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Upgrade Shenanigans? [Consolidated] {Archive}

Upgrade Shenanigans? [Consolidated] {Archive}

Old Oct 12, 2011, 4:38 pm
  #1  
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Upgrade Shenanigans? [Consolidated] {Archive}

Flying out of DAY as a 1K on a full fare ticket purchased the night before (most expensive fare). Checked in and was called up to the stand for an upgrade. Upon boarding the guy in front of me threw a hissy fit because "his upgrade was confirmed yesterday and I just noticed it wasn't an upgraded seat on the ticket that printed out!! I'm a premier exec, wah, wah." The gate agent asked for my ticket back and bumped me down to an exit row. (the guy hadn't stopped whining this entire time). I asked the lady if the fact that I'm a 1k and probably paid more for the ticket than anyone else on the plane if it made a difference. She said, "No that's not how it works". It was a 30m flight so I wasn't about to argue.

I'd love to hear some input on how the process really works and how a premier exec could "downgrade" a 1K!
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Old Oct 12, 2011, 4:43 pm
  #2  
 
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Elite status used to mean something. Now, everyone is Silver, Gold (sorry, i still don't understand the UAL terms). Boarding, no matter what the GA calls, is a free for all. When they called Platinum, Gold, Star Alliance Gold, I get up and have to meander through around 50 people to board.
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Old Oct 12, 2011, 4:47 pm
  #3  
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Welcome to FlyerTalk!

If the guy actually was upgraded and there were no more upgrade seats left or for some other reason the GA did something wonky when actually processing yours then, yes, the lower level elite really is supposed to get it. They generally aren't in the business of taking away upgrades once they're given. That's often why some seats are held back for last minute customers and the like.
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Old Oct 12, 2011, 4:53 pm
  #4  
 
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rick,
i have been in your situation as well and wish to god that the udu would go away and go back to the 500 mile ugs. the last time this happened i was on the DM list for the upgrade, i was cleared and BOARDED the flight, 5 minutes later i"m getting booted back to 12B, i was told that the person who got my seat was confirmed for the upgrade but either didnt get an alert from united that it had cleared or inquired at boarding in which then the agent booted me back to my original seat, how it was still available to me is a mystery but i have basically stopped trying for the upgrade and just board with my exit aisle on those short hops to chicago, now if we wanted to we should of held the agent accountable for the cluster, its a no win situation
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Old Oct 12, 2011, 5:13 pm
  #5  
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Originally Posted by pete4abw
Elite status used to mean something. Now, everyone is Silver, Gold (sorry, i still don't understand the UAL terms). Boarding, no matter what the GA calls, is a free for all. When they called Platinum, Gold, Star Alliance Gold, I get up and have to meander through around 50 people to board.
This is just simply inaccurate. Elite fliers remain a relatively small subset of the general population. I'm not sure what the median percentage of fliers is on a given flight that are elite but by guess is its somewhere in the teens.

Obviously, there are certain routes/times where an enormous portion of the plane is elite but the idea that everyone is elite and being elite means nothing is simply laughable.
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Old Oct 12, 2011, 5:18 pm
  #6  
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Originally Posted by sts603
I'm not sure what the median percentage of fliers is on a given flight that are elite but by guess is its somewhere in the teens.
While that may be true flying out of your home airport, it's definitely not true flying UA out of SFO. On hub-to-hub flights, elites often comprise well over 50% of the passengers.
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Old Oct 12, 2011, 5:21 pm
  #7  
 
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You beat me to the answer. While, technically, the percentage is low, it depends on the airports you fly as to how useful it is to know and make use of that information. I frequent SNA, LAX, SFO, IAD, & DCA, connecting through DEN or ORD. Don't get many upgrades. I'm hoping it pays off on an upcoming MR.
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Old Oct 12, 2011, 5:23 pm
  #8  
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Originally Posted by mahasamatman
While that may be true flying out of your home airport, it's definitely not true flying UA out of SFO. On hub-to-hub flights, elites often comprise well over 50% of the passengers.
Read what I just route. Obviously there are certain routes/times Generally, speaking except during off-peak times that is true on any airlines intra-hub flights (e.g. ATL-SLC, ORD-DFW, ORD-SFO, IAD-ORD, PHL-CLT, etc.). And there are obviously hubs that have higher portions of elites than others (SFO, DFW, IAH and ATL come to mind here vs say PHL, SLC, ORD, LAX, etc.). But that doesn't change my point as evidenced by the number of upgrades still given to lowest-level elites (including on UA ex-SFO).

And my home airport btw - is NYC (specifically LGA, JFK). Not exactly known to be elite-light locations.
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Old Oct 12, 2011, 5:51 pm
  #9  
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I just wanted to board so I didn't argue with the lady or give her a hard time. She did tell me though that I was the only 1k on board the plane and apologized for the inconvenience. So I smiled as I walked past all the lower tiers sitting in first while I packed it to the back of the plane.

Wish their was a better/fair way to handle this for higher tier fliers. What's the point of the loyalty if you can easily and frequently be usurped by lower tiers who just happened to plan their trip far in advance and probably paid half of what I did??
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Old Oct 12, 2011, 6:12 pm
  #10  
 
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AFAIK, loyalty does mean you can boot people from their upgraded seats just because you happened to book the previous night and there were no upgradeable seats at that time

If you are upset by this, then you haven't been paying attention to the recent changes.

Originally Posted by rickwestrate
Wish their was a better/fair way to handle this for higher tier fliers. What's the point of the loyalty if you can easily and frequently be usurped by lower tiers who just happened to plan their trip far in advance and probably paid half of what I did??
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Old Oct 12, 2011, 6:14 pm
  #11  
 
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Originally Posted by rickwestrate
What's the point of the loyalty if you can easily and frequently be usurped by lower tiers who just happened to plan their trip far in advance and probably paid half of what I did??
Welcome to FlyerTalk rickwestrate. ^

As sbm12 pointed out, the way UA deals with this is to hold a certain number of seats back for people wishing to purchase F at the last minute. I'm sure they would also like to save space to upgrade people on expensive Y tickets, though perhaps the incentive is slightly reduced.

Regardless, they will eventually (i.e. at the gate) fill the seats with upgraders, assuming there are enough in the queue. Up until that point the release of seats is subject to the voodoo of Inventory Management, which is a black box to us.

Basically, they're weighing the probability of someone buying the seat vs. (I suppose) the increased efficiency of having things worked out beforehand. One presumes there's some fancy math involved, but it's probably not surprising that they get it wrong sometimes. Though I suspect it doesn't happen enough for you to be "easily and frequently" cut out.

They way to think about it is not that they let the 1P (Premier Exec) usurp you, it's that the model failed to assign a high enough probability to your existence. If you ask the system who should get the upgrade between the two of you, it would pick you. It's only when the alternative is nothing (or what it thinks is nothing) that it picks the 1P.
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Old Oct 12, 2011, 6:59 pm
  #12  
 
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Thumbs down Upgrade jacked ...

I was on a delayed flight OMA-DEN two weeks ago where there were 12 people on the list and 1 seat available. For about :45 before the scheduled flight time, I was #1 in line. Nothing cleared until about 10 minutes before we actually left, maybe an hour late. Suddenly it said: First has checked in full, the number of seats available for an upgrade went to zero, and the number of people on the list went to 11. I know all about what could have happened ... but I'm pretty sure I know what did happen.

Short flight, no big deal. But: still. I was sort of hoping that this kind of thing was going to go away with the automation ...
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Old Oct 12, 2011, 7:36 pm
  #13  
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Originally Posted by jmhayes
I was on a delayed flight OMA-DEN two weeks ago where there were 12 people on the list and 1 seat available. For about :45 before the scheduled flight time, I was #1 in line. Nothing cleared until about 10 minutes before we actually left, maybe an hour late. Suddenly it said: First has checked in full, the number of seats available for an upgrade went to zero, and the number of people on the list went to 11. I know all about what could have happened ... but I'm pretty sure I know what did happen.

Short flight, no big deal. But: still. I was sort of hoping that this kind of thing was going to go away with the automation ...
Sounds like somebody jumped ahead of you. Maybe they had higher status, but were in a lower position?
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Old Oct 12, 2011, 7:42 pm
  #14  
 
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I was on a GIG-IAH flt with 1 seat showing all day in BF and no one of the list receiving it. Since i was #! on the upgrade list, I inquired at the gate as to why a Plat, B Fare wasn't upgraded to that 1 seat. One red coat said it was capacity controlled and would go out without being filled and then the concierge said the captain had taken it as his rest seat.
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Old Oct 12, 2011, 8:05 pm
  #15  
 
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Originally Posted by jmhayes
I was on a delayed flight OMA-DEN two weeks ago where there were 12 people on the list and 1 seat available. For about :45 before the scheduled flight time, I was #1 in line. Nothing cleared until about 10 minutes before we actually left, maybe an hour late. Suddenly it said: First has checked in full, the number of seats available for an upgrade went to zero, and the number of people on the list went to 11. I know all about what could have happened ... but I'm pretty sure I know what did happen.
This has happened to me too (rarely though). A GS comes along at the last minute and gets the available seat. When it happens, I just shake my head a little to myself and get over it. The upgrade system has worked fairly well for me over the years, even lately, so unless I buy an F seat, I've learned not to take it so bad when I don't actually get upgraded!
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