Normal to keep 50% of F open at less than T-48?

Old Jun 29, 19, 3:57 pm
  #1  
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Normal to keep 50% of F open at less than T-48?

Iím booked in Y on the mid-morning SFO-DTW flight this Monday. F is 20 seats, only 10 of which are booked according to the mobile flight status page.

The cabin was the same at around T-90 when I first checked, so I expected my CPU to clear right at the T-72 window. Not only did it not then, but it still hasnít, and nobody else has cleared into F either.

Is it normal for UA to hold so many open F seats on a midcon without clearing? Is there any reason why they would do so on this fight in particular, like maybe a possible equipment swap? The flight is currently on a 737-9 with a mostly-full Y cabin. They are selling F upgrades.
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Old Jun 29, 19, 4:00 pm
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In a word, YES

UA will try hard to sell the seats at discounted cash upgrade prices
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Old Jun 29, 19, 4:01 pm
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Originally Posted by mcrw00 View Post
Is it normal for UA to hold so many open F seats on a midcon without clearing?
Yes,

Originally Posted by mcrw00 View Post
Is there any reason why they would do so on this fight in particular, like maybe a possible equipment swap?
Not necessarily.

Originally Posted by mcrw00 View Post
They are selling F upgrades.
That is one of the reasons that they will keep the F seats open.

UA has increasingly been delaying upgrades further and further toward the gate. With the recent lack of transparency, there's no good way to know if anybody's been upgraded already besides watching the seat map -- but, even then, all you can determine is a negative. If a seat gets taken, there's no way to know if it was UA running an upgrade for a GS or 1K that was already on the list ahead of you, or if it was somebody buying a ticket.
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Old Jun 29, 19, 5:29 pm
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Even before some of the ridiculous "no upgrades at T-24 with 13 open", there was a strong pattern of clearing the 1Ks at T-96 and then waiting a while before running another sweep.
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Old Jun 29, 19, 6:00 pm
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Does UA still eventually clear the CPU list until the cabin is full, or do they block some seats at paid upgrade only and let them fly empty if nobody buys?
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Old Jun 29, 19, 6:12 pm
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Originally Posted by mcrw00 View Post
Does UA still eventually clear the CPU list until the cabin is full
Yes.
Originally Posted by mcrw00 View Post
or do they block some seats at paid upgrade only and let them fly empty if nobody buys?
No. The upgrade list should always be cleared prior to departure.
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Old Jun 29, 19, 6:57 pm
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Are those F seats actually available? Maybe some of them are already sold and the pax havenít selected seats yet?
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Old Jun 29, 19, 7:05 pm
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I was on a E175 flight that was 1/12 F sold and I wasn't upgraded until T-24. Then aircraft was subbed to a E170 and ended up departing 4/6 in F.
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Old Jun 29, 19, 7:07 pm
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I will say it makes irrops handling better too. I'm flying IAH-CLE today... My oringinal flight boarded and then deplaned when they figured out we didn't have a captain or FO to fly the plane (they, as it turns out, were in Austin)... About 90 minutes later we reboarded... Door closed, sat for an hour, and then deplaned again because our FAs and Pilots timed out (and the FAs were loudly complaining about being willing to work if Crew scheduling a would pay them "their $350").

I was sure getting protected in the class I paid for was going to be a battle and had actually planned on finding a hotel and going out in the morning... But a supervisor put me on the next flight out, confirmed in F, and probably 1/2 of my flights F cabin was also reaccomed including a family of 3. (Y was "middle seats only" last I heard...no way I'm ever trading paid F for a middle Y, ever. I'll force a refund and book another carrier if that's what it takes)

If the old practice of clearing CPUs to one open seat had been followed on this flight I might have gotten lucky but no way the family would have made it, etc.
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Old Jun 29, 19, 7:27 pm
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Originally Posted by lincolnjkc View Post
If the old practice of clearing CPUs to one open seat had been followed on this flight I might have gotten lucky but no way the family would have made it, etc.
The practice is to clear down to 2.

But it's increasingly common for UA not to sweep at all until T-24.
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Old Jun 29, 19, 7:27 pm
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Originally Posted by mcrw00 View Post
...Is it normal for UA to hold so many open F seats.
Yes - the new normal. Donít expect to be clear at the window, regardless of fill. Your experience is hardly restricted to mid-cons.
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Old Jun 29, 19, 7:32 pm
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Originally Posted by lincolnjkc View Post
I will say it makes irrops handling better too. I'm flying IAH-CLE today... My oringinal flight boarded and then deplaned when they figured out we didn't have a captain or FO to fly the plane (they, as it turns out, were in Austin)... About 90 minutes later we reboarded... Door closed, sat for an hour, and then deplaned again because our FAs and Pilots timed out (and the FAs were loudly complaining about being willing to work if Crew scheduling a would pay them "their $350").

I was sure getting protected in the class I paid for was going to be a battle and had actually planned on finding a hotel and going out in the morning... But a supervisor put me on the next flight out, confirmed in F, and probably 1/2 of my flights F cabin was also reaccomed including a family of 3. (Y was "middle seats only" last I heard...no way I'm ever trading paid F for a middle Y, ever. I'll force a refund and book another carrier if that's what it takes)

If the old practice of clearing CPUs to one open seat had been followed on this flight I might have gotten lucky but no way the family would have made it, etc.
Situations like this are exactly why I stopped flying United two years ago: their inability to staff flights with crews. I can't believe they are still struggling in this regard. I understand weather happens, of course. But still... happened so many times to me, in a row, that I finally mutters some words under my breath and moved to a more reliable operator. ESPECIALLY aggravating is that these situations happen at HUGE HUBS... you'd think that UA/Express could find pilots at SFO (in my case) or IAH (in yours).

Back on topic, yeah they have to hold the seats open so that they can sell them for $30 to Ma and Pa with no premier status.
Elites aren't eligible, because they get the seats for free, once UA feels like it. Which means... you're hosed.
And, honestly, I can't blame this entirely on UA... CO had started such shenanigans just before the merger. Apparently the revenue is worth the irritation caused to the premiers.
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Old Jun 29, 19, 8:48 pm
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Originally Posted by Legend717 View Post
Situations like this are exactly why I stopped flying United two years ago: their inability to staff flights with crews. I can't believe they are still struggling in this regard. ....
You may be using old data -- AA is at the bottom of the legacy carrier heap nowadays-- UA is midway between DL and AA (and AS, listed as one of your carriers, avoiding the bad airports, is about the same as DL. Overall the spread as gotten smaller. Things change.

Originally Posted by Legend717 View Post
yeah they have to hold the seats open so that they can sell them for $30 to Ma and Pa with no premier status. ....
That is really old data --- that sort of event is long gone, status disadvantage is long gone and those sort of prices are long gone. Yes, UA works hard to sell seats first, but it has gotten has done "better" in extracting more revenue (typically $50/flight hour for it cash upgrades - domestically)
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Old Jun 29, 19, 10:59 pm
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Originally Posted by mr8 View Post
Are those F seats actually available? Maybe some of them are already sold and the pax havenít selected seats yet?
The app lists 10 seats as available under the upgrade tab, so Iím assuming in this case every seat appearing empty on the map is actually empty.
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Old Jun 30, 19, 12:55 am
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Consider it's showing J9, that means there are at least 9 seats that UA is willing to sell, or 9 seats available. Note that 9 is the highest number that expert mode shows, so an entirely empty cabin would still show J9.
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