Why does US wait until last minute for UGs?

Old Sep 10, 05, 10:20 am
  #1  
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Why does US wait until last minute for UGs?

One of the few things that has annoyed me about US is how they can wait until I'm already seated to upgrade me. This used to happen to me fairly often as Gold, and now that I'm CP, it seems to still be happening.

Last week on a 30min flight, they came to me after I'd already sat down in the window seat w/2 others to my right, and said I'd been upgraded. I asked the two other people sitting next to me if they wanted the upgrade because for a 30min flight, it's almost not worth it to make everyone get up, move my bags, etc. Then after landing, I have to fight like a salmon swimming upstream to go back and get my overhead roll-on. Yes, I should consider myself lucky to get upgraded, but this is just annoying, and seems preventable. Also, it obviously slows down the departure time if they have to move people and their belongings (because it seems like they usually wait until right before the boarding door is closed).

I really do like US for the most part, much more than DL, and more than AA as well. But why can't they change their upgrade system to be more like DL, where they definitively can tell you if you will be uprgraded or not.

One other thing about the upgrading system that is annoying - the rules for "getting on a list" for an upgrade seem to be much more complicated and mysterious than for other airlines. Ie: If your upgrade doesn't clear prior to departure, you actually have to ask to be put on the upgrade list. Why wouldn't they automatically put you on the list, esp. if you've checked in online? I only complain about this because having recently flown on DL, it seems like their system (at least for upgrades) is much smoother and better for their customers.

Last edited by janeway; Sep 10, 05 at 10:24 am
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Old Sep 10, 05, 10:29 am
  #2  
 
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The answer is simple... to attempt to maximize the amount of revenue they can get. Why upgrade you when someone could walk up, pay an F fare and get that seat for big bucks?

Wouldn't that be the Ferengi approach to maximizing profits, Janeway?
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Old Sep 10, 05, 10:55 am
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In the case of a passenger being upgraded after already being seated, it is very likely that this is due to the no-show of a passenger who has already checked in. This could be a pax who checked in online and didn't make it to the airport, someone arriving on a connecting flight that got delayed at the last minute due to airport congestion/holding pattern, etc. etc. etc.

This is definately not something that I would complain about - I would be happy that they opted to go by status in this case instead of selecting the most convenient passenger due to time constraints.

As for the upgrade system, this is a technological issue and not one that was made because someone at CCY all of a sudden decided it would be a good idea to have 2 separate lists. US has had much more pressing technological issues and I certainly don't mind uttering a few words each time I get to the gate area/check-in counter if I have not been previously upgraded.
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Old Sep 10, 05, 1:40 pm
  #4  
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This certainly is not restricted to US and the "Battlefield Promotion" is not to be sneered at altho I too have turned them down when I am already comfortably seated on a short flight with a good-sized bag in the overhead.

The last time that I did it was on CO EWR-DCA when a deadheading pilot in uniform came down the aisle with at BP for me showing 1A. I told him to just go up and sit down but he looked uncertain, because CO had a rule that employees in uniform were forbidden to sit up front. I just said to the FA nearby that he had my BP and I am giving him my seat and apparently that made it OK.
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Old Sep 10, 05, 5:19 pm
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All Together On Time

USAirways policy is to verify the PALL list 10 minutes before departure, regardless of passengers on board or not. Someone could have misconnected and freed up a seat, be it in Y or F/C.

I've had this happen only ONCE as a non-rev on Delta. Was flying ATL/BNA and got row 20 (I thought this was clear in the back too!), had a damn kid in themiddle and his father at the aisle. 2 minutes before door close, FA came on and gave me a grocery-store type receipt with my new seat # on it in First Class :-)
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Old Sep 11, 05, 2:03 am
  #6  
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They don't seem to know what they have booked. There is little interest in First Class, as a product. The notion they are holding seats for last minute sale at fulll fare is fanciful. My observation is that they are dumping cheap tickets, in some cases using bulk distribution. If that's the case, they don't know what they have until flight time. They have to wait to see what shows up, and what seats they need to accomodate overbooks. The last few flights I have been on, First has had either open seats, or operational upgrades from Coach. The other night, i overheard the F/A in the front telling another she had upgraded the wrong passenger, leaving the first guy on the list in the back. They had a good laugh.
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Old Sep 11, 05, 11:52 am
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All true, but there are, indeed, a few suckers out there still getting stuck for huge $$$s to get a seat on the a/c.

Case in point is my brother who has been a US1 now forever. He is (what else) a consultant and flies many times a week all over creation. His schedule often changes daily and the meeting in MIA is switched to LAX or DEN with perhaps 3 hours' notice.

He told me last week he was in CLT and had to be in YYZ the next morning for a 7am meeting. The time was already 4pm and he was still at the client's office in CLT. A quick check of seat inventory showed all sold out on all carriers (connections incl), with 2 seats in F still for sale on US on the last non-stop of the night. Needless to say, he grabbed it and paid a mind numbing $800+ for the one way ticket.

That happens to him about every three weeks, he says. I asked him how much he thinks he'll spend with US in 2005....he just e-mailed me his estimate was about $22,000.

That's ONE REASON those last 2 seats aren't made available for UGs!
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Old Sep 11, 05, 8:05 pm
  #8  
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If he's making CP on 22 grand of spend, he isn't buying that many full fares. I hear you, but all I see these days are gate agents offering to upgrade any type of ticket, regardless of fare, for a hundred bucks, with few takers on short haul (under 1000 miles). The passengers I see nowadays look more like Hurricane refugees (note: that was a semi smart ... remark, not a class culture dig), and don't seem to place much value on a First Class seat. In that regard, that probably makes them smarter than a lot of us.
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Old Sep 12, 05, 3:16 pm
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FC seats PHL-DFW-PHL this weekend were half empty.
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Old Sep 12, 05, 5:33 pm
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Upgrades need to be more automated...

Years ago, I used to be Gold on NWA. They will automatically upgrade you to first, and notify you via e-mail...sometimes 5 days before your flight. US needs to improve their technology to enable this...wishful thinking.
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