Op-up procedure on oversold services?

Old Nov 25, 18, 4:51 pm
  #1  
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Op-up procedure on oversold services?

Does anyone know what procedure VS operates when bumping up pax on oversold services? Do they go by status, ticket class, checkin time or wait till there's no seats and bump up the ramaining ones? I'm interested in both ex lhr and the remote stations. Thanks!
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Old Nov 25, 18, 5:55 pm
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All of the above in various combinations. Except the last one.

Status and Fare Bucket are the most important. It also depends on how many upgrades they need to do. They are less likely to upgrade groups (2+ pax) because that could then cause seating issues with couples wanting to sit together.

Checking is last is never a good idea because that’s one of the criteria to get bumped down or off a flight entirely.

One thing VS does do is offer miles and cash upgrades to the queue first rather then upgrade for free.
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Old Nov 26, 18, 12:27 am
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Thanks. So nothing against checking in early and having a boarding card? I guess they process all the opups after they failed to sell the upgrades during check in? Do you get a new boarding card on the app or do you find out at the gate?
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Old Nov 26, 18, 12:48 am
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Be aware that op-ups on VS are nothing like US carriers. They do not upgrade unless they absolutely have to because of overbooking.
If they do have to op-up, then UKTravelbearís post applies.

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Old Nov 26, 18, 3:17 am
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Op-ups are something that even the most frequent of flyers only see one or twice per year at best. Not only does your ticketed cabin need to be oversold, but there is a variability to the upgrade process that ensures that people - no matter how VIP - can't buy PE with the expectation of flying UC. You can "improve your odds", but that's like buying 10 lottery tickets instead of 1.

I know that upgrades are something that people dream about, but there's no way to ensure yourself an upgrade other than paying in advance or at the airport...

One of the most disappointing things that can happen to a suitable top tier status member is to notice a sold-out cabin and STILL not get the upgrade on the day. Never expect, and be happy when it happens...
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Old Nov 26, 18, 5:39 am
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Copied from my post on V-Flyer about BA vs VS for Op-Ups.

I've heard continually about VS not doing Op-Ups, and I'd take this opportunity to dispel this myth. Maybe they used to do a lot more, and now they do less. But they certainly do it. Believe me. One of my common routes (HKG), I have flown 6 times and been upgraded half the time for free, the other half with miles on the day - so much so that i've only flown in my booked class (Premium) one leg out of that total.

As far as I know the VS process is more manual than BA. I may be wrong, but I don't *think* they have an algorithm. Ultimately nobody outside of revenue management would really know. And I have tried to ask a number of people - FSM's, FSS's, Crew, Lounge Managers and Outstation Managers - nobody could tell me, and the ones I suspect that did know, wouldn't tell (for obvious reasons).

At LHR, the senior check-in supervisor (usually dressed in red uniform) carries a clipboard of known no-shows, potential Op-Ups and Uniq's coming through T3 that day. They know which flights are overbooked, and will require shuffling around. In my experience, at LHR, this is almost never done at check-in. They will wait until check-in closes and then work out who needs to be moved and what is to be done.

The decision on who to move and where too, I *think* is based on a mix of the following -
  • Cabin fare bucket. I have NEVER been upgraded on a K. But have on H, S and W. The higher the fare bucket - the more favourably you are looked on. Which makes sense, somebody who has bought the last W and paid a lot of money for it, deserves to be moved to UC more so than somebody who may be Gold, but booked a K fare months in advance.
  • Check in sequence. My usual strategy, is check in as late as physically possible. With BA, this is pointless as the algorithm has already decided if you are getting moved or not. As VS is more manual, this can often have an effect. I'll cite my recent HKG return... No upgrades available at check-in for cash or miles. I knew the flight was overbooked in Premium as Expert Flyer had W0 and Upper was J4. I was given a boarding pass for my Premium seat, and the upgrade only happened when I tried to board the aircraft. The ground crew had a hand written piece of paper with two names on it - mine and somebody else's - with pre-printed boarding passes for Upper. I was Seq 259 out of a possible 264.
  • Status. I am Gold, and have been for a while now (3 years? with 2 as Silver before that). And I rarely get beyond the 1500tps mark. So I think this has some effect on things. Personally, I think status is used as the tie breaker when two people need Op-Up'ing but there is only one seat in the higher class. I never had any Op-Ups as silver, but that doesn't mean they don't happen.
  • Number of times previously upgraded. I don't think this makes a difference on VS, like it does with BA. I am not even convinced they track it. This year alone, I have had more than 3 Op-Up's from Premium to Upper and I still have at least 6 more flights to go before the end of the year. Whenever you get Op-Up'd, you get moved to G class and will have to retroactively claim the miles for the underlying fare (that being said, recently the miles have credited automatically, so this issue may have been fixed now). So I don't think the computer knows the difference between a normal G and one VS assigns in this scenario. But I do believe there is a note on your account to show it was a freebie and not a paid mileage upgrade.
  • Booking direct with VS makes no difference. 99% of my travel is done through a travel agent and this has never seemed to influence Op-Up's - but it does make messing with the ticket in other ways impossible.

Well, thats most of my knowledge on the subject. Based on flying both BA and VS regularly and hunting for upgrades like a sport. I feel incredibly lucky to have gotten as many as I have.
Total Op-Ups for this year has actually exceeded 6 on VS alone in total since my original post about the matter.
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Old Nov 26, 18, 5:59 am
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Thanks for all the input. The rules seem to be quite similar between BA and VS. Actually I normally check in late on BA possibly because I got several upgrades in that way and thought this might have helped. But who knows really. And in any case I got upgraded several times in the lounge or at the gate, so I don't think BA's pre-upgrades not cover all situations - some are still done manually, particularly at remote stations.
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Old Nov 26, 18, 6:07 am
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BA mostly us an algorithm to decide on upgrades, so check in time rarely matters (except at outstations). But VS is heavily based on check in/sequence number.
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Old Nov 27, 18, 1:38 am
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Went out for dinner with some friends last week who flew to Barbados with Virgin as a family of four in Ecomony Delight.

I recommended they try Virgin Atlantic and they were glad they did.

On the way home they were ALL upgraded to PE and none of them have any status with Virgin.

He said he just got chatting to check in agent and he smiled at her and she upgraded everybody

I can't believe that was the reason
Best guess is -

1) The 3 men of the family are big built rugby players and Virgin agent upgraded them to make flight more comfortable for them or

2) Flying on a pricey revenue economy delight ticket got them the upgrade

3) They had never flown with Virgin before and it was a sweetener to get them to book again

i have been flying with Virgin since 2007 and have never had an operational upgrade

We did get very nice Gold recognition by cabin staff on the way back from Hong Kong recently though
Got welcomed by name and thanked me for being Gold
We was seated in row 25 of PE ( back row )
Was told as we was Gold they would start serving food from rear of cabin so we get our first choice.
We didn't eat dinner but thought that was a really nice gesture



Last edited by PaulH1; Nov 27, 18 at 3:32 am
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Old Nov 27, 18, 2:41 am
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Originally Posted by PaulH1 View Post
Went out for dinner with some friends last week who flew to Barbados with Virgin as a family of four in Ecomony Delight.

2) Flying on a pricey revenue economy delight ticket got them the upgrade
I'd bet my years salary that this was the reason above the other two.
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Old Nov 27, 18, 12:23 pm
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It is 2 that is the main factor with the hope that 3 happens in future bringing VS more revenue.

1 had nothing to do with it. And a smile don't work either. Everyone should be nice to staff
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