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KLM11
Topic Author
Posts: 204
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2003 2:32 pm

Upgrading On European Carriers

Sat Nov 17, 2007 3:24 am

Hi all,

I did a search and was unable to find any relevant information. I am in the process of booking some flights to Europe (LAX-MXP, AMS-LAX), and am curious as to what the upgrade policies for airlines like LX, LH, BA, and AF are in terms of $ paid during check-in (i.e. not a mileage redemption). I know UA once gave (or maybe still does) Y pax the option to move up to C on some long-haul flights for something around $500-700 U.S.D., provided there was (is) seat availability. Any help would be greatly appreciated!

Thanks,
KLM11
BENAIRE - The Refined Airline
 
airways45
Posts: 282
Joined: Wed May 10, 2000 1:26 am

RE: Upgrading On European Carriers

Sat Nov 17, 2007 4:35 am

I've found European carriers are less likely to do a 'cash upgrade' at check-in than US carriers. I've paid for upgrades on United and US Airways. However, British Airways and Virgin Atlantic often offer this out of the USA but, strangely, it's not in my experience often available in the same way out of the UK.

Make sure you don't have the agent telling you it will be thousands - they do this to fob you off. You might be best to go to the ticket office, or, ask at the gate. I remember US Airways agent saying it would be thousands of dollars to move from coach to business class - he did this because he didn't want the hassle of dealing with me... that was until I mentioned Go Envoy (google it) and there you have it. An upgrade for around $500.

BMI do it from Manchester on the day, and, many other airlines do. Whether their staff know about it is another matter...

Airways45
 
goldorak
Posts: 1460
Joined: Sat Sep 09, 2006 5:29 am

RE: Upgrading On European Carriers

Sat Nov 17, 2007 9:43 am

EU airlines don't have the same upgrade policy than their US counterparts. There is no "discount upgrade" proposed at the gate or at check-in. You can go to the ticketing desk before check-in and pay the fare difference between your Y ticket and the J/C ticket (but it's not really an upgrade because you're actually paying the real full fare). So the 2 only possibilities to be upgraded are :
- use your miles (but in most FFP, you need to have a full Y fare ticket to qualify)
- a complimentary upgrade from the airline : in case the Y cabin is full and overbooked, they will bumped some of their best customers in J/C (generally pax who are at the highest status of the FFP) if there are some seats available.
 
BrianDromey
Posts: 2862
Joined: Sun Dec 10, 2006 2:23 am

RE: Upgrading On European Carriers

Sat Nov 17, 2007 10:25 am

Best way to get an upgrade in Europe?

But it at the time of booking! The European carriers generally have the attitude that their product is worth paying the extra for. Neither do they want to devalue the product by offering upgrades at the gate, becasue people would just buy full fare Y and expect the upgrade, they revenue from the J cabin would decrease and the amenities and investment in it could not be justified, thus the product would be worth even less over time, and fewer would pay the full price. They would rather empty seats go out in J rather than fill them with Y class pax!

Look at domestic (and to a lesser extent international C/F) First in the US. Crappy old seats, economy type service. Its realy only a bigger seat, the EUR version of J is usually a far better prospect in almost every respect.

Brian.
 
BA787
Posts: 2381
Joined: Sat Jun 03, 2006 9:40 pm

RE: Upgrading On European Carriers

Sat Nov 17, 2007 10:37 am



Quoting BrianDromey (Reply 3):
EUR version of J is usually a far better prospect in almost every respect

Only to a certain extent for Domestic/Euro services. Long-haul we far outclass the US carriers in most classes but the margin isn't as wide for Euro J. The problem is that the seats are for the most part convertable, making it hard to offer excellent comfort etc.

BA787
 
panamair
Posts: 4366
Joined: Fri Oct 12, 2001 2:24 am

RE: Upgrading On European Carriers

Sat Nov 17, 2007 10:41 am



Quoting BrianDromey (Reply 3):
Look at domestic (and to a lesser extent international C/F) First in the US. Crappy old seats, economy type service. Its realy only a bigger seat, the EUR version of J is usually a far better prospect in almost every respect.

Gross generalizations. At least for domestic US, you would never get the opportunity to be stuck in a middle seat. Except for AF and LX, most Euro carriers offer a 2-3 abreast seating in their J cabins on their narrowbodies.

In addition, the seat pitch is essentially the same as in Y for intra-Europe J; at least the US domestic bigger seat usually comes with greater pitch than Y.

Priority boarding is almost non-existent for intra-Europe J flights (come to think of it it is also wildly inconsistent for intercontinental flights)

Quoting Goldorak (Reply 2):
EU airlines don't have the same upgrade policy than their US counterparts. There is no "discount upgrade" proposed at the gate or at check-in.

Some EU airlines do offer day-of-departure supplemental upgrades from Y to J at the airport even for intercontinental flights. For example, LX offers upgrades between US$500 and 900 (IIRC) for some of its JFK-ZRH/GVA flights if there are J seats available on day of departure; upgrades are valid from certain Economy fares (only excluding the most discounted ones, but it's not limited to only full Y fares). However, this upgrade program I have only seen FROM the US but never from Switzerland.

BA also offers an intra-Europe upgrade program (pay a supplement at check-in) particularly for some of its ex-LGW flights.
 
BrianDromey
Posts: 2862
Joined: Sun Dec 10, 2006 2:23 am

RE: Upgrading On European Carriers

Sat Nov 17, 2007 10:58 am



Quoting Panamair (Reply 5):
Gross generalizations. At least for domestic US, you would never get the opportunity to be stuck in a middle seat. Except for AF and LX, most Euro carriers offer a 2-3 abreast seating in their J cabins on their narrowbodies.

I woudl dispute the necessity of full blown2-2 seating on stage lengths that the European carriers do, typically not much longer than 2-3hours, and often much less. At least on the vast majority of these routes, you will be on a full size jet, and not stuck on a CRJ, most of which don't even offer an F cabin.

While there may not be priority boarding there is lounge access so you can wait there until the lounge staff let you know your flight is now boarding. The pitch in the area of the cabin is usually increased over Y, and because every flight does not go out full in J there is a good chance that the middle seat in the 3 block will be left empty.

Personally I perfer the Euro J over the US version. Better service, nicer crews. FYI LH also offer 2-2 seating in Euro J.

Brian.
 
luv2cattlecall
Posts: 835
Joined: Fri Sep 28, 2007 6:25 am

RE: Upgrading On European Carriers

Sat Nov 17, 2007 2:39 pm

Aren't the taxes for First and Business seats out of the U.K. substantially more than Y? Do you have to pay those differences on an upgrade?
.
 
davescj
Posts: 1289
Joined: Wed Jun 13, 2007 1:46 am

RE: Upgrading On European Carriers

Sat Nov 17, 2007 5:21 pm



Quoting BrianDromey (Reply 3):
the EUR version of J is usually a far better prospect in almost every respect.

I disagree for the reasons others have stated. Also, flying BA CE FCO to LHR and LGW, unlike US

No priority boarding.

No pre departure drink

No coat service

No entertainment ever.


As to the original question, BA out of LGW occasionally on check in offers 59GBP for upgrade to CE, but this is by no means all flights.

CE gets Y seats, ok food, and access to lounges -- which in London at least are pretty good.

Dave
Can I have a mojito on this flight?
 
avek00
Posts: 3256
Joined: Mon Oct 25, 2004 5:56 am

RE: Upgrading On European Carriers

Sat Nov 17, 2007 6:55 pm



Quoting KLM11 (Thread starter):
Hi all,

I did a search and was unable to find any relevant information. I am in the process of booking some flights to Europe (LAX-MXP, AMS-LAX), and am curious as to what the upgrade policies for airlines like LX, LH, BA, and AF are in terms of $ paid during check-in (i.e. not a mileage redemption). I know UA once gave (or maybe still does) Y pax the option to move up to C on some long-haul flights for something around $500-700 U.S.D., provided there was (is) seat availability. Any help would be greatly appreciated!

Thanks,
KLM11

Throughout much of the year many airlines offer deeply-discounted business Class tickets to Europe. With some searching, you can probably get a Business Class ticket to your destination for under $2,000.
Live life to the fullest.
 
TPAnx
Posts: 1007
Joined: Sun Aug 07, 2005 4:53 am

RE: Upgrading On European Carriers

Sat Nov 17, 2007 6:58 pm



Quoting Airways45 (Reply 1):
Go Envoy (google it)

Google it as one word...goEnvoy...unless you want to read ten pages about every diplomatic trip now underway,
GM vehicles, and one religious recording group....
 Angry
TPAnx
I read the news today..oh boy
 
davescj
Posts: 1289
Joined: Wed Jun 13, 2007 1:46 am

RE: Upgrading On European Carriers

Sat Nov 17, 2007 10:55 pm

Also keep an eye on sites like farewatcher, kayak, expertflyer and others. Generally, you can watch for a sale that SOMEONE is having. Of course, you may need to be relatively flexible about dates/cities you leave/arrive at. Some cities won't be big enough to rate sale.

Dave
Can I have a mojito on this flight?
 
upperdeckfan
Posts: 1085
Joined: Fri Jun 08, 2007 1:59 am

RE: Upgrading On European Carriers

Sat Nov 17, 2007 11:57 pm



Quoting Davescj (Reply 8):
I disagree for the reasons others have stated. Also, flying BA CE FCO to LHR and LGW, unlike US

No priority boarding.

Priority boarding is such a big deal when you have to wait on the gate, but it's not when you can wait your boarding call in a lounge with free hot/cold snacks and all sort of beverages.

Quoting Davescj (Reply 8):
No pre departure drink

Idem as above

Quoting Davescj (Reply 8):
No coat service

I have always been offered coat service when flying european C/J (IB/BA/LH/JK)

Quoting Davescj (Reply 8):
No entertainment ever.

Have flown ORD-LAX-ORD several times (UA/AA) and have never had entertainment. Not to mention shorter segments like ORD-HOU, ORD-STL, LGA-DTW, LAX-SEA. Very few fights within EU are longer than ORD-LAX.
748,744,742,741,772,773,762,763,
764, 789, 732,733,735,737,738,739,
752, 722, 717,74M,DC10,DC9,M82,
M83, M87, M88,310,319,320,321,332,
333, 343, 346,359,388,L1011,CR2,
CR7, CR9,CRK, E175,E190,ATR42,
DSH8, CS1,CS3
 
Viscount724
Posts: 19316
Joined: Thu Oct 12, 2006 7:32 pm

RE: Upgrading On European Carriers

Sun Nov 18, 2007 12:27 am



Quoting BA787 (Reply 4):
The problem is that the seats are for the most part convertible, making it hard to offer excellent comfort etc.



Quoting Panamair (Reply 5):
Except for AF and LX, most Euro carriers offer a 2-3 abreast seating in their J cabins on their narrowbodies.

Also LH and KL and others (except regional jets etc. that can't accommodate 6-abreast seating). Most carriers that did have convertible seats have replaced them with standard 6-abreast Y seats and many (e.g. LX/LH/AF) leave the middle seat empty when used as business class (KL doesn't...they sell all 6 seats across). BA is one exception that still has convertible seats on their Airbus and Boeing narrowbodies. Personally I prefer the 6-abreast with middle seat empty carriers as with the 2-3 convertible layout like BA's you still have a 1 in 5 chance of winding up in a middle seat on a full flight.

The North American first class product (and AC business class) is a completely different product. The 2-2 seats are much better than what you get in business class in Europe but many of them are occupied by frequent flyer upgrades, while in Europe they're generally being paid for. On the other hand, business class fares within Europe entitle you to use their lounges which is rarely the case for domestic first class fares in the USA.
 
davescj
Posts: 1289
Joined: Wed Jun 13, 2007 1:46 am

RE: Upgrading On European Carriers

Sun Nov 18, 2007 11:13 am



Quoting UPPERDECKFAN (Reply 12):
Have flown ORD-LAX-ORD several times (UA/AA) and have never had entertainment. Not to mention shorter segments like ORD-HOU, ORD-STL, LGA-DTW, LAX-SEA. Very few fights within EU are longer than ORD-LAX.

I'd have to check the websites, but UA offers audio on many ORD IAH flights (or at last they used to) and almost CO anythign has audio, if not a movie, even on shorter routes (RJ's of course not included). Even routes like Newark -- Tampa or Tampa -- Cleveland tend to get at least audio, if not video, entertainment.

I think (except for RJs) the only route with CO I've been on that doesn't have something in flight is IAH -- ELP.

AA, I think they are starting to offer "rentable" DVD players, no? (Y that is).

Quoting UPPERDECKFAN (Reply 12):
I have always been offered coat service when flying european C/J (IB/BA/LH/JK)

 scratchchin  I've been on both BA FCO to LHR/LGW and AF CDG -- FCO and never had coat service in the C cabin.

BTW, like you, I prefer the upper deck. 62A my fav on BA 744 (exit row).

Dave

Quoting Viscount724 (Reply 13):
which is rarely the case for domestic first class fares in the USA.

This, however, is also quite true.
Can I have a mojito on this flight?
 
upperdeckfan
Posts: 1085
Joined: Fri Jun 08, 2007 1:59 am

RE: Upgrading On European Carriers

Sun Nov 18, 2007 12:44 pm



Quoting Davescj (Reply 14):
I'd have to check the websites, but UA offers audio on many ORD IAH flights (or at last they used to) and almost CO anythign has audio, if not a movie, even on shorter routes (RJ's of course not included). Even routes like Newark -- Tampa or Tampa -- Cleveland tend to get at least audio, if not video, entertainment.

Don't make such a big deal about audio, these days people who like music carry their own players (Ipod/mp3/mp4/etc). I was referring to "video" entertainment.

Quoting Davescj (Reply 14):
I've been on both BA FCO to LHR/LGW

It might be inconsistency by BA, last week I did MAD-LHR-MAD and they asked me for my jacket.
748,744,742,741,772,773,762,763,
764, 789, 732,733,735,737,738,739,
752, 722, 717,74M,DC10,DC9,M82,
M83, M87, M88,310,319,320,321,332,
333, 343, 346,359,388,L1011,CR2,
CR7, CR9,CRK, E175,E190,ATR42,
DSH8, CS1,CS3

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