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Upgrade Shenanigans? [Consolidated]

Old Oct 2, 2023, 1:35 pm
  #181  
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Originally Posted by IAH-OIL-TRASH
That was my guess, too. The GA did say "upgrades are done by computer", which is not untrue, but did not clarify situation. If "shenanigan1/2" did buy-ups, not sure why GA just couldn't have told the OP so..
I don't really want airline staff telling other pax how I'm paying for things. Heck, I don't even want airline staff looking that up unless it's necessary for the job (and in this case, it would not have been).
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Old Oct 2, 2023, 2:30 pm
  #182  
 
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Originally Posted by UA_Flyer
I was fine sitting in exit row aisle seat last week ready for take-off on a domestic flight.
All the sudden I got an alert that I have been upgraded with a new seat assignment.
As I walked to the front cabin, i heard the door was closed and a person just sat down on my assigned seat in F.
I asked the person in my seat to check his boarding pass, and he told me he was the last one on the waitlist for Y, and the GA asked him to take the last remaining seat in the F cabin. He did not have a seat assignment on the boarding pass. I went back to my previous seat and did not want to make a fuss as the door was closed and we are ready to push back. It was only a 2-hour flight.

I wrote in and got a $100 travel voucher for it.
The issue with acquiescing is that it robs a GA of a training opportunity, thereby virtually ensuring that next time around same emboldened GA will instruct a standby to take an F seat to which said standby is not entitled, rather than following UA’s published rules. Just sayin’.
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Old Oct 2, 2023, 3:44 pm
  #183  
 
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If my upgrade had been confirmed in the App, I would definitely have escalated to the FA and showed my boarding pass to them and simply said, there is someone sitting in my seat. I assume their app would have showed you in the seat. If after that, you get commanded to return to your original seat, then of course you comply.

That is one of those rare cases of actual upgrade shenanigans. A stand-by (was it a non-rev?) just being given the first class seat. Needs retraining for sure.
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Old Oct 2, 2023, 6:39 pm
  #184  
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Originally Posted by canadiancow
I don't really want airline staff telling other pax how I'm paying for things. Heck, I don't even want airline staff looking that up unless it's necessary for the job (and in this case, it would not have been).
True, and agreed on the principle, but in the scenario raised (3., 4. buy up and deny 1., 2. the upgrade), it would also be better if the display didn't show them as cleared upgrades — instead they should just disappear from the list and cabin goes to full.

Here we generally understand the checkmark for paid TOD upgrade as a display bug, but it's pretty confusing, and it invites questions of shena.
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Old Oct 3, 2023, 11:13 am
  #185  
 
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Originally Posted by jsloan
Most likely scenario is that the person you're accusing realized he wasn't going to clear into PE and did a buy-up. That would explain why you got leapt on the Polaris list.
I don't think there was enough time for that to happen. Are you saying they didn't have a chance to buy-up till the two upgrades into Polaris opened up? I've certainly had GA tell me "sorry, it was booked" and I understand that happens... Just seemed very unlikely here given the timing...
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Old Oct 3, 2023, 11:37 am
  #186  
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Originally Posted by asya999
I don't think there was enough time for that to happen.
Sure there was. How long does it take to buy-up?

Originally Posted by asya999
Are you saying they didn't have a chance to buy-up till the two upgrades into Polaris opened up?
It's possible, but it's not necessary. It could be a coincidence.

What I think happened is that they looked at the list, saw that they weren't going to be upgraded, and accepted an offer to buy up to PE. Whether that happened on the phone or they were in the middle of discussing it with the gate agent that the club agent called, I have no idea. The club agent wouldn't have been in any position to clear the upgrade list, so I'm not sure why she was trying to make space for you to sit together.

The fact that they vaulted to the top of the Polaris lists means that they didn't just process upgrades out of order -- it means that something changed their upgrade priority. The most likely thing that would have done that is a buy-up -- merely clearing an upgrade into RN would not have altered the Polaris list.
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Old Oct 3, 2023, 1:51 pm
  #187  
 
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Originally Posted by asya999
I don't think there was enough time for that to happen. Are you saying they didn't have a chance to buy-up till the two upgrades into Polaris opened up? I've certainly had GA tell me "sorry, it was booked" and I understand that happens... Just seemed very unlikely here given the timing...
I've done a buy-up while standing in the blob to board... I forget why (perhaps just to see if I could), and it was domestic out of IAD, but I very clearly remember looking up at where I was in the UG list relative to how many open seats there were, looking at the offer in the app, and deciding "why not, that's worth it to me"... I think I may have even shown as a cleared UG even though it was a buyup (but display issues are a different thread)
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Old Oct 5, 2023, 9:10 am
  #188  
 
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Originally Posted by jsloan
What I think happened is that they looked at the list, saw that they weren't going to be upgraded, and accepted an offer to buy up to PE. Whether that happened on the phone or they were in the middle of discussing it with the gate agent that the club agent called, I have no idea. The club agent wouldn't have been in any position to clear the upgrade list, so I'm not sure why she was trying to make space for you to sit together.
They couldn't have been offered a buy-up to PE till two people from PE got upgraded into Polaris. After that upgrade went through, the club agent was trying to move my SO (already booked in PE) into one of the freed up seats in PE so that I would be able to sit next to him when I cleared PE list (she saw I was first on the list and that two seats together in PE opened up and wanted to move him into one of those two seats).

Is it possible the gate agent upgraded two people from PE into Polaris and then offered a buy-up into PE to the two people 2+3 on the list who were in front of her?
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Old Oct 5, 2023, 9:38 am
  #189  
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Originally Posted by asya999
They couldn't have been offered a buy-up to PE till two people from PE got upgraded into Polaris.
What makes you say that? UA routinely oversells the PE cabin when there are seats remaining in J.

Originally Posted by asya999
Is it possible the gate agent upgraded two people from PE into Polaris and then offered a buy-up into PE to the two people 2+3 on the list who were in front of her?
Yes, although I'm not entirely sure that it would be within policy for agents to do things in that order. It makes more sense to me that the seats were available for sale, that the upgraders bought into them, and then that the gate agent went ahead and cleared the resulting oversale by processing two people from the PE->J upgrade list.

If there were going to be some sort of shenanigans, it's hard for me to imagine why they would have put the two people in question into PE instead of just shenanigan-ing them into J.
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Old Oct 11, 2023, 6:49 pm
  #190  
 
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A new frustrating experience for me. My elderly mother is/was traveling on UA925 from LHR/IAD today. I had previously applied plus points to her reservation. Flight delayed 3+ hours due to crew not having proper rest. Understandable. I had let her know that most likely they would upgrade her at the gate, and reminder her to hang around until boarding had commenced. When she inquired at the gate, they told her that it would be the typical $400+ 20,000 milles (i am not sure if that is even correct) but the point is they disregarded that she was on the upgrade wait list supported by my pluspoints! The flight went out with 5 Polaris seats with her #3 on the list. I am pretty livid that they would pull a stunt like that
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Old Oct 11, 2023, 6:59 pm
  #191  
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Originally Posted by BZRORG
A new frustrating experience for me. My elderly mother is/was traveling on UA925 from LHR/IAD today. I had previously applied plus points to her reservation. Flight delayed 3+ hours due to crew not having proper rest. Understandable. I had let her know that most likely they would upgrade her at the gate, and reminder her to hang around until boarding had commenced. When she inquired at the gate, they told her that it would be the typical $400+ 20,000 milles (i am not sure if that is even correct) but the point is they disregarded that she was on the upgrade wait list supported by my pluspoints! The flight went out with 5 Polaris seats with her #3 on the list. I am pretty livid that they would pull a stunt like that
Not sure if this is actually shenanigans, and the "$ + miles" statement might have been lost in translation, but based on the available data surely seems like something went wrong. I would write in to complain.

As minor consolation, at least she should have no Y seatmate, from looking at the seat map.
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Old Oct 11, 2023, 11:08 pm
  #192  
 
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Originally Posted by fumje
Not sure if this is actually shenanigans, and the "$ + miles" statement might have been lost in translation, but based on the available data surely seems like something went wrong. I would write in to complain.

As minor consolation, at least she should have no Y seatmate, from looking at the seat map.
Yes, I guess that is better than nothing. I was able to speak to her and she mentioned that she spoke with the purser and he spoke with the gate agent and gate agent kept saying her ticket, and I quote, "did not meet the threshold of being upgraded, there are 4 other 1Ks that did not get upgraded." 100% Bizarre. Another head scratcher is they kept saying that upgrades work for domestic tickets not international. Has there been massive turnover of the gatestaff in london? They have been highly competent when I have had to deal with them previously. It was also my understanding that upgrades are processed by the computer? Can a gate agent intervene in running the list? An hour before boarding, there were 15 or so on the upgrade list so i dont understand how some can be processed and others left off?
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Old Oct 12, 2023, 12:51 am
  #193  
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Originally Posted by BZRORG
It was also my understanding that upgrades are processed by the computer? Can a gate agent intervene in running the list? An hour before boarding, there were 15 or so on the upgrade list so i dont understand how some can be processed and others left off?
The gate agent processes upgrades at the gate, in the order specified by the computer.

You state that you're livid that UA would "pull a stunt" like not processing the remaining upgrades, but what would the motivation be? Just someone being mean for no reason?

There was a flight recently where they were forced to keep four seats for crew rest because the crew rest pods were inoperative. I wonder if this plane had a similar issue. It doesn't make sense that they would fail to process the upgrades without some sort of cause, particularly after a reminder. (That said, the comment about needing the miles + copay is strange; it reeks of either a miscommunication or a really inattentive / rushed agent. In the future, I'd suggest saying something like "when are you planning to process the upgrades? Should I go ahead and board and then move up?"
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Old Oct 12, 2023, 3:45 am
  #194  
 
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Originally Posted by jsloan
The gate agent processes upgrades at the gate, in the order specified by the computer.
That has always been my understanding however after my trip home from JNB last week. Standing near the GA I heard a phone call where the GA asked someone to "hold off on upgrading anyone" (from other conversations got the sense there may have been weight/balance considerations, i.e. agents unable to seat couples together despite a light load in Y) -- 10-15 minutes later and about 5 minutes before boarding I got the "you've been upgraded!" notification so I politely approached GA #1 to ask for a new BP... that GA passed me off to GA #2 with a "he claims he was upgraded" -- GA #2 printed a new BP but also seemed unaware that any UGs had been processed.

Based on that I'm wondering if at least for small INTL outstations UA is having someone in Ops/SOC run upgrades rather than doing it at the gate... but LHR is big enough I also wouldn't lump them into the "small outstation" category.
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Old Oct 12, 2023, 4:16 am
  #195  
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Originally Posted by BZRORG
Yes, I guess that is better than nothing. I was able to speak to her and she mentioned that she spoke with the purser and he spoke with the gate agent and gate agent kept saying her ticket, and I quote, "did not meet the threshold of being upgraded, there are 4 other 1Ks that did not get upgraded." 100% Bizarre. Another head scratcher is they kept saying that upgrades work for domestic tickets not international. Has there been massive turnover of the gatestaff in london? They have been highly competent when I have had to deal with them previously. It was also my understanding that upgrades are processed by the computer? Can a gate agent intervene in running the list? An hour before boarding, there were 15 or so on the upgrade list so i dont understand how some can be processed and others left off?
Originally Posted by jsloan
The gate agent processes upgrades at the gate, in the order specified by the computer.

You state that you're livid that UA would "pull a stunt" like not processing the remaining upgrades, but what would the motivation be? Just someone being mean for no reason?

There was a flight recently where they were forced to keep four seats for crew rest because the crew rest pods were inoperative. I wonder if this plane had a similar issue. It doesn't make sense that they would fail to process the upgrades without some sort of cause, particularly after a reminder. (That said, the comment about needing the miles + copay is strange; it reeks of either a miscommunication or a really inattentive / rushed agent. In the future, I'd suggest saying something like "when are you planning to process the upgrades? Should I go ahead and board and then move up?"
I am sceptical that is a good-but-nonobvious reason (like the crew rest issue) for not running the upgrade in this case, since it appears that the request for O was also not fulfilled, and that cabin also shows several empty seats. Maybe there were a ton of inop seats, but that feels too unlikely to be an explanation. I think it's more likely the gate agent was messing something up, but I also can't see a motivation for doing it intentionally.

Originally Posted by lincolnjkc
That has always been my understanding however after my trip home from JNB last week. Standing near the GA I heard a phone call where the GA asked someone to "hold off on upgrading anyone" (from other conversations got the sense there may have been weight/balance considerations, i.e. agents unable to seat couples together despite a light load in Y) -- 10-15 minutes later and about 5 minutes before boarding I got the "you've been upgraded!" notification so I politely approached GA #1 to ask for a new BP... that GA passed me off to GA #2 with a "he claims he was upgraded" -- GA #2 printed a new BP but also seemed unaware that any UGs had been processed.

Based on that I'm wondering if at least for small INTL outstations UA is having someone in Ops/SOC run upgrades rather than doing it at the gate... but LHR is big enough I also wouldn't lump them into the "small outstation" category.
Tangent: My understanding is that flight (JNB-EWR) typically has some weight/balance restrictions due to the length, but I think it manifests only as blocked seats in Y, not in J or O, so it shouldn't directly affect upgrades. It does affect clearing Y standby, though, so sometimes it can look like they leave people behind even though it's full from a w/b perspective. Not sure what was the disconnect with GAs knowing whether upgrades had run or not, though.
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Last edited by fumje; Oct 12, 2023 at 6:25 am Reason: typo
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