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Understanding the United Upgrade List Comprehensively

Old Feb 7, 17, 11:28 am
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Last edit by: leftysauce
Types of Upgrades

UA's Upgrades overview

UA has multiple methods for upgrading to a higher cabin. Examples include: Economy to Domestic First, Economy to International Business or Business (ex-p.s. flights) or Economy to Premium Economy ("Premium Plus").

In this regard, seating in Economy Plus is considered Economy.

Not all upgrade methods are available on all flights (see table).
  • Complimentary Premier Upgrades (CPU) are available for most North American flights, Central America flights, and some select Oceania flights. "ex-PS" flights (EWR/JFK-SFO/LAX) and Hawaii-EWR, IAD, ORD, IAH, DEN, GUM, MAJ and v.v. are not CPU eligible. CPUs are available for all paid fares and in some cases on award tickets with certain credit cards. A CPU is requested automatically for all elites as long as there is a maximum of one non-Premier as only one companion on the same PNR is also eligible for CPU. CPUs cannot be confirmed until inside the particular window:
Global Services: 120 hours
Premier 1K: 96 hours
Premier Platinum: 72 hours
Premier Gold: 48 hours
Premier Silver: 24 hours
white text to force line
  • Plus Points (provided to Plats and above) are the upgrade currency of United elites. This wiki of this thread has more details about pricing of various Plus Points upgrades.
  • Mileage Upgrade Awards (MUA) can be requested for all UA flights with a higher cabin on all paid fares. This a varying amount of miles and a $ copay (elites are exempt from the co-pay for CPU eligible flights) -- mileage+copay calculator
    Note the miles and copay are due at time of the request and will be returned if unsuccessful.
  • Instant Upgrades are space available for all elites on Y & B fares for CPU-eligible flights at booking or thereafter. For Platinum and below these require PZ space. For 1Ks and GS, this can be done on Y, B & M fares and requires PN space. These Instant Upgrades, if not cleared at booking, cannot be waitlisted and one must keep checking to see if the instant upgrade space opens up. However, CPUs will process, as discussed above.
  • Paid/cash upgrades are a different mechanism and are only available if confirmable -- no waitlisting. Depending on methods, paid upgrades can clear into almost any fare class. If the class would otherwise be used for upgrades, the cash upsell can show up on the cleared upgrade list.
Plus Points and MUA (also called "miles+cash upgrades") are collectively referred to as instrument-supported upgrades, as they are considered with equal priority once applied. They may also be used on Copa (CM), Lufthansa (LH), and ANA (NH) flights.
Waitlisting for a premium cabin award and all forms of Economy Plus are not considered upgrades.


Upgrade Priority and Required Inventory

All upgrades other than CPU may clear immediately if the required inventory class is available. If you request an upgrade when there is not inventory to confirm your upgrade immediately, you will be added to the upgrade waitlist. The required inventory classes are as follows:

RN class is required for all upgrades to Premium Economy (United Premium Plus)
PN class is required for Instant Upgrades to Business/First from Y, B, and M fares for Premier 1K members, and for all upgrades to Business/First of any type for Global Services members.
PZ class is required for all other upgrades to Business/First except CPUs.

Note: The display of the upgrade lists is rather complicated at the moment. There seems to be more information available than usual, but its accuracy is disputed. The following is how it has historically functioned in terms of public visibility.

Passengers with unconfirmed upgrade requests will be added to the upgrade waitlist. This is not the same as the upgrade standby list which you can see on the Flight Status page. You cannot see this list by any means. The ordering of the upgrade waitlist is as follows:
Fare Class priority is J, C, D, Z, P, O, A, R, Y, B, M, E, U, H, Q, V, W, S, T, L, K, G, N.

Waitlist priority for all flights
  • United Global Services requests
  • PlusPoints upgrades and MileagePlus Upgrade Awards
  • Premier status of the traveler*
  • Fare class
  • Chase United MileagePlus Club cardholders and Presidential Plus cardholders
  • United Corporate Preferred participants
  • United Chase Cardmembers with $25,000 in annual spending
  • Date and time of request



If we haven't confirmed your upgrade by the time you check in for your flight, you will be added to the Upgrades list at check-in, so there's nothing that you need to do after submitting your original request. Our upgrade systems process requests until three hours before flight departure, at which point our gate agents will handle all remaining upgrade requests.

*On flights equipped with United Premium Plus, we will process requests to upgrade to business class for customers ticketed in United Premium Plus (fare classes O, A, R) before processing requests for customers ticketed in economy.

Upgrade priority on United Premium Plus
On aircraft with United Premium Plus, well first process United Polaris business class or United Business waitlists for all members who have purchased United Premium Plus seats, using the same priority order that applies to all upgrades. Well then process waitlists for members with United Economy seats.

New waitlist requests for MileagePlus Upgrade Awards can be made until 24 hours before departure. New waitlist requests for PlusPoints upgrades can be made up until the flight check-in cutoff time.

United will periodically run sweeps from this list. The required inventory class for your upgrade does not need to be available in order to be upgraded from the standby list; passengers on the list will be upgraded at the discretion of United's systems. (You can also think of it as space was opened and then you immediately took it.)

For flights with Premium Plus, those with paid Premium Plus fares will be prioritized above those with paid economy fares even if status is lower. However, GS with paid economy are higher on the list than non-GS customers with paid Premium Plus fares. Therefore, GS with paid Prem Plus, then GS with paid economy, then other Prem Plus pax (1Ks, then Plat, then Gold, etc), then Economy (1Ks, then Plat, then Gold, etc). Not clear if this applies to GS in economy -- certainly not pre-gate waitlist (as they are waitlisted for PN) but unclear what happens at the gate merged waitlist.
How does PlusPoints/GPU/ Mileage Upgrade waitlist for business work with PremiumPlus?

Once check-in starts a new waitlist will be generated for use at the gate. The pre-gate list will continue to process until the flight goes to the gate, typically one to three hours prior to departure. This new list is the visible one on the Flight Status page. Generally they will have the same order, but there can be some differences in priority ordering of the two lists -- usually due to the time tiebreaker -- which is time of request for the pre-gate list and time of check-in (sequence number) for gate list. The visible (upgrade standby) list is not used until the flight is under gate control and the gate agent manually processes an upgrade.

The upgrade list sometimes also shows passengers who have been upgraded. Advance-cleared upgrades will not show on the gate list as cleared -- only passengers who clear after they check in will display with a green checkmark. Some paid Premium Plus fares may show as a confirmed upgrade to Premium Plus.

For both cases, display cleared upgrades will appear in alphabetic order and regardless if checked-in (as long as a seat has been assigned). Uncleared, waitlisted requests will appear in priority order.

Upgrades and Companions
Main article: Comprehensive Companion Upgrade Questions

The following applies ONLY to the invisible upgrade list.

Up to one companion on the same PNR as you is entitled to a CPU based on your status. However, because PNRs must consist only of passengers with the same itinerary, you will only be eligible for an upgrade if all passengers on your PNR have the same upgrade eligibility. For CPUs, you may extend your CPU status to one companion, and then the system will take the status of the lowest passenger on the reservation.

This is a little complicated. Here are some example PNRs:

1K and non-status companion: both are eligible to CPU as 1Ks
1K and two non-status companions: no one is eligible to CPU
1K, Gold, and non-status companion: the companion gets "1K CPU status" but the Gold cannot, so all three pax have Gold priority

The situation for instrument supported upgrades is slightly different. Waitlisting an instrument is also all-or-nothing on the PNR. Either all pax must have a waitlisted upgrade, or none may. If you have a waitlisted upgrade for a multiple passenger PNR, it will have the priority of the highest Premier status on the reservation. Thus:

1K and non-status companion, 2x PlusPoints applied: both are eligible as 1Ks with PlusPoints
1K and three non-status companions, 4x PlusPointsapplied: all four are eligible as 1Ks with PlusPoints

Multi-pax PNR upgrades are all or nothing - you may (or may not) be skipped over if there are fewer available seats than members in your party. If you do not like the treatment of your PNR, you may split it into smaller pieces at any time and be treated as smaller groups or individuals.


Now, what happens if you haven't cleared by check-in?

Multiple pax PNRs are not eligible for the (visible) upgrade standby list. If you wish to be added to the list, you must split the PNR at check-in. This often happens even if you didn't intend to. Note, however, that the hidden list is active until 3 hours before departure and splitting your PNR changes it. Therefore, you may wish to delay check-in until the airport. On the other hand, the tiebreak for the gate list is time of check-in, so you may wish to do so immediately. It depends on your situation.

Companions may be eligible for the upgrade standby list even after splitting the PNR, if it is split at check-in. The behavior of your companion(s) depends on whether the reservation had instruments applied. You may have one CPU companion, who will be waitlisted with your Premier priority but with an effective fare class below X (namely, last). If your companion was on a different PNR originally, or you want to designate a different companion, an airport agent can do that for you. Therefore, the list of 1Ks might be:

1) 1K on an S fare (you)
2) 1K on a K fare
3) Your no-status companion
4) Plat on a B fare

If your reservation had instruments applied, however, this process is different. In this case, if the reservation is auto-split at check-in, all travelers will have your Premier priority with their fare class. Say you are a 1K with three non-status companions, all with GPUs applied. Then you have

1) 1K on a V fare,PlusPoints applied
2..5) you (1K) and your three companions on W fares, ordered by sequence number
6) Plat on a Q fare, miles+cash applied


Frequently Asked Questions

I was #1 on the upgrade list, but someone else got the upgrade instead. What happened?
The most likely answer is that a higher status passenger or fare moved to your flight.

I'm #1 on the upgrade list but seats in the forward cabin keep disappearing. No one is being upgraded. What's going on?
There are two major sources of this. First, once your flight is within 24 hours of departure, it is eligible for SDC. Passengers with paid premium tickets can change to your flight and take seats. Many experienced flyers, especially FT members, underestimate the volatility of flight loads on the day of departure. Additionally, United usually makes a time-of-departure upsell offer available at check-in. Purchasers of this upgrade may often appear similar to last-minute revenue bookings.

I was waitlisted for I (or IN) class and did not clear. Am I now eligible for an upgrade?
"Upgrade" is the wrong terminology. You should be automatically placed on the standy list for business or first (whichever applies). Historically there have been problems with this occurring automatically, but that seems to have mostly been fixed. The exact priority compared to passengers who are waitlisted for an upgrade is unclear and a matter of some dispute. See discussion of GG ONESTANDBY lines 32-55.

Who are these people who are on standby lists for both Business and First?
These are non-revs (i.e., UA employees and family members) - either NRPS (non-rev positive space) or NRSA (non-rev standby). Non-revs can list for any cabin. NRPS are traveling on company business (e.g., deadheading pilots) and will clear into open space ahead of upgraders. NRSA travel standby and will be last in priority after all paid passengers. Why would someone be listed on both standby & upgrade list(s)?
Originally Posted by leftysauce
I want to note the distinction that this only applies to NRPS that book the specific cabin directly (eg. if NRPS are eligible for J, they will clear into J immediately if any J seat is available). Otherwise, if NRPS book a lower cabin, they will be waitlisted after all paid (cash+award) pax but before NRSA for upgrades to higher cabins.
Deadheading Pilots Will Have Upgrade Priority Over Elites
Can you have one companion on a different PNR?
Yes, but only at the airport/gate and some agents are not familiar with the process. They are at the bottom of your status group.

Related threads
Ever see (+X blocked) in booked column on upgrade list?
Consolidated "Waitlist for Award Seats Questions/Issues"
[Consolidated] Chance of upgrade clearing on my flight
Decoding the alphabet soup - fare buckets for UA
Understanding the United Upgrade List Comprehensively [Archive]




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Understanding the United Upgrade List Comprehensively

Old Aug 31, 22, 8:58 am
  #1561  
 
Join Date: May 2017
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Originally Posted by jsloan
Oversale rules apply to flights, not cabins.
UA agents are required to fill out an oversale report if a cabin is oversold, even if the flight itself isn't oversold. An OPUP from an oversold cabin is required to be listed on the oversale report for the flight as a Type A upgrade, and the gate agent is required to speak with the passenger prior to boarding beginning to verify they want to accept the upgrade. This is actually a pretty black and white policy where the actions they are required to take are described in numerical order to handle the situation. Similar to your other point, a downgrade from an oversold J cabin also goes on the oversale report for the flight. It might not be reported in the VDB/IDB statistic, but it is all still required to be documented on the oversale report for the flight. Their policies are filed with the DOT, and their policy for an oversold cabin dictate that it is disclosed to the customer that the option to fly in a different cabin than ticketed is being offered due to an oversale situation in their ticketed cabin.

Edit: I had a friend from UA double check this. The first line of their operational upgrade policy for managing oversales states that UA considers a flight oversold where 1) any cabin is oversold and 2) as a result someone has to be reseated outside their ticketed cabin.

Last edited by Lux Flyer; Aug 31, 22 at 9:10 am
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Old Aug 31, 22, 9:06 am
  #1562  
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Originally Posted by Lux Flyer
UA agents are required to fill out an oversale report if a cabin is oversold, even if the flight itself isn't oversold. An OPUP from an oversold cabin is required to be listed on the oversale report for the flight as a Type A upgrade, and the gate agent is required to speak with the passenger prior to boarding beginning to verify they want to accept the upgrade. Similar to your other point, a downgrade from an oversold J cabin also goes on the oversale report for the flight. It might not be reported in the VDB/IDB statistic, but it is all still required to be documented on the oversale report for the flight.
I can't speak to what reports the agents might have to fill out, but I've definitely been on flights where the Y cabin was oversold and I was moved to F as a consequence (CPU), and not once did any agent ask me if I was sure or suggest that I'd somehow be eligible for IDB, which would have been a strange conversation because I wouldn't be eligible. If you're somehow suggesting that every passenger on board could decline to be upgraded and thereby force UA to offer IDB comp instead, that's preposterous. It's clearly OK for an airline to carry a passenger in a cabin higher than what they paid for.

But you're speaking specifically about an op-up, right? Obviously, any passengers who have already listed for an upgrade shouldn't be skipped, and it's not clear from the OP's description whether or not there were any P+ passengers on the upgrade list. If the disgruntled passengers were in Y, then UA did the right thing by op-upping passengers from P+ before clearing upgrades from Y, whether those passengers were on the list or not.
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Old Aug 31, 22, 9:12 am
  #1563  
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Originally Posted by jsloan
It's clearly OK for an airline to carry a passenger in a cabin higher than what they paid for.
As far as I am aware, there is no rule against carrying them in a lower cabin than they paid for either... at least, there are no damages beyond the "difference in fare".
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Old Aug 31, 22, 9:15 am
  #1564  
 
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Originally Posted by Lux Flyer
I'm curious if the group that got skipped over was at the gate area when the other passengers were offered/accept the upgrade. OPUPs should be prioritized by status, but because it was an oversale situation and the associated reporting requirements they can't clear the upgrade list to relieve the oversale (upgrades to relieve an oversale situation still have to be reported on an oversale report for the flight). DOT requires that anyone accepting compensation (which an upgrade is compensation) to relieve an oversale must be informed that their cabin is oversold, and that they may be eligible for denied boarding compensation, before making the decision to accept. This would require the gate agent to call the person up to the podium and that the passenger accepts the upgrade. But they aren't going to wait until boarding starts to resolve an oversale, they're going to address it as soon as the flight is being worked. Very well possible the higher status passengers were called but if they weren't in the gate area yet, might have then been skipped over.
Originally Posted by fumje
Except it's reported that the higher status pax also actively requested the upgrade by applying an instrument. That shouldn't require positive confirmation, and it's definitely not standard procedure to have your upgrade request forfeit if you don't hear the GA calling you.

Additionally, when I've gotten op-up, all that happened was my seat assignment and app boarding pass were changed in the background while I sat in the lounge.
There might be "rules" (where are they written and are agents even trained on them?) and then there's reality. What (most) agents do is process the upgrade list, clear the seats they can in PremPlus and then, viola, no longer oversold but likely booked to capacity with a seat assignment for everyone. Processing the upgrade list is a standard procedure and should be followed. Also means the PremPlus cabin is no longer oversold and I doubt any report has to be filed. Of course if there aren't enough upgrades requested to clear into J then OpUps apply and the cabin would still be considered oversold.

I have never once been called up to a gate to be told about my rights during an OpUp, just like @fumje. One of two things happens: 1) I notice it in the app and my mobile BP is updated; 2) I scan my original BP, I hear a beep, agent tells me I have a new seat assignment. What they have to do in the background to "report an oversale" is not something the flyer is going to know or understand. And why would they have to explain my rights? Because if I decline the upgrade they're going to pay me IDB and bump me to coach? Or bump me to the next available routing in the cabin I booked and still have to pay me IDB?

My last OpUp was EWR-NRT. I booked what was already an oversold PremPlus cabin the day before departure on an "A" fare I believe. BP said "See Agent". Checked in at the desk and they told me to just wait. I don't honestly remember what the upgrade list looked like but IIRC all revenue pax were processed. Two of us then got assigned seats in J who were booked in PremPlus. No PlusPoints required but the OpUp was handled by status (1K at the time as well).

-RM
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Old Aug 31, 22, 9:20 am
  #1565  
 
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Originally Posted by jsloan
I can't speak to what reports the agents might have to fill out, but I've definitely been on flights where the Y cabin was oversold and I was moved to F as a consequence (CPU), and not once did any agent ask me if I was sure or suggest that I'd somehow be eligible for IDB, which would have been a strange conversation because I wouldn't be eligible. If you're somehow suggesting that every passenger on board could decline to be upgraded and thereby force UA to offer IDB comp instead, that's preposterous. It's clearly OK for an airline to carry a passenger in a cabin higher than what they paid for.
Edited my previous post to add this, but UA considers a flight oversold if any cabin is oversold. And if they consider a flight oversold, then yes they should be following their oversale policies they have filed with the DOT which dictate it should be disclosed that it is oversold. Theoretically, if everyone in Y were to refuse the upgrade, then they would have to continue following their VDB/IDB policies, but the chance of that happening is basically 0%.

For your specific example the question is did the gate agent actually follow the oversale policy? Probably not, because it is far easier to just process the upgrade list and relieve the situation that way (and also cause the agent less paperwork). But if the agent was following the requirements for an oversold cabin, then it is very possible the situation which was described for the above SFO-SYD flight could occur if the elites on the upgrade list that were skipped over weren't in the gate area. I don't know all the specifics of that flight or why certain people were upgraded over others, but there is a plausible explanation for how the non-status UPP passengers got upgraded in the oversale situation.

Originally Posted by RobOnLI
There might be "rules" (where are they written and are agents even trained on them?) and then there's reality. What (most) agents do is process the upgrade list, clear the seats they can in PremPlus and then, viola, no longer oversold but likely booked to capacity with a seat assignment for everyone. Processing the upgrade list is a standard procedure and should be followed. Also means the PremPlus cabin is no longer oversold and I doubt any report has to be filed. Of course if there aren't enough upgrades requested to clear into J then OpUps apply and the cabin would still be considered oversold.
I don't disagree. I think any sensible gate agent who was trying to minimize the amount of work they need to do would just process the upgrade list in order to avoid having to go into the oversold cabin policy (which requires additional reports to be filled out...). But we also know there are people working at UA who are huge sticklers for rules and following policies to the letter (just look at the GS thread if you need examples....). So there could very easily be an agent who applied the policy exactly as it is written.
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Last edited by Lux Flyer; Aug 31, 22 at 9:30 am
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Old Aug 31, 22, 9:37 am
  #1566  
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Originally Posted by Lux Flyer
Edited my previous post to add this, but UA considers a flight oversold if any cabin is oversold. And if they consider a flight oversold, then yes they should be following their oversale policies they have filed with the DOT which dictate it should be disclosed that it is oversold. Theoretically, if everyone in Y were to refuse the upgrade, then they would have to continue following their VDB/IDB policies, but the chance of that happening is basically 0%.
OK, but let's think through this logically. Let's say everyone colludes to try to soak UA. They end up needing to "IDB" someone. But DOT regulations specify no financial penalty for IDB if the passenger is re-accommodated in a timely fashion. So they "IDB" the passenger, then put "re-accommodate" them into J. Problem solved.

Originally Posted by Lux Flyer
For your specific example the question is did the gate agent actually follow the oversale policy? Probably not, because it is far easier to just process the upgrade list and relieve the situation that way (and also cause the agent less paperwork). But if the agent was following the requirements for an oversold cabin, then it is very possible the situation which was described for the above SFO-SYD flight could occur if the elites on the upgrade list that were skipped over weren't in the gate area. I don't know all the specifics of that flight or why certain people were upgraded over others, but there is a plausible explanation for how the non-status UPP passengers got upgraded in the oversale situation.
I'm not saying that UA doesn't have illogical policies. I'm just saying that in practice, I've never observed this happening, and so far nobody else on the board has ever observed this happening. If you tell me that the gate agents, behind the scenes, are filling out some sort of report for internal purposes, I believe you. I don't particularly believe that they're reporting them back to the DOT, because the government loves statistics, and somewhere they'd be a chart that shows that 96% of UA flights are oversold and somebody would have turned it into a blog post.

But, in actuality, this really, really can't be a thing. If you're somehow parsing out the difference between oversold and overbooked -- is it OK to upgrade someone in an overbooked situation if it hasn't yet turned into an oversold situation, and so therefore CPUs prior to the last person checking in don't count? -- then maybe, but it would be all over FlyerTalk if people were routinely getting denied an upgrade because it had been given to someone else without status. I've been upgraded from my exit row seat on board the plane on multiple occasions. I didn't check to see if the flight was oversold, but I've never once been briefed on "why they needed my seat."

I think we need more details from the OP -- who likely doesn't have them, since it sounds like it was a "this is what I overheard" situation, as opposed to "this happened to me." But I wholeheartedly reject the explanation that there is a reason, within policy, regarding an oversold cabin that would mean that being closest to the gate agent is the winning tiebreaker for an op-up.
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Old Aug 31, 22, 9:46 am
  #1567  
 
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Originally Posted by jsloan
But, in actuality, this really, really can't be a thing. If you're somehow parsing out the difference between oversold and overbooked -- is it OK to upgrade someone in an overbooked situation if it hasn't yet turned into an oversold situation, and so therefore CPUs prior to the last person checking in don't count? -- then maybe, but it would be all over FlyerTalk if people were routinely getting denied an upgrade because it had been given to someone else without status.
Emphasis on your word "routinely" because it has absolutely happened to me and recently. The non-status pax who wound up in F on the CPU-eligible domestic route were handed their BPs at the gate and found sitting in F while the CPU list was quite long and I was #2 for 3 seats. Would have easily gotten it. It has happened to me twice in the past year. Does that make it routine? No, not for the amount I fly. But it definitely makes it a statistic that is non-zero.

-RM
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Old Aug 31, 22, 9:59 am
  #1568  
 
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Originally Posted by jsloan
OK, but let's think through this logically. Let's say everyone colludes to try to soak UA. They end up needing to "IDB" someone. But DOT regulations specify no financial penalty for IDB if the passenger is re-accommodated in a timely fashion. So they "IDB" the passenger, then put "re-accommodate" them into J. Problem solved.
Yep, and the only difference it is now becomes an IDB reportable statistic, as ironic as it sounds since it would be the same flight.

Originally Posted by jsloan
I'm not saying that UA doesn't have illogical policies. I'm just saying that in practice, I've never observed this happening, and so far nobody else on the board has ever observed this happening. If you tell me that the gate agents, behind the scenes, are filling out some sort of report for internal purposes, I believe you. I don't particularly believe that they're reporting them back to the DOT
There are a lot of things the airlines are required by the DOT to record and have available to them, by nature of the policies the airline files with the DOT. No where did I say that this was being actively reported to the DOT. But I can guarantee if the DOT came knocking asking for information (maybe in response to a DOT complaint?), UA would be expected to provide it and would have that data available.

Originally Posted by jsloan
But I wholeheartedly reject the explanation that there is a reason, within policy, regarding an oversold cabin that would mean that being closest to the gate agent is the winning tiebreaker for an op-up.
Not "closest to the gate agent", being in the gate area when the gate agent tried calling you, as opposed to being in the lounge or elsewhere in the airport.

I agree it is completely illogical, but that doesn't mean impossible for it to fit within policy if a gate agent decides they want to follow things exactly as written, which again, if the GS thread is any indication, there is a growing number of agents who are deciding they need to treat things exactly as the policy is written (however poorly or illogical it may be) instead of applying a little bit of common sense. Wonder if this shfit has anything (unofficially) to do with their now stalled contract negotiations?

If the policy for upgrades is don't clear them until T-60, and the policy for an oversold cabin is to resolve it as soon as you start working the flight. And because for whatever god awful reason the first line of the oversold cabin policy isn't to process all outstanding upgrades (since that actually isn't in the policy), then an agent who wants to follow the policy exactly as written is going to start calling people up to try and resolve it that way, as the policy dictates.
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Old Aug 31, 22, 12:41 pm
  #1569  
 
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Originally Posted by Lux Flyer
Edited my previous post to add this, but UA considers a flight oversold if any cabin is oversold. And if they consider a flight oversold, then yes they should be following their oversale policies they have filed with the DOT which dictate it should be disclosed that it is oversold. Theoretically, if everyone in Y were to refuse the upgrade, then they would have to continue following their VDB/IDB policies, but the chance of that happening is basically 0%.

For your specific example the question is did the gate agent actually follow the oversale policy? Probably not, because it is far easier to just process the upgrade list and relieve the situation that way (and also cause the agent less paperwork). But if the agent was following the requirements for an oversold cabin, then it is very possible the situation which was described for the above SFO-SYD flight could occur if the elites on the upgrade list that were skipped over weren't in the gate area. I don't know all the specifics of that flight or why certain people were upgraded over others, but there is a plausible explanation for how the non-status UPP passengers got upgraded in the oversale situation.
So if the policy is as you say (not arguing it) then the agent can process the upgrades first. Then can, if policy requires, call up each PP pax who wasn't upgraded to tell them that their cabin was oversold but no longer is so they don't need any compensation (or make a general announcement in the gate area). Or, easier, put on the report (a) cabin oversold relieved through upgrades to requesting pax; (b) no further compensation necessary because no oversold situation remaining.

Whatever DOT policy UA has committed to, upgrading pax in the oversold cabin in this way makes the least sense and doesn't seem to avoid any paperwork.
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Old Aug 31, 22, 12:54 pm
  #1570  
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Originally Posted by jsloan
All available evidence suggests that op-ups, if processed by the computer, are status-based, but I don't think it's published anywhere. So if nobody in the P+ had an upgrade request in, and the agents just op-upped passengers without seat assignments, then I don't think a passenger can point definitively to a policy that was violated.
I would be very surprised if they weren't prioritized by cabin, then status. So if no one in P+ had a request in, you might see no-status opups to J, even with Y pax on the upgrade list.

But that wasn't the case here.

I agree with you on everything else.
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Old Aug 31, 22, 1:10 pm
  #1571  
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Originally Posted by canadiancow
I would be very surprised if they weren't prioritized by cabin, then status. So if no one in P+ had a request in, you might see no-status opups to J, even with Y pax on the upgrade list.

But that wasn't the case here.

I agree with you on everything else.
I think, if Y is oversold and P+ is at capacity, they would probably op-up from P+ and then op-up from Y. That was definitely the way it worked when it was Y/J/F -- no double-upgrades. I agree completely that if P+ is oversold and Y is not, they will clear the oversale by op-up form P+ before they would upgrade anyone from the Y list.
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Old Aug 31, 22, 1:12 pm
  #1572  
 
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Originally Posted by canadiancow
I would be very surprised if they weren't prioritized by cabin, then status. So if no one in P+ had a request in, you might see no-status opups to J, even with Y pax on the upgrade list.

But that wasn't the case here.

I agree with you on everything else.

Did some further sleuthing and heres how I believe it went down:

1. PP was indeed oversold by 8. 8 seats were blocked in J as a result.
2. There were at least 4 1Ks who bought PP (R fare). None of these 1Ks had seat assignments at check in.
3. In order to give seat assignments, the passengers currently residing in the seats had to be bumped. Coincidentally these passengers had no status.
4. OPups were done. Then the 1Ks (and others I assume) were processed into PP and given seat assignments.
5. Order of operations mattered? Since the OPups were done first, J cabin is now full. No upgrades were processed.

just a small subset of the total 8 overbooked, but I think it sheds more light into what happened. I cant speak for whether it was right or not.
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Old Aug 31, 22, 1:25 pm
  #1573  
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Originally Posted by laxmillenial
Did some further sleuthing and heres how I believe it went down:

1. PP was indeed oversold by 8. 8 seats were blocked in J as a result.
2. There were at least 4 1Ks who bought PP (R fare). None of these 1Ks had seat assignments at check in.
3. In order to give seat assignments, the passengers currently residing in the seats had to be bumped. Coincidentally these passengers had no status.
4. OPups were done. Then the 1Ks (and others I assume) were processed into PP and given seat assignments.
5. Order of operations mattered? Since the OPups were done first, J cabin is now full. No upgrades were processed.

just a small subset of the total 8 overbooked, but I think it sheds more light into what happened. I cant speak for whether it was right or not.
It's not so much that no upgrades were processed -- that would be correct if none of the upgraders were in P+. However, I would expect a 1K without a seat assignment to be op-upped before a no-status person with a seat assignment. But this gets back to.. I can't point to anything on the website to prove that it would be correct.
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Old Aug 31, 22, 1:27 pm
  #1574  
 
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And it would sound more logical to just give new J seats to people without a PP seat assignement.
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Old Aug 31, 22, 1:30 pm
  #1575  
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Originally Posted by laxmillenial
Did some further sleuthing and heres how I believe it went down:

1. PP was indeed oversold by 8. 8 seats were blocked in J as a result.
2. There were at least 4 1Ks who bought PP (R fare). None of these 1Ks had seat assignments at check in.
3. In order to give seat assignments, the passengers currently residing in the seats had to be bumped. Coincidentally these passengers had no status.
4. OPups were done. Then the 1Ks (and others I assume) were processed into PP and given seat assignments.
5. Order of operations mattered? Since the OPups were done first, J cabin is now full. No upgrades were processed.

just a small subset of the total 8 overbooked, but I think it sheds more light into what happened. I cant speak for whether it was right or not.
Were there OAR pax who had requested upgrades, or were they all coming from Y?
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