PlaneLuver
Topic Author
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Free Upgrade To First Class?

Tue Dec 06, 2005 3:52 pm

I remember reading awhile back about a scheme for getting a free upgrade to first class, even if you had a discounted economy ticket.

Basically, you were supposed to show up at check-in wearing nice clothes and having a really nice, outgoing personality. Then you were supposed to basically just ask if you could get an upgrade "if there's any room". If they said no, you were supposed to try again at the gate.

Do you think this could actually work? Do agents have the authority to upgrade any type of passengers, or just first full fare economy and frequent fliers?

andrew
 
FCYTravis
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RE: Free Upgrade To First Class?

Tue Dec 06, 2005 3:59 pm

In today's economic climate, that's about as likely to happen as a Canyon Blue CRJ-200 pulling up to a Southwest gate.

The only free upgrades to First Class come if you're an elite on airlines which offer free upgrades to elites (HP/US, CO, DL, NW and AS), or if you happen to get an "op-up" (you're booked in Y, but Y checks in full and there are available F seats) but again those go to elites first.

More airlines are offering at-the-gate upgrades to economy passengers, but again those cost money.

[Edited 2005-12-06 08:11:21]
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airtran737
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RE: Free Upgrade To First Class?

Tue Dec 06, 2005 4:01 pm

Quoting PlaneLuver (Thread starter):
Basically, you were supposed to show up at check-in wearing nice clothes and having a really nice, outgoing personality. Then you were supposed to basically just ask if you could get an upgrade "if there's any room". If they said no, you were supposed to try again at the gate.

Do you think this could actually work? Do agents have the authority to upgrade any type of passengers, or just first full fare economy and frequent fliers?

People try this all of the time, sometimes it works, but usually it doesn't. There are usually a list of frequent fliers ahead of you, as well as airline employees. I personally hate it when people ask for a comp upgrade, and when non-revs ask for it I make sure that they sit in coach. You are not entitled to sitting in First just because you're in the industry.

Go ahead and try if you'd like, but more often then not you'll wind up sitting in the coach seat that you paid for.
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S12PPL
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RE: Free Upgrade To First Class?

Tue Dec 06, 2005 4:04 pm

I've had it happen...But every time but one was pre-9/11. My one free upgrade post 9/11 came in early February 2002, while flying HP PHX-PDX.

I guess it can happen, but you have to charm the pants off the gate agent I would guess.
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hawk44
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RE: Free Upgrade To First Class?

Tue Dec 06, 2005 4:07 pm

Quoting AirTran737 (Reply 2):
when non-revs ask for it I make sure that they sit in coach.

That is a great attitude to have towards your coworkers  Yeah sure

Hawk44

[Edited 2005-12-06 08:09:15]
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deltairlines
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RE: Free Upgrade To First Class?

Tue Dec 06, 2005 4:09 pm

Personally, I hope it doesn't happen. I fly enough to make elite status with an airline (in my case, Delta), and one of the benefits is free unlimited upgrades to First Class. Giving away F for free to non-elite coach passengers when there is no need to do so (I can understand op-ups, but if there are empty seats in Y...), it is a dilution of the benefits that I have rightfully earned. If I could just ask for a F seat at check-in and get it, then why should I continue to fly only Delta (spending money on higher fares when competitors are offering lower ones) and just become a passenger that buys the absolute cheapest fare?

Jeff
 
AJRfromSYR
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RE: Free Upgrade To First Class?

Tue Dec 06, 2005 4:16 pm

Especially at PHL, if you check your bags with a red cap, then tip him 50-100 bucks and ask to get upgraded, they will take care of it most the time. Just ask before you tip. Tip a red cap and you never have to pay for your luggage being over 50lbs. Amazing.
-AJR-
 
rdwootty
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RE: Free Upgrade To First Class?

Tue Dec 06, 2005 4:22 pm

Whilst I am in the industry I do try for upgrades. I have had a lot of luck with BA from Orlando. I believe they always overbook the Y seats. So I go to checkin 4 hours prior in my Jacket and tie and ask (politely) if there is any chance of moving forward.On the last six flights I have been upgraded. Then CO from BHX on the same deal and EK from BHX and on AC from YYC.Air Portugal from LHR and VS from LHR BA from BHX The AC was a gate upgrade as I did not like the checkin clerk and did not ask but went to the gate agent and received my upgrade there. Bear in mind this was for two pax on each occasion so I suppose I will have to stay at the back next time.
 
Carpethead
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RE: Free Upgrade To First Class?

Tue Dec 06, 2005 5:35 pm

It doesn't matter what you wear. If you are the top elite for an airline, you will be upgraded if Y-class is overbooked.
I once wore T-shirts, shorts and sandles and got upgraded because of this.
 
BDKLEZ
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RE: Free Upgrade To First Class?

Tue Dec 06, 2005 5:54 pm

Quoting Carpethead (Reply 8):
It doesn't matter what you wear. If you are the top elite for an airline, you will be upgraded if Y-class is overbooked.

You've hit the nail on the head there. If the economy cabin is oversold, before the airline starts paying out compensation unecessarily to passengers who are being denied boarding in the cabin that they've booked, premium, elite, gold card (whatever you want to call them) will be upgraded from economy in order to free up seats in Y for the pasengers in question who were subject to the overbooking sitaution.

As a result, everyone's happy. Pax who were advised of possible overbooking will now be happy that the airline can accommodate them and the upgraded Y-class "frequent flyer members" will also be happy with their free upgrade!

Happiness and smiling for everyone concerned and at nil expense to the airline!

Only in the event that there are none, or very very few, elite passengers on board will the airline choose to upgrade standard Y-class pax. In which case, a pleasant attitude is your best bet. Whatever you do, don't ask for it if want to avoiding pissing of the customer service people on the ground. No-one likes beggars who don't wanna pay but then try to get it for free.

        



[Edited 2005-12-06 09:55:57]
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ARGinLON
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RE: Free Upgrade To First Class?

Tue Dec 06, 2005 7:34 pm

Quoting AirTran737 (Reply 2):
when non-revs ask for it I make sure that they sit in coach. You are not entitled to sitting in First just because you're in the industry.

Go ahead and try if you'd like, but more often then not you'll wind up sitting in the coach seat that you paid for.

You sound like one of those bitter airport staff that make nonrev’s life a nightmare when flying standby (Thanks god they are many exceptions)

What’s wrong with a nonrev asking for an upgrade (as long as it’s done politely and at the right time/circumstances)? If this is done on a long haul trip makes total sense and doesn’t hurt anybody (Of course on a two hour trip is ridiculous).

I have flown as a nonrev with BA many times and I would say I got an upgrade to Club World 90% of the times when flying long haul. Sometimes this was done by the flight dispatcher and some others by the purser.

This was also the case with AF, QR and DL.
 
sampa737
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RE: Free Upgrade To First Class?

Tue Dec 06, 2005 8:21 pm

While flying during Brasilian vacation months of January and July, flights are always overbooked coming and going to Brasil. Me and my son were offered upgrades on AA going to MIA, then again coming back to Sao Paulo. On my return to GRU from MEM, I asked the ticket counter how you get an upgrade. She told me to show up early and volunteer to be bumped to the next day's flight. $500 vouchers, upgrade to First Class, meals and hotel just for taking a later flight the next day. Works for me.

This also happened with my wife flying DL. They upgraded her, my daughter and adopted Brasilian son. However, the ticket agent didn't realize my son was traveling on a Brasilian passport. DL does not generally upgrade, for free, those traveling on non-US passports.

I actually think it all depends on the ticket or gate agent and the mood they are in. It also helps not to come across as begging or wimpy.
 
yhmfan
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RE: Free Upgrade To First Class?

Tue Dec 06, 2005 9:01 pm

AC Rapidair Pass = Confirmed Free upgrades (i.e. not standby)

Still only 60% of full fare economy
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luisde8cd
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RE: Free Upgrade To First Class?

Tue Dec 06, 2005 9:24 pm

I was recently upgraded to Business in my CCS-MIA flight with Santa Barbara Airlines. The flight was overbooked and they upgraded me to business. Nice!

Saludos desde Caracas,
Luis
 
cloudyapple
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RE: Free Upgrade To First Class?

Tue Dec 06, 2005 9:24 pm

Why do you think you deserve to be upgraded? What fare are you paying? Why do you think you should get something for nothing?


Why don't you try asking for some free cash at a bank and see what happens?
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ManuCH
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RE: Free Upgrade To First Class?

Tue Dec 06, 2005 11:16 pm

Back in the "good old days" I was upgraded to Business on Swissair during a ZRH-BOS flight because my father was a Travelclub Gold member (I was flying with him obviously). I've been unable to obtain the same thing ever since, but then again I'm not brave enough to dare asking such a thing. Maybe I should  Smile
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jumbojet
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RE: Free Upgrade To First Class?

Tue Dec 06, 2005 11:27 pm

Quoting PlaneLuver (Thread starter):
I remember reading awhile back about a scheme for getting a free upgrade to first class, even if you had a discounted economy ticket.

1st class aint what it used to be on many airlines. Dont get all uptight if you dont get an upgrade. Other then free booze and a slightly wider seat with a tad more recline, thats about all there is to it. For some airlines, like delta for example, for flights between 1.5 and 3.5 hours, or 450 and 1550 miles there is no meal service in 1st class, only beverage and snacks.
 
BigOrange
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RE: Free Upgrade To First Class?

Tue Dec 06, 2005 11:47 pm

Elite's are upgraded 2 or 3 days prior to departure anyway, so why shouldn't you ask!

I used to get transatlantic upgrades on CO/BA through our sales rep when I was in the UK. Domestic upgrades I got were on US from PHL to FLL and back a couple of years, using some upgrade vouchers we had lying around the office. Also last summer got an upgrade on AA between JFK and LAX and back again through our sales rep.

If you don't ask you don't get is my motto!
 
fbgdavidson
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RE: Free Upgrade To First Class?

Wed Dec 07, 2005 12:09 am

Quoting Cloudyapple (Reply 14):
Why do you think you deserve to be upgraded? What fare are you paying? Why do you think you should get something for nothing?


Why don't you try asking for some free cash at a bank and see what happens?

 thumbsup 

The lengths and bullshit that people come up with why they should be upgraded range from comical to cringeworthy. There is a lengthy thread on Flyertalk BA forum where a BA CS agent at T4 lists some of his favourites.

'Ok here are the reasons why pax thought they should have an upgrade

1) I'm a blue/silver/gold card holder

2) I have a medical condition which means I cannot sit in Economy but can sit in Club

3) I'm too tall/big for an economy seat, therefore I need to be upgraded

4) I am traveling due to fact that I have got to go to a funeral/see a dying relative (it is amazing how many people will try and use this one, though some maybe genuine, a lot are not)

5) We are on honeymoon

6) Last time I flew BA, the flight was late/you lost my bags/ I was downgraded/ It was raining etc

7) I am some minor celeb, who has bought an Economy ticket, thinking that you would know who I am, and then upgrade me.

8) My boss is flying club/first we need to work together on the flight ( used to suggest the boss downgraded, funny how that stopped all talk of the need to work)

9) I am a close personal friend of Lord King/ Lord Marshall/ Bob Ayling/ Rod Eddington

10) Last be not least the best one ever.....I checked in a lady , issue her with her boarding pass...she looks at it and asks me why she is not in CW, I explain that she had an Economy ticket. She proceeded to get a Daily Mail cutting out of her handbag and said "but I meet all the criteria in this article to be upgraded". Daily Mail Travel had published 5 tips on how to secure an upgrade!!!!

So my tip for getting an upgrade out of LHR T4, don't ask!!! Use the "U" word in a conversation with an agent, and more than likely nothing will happen.'


Quoting PlaneLuver (Thread starter):
Basically, you were supposed to show up at check-in wearing nice clothes and having a really nice, outgoing personality. Then you were supposed to basically just ask if you could get an upgrade "if there's any room". If they said no, you were supposed to try again at the gate.

Do you think this could actually work? Do agents have the authority to upgrade any type of passengers, or just first full fare economy and frequent fliers?

LMAO! But then you are in danger of this situation happening....

I was checking in to my flight to JFK in T4 in June or July 2000, patiently waiting for the couple in front to get their BP and shove off. I had been forced to listen to him groaning on about being a real 'road warrior' and flying around the world in F all the time. Blah, blah, blah. I thought 'when is he going to shut up?' The young woman he was with did not seem particularly interested.

Finally they get to the desk and the agent says "Mr Jones, this is an economy ticket, I'm afraid I'm going to have to ask you to go to desk 99 to check in."

He is non-plussed and replies "I'm one of your elite blue-card members, and we are on our honeymoon. I understand you have an upgrade in your system for us."

She says "Strange the tickets seem to have been bought by a corporate travel agent and on different dates. Your EC number is not in the booking either, may I see you card?"

He whips out his wallet and slips her his blue card! She goes a bit red, and explains to him that blue is where you start, and means nothing more than that you applied last week. He slumps away, completely red-faced and ends up in check-in 99.

I had a good laugh with the agent after he left.
"My first job was selling doors, door to door, that's a tough job innit" - Bill Bailey
 
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fxramper
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RE: Free Upgrade To First Class?

Wed Dec 07, 2005 12:15 am

Quoting BigOrange (Reply 17):

If you don't ask you don't get is my motto!

Good idea! I fly for heavily discounted rates since being employed with FX, I understand the full revenue passengers, for carriers in question should have a priority, but the idea of a aviation employee asking for an upgrade and being deliberately sat in Y class is asinine. The majority of carriers take care of their own. This has always been my experience. I usually (90%) get an upgrade on an international flight, and don't even ask for domestic upgrade, unless it's a flight over 5 hrs.

There are loads of good people out there working to serve you, the passenger, don't hesitate to ask!  Smile
 
PlaneLuver
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RE: Free Upgrade To First Class?

Wed Dec 07, 2005 12:21 am

Quoting Fbgdavidson (Reply 18):
3) I'm too tall/big for an economy seat, therefore I need to be upgraded

hey that's a perfect excuse!  Smile it's not my fault i'm too tall for those cramped economy seats. haha.
 
sampa737
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RE: Free Upgrade To First Class?

Wed Dec 07, 2005 12:38 am

Well, no one "deserves" First Class or Business Elite. However, as my now deceased father-in-law would tell me, "You have not because you ask not." Never hurts to ask. And on the flip side, does anyone "deserve" economy?
 
lincoln
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RE: Free Upgrade To First Class?

Wed Dec 07, 2005 1:28 am

I make a conscious effort to be well dressed (collared dress shirt, slacks, decent shoes) and have an excellent attitude for every flight -- partially because I would like to be upgraded and partially because I feel like I'm single-handedly fighting the "white trash" look that's becomming so common-- or at least averaging it to become "casual".

I also make a point of volunteering to take a later flight /before volunteers are requested/ if the flight is looking fairly full.

Being civil never hurts and is much more likely to get you anything in life than being a demanding prick about it.

Of the two times I've been upgraded--

#1 - NW DC-10 DTW-LAX ~1999/2000 - I was about 15, wearing shorts and a wrinkled T-shirt. Have absolutely no idea how I got upgraded (didn't even find out until I was on the plane looking for my seat).

#2 - CO 737-700 LAX-CLE 2005 - Wearing dressier clothing. Had volunteered to take a later flight; turns out my seat wasn't needed after all but the agent upgraded me as a 'thank you'

Number of times I've tried enquiring about the cost of an upgrade - 5. Number of times I've been upgraded 0. Number of times I've been quoted a full F fare - 2.

Number of times I've asked outright for an upgrade (or asked "if there was any room up front") - 3. Number of times I've been told "we can't do that" - 2. Number of times I've been told "would be more than happy to, but F is full" - 1 (and F was, indeed full).

Asking is not likely to endear you to the agent. The only times I've done it was when (a) I was feelihg really lucky [this is why I don't gamble], (b) When I was in Vegas [and was in a gambling mood], and (c) when I was young[er] and stupid[er].
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Geo772
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RE: Free Upgrade To First Class?

Wed Dec 07, 2005 1:34 am

A few years I was flying standby with AC out of heathrow. I was only ever going to be entitled to economy, what with being an interline customer. When I got given my boarding pass the despatcher actually apologised for not being able to seat me in economy. I thought this was remarkable. Business was full, in fact he had given the very last seat on the flight.

On the whole when I have been flying non-revenue I have always been treated superbly, both by ground staff and cabin and flight crew, whether or not I have managed to travel up front.
Flown on A300B4/600,A319/20/21,A332/3,A343,B727,B732/3/4/5/6/7/8,B741/2/4,B752/3,B762/3,B772/3,DC10,L1011-200,VC10,MD80,
 
LGWspeedbird
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RE: Free Upgrade To First Class?

Wed Dec 07, 2005 1:36 am

You would never be upgraded to F straight from Y normally only into the next cabin.

Quoting Fbgdavidson (Reply 18):
He slumps away, completely red-faced and ends up in check-in 99.

LMAO that was funny and love the reasons for upgrades, I must have heard those so many times already.

LGWspeedbird
 rotfl 
upcoming flights LHR-LAX-HNL-SFO-LHR
 
uniuniunium
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RE: Free Upgrade To First Class?

Wed Dec 07, 2005 1:37 am

Quoting AJRfromSYR (Reply 6):
Especially at PHL, if you check your bags with a red cap, then tip him 50-100 bucks and ask to get upgraded, they will take care of it most the time. Just ask before you tip. Tip a red cap and you never have to pay for your luggage being over 50lbs. Amazing.

Please elaborate on this!
 
lincoln
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RE: Free Upgrade To First Class?

Wed Dec 07, 2005 2:16 am

Quoting LGWspeedbird (Reply 24):
You would never be upgraded to F straight from Y normally only into the next cabin

Domestic flights on US carriers, "F" usually is the next cabin  Smile

[It is debateable if it can truly be called "First" as opposed to "Business" or "BusinessFirst" -- but it is a higher level of service than Y]

Lincoln
CO Is My Airline of Choice || Baggage Claim is an airline's last chance to disappoint a customer || Next flts in profile
 
BA0284
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RE: Free Upgrade To First Class?

Wed Dec 07, 2005 2:17 am

I was upgraded to first class on BA flight to SFO with no reason what so ever!! I checked into Business the day before online and turned up at "bag drop" with not particularly "Smart" clothes on, but when I got to the gate, I had a First Class Upgrade. The ticket was bought with redemption of miles as well! I'm on BA's Blue (lowest) tier of the FF program!!?

It really is by chance I think, it determines on the airline and the flight and the crew at the airport.

Good luck everyone!!! Big grin

BA0284  Smile
 
PresRDC
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RE: Free Upgrade To First Class?

Wed Dec 07, 2005 2:30 am

I'm Executive Platinum with AA and am eligible for free upgrades on North American flights, with the upgrade window opening 100 hours prior to departure. I haven't flown in Economy on AA aircraft with a premium cabin in three years. Making EXP on my own dime is a bit of a challenge, but I manage to do it.

Beign EXP has also resulted in three "double upgrades" to/from LHR on AA. On all three occassions, I had upgraded to J on a paid Y ticket and was bumped-up to F at the airport (once at LHR, once at ORD and once at JFK). In all three instances, Y was oversold and they rolled cabins.

I've also been op-up'd on BA to Club Europe FRA-LHR once.
 
LGWspeedbird
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RE: Free Upgrade To First Class?

Wed Dec 07, 2005 2:45 am

Quoting Lincoln (Reply 26):
Domestic flights on US carriers, "F" usually is the next cabin

Didn't know that thanks.

Quoting BA0284 (Reply 27):
I checked into Business the day before online and turned up at "bag drop" with not particularly "Smart" clothes on, but when I got to the gate, I had a First Class Upgrade.

We did that at LGW for our ATL pax, this was to help on the day of the flight when it was oversold.
upcoming flights LHR-LAX-HNL-SFO-LHR
 
Skyguy
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RE: Free Upgrade To First Class?

Wed Dec 07, 2005 2:49 am

An ex AA agent once told me that they had the power as gate agents to do whatever they wanted with passengers, upgrade them, upgrade their travelling companions, excuse penalty fees for date changes on discounted tickets etc. etc. etc.
I don't know if this is still the same now but he worked there about 6-7 years ago. It does seem to me that they have a lot of discretion as to what they can do for passengers.
An AA check-in agent (I'm a Platinum member) got friendly with me and told me that if Y checks in in full then they do a 'cabin roll', where people in J are bumped to F and people in Y are bumped to J. She said that generally the system automatically selects the elite members based on status and whether they bought a full-fare or discount ticket to be upgraded in a descending order (i.e. exec platinum with full fare ticket will be first to be upgraded).
However, gate agents can upgrade at the gate at their discretion. She said its best not to ask at the gate, as if you do, they mark you down and you will the very last person to be upgraded as for every time you or someone else requests they have to check in the system and it adds a lot of work in a short period of time they need to dispatch the flight.
I rarely ask, it depends on how the agent is, if they are friendly then I ask, otherwise if I do get upgraded it happens automatically at the gate.
In the old days you got it by merely asking, not so easy anymore.
I've been upgraded on BA twice while I've actually boarded and settled into my seat, agent asked to see my BP and then said follow me and seated me in J. Once I had a J ticket bought with miles LHR-NRT and they upgraded me to F.
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Bridogger6
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RE: Free Upgrade To First Class?

Wed Dec 07, 2005 2:51 am

It was funny.. when our recently started redeye to ATL flight began out of PHX we had one night where there were only two people booked in first class. Well, for some reason the way the bags had been loaded and the way the fuel was situated and such, our weight and balance people called the gate and told us we had to make sure first class was full... so, I just started picking random people that looked nice enough and pulled them aside while I upgraded them to first. It made me feel good to be able to make about ten poeple happy.
 
SKA380
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RE: Free Upgrade To First Class?

Wed Dec 07, 2005 3:44 am

Quoting Cloudyapple (Reply 14):
Why do you think you deserve to be upgraded? What fare are you paying? Why do you think you should get something for nothing?

Hmm, i think noone here has mentioned that they "deserve" to get upgraded.
But like has been said here "if you dont ask, you dont get", worst case scenario is that you get a "sorry, no". And no harm done, cause you dont have a ticket for buisness/first anyway.

Regards,
Leif
 
columbia107
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RE: Free Upgrade To First Class?

Wed Dec 07, 2005 3:53 am

Once at LGW my wife and I arrived at the gate to board the aircraft to Bermuda on our way back to the island after being home for my niece's wedding and was told that we had been allocated two new seats. Unfortunately my son who was traveling with us was not upgraded. Our tickets were World traveler Plus and the new seats were Business. Since I often do travel Business and the the flight was full, I knew that my son would not be upgraded. I therefore volunteered to travel T class in his seat and my son joined my wife in Business class. For a young man in his final year at University reading Aerospace Engineering, it was the flight of his life. Excellent service, food and a flat bed to sleep or relax. The BA flight attendant at the entrance to the aircraft heard me talking to my son about him taking up the upgraded seat and commended me openly (and loud enough for my fellow passengers to hear) for my action. This really made my day!
Unfortunately, I never found out why we had been chosen to be upgraded. Perhaps because my wife had a Silver card and I was also about to become a holder. I can only suspect that they had two customers prepared to purchase T class but not Business tickets.
As regards clothes, I do not think this has any effect on who is upgraded. We always travel smart but functional. I think upgrades are mainly driven by how much of a frequent flyer you are.
Thanks BA. I will always remember the event.
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fbgdavidson
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Joined: Thu Oct 14, 2004 6:25 am

RE: Free Upgrade To First Class?

Wed Dec 07, 2005 4:18 am

Quoting Columbia107 (Reply 33):
Unfortunately, I never found out why we had been chosen to be upgraded. Perhaps because my wife had a Silver card and I was also about to become a holder. I can only suspect that they had two customers prepared to purchase T class but not Business tickets.
As regards clothes, I do not think this has any effect on who is upgraded. We always travel smart but functional. I think upgrades are mainly driven by how much of a frequent flyer you are

Your wife's Silver card will be it  thumbsup 

From my readings on Flyertalk it appears Silvers get upgraded more frequently than Golds and have a very good success rate at being rolled from WT+ to Club World.

I'm a BA Silver having earned it through long haul J and Club Europe travel and am flying IAD-LHR in WT+ in a couple of weeks and the pre-allocation limit for my flights has been reached so am interested to see how I get on. As always though, I feel my only right is to travel in the cabin I've paid for whether it be paying $$$ or miles. Any upgrades are most welcome  Smile
"My first job was selling doors, door to door, that's a tough job innit" - Bill Bailey
 
AJRfromSYR
Posts: 439
Joined: Tue May 17, 2005 6:03 am

RE: Free Upgrade To First Class?

Wed Dec 07, 2005 4:46 am

Quoting Uniuniunium (Reply 25):
Quoting AJRfromSYR (Reply 6):
Especially at PHL, if you check your bags with a red cap, then tip him 50-100 bucks and ask to get upgraded, they will take care of it most the time. Just ask before you tip. Tip a red cap and you never have to pay for your luggage being over 50lbs. Amazing.

Please elaborate on this!

If I'm not flying my frequent carrier and need an upgrade on a fairly long flight, I have been able multiple times to check my baggage with a red cap, ask how much for an upgrade to first and give them $50-100 tip. They then typically send me to a check-in agent inside who they split the tip with and she/he gets me upgraded without any elite status on that airline. This has worked a couple times. Also if you bag is over 50lbs you can work that out with a sky cap.
-AJR-
 
AEROFAN
Posts: 1406
Joined: Wed Aug 04, 2004 9:47 am

RE: Free Upgrade To First Class?

Wed Dec 07, 2005 4:50 am

and this is why, it makes me ashamed to be in the industry-when i hear comments like this from my fellow airlilne employees. the funny thing is i bet you that if u were non revving lax to syd or lon to hkg - you would like to get an upgrade!
what is wrong with simply saying, "sorry i won't be able to offer you one today?". you may want to remember that the positions may be reversed one of these days especially when it is more important to you. life can be a bitch like that!

btw i've never flown your carrier - nor do i have any intentions to. but then again somes life can throw u a curve... can u let me know what city u work out of so that i can do my level best to avoid that location.


quoting airtran 737," [i]People try this all of the time, sometimes it works, but usually it doesn't. There are usually a list of frequent fliers ahead of you, as well as airline employees. I personally hate it when people ask for a comp upgrade, and when non-revs ask for it I make sure that they sit in coach. You are not entitled to sitting in First just because you're in the industry.

Go ahead and try if you'd like, but more often then not you'll wind up sitting in the coach seat that you paid for [i]

[Edited 2005-12-06 21:03:19]

[Edited 2005-12-06 21:04:54]
 
ALB2ATL
Posts: 88
Joined: Wed Feb 23, 2005 1:57 am

RE: Free Upgrade To First Class?

Wed Dec 07, 2005 4:51 am

The past 10/11 legs on UA (all ALB-ORD) were F and I never paid a dime!

The first time it happened, I was booked on US ORD-PHL-ALB, but missed the 45min. check in time (baggage). The ticket agt. explained the only flight she could put me (and friend) on was a later UA flight, F class! I didn't even ask! How 'bout that? Sat on the ground in Chicago for a good 1 1/2 hours drinking wine and listening to channel 9. Upon arriving in ALB, the lead FA gave me a bottle of wine to take home. That was a nice touch!

Also flew UA F-class POS space. Gate agt's put me in first all but one time - probably bec I was on a ERJ/CRJ!

Now, my brother works for UA and flew ALB-ORD-ALB a few weeks ago F-class for a nominal fee.

Also flew AA F-class in 1993 (POS space) when they were still giving hot towels. I was 19 at the time and had no idea what do to with it, so I refused the hot towel.

Only asked for First once when I got royally screwed by US in PIT. The special services Emp lectured me and told me never to ask again, but wound up putting me in First PHL-ALB (45 min's - but managed to get drunk!)

Of course, I fly coach most often, but am getting to the point where I feel I deserve F!! JUST KIDDING!!

 cloudnine 
 
YUL2010
Posts: 309
Joined: Tue Jun 17, 2003 8:57 am

RE: Free Upgrade To First Class?

Wed Dec 07, 2005 4:59 am

This is what I do as a gate agent.
If the flight is NOT overbooked, then the only pax I upgrade are our frequent flyers who have the correct upgrade vouchers that matches their full fare economy tickets. We gotta play by the rules.

If the flight is oversold... Then, this is where the fun part starts. I pull out the names of our frequent flyer pax, and I count how many upgrades I need, and priority goes on the fare paid. Once the upgrades are done, that frees up some seats in economy and I could now accommodate most pax in the back...

Personally, I get annoyed when pax come up to me and ask me for upgrades... I find it disrespectful.

Quoting PlaneLuver (Thread starter):
Basically, you were supposed to show up at check-in wearing nice clothes and having a really nice, outgoing personality. Then you were supposed to basically just ask if you could get an upgrade "if there's any room".

Haha, good one. You see, it's people like you that I dont get... you think we're just some kind of stupid agents that don't know the rules and are easily fooled by your charm? Give me a break....

Quoting PlaneLuver (Thread starter):
If they said no, you were supposed to try again at the gate.

LOL, well that won't work with me, because when I'm at check-in, I comment every passenger's file that ask for upgrades... so that the gate agent knows who's about to smooth-talk them.

Quoting AirTran737 (Reply 2):
I personally hate it when people ask for a comp upgrade, and when non-revs ask for it I make sure that they sit in coach.

100% agree.... As a non-rev when you travel, you sit down and wait for your name to be called... It's our discretion who sits where....
"Hotel November Oscar clear to land runway 24L"
 
Midwest717
Posts: 74
Joined: Wed Feb 16, 2005 7:06 am

RE: Free Upgrade To First Class?

Wed Dec 07, 2005 5:02 am

My parents were once upgraded on a US BOS-CLT flight because their earlier flight was cancelled. My mom gave this big sob story to the ticket agent about how they had been at the airport for seven hours (true) and how my dad hasn't been in an airplane since the Korean War and then asked for the upgrade.

Well they got their upgrade but it seems that if my mom doesn't have anything to complain about then her life has no purpose. Having never been in anything but economy myself, I asked them what the service was like and if they got a meal and they complained to me "well if we knew we were going to get a meal we wouldn't have brought our own!, but it was a good thing we did bring our own because the meal looked horrible!"

They are probably the only people who sat in F with a cooler of peanut butter sanwiches, carrot sticks, juice boxes and raisins.
 
AJRfromSYR
Posts: 439
Joined: Tue May 17, 2005 6:03 am

RE: Free Upgrade To First Class?

Wed Dec 07, 2005 5:04 am

Sounds like there are a bunch of agents on a power trip...

Quoting YUL2010 (Reply 38):
100% agree.... As a non-rev when you travel, you sit down and wait for your name to be called... It's our discretion who sits where....
-AJR-
 
YUL2010
Posts: 309
Joined: Tue Jun 17, 2003 8:57 am

RE: Free Upgrade To First Class?

Wed Dec 07, 2005 5:08 am

Quoting AJRfromSYR (Reply 40):
Sounds like there are a bunch of agents on a power trip...

not really... but some employees take advantage of free travel... It's all about being discreet.
"Hotel November Oscar clear to land runway 24L"
 
AEROFAN
Posts: 1406
Joined: Wed Aug 04, 2004 9:47 am

RE: Free Upgrade To First Class?

Wed Dec 07, 2005 5:17 am

yul2010,

there are therapists available you know. am sure they can recommend some sort of medication for your condition.

here is how we do it at my station. we do not upgrade non revs to f as a matter of course. this only happens if there is a note in their pnr to do so. we do however upgrade to business freely.

if it is a relatively empty flight generally our own employees are given priority. if there are still seats left, then we usually surprise a couple of oal employees with an upgrade to business. all we ask is that u be dressed in business casual as a minimum.

travel safely now  Smile
 
AJRfromSYR
Posts: 439
Joined: Tue May 17, 2005 6:03 am

RE: Free Upgrade To First Class?

Wed Dec 07, 2005 5:19 am

But if there is an empty seat in first I don't see why not give it to a non-rev?

I once tried to get upgraded on a AA767 through the agent in Chicago, I was already in business class but was hoping to get in first. The agent was on a trip and was very rude about it, at the time I was a platinum with them but was traveling with someone and the lady wouldn't upgrade her as well with my vouchers. So when I boarded the plane I saw a family ask the F/A to upgrade into business class and it wasn't a problem. So I asked the same F/A if she would allow me into first class and take it out of my vouchers. As soon as I did so the gate agent comes running onto the plane saying that I couldn't be upgrade and went on griping to the poor F/A for about 5 minutes. Soon as we closed the cabin doors she let me into first and said don't expect this to come out of your account.

So its not always your discretion who sits where.
-AJR-
 
ARGinLON
Posts: 550
Joined: Wed Jun 22, 2005 6:26 pm

RE: Free Upgrade To First Class?

Wed Dec 07, 2005 5:29 am

Quoting YUL2010 (Reply 41):
not really... but some employees take advantage of free travel... It's all about being discreet.

Do you find asking politely for an upgrade on a long haul flight taking advantage of free travel? Why????? I don't really get it, sorry...

Quoting AJRfromSYR (Reply 40):
Sounds like there are a bunch of agents on a power trip...

I agree.
 
Ken777
Posts: 9046
Joined: Thu Mar 11, 2004 5:39 am

RE: Free Upgrade To First Class?

Wed Dec 07, 2005 5:43 am

Free upgrades are one of the reasons why I'm loyal to an airline and alliance. It's simply a situation where you are loyal to them and they return the favor.

Dressing decently can help. I always wear a blazer and tie. The blazer is good for holding anything that would set off a security alarm and the tie can come off on the plane.

Being nice to the agents also helps. They get a lot of obnoxious pax every day and, I believe, welcome pax that genuinely smile and appreciate the job they are doing.

I don't ask for an upgrade, but use the phrase "I'm willing to volunteer for a complimentary upgrade if you have a full flight". This generally gets a smile back, but not an upgrade.

As for loyalty, I'm now lifetime PLT on AA and have 90+ upgrade stickers and will be well set for retirement. I also get free lounge access with oneworld partners (but not AA) and appreciate the benefits that loyalty has brought.
 
rdwelch
Posts: 449
Joined: Wed Oct 05, 2005 5:52 am

RE: Free Upgrade To First Class?

Wed Dec 07, 2005 5:52 am

I think our CUSTOMER SERVICE Agents/Coordinators need to under go some CUSTOMER SERVICE re-training. The non-revs are customers too. Yes I know, a certain number have a sense of priority and lofty expectations of what they are entitled to. However you are in a position of authority and are a reflection of your company, like it or not. Some of the comments I have read are no less appalling than hearing of wait staff at a swanky restaurant talk about expectorating (or worse) in a particularly rude customer's food.

Lighten up guys, and take a relaxative.
They say I have ADD, but they don't understand..Oh look! A chicken!
 
swatpamike
Posts: 469
Joined: Thu May 20, 2004 12:14 pm

RE: Free Upgrade To First Class?

Wed Dec 07, 2005 6:06 am

Hello all

Quoting AJRfromSYR (Reply 6):
Tip a red cap and you never have to pay for your luggage being over 50lbs. Amazing.

Please let me know the name of any Red Cap that does this for you in PHX. I will let my co-workers in PHX know ASAP.

Sorry, can't write any more have to go take something for my aching back.

Cheers

swatpamike
 
BHXFAOTIPYYC
Posts: 1442
Joined: Sat Jun 25, 2005 5:47 am

RE: Free Upgrade To First Class?

Wed Dec 07, 2005 6:07 am

I was upped on 2 of 6 flights on TP because I was a frequent flyer, which made me smile as I had only joined Victoria the night before. My company sell a lot of BA, so they have kindly seat me up front when they can, but I never ask for it.

I got on one BA flight and there wasn't a single seat occupied in Club Europe, so I discussed it with the station manager when I got back. I think that they should always ensure that someone is sitting up front for the following reason: in the last couple of years I have found that a lot of biz pax are travelling Y even though they would really prefer C / F. As the fares have come down to sometimes crazy low levels in Y, if Club is empty it is justified in their minds that C is just too expensive as no-one else is in it either. However, if C is fairly well occupied, there is some element of "I should be up there too" so they might next time go for a C tkt instead. Anyone agree?
Breakfast in BHX, lunch in FAO, dinner in TIP, baggage in YYC.
 
swatpamike
Posts: 469
Joined: Thu May 20, 2004 12:14 pm

RE: Free Upgrade To First Class?

Wed Dec 07, 2005 6:21 am

Hello all again

When I non-rev, I just sit down and shut up. If it happens it happens.

The last few time to Europe I have purchased tickets because they are getting so cheap and I did not want to take the chance to get bumped.

As an example, I am flying AC from LGA to LHR in late feb. at $87 each way. I could not pass that fare up. Will I try to get an upgrade? Maybe, maybe not. I mite talk to some from AC locally.

Cheers

swatpamike