Upgrade Shenanigans? [Consolidated]

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Old Jul 30, 13, 12:29 pm
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Upgrade Shenanigans? [Consolidated]

I won't post the flight info or route until I decide whether to report this or not, but I witnessed some pretty clear upgrade shenanigans on a UAX flight yesterday.

CR7, 2+ hour flight, F is full, 7+ people on the upgrade list. Everyone boards, one empty seat remains, GA calls up a military person (not in uniform, but who preboarded with ID) to take the seat...in the ensuing discussion, it turns out the GA is ex-military and half the F cabin is current military (it appears 1 paid, 1 upgraded legitimately and the bad upgrade), and they are all chatting about this before the door closes.

Now my views on upgrades, pre-boarding and other special services for military are well known on FT, so I don't want to go there - the issue for me is this GA was really great. The flight was delayed significantly, he remained calm, communicated well, handled multiple customer inquiries, went above and beyond to help a couple of passengers, and even shower humor during boarding - in short, an excellent GA.

The problem is he violated the upgrade priority system, did not process the list and used his personal preference to upgrade someone, and I have my doubts this was an isolated incident, thus I would like to write in and ask that the GA be reminded of the standard process, but still be recognized for excellent service delivery.

I guess I can send in an email that points out how well he performed his job, then cover the upgrade situation, but I wanted to ask the community for suggestions on how to ensure a positive outcome.

I still need to write in about this trip because upon arrival at my destination, my gate checked back with the yellow handle wrapper was the last bag brought up to the jetway and when I asked the ramp agent why and explained the yellow wrap bags should be the first brought up, he snickered, made a snide remark and started to laugh, then went to his coworkers outside and had a good laugh about it - so this group needs retraining for sure.
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Old Jul 30, 13, 12:36 pm
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I vote no, do not report. The GAs do have some leeway in determining what is right given the specific situation. There may be more info that you saw. Also, I cannot fault anyone for giving active military any sort of extra help.
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Old Jul 30, 13, 12:40 pm
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?

I'm always puzzled by these types of questions. Why are you expecting the forum to say to you to help you decide what to do? What's the hesitancy? Getting the GA in trouble because (s)he's nice? Do you have a personal relationship with them which is troubling you?

The fact is you actually don't have a clue what happened; despite what you might think. If it is important enough for you to understand something that's none of your business, than by all means write in so a United CS agent can spend valuable time helping you track down nothing rather than help passengers who actually need assistance.

Or is this more a case of self appointed guardians of United passengers, who's job is to root out evil doers wherever they may lurk?

I suspect the latter.
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Old Jul 30, 13, 12:40 pm
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Originally Posted by blueman2 View Post
I vote no, do not report. The GAs do have some leeway in determining what is right given the specific situation. There may be more info that you saw. Also, I cannot fault anyone for giving active military any sort of extra help.
I wouldn't report, because it will go nowhere, but the UG list is the UG list - there isn't supposed to be a "military exception" to it, no matter how you feel about the military. GA's shouldn't be gaming the system to reward their friends.
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Old Jul 30, 13, 12:41 pm
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Originally Posted by bocastephen View Post
I still need to write in about this trip because upon arrival at my destination, my gate checked back with the yellow handle wrapper was the last bag brought up to the jetway and when I asked the ramp agent why and explained the yellow wrap bags should be the first brought up, he snickered, made a snide remark and started to laugh, then went to his coworkers outside and had a good laugh about it - so this group needs retraining for sure.
The whole yellow tag thing is a joke. Lower your expectations.
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Old Jul 30, 13, 12:45 pm
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Originally Posted by blueman2 View Post
I vote no, do not report. The GAs do have some leeway in determining what is right given the specific situation. There may be more info that you saw. Also, I cannot fault anyone for giving active military any sort of extra help.
No. There hasn't been any leeway for years, as I understand it.

Originally Posted by halls120 View Post
I wouldn't report, because it will go nowhere, but the UG list is the UG list - there isn't supposed to be a "military exception" to it, no matter how you feel about the military. GA's shouldn't be gaming the system to reward their friends.
I don't know why it would go nowhere. My understanding from fastair and others is that this is super easy to audit, and is considered quite bad.
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Old Jul 30, 13, 12:47 pm
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Absolutely report it. No if's and buts about it. Do two separate reports
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Old Jul 30, 13, 12:51 pm
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Originally Posted by mgcsinc View Post
No. There hasn't been any leeway for years, as I understand it.



I don't know why it would go nowhere. My understanding from fastair and others is that this is super easy to audit, and is considered quite bad.
If the GA brought up the military person without noting an upgrade in the system, then there's nothing in the system.

However, I'd stay out of it. Someone in the military could've been the next person on the list (Y fare). Without knowing for sure, it is not worth bringing it up.

I realize this is allowing some shenanigans, but I'm okay with this in limited examples.
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Old Jul 30, 13, 12:54 pm
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Upgrade shenanigans are upgrade shenanigans. Doesn't matter if it's a military member, the POTUS or Jeffy Jeff sitting the back. You upgrade the next person on the list -- end of story.
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Old Jul 30, 13, 12:54 pm
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How do you know that the military people who were upgraded were not on the upgrade list? Did you check his name with the list? People in defense travel alot. Also, I've seen actual upgraded customers goto the desk and give up their upgrade to a military customer. Customer Care has always told me that they can't see past upgrade lists anyways.
The ex-military GA chatting with current military people isn't out of the ordinary.

As for the yellow tag, I'd treat it the same as the orange tag. Priority handling isn't a guarantee. I also imagine that it has to do with the order that the bags are placed into the plane at the origin. If there were lots of last minute bags, the priority bags might not be first off.

As for the agents laughing at you, that wasn't appropriate. Not sure if it warrants a complaint though.
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Old Jul 30, 13, 12:57 pm
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Originally Posted by aacharya View Post
If the GA brought up the military person without noting an upgrade in the system, then there's nothing in the system.

However, I'd stay out of it. Someone in the military could've been the next person on the list (Y fare). Without knowing for sure, it is not worth bringing it up.

I realize this is allowing some shenanigans, but I'm okay with this in limited examples.
I think that the system would show an empty seat in F with folks still on the list, so there could still be an audit.

I was operating under the assumption that the conversation that the OP overheard made everything crystal clear, but it is absolutely true that many accusations of shenanigans here end up being bunk.

I think there's a slippery slope issue with such an exception.
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Old Jul 30, 13, 12:57 pm
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Originally Posted by bocastephen View Post
I won't post the flight info or route until I decide whether to report this or not, but I witnessed some pretty clear upgrade shenanigans on a UAX flight yesterday.

CR7, 2+ hour flight, F is full, 7+ people on the upgrade list. Everyone boards, one empty seat remains, GA calls up a military person (not in uniform, but who preboarded with ID) to take the seat...in the ensuing discussion, it turns out the GA is ex-military and half the F cabin is current military (it appears 1 paid, 1 upgraded legitimately and the bad upgrade), and they are all chatting about this before the door closes.

Now my views on upgrades, pre-boarding and other special services for military are well known on FT, so I don't want to go there - the issue for me is this GA was really great. The flight was delayed significantly, he remained calm, communicated well, handled multiple customer inquiries, went above and beyond to help a couple of passengers, and even shower humor during boarding - in short, an excellent GA.

The problem is he violated the upgrade priority system, did not process the list and used his personal preference to upgrade someone, and I have my doubts this was an isolated incident, thus I would like to write in and ask that the GA be reminded of the standard process, but still be recognized for excellent service delivery.

I guess I can send in an email that points out how well he performed his job, then cover the upgrade situation, but I wanted to ask the community for suggestions on how to ensure a positive outcome.
This is a legitimate complaint.

Originally Posted by bocastephen View Post
I still need to write in about this trip because upon arrival at my destination, my gate checked back with the yellow handle wrapper was the last bag brought up to the jetway and when I asked the ramp agent why and explained the yellow wrap bags should be the first brought up, he snickered, made a snide remark and started to laugh, then went to his coworkers outside and had a good laugh about it - so this group needs retraining for sure.
This is not a legitimate complaint. Nowhere have you been promised that you will get your bag faster if it has a yellow handle. You jeopardize your legitimate complaint when you make frivolous ones.
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Old Jul 30, 13, 12:57 pm
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hmm....so now we have GOOD shenanigans and BAD shenanigans.
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Old Jul 30, 13, 1:05 pm
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Originally Posted by bearkatt View Post
hmm....so now we have GOOD shenanigans and BAD shenanigans.
Yes, in my personal opinion. I realize folks here insist on adherence to the rules. Let me know if you would then refuse an upgrade because you were nice to the GA (but not next on the list), or wouldn't call in to skip the line on a GPU once the alert came out.

I'm not above stating I'd accept either upgrade. But at least I'm internally and externally consistent.
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Old Jul 30, 13, 1:11 pm
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Thanks for the feedback - I guess I was under the false impression that a yellow handle meant the bag would be the first off the plane, but apparently adding the word "among" translates the same way as the checked bag priority tags to basically mean the bag will probably end up last. The laughing was highly unprofessional and that needs to be corrected - I will figure out how to address that separately.

To answer the 'how do you know' questions, the CR7 F cabin is the size of my dining table - it's not hard to see and hear everything going on and I witnessed the GA waving up the same military person who boarded with their ID, and he personally greeted and shook hands with the person after they sat down. I saw the UG list before and after, and the seat in question was a 'sold' seat that went empty due to a no-show and should have gone to the next person on the list.

GA's do not have 'some leeway to determine what is right' - this is completely false. The list is to be processed by written company procedure without regard to personal preference or opinion. This was a great GA who just needs a gentle reminder to stick to the plan along with a compliment to keep up the otherwise great work.
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