Simps747 From Canada, joined Jun 2007, 37 posts, RR: 0 Posted (6 years 3 months 5 days 18 hours ago) and read 3111 times:
I'll be flying to MAD from YVR via LHR on BA in the next few days. I will be travelling with my pregnant wife and 18 month old daughter. We're currently booked in World Traveller, I've heard that World Traveller Plus and Business are both common upgrades that happen often enough. Any tips on how to be upgraded? (Besides throwing a few thousand more $$$ on the credit card) Is it as simple as just being polite and asking about the possibility at check-in? If we're travelling with an infant is it even worth trying? My brother is a gate agent in YYC for WS. He seems to be of the opinion that airlines will avoid upgrading famillies travelling with infants to protect the tranquility and sanctity of higher classes for their revenue passengers. Any insight would be appreciated.
Bongodog1964 From United Kingdom, joined Oct 2006, 3334 posts, RR: 3 Reply 1, posted (6 years 3 months 5 days 13 hours ago) and read 3041 times:
I stand to be corrected, but am under the impression that a free upgrade on BA; is normally only possible if they need your seat for someone else. Even then it will go to the person with the best tier points on the executive club membership.
In addition my wife has been offered an upgrade at check in for a price, so I assume they try and sell them in the 1st instance.
On my last BA flight, we were in WTP, one passenger, who had a travelling companion in Club, asked just before takeoff if he was going to get upgraded, and was politely but firmly told to take his seat, as any upgrade would have taken place prior to boarding.
JonnyWishbone From United Kingdom, joined Jan 2007, 141 posts, RR: 0 Reply 2, posted (6 years 3 months 5 days 11 hours ago) and read 2961 times:
If you are on Full Fare Economy ticket, you MIGHT get to WTP if the flight is overbooked. You have no chance of getting to club unless you and all your family are gold card holders.
If you are on any sort of discounted ticket, you are screwed in my opinion!
As a Gold Card holder, I can testify to getting an upgrade due to my status, but never when I am travelling with other people who aren't Gold Card holders - they are extremely unlikely to upgrade you if you are not an Exec Card holder.
It's a tough old world and you've just gotta pay unless you are very lucky! I do respect BA for this, whereas on some carriers, you can quite often be the only person in First or Business who has been stupid enough to pay for it!
Fbgdavidson From United Kingdom, joined Oct 2004, 3691 posts, RR: 29 Reply 3, posted (6 years 3 months 5 days 11 hours ago) and read 2917 times:
Quoting Simps747 (Thread starter): We're currently booked in World Traveller, I've heard that World Traveller Plus and Business are both common upgrades that happen often enough. Any tips on how to be upgraded?
Your best to chance is to book twenty fullly flexible economy tickets on your flight, check-in hoping you've overbooked the cabin and are one of the lucky ones chosen for the upgrade, which as a group is unlikely, and as a non-Executive Club member is even more unlikely. Then you'd call BA and cancel your twenty fully flexible tickets...and wait for a refund.
WT+ to Club World upgrades happen more often though and can go to non-status passengers as the cabin is small and seems much more prone to overbooking. Often on NA routes you'll see signs at check-in advertising upgrades from WT to WT+ for as low as $100 per person. This is usually because WT is overbooked and they're trying to get any revenue possible from the situation. Go for that if you see it but be prepared to endure WT. BA don't make a habit of upgrading people with no status just for the hell of it, or by asking nicely. As a regular purchaser of premium class tickets on BA, and a Gold cardholder myself I certainly appreciate that. Otherwise what incentive is there for me to purchase a business class or First Class ticket?
EHHO From Bulgaria, joined Dec 2005, 815 posts, RR: 8 Reply 4, posted (6 years 3 months 5 days 10 hours ago) and read 2874 times:
Quoting Bongodog1964 (Reply 1): a free upgrade on BA; is normally only possible if they need your seat for someone else. Even then it will go to the person with the best tier points on the executive club membership.
Quoting JonnyWishbone (Reply 2): If you are on Full Fare Economy ticket, you MIGHT get to WTP if the flight is overbooked. You have no chance of getting to club unless you and all your family are gold card holders.
Well, maybe it was just me guys, but I as a 21 y/o non-Exec Club member booked on X fare in WT, I was upgraded to Club World on a B777 flight ORD-LHR in Decmber 2005. It was Xmastime and the check-in girl was really flirting with me, so maybe it was that. Anyhow, don't say never, because it does happen, although rarely, I admit.
Quoting Fbgdavidson (Reply 3): lucky ones chosen for the upgrade, which as a group is unlikely
That is true. You might get lucky on your own, like I did, but highly unlikely with the whole family. But trying is free, so I would certainly ask for it, no shame in being rejected.
"Get your facts first. Then you may distort them as much as you please" -- Mark Twain
Hugggan From Sweden, joined Jan 2006, 9 posts, RR: 0 Reply 5, posted (6 years 3 months 5 days 10 hours ago) and read 2841 times:
Yes, from what I've heard BA rarely upgrades passengers BUT, it does happen!
I can give you a wonderful example of this that happened to me, my brother and my parents last year travelling BOM-LHR i WT on award tickets. It was the morning flight with the 777. Upon check-in I asked dad to ask if there was any upgrades available. When he did the agent said only if we paid. Although in the end, (we didn't nag or anything) all of us were upgraded anyway to WT+ for some reason. I was really surprised as I had heard so much about BA never upgrading for free. Anyhow, when we boarded it seamed we had taken somebody elses seats, and the F/A came to sort the problem out. The passenger who was to sit in my beloved seat was pretty nasty to the F/A and kept looking angrily at me. But I kept a smile and stayed under control . I suspected that she also was upgraded from WT because I saw her boarding pass of which the seat number was changed with a pen, as mine was. Well, I thought this was too good to be true and it was back to steerage for me. But here comes the good part. The impolite people who were to sit in our seats got them, but when the F/A gave me my new seat nr. I realized I was in CLUB. Haha for the the suckers who got my seats. It turned out that our whole family got upgraded to CW.
I just can't forget how lucky we were. Travelling for free and got upgraded to classes! on BA! We were all blue members of BA's frequent flyer club at the time, except for dad who was silver.
So to sum up, i guess it pays to be polite and with some great deal of luck it's possible.
Oh yeah, also earlier this year we were on our way back from RAK to CPH via LHR. The whole family got upgraded once again on the LHR-CPH leg. I thought this was strange as they have the convertible C-class on EU flights.
So two out of my three most recent BA flights I got upgraded twice.
COFanNYC From United States of America, joined Jan 2007, 213 posts, RR: 0 Reply 8, posted (6 years 3 months 5 days 6 hours ago) and read 2639 times:
I actually was going to post my story as a trip report two weeks ago but totally forgot so this thread is a good place for me to do it quickly.
LHR - JFK
Was in deeply discounted economy, checked-in online and selected a window. Decided when dropping off bags that I wanted an aisle. The woman was nice enough to get me an aisle but it was in the last row of economy in the middle section. Boarding the plane I was told there were two people assigned to my seat so I was getting upgraded. I was handed a new boarding pass for 29E in the WT cabin (but with people on either side of me). A gentleman came along with a boarding pass for 29E. The flight attendant asked me if I would be the one to move and I agreed. She brought me upstairs to 62K, arguably the best seat in CW.
DavidT From Switzerland, joined Oct 2005, 477 posts, RR: 0 Reply 10, posted (6 years 3 months 5 days 5 hours ago) and read 2576 times:
A few things that can help you get upgraded:
- you are travelling alone
- you are dressed smartly, and appear respectable
- you have Executive Club Gold / Silver status
The big point is the last one, when the BA staff start to upgrade pax when a flight's overbook the first people to get bumped up are EC members. Travelling alone (or as a couple) makes it easier for them to slot you in somewhere.
Of course every situation is unique, people can only give pointers!
Other people have mentioned the $100 upgrade at check-in deal, that would be your best bet!
Rdwootty From United Kingdom, joined Sep 2005, 900 posts, RR: 2 Reply 11, posted (6 years 3 months 5 days ago) and read 2456 times:
Just my luck it must be .Flying from Orlando on a cheapo ticket I have on every flight home been upgraded, four times on four flights?I always checkin early I always dress smart, maybe to only pax on the flight with a tie,I always ask quietly , I always travel with my wife who now seems to expect it!! Also have been upgraded at the gate with many airlines. Air Canada Air Jamaica Swiss Singapore Etihad Continental Virgin and so on.
A340600 From United Kingdom, joined Aug 2003, 4104 posts, RR: 52 Reply 12, posted (6 years 3 months 4 days 23 hours ago) and read 2426 times:
Quoting Simps747 (Thread starter): I've heard that World Traveller Plus and Business are both common upgrades that happen often enough.
They're not at all, BA holds the policy that if there's no reason to move you they won't. Of course there are cases of luck but BA gains respect from Premium passengers who are their bread and butter for these decisions.
Despite the name I am a Boeing man through and through!
BCALBOY From United Kingdom, joined Mar 2007, 102 posts, RR: 0 Reply 13, posted (6 years 3 months 4 days 23 hours ago) and read 2417 times:
1/ BA normally only upgrade when they need to do so because there are not enough seats to accomodate the
This can happen because of a late aircraft change.
e.g If a flight due to op on a 3-cabin 777 ( J/W/M) is changed to a 4 cabin ( F/J/W/M) this reduces
the number of WT seats and means psgrs will be shuffled thru the cabins J to the F cabin ( though still with
J service given there were no F psgrs booked the flight won-t be catered for F ) , W to J and M to W and sometimes
M to J , if the WTP load is light.
Similar situ with 747s if its changed from 38J version ( soon to be 52J ) to a 70J , which reduced M by c 60 seats.
This is done to minimise offloads.
2/ Generally only situ where upgrade is given when not required by loads is where a Sales Mgr has requested
for a special account or Customer Relations have requested due previous mis-handling..
2/ Simply being dressed well , being polite and smiling nicely and asking the Chk-In agent isn-t going to work.
They don-t have the authority to upgrade and would only refer to a supervisor if they have been briefed
to solicit candidates for upgrade before commencing working that flight.
3/ Where a flight needs large number of upgrades some of these may be actioned in the back office
beforehand. This is done because actioning upgrades on the front-line slows down the Chk-in process considerably
as the Chk-In agent has to phone a controller who may be busy handling other calls.
This will be before the customer has had any contact with a BA staff member.
Being dressed reasonably smartly can be important here .
If you have been upgraded in advance and turn-up wearing cut-off jeans and a tee shirt or you-re
unfriendly to the Chk-In agt , the agent may undo the upgrade without you ever knowing you had
been given an upgrade in the first place.
4/ A request such as a Special Meal may make it less likely you get upgraded .
e.g if you have requested a Salt Free Meal , it may not be possible to u/g you from M or W to J as there won-t
be a Salt Free Club meal available . M to W wouldn-t be a prob as meals are the same.
5/ Having an infant would probably reduces chances . Children to a lesser extent.
DavidT From Switzerland, joined Oct 2005, 477 posts, RR: 0 Reply 14, posted (6 years 3 months 4 days 14 hours ago) and read 2313 times:
Quoting BCALBOY (Reply 13): This will be before the customer has had any contact with a BA staff member.
It is also quite common for all upgrades to be done in a back office after pax have checked in but before boarding. That's why, more often than not if you hear an announcement at a BA gate along the lines of 'Can passengers X, Y and Z report to the gate agent' you know somebody's about to get a nice surprise!
Boeingluvr From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR: Reply 17, posted (6 years 3 months 4 days 5 hours ago) and read 2146 times:
Usually from London I ask at check in and they put comments in. After that I ask at the gate and if they're upgrading they say they see the comments and they'll see what they can do. Sometimes I get lucky and they ask me up to the counter or come and find me with a new boarding pass. Never hurts. But when I do I'm travelling alone and dressed business/casual so that probably helps as well.
LH417AF025 From United States of America, joined Jan 2006, 276 posts, RR: 0 Reply 19, posted (6 years 3 months 4 days 4 hours ago) and read 2072 times:
Quoting Simps747 (Thread starter): He seems to be of the opinion that airlines will avoid upgrading famillies travelling with infants to protect the tranquility and sanctity of higher classes for their revenue passengers
DavidT From Switzerland, joined Oct 2005, 477 posts, RR: 0 Reply 20, posted (6 years 3 months 4 days 3 hours ago) and read 2053 times:
Quoting JonnyWishbone (Reply 16): BA very rarely upgrade to First, unless the plane is totally overbooked, they keep it as full payers (and staff!) only.
I must have witnessed a very rare event then!! My family (4 of us) were booked into First and when we checked in online we were the only 4 in there. When we boarded the plane, it was full of elderly american couples! It was a very overbooked flight though. In fact the CSD gave us a bottle of champagne to 'make up' for the upgrades - we didn't really deserve it either, as we were only in there on miles. So for that flight BA ran a full First cabin, without a single paying customer!
Speedbird2155 From United Kingdom, joined Feb 2005, 856 posts, RR: 5 Reply 21, posted (6 years 3 months 4 days 3 hours ago) and read 2038 times:
Quoting DavidT (Reply 14): That's why, more often than not if you hear an announcement at a BA gate along the lines of 'Can passengers X, Y and Z report to the gate agent' you know somebody's about to get a nice surprise!
Not so....it probably means we need to enter your passport details in the system or have some other issue that needs to be actioned prior to boarding. We don't call customers at the gate to give upgrades. If a passenger has been moved due to operational requirements, it will be dealt with when they present themselves for boarding, if not already actioned.
Quoting DavidT (Reply 20): I must have witnessed a very rare event then!! My family (4 of us) were booked into First and when we checked in online we were the only 4 in there. When we boarded the plane, it was full of elderly american couples! It was a very overbooked flight though. In fact the CSD gave us a bottle of champagne to 'make up' for the upgrades - we didn't really deserve it either, as we were only in there on miles. So for that flight BA ran a full First cabin, without a single paying customer!
OLCI showing only 4 seats taken, isn't an indication that you were the only 4 booked. Also, the CSD should not be making it known if any of the customers were upgrades.
Fbgdavidson From United Kingdom, joined Oct 2004, 3691 posts, RR: 29 Reply 22, posted (6 years 3 months 3 days 22 hours ago) and read 1930 times:
Quoting UPPERDECKFAN (Reply 15): Do I have a chance if I ask for an upgrade to F at the gate? only chance is if CW is overbooked?
Have never flown BA First so it'd be great if I can be upgraded.
Wouldn't it be great if you could be upgraded?
To be honest as things stand you've got little chance. Club World is awash with BA Golds and Silvers, plus all the other oneworld Emeralds who came ahead of you.
Your only chance is if things go a bit pear shaped and they end up upgrading anyone with a shiny card and you happen to be in the right place at the right time. Chances of that are slim. As you say your only chance is if CW is overbooked. Asking at the gate will probably get you laughed at, or given a wry, knowing smile.
My experience with being op-upped on BA is that it happens at check-in or as I'm swiping into the lounge when connecting from elsewhere. Dress has nothing to do with it as I've been op-upped in jeans and polo shirt, even as a Silver.
"My first job was selling doors, door to door, that's a tough job innit" - Bill Bailey