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Nonrev Upgrades: Hope Or Ask?  
User currently onlineMaverickM11 From United States of America, joined Apr 2000, 17672 posts, RR: 46
Posted (8 years 10 months 1 week 4 days 12 hours ago) and read 2862 times:

What's the best way to get an upgrade as a nonrev airline employee standby (not traveling on your own airline)? Do you ask for an upgrade or do you just dress real pretty and hope for one? Or do you bribe the gate agent?


E pur si muove -Galileo
45 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlineDgehfx From Canada, joined May 2001, 132 posts, RR: 0
Reply 1, posted (8 years 10 months 1 week 4 days 12 hours ago) and read 2841 times:

DO NOT ASK!!! In my opinion, that's the fastest way to a middle seat in the last row of Y class. Try being friendly and dressing for business.

User currently offlineLHUSA From United States of America, joined Aug 2005, 566 posts, RR: 2
Reply 2, posted (8 years 10 months 1 week 4 days 11 hours ago) and read 2806 times:

Dressing up is a very important factor when hoping for a non-rev upgrade. I've seen countless episodes of OAL non-revs flying standby to LHR that were denied First or Business class becuase they were wearing jeans or gym shoes.

Asking is not the worst thing in the world - you just have to have a feel for the gate agent and the atmosphere and phrase the question in the right way. When I've inquired about an upgrade in the past, I've always done it in a very indirect way. Saying something like "is there any room up front?" or "any chance for first?" Again, feeling out the agent is most important. If they are in a bad mood or the flight is obviously packed I wouldn't dare annoy them with my trivial questions.

I've been really lucky with non-rev upgrades. I don't fly my airilne within the States and they ALWAYS give us a space-available upgrade to First or Business. I know that UA and NW are very generous with this. Can't say for any other domestic airlines.


User currently offlineCa2ohHP From United States of America, joined Sep 2005, 955 posts, RR: 1
Reply 3, posted (8 years 10 months 1 week 4 days 11 hours ago) and read 2801 times:

Buy the gate agent a box of donuts.

User currently offlineRobertS975 From United States of America, joined Aug 2005, 947 posts, RR: 0
Reply 4, posted (8 years 10 months 1 week 4 days 11 hours ago) and read 2778 times:
Support Airliners.net - become a First Class Member!

Actually, technically speaking, non-revs are NOT upgraded into biz class or FC since they were standby for the flight in the first place. They may be cleared off the standby list into FC, but that is not an upgrade since they were never in coach.

User currently offlineCrjflyer35 From United States of America, joined Nov 2005, 668 posts, RR: 2
Reply 5, posted (8 years 10 months 1 week 4 days 11 hours ago) and read 2777 times:

I have a box of Godiva chocolates for the gate agents and flight / cabin crew. I fly tomorrow, so let's hope I get lucky...


Ok, wait for the RJ to pass, cleared to push tail south Mike, and you're cleared to spin #2 in the push.
User currently offlineBlackandWhite From United Kingdom, joined Aug 2003, 113 posts, RR: 0
Reply 6, posted (8 years 10 months 1 week 4 days 10 hours ago) and read 2740 times:

Well i always go well dressed, never ask ,always be nice and polite and pleasant with the checkin staff and/or gate staff, never crowd the desk when boarding starts, and generally keep out the way sometimes you get in Bus or First. Although ive always looked at it your just lucky to be able to get on a flight as a nonrev.pei
My motto is " Its better to travel than to arrive" especially the time i was bounced off an ANCSEA flt in JNU.


User currently offline9KBOS From United States of America, joined Dec 2005, 63 posts, RR: 0
Reply 7, posted (8 years 10 months 1 week 4 days 10 hours ago) and read 2727 times:

I fly on my employee pass fairly frequently and always am well dressed and polite. Most of the time I am lucky enough to be in First or Business....and sometimes when I am not....I Just ask. Sometimes they say no...which is fine....but it is always great when they do say yes. I know sometimes agents are reluctant to do it in fear of getting into trouble....but I am sure they feel cheated out when they are traveling and the agent won't upgrade....Oh well, Non-Reving is still a great benefit and sometimes stressful! But that is what makes it fun at the same time.

User currently offlineAn-225 From United States of America, joined Sep 2000, 3950 posts, RR: 40
Reply 8, posted (8 years 10 months 1 week 4 days 10 hours ago) and read 2690 times:

You don't ask. You dress well and don't bother the gate agents. Or you can ask how the flight looks today, but that's all.

Alex.



Money does not bring you happiness. But it's better to cry in your own private limo than on a cold bus stop.
User currently offlineHPLASOps From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 9, posted (8 years 10 months 1 week 4 days 9 hours ago) and read 2652 times:

One time I nonreved on CO LAS - IAH redeye and wasn't even expecting FC, but I dressed nice, smiled as I walked up to the counter, and the agent offered to put me into first without even having to ask. That was a very pleasant surprise and very generous of that agent.

User currently offlineDFW13L From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 10, posted (8 years 10 months 1 week 4 days 5 hours ago) and read 2556 times:

I have had good luck with upgrades for the most part, and usually by not asking. BA put me in World Traveller Plus, DL First, NW First, Mesaba First! (avro FC), but one time doing HP LAS-DFW redeye, I got coach and there was not a single occupied seat in the F cabin. I figured maybe the flight attendants didn't want to deal with it for just one nonrev.

User currently offlineJetdeltamsy From United States of America, joined Nov 2000, 2987 posts, RR: 8
Reply 11, posted (8 years 10 months 1 week 4 days ago) and read 2470 times:

Quoting Dgehfx (Reply 1):
DO NOT ASK!!! In my opinion, that's the fastest way to a middle seat in the last row of Y class. Try being friendly and dressing for business.

What are you talking about?? ALWAYS ask...politely and be properly dressed. Most non-rev pass classes are valid for F travel. If you don't ask, it's not going to happen.



Tired of airline bankruptcies....EA/PA/TW and finally DL.
User currently offlineMolykote From United States of America, joined Aug 2005, 1341 posts, RR: 15
Reply 12, posted (8 years 10 months 1 week 4 days ago) and read 2455 times:
Support Airliners.net - become a First Class Member!

Quoting MaverickM11 (Thread starter):
What's the best way to get an upgrade as a nonrev airline employee standby (not traveling on your own airline)? Do you ask for an upgrade or do you just dress real pretty and hope for one? Or do you bribe the gate agent?

Upgrading as a non-rev is a lot like hooking up in a bar.

The guy who shows up with the most outwardly deliberate intentions is least likely to succeed. Generally being well dressed with a pleasant demeanor helps (at the bars and as a non-rev).

Bribing the gate agent would be like propositioning someone when you strike out at the bar.



Speedtape - The aspirin of aviation!
User currently offlineMalaysia From United States of America, joined Nov 1999, 3361 posts, RR: 0
Reply 13, posted (8 years 10 months 1 week 3 days 19 hours ago) and read 2389 times:

I had an embarrassing situation once, I did use the "is there room upfront" and that was with an F/A and instead of first class she placed me in a jumpseat upfront for the rest of the flight!

but Id say NW is the best and pretty much one of the few airlines I have flown with that will gladly upgrade you to Business, the best way I would do it was
send a note to the chief purser on that flight (gate agents dont do much) so have to wait till your aboard and ask for the purser and then he or she will
check back, they usually reply with, there might not be a meal available for
you, but who cares  Smile

I usually end up getting a meal anyway.



There Are Those Who Believe That There May Yet Be Other Airlines Who Even Now Fight To Survive Beyond The Heavens
User currently offlineBestWestern From Hong Kong, joined Sep 2000, 7216 posts, RR: 57
Reply 14, posted (8 years 10 months 1 week 3 days 18 hours ago) and read 2351 times:

And always say thank you to the crew after the flight (if in C or F) - it makes their day, as so often they are taken for granted.

Dressing up doesnt mean suit and tie. It means smart casual - so often you see people wearing their badly fitting $99 christmas suit.



The world is really getting smaller these days
User currently offlineAerofan From United States of America, joined Aug 2004, 1517 posts, RR: 2
Reply 15, posted (8 years 10 months 1 week 3 days 14 hours ago) and read 2275 times:

Well I'm always pretty well dressed when non revving. Asking nicely has never worked for me.
What does work for me however is to ask the check in agent if I may purchase an upgrade to business. 7 out of 10 times (my experience the agent did not know how to handle this question and the upgrade was given to me. This has worked on CO and AA. The times when it did not work were either on US and UA


User currently onlineMaverickM11 From United States of America, joined Apr 2000, 17672 posts, RR: 46
Reply 16, posted (8 years 10 months 1 week 3 days 13 hours ago) and read 2239 times:

Quoting BestWestern (Reply 14):
so often you see people wearing their badly fitting $99 christmas suit.

Sounds like a colleague of mine  Silly



E pur si muove -Galileo
User currently offlineFutureFO From Ireland, joined Oct 2001, 3132 posts, RR: 21
Reply 17, posted (8 years 10 months 1 week 3 days 13 hours ago) and read 2220 times:

I wear the nicest of clothes and always list in F regardless of the policy. Most airlines will not upgrade Offline SA's. It nevers hurts to ask about a possible upgrade and if you are really nice there is always a chance of an upgrade.



Sean from MCO and IND



I Don't know where I am anymore
User currently offlineFlyer732 From Namibia, joined Nov 1999, 1367 posts, RR: 21
Reply 18, posted (8 years 10 months 1 week 3 days 12 hours ago) and read 2186 times:

I flew DL up to YYZ a few weeks ago. I was cleared into Coach, as I approached the desk to board, the couple in front of me, also non-revs asked why they couldn't have seats up front. The agent seemed to get annoyed and told them they'd have to ask the flight atteandants, but to take the seats they were given for now. The couple kept arguing, but finally went down the jetway.
I approached the agent smiled and asked her how she was doing, she scanned my boarding pass and told me "I'm doing better now, feel free to take any seat in First you'd like"
Its all about your attitude, and I say NEVER ask. When I was an agent, if you asked, you were getting coach.


User currently offlineLHUSA From United States of America, joined Aug 2005, 566 posts, RR: 2
Reply 19, posted (8 years 10 months 1 week 3 days 11 hours ago) and read 2148 times:

Quoting Flyer732 (Reply 18):
When I was an agent, if you asked, you were getting coach.

I guess I don't really understand. I'm sure there's nothing worse than an SA that acts as if they SHOULD have first, but what's the problem with an SA simply asking politely and tactfully about his or her chances of sitting up front? Of course, asking when things are crazy in the gate area is completely unacceptable, but if things are calm and the load is light, what's the big deal? We get so few perks in the airline industry, that being able to fly first is an amazing and exciting benefit of our jobs. You can't really blame people for wanting to sit up there. It's fun! The sense of camaraderie among airline employees is something that I love about this industry. It's just a shame that only half the time you're treated with overwhelming friendliness, but the rest of the time we treat each other with nothing but disrespect. Also, I'm not saying that not giving an SA an upgrade is disrespectful, I was just making a generalization about the industry in general. When I worked at the station, I was more than happy to help out any airline employee with an upgrade. Who knows... mabye one day you'll be boarding a plane at thier gate and they will return the favor.





[Edited 2005-12-20 19:45:13]

User currently offlineAerorobNZ From Rwanda, joined Feb 2001, 7271 posts, RR: 13
Reply 20, posted (8 years 10 months 1 week 3 days 7 hours ago) and read 2012 times:

Quoting LHUSA (Reply 19):
I guess I don't really understand. I'm sure there's nothing worse than an SA that acts as if they SHOULD have first, but what's the problem with an SA simply asking politely and tactfully about his or her chances of sitting up front? Of course, asking when things are crazy in the gate area is completely unacceptable, but if things are calm and the load is light, what's the big deal? We get so few perks in the airline industry, that being able to fly first is an amazing and exciting benefit of our jobs. You can't really blame people for wanting to sit up there. It's fun! The sense of camaraderie among airline employees is something that I love about this industry. It's just a shame that only half the time you're treated with overwhelming friendliness, but the rest of the time we treat each other with nothing but disrespect. Also, I'm not saying that not giving an SA an upgrade is disrespectful, I was just making a generalization about the industry in general. When I worked at the station, I was more than happy to help out any airline employee with an upgrade. Who knows... mabye one day you'll be boarding a plane at thier gate and they will return the favor.

Flying on Travel perks at all is a privilege. Even in Economy, we are lucky to get any seat at all. I do actually find it rude when a person on a staff ticket (ie: they pay nothing/very very little) asks about being upgraded. It shows a lack of respect for the system of priority. It is on the terms and conditions of staff travel that we travel after everyone else on revenue/revenue standby has been taken care of. The same applies in terms of order of priority for upgrades.

Gold Elite
Gold
Silver
FFlyer
Non FFlyer
Revenue Standby
Staff - Duty Travel
Staff - Leisure Travel

If the Chief Flight Attendant wants to bring staff up a class they are welcome, because once the boarding pass is issued and door 1L is shut it doesn't make a difference really, but asking to be upgraded is just tacky and low class, and in my book that makes a person not suitable for upgrade. I've never once upgraded a person that asked me (except gold Elites - but they have the premium check in so i rarely see them)- revenue or staff, yet I upgrade a few people a day at this time of year, even if it is only Y to U or U to C.


User currently offlineLTBEWR From United States of America, joined Jan 2004, 13141 posts, RR: 15
Reply 21, posted (8 years 10 months 1 week 3 days 7 hours ago) and read 2004 times:

Perhaps you shouldn't even worry about trying to get a 1st/biz class seat if the coach section isn't full anyway. If coach isn't full, you could end up with a whole row to your self, with plenty of room to stretch out, choose the window seat for parts of the flight, the aisle for most of the flight.

User currently offlineHS748 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 22, posted (8 years 10 months 1 week 3 days 7 hours ago) and read 2002 times:

Quoting AerorobNZ (Reply 20):
but asking to be upgraded is just tacky and low class, and in my book that makes a person not suitable for upgrade. I've never once upgraded a person that asked me

Sounds like a very inflated sense of your own importance to me.


User currently offlineFlyer732 From Namibia, joined Nov 1999, 1367 posts, RR: 21
Reply 23, posted (8 years 10 months 1 week 3 days 7 hours ago) and read 1984 times:

Quoting LHUSA (Reply 19):
I guess I don't really understand. I'm sure there's nothing worse than an SA that acts as if they SHOULD have first, but what's the problem with an SA simply asking politely and tactfully about his or her chances of sitting up front?

That wasn't what I was saying, asking "How does the flight look?" or "How does First look?" is fine. If I have a seat open up there, I'll put you there. But I've had nonrevs walk up to me and as I'm checking them in say "Can I get first?" or "Any chance of first?"

The think I hated the most is it was usualy a buddy pass, and I worked for AirTran - the flight would be at the most (when I was an agent) 2 hours long. Its not the end of the world if you don't get it on an ATL-TPA flight.


User currently offlineLHUSA From United States of America, joined Aug 2005, 566 posts, RR: 2
Reply 24, posted (8 years 10 months 1 week 3 days 6 hours ago) and read 1957 times:

Quoting AerorobNZ (Reply 20):
It shows a lack of respect for the system of priority.

It goes without saying that revenue passengers should certainly get priority over non-revs and any SA that thinks differently should obviously never be given a seat in any class. Whenever I fly as a non-rev I'm more than greatful just to get any seat in any class. There's nothing wrong with simply inquiring about the chances of an upgrade and a fellow airline employee should not be penaziled if they ask out of curiosity. I didn't clearify this in my post, but I am not an advocate of blatantly asking for an upgrade. I, too, think that is tacky to just say "can I be upgraded, please?"
When I worked the gates, I had countless instances where SAs approached me about the thier odds of making the flight and what classes were open. I know how it is and how nice it is when someone actually responds in a friendly manner and not as if the traveler is being a huge annoyance. To purposely not put someone in F/C simply becuase they were excited and inquired about their chances of sitting up there seems pretty spiteful.


25 IAHCREW : I do not know about the rest of the airlines out there, but at my airline any employee or family member, except buddypass riders can list for 1st. If
26 Evan767 : My mother is a gate agent. She says it annoys them and to never ask about a seat up front if you are traveling free. Just watch the screens and take w
27 Pilottim747 : Fly Delta. They're good about upgrading non-revs from other airlines. Too bad other airlines dont always reciprocate to the DL employees. pilottim747
28 Post contains images Kaniksu : That's exactly why I do that when flying first... I am used to being the person staring at the first class passengers relaxing, sipping their drinks
29 AirCanada014 : Two years ago I was flying on AC from YYZ to LHR and I was suppose to fly on economy on A330-300 but the a/c got damage so we've been transfered to A3
30 Malaysia : yeah I loved those times when I had less seniority than another party and they put that party in coach cause only 1 seat was left in first, so it wen
31 RAMPRAT980 : A few years ago I flew AF from LHR to CDG. I was dressed sharp and the gate agent sat me in business. Thanks Christian Dior.
32 Aerofan : LHUSA, welcome to my respect list. AerorobNZ - I think I saw your name on medication at the pharmacy this afternoon. Agents like you make me ashame to
33 Supa7E7 : Tom, Dick and Harry are the most loyal customers on the plane. That's why they are sitting in front. Right? Agree with you that boarding at the very
34 N200WN : I think you should only (very politely) ask if it's your own airline. If it's another carrier just be greatful that a pass agreement even exists. Sinc
35 FXramper : I just posted in another blog... I got a bump to J on CO 99/98, EWR-HKG-EWR. I wore nice clothes and was polite. I never asked for any favors. I calle
36 BestWestern : Dont mix up status miles and redemption miles. Most airlines have a company policy of not wearing your ID when non-reving - as it identifes you as a
37 AerorobNZ : absolutely. I don't however expect to be upgraded as a non rev nor do I ever ask. I also stated that I never upgraded anyone who asked me, not that I
38 AJMIA : I hate it when people ask for an upgrade whether they are nonrevenue or revenue. You would not go into Target and ask for merchandise that is for sale
39 Goaliemn : I always thought that was standard across all airlines, although I know some do ask "crew qualified" to wear their crew badges during the boarding pr
40 Post contains images Lamedianaranja : I've been eating a lot of chocolate lately as a Gate Agent for KL I try to upgrade staff first, if overbooked or even unofficially asking the purser i
41 Post contains images B737100 : well, guess I'll add my 2 cents....I always dress nicely and never ask. Sometimes I'm invited to 1st on oa (not that airline from Greece , but its rar
42 Jetdeltamsy : I am a Delta f/a. We have nothing to do with upgrading pass riders to first class. That is all handled at the gate.
43 Post contains images FXramper : I hate the gate agents that think they are god and can pass judgement by putting anyone in cattle class...it's always the bitter lifers you get at gat
44 RAMPRAT980 : There is some truth to what FX is saying. But I find its best to just accept your ticket, smile and say thank you. Sometimes you will leave them scra
45 DFW13L : I never knew we could do that. I've worn jeans on Southwest, but never thought of wearing shorts. I've only non-revved on you three times. I work for
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