elite flier happy
- Opens up a coach seat so perhaps someone in the back has more comfort
- Reduces the mileage liability by 25,000 miles, which opens up more potential availability for other redemption opportunities down the road
- All this for a cost of about $25 in food and beverage that the WBC passenger will use

Just a thought...

fromYXU May 14, 04 12:42 pm

I have a Y-fare MSP-AMS-LIS in September. I upgraded to WBC using points on MSP-AMS leg, but can not right now for the return leg. All flights show: J9 C9 Z0 Y9!!!

You would think that I could upgrade at this point, but no availabilty. :confused:

Would be nice to have a way to do it.

Edited to add that this is not a $375 fare!

thecortex May 14, 04 12:52 pm


Originally Posted by dave_261
Maybe it's just an elite perk, only available within 60 minutes of departure, that opens up some/all remaining WBC inventory for mileage upgrades for certain fare classes. Perhaps it would "cost" 25,000 miles or something like that (or even miles + cash). That way, NWA:
- Fills an empty WBC seat
- Makes an elite flier happy
- Opens up a coach seat so perhaps someone in the back has more comfort
- Reduces the mileage liability by 25,000 miles, which opens up more potential availability for other redemption opportunities down the road
- All this for a cost of about $25 in food and beverage that the WBC passenger will use

Just a thought...

This seems like a reasonable proposal to me especially since it could be done discretely in the gate area by paging elite pax individually (by order of status/fare class) and giving them an upgrade opportunity. Even if it were only 50 % of unsold inventory it would provide considerable good will for the pax offered the upgrade (most I'm sure would choose to redeem the miles for an upgrade) while not excessively "diluting" the WBC product (by limiting it to elites on B fares or higher). Of course, this whole process would be helped by having an international upgrade waitlist which every other carrier seems to have - except NW.

It's very frustrating to not be upgraded on an eligible international fare and then watch deadheading pilots and cabin crew jockey for non-rev WBC seats at the gate.

mdb May 14, 04 12:55 pm


Originally Posted by fromYXU
I have a Y-fare MSP-AMS-LIS in September. I upgraded to WBC using points on MSP-AMS leg, but can not right now for the return leg. All flights show: J9 C9 Z0 Y9!!!

You would think that I could upgrade at this point, but no availabilty. :confused:

Would be nice to have a way to do it.

Edited to add that this is not a $375 fare!

.... it may not open up until 2-3 days before - and that is ok - but sometimes they won't do it and the seat goes empty - happened to me in Jan - 4 unused seats!! ...and I had a "b" upgradable ticket and plenty of miles!!!

fromYXU May 14, 04 12:59 pm


Originally Posted by mdb
.... it may not open up until 2-3 days before - and that is ok - but sometimes they won't do it and the seat goes empty - happened to me in Jan - 4 unused seats!! ...and I had a "b" upgradable ticket and plenty of miles!!!

I believe that Y upgrades from Z, (B upgrades from I) so should happen much sonner than that. I just worry that I already lost out.

MSY-MSP May 14, 04 1:08 pm

My biggest gripe with the NW upgrade situation occured to me recently when I was in AMS returning to the States via DTW. I called NW reservations and found out there were 3 empty WBC seats, and coach was oversold by 20. I was on an upgradeable B fare that cost well more than 375. I asked if I could get an upgrade using miles and reduce the liability of an oversale by 1 (hey that would be 1 less IDB or VDB issued) Was told by the res agent that they couldn't do it, but to ask at the airport. Went to the airport, and asked the KL agent the same questions, and was told that KL does not do day of departure upgrades, which, as a previous poster stated is absolute bull. Anyway I keep trying, even once getting to the agent at the gate and asking about a mileage upgrade to help them out. I even told them I would call NW in the US on my mobile to help arrange this. They wouldn't do this. They kept asking for volunteers to give up their seats. Anyway they were still doing this when I boarded and took my seat in Y. Eventually they closed the doors, and left with 3 empty WBC seats. I found out from the flight crew that they ended up issuing 10 IDB and 3 VDB and had 7 no shows. (I don't know where they got this info from) this made no sense to me. I am sure that there were other elites on the flight with upgradable fares, that could have used miles to upgrade, thus freeing 3 seats and reducing the IDB's by 3. But they didn't and left a bad taste in my mouth, especially when I am trying to help them.

The way I see it in this situation is as follows if NW had done the upgrade:
1) NW reduces its mileage liability by 30000 miles, net cost ~$25 for the upgrade, possibly more depending on drinking habits :D
2) NW doesn't issue an IDB, value on that ~$200, maybe more, this I am not sure of
3) NW gains extra goodwill, by having a happy FF in WBC, and a happy Pax in Y who at least has a seat.

sllevin May 14, 04 1:21 pm


Originally Posted by fromYXU
Problem with this is that ultimately WBC will fill up with non-revs, which is the same, to me, as devaluation of the product.

Given the difficulty we've had trying to find upgrade availability, I really don't think that's happening most of the time on either the Asian or European networks.

For example, SFO-NRT looks like:

5/15 (a saturday, no less!) J0 C0 Z0 Y0 B0 M0 Q0 V0 L0 T0 K0
5/16 J0 C0 Z0 Y0 B0 M0 Q0 V0 L0 T0 K0
5/17 J2 C0 Z0 Y0 B0 M0 Q0 V0 L0 T0 K0
5/18 J3 C1 Z0 Y0 B0 M0 Q0 V0 L0 T0 K0
5/19 J3 C1 Z0 Y4 B2 M0 Q0 V0 L0 T0 K0
5/20 J6 C2 Z0 Y0 B0 M0 Q0 V0 L0 T0 K0
5/21 J6 C3 Z2 Y1 B1 M0 Q0 V0 L0 T0 K0

Doesn't look like much employee class to me.

Steve

fastflyer May 14, 04 1:23 pm

I am surprised at this policy. I thought Delta's policy was tough, but this is absurd! At the very least they should sell these seats at the gate for a premium over coach to generate some revenue. ($500 to upgrade based on a waitlist of elites, for example) To give premium seats to employees when they could be creating revenue is hardly good value for the owners -- the shareholders.

Yes, gate-sale upgrades does cause the premium product to suffer some devaluation, but revenue is king. Many airlines use yield management to sell out their premium cabins, so upgraders are not even an issue (nor are employees sitting up front -- this sends the wrong message to the paying passengers).

Another alternative is no upgrades at all. None. Also no employee or other non-revenue seating up front. None, never. Only paid business passengers. At least then they could claim to keep some exclusivity in the forward cabin.

Also, I believe the catering cost for a premium cabin meal (or two, depending on the flight) is more like $100, not $25.

mdb May 14, 04 1:47 pm


Originally Posted by fromYXU
I believe that Y upgrades from Z, (B upgrades from I) so should happen much sonner than that. I just worry that I already lost out.

You should be fine - they will open "z" seats about 1 week prior. I been down that road many times. If you have a paper ticket I wuld call and BEG before you leave, because they often will not do paper after departure.

fromYXU May 14, 04 1:50 pm


Originally Posted by mdb
You should be fine - they will open "z" seats about 1 week prior. I been down that road many times. If you have a paper ticket I wuld call and BEG before you leave, because they often will not do paper after departure.

Thanks. I figure seats would be available. The return flight is booked on Sept. 11th.

mdb May 14, 04 1:58 pm


Originally Posted by sllevin
Given the difficulty we've had trying to find upgrade availability, I really don't think that's happening most of the time on either the Asian or European networks.

For example, SFO-NRT looks like:

5/15 (a saturday, no less!) J0 C0 Z0 Y0 B0 M0 Q0 V0 L0 T0 K0
5/16 J0 C0 Z0 Y0 B0 M0 Q0 V0 L0 T0 K0
5/17 J2 C0 Z0 Y0 B0 M0 Q0 V0 L0 T0 K0
5/18 J3 C1 Z0 Y0 B0 M0 Q0 V0 L0 T0 K0
5/19 J3 C1 Z0 Y4 B2 M0 Q0 V0 L0 T0 K0
5/20 J6 C2 Z0 Y0 B0 M0 Q0 V0 L0 T0 K0
5/21 J6 C3 Z2 Y1 B1 M0 Q0 V0 L0 T0 K0

Doesn't look like much employee class to me.

Steve

Not necessarily - my beef is when it does happen not when it doesn't.

If you looked at DTW-AMS in Feb it is a very different story...

wldtrvlr May 14, 04 2:35 pm

Employee U/G
 
Personally, I would rather sit by an employee that was upgraded as a perk than to sit by someone the worked the system to get an upgrade.

I would ask all of you that think the employees either dilute the product or dilute the earnings potential of the airline to think for a minute.

Think of your profession and a perk that is offered to you. Whether that be a company car, health insurance, an extra day off for your birthday, a christmas bonus or whatever.

Would you be as willing to give it your all, to do a good job with a good customer friendly attitude, if that perk was taken away, or "diluted". Perks are part of the benefits package. They are not an extra or an afterthought. How much more do you think NW would have to pay employees if they were not allowed free travel? How many of them would jump ship or do a poor job if the airline basically told them "We promised you space available seats, but we are diluting the program so that others can take those seats at the last minute and we won't have to give them to you."

Yes, the flyers pay the employees salaries. However, what makes more people leave an airline, poor service or not getting a free upgrade? I think service. U/G are nice and I will take one anytime someone wants to give me one. But I will fly another airline if the planes are full of grumpy employees that feel their company is screwing them.

I am sure that the WBC is as big a deal to most of the employees as it is to you. Except that they deserve it. When you signed up for WP you knew what the rules were. Therefore you agreed to the policy and do not deserve it. The policy has not changed in the recent past, nor do I expect it to change in the future. It has often been stated on this board that people fly NW for the Free Unlimited DOMESTIC upgrades, but if you do a lot of INTL travel you should pick another airline if upgrades are important to you. That is as plain as it gets. A few of the other airlines are now offering more domestic upgrades, but they still don't compare to the Availabilty on NW. You choose a program that fits your patterns the best. Not every program will match every other program exactly.

mdb May 14, 04 4:02 pm

wldtrvlr,

Im must beg to differ. Given the choice of serving a good customer vs an extra perk for an employee I would choose the customer. The customer is what keeps people employed, and loyal custmers are hard to keep, but easy to lose.

This is not a perk like a car - there is a choice with this situation - employee vs good customer. You are right the customer could go elsewhere, but I do not think it would be in the best interest of the airline.

As far as free travel goes - I am aware of this - my mother and grandmother both worked for PanAm and always flew "space available" "clipper class" when off duty.... but that was the days before Airline loyalty programs. The whole idea of an Elite status is a reward for customer loyalty and what better "thank you" for loyalty than a last minute Intl upgrade - esp on a ticket that is sold as "upgradable." ....and we are not talking free here - the ticket is not cheap, and miles need to be redeemed.

fromYXU May 14, 04 4:23 pm


Originally Posted by wldtrvlr
It has often been stated on this board that people fly NW for the Free Unlimited DOMESTIC upgrades, but if you do a lot of INTL travel you should pick another airline if upgrades are important to you. That is as plain as it gets. A few of the other airlines are now offering more domestic upgrades, but they still don't compare to the Availabilty on NW. You choose a program that fits your patterns the best. Not every program will match every other program exactly.

True, but does not contradict the wish of some elites here that some International upgrades would be a nice addition to the program. Most of us are suggesting an upgrade policy based on status and high-fares.

The issue of non-revs upfront is that of proportions. It can be frustated to know that few seats are sold up front and seing lots of non-revs in those seats. I am not saying that this is the case at NW, but look at other forums and you will see that this often happens. I would suggest that as long as some of us can also move up with reasonable upgrades (not like now where its a crap shoot) none of us would be upset about non-revs.

Unimatrix One May 14, 04 8:09 pm

"When you signed up for WP you knew what the rules were. Therefore you agreed to the policy and do not deserve it. "

When I signed up for WP, the program materials said I could upgrade most discount coach fares on trans-Pacific flights for 25,000 miles each way. There was no mention in any of the program rules about limitations on seating or any other restrictions. Believe me, I scoured the rules when I first ran into NW's practice of "zeroing out" upgrade inventory on Asia flights that had plenty of BC availability, and there was no mention of this anywhere. There was also no mention in the rules about which fare categories are upgradeable and which are not. (I understand that NW has now finally publicly stated which classes are upgradeable.)

My beef is not so much with how NW manages it upgrades. They can do whatever the hell they want. My beef was that they were engaging in all kinds of practices to restrict upgrades WITHOUT telling their customers. This is pure deception and is an unacceptable way to deal with customers.

Gold Member May 14, 04 8:54 pm

From the marketing viewpoint it makes sense to give one or two coupons a year to give frequent flyers a taste of business/first class seating.
However, as a frequent user of paid business/first class seating I can assure you the obvious non-paying passenger next to you is annoying, as you actually get used to empty seats, greater ratio of cabin staff attention, and so you come to prefer the seat next to you to be empty. This, technically is the premium you paid for.
Airline employees except flight deck crew should fly at the back of the aircraft where they experience their own service. This makes good training sense. As they fly at considerable discount they should not affect the business/first class seating standards by reducing the attention time of cabin staff to paying passanegers.

Vegas Agent May 14, 04 9:14 pm

NW's position on last-minute upgrades mainly breaks down to this: if it were to be offered for mileage, cash, or to Elite members on day-of-departure, it would strongly discourage anyone from actually purchasing the seat in the beginning, thereby dilluting revenue significantly.

buck hunter May 14, 04 9:21 pm

Lots of opinions....
 
Well, guess my original post stirred a few minds into action! Lots of excellent points have been submitted - certainly gives one some food for thought! I agree with a few posters regarding the present lack of ability to upgrade using miles...in some cases, depending on fare class -- I think Hooverer had a good point/idea about allowing upgrades and using miles/costs depending on the fare originally purchased - also sounds like KLM has a somewhat better policy for UG at the gate. I still have mixed emotions about non-revs situation....I think they deserve the perk of flying free (I think just pay the tax etc.) but the UG should be used to diminish FF miles/liability or generate some additional cash revenue for those interested in using their miles....or maybe also allowing non-revs to fly Int'l BC with a small additonal fee rather than free in coach should they elect to do so?? The whole Int'l UG system with NWA needs a little tweaking - in my opinion -- domestic UG system is great!

fromYXU May 15, 04 7:34 am


Originally Posted by Gold Member
However, as a frequent user of paid business/first class seating I can assure you the obvious non-paying passenger next to you is annoying, as you actually get used to empty seats, greater ratio of cabin staff attention, and so you come to prefer the seat next to you to be empty. This, technically is the premium you paid for.

A couple of points:
1. What is so obvious about non-paying passengers? Are they labelled? Last time I saw one he entered the plane just like you, sat in his seat just like you, said thank you and please, read his paper... This type of statement is elitist. We all get the best seats we can the most efficient way. I would not be judgemental since the person you refer to may actually be paying a higher fare. You never know!
2. You did not pay for the empty seat next to you. You did not pay for a "empty" cabin. You paid for a seat in BC, period. NW can do whatever it wants with the rest of the seats and you should not have any expectations whatsoever about the load in that cabin.

remedy May 15, 04 5:14 pm

I have been slammed for this before, but I do think that NW's policy for international upgrades stinks. I fly 4-6 times per year and have given up getting an upgrade on anything but a Y class fare, which is at least 2000 more than the lowest fare. I am willing to pay/pass along SOME of the difference, but this is really too much to really be considered a "perk." If it were not for the lack of good options for domestic travel from CMH, I would switch in a minute. It's not just upgrade policies - it is the hubs (too may ATC delays to ORD) and proliferation of ARJ's to hub airlines. For now, I am getting used to 10 A on the 330. Much more erosion in FF benefits, and I will fly whoever is cheapest and more convenient out of CMH. It is getting closer by the year....


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