Simps747
Topic Author
Posts: 31
Joined: Mon Jun 25, 2007 10:35 am

Upgrades On BA

Wed Sep 19, 2007 12:50 pm

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.
Thnx.
 
Bongodog1964
Posts: 3069
Joined: Wed Oct 18, 2006 6:29 am

RE: Upgrades On BA

Wed Sep 19, 2007 6:31 pm

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
Posts: 103
Joined: Sat Jan 27, 2007 7:30 am

RE: Upgrades On BA

Wed Sep 19, 2007 7:50 pm

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
Posts: 3563
Joined: Thu Oct 14, 2004 6:25 am

RE: Upgrades On BA

Wed Sep 19, 2007 8:22 pm

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?

Nope.

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?

I suggest you read this thread all about upgrades from the BA Executive Club forum on Flyertalk

[Edited 2007-09-19 13:23:26]
"My first job was selling doors, door to door, that's a tough job innit" - Bill Bailey
 
ehho
Posts: 769
Joined: Thu Dec 15, 2005 3:26 am

RE: Upgrades On BA

Wed Sep 19, 2007 8:43 pm

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
Posts: 11
Joined: Sat Jan 28, 2006 3:06 am

RE: Upgrades On BA

Wed Sep 19, 2007 9:03 pm

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  Wink . 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.

Regards/

Hugo
 
ILOVEA340
Posts: 2064
Joined: Sat Oct 30, 1999 9:49 am

RE: Upgrades On BA

Wed Sep 19, 2007 9:07 pm

Don't expect to get upgraded on any airline if you are traveling with a small child though!
 
jonnywishbone
Posts: 103
Joined: Sat Jan 27, 2007 7:30 am

RE: Upgrades On BA

Thu Sep 20, 2007 1:16 am

Quoting EHHO (Reply 4):
the check-in girl was really flirting with me

Unlikely to happen with pregnant wife and child in tow.... Although it takes all sorts


 Big grin
 
cofannyc
Posts: 141
Joined: Thu Jan 18, 2007 10:22 am

RE: Upgrades On BA

Thu Sep 20, 2007 1:32 am

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.
 
Boeingluvr
Posts: 347
Joined: Mon Jun 18, 2007 1:56 am

RE: Upgrades On BA

Thu Sep 20, 2007 2:09 am

Here's a topic on the homepage pertaining somewhat to this. Now they're talking about paying for children in J and first. Let alone upgrading...
Children Should Be Confined To Y? (by Krje1980 Sep 18 2007 in Civil Aviation)
 
DavidT
Posts: 461
Joined: Tue Oct 04, 2005 1:37 am

RE: Upgrades On BA

Thu Sep 20, 2007 2:19 am

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
Posts: 689
Joined: Wed Sep 07, 2005 4:28 am

RE: Upgrades On BA

Thu Sep 20, 2007 6:44 am

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.

[Edited 2007-09-19 23:51:08]
 
A340600
Posts: 3892
Joined: Sun Aug 24, 2003 10:24 pm

RE: Upgrades On BA

Thu Sep 20, 2007 7:54 am

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
Posts: 102
Joined: Mon Mar 19, 2007 9:25 am

RE: Upgrades On BA

Thu Sep 20, 2007 8:04 am

1/ BA normally only upgrade when they need to do so because there are not enough seats to accomodate the
WT load.

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
Posts: 461
Joined: Tue Oct 04, 2005 1:37 am

RE: Upgrades On BA

Thu Sep 20, 2007 5:32 pm

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!
 
upperdeckfan
Posts: 511
Joined: Fri Jun 08, 2007 1:59 am

RE: Upgrades On BA

Fri Sep 21, 2007 12:57 am

I'll be going MAD-LHR-LAX-LHR-MAD next month on CW and I'm OW Saphire (IBPlusGold).

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.
744,742,741,772,773,762,732,735,738,752,727,717,DC10,DC9,M82,M87,319,320,321,343,346,L1011,CRJ2,CRJ9,E190,ATR42,DSH8,
 
jonnywishbone
Posts: 103
Joined: Sat Jan 27, 2007 7:30 am

RE: Upgrades On BA

Fri Sep 21, 2007 1:05 am

BA very rarely upgrade to First, unless the plane is totally overbooked, they keep it as full payers (and staff!) only.

You'll be first in line should that happen though - ask at the lounge if the plane is overbooked and dont wear 50 Cent Style big baggy fluffy tracksuits!
 
Boeingluvr
Posts: 347
Joined: Mon Jun 18, 2007 1:56 am

RE: Upgrades On BA

Fri Sep 21, 2007 1:49 am

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.
 
upperdeckfan
Posts: 511
Joined: Fri Jun 08, 2007 1:59 am

RE: Upgrades On BA

Fri Sep 21, 2007 3:08 am

Quoting JonnyWishbone (Reply 16):
BA very rarely upgrade to First, unless the plane is totally overbooked

Don't expecting overbooking since it'll be beginning of the first winter with 3xdaily BA's LHR-LAX, but who knows??
744,742,741,772,773,762,732,735,738,752,727,717,DC10,DC9,M82,M87,319,320,321,343,346,L1011,CRJ2,CRJ9,E190,ATR42,DSH8,
 
LH417AF025
Posts: 181
Joined: Sun Jan 29, 2006 7:56 am

RE: Upgrades On BA

Fri Sep 21, 2007 3:33 am

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



Quoting Simps747 (Thread starter):
I will be travelling with my pregnant wife and 18 month old daughter.

your brother is absolutely correct. any airline i have worked for steers away upgrading a family at all costs. esp with a young child
 
DavidT
Posts: 461
Joined: Tue Oct 04, 2005 1:37 am

RE: Upgrades On BA

Fri Sep 21, 2007 3:51 am

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
Posts: 684
Joined: Wed Feb 02, 2005 7:44 am

RE: Upgrades On BA

Fri Sep 21, 2007 4:06 am

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
Posts: 3563
Joined: Thu Oct 14, 2004 6:25 am

RE: Upgrades On BA

Fri Sep 21, 2007 8:53 am

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?  Yeah sure  Wink

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
 
A340600
Posts: 3892
Joined: Sun Aug 24, 2003 10:24 pm

RE: Upgrades On BA

Fri Sep 21, 2007 9:57 am

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.

Even staff have to be a certain management grade to get First, it really is kept for the fare paying customers as much as is actually possible.
Despite the name I am a Boeing man through and through!
 
upperdeckfan
Posts: 511
Joined: Fri Jun 08, 2007 1:59 am

RE: Upgrades On BA

Fri Sep 21, 2007 4:56 pm

Quoting DavidT (Reply 20):
In fact the CSD gave us a bottle of champagne to 'make up' for the upgrades

I understand they gave you all the champagne because upgraded pax didn't get a glass of champagne before take off, am I right?

So does it mean a BA upgraded pax doesn't get full service?
744,742,741,772,773,762,732,735,738,752,727,717,DC10,DC9,M82,M87,319,320,321,343,346,L1011,CRJ2,CRJ9,E190,ATR42,DSH8,
 
Bramble
Posts: 194
Joined: Thu Apr 12, 2007 2:09 am

RE: Upgrades On BA

Fri Sep 21, 2007 5:14 pm

Quoting Hugggan (Reply 5):
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

The other person didn't get the Club seat becasuse YOU were the polite and patient pax. To be upreded,as you believe and then complain about a seat mix up is a bit arrogant. As cabin crew I love to be able to reward polite pax. On our long haul services sevearl years ago one very rude pax was unhappy with his seating companion and complained to the crew (expecting an upgrade), the purser upgraded the other pax instead!!

Did DUB-NCE recently. Irish pax to NCE are generally arrogant and unhelpful. Several small kids were not seated beside their parents,as always we asked other pax to switch seats to help ther families. Several refused,after 4-6 mins we got 3 pax to help. I took great pleasure in giving complimentary breakfast and newspapers to the helpful pax after take-off.
 
jonnywishbone
Posts: 103
Joined: Sat Jan 27, 2007 7:30 am

RE: Upgrades On BA

Sat Sep 22, 2007 1:47 am

Quoting A340600 (Reply 23):
Even staff have to be a certain management grade to get First, it really is kept for the fare paying customers as much as is actually possible

Not if other family members / collegues are cabin crew which is what I see all the time.

I dont mind, it's all about who you know in this world and because they are staff, they always well behaved!
 
LHR777
Posts: 645
Joined: Sat Nov 05, 2005 6:14 pm

RE: Upgrades On BA

Sat Sep 22, 2007 1:58 am

Quoting DavidT (Reply 20):
In fact the CSD gave us a bottle of champagne to 'make up' for the upgrades

Huh? How/why would upgrades due to oversales have anything to do with you, and why would you need compensating by why of champagne for it? CSD's are nice and do give out the odd bottle of wine/champagne from time-to-time, but not generally due to the cabin being full of perceived upgrades.

Quoting UPPERDECKFAN (Reply 24):
I understand they gave you all the champagne because upgraded pax didn't get a glass of champagne before take off, am I right?

So does it mean a BA upgraded pax doesn't get full service?

How could you could you possibly understand that from DavidT's post? Sounds more like an assumption. Of course BA upgraded passengers get the full service, why would they not? If it's a staff passenger with F priority, then they may not get the full service, as BA employees are supposed to decline amenity kits and sleeper kits, and get last choice of main course, after all revenue customers.

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