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Consolidated "Upgraded Travel to South Africa Options for MileagePlus Members" Thread

Consolidated "Upgraded Travel to South Africa Options for MileagePlus Members" Thread

 
Old Jun 5, 06, 8:50 pm
  #1  
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Join Date: Mar 2006
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Consolidated "Upgraded Travel to South Africa Options for MileagePlus Members" Thread

There are a lot of threads I could have posted this in, picking the right one was tough. It is also fairly specific enough that I thought it might justify its own thread. To the mods, if you disagree, I apologize and obviously, move it to where you feel is best.

There is lots in this forum on using paper SWUs to upgrade on LH. Many of them make reference to an upgrade list, and there tends to be an implication that said list will be used in some sort of orderly fashion to execute the upgrades.

Well, I am here to tell you that in JNB, if there is a list, it ain't used. Or, at least it was not used on the evening of June 3.

I was on LH 573 to FRA, had my paper SWU, mentioned it at check-in, was told I was added to the "upgrade list", proceed to board at the proper time and if my upgrade cleared, the gate reader would reject my BP and the GA at the counter would print me a new BP. "Technology is wonderful", I was thinking, and leave it to the German National airline to implement such an orderly upgrade procedure. NOT!

As it turns out, the UGs are awarded on a first come, first served basis by the gate agents with no regard to status, list postion, or anything else. Two folks in front of me got upgrades, I got mine, and the guy right behind me got his and I heard the GA tell him, "you're going to get the last one". I couldn't help but think if I hadn't come down earlier than necessary, I probably wouldn't have gotten my upgrade.

Also, be aware that the gates are on the lower level (ride a bus to mid-field). As you come down the escalator, if you see a long line, chances are that is the line for economy boarding. I'd suggest walking around that line and walking up to the desk.
PATRLR is offline  
Old Jun 6, 06, 2:07 am
  #2  
 
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Originally Posted by PATRLR
I was on LH 573 to FRA, had my paper SWU, mentioned it at check-in, was told I was added to the "upgrade list", proceed to board at the proper time and if my upgrade cleared, the gate reader would reject my BP and the GA at the counter would print me a new BP. "Technology is wonderful", I was thinking, and leave it to the German National airline to implement such an orderly upgrade procedure. NOT!

As it turns out, the UGs are awarded on a first come, first served basis by the gate agents with no regard to status, list postion, or anything else. Two folks in front of me got upgrades, I got mine, and the guy right behind me got his and I heard the GA tell him, "you're going to get the last one". I couldn't help but think if I hadn't come down earlier than necessary, I probably wouldn't have gotten my upgrade.
Errr, not my experience. On that very same flight with a UA paper upgrade, albeit a couple of years ago, I boarded almost last (catching up with a friend on the later VS flight), and the gate reader indeed spat out my BP, and replaced it with a non-reclining C seat right at the back of the cabin. C/Y were checked in full, and LH employee class was already ensconced in all the best seats in the forward C cabin. Yup, German technology was certainly working that day...

Maybe the GA knew that he was the only person left to upgrade, and was making light conversation?
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Old Jun 6, 06, 6:24 am
  #3  
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Originally Posted by kt74
Maybe the GA knew that he was the only person left to upgrade, and was making light conversation?
No light conversation going on at that desk.

Even if he was the only one left, the GA was doing them all manually, it wasn't already done. And I wasn't hanging around to watch this guy get his upgrade. He had his cert out, she said what she said as I stepped to the side, before she even had a chance to type anything into the computer. Unless she knew this guy by name and knew he was on the list, she was giving him the last upgrade because he was next in the queue and she knew she only had one spot left.

Your experience is noteworthy, no doubt. But the real point to anyone who reads this thread with the intention of learning what to expect is:
  • If the UG is important to you, get down to the gate ASAP and get to the desk (and don't get caught in the line waiting to board).
  • If the UG is not important, and spending time upstairs in the club or shopping is more important, then, it is possible that the computer will take care of you. It has happened in the past.
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Old Jun 6, 06, 7:42 am
  #4  
 
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Originally Posted by PATRLR
Also, be aware that the gates are on the lower level (ride a bus to mid-field). As you come down the escalator, if you see a long line, chances are that is the line for economy boarding. I'd suggest walking around that line and walking up to the desk.
I am not at all surprised at your poor customer service experience in JNB. In the three times I have flown through JNB on LH, two of them were stuck in a non-reclining seat in LH cattle class. You would think as a *G they could at least get me a seat which reclines. For someone who is in JNB for the first time, I would highly recommend following PATRLR's advice of getting down there to the desk. The downstairs boarding area at JNB is a terrible zoo and they don't do a very good job of enforcing the F/C/Elite line. Get down to that desk as soon as you can. Just make sure you wear cool clothing, as it is very hot down there.
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Old Oct 19, 08, 3:30 pm
  #5  
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
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Upgrades on Lufthansa?

So my company has decided that they want me to go from Denver to Cape Town SA next Sunday, however they dont see it as valueable to send me business class. Im about 5000 miles short of my premier exec staus in which this trip will be putting me over, but im pretty much screwed in economy for a good 24 hours of my life on both United and Lufthansa flights.

At lease I will have a bit of luck in economy plus on the way back from Germany as that is a UA flight.

The kicker, is that I come home for two days and get to turn around and go to Argentina in no other than coach as well. Gotta love the 4th quarter budget cuts!!!!!

Does anyone have any thoughts on how I can squeeze a bit more legroom for my 6 foot 6 inch body on Lufthansa coach? Seems impossible to pick seats.

Thanks in advance!!!!!

Last edited by iluv2fly; Oct 19, 08 at 6:33 pm Reason: edit reference
Chandler69 is offline  
Old Oct 19, 08, 3:56 pm
  #6  
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
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Notwithstanding any SWU options you might have, an emergency exit row on Lufthansa would provide your legs some welcome relief.

I'm not particularly tall but did ask for and receive an emergency exit row seat on a recent LH flight from DEN-MUC. Not sure how much legroom you'll get on other aircraft, but on an A346, this provided a ridiculous amount of legroom.

I'm also not sure whether there are any language restrictions - the passenger sitting next to me tried to get me kicked out of the exit row because I couldn't read or speak fluent German (though I could understand enough of the safety briefing to reply back to the F/A). And the safety briefing card is in English too, so I'm not sure what the problem would be.

I don't believe these can be reserved until OLCI, but it wouldn't hurt to give LH a call to confirm. On another note, that's pretty vicious of your employer - though I guess the miles will be nice to have.

Good luck!

Sean
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Old Oct 19, 08, 4:17 pm
  #7  
 
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Thanks Sean, I will give them a call.

United has not hooked up any SWU's for me yet; all I have is the 500 milers.

I have only been Premier for the last 3 years (2 of which where less than 5000 miles short of Exec). I am hoping that my loyalty to United will be paying off this year as I started doing international more frequently.
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Old Oct 19, 08, 4:45 pm
  #8  
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Originally Posted by Chandler69 View Post
United has not hooked up any SWU's for me yet
You'll need to make 1K to get those. With an appropriate fare (H or higher), you can upgrade the international segment for 30,000 miles (if available). Unfortunately, you need a lot more lead time to try to upgrade LH flights so you won't be able to upgrade a flight for next Sunday on this kind of short notice.
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Old Oct 19, 08, 6:57 pm
  #9  
 
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Originally Posted by mahasamatman View Post
Unfortunately, you need a lot more lead time to try to upgrade LH flights so you won't be able to upgrade a flight for next Sunday on this kind of short notice.
It won't make a difference for the OP, but I recently read some posts here where the 1K desk fedex'd the paper upgrades when the request was made within the two week time frame.
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Old Oct 19, 08, 7:06 pm
  #10  
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Originally Posted by dimramon View Post
I recently read some posts here where the 1K desk fedex'd the paper upgrades when the request was made within the two week time frame.
You have to lie to them to get them to do this. Basically, you have to tell them the flight is more than two weeks out or they won't send the certificate at all.
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Old Oct 19, 08, 7:11 pm
  #11  
 
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Originally Posted by dimramon View Post
It won't make a difference for the OP, but I recently read some posts here where the 1K desk fedex'd the paper upgrades when the request was made within the two week time frame.
UA MP FedEx'ed my LH upgrade certs to me in four days - and I'm only 1P, but I am in Sydney so I doubt they'd have used USPS. That said, I'd also requested the certs a month before my travel.

As a side note, I found LH gate agents and cabin crew to be top notch on my SFO-FRA and MUC-HKG sectors. The gate agent at MUC was especially understanding after I'd accidentally burned one of my 35k upgrade certs on the SFO-FRA leg instead of saving it for the MUC-HKG, and they upgraded me anyway.

So my word to the OP - can't hurt to ask Mileage Plus desk if they'd process and send out LH upgrade certs to you in a hurry?

Take care, and SMILE!!! =)
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Old Oct 19, 08, 7:16 pm
  #12  
 
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Originally Posted by dimramon View Post
It won't make a difference for the OP, but I recently read some posts here where the 1K desk fedex'd the paper upgrades when the request was made within the two week time frame.
One of those posts might have been mine, and I only requested one week and two days out.

Originally Posted by mahasamatman View Post
You have to lie to them to get them to do this. Basically, you have to tell them the flight is more than two weeks out or they won't send the certificate at all.
I didn't lie - told the agent when the flight was (called on a Wednesday night for a next-Friday flight). Was fedexed overnight without me asking. Ironically, it sat on my doorstep for a day or two since I rarely use my front door and wasn't home when Fedex dropped it off...
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Old Oct 19, 08, 7:21 pm
  #13  
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Originally Posted by vysean View Post
told the agent when the flight was (called on a Wednesday night for a next-Friday flight).
I'm surprised - I'd always heard they were pretty serious about the two week rule.
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Old Oct 19, 08, 8:29 pm
  #14  
 
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This post raises a bunch of questions for me. First of all, I just noticed that I have an SWU expiring this month and no way to use it. I also have a LH flight to JNB on Nov 2. I have other SWU's so I will try to use those. But if I request a paper SWU for use on this flight, will it extend the "life" of my expiring SWU? If not, can I use it to upgrade this poor soul?
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Old Oct 19, 08, 8:33 pm
  #15  
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Originally Posted by eratosthaenes View Post
if I request a paper SWU for use on this flight, will it extend the "life" of my expiring SWU?
No. It will keep its expiration no matter what you do with it.
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