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Paying(very Little)2 Upgrade At Check In-long Haul  
User currently offlinethefuture From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Posted (4 years 1 month 1 week 4 days 10 hours ago) and read 5007 times:

Have started to notice airlines offering to upgrade at check in & was thinking about the reasoning behind it.

Without mentioning names, was checking in for a long haul flight (over 10 hours) the other day & was offered an upgrade at check in for around US$500, without any reference to what I'd actually paid for my el cheapo economy ticket.

Took up the offer.

Then got thinking why airline doing it.

my theory -

Say an aircraft has 400 seats in total, 350 economy & 50 business.

The airline will probably take 410 economy bookings before the full sign goes up, on basis of 10 no shows.

Then, 50 economy passengers would have to be upgraded, assuming no business class bookings at all (apparently business class booking have died completely for many airlines - maybe more people than ever, hoping & looking for upgrades)

So, instead of upgrading 50 people free, the airline offers $500 upgrades to the 1st 50 takers.

It's an offer that's not advertised anywhere & the airline made it sound like, a once in a lifetime offer (they don't want peple who might consider buying busienss class, to get wind of an idea that maybe a regular occurence), but they may do this, day in day out.

Risk for the airline is, if someone had paid for business class & they heard about this type of offer, they might be annoyed.

Would the airline be better off, (in the long run) if they phoned economy passengers in days before departure, such as...

hello Mr X, just confirming your booking, blah, blah, blah & oh, by the way, noticed there are 2 of you flying together.

We have 2 business class seats left (really 50 left, but who would know). Would you like to upgrade for $500 each.

What does everyone think of this ploy by airlines to get some last minute revenue ?

21 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineViscount724 From Switzerland, joined Oct 2006, 25106 posts, RR: 22
Reply 1, posted (4 years 1 month 1 week 4 days 10 hours ago) and read 4961 times:

It makes sense to do things like that during the summer when there isn't much business traffic and many seats in the premium cabins would otherwise be empty. The option is just to overbook Y class and do a lot of upgrading. Might as well get some extra revenue for those seats. The risk is that if it becomes too widely available, passengers who would have paid the high premium class fares will start taking advantage of the upgrade offer on much lower fares.

Some carriers also offer discounted business class fares during soft traffic periods like the summer.


User currently offlinethefuture From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 2, posted (4 years 1 month 1 week 4 days 10 hours ago) and read 4941 times:

Quoting Viscount724 (Reply 1):
Some carriers also offer discounted business class fares during soft traffic periods like the summer.

yes but in this case, doing that didn't work as far to big an increment jump from economy to business fares.

More I think about it, airline should have dedicated sales people, who do nothing else but phone passengers, asking if they want to chose their seat or meal or whatever reson & then offer upgrade for a fee.

This way, nothing in writing, except maybe a vaguely worded receipt & can be kept relatively quiet.

It could even be called a STANDBY UPGRADE, where if not upgraded, not charged.


User currently offlineBMIFlyer From UK - England, joined Feb 2004, 8810 posts, RR: 58
Reply 3, posted (4 years 1 month 1 week 4 days 10 hours ago) and read 4892 times:

This happened to me a few years ago, while flying UA.......

6 Days, 8 Flights & 16000 Miles On UA (Long/Pics) (by BMIFlyer Oct 13 2005 in Trip Reports)



Sometimes You Can't Make It On Your Own
User currently offlineLarshjort From Denmark, joined Dec 2007, 1444 posts, RR: 0
Reply 4, posted (4 years 1 month 1 week 4 days 10 hours ago) and read 4866 times:

Quoting thefuture (Reply 2):
More I think about it, airline should have dedicated sales people, who do nothing else but phone passengers, asking if they want to chose their seat or meal or whatever reson & then offer upgrade for a fee.

I would be very annoyed if the airline tried to call to get me to buy more stuff when I have bought a ticket.

Quoting thefuture (Thread starter):
Risk for the airline is, if someone had paid for business class & they heard about this type of offer, they might be annoyed.

There is many different fare categories, so many in business class may already have bought thier tickets as nonchangeable and therefore paid less than those who paid for a flexible ticket. Some people on Ryanair fly for £10 return while the guy sitting next him had payed £100 return.

/Lars



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User currently offlineRafabozzolla From Brazil, joined Apr 2000, 1225 posts, RR: 0
Reply 5, posted (4 years 1 month 1 week 4 days 10 hours ago) and read 4843 times:

It happened to me in November flying MIA-CNF on AA and I took it. My fare was also deeply discounted and, once on the plane, I noticed loads in C were low.

Even if Y is not overbooked still makes sense. At check in, 90min before the flight, it is not like many tickets will be sold anyway, so they make $500 more for each pax who accepts the upgrade. I'm sure guess the extra cost to flying you in C (catering basically) is nowhere near the extra revenue.

Actually this is the 2nd time I was offered a cheap upgrade on AA. The first time was on a flight from MIA to YUL, but since this was a short flight and the upgrade would be to domestic F, and not to longhaul C, I thought it was not worth it.

I suppose the key to getting this upgrade is, light loads on C and flying solo.


User currently offlineRoseFlyer From United States of America, joined Feb 2004, 9580 posts, RR: 52
Reply 6, posted (4 years 1 month 1 week 4 days 9 hours ago) and read 4768 times:

This type of offer is very destination specific. I have seen certain destinations overbook economy by 40 or 50 passengers with business only 20% full. The economy seats might be high enough yielding to make the flight profitable, but they will end up with few business class passengers. Rather than giving business to non rev passengers, it makes sense to offer some relatively discounted upgrade seats. As far as Asia goes, ICN is a common market with lower premium cabin demand yet high enough Y fares.


If you have never designed an airplane part before, let the real designers do the work!
User currently offlineshamrock604 From Ireland, joined Sep 2007, 4166 posts, RR: 13
Reply 7, posted (4 years 1 month 1 week 4 days 9 hours ago) and read 4713 times:

Aer Lingus have been doing this quite a bit lately too, but I wouldnt be happy about someone calling me up trying to sell me even more.

I think some of the logic may be that as you are checking in for your long haul, dreading the cramped seat and lack of movement for the next several hours, some people may just be tempted to opt for some more comfort, and the airline gets to fill a seat that may otherwise have gone empty, and make some incremental revenue.

I dont think it is just to make room in economy on full flights - ive seen Aer Lingus do this at Boston for a flight that was maybe just 70% full.

I have never seen them do this on flights originating here in Dublin, just at the US stations.



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User currently offlineBD338 From United States of America, joined Jul 2010, 703 posts, RR: 0
Reply 8, posted (4 years 1 month 1 week 4 days 9 hours ago) and read 4682 times:

I've done the $500 upgrade on US a couple of times in the past from PHL to MAN and LHR. Best $500 I've spent. It's a great way for the airline to get a little extra cash for a seat that otherwise would have been empty. It is only usually available not more than 24 hrs in advance of departure so they can sell as many seats as possible. Typical J fares are beyond my reach but a discount coach +$500 each way for an upgrade is doable for me. (Hint to all US airlines, put a Y+ cabin on TATL with similiar pricing and I'm buying seats on your airline)

I think I saw somewhere that when America West started a similar domestic upgrade program it exceeded all their expectations for revenue. I've seen DL, UA and CO offer similar in the US but not sure about long haul.


User currently offlinethefuture From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 9, posted (4 years 1 month 1 week 4 days 9 hours ago) and read 4610 times:

Quoting Larshjort (Reply 4):
I would be very annoyed if the airline tried to call to get me to buy more stuff when I have bought a ticket.

Even an upgrade for only $500, when should be say $5000 or more ?

The call would be about something else. If handled correctly, it surely wouldn't be annoying.

Quoting Larshjort (Reply 4):
Quoting thefuture (Thread starter):
Risk for the airline is, if someone had paid for business class & they heard about this type of offer, they might be annoyed.

There is many different fare categories, so many in business class may already have bought thier tickets as nonchangeable and therefore paid less than those who paid for a flexible ticket. Some people on Ryanair fly for £10 return while the guy sitting next him had payed £100 return.

so what are you trying to say ?


User currently offlineshamrock604 From Ireland, joined Sep 2007, 4166 posts, RR: 13
Reply 10, posted (4 years 1 month 1 week 4 days 9 hours ago) and read 4594 times:

Quoting thefuture (Reply 9):
so what are you trying to say ?

I think the poster is trying to say that pax pay different fare levels for the same product all the time, so why would the pax in J class who paid a business fare become upset because someone got an upgrade for an extra $500.



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User currently offlinethefuture From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 11, posted (4 years 1 month 1 week 4 days 8 hours ago) and read 4559 times:

Quoting shamrock604 (Reply 10):
Quoting thefuture (Reply 9):
so what are you trying to say ?

I think the poster is trying to say that pax pay different fare levels for the same product all the time, so why would the pax in J class who paid a business fare become upset because someone got an upgrade for an extra $500.

OK.

Especially if the former didn't even know, ie. if airline kept it quiet, by doing over the phone, rather than asking out loud at check in where everyone can hear (although would be at economy check in rather than busienss class check in, but they could be close together)

Have been on hundreds of flights in last 40 years & don't think I''ve ever heard anyone comparing with another pasenger how much they paid for the flight.


User currently offlinedfambro From United States of America, joined Nov 2009, 316 posts, RR: 0
Reply 12, posted (4 years 1 month 1 week 4 days 8 hours ago) and read 4520 times:

I usually ask about the upgrade price on longhaul flights when I check in. I've gotten the $500 upgrade, but not long ago I was quoted $7000 to go from J to F, one way (UA, BOS-NRT).

User currently offlineshamrock604 From Ireland, joined Sep 2007, 4166 posts, RR: 13
Reply 13, posted (4 years 1 month 1 week 4 days 8 hours ago) and read 4507 times:

Quoting thefuture (Reply 11):
Especially if the former didn't even know, ie. if airline kept it quiet, by doing over the phone, rather than asking out loud at check in where everyone can hear (although would be at economy check in rather than busienss class check in, but they could be close together)

Aer Lingus actually put it on the FIDS screens above their check in desks at BOS... not exactly being discreet!  



Flown EI,FR,RE,EIR,VE,SI,TLA,BA,BE,BD,VX,MON,AF,YS,WX,KL,SK,LH,OK,OS,LX,IB,LTU,HLX,4U,SU,CO,DL,UA,AC,PR,MH,SQ,QF, EY, EK
User currently offlinethefuture From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 14, posted (4 years 1 month 1 week 4 days 8 hours ago) and read 4417 times:

Quoting shamrock604 (Reply 13):
Aer Lingus actually put it on the FIDS screens above their check in desks at BOS... not exactly being discreet!

yes that's dangerous if done 2 often


User currently offlinetonytifao From Brazil, joined Mar 2005, 1019 posts, RR: 0
Reply 15, posted (4 years 1 month 1 week 4 days 8 hours ago) and read 4399 times:

AA is doing this now! I think it is a good move!!! Also happened to me on MIA-CNF.

User currently offlinethefuture From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 16, posted (4 years 1 month 1 week 4 days 8 hours ago) and read 4380 times:

Quoting tonytifao (Reply 15):
AA is doing this now! I think it is a good move!!! Also happened to me on MIA-CNF.

Guess most airlines would like to do it, until at least GFC is well & truly over & then not.

Makes you think the incrememnt between any economy fare & business class is too great. Some airlines now have Y + but does this solve the issue ?


User currently offlinegabrielchew From United Kingdom, joined Aug 2005, 3218 posts, RR: 12
Reply 17, posted (4 years 1 month 1 week 4 days 1 hour ago) and read 4303 times:

Quoting shamrock604 (Reply 13):
Aer Lingus actually put it on the FIDS screens above their check in desks at BOS... not exactly being discreet!

Not exactly the same thing, but (at last in the past) Midland Mainline (or whatever it's called nowadays) used to put big notices on the departures board advertising "Weekend First Upgrades for £5". The crew woudl also make anouncments onboard. Not exactly discreet, but from experience there would often be 3 carriages of empty first class, so they might as well try and get the extra fiver.



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User currently offlinerwSEA From Netherlands, joined Jan 2005, 3091 posts, RR: 2
Reply 18, posted (4 years 1 month 1 week 4 days 1 hour ago) and read 4301 times:

I recently flew DXB-VIE with Austrian Airlines and was offered an upgrade for 199 EUR. I jumped on it since it was an overnight flight and I had to work the next morning. Even more surprising was that I was booked on a free ticket using United frequent flyer miles. Quite a deal in my opinion.

I've also seen DL asking $750 for an upgrade on SEA-AMS. I offered $500 but they wouldn't take it.


User currently offlinereifel From Germany, joined Feb 2005, 1346 posts, RR: 1
Reply 19, posted (4 years 1 month 1 week 3 days 22 hours ago) and read 4273 times:

One of our passengers in our agency was upgrade on a flight with LH from SEA to FRA for 600 USD. Just saw in the PNR that they issued a MCO for that. I thought LH is an airline that doesn't do this a lot.

Otherwise with UL you may upgrade to Premium Economy in FRA for 70 EUR at check in. it's promoted at the check-in desk, not sure what it's worth.

In the Malev inflight magazine they promoted Business Class upgrades for 50 EUR, which I thought were a good deal. However not much details on that. Also, on their smaller 737's they have "real" business seats (2-3 layout) rather than keeping the middle seat blocked. However if business is not full, they use Row 4, seats A and C as eco seats. If you check in early (or online) you can grab those seats - which are actual business seats - for free. Alitalia does have this on their MD8X's as well, i.e. on domestic flights, since they sell no business domestic. You may even make a regular seat reservation on them at time of booking.

As for the upselling calls, is an airline actually doing this? I know that in cruise industry this is quite common to sell unused suites and usually it's a terrific deal and people are very happy about getting those calls. Could imagine that this is the case for air travellers as well. I would not be annoyed. However it's maybe better to put this at the webcheck in or check-in kiosk. There are airlines, i.e. Delta, which offers to get a travel voucher if you're willing to give up your seat in case of overbooking and they show this during web check in.

[Edited 2010-07-11 05:47:15]

User currently offlinesw733 From United States of America, joined Feb 2004, 6311 posts, RR: 9
Reply 20, posted (4 years 1 month 1 week 3 days 21 hours ago) and read 4250 times:

Quoting shamrock604 (Reply 13):
Aer Lingus actually put it on the FIDS screens above their check in desks at BOS... not exactly being discreet

I saw US Airways do this domestically somewhere...I don't remember where. Hmmmm....but yeah, they had a sign at the gate "Upgrade for $XXX". Oh, it's going to bug me where this was...

Quoting tonytifao (Reply 15):
AA is doing this now! I think it is a good move!!! Also happened to me on MIA-CNF.

I flew AA LHR-ORD a couple weeks ago and they were upgrading MANY people in-cabin...I would say at least 8 from Biz to First, and that many from Coach to Biz. The guy I ended up seated next to in Biz was an upgrade from coach. He was all giddy since it was his first long-haul flight in Biz. I was happy for him.


User currently offlineworkwings From United States of America, joined May 2010, 55 posts, RR: 0
Reply 21, posted (4 years 1 month 1 week 3 days 19 hours ago) and read 4233 times:

This upgrade was offered to me as early as July 2008 from GVA to JFK on QR, for $600 if my memory is right. Since then I have asked for it quite a few times on different airlines on transatlantic routes. Earlier this year on AF I was booked in premium economy and asked to upgrade to C class, was told it would cost around $2500. I declined, but at the gate was given a free upgrade...other times trying this (and I would be willing to pay a reasonable amount) was told not possible.

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