ORD2PHL
Topic Author
Posts: 242
Joined: Sun Oct 19, 2003 9:15 am

Why No Unlimited Upgrades On UA?

Wed Aug 18, 2004 2:01 am

With the latest fad on the majors seeming to be unlimited upgrades for elite members, has anybody heard any indication that UA maybe considering this for Premier/Exec/1K members?

I'm not indicating that this is something they have to do, I'm simply just wondering if they are considering it at all?

Thoughts?


ORD2PHL
 
Tango-Bravo
Posts: 2887
Joined: Sun Jun 17, 2001 1:04 am

RE: Why No Unlimited Upgrades On UA?

Wed Aug 18, 2004 2:37 am

"Unlimited upgrades" is little more than smoke-and-mirrors marketing by the U.S. legacies. While the number of upgrades an elite member may receive is, indeed, not limited, the subject to availability disclaimer found somewhere in "the small print" means, in reality, that complimentary upgrades will be few and far between for most elites. Which is why I chose not to make a mileage run with a U.S. legacy to attain elite status -- what's the real benefit to "entry-level" status? ...other than preferred seating in coach, which I can usually get without elite status. If UA has refrained from advertising "unlimited upgrades" for elites, perhaps they are simply being more honest than the rest of the lot???
 
AA7573E
Posts: 468
Joined: Wed Nov 05, 2003 11:34 am

RE: Why No Unlimited Upgrades On UA?

Wed Aug 18, 2004 2:56 am

@Tango-Bravo

I think you are a bit off. I have been upgraded on every flight I have taken this year on AA. I am a Platinum level Advantage memeber, and I fly about 75 segments per year. On every mainline flight I have taken in the US, I have had zero trouble being cleared for an upgrade 72 hours in advance. So for this elite (used losely), upgrades have been frequent and easy to get.



See you up front!
 
ORD2PHL
Topic Author
Posts: 242
Joined: Sun Oct 19, 2003 9:15 am

RE: Why No Unlimited Upgrades On UA?

Wed Aug 18, 2004 8:12 am

T-B

Not sure you exactly quite get what were talking about here; I'd be able to get just as many upgrades as I get now as Premier Exec, which is about 90% of the segments I fly in the US on UA, I just wouldn't have to worry about having the certificates to do it.

ORD2PHL
 
deltaffindfw
Posts: 1388
Joined: Tue Sep 02, 2003 7:42 am

RE: Why No Unlimited Upgrades On UA?

Wed Aug 18, 2004 8:20 am

I agree. I'm always upgraded on DL. I've talked to both CO and NW people when I've flown them, and if they had elite reciprocity, I would have been upgraded on those flights also. Can't wait until Sep. when they join Skyteam!
 
Pe@rson
Posts: 16030
Joined: Sat Jan 13, 2001 6:29 pm

RE: Why No Unlimited Upgrades On UA?

Wed Aug 18, 2004 8:29 am

Surely these upgrades, which must include better and more expensive food and so forth, are a partial reason why airlines in the USA are not performing that well or, indeed, very poorly? If a number of people get these upgrades on a regular basis, as would seem to be the case according to people on this website, then that's a whole lot of extra - and unnecessary - dosh over a year.

[Edited 2004-08-18 01:31:33]
"Everyone writing for the Telegraph knows that the way to grab eyeballs is with Ryanair and/or sex."
 
trickijedi
Posts: 3201
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RE: Why No Unlimited Upgrades On UA?

Wed Aug 18, 2004 9:06 am

ORD2PHL,

I doubt we will see UA offer unlimited upgrades any time soon. Their current upgrade structure seems to be working well for them and has been around long enough that most UA elites are now accustomed to the policies (and sometimes headches) of trying to upgrade.

And because UA has had this structure for years, and the MP program continues to win awards and positive votes, the masses continue to either join MP or continue to accrue miles. Yes, other airlines indeed offer more perks and privileges to their top tier elite flyers but since long-time UA 1K's are now accustomed to the way they've been treated by UA, they will be happy accruing their SWU's year after year and will continue to fly UA. Most 1K's or even Premier Execs are loyal to UA so as long as the MP program stays the way it is and continues to offer its perks, elites will keep flying, accruing miles and then cashing them in.

And UA knows all of this.
Its better to be on the ground wishing you were in the air than be in the air wishing you were on the ground. Fly safe!
 
zrs70
Posts: 3352
Joined: Sun Dec 10, 2000 4:08 am

RE: Why No Unlimited Upgrades On UA?

Wed Aug 18, 2004 9:10 am

DL/ NW/ CO may have unlimited upgrades. But they do not offer CONFIRMED upgrades at the time of ticketing (unless miles are used).

Also, I like using certs. If everyone got unlimited upgrades, there would be a bunch of pushy people at the gate getting angry about sitting in coach feeling that they are entitled.
17 year airliners.net vet! 2000-2016
 
AEROFAN
Posts: 1439
Joined: Wed Aug 04, 2004 9:47 am

RE: Why No Unlimited Upgrades On UA?

Wed Aug 18, 2004 9:15 am

Pe@rson

Intersting observations... Smile have never really thought about it; I think you are right. Seems to me, that some of these cheap flyers, who if the norm holds true, buy the cheapest fares and then ask for an upgrade - then this may indeed be a contributing factor to their current solvency
 
ORD2PHL
Topic Author
Posts: 242
Joined: Sun Oct 19, 2003 9:15 am

RE: Why No Unlimited Upgrades On UA?

Wed Aug 18, 2004 10:11 am

Trickijedi-

Your post was spot on, never thought of it that way....makes sense as that pretty much sums up why I'm a Premier Exec MP member. I'm perfectly happy with the 4 freebies I get per 10K flown on UA as well as other comp'd upgrades, I was just simply wondering if UA would go the way of AA and US for its elites.


ORD2PHL
 
B4REAL
Posts: 2561
Joined: Sun Aug 10, 2003 5:53 am

RE: Why No Unlimited Upgrades On UA?

Wed Aug 18, 2004 10:16 am

Zrs70:

Can't speak for CO, but NW and DL DO offer confirmed upgrades at ticketing, depending on what you pay, of course  Smile

Limited, unlimited, they are all limited , IMHO. I just would not like to be Silver on any airline. When I was Gold on DL and they had the points, I could earn them faster than I could burn them, and generally always would get my upgrade.

Since DL went unlimited and introduced the L, U, and T fares for upgrades with tighter windows, I have more options, and only rarely as gold did not make it up.

Now I'm platinum, and haven't missed one yet. We will see how long that lasts!
B4REAL, spelled like it sounds
 
deltaffindfw
Posts: 1388
Joined: Tue Sep 02, 2003 7:42 am

RE: Why No Unlimited Upgrades On UA?

Wed Aug 18, 2004 10:20 am


Zrs70 - you are partially correct. As a Plat. DL member, if I book a Y, B, or M fare, I can get a confirmed upgrade upon ticketing. Since I typically book trips with less than a week's notice, these are the fare codes I get.

Also, while DL offers unlimited upgrades to all elite members, the timing of the upgrade depends on your status and booking code. So, even if a Gold Elite has a full fare ticket, my lower fare ticket would take priority when the upgrade window opens.

Also, just because there are seats available doesn't mean the upgrade is processed. I have seen where there are two or three seats open, but they are held for assignment by the gate agents. Happened to me twice last week.
 
NWAFA
Posts: 1843
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2003 10:30 pm

RE: Why No Unlimited Upgrades On UA?

Wed Aug 18, 2004 10:22 am

Zrs70

getting angry about sitting in coach feeling that they are entitled.

Oh do they! On a flight a couple of weeks ago, I was in the gate area and this lady was pissed as heck that she was not upgraded..She said "IM SILVER and I always get upgraded and you MUST upgrade me now"....The man next to her says "IM platinum, IM in coach today like you are, so deal with it and stop batching to the agent"

I laughed so hard that I would pee my pants!

Silver passengers are the ones that complain the most! Silver pax are the ones that just grind at us!

I think its great that NWA FF program wins many world wide awards. I just can not picture a Gold or platinum not getting upgrade as much as a possible and or having to carry a paper upgrade. Whats the point of being elite level?
THANK YOU FOR FLYING NORTHWEST AIRLINES, WE TRULY APPRECIATE YOUR BUSINESS!
 
AEROFAN
Posts: 1439
Joined: Wed Aug 04, 2004 9:47 am

RE: Why No Unlimited Upgrades On UA?

Wed Aug 18, 2004 10:35 am

U want an upgrade I think u should pay for them. Unless u have qualified for that status by paying full fare at all times
 
airportplan
Posts: 319
Joined: Wed Jan 14, 2004 12:36 am

RE: Why No Unlimited Upgrades On UA?

Wed Aug 18, 2004 10:44 am

UA's FF program has slightly fewer FFs than AA but it has many more FF's than COs or DLs Programs (See Link Below). Because of its large number of hubs in major business centers (DEN, ORD, SFO, LAX, DCA), UA has very, very high concentrations of very high mile FF's in these markets. It is not unusual for 50% or 60% of the passengers on some flights out of these hubs or to other business markets to be filled with Premier Execs (50,000 miles) passengers or above. Some of these passengers will always use their upgrades to fill the unsold F class seats.


http://www.webflyer.com/company/press_room/facts_and_stats/current_membership.php
 
trickijedi
Posts: 3201
Joined: Sun May 13, 2001 4:35 pm

RE: Why No Unlimited Upgrades On UA?

Wed Aug 18, 2004 11:08 am

I'm perfectly happy with the 4 freebies I get per 10K flown on UA as well as other comp'd upgrades

Sadly, I am too. And the reason I say sadly is because UA knows that both you and I are satisfied with this perk and we probably will continue to be for years to come. As long as they don't take our 4 freebies every 10K, we'll be happy. And we will gladly pay the $50 or so difference in airfare compared to other carriers to accrue more miles with UA.

Also, I'm sure you've noticed that the most UA ever does with giving slack as far as upgrades is to tweak the rules a little bit here and there every year or so to make things more convenient for the elites. Ex. No more waitlist to get on Lufthansa flights using SWU's... or throwing in another HK49 per year or something (just an example). Basically, UA is employing the "small changes result in big smiles" approach, which is one of the reasons why I don't think we will ever see unlimited upgrades on UA.

Whereas NW Worldperks elite flyers on the other hand, who are used to domestic upgrades every time they fly. would easily rant and rave if the rules ever change and all they get are measly certs.

So I guess the question now becomes, why are we so darn happy with 4 500-milers every 10K when we could potentially be closer to a Business Class seat with another airline for about the same amount of miles flown?

The only answer I can think of is that UA did an excellent job of brainwashing us. Laugh out loud
Its better to be on the ground wishing you were in the air than be in the air wishing you were on the ground. Fly safe!
 
777ualsfo
Posts: 99
Joined: Wed Jan 14, 2004 2:49 pm

RE: Why No Unlimited Upgrades On UA?

Wed Aug 18, 2004 1:48 pm

I am only the lower level Premier, but UAL has always upgraded me when I wanted to do this except when flights were very full - I could upgrade alot more often but it isn't always worth it if you are already in economy plus and it is an evening or night flight where you aren't going to want to eat. UAL has always taken care of me and those I"m flying with!
 
UALPHLCS
Posts: 3233
Joined: Thu Jun 28, 2001 5:50 am

RE: Why No Unlimited Upgrades On UA?

Wed Aug 18, 2004 2:02 pm

UA has changed the policy somewhat and is upgradeing Premier and higher fliers to F if they purchase a Y or B fare. Which sounds like its in line with DL's offering.

Secondly, I think MP really does have more gold members than most other mileage programs. Just an example PHLSFO flights may have 1 or possibly 2 upgrade seats available at 20 min prior to departure and I have worked flights with as many as 8 1K's looking to get that last seat. Some stations rarely see a 1K we have 8 in Y class, and more in F at PHL. Which is why when the 1K's complain I ask them to write WHQ and request 757's on PHL's West Coast flights. They won't listen to us so maybe they will listen to thier premium fliers.

Of course now that JFK will have a fleet of 757's of its own there will be even fewer to share with the rest of the system.

Anyway if your looking for complimentary upgrades, Premiers have to buy at least a full fare Y class tkt. However, this isn't going to work if your flying to LAX or SFO out of PHL, those F seats get snapped up right away.
A little less Hooah, and a little more Dooah.
 
jblake1
Posts: 262
Joined: Fri Aug 22, 2003 10:25 am

RE: Why No Unlimited Upgrades On UA?

Fri Aug 27, 2004 3:11 am

T-B:

I earned Silver Elite status for this year and have been upgraded on 95% of the flights I've taken so far this year. I have such good luck with NW that I have made 2 mileage runs to LA and back this year. I may even reach Gold status.

NW has been really great to me, I'm so glad I chose one airline to give my money to.

btw.. despite only being Silver I've had a couple of my companions upgrade to the front with me despite the rules.

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