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Hey UA 1Ks...amid all this CO bashing, aren't we forgetting that UDUs were CO's idea?

Hey UA 1Ks...amid all this CO bashing, aren't we forgetting that UDUs were CO's idea?

Old Jul 22, 11, 8:17 am
  #1  
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Hey UA 1Ks...amid all this CO bashing, aren't we forgetting that UDUs were CO's idea?

I was musing about this last night on my umpteenth DEN-BWI flight this year, which was the first (of 26) UA flights that I have missed getting upgraded on since becoming 1K. Doesn't the UDU benefit trump most of the perceived negatives that CO has injected into the system? It seems that there is no shortage of negative comments about what CO has implemented in order to ruin your lives, but come on...UDUs are a serious plus.

Seems like before that program was instituted, UA FC was the bastion of nonrevs, empty seats, and the odd CR1-burner (based on my reading of the UA forum). I haven't thought much about how nice it is being upgraded constantly because for me it's simply a continuation of the stratus quo, having become used to being upgraded on CO 90+% of the time. For you long-time UA 1K guys, on the other hand, this must be a pretty nice change. Oh I know, there are some hub-hub and transcon fliers who no doubt have tales of woe, but come on...this is a very positive development, eh? Oh, and I have had no issues DEN-ORD and DEN-IAD, but admittedly I don't ply those routes too frequently at peak times. Heck, I even got upgraded recently from C to F on an LAX-IAD 777, so I'm a happy camper.
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Old Jul 22, 11, 8:20 am
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You'll find no shortage of UA flyers who rue the day they introduced UDUs. While I'm not one of them, if you did any mix of dom/int'l, you likely had more than enough CR-1s and e500s to cover all your domestic UG needs (and had a better chance of clearing).

UDU also penalized those who "knew the system" in favor of a more generalized process - bad for FTers, good for joe schmo 1K who somehow didn't realize he/she had a stack of unused UG instruments.

You're a bit off on your perceptions of UA F pre-UDU by the way - majority was always filled by paid/UG pax, NRSA and empty seats were the minority.

As always, YMMV.
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Old Jul 22, 11, 8:22 am
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I did rather well using my 500milers and CR1s in such a way as I saw fit.

If this is the best you can put to the fore for all us 1Ks then it's quite a losing proposition.
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Old Jul 22, 11, 8:24 am
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How many upgrade instruments did you guys typically acquire? Maybe the old system WAS better if you really knew how to play the game. I'm always willing to adjust my views in the face of new evidence
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Old Jul 22, 11, 8:26 am
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Originally Posted by Bonehead View Post
Hey UA 1Ks...amid all this CO bashing, aren't we forgetting that UDUs were CO's idea?
How do you figure? IIRC several airlines had UDU long before CO.
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Old Jul 22, 11, 8:31 am
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Originally Posted by UA-NYC View Post
You'll find no shortage of UA flyers who rue the day they introduced UDUs. While I'm not one of them, if you did any mix of dom/int'l, you likely had more than enough CR-1s and e500s to cover all your domestic UG needs (and had a better chance of clearing).
Indeed, UDU is good for 1k who fly mostly domestically, and very good for 1P/2P who fly non-Elite heavy routes and/or at non-peak times.

Is getting upgraded on 1-hr, Tuesday morning ORD-MSP flight a benefit? Sure. But I'm much more interested in getting upgraded on SFO-ORD going home on Thursday night after a full day of of work, and it is frequently a challenge these days, even for a 1k. Using e500 pretty much guaranteed a seat in F when it mattered most, at least for me.
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Old Jul 22, 11, 8:31 am
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Originally Posted by jhayes_1780 View Post
How do you figure? IIRC several airlines had UDU long before CO.
I think the consensus was that UA instituted UDUs in order to align with CO...that's more what I meant (rather than insinuating that CO invented the idea).

Originally Posted by legalalien View Post
...I'm much more interested in getting upgraded on SFO-ORD going home on Thursday night after a full day of of work, and it is frequently a challenge these days, even for a 1k. Using e500 pretty much guaranteed a seat in F when it mattered most, at least for me.
I recall such points being made when UDUs were introduced. I wonder how many folks still share this view.
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Old Jul 22, 11, 8:33 am
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Originally Posted by Bonehead View Post
How many upgrade instruments did you guys typically acquire? Maybe the old system WAS better if you really knew how to play the game. I'm always willing to adjust my views in the face of new evidence
8 regionals a year, plus lets say 40 e500s (a flat 100K EQM / 40K UA BIS minimum), plus your 6 SWUs

With the right mix of flights, mileage-wise you can cover maybe 15-16K from the e500s (won't assume the full 20K in theory), 20K from the CR-1s (transcons), and 30K from the SWUs (int'l trips). So that's 2/3 of your mileage flown.

However - some flights may be in single cabin A/C (so that reduces your "total upgradeable mileage"), may get a blue moon opt-up, etc. So while you couldn't cover all the mileage, you could get most of it.

The big issue many have (esp. lower elites) is that it eliminates choice - they could save their e500s and have a good chance of using them when they really wanted them, but now a higher elite will always trump them.

Also, it impacts those who have a domestic connection on an int'l trip - if you're flying coach and upgrading, greater chance you end up in Y now on the domestic segment.
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Old Jul 22, 11, 8:39 am
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Originally Posted by Bonehead View Post
How many upgrade instruments did you guys typically acquire? Maybe the old system WAS better if you really knew how to play the game. I'm always willing to adjust my views in the face of new evidence
I never had enough to upgrade as many flights that I get with UDU now, but that's not the point. The old system gave you control to upgrade flights that really mattered to you.
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Old Jul 22, 11, 8:41 am
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Thumbs down UDU is bad

I never like UDU.

For those who fly mainly international, they'll always have enough e500s CR-1s and have better chance of upgrading domestic segments.

Not anymore with UDU.

For those who try to redeem int'l C/F saver awards, especially last min awards, finding domestic XF is really difficult now. Before UDU, you can find XF almost every BOS-ORD, BOS-IAD flight 1-2-3 days out.

Not anymore. Say you have ORD-HKG/PVG/PEK/NRT XF available, but nothing is available for BOS-ORD, no XF, no XY/NY. How do you get to ORD?

UDU was from CO. It's bad for me. And bad for many people. Ever seen 100+ people on UG waitlist for SFO-ORD/IAD? Good luck for you, even if you are 1K.
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Old Jul 22, 11, 8:45 am
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Originally Posted by Bonehead View Post
How many upgrade instruments did you guys typically acquire? Maybe the old system WAS better if you really knew how to play the game. I'm always willing to adjust my views in the face of new evidence
I've commented on this a few times when it comes up and I've got anecdotal comments all over the place on this subject...

I HATE the UDU program. I hated it from the day it was announced and have fared much worse on upgrades since this program was announced.

Before UDU, I went 2 1/2 years without sitting in coach on a 2- or 3-class plane. And I upgraded EVERYTHING, even flights like ORD-IND on a CR7.

I never ran out of upgrade instruments. Between the former UA's very generous CR1s, SWUs and 500-milers, I had more than enough to upgrade myself AND my companions. I even had upgrade certs expire--Wow, a bonus 500 miles for each one that did!

Before UDUs, I could upgrade companions that weren't on my PNR. (Now maybe CO will bring a way for this to happen, but I hope not at the expense of CO's terrible 'Lowest Status on the PNR' program).

Now, I have to compete with EVERY 1K, and I surely don't compete at all with a GS flyer. I consider myself a knowledgeable flyer and I worked the system to maximize my upgrades...Therefore I was rewarded for my diligence and travel IQ. UDU took away ANY competitive advantage any smart flyer had...It dumbed things down to the only thing that an upgrade took was having the status. How many 1Ks still don't know what SWUs are? I bet quite a few...More than you'd think. How many 1Ks previously 'forgot' to request an upgrade, or didn't even know about it...Or simply didn't care either way if they got upgraded? I cared, so I made an effort to get upgraded.

I will concede that I have the perfect balance of travel where cert optimization is easy (about 50/50 domestic/international). My SWUs went for my 3 overseas trips annually, CR-1s took care of my Airbus flights (even flights like ORD-DFW), I left ALL 757 flights to chance and until 6 months ago, I'd never sat in coach on a 757.

Even when I was a 1P about 6 years ago, upgrading was still important to me, and I rarely missed one then--I did have to buy a book of upgrades here and there and used miles for some transcons, but the bigger seat was important to me, I rarely wasn't there.

Now, it's a free-for-all. And as I always connect into ORD on UX (read: delays, cancellations, irrops)--Pre-UDU, it used to be easy to get upgraded on a new flight when I missed my original one...Now, HA! They fill those F cabins up so fast at T-24, I'm sitting in coach and those of lower status are upgraded.

There is NOTHING that I like about UDU.
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Old Jul 22, 11, 8:45 am
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Originally Posted by Bonehead View Post
I recall such points being made when UDUs were introduced. I wonder how many folks still share this view.
Don't know about that, and I am not ready to call UDU a net-negative, but looking at my udustats page, the flights I missed since March 19, 2010 are multiple ORD-SFO (both directions), multiple ORD-SEA (both directions), SAN-DEN, and a couple of short-haul, unfortunate timing type of flights.
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Old Jul 22, 11, 8:53 am
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I don't like UDUs. I fly mostly international for business and domestic with my family. Prior to UDUs I could upgrade my family most of the time when we flew together.
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Old Jul 22, 11, 9:00 am
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Originally Posted by Bonehead View Post
I think the consensus was that UA instituted UDUs in order to align with CO...that's more what I meant (rather than insinuating that CO invented the idea).
IMhO I felt that UA wanted to impliment this for some time, when CO joined *A it was a good "excuse" to do this.

Remember UDU was announced Oct 09 (around the same time CO joined *), the (2nd round/after the April 08 talks) merger talks didn't begin until spring 10.
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Old Jul 22, 11, 9:03 am
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Originally Posted by UA-NYC View Post
You'll find no shortage of UA 1K flyers who rue the day they introduced UDUs.
FTFY.

And I am one of those 1Ks.

UDU means that GSes and 1Ks who never cared about upgrades are now competing with me for an upgrade.
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