A couple of comments, as far as US based carriers I have found DL
to be the most friendly towards OA
non-rev's, allthough not always the case when returning to the US from foreign stations where often times check-in staff are from a handling company. I fly AA
a lot both Domestic and Carribbean and have found upgrades to be very hard to get even with lots of F or J seats.
One thing that can make a differance is type of ticket, a free station agreement type pass will sometimes qualify for an upgrade and a ID90 or Zed will not. I believe all or most Zed are based on Y while some ID75 can be issued against a higher F fare, which does not gurantee you will be sitting up there !
Sometimes certain carriers change their policy towards this over time. I made two trips to and around Asia on Cathay Pacific (amazing airline). The 1995 trip we where in J on 4 out of 6 legs and the two in Y was because F and J where full and and we where apologized to for being put in coach. I made a similar trip on CX
3 years later in 1998 and all five legs in Y (J not full) and was told they no longer upgrade OA
staff to J or F.
I have flown BA JFK
numerous times and was told at JFK
they only put OA
staff in J when the back is full, allthough getting W is almost automatic if it is open. However many co-workers have gotten J even with with well dressed, well-behaved kids in tow. Westbound out of LHR
it is very hard to get upgraded and at BA
's special staff check-in office there is even a sign stating "please don't ask to be upgraded"
And finnally one think that has worked for me when I am in Y, and I know J is open, even if I like my seat when boarding appears to be complete but door is still open I show my company ID
to a flt att, pursor if possible and politely ask if I may move to another seat (not mentioning and upgrade) and about half the time they have brought me up front, once the FA
said what are you doing in Y, you should be in J !
The bottom line as many have said dress nice, be very friendly and polite, but not pushy or two kiss-assey !
Very Important to remember, even if you are dissapointed to be in Y "It is still a Privelage" to be on that airplane for what you paid (or did not pay) and many on this board would be very envious to be in your shoes, try and respect that !
These are just some experiances I have had, hope it was helpful ?