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Wow - selling the upgrades at the gate so explicitly.

Wow - selling the upgrades at the gate so explicitly.

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Old Jan 15, 18, 6:50 am
  #316  
 
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I fly primarily short and mid-haul flights domestically. A few years ago, UA (and the other domestic carriers) made what I'd consider a wise move and began selling domestic first class at somewhat reasonable prices. As a gold and platinum, prior to this I could reasonably expect an upgrade on many of my flights- as long as they didn't involved two hubs. Since, I can count on one hand how often I've been upgraded. Some of that is the dearth of available upgrades, but most of that is because I purchase up front. If the flight is more than 2 hrs, I purchase in first something like 80% of the time. The only time I won't is if the cost is prohibitive (rarely so out of EWR, as I can always find a flight that matches my needs earlier or later that day), or if I'm traveling with a colleague or family (though if that's the wife, I'll simply buy 2).

As a platinum, I enjoy BG1, checked bags at a crazy weight limit, and the ability to put all of my companions into E+. I consider those my perks. I have 0 expectation of an upgrade at the gate, and if it's a flight I'd stress over being in Y....I simply purchase the first cass ticket in advance. I understand the dissapointment of some in this thread...but this is one of the few areas I find no issue with UA. They can and should maximize flight revenue. If someone will pay for a first class seat, they should take that before giving it away for free. Should there be a little more transparency, and a little more tact? No doubt. Welcome to UA.
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Old Jan 15, 18, 7:17 am
  #317  
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The issue seems to be the hawking at the gate - United already sells these upgrades at check-in kiosk, so I'd wonder whether the incremental revenue of a few hundred bucks from customers upgrading at the gate is worth aggravating their most loyal customers.
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Old Jan 15, 18, 7:37 am
  #318  
 
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I fly a mix of US domestic and international. It is not a big deal to fly economy on US domestic, but, frankly, the price difference is sometimes so small, I often just pay up, or will take a TOD just for a nicer seat and better ability to get some work done on the laptop.I think UA (and other airlines) encourage this.So I am not surprised that there aren’t many complimentary upgrades. Even as a 1K, I don't expect any CPUs.
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Old Jan 15, 18, 7:46 am
  #319  
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Originally Posted by Artpen100 View Post
I fly a mix of US domestic and international. It is not a big deal to fly economy on US domestic, but, frankly, the price difference is sometimes so small, I often just pay up, or will take a TOD just for a nicer seat and better ability to get some work done on the laptop.I think UA (and other airlines) encourage this.So I am not surprised that there aren’t many complimentary upgrades. Even as a 1K, I don't expect any CPUs.
During my last year as a 1K, my CPU percentage dropped like a rock. I saw the writing on the wall and stopped my quest to always fly UA in order to maintain 1K. Now, when I do fly UA, I buy discount F domestically, and use miles and cash internationally. Oh, and I spend about 60% of what I used to spend on UA. Thanks to SMI/J, I fly more on AA and DL than I ever did prior to the merger.
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Old Jan 15, 18, 8:41 am
  #320  
 
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Originally Posted by halls120 View Post
During my last year as a 1K, my CPU percentage dropped like a rock. I saw the writing on the wall and stopped my quest to always fly UA in order to maintain 1K. Now, when I do fly UA, I buy discount F domestically, and use miles and cash internationally. Oh, and I spend about 60% of what I used to spend on UA. Thanks to SMI/J, I fly more on AA and DL than I ever did prior to the merger.
+1 There are two related questions, (1) how much+$$$ (or +$) does UA get for selling the F seat vs holding it back for possible sale as F and then giving it as a CPU, vs. (2) the annoyance and anger that comes UA's way when CPU turns out to be a sham, along with the resulting loss of business (-$$$ or -$).

I many be an extreme example, but in my old Job I flew on probably 90% last minute tickets, but I could not pay for F by company policy. I could pay $1800+ to fly SFO-DTW RT in Y, but I could not pay $2000 to fly in F. And doing a trip or two a week, shelling out a few hundred bucks each time for upgrade certs (F pricing was always much higher on every airline) was just not in the cards.

I went UA > TWA > AA > CO/NW > UA as primary carrier. Why? Well TWA upgraded me, UA did not, and when AA took over TWA and I was back in the back of the bus, CO/NW upgraded me, and when CO started making F $100 bucks higher than Y, so there were few CPUs, well I went back to United.

There is a point where making comp upgrades too scarce, combined in UA's case with rubbing peoples noises in it, costs valuable traffic to other (better airlines). This was part of my reason for leaving United (even when as now I pay for F on longer flights) I have a legitimate shot at upgrades on DL as a PLT, I don't have any shot for an upgrade on UA, YMMV. It is my business judgement that United has gone too far down the road of getting as much crack (TOD revenue) as possible, and it is part of by UA overall has trailed other airlines in revenue metrics. Others may disagree.
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Old Jan 15, 18, 9:00 am
  #321  
 
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I love the idea of selling upgrades at the gate as long as the price comes down from the kiosk check-in - If I'm #5 on the list with 1 or 2 seats left, and the price comes down on a long flight, I'd jump on it - I like the free enterprise system....
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Old Jan 16, 18, 6:32 am
  #322  
 
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Originally Posted by halls120 View Post
During my last year as a 1K, my CPU percentage dropped like a rock. I saw the writing on the wall and stopped my quest to always fly UA in order to maintain 1K. Now, when I do fly UA, I buy discount F domestically, and use miles and cash internationally. Oh, and I spend about 60% of what I used to spend on UA. Thanks to SMI/J, I fly more on AA and DL than I ever did prior to the merger.
Yeah....this is an excellenct point. Since I purchase primarily domestic F on UA these days, several things occur... I achieve my status much more easily (I've settled in at platinum and have too much short haul to take a real run at 1k), and I'm more free to book elsewhere.

Where I'd used to fly a lot of CommutAir regional, I know book AA connecting in F (70% of the time I get to my destination faster based on the incompetence of the regional...but that's another thread).

I fly several routes (EWR-MSP, EWR-ATL) where my choices depend solely on aircraft, as domestic F is reasonable on all carriers.

I am primarily loyal to UA because of one thing...EWR. I think UA understands this. They maximize revenue, knowing that many of us in captive markets will use them out of sheer convenience. I no longer harbor any resentment with respect to "loyalty". UA doesn't owe me anything, and I am free to make other choices when they don't deliver.

Originally Posted by HNLbasedFlyer View Post
I love the idea of selling upgrades at the gate as long as the price comes down from the kiosk check-in - If I'm #5 on the list with 1 or 2 seats left, and the price comes down on a long flight, I'd jump on it - I like the free enterprise system....
As has been said in this thread previously, if UA coud figure out a way to A) offer these first to the elite flyers and B) possibly offer them at a slight discount from the typical traveler, the majority might find it reasonably equitable. I'm ok with completely eliminating the free upgrade...it causes stress IMO. Check off during the check in process whether you'd like to be offered an upgrade, and then push the offer to smartphones at the gate.

Last edited by WineCountryUA; Jan 16, 18 at 3:55 pm Reason: merging consecutive posts by same member
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Old Jan 17, 18, 8:24 pm
  #323  
 
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I don't think there's any real debate that DEN is the primary market where this occurs. And I see both the loyalty side and business side of the argument. My issue is with the inconsistent application; either do it in every market on every flight, or don't do it at all.

I have stopped connecting through DEN altogether or when I do, I buy up to begin with, or on short hops, just pick the exit row and save a few bucks on E class.
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Old Mar 30, 18, 3:38 am
  #324  
 
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Just saw this at DCA this morning. The 0615 to IAH.

Agent announced that they had two seats for sale before clearing the list. They sold both seats.

Wow. Even DL doesn’t do that.
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Old Mar 30, 18, 6:15 am
  #325  
 
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Have any GS written in to complain about this?
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Old Mar 30, 18, 6:34 am
  #326  
 
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Originally Posted by Chukiechz View Post
I think I know the person you're talking about. Tall male with glasss right? He's always doing that on my DEN to SNA flight and he always gets a bite
Are you sure that's not Smisek?
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Old Mar 30, 18, 6:42 am
  #327  
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Originally Posted by WWads View Post
Just saw this at DCA this morning. The 0615 to IAH.

Agent announced that they had two seats for sale before clearing the list. They sold both seats.

Wow. Even DL doesn’t do that.
What was the offer price? If it was based on a fare difference, there is nothing we can say about it, but if it was a fixed amount, then you should write in and complain.
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Old Mar 30, 18, 6:50 am
  #328  
 
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Originally Posted by bocastephen View Post
What was the offer price? If it was based on a fare difference, there is nothing we can say about it, but if it was a fixed amount, then you should write in and complain.
They specifically said that they couldn't announce the price, but that interested passengers should come to the CS desk to inquire. Since both seats sold, I'd guess that it was a lot less than fare difference (which was $200-300 last time I checked).

UA must have gone full-on FCM for this flight. At T-24 there were seven open seats in FC. In the end, only one elite cleared. Looking back, that elite cleared before the GA made the buy-up offer, so I'm guessing that they could have been GS.
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Old Mar 30, 18, 7:01 am
  #329  
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Originally Posted by WWads View Post
They specifically said that they couldn't announce the price, but that interested passengers should come to the CS desk to inquire. Since both seats sold, I'd guess that it was a lot less than fare difference (which was $200-300 last time I checked).

UA must have gone full-on FCM for this flight. At T-24 there were seven open seats in FC. In the end, only one elite cleared. Looking back, that elite cleared before the GA made the buy-up offer, so I'm guessing that they could have been GS.
The fare difference would be different for every passenger - plus there could have been someone willing to pay $200+ dollars - then again, there could have been people on B or H fares with a much smaller fare difference if P inventory opened up with a valid P fare available. If they were yelling out "first class seats for $99", then I would definitely be writing in about this.
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Old Mar 30, 18, 9:05 am
  #330  
 
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Originally Posted by bocastephen View Post
The fare difference would be different for every passenger - plus there could have been someone willing to pay $200+ dollars - then again, there could have been people on B or H fares with a much smaller fare difference if P inventory opened up with a valid P fare available. If they were yelling out "first class seats for $99", then I would definitely be writing in about this.
There have been reports of this going on now for several months. I myself experienced it out of DEN as well last October and didn't get my RPU upgraded (nothing new). It seems many reports of this have come out of DEN for whatever reason. I didn't complain, I just figured more business as usual. It is what it is....a money grab. But as many here say, UA is in the business of making money for their shareholders.
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