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Non-revs In 1st Class  
User currently offlineExitrowaisle From United States of America, joined May 2000, 266 posts, RR: 0
Posted (15 years 5 months 1 week 21 hours ago) and read 4209 times:

I notice a lot of people who post messages here are airline employees (or even more common, kids of airline employees), and fly on passes in first class all the time. Does that sound fair? If there's extra space in first class, why don't airlines bump up more frequent flyers instead of giving it away to their own employees and their families? It strikes me as being callous and non-customer oriented. What do you think?

P.S. Don't take this as a personal knock on those who get to do it, mind you.

50 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
User currently offlineRedeye From United States of America, joined Oct 2000, 79 posts, RR: 0
Reply 1, posted (15 years 5 months 1 week 21 hours ago) and read 4119 times:

Along the same lines, I find it very interesting that airlines will not upgrade frequent flyers for long-haul international flights, only for domestic. Revenue passengers do have priority, but ONLY for domestic flights. Since non-rev employee/partner passengers fly first on a space-available basis, what ends up happening is that non-revs don't get upgraded on domestic legs, but end up flying first on international trips. Therefore non-revs are getting a much better deal than frequent-flyer revenue passengers, since an international first class seat can be worth thousands $$ more than a domestic one. I'm surprised that airlines don't even offer to upgrade revenue passengers AFTER the non-revs on international flights.

I'm definitely not begrudging the chance for employees to sit up front, I just don't understand why frequent flyers don't get the same opportunity on international flights.

User currently offlineWatewate From Canada, joined Nov 2000, 2284 posts, RR: 1
Reply 2, posted (15 years 5 months 1 week 21 hours ago) and read 4092 times:

Employees should know what they are serving. Flying non-rev first class is a good way of learning the product their frequent flyers are buying.

User currently offlineTeahan From Ireland, joined Nov 1999, 5446 posts, RR: 58
Reply 3, posted (15 years 5 months 1 week 21 hours ago) and read 4085 times:

Well SR employees cannot fly in first anymore (since 97 or 98) They are allowed in Business Class but it is not free. It is a percentage of the fare or an ID00 which is all airport taxes + catering costs.

SIA do not offer any upgrades to any employees no matter what. Not even to Raffles Class.

If a CX, LH, etc.. employee is upgraded to F, they are not allowed to take the comfort pack or night suit.

Kind Regards,
Jeremiah Teahan

Goodbye SR-LX MD-11 / 6th of March 1991 to the 31st of October 2004
User currently offlineWpr8e From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 4, posted (15 years 5 months 1 week 21 hours ago) and read 4074 times:


What???? That is the most ridiculous thing I have heard. That is called training. As stated by Teshan, it is specific to the airlines. Frankly I think it is a perk of the job. If you give frequent fliers upgrades on long haul flights, then why should they sell first class since for a coach fare they will get an upgrade? That has already happened in domestic US.

User currently offlineSQA340 From United States of America, joined Aug 2000, 702 posts, RR: 4
Reply 5, posted (15 years 5 months 1 week 21 hours ago) and read 4069 times:


My Dad works for UA in management and I get the benifits too.

It is not like we get first all of the time you know, we get put in coach too. We have to dress up to get listed for first. Imagine having to sit in coach all dressed up because first and Bus. was full. It is not really that fun.

Senority counts as a big thing for seat placement. If one is loyal to an airline for a long time, they have don e some hard work to stay with the company.

But dont worry, Economy Plus on united is for frequent flyer benfits, so they get reconized too.

I would like to say if I have accenditally bragged about beeing in First on the fourms that I am sorry. I never mean to downgrade or belittle people .

**Kids loose their benifits by age 23**


Mike (SQA340)

User currently offlineWatewate From Canada, joined Nov 2000, 2284 posts, RR: 1
Reply 6, posted (15 years 5 months 1 week 21 hours ago) and read 4064 times:

I have never been through F/A training course, but doesn't it make sense for the airline to give employees incentives for working their jobs? Flying non-rev first is one of the few perks that come with the job that's not paid well. And yes, I do believe that employees can learn from experiencing first class once in a while. It's always good to put yourself in other shoes- in this case, the frequent flyers' shoes. You learn (or relearn) to appreciate the incredible amount of effort that go into putting forward such a product, which you can keep in your mind when serving customers.

User currently offlineAwaramper From United States of America, joined Nov 1999, 118 posts, RR: 0
Reply 7, posted (15 years 5 months 1 week 21 hours ago) and read 4048 times:

It's fair if there is room in 1st class. I don't think it would be right if non-revs were getting priority over revenue passengers. I fly a lot and very seldom do I get 1st class. But when I do it sure beats having to eat peanuts or whatever is in the "snack-sack"!!!!!

User currently offlineWpr8e From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 8, posted (15 years 5 months 1 week 20 hours ago) and read 4028 times:


Too bad that the pax manifest tells the F/A who the nonrevs are. I wouldn't say that they will get the same service. I agree with you that you should give employees first if available. But let's not make more of it than it is.

User currently offlineMdsmith11 From United States of America, joined Jul 1999, 194 posts, RR: 1
Reply 9, posted (15 years 5 months 1 week 20 hours ago) and read 4019 times:

My two cents worth:

Yes, while us employees do get upgraded to First class occasionally, it only will happen AFTER if the plane were to push away from the gate with the First seats on-occupied. For example, if there are two first class seats available for a given trip, and there is myself, and two FF's wishing to upgrade. I can bet my paycheck that I'm gonna end up sitting in the back, but at least I'm inside the plane (and hopefully with a window seat) and not inside the terminal watching the plane push back without me.

Non-Revenue travel is space available and that means just that. Suppose that here in New Orleans both us (UAL) and American have departures to Chicago O'Hare at similiar times. If our flight is late/cancelled, then we're gonna give those pax to American Airlines, assuming that they have some empty seats. For Non-Rev's....sorry. If there is no more seats, then your're simply not going.

I travel very frequently and generally have have good luck. 21 out of my last 24 trips have been in first. And I have only gotten left behind at the gate once. With a lil pre-planning and always having a plan "B" "C" & "D"...etc you can usually get whereever it is that you need to go, but do be prepared in case it all starts to go wrong.

Mark from UAL @ MSY (Where it's foggy with MSY taking delays)

User currently offlineILUV767 From United States of America, joined May 2000, 3142 posts, RR: 7
Reply 10, posted (15 years 5 months 1 week 19 hours ago) and read 3989 times:

I fly non-rev all of the time, and first of all this topic seems like the complaint center for the non "non-revers".

At almost any job that anyone works at there are perks. If you flip burgers at Burger King, you get all of the free fries that you want. This is no different for flying non-revenue. My dad works hard putting planes back out into service for United. We should be able to fly for free when we want...right? Well we do.


Next thing, First class is not all that special. If you people that are paying pax, want to sit in first class...THEN BUY A TICKET, TO SIT IN FIRST! Or pay to upgrade!

Next thing, you must dress up to fly in first or business. When I fly, I tend to look a bit like a flight attendant.

Next thing, at the airport, you get a departure managment card, which confirms that you are listed. After all of the upgardes, and all of the paying pax has checked in and boarded, then the employee or family member of the employee with the highest seniority date gets called to the podium with his/her boarding pass. If there is an open seat that person gets the seat. They arnt making money on it anyway, so it dosnt matter. That seat would go out empty if that person wasnt sitting there.

Following them are the next highest senior people. And so on. On december 19th, I took a "joy ride" from SFO to SNA and back. I got seat 5A on my way down, but the paying pax, who was confirmed in that seat, bumped me, and I sat back in coach. So its not all that glorious.

On my way back, I got first again, when only 12 seats were taken, they boarded the 4 people that wanted to upgrade, and gave all of the non-revers first class.

This is a perk for airline employees, and if you dont like it, then get a job at the airlines.

User currently offlineExitrowaisle From United States of America, joined May 2000, 266 posts, RR: 0
Reply 11, posted (15 years 5 months 1 week 19 hours ago) and read 3982 times:

Good points. My additional 2 cents (which makes it 4 total so far!)

- I can't see there EVER being a reason for First to have space for non-revs! There are always enough frequent flyers who would love a chance to be upgraded, especially as a surprise! I was denied a PRE-RESERVED upgrade to Business a few months ago, and when I walked through the cabin to my Coach seat, there was ONE occupied seat in Business on a 767, and I'm a Platinum! What, not enough Champagne in the galley?  

- Of course it doesn't hurt to have airline employees see the product they're offering, but why families? To me, the only persons this would apply to would be airline executives and flight attendants!

- To Mike in MSY-upgraded 21 out of 24 flights?! No disrespect, but I'll bet someone paying full fare in the back would've loved the chance to feel like the airline appreciated their business by moving them up! "Economy Plus" doesn't quite make the grade!

- As far as "perks," isn't almost-free travel anywhere in the world a big enough perk, even if you ARE in coach?

My recommendations:
- Limit the number of upgrades available to employees to only a few a year.
- Make employees pay a substantial percentage of the difference in fares between coach and first.

I know this sounds like sour grapes to those who work for airlines and feel they deserve something back! I just wonder why people who pay thousands of dollars a year to an airline for "elite" status have to give their right arm for an upgrade, and are often denied, while the employees can take their families on numerous first-class vacations a year by wearing a tie!

OK, I'll get off my soapbox for now!

User currently offlineILUV767 From United States of America, joined May 2000, 3142 posts, RR: 7
Reply 12, posted (15 years 5 months 1 week 18 hours ago) and read 3974 times:

If you want to sit upfront, then buy a ticket. Its that simple. The airline gets nowhere when they habd out free upgrades just because the seats are open. The next time that the person is going to fly on that carrier, 99% chance that they will buy a coach seat.

FYI: At United you do have to pay for International First. Also, whats the big deal? If the seats are open they might as well give it to the s/a travelers becasue the pther pax are boarded.

You guys can bitch about having airline employees in first all you want, but it aint going to chance anything.

User currently offlineILUV767 From United States of America, joined May 2000, 3142 posts, RR: 7
Reply 13, posted (15 years 5 months 1 week 18 hours ago) and read 3965 times:

A few other points.

At United, we are not upgraded like many of you think. We are down graded! We list for first, get oused into business, and finally rideit out in coach.

Next question:
-Isnt it a little unfair to upgrade an economy person to first just because therre are open seats up there. Unless they specifcly request it, why should they be upgraded? Wouldn't that piss off the other 150 people who didnt get the upgrade? Just wondering.

User currently offlineExitrowaisle From United States of America, joined May 2000, 266 posts, RR: 0
Reply 14, posted (15 years 5 months 1 week 18 hours ago) and read 3957 times:

OK, ILUV767, glad to see this is sparking such a cool debate! What say you and I step outside and settle this man-to-man (just kidding!)  

Seriously, though, do you think this is an attitude a future flight attendant (according to your profile and FBI file) should have? "You guys can bitch about having airline employees in first all you want, but it aint going to change anything." That's why there are websites like untied.com and northworst.org! I'm not advocating something-for-nothing! But, the traveler who logs thousands of miles with an airline is just as important to that company as its employees! We are doing the airline a favor, not the other way around. My opinion is, the airline should fill its premium cabins with its most loyal customers, or people who can and are willing to pay the huge fare difference. Frequent flyer status is in the computer. Even after boarding, the flight attendant could very discreetly (not on the PA) invite the people with the most miles to come up front, presumably from "Economy Plus". Wouldn't that make people want to fly the airline MORE to gain enough miles for the privelege? More business for the airline, more job security for the employees! And to use your argument, if you want to sit up front, why don't YOU buy a ticket (or at least part of one)?!

By the way, if you do become a flight attendant, I'm going to get an upgrade on United and say "remember me?"   By the way, Happy New Year!

User currently offlineILUV767 From United States of America, joined May 2000, 3142 posts, RR: 7
Reply 15, posted (15 years 5 months 1 week 17 hours ago) and read 3946 times:

I understand exactly what you are saying, and I can tell you that the people with high status at UA usually get upgraded, and they are upgraded before any UA employees or any non-revers are placed in first. Now, if I'm aboard the plane in first, and you show up 10 minutes before the flight and want to upgrade, you cant bump the s/a. You should have come to the gate early.

My point is, is that people get there upgrades, and when a seat is open, it goes to an employee. Why not give it to an employee? The only other time that an open seat would not be given to an employee if its open, if economy is ovesold, and they can move the oversold y class pax into first, then they will do that, then leaving the pax behind.

Also, why shouldnt employees and their familys get first if its open?

Anyway, I wish you a happy new year, and thank you for flying with today on the friendly skies!


User currently offlinePurdue Arrow From United States of America, joined May 1999, 1574 posts, RR: 7
Reply 16, posted (15 years 5 months 1 week 16 hours ago) and read 3939 times:

Like several others on this forum, I enjoy the privelege of non-revenue travel on American Airlines. American allows non-revs to travel in any class of service available, but upgrades at American are not free. If I want to leave coach, I'm required to pay an upgrade fee that varies from route to route. The only exception to this is if coach is full - if they can't accommadate a non-rev who requested coach, then they will comp the upgrade. Why, then, should they upgrade a normal passenger for nothing, when they can get a little more income on the flight by upgrading a non-rev? Travel is one of the perks of airline employment, and a certain amount of premium travel is to be expected. Some non-rev travellers log just as many miles as an elite frequent flier - I'd be AAdvantage Platinum of we earned miles - we appreciate a nicer seat every now and again, too.

User currently offlineSEVEN_FIFTY7 From United States of America, joined Sep 2000, 957 posts, RR: 4
Reply 17, posted (15 years 5 months 1 week 16 hours ago) and read 3918 times:

If there are 30 frequent fliers in coach and 4 empty first class seats, how the hell would the Customer Service people decide which of those 4 frequent fliers are gonna be the lucky ones to get upgraded? -Should it go by how many miles each one logged thus far? -Should it go by the price they paid for that particular flight? -Should it go by how old the old farts are? -Should it go by who has the prettiest tie? ...Whatever random upgrade criteria you go by, you'd piss off all the other 26 FFs who won't think it's fair that *they* didn't get upgraded.

Also, I have several friends who work at UA and according to them, United ALWAYS upgrades their 100Ks and Premiers. I think it's kool for employees to be able to sit in FC every now and then. Afterall, the pay sucks. Plus, you couldn't pay me enough to deal with the hordes of abusive 40-50 year old spoiled brats who cry about everything imaginable on their flight from San Francisco to Chicago. I know I'd be fired after the first week. (If not in jail).

User currently offlineJfidler From United States of America, joined Aug 2000, 395 posts, RR: 0
Reply 18, posted (15 years 5 months 1 week 16 hours ago) and read 3917 times:

I've always looked at it from a cost side. And from that angle, it seems as if FFs should be upgraded before non-revs.

The difference between first class and coach are in 3 areas: space, service (people), meals.

Two of those have little effect on cost, in that they're "sunk" costs. The seat (space) is there on the plane, and the # of flight attendants for that section has already been allocated, regardless of # of passengers in F-class.

But meals must cost a lot more. So for every additional non-paying passenger in F-class, whether a non-rev, or an upgraded frequent flyer, that costs more money. And that brings the cost for everyone's ticket up (over time), doesn't it? In terms of return for that "upgrade" investment, at least upgrading FFs might encourage them to fly with that airline more often and result in more revenue down the line.


User currently offlineILUV767 From United States of America, joined May 2000, 3142 posts, RR: 7
Reply 19, posted (15 years 5 months 1 week 16 hours ago) and read 3910 times:

At United upgrades get first before any non-reving passenger.

User currently offlineSegmentKing From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 20, posted (15 years 5 months 1 week 15 hours ago) and read 3909 times:

WOOHOO!! a topic I can really throw some input in.

I fly revenue quite a bit, and do a ton of non-reving... and it's not all that easy to get into First.

About revenue passengers up front -> normally, you have to ask for it. United FASTAIR will ask for a boarding priority and reason for an upgrade. You just can't put in "comp" for anyone... the agent needs some sort of duty code to list in order for it to be fair to the nonrevers. Because, you paid $99 for your trip and the airline is loosing money on you.. putting you up front will cost an extra $85 to $165 depending on your trip to the airline. So if you are flying on a cheap seat and don't use frequent flyer miles or a frequent flyer paid upgrade, you wont' make it to First Class.

First Class is A PRIVILEDGE... not a RIGHT!!!

I've asked many times about flying in F or Econ Plus when I am booked in a Q V or W class fare on United (lower end, normally 7 - 21 day adv fares) and I am asked for a reason. Saying I was on the board of an employee group won't help, nor being a travel agent. I would need to either get the agent's sympathy "I've never flown First before!" or something. That has worked like 4 times on United, and 2 on Northwest.

United has to protect it's revenue and it's product. I don't think a person paying full F from ORD to LGA is going to appreciate having a W class fare passenger sitting next to him, because he WILL brag about it .. I've heard it SO Many times!! (pax) "Wow.. I paid $182 for this ticket and i'm in first class! THIS IS SO COOL!!" only to have the full fare pax very very disturbed and upset. United has received MANY MANY complaint letters on this one. Non Revs, on the other hand, NEVER BRAG INFLIGHT or tell the person next to them they are flying free. NEVER. if an FA catches yo doing it, you can loose your flight benefits.

Again, First Class / Business Class is NOT A RIGHT... but a PRIVILEDGE!

User currently offlineILUV767 From United States of America, joined May 2000, 3142 posts, RR: 7
Reply 21, posted (15 years 5 months 1 week 15 hours ago) and read 3902 times:

Segmant King, thanks for your insight! 

User currently offlineExitrowaisle From United States of America, joined May 2000, 266 posts, RR: 0
Reply 22, posted (15 years 5 months 1 week 14 hours ago) and read 3889 times:

Very good arguments, I'll admit. Didn't know the exact airline policies on non-rev upgrades. Just a question to SegmentKing, isn't the airline losing money on your seat as much as on someone who paid a discount fare? You get all the services of a full-fare passenger too, don't you? I can understand someone paying $1,000 for a first-class ticket being upset at a person paying a bargain fare getting identical service, but that's one of the pitfalls of the frequent flyer program. I agree first class is a "privelege," that's why I would NOT argue that someone showing up in torn sweats and a baseball cap should be moved up regardless of the number of miles they've flown. Nor do I expect you to give up your place for someone who shows up five minutes before the door closes and demands a seat. If you expect an upgrade, you'd better look and act the part! For that matter, that goes for ALL classes! Oh, well. Hope to see you all on board someday. I'll be the guy going "I only paid $182 and I'm in first class! THIS IS SO COOL!"  

User currently offlineExusair From United States of America, joined Sep 2000, 684 posts, RR: 0
Reply 23, posted (15 years 5 months 1 week 14 hours ago) and read 3886 times:

Screw those Frequent Flyers! They're the first to hoot and holler when their flights get delayed or cancelled and they yell the loudest and longest! It's our airplane and we'll put whoever we want up front whenever we want. They do sell those seats up there you know......If you want up there that bad, BUY A TICKET!!!

User currently offlineAmbasaid From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 24, posted (15 years 5 months 1 week 9 hours ago) and read 3866 times:

Its amazing how quickly people forget that their frequent flyer status is due to travel conducted on behalf of their employer.

Quite a number of FF's that i know, use their mileage points to obtain family tickets.

So why is this PERK any different to the UPGRADE PERK available to airline employees?

25 DeltaSFO : At Delta, the nonrev policy is as follows: Free unlimited space available travel in North, Central, and South America using S3 priority. 18 free trans
26 Amir : actually i only know about some very few incidents where airlines actively put their staff (on reduced industry discount tickets) in their First class
27 Post contains images SegmentKing : When I have flown United Revenue, if it's a long flight, i'll just fork out 10,000 miles from my account 3 days prior to travel and be booked in First
28 717-200 : It is quite fair for airline employees and their eligible family and friends to ride up front if there is available space. Putting employees up front
29 Zrs70 : Well, everyone has said it, but no one has said the way I will say it! Upgrades used to be given out at boarding, not based on FF status, but based on
30 Post contains images ExitRowAisle : Wow, I didn't realize I touched on such a passionate subject! Just for the record, the purpose of this post was NOT to advocate random upgrades for pe
31 B747-437B : I am a rare, if not unique breed of person. An ELITE FREQUENT FLYER as well as a NON-REVVER. I get my non-rev benefits through my dad. I am entitled t
32 Jfidler : Someone on this thread wrote how the gate agents get whiny requests for upgrades all the time, which must be annoying. So what's the best way to get a
33 Wishihadalife : Hey DeltaSFO - how about this modified conversation? ---------- Gate Agent: "Do you have your upgrade certificates?" Passenger: "Sure, I have oodles o
34 DeltaSFO : Hey man.... your company's travel department shouldn't be buying you L fares... you should be getting full fare tickets which do allow you to use the
35 Post contains images Nycank : DeltaSFO: The single most distressing thing is removing SMUs. The next is segment upgrades policy. Say suppose this year I'm Platinum, I get unlimited
36 Surf : I would have to say that some people are envious of the fact that non-revs get to fly upfront. Even over a frequent flier. I am a non-revver. My broth
37 ILUV767 : Thank You Surf... you've summed up what I've been tyring to say.
38 Surf : P.S. When I non-rev I NEVER brag about it. No one knows I'm an SA except the purser or F/A who has the passenger manifest. Exitrowaisle: you know what
39 SEVEN_FIFTY7 : I sometimes get companion tix from my friends who work for UA. I think I'm strange. Why? because I never care if I end up in first or coach. (Except i
40 Post contains images ILUV767 : I fly both Coach, and First class. It can be hard to get first class on the busy routes. Its almost impossible to get first class on UA Shuttle...at l
41 Post contains images Britair : as an airline employee I think it's a perk of the job to be upgraded.....i mean we have to put up with a lot of crap from all those lovely "frequent f
42 Post contains links and images DeltaSFO : Surf and ILUV767..... very well said. I LOVE non revving! It is definitely addictive... there's nothing like daytrips to LAX, PDX, or SEA. I've bought
43 Post contains images ILUV767 : Aside from not bragging about it, here is the second rule with non-reving. TAKE THE SHIT, WITH A SMILE! Now let me explain. I was in first class on a
44 Teahan : Hey David, You Americans have so much look with free flights. Us Europeans must actually pay. For example and ID95 with Aer Lingus DUB-LHR is $60 for
45 Unitedchicago : All: Employees of airlines only get a seat on a flight if, if there are empty seats. Read: if an employee is in first class, then the first cabin was
46 ILUV767 : Thank you UnitedChicago, thats what i've been trying to say. Thank you. Happy Flying, David
47 Wishihadalife : Let me stress one thing. Every airline has different priorities and different policies. Its really amusing to watch 13-20 year olds argue semantics wi
48 Notdownnlocked : Semantics, the word "stress" in a post, let alone a post with more than a one sentence quick quip belittling everybody here!!! I'm thinking you had br
49 The spinmaster : This is one of our job perks working for an airline. Here at DELTA us employees have to opportunity to fly in First if there are open seats. Us employ
50 Post contains images Unitedchicago : First of all to Notdownnlocked, I am 29 and have a professional job. I no longer am elegible for space available non rev. I now fly United as a busine
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