Upgrades becoming harder? [Merged Threads]

 

Old Nov 5, 07, 5:28 am
  #1
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Unhappy Upgrades becoming harder? [Merged Threads]

Is the lack of confirmable upgrade seats something new?

It seems amazingly difficult for me to get a confirmed SWU upgrade seat on international flights at booking time. Since S, T,K, and L seats can't upgrade on SWUs to use them you have to buy a more expensive ticket.

I can often rationalize this increased expense if I can confirm the upgrade at booking time. But if I can't confirm the upgrade, I will feel like a chump if I buy the more expensive ticket and still end up in coach because the upgrade doesn't clear.

It seems like in the past I had a little easier time with this.

I think for my future travel, if I can't confirm the upgrade, I will be buying cheaper tickets or experimenting with other airlines to see if any make it easier.

I wonder if UAs fuller flights will make up for the loss of revenue from people like me who may be paying less than before to get STKL tickets since I can't confirm the upgrade and don't want to take the chance of paying a high fare and still ending up in Y.
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Old Nov 5, 07, 5:49 am
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United inventory is not trying to get you to buy a W instead of an S. They are trying to get you to buy a C instead of a W and hoping for an upgrade.
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Old Nov 5, 07, 7:37 am
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Which routes? I know FRA and HKG are typically quite full w/ paid C fares. So naturally it's in UA's best interests to not make those flights upgrade free-for-alls.
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Old Nov 5, 07, 8:03 am
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Originally Posted by bfmorgan View Post
Is the lack of confirmable upgrade seats something new?

It seems amazingly difficult for me to get a confirmed SWU upgrade seat on international flights at booking time. Since S, T,K, and L seats can't upgrade on SWUs to use them you have to buy a more expensive ticket.

I can often rationalize this increased expense if I can confirm the upgrade at booking time. But if I can't confirm the upgrade, I will feel like a chump if I buy the more expensive ticket and still end up in coach because the upgrade doesn't clear.

It seems like in the past I had a little easier time with this.

I think for my future travel, if I can't confirm the upgrade, I will be buying cheaper tickets or experimenting with other airlines to see if any make it easier.

I wonder if UAs fuller flights will make up for the loss of revenue from people like me who may be paying less than before to get STKL tickets since I can't confirm the upgrade and don't want to take the chance of paying a high fare and still ending up in Y.
Based on my limited experience, I would say that experimenting with other airlines is not going to increase your chances of upgrades from Y to C.

With all of the problems with UA and their product, the only thing they really have going for them is the liberal upgrade policy. I can't think of any other airline that hands out upgrades on intl'l flights like UA - certainly no foreign carrier.

Having said that, yes things have gotten tighter. A lot of it is due to higher paid loads in intl C cabins. I tried to buy a seat BKK-LAX on 11/18, but it wasl all zeroed out in C/D/Z buckets from BKK to NRT. I was also looking at LAX-NRT on 12/7. Same thing. Go figure.

But there is no doubt that UA IM is getting more stingy when there are fairly light loads also.

I guess they have figured out that a large percentage of 1K's are willing to wait up until the gate for their Y>C upgrade.

Now, if only they had a C/F product worth paying for.
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Old Nov 5, 07, 8:51 am
  #5
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2 week wait then cleared

booked lax - CDG via IAD and was able to confirm 3 of four segments...yesterday got a call the all segments confirmed...this is for travel late January
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Old Nov 5, 07, 9:06 am
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Originally Posted by CommittedLurker View Post
I can't think of any other airline that hands out upgrades on intl'l flights like UA
I believe AA gives their top-tier flyers 8 systemwide upgrades per year.

Originally Posted by CommittedLurker View Post
Now, if only they had a C/F product worth paying for.
Patience...
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Old Nov 5, 07, 9:35 am
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Originally Posted by mahasamatman View Post
I believe AA gives their top-tier flyers 8 systemwide upgrades per year.
Yes, I have heard that as well.

But, I wonder how quick these clear in comparison to UA and in comparison to AA 5-7 years ago.

I wouldn't be surprised if AA has tightened up their release of upgrade inventory, just like UA.

Anyone have any firsthand experience ?
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Old Nov 5, 07, 9:47 am
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Originally Posted by bfmorgan View Post
Is the lack of confirmable upgrade seats something new?

It seems amazingly difficult for me to get a confirmed SWU upgrade seat on international flights at booking time. Since S, T,K, and L seats can't upgrade on SWUs to use them you have to buy a more expensive ticket.

I can often rationalize this increased expense if I can confirm the upgrade at booking time. But if I can't confirm the upgrade, I will feel like a chump if I buy the more expensive ticket and still end up in coach because the upgrade doesn't clear.

It seems like in the past I had a little easier time with this.

I think for my future travel, if I can't confirm the upgrade, I will be buying cheaper tickets or experimenting with other airlines to see if any make it easier.

I wonder if UAs fuller flights will make up for the loss of revenue from people like me who may be paying less than before to get STKL tickets since I can't confirm the upgrade and don't want to take the chance of paying a high fare and still ending up in Y.
Which airlines do you plan to fly which will let you upgrade the cheapest Coach tickets to Business?
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Old Nov 5, 07, 9:51 am
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Originally Posted by bfmorgan View Post
Is the lack of confirmable upgrade seats something new?

It seems amazingly difficult for me to get a confirmed SWU upgrade seat on international flights at booking time. Since S, T,K, and L seats can't upgrade on SWUs to use them you have to buy a more expensive ticket.

I can often rationalize this increased expense if I can confirm the upgrade at booking time. But if I can't confirm the upgrade, I will feel like a chump if I buy the more expensive ticket and still end up in coach because the upgrade doesn't clear.

It seems like in the past I had a little easier time with this.

I think for my future travel, if I can't confirm the upgrade, I will be buying cheaper tickets or experimenting with other airlines to see if any make it easier.

I wonder if UAs fuller flights will make up for the loss of revenue from people like me who may be paying less than before to get STKL tickets since I can't confirm the upgrade and don't want to take the chance of paying a high fare and still ending up in Y.
It is for this reason that I bought a discounted Y with a mileage upgrade for LAX=Hkg for my March trip on NWA.

I was not willing to pay extra for the chance to maybe be in coach. As nonelites on UA my husband and I would have been at the bottem of the list.

Perhaps UAs flights will go out with all paid C or perhaps not. Not my problem anymore.

Short
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Old Nov 5, 07, 10:33 am
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Originally Posted by mahasamatman View Post
I believe AA gives their top-tier flyers 8 systemwide upgrades per year.

Correct me if I am wrong, but AA's 8 VIPOWs are slightly different from UA's arent' they? They are segment upgrades so if you needed to fly ORD-NRT-SIN (assuming AA flies to SIN), you would need 4 of those 8 to upgrade your entire itinerary, compared to people who have used 1 SWU on UA from SIN-NRT-SFO-LHR.
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Old Nov 5, 07, 11:32 am
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Originally Posted by BenjaminNYC View Post
Which airlines do you plan to fly which will let you upgrade the cheapest Coach tickets to Business?

I don't know that there is anything better on any other airlines. My only point was that I haven't been looking around and now I am encouraged to do so.
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Old Nov 5, 07, 12:44 pm
  #12
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UA is great for upgrades... you have not had to suffer Air Canada.
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Old Nov 5, 07, 12:45 pm
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Originally Posted by CommittedLurker View Post
Based on my limited experience, I would say that experimenting with other airlines is not going to increase your chances of upgrades from Y to C.
That's right, if there is no hope of upgrading anyway, experimenting with other airlines might result in paying a cheaper fare.
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Old Nov 5, 07, 1:33 pm
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I think UA is still generous about upgrade. As a company, they need to manage how they can maximize the revenue. That's what their Inventory Management does. If they think they can sell business class seats depends on their historical data, market profile/trend, competition, etc., they will hold to release until the last minute which we cannot blame them.

In terms of comparison with other airlines, AA for example, you will have to pay the co-payment along with the miles to redeem unless you are their EXP or paying full fare. United does not require this co-payment even for general MP members or deep discount fare such as W.

It also depends on what you care more - either paying cheaper fare or upgrade possibility.
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Old Nov 5, 07, 2:11 pm
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The availability of upgrades is one of the reasons to fly UA internationally. Until now class comfort and service quality is for sure no reason to book UA premium C or F if one can fly LH, AUS, Swiss or even SAS within *A on trans-atlantic routes.

That may change with the new C/F product.

But looking into my itin for tomorrow MUC - IAD where C/D/Z is wide open but NC is zero and my SWU-based upgrade did not clear yet as well as the inbound mileage-based upgrade one week later did not.

So flying UA is becoming an upgrade gamble like on other airlines. I do not like that idea. ON LH I have to pay 50k M&M miles from discounted Eco but do for sure get the better product. Maybe that is the way UA is leaning towards: Less upgrades for a higher value and a better product(with new C)?

Last edited by testero; Nov 5, 07 at 2:16 pm Reason: Missed one point
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