Botched upgrade processing out of AMS?

Old Dec 2, 19, 2:59 pm
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Botched upgrade processing out of AMS?

This isn't a complaint (despite some low-level general griping), but I'm a bit confused about what went down here:

Flying out of AMS on United generally seems to be a bit of mess (and now no lounge access for *G in the non-Schengen area apparently, grr), but I flew AMS-IAH yesterday in economy, and someone seems to have really biffed on the upgrades. I put in a GPU for the flight, but only had a W fare, and so fully expected to not get upgraded on the last day of Thanksgiving weekend. Sure enough, I was pretty far down the list out of something like 15 people on the waitlist. However, I kept checking the app out of curiosity, and when the doors finally closed, the upgrade list showed "Capacity: 50, Booked: Full, Checked-in: 46" with four seats unclaimed on the seat map. I thought that might be a glitch in the app, but I did a quick reconnaissance mission into Polaris during a slow part of the flight when the FAs were clustered in the kitchen, and saw that two of the seats were indeed empty (all four might have been, but I only looked at the close and obvious ones, since I didn't want to be sticking my neb into anyone's actual occupied seat).

So, what happened? The flight started boarding only about 10 minutes late, so it wasn't like there was an absolute crunch in time. Was this on the contracted ground staff? On an IT glitch? Any guesses or experience with something similar?
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Old Dec 2, 19, 3:10 pm
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UA blocks three on the Polarised 772 for crew rest. Additionally, I've noticed recently that last-minute standby upgrades are not always showing on the seat map. So unless you actually saw 4 empty seats, I would not conclude anything was amiss.

Ironically, the DL forum is full of complaints about messed up upgrade processing ex-AMS. But that's an issue with how KL handles them.
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Old Dec 2, 19, 3:57 pm
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Originally Posted by Kacee View Post
UA blocks three on the Polarised 772 for crew rest. Additionally, I've noticed recently that last-minute standby upgrades are not always showing on the seat map. So unless you actually saw 4 empty seats, I would not conclude anything was amiss.
I only saw the two seats, with amenity kits, blankets, etc. still piled on top, so it is possible that one or both of those would eventually have a resting crew member, though it was rather late in the flight at that point (the other two seats were on a different aisle, and I didn't want to walk all around). Thanks for the possible reasonable outcome - I feel a bit better about that.
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Old Dec 2, 19, 4:11 pm
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Originally Posted by mechteach View Post
Flying out of AMS on United generally seems to be a bit of mess
AMS is my home airport and I can confirm that the outsourced gate agents handling UA are undertrained and there is always a sense of confusion and chaos. It used to be better, but it has gotten worse in the past years. It really is a pity to witness the decline.
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Old Dec 2, 19, 4:21 pm
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Same thing happened to me recently in Toronto. Contracted agents messed up ready
ing the 1k preboarding announcement and skipped it. Even though I wasn't close enough on the upgrade list for it to matter, I'd recommend contacting United to see what they say which I will be doing soon enough.
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Old Dec 2, 19, 4:29 pm
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Originally Posted by fivesixseven View Post
AMS is my home airport and I can confirm that the outsourced gate agents handling UA are undertrained and there is always a sense of confusion and chaos. It used to be better, but it has gotten worse in the past years. It really is a pity to witness the decline.
My last experience AMS-EWR this past August the gate agents were great, even to the extent of making my SSSS extra screening go as smooth as possible. Maybe because I'm GS, they tried harder to treat me well?
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Old Dec 2, 19, 4:58 pm
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Originally Posted by physioprof View Post
My last experience AMS-EWR this past August the gate agents were great, even to the extent of making my SSSS extra screening go as smooth as possible. Maybe because I'm GS, they tried harder to treat me well?
That might have made a difference. And obviously, it is not bad each and every time, but generally speaking I am observing a decline and I many UA staffers I used to know have been replaced with contracted gate agents.
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Old Dec 2, 19, 5:51 pm
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Interesting...the status from yesterday does still say 46 checked in, and Polaris "available". I saw 3 open seats on the seat map.
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Last edited by tstauck; Dec 2, 19 at 6:08 pm
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Old Dec 2, 19, 7:17 pm
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Not AMS but UA998 ex-BRU had something like 9 open J seat last Sunday. (78J)
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Old Dec 3, 19, 7:34 am
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But, UA (as a matter of every airline out there) may elect to keep premium seats empty than giving out cheap upgrades to pax.
Keeping seats empty may increase (and often does) increase revenue, because pax are enticed to buy actual premium fares instead of relying on cheap upgrade instruments.
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Old Dec 3, 19, 10:42 am
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The seats could be inoperative, and there were no non-revs to fill them up.

This happened to me on a 787-10, on its first revenue service flight, no less. The door was closed with 3 open business class seats. After talking to the purser during the flight, she said that 3 open seats in Polaris business had inoperative screens, hence why the gate agent did not process the upgrade. Not to say that's a good reason for not processing the upgrade, since streaming entertainment was available, but there's a reason behind it.
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Old Dec 3, 19, 10:57 am
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Originally Posted by tstauck View Post
Interesting...the status from yesterday does still say 46 checked in, and Polaris "available". I saw 3 open seats on the seat map.
The booked seats here is frequently wrong. Like common to see 28 seats booked on a 739
Seeing 'Polaris' as 'available' means there are seats that are not blocked should be available for passengers.
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