Pending upgrade transparency

Old Oct 28, 11, 5:34 pm
  #1  
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Pending upgrade transparency

I booked a mixed metal HNL-SAN (through SFO) flight yesterday on continental.com. This morning I saw that I had both a Continental confirmation number as well as a United one. So I looked up my reservation on United.com and it shows "Upgrade Pending" on all the UA metal flights. It didn't show anything on the CO metal flights, and I didn't expect it to, since in my experience the upgrade process on CO is very opaque, if not willingly obfuscated.

My question is, which communication method will survive the merger?
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Old Oct 28, 11, 8:05 pm
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Actually I find I like the EUA better

because you can check the waitlist on the flight status page on Continental.com. Also, Continental tells you at checkin that you have been added to the Upgrade List. United's system seems really opaque because you can't easily tell your place on the list...
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Old Oct 28, 11, 8:13 pm
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Originally Posted by love_to_travel View Post
My question is, which communication method will survive the merger?
I would guess CO's because they're using CO's systems.


Originally Posted by revigik View Post
because you can check the waitlist on the flight status page on Continental.com.
In your subject, you say you like EUA better, then you say you like the waitlist on the flight status page. Those are two different animals, as the EUA uses a different ordering scheme than the waitlist you can see. You never have visibility into the EUA list.


Originally Posted by revigik View Post
Also, Continental tells you at checkin that you have been added to the Upgrade List.
United's does as well -- kiosk or agent checkin gives you a DM card, and on-line checkin makes a note at the top of the BP.


Originally Posted by revigik View Post
United's system seems really opaque because you can't easily tell your place on the list...
You can now on the Android app. And also note that UA has gate displays at many of its gates that show this info -- something that CO does not have.
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Old Oct 28, 11, 8:13 pm
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Originally Posted by love_to_travel View Post
My question is, which communication method will survive the merger?
You can probably take a guess...unfortunately...
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Old Oct 28, 11, 9:48 pm
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Originally Posted by revigik View Post
because you can check the waitlist on the flight status page on Continental.com. Also, Continental tells you at checkin that you have been added to the Upgrade List. United's system seems really opaque because you can't easily tell your place on the list...
EUA system isn't reflected on CO.com. The battlefield upgrade list is reflected on CO.com.

EUA is not seen or heard (hence why sometimes #3 will skip #1 on the battlefield list -- EUA will upgrade them). I personally hate having two different systems run at the same time (find it confusing and complicated).
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Old Nov 2, 11, 10:56 am
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Originally Posted by channa View Post
You can now on the Android app. And also note that UA has gate displays at many of its gates that show this info -- something that CO does not have.
CO does have them - just in IAH (and maybe EWR?). Only a few gates in IAH, too. But generally speaking they are not widely available right now.

Originally Posted by edcho View Post
EUA is not seen or heard (hence why sometimes #3 will skip #1 on the battlefield list -- EUA will upgrade them). I personally hate having two different systems run at the same time (find it confusing and complicated).
No two systems are running at the same time. EUA runs until 30 minutes before departure which is why #3 can trump #1 for an upgrade and be upgraded before the flight. At 30 minutes EUA stops and the battlefield upgrade process takes over which is done by the gate agent and done in the order as the list appears online. But the two systems do not run simultaneously.

-RM
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Old Nov 2, 11, 1:05 pm
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Originally Posted by RobOnLI View Post
No two systems are running at the same time. EUA runs until 30 minutes before departure which is why #3 can trump #1 for an upgrade and be upgraded before the flight. At 30 minutes EUA stops and the battlefield upgrade process takes over which is done by the gate agent and done in the order as the list appears online. But the two systems do not run simultaneously.

The battlefield list is not authoritative until flight close.

The problem is that the two orderings can be different, and that EUA runs until very close to departure time.
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Old Nov 2, 11, 1:07 pm
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Originally Posted by channa View Post
The battlefield list is not authoritative until flight close.

The problem is that the two orderings can be different, and that EUA runs until very close to departure time.
Really hope this will evolve to more like the 4 hour UA DM window - at 30 minutes, everyone's already at the airport (and starting to board), and you have a visible upgrade list that (to the naked, untrained eye) isn't being followed.
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Old Nov 2, 11, 2:41 pm
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Originally Posted by UA-NYC View Post
Really hope this will evolve to more like the 4 hour UA DM window - at 30 minutes, everyone's already at the airport (and starting to board), and you have a visible upgrade list that (to the naked, untrained eye) isn't being followed.

But CO used to have this. CO used to have a 3-hour EUA cutoff, at which time the PDA list became authoritative.

The problem they had with that is that they also had a procedure at checkin (kiosk and OLCI) to upgrade an Elite if there was upgrade space. The problem with that was timing. If space had been released, but EUA hadn't run, and a Silver checked in, they would get the upgrade, irrespective of any ordering scheme.

The concept makes sense, as theoretically, if there's upgrade space at checkin, it's available, and everyone who was supposed to have been upgraded has been upgraded, right? Well, not with CO. As we know, the concept of having the upgrade space available, but the upgrade space not assigned to Elites while within the upgrade window is a CO systems exclusive. With other programs, the space would have been released, and the waitlist would snag the next person, and you would not be in a situation where you're within the window with upgrade space available (unless all Elites had already been upgraded). But with CO, we have the EUA sweeping methodology, so the space gets released, but then it's not allocated until the sweep (if it's still there).

Anyhow, instead of just turning off the checkin upgrade (which is what should have been done), they came up with yet another workaround of running EUA each time someone checks in. This gets the job done of preserving the ordering, and avoiding Mr. Silver getting upgraded ahead of Mr. PresPlat. But it has a new side effect which requires that they run this thing constantly so long as checkin is open. That means EUA must now run during the entire checkin process, which runs until up to 30 minutes out (which is 5 minutes after preboarding for a 737, for those of us with status).

That's how they've created the gate display monitor or PDA list with one ordering scheme, while a couple dozen Elites and a couple GAs watch #7 get upgraded and wonder what the heck is up. And of course that's when I just watch the frustration, laugh, and think of nothing but the FINEST programmers in the business.

Fundamentally, UA's pending/waitlisted design is cleaner because it's more tightly integrated to the core system, and you don't need to build workaround on top of workaround to get close to the desired result. Upgrades clear when space is released. Upgrades clear in the order intended. And gate displays/airport lists have a reasonable window during which they are authoritative (4 hours on UA).

CO's system is more of a kludge of band-aids on top of band-aids because it seems they're trying to avoid dealing with their architecture choices by avoiding SHARES as much as possible.
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Old Nov 4, 11, 10:27 pm
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Originally Posted by channa View Post
But CO used to have this. CO used to have a 3-hour EUA cutoff, at which time the PDA list became authoritative.

The problem they had with that is that they also had a procedure at checkin (kiosk and OLCI) to upgrade an Elite if there was upgrade space. The problem with that was timing. If space had been released, but EUA hadn't run, and a Silver checked in, they would get the upgrade, irrespective of any ordering scheme.

The concept makes sense, as theoretically, if there's upgrade space at checkin, it's available, and everyone who was supposed to have been upgraded has been upgraded, right? Well, not with CO. As we know, the concept of having the upgrade space available, but the upgrade space not assigned to Elites while within the upgrade window is a CO systems exclusive. With other programs, the space would have been released, and the waitlist would snag the next person, and you would not be in a situation where you're within the window with upgrade space available (unless all Elites had already been upgraded). But with CO, we have the EUA sweeping methodology, so the space gets released, but then it's not allocated until the sweep (if it's still there).

Anyhow, instead of just turning off the checkin upgrade (which is what should have been done), they came up with yet another workaround of running EUA each time someone checks in. This gets the job done of preserving the ordering, and avoiding Mr. Silver getting upgraded ahead of Mr. PresPlat. But it has a new side effect which requires that they run this thing constantly so long as checkin is open. That means EUA must now run during the entire checkin process, which runs until up to 30 minutes out (which is 5 minutes after preboarding for a 737, for those of us with status).

That's how they've created the gate display monitor or PDA list with one ordering scheme, while a couple dozen Elites and a couple GAs watch #7 get upgraded and wonder what the heck is up. And of course that's when I just watch the frustration, laugh, and think of nothing but the FINEST programmers in the business.

Fundamentally, UA's pending/waitlisted design is cleaner because it's more tightly integrated to the core system, and you don't need to build workaround on top of workaround to get close to the desired result. Upgrades clear when space is released. Upgrades clear in the order intended. And gate displays/airport lists have a reasonable window during which they are authoritative (4 hours on UA).

CO's system is more of a kludge of band-aids on top of band-aids because it seems they're trying to avoid dealing with their architecture choices by avoiding SHARES as much as possible.
Thanks for the detailed explanation of CO's EUA and airport upgrade system. Having mostly avoided CO metal since the merger, your explanation was very helpful for me to understand the CO system, which I find greatly lacking in transparency. I flew CUN-IAH-SEA yesterday having bought the ticket only 24 hours prior to the flight time. I was on-queue for EUA but couldn't do OCLI as I hadn't flown CO intl'. I could see on the PDA site a running list of 7 pax listed for 2 open seats in F. As I couldn't do OCLI, I wasn't placed on the list and had not cleared EUA as of the morning of the flight. However, by the time I checked-in at the airport, I had already been upgraded via EUA without ever being put on the upgrade standby list. Confused by this, I checked the PDA site to find that I had been upgraded over numerous pax who had been on the airport upgrade list since the night before through OLCI. Checking the final stats on the PDA site revealed that numerous pax were upgraded like me via EUA while most of the pax on the airport upgrade list since the night before never cleared.

I really hope this system doesn't carry over to the combined carrier. I like the transparency of being able to decide which flight to book in order to secure an upgrade when booking within the window. Both legacy UA and DL employ a system where you can basically decide which flights to book within the upgrade window to secure an upgrade based on available NF (or in the case of DL, V class) inventory. As someone who books a lot of travel close-in, I would be very turned off by the carryover of CO's convoluted EUA over to United. In fact, it will determine whether I stay with DL as Diamond or go all out for UA in the coming year. Anyone have insight on which system will be used?
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Old Nov 4, 11, 10:43 pm
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Originally Posted by loyalStarwoodfan View Post
As someone who books a lot of travel close-in, I would be very turned off by the carryover of CO's convoluted EUA over to United. In fact, it will determine whether I stay with DL as Diamond or go all out for UA in the coming year. Anyone have insight on which system will be used?
Looks like you'll be flying DL.

They are using CO's systems for the combined carrier, and it has already been announced that the upgrade methodology will be based on CO's opaque and kludgy EUA "technology."
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Old Nov 5, 11, 1:06 am
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I'm Confused. As a plat wouldn't I Be higher on the list anyway? Where does the jumping occur
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Old Nov 5, 11, 2:01 am
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Originally Posted by channa View Post
The battlefield list is not authoritative until flight close.

The problem is that the two orderings can be different, and that EUA runs until very close to departure time.
Not sure I understand your post. The battlefield list will only show those who have checked in (hence, upgrade eligible) and is processed by the gate agent at around the 30 minute mark. Sure, some agents process it sooner, some later. But EUA is running until 30 minutes before flight time which means someone as #3 on the list can still be upgraded ahead of #1. What am I missing?

My post specifically called out that EUA runs until 30 minutes before departure and is the reason why #3 can be upgraded before #1. Seems to me we're saying the same thing.

-RM
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Old Nov 5, 11, 10:02 am
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Several misconceptions seem to come up in these threads repeatedly.

1. Number 3 jumping ahead of number 1 probably does not happen frequently because it requires that both 1 and 3 are the same elite status and have tickets bought from the same fare bucket. Further, it requires that number three bought the ticket before number 1 and number 1 checked in before number 3.

2. Someone being upgraded before number 1 on the list is common. The persons getting the upgrade were never on the gate upgrade list as their upgrade occurred before or simultaneous with the check in. Using miles or money, or simply because of a higher status during an EUA run after T-24.

3. United transparency? You can't see the list, only that your upgrade is pending. You can check for upgrade bucket availability, and if you are inside the upgrade window know that you will be upgraded. You never see your position on the list. At T-24, it is the same as CO. Channa's posts seem more accurate than most in describing a kludge of bandaids designed to support an overly complex revenue management process.

4. The revenue management process has the YBM upgrade feature that reduces the chance of an upgrade for higher tiers. This is probably the underlying driver (plus the failure of the EUA software to work reliably in recent months) of the dissatisfaction of PMUA flyers who have not been exposed to this. I believe that YBM upgrades are a feature in the combined company.
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Old Nov 5, 11, 1:24 pm
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Originally Posted by blue47 View Post
3. United transparency? You can't see the list, only that your upgrade is pending. You can check for upgrade bucket availability, and if you are inside the upgrade window know that you will be upgraded. You never see your position on the list. At T-24, it is the same as CO. Channa's posts seem more accurate than most in describing a kludge of bandaids designed to support an overly complex revenue management process.
While you may not be able to see one of the two UG lists online with UA, it inspires much more confidence as there is a single upgrade bucket (not two or more due to YBMs vs. miles/EUA), there is dynamic waitlisting (so the next person in line always gets the UG, and no waiting around during the EUA window when you see R>1 yet no UG being pricessed), and inside the 4 hour DM window, it's status, fare bucket, time checked in (most definitely not the same as CO, as the list switches at T-30 minutes). Easy and rarely inspires the FUD that seems to happen with CO's system.
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