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View Full Version : UAL pax upgrade policy


palgia841
12-06-2007, 10:40 PM
Does anyone know what UAL's policy is for upgrading revenue pax to business or first class on an international flight that is oversold in coach?
For that matter, I am interested in knowing what the policies are for all carriers...

For example, I am looking at a SFO-FRA flight with some 30 overbookings in coach, 3 open in business and 7 open in first. I am the only nonrev listed (1st class obviously :D) but I am wondering what would happen if they end up with say, an oversold situation of 10 revenue pax in coach. What would end up happening? Would they upgrade folks from coach to business, and then some business guys to first (obviously granting the free upgrade to frequent flier guys) thereby filling up all of "my" first class seats ?:mad:

Or would they offer compensation to other coach pax to take a later flight ? Or simply displace the extra coach pax (without compensation) and put them on a later flight (there are 2 later flight, one code-shared with LH and another UAL flight) ??

I'm curious as to what various different airlines would do in a similar case. My experience with a foreign legacy carrier that used to have a 3-class cabin was to do exacly what I listed in the first scenario, but I'm wondering if US carriers do things any different.

What I have noticed is that in cases where less than a week before departure there is a strong demand for coach seats but little demand for business (ie. coach already at or near the max overbook, while business well below capacity), Delta sometimes caps the number of business seats for sale well below capacity and authorizes the overbooking of coach seats well beyond the projected no-show factor (in the amount equal to the margin of seats avail in business). This leads me to assume they would be willing to upgrade coach pax to business if there aren't enough noshows.

Thanks for your answers.


Thedude
12-06-2007, 11:48 PM
Be prepared to sit in coach. I have gold status on UA and upgrades are not common.

btwissel
12-07-2007, 06:20 AM
wear your uniform. most gate agents will upgrade you to 1st if they can. United also likes that the paying passengers pay for the upgrade to first or business.


JiffyLube
12-07-2007, 06:31 AM
Does anyone know what UAL's policy is for upgrading revenue pax to business or first class on an international flight that is oversold in coach?
For that matter, I am interested in knowing what the policies are for all carriers...

For example, I am looking at a SFO-FRA flight with some 30 overbookings in coach, 3 open in business and 7 open in first. I am the only nonrev listed (1st class obviously :D) but I am wondering what would happen if they end up with say, an oversold situation of 10 revenue pax in coach. What would end up happening? Would they upgrade folks from coach to business, and then some business guys to first (obviously granting the free upgrade to frequent flier guys) thereby filling up all of "my" first class seats ?:mad:

Or would they offer compensation to other coach pax to take a later flight ? Or simply displace the extra coach pax (without compensation) and put them on a later flight (there are 2 later flight, one code-shared with LH and another UAL flight) ??

I'm curious as to what various different airlines would do in a similar case. My experience with a foreign legacy carrier that used to have a 3-class cabin was to do exacly what I listed in the first scenario, but I'm wondering if US carriers do things any different.

What I have noticed is that in cases where less than a week before departure there is a strong demand for coach seats but little demand for business (ie. coach already at or near the max overbook, while business well below capacity), Delta sometimes caps the number of business seats for sale well below capacity and authorizes the overbooking of coach seats well beyond the projected no-show factor (in the amount equal to the margin of seats avail in business). This leads me to assume they would be willing to upgrade coach pax to business if there aren't enough noshows.

Thanks for your answers.

It is not uncommon to see Intl flights overbooked by over 50 pax. These flights have a very very high no show rate.

Lbell911
12-07-2007, 06:36 AM
Here's how UAL Does it on Int'l Flights........

#1 Rule NO DOUBLE UPGRADES!!!! (example, no coach to first....only coach to busn class.....busn class to first class......no matter how many miles, status, fare paid.....not allowed they will go with open seats in first and buy people off before they double upgrade.....almost like a fire-able offense by a gate agent if he/she does it)....

They will upgrade business class customers based on ( 1) price paid for ticket, 2) actual mileage flown within the last 12mths) to first class.

Then they will upgrade coach customers based on the same criteria. Now 24-48 hours prior to departure is when they allow frequent fliers to log in and option to use their miles to upgrade.....so you'll usually see the loads change a bit in that time frame.......

Last they will fill all seats with standby's......FYI if you are not the employee, employee spouse/domestic partner, or a child (over 18)..........you are not elgilble for first class on any 3-class cabin international UAL flight unless one of the above is travelling with you.

Many times I've taken my mom on trips, and even though I'm working the trip, she is not elgibile for 1st class, cause I'm not writting a pass and travelling with her. Jumpseaters are "not" allowed first class on any 3-cabin international flight (if the f/a offers you the seat after you leave....that's a different story, but usually they won't, but will offer you business).

aerospacepilot
12-07-2007, 08:24 AM
Lbell got the gist of it. Let me add some other potentially helpful information.

United will not bump paying passengers holding a ticket if there are open seats on the airplane (even if they are first class/business/economy plus). The upgrade process is just like Lbell described (ie, no two class upgrades, based on ticket price/mileage plus status).

However, United will not put a revenue stand-by in a first or business seat. Say someone misses their earlier SFO-FRA flight because of traffic/security line/etc..., they no longer are guaranteed a seat on the next flight. They can travel as a revenue standby (higher boarding priority than retirees, employees, companions, jumpseaters). However, they can only take a coach seat. So if there is only one seat left on the airplane (first or business), and there is a revenue standby and you, you will get that seat.

Where that comes into play especially is on a foggy/rainy day in SFO where they go from 2 to 1 arrival runways. If people are flying in from SEA, PDX, SMF, RNO, etc.. to catch a connection to FRA, and their flight gets delayed due to weather, there could be a lot of misconnects. If I were you, I would try for the first flight of the day (the 747) because any misconnects/stragglers of the earlier flight can take up your seat on the later flight.

Honestly, I am willing to bet your flight goes out full in first and coach. Between 24 and 48 hours before departure, passengers can start using their miles to upgrade to first/business. So that is usually a good time to recheck the loads to see if the flight is makable. What type of airplane are you talking about that is 20 oversold. Is it the 777 or 747? On the 747, you have a chance of getting on. On the 777 flight, it is really risky. I would wear your uniform, be nice to the gate agent, and introduce yourself to the crew.
Hope that helps.

palgia841
12-07-2007, 01:55 PM
Thanks everyone for your replies, especially Lbell and Aerospacepilot.

So far there are still 4 open in first and there's two in my party (and we're the only nonrevs), so I'm hopeful. You guys were right though, business filled right up about 48hrs prior to departure. I'm sure the upgrade to first must cost quite a few miles, so I'm hoping there's not going to be many pax willing to spend all those miles. We'll see. I'll definitely go in uniform.

Thanks again for your explanations. I've been playing the nonrev game all my life so I know not to stress over it, I'm just curious to learn UAL's policies.

PS. Lbell911, I understand they don't do double upgrades, but do you know if they had an empty first class, full business and oversold coach, would they upgrade folks from business to first and then guys from coach to business to make room for the oversold coach pax? By upgrade I mean free upgrade, without requiring/offering them to use up their frequent flier miles? Just curious.

f10a
12-07-2007, 02:11 PM
My experiences have been only limited to DL in the last few years but I would advise against wearing a uniform since this only attracts attention to your non-revenue status. Just recently I was jumpseating from FRA-JFK and there were 3 other pilots doing the same but in uniform. I was given a seat in business class but the 3 in uniform were not and the cabin was only 1/2 full. The OBL told me it would look suspect to upgrade 3 pilots in uniform and had they been not in uniform she would have gladly done so. I see this all the time and was jumpseating almost every other week to and from Europe all summer. Only once did I get a seat in back when business went out full.

Also, I have always been able to get a seat, always in business class, when coach was oversold as DL rarely upgrades anyone on international flights, even in an overbooked status. I am able to view on Travelnet how misconnects and other abnormal situations are handled and how their seats are assigned, and it never effected the business class cabin. Therefore when I nonrev/jumpseat on DL I could care less how the coach cabin looks. I only care how the business cabin is and how many are on the nonrev standby list.

Hope this helps.

Lbell911
12-07-2007, 07:06 PM
PS. Lbell911, I understand they don't do double upgrades, but do you know if they had an empty first class, full business and oversold coach, would they upgrade folks from business to first and then guys from coach to business to make room for the oversold coach pax? By upgrade I mean free upgrade, without requiring/offering them to use up their frequent flier miles? Just curious.


That is correct, but only for those passenger that paid to sit in business class to begin with............

example 1.....you bought a coach ticket, 48-hrs prior used your miles to upgrade to business......you will NOT get first....

example 2.....you paid for a business class ticket....you go check in, they need that seat, so the offer you a free upgrade to first.....then upgraded a coach passenger (making the coach guy/girl use their miles to upgrade) to business class...............called a last minute, or at the gate upgrade...

Shrek
12-07-2007, 07:11 PM
My experiences have been only limited to DL in the last few years but I would advise against wearing a uniform since this only attracts attention to your non-revenue status. Just recently I was jumpseating from FRA-JFK and there were 3 other pilots doing the same but in uniform. I was given a seat in business class but the 3 in uniform were not and the cabin was only 1/2 full. The OBL told me it would look suspect to upgrade 3 pilots in uniform and had they been not in uniform she would have gladly done so. I see this all the time and was jumpseating almost every other week to and from Europe all summer. Only once did I get a seat in back when business went out full.

Also, I have always been able to get a seat, always in business class, when coach was oversold as DL rarely upgrades anyone on international flights, even in an overbooked status. I am able to view on Travelnet how misconnects and other abnormal situations are handled and how their seats are assigned, and it never effected the business class cabin. Therefore when I nonrev/jumpseat on DL I could care less how the coach cabin looks. I only care how the business cabin is and how many are on the nonrev standby list.

Hope this helps.

Everybody hates pilots out there but the pilots :mad:.......and most of their family members (of course not the exes...lol)