Does a Y fare reservation hold an FC UG?

Discussion in 'Delta Air Lines | SkyMiles' started by jomolungma, Apr 11, 2012.  |  Print Topic

  1. jomolungma

    jomolungma Silver Member

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    I book a lot of Y fares through my office because, lucky for me, that's the contract fare from DC -> SLC. I have always gotten upgraded, which isn't really a surprise. But this doesn't mean my travel experience is nerves-free, and here's why - my company doesn't "purchase" the reservation until 2 business days prior to travel. I usually travel on Sunday, so this generally means my tickets is purchased on the Thursday prior to travel. Until that day, all I really have is a reservation for a Y-fare ticket and an upgrade "request."

    Now, the Thursday before a Sunday trip is, I believe, inside the DM upgrade window. What that means to me, all things being equal, is that a DM who has purchased their ticket will get the FC UG on Wednesday, reducing the number of FC seats available by the time my ticket is purchased on Thursday. UNLESS, by having a Y-fare reservation, DL holds an FC UG for me, assuming I'll buy the ticket, and if I don't they'll release the seat at the gate.

    Is this the way it works? I honestly have no idea how DL treats Y-fare reservations vs. actual purchased tickets. Since a Y-fare virtually guarantees a UG if available, do they hold an FC seat, or let the cycle run and if a seat is available when your ticket is purchased, lucky you, if not, not-so-lucky-you?
     
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  2. rwoman
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    rwoman Gold Member

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    Even with a Y fare DL only upgrades you if they open up availability in advance. With a full Y fare you can get the UG at booking if G/X availability exists. Even within the UG window the do not necessarily open up the UG availability and you'd be at the top of the list at the fare.
     
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  3. mattsteg
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    mattsteg Gold Member

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    Inside your window, any coach fare upgrades if upgrade space is available. Y also does outside your window, and of course puts you top of the heap for battlefield upgrades.
     
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  4. jomolungma

    jomolungma Silver Member

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    Well, I thought this too, but I routinely don't get upgraded in my window and have to get upgraded at the gate. This leads me to believe DL is holding back FC seats until the last minute in case they sell. I was just wondering if they also hold back FC tix for Y fares that are reserved, but not yet purchased.
     
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  5. rwoman
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    rwoman Gold Member

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    I doubt they're holding seats back for Y fares...most likely aiming to sell them as P or higher fares...
     
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  6. USAF_Pride
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    USAF_Pride Gold Member

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    My bet is on the P (otherwise known as First Class Monetization) fare. If you are buying Y, P may be cheaper.
     
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  7. jomolungma

    jomolungma Silver Member

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    I'd buy P if it were an option. Unfortunately (fortunately?), the only rate I can buy is the Y fare.
     
  8. USAF_Pride
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    USAF_Pride Gold Member

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    The P is a discounted FC fare (or conversely a UP Y fare). You are immediately put in a FC seat upon purchase. The only downside is if IROP happens, you really didn't purchase a F fare and will be put in the gate lottery for upgrade. I would check the next time you book a ticket and if it is cheaper point out that fact and see if they will buy it for you.
     
  9. mattsteg
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    mattsteg Gold Member

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    The devil is in the details on this one - "upgrade space available" does not mean open seats, it means open inventory in the V/X (for complimentary medallion upgrades on flights with the front cabin labeled respectively "first" or "busoness") or G/Z (for SWU/mileage upgrades for the same) "fare buckets" - these are set by Delta revenue management, and it is their way to limit how many seats are filled by upgrades prior to everything being reeleased to the gate. Put another way, controlling how much "upgrade space" there is is the mechanism by which Delta "holds back" first or business class seats for sale.

    Y instant upgrades come from the medallion upgrade V/X bucket, the same inventory that "regular" complimentary medallion upgrades come from.

    If you book a Y fare at any time V/X is available, you are instantly upgraded, whether inside your window or not.

    If you book a coach ticket of just about any sort inside of your upgrade window and V/X space is available, then you will be upgraded instantly, regardless of whether it is Y or some other class.

    If you go to the battlefield, Y puts you at the top of the heap.
     
  10. DeltaExpert
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    DeltaExpert Gold Member

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    Y fare puts you at the top of the upgrade list. There still must be upgrade inventory in order to get it before the gate
     
  11. jomolungma

    jomolungma Silver Member

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    I hear what everyone is saying, and while nobody was able to answer my question directly, I think I understand that a "booking" is different than a "reservation" and that until booked, none of the upgrade rules apply or kick in and that DL doesn't hold open V/X inventory based on reservations. It'll all be moot tomorrow because my ticket will be booked and I'll know if I got upgraded - there appears at least 4 seats still available in FC so I think I probably will. In the future, I think I'll have my booking agent just purchase the ticket at time of reservation, since under our contract the ticket is fully refundable regardless of when I actually pay for it.
     
  12. jomolungma

    jomolungma Silver Member

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    The problem (?) is that we use SATO and are directed to book through them when at all possible. We have contract fares that we have access to through SATO that provide different fare rules. I could book on my own, but I don't think it will be cheaper than the contract rate and I'm not sure I'd get all the special fare rules. We usually only book on our own when our trip is 100% guaranteed and the savings between the general public fare and our fare is >$100 at least.
     
  13. mtkeller
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    mtkeller Silver Member

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    I can't imagine that DL is decreasing V inventory by 1 because they see your full Y reservation that hasn't been ticketed. I think you're on the right track here, that if it's fully refundable, just have them force the ticketing right away to confirm your upgrade. Depending on the route/date, DL could wind up filling F with DMs and PMs on cheap fares before you ticket, and then you're in the back on a full Y fare.
     
  14. DiverDave
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    DiverDave Gold Member

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    Generally, Delta does not allow reservations to be held without being purchased. (They have the 24 hour refund window instead.) When I buy a ticket personally or through my company, I have to pay for it at time of booking.

    In any case, you don't get the upgrade until your reservation is ticketed. When you buy a ticket on-line, this can take up to an hour to happen. If you haven't paid for your reservation, it won't be ticketed. That's what is happening to you.

    It works strangely if you buy a ticket that is within the upgrade window and upgrades are available. You buy the ticket, and appear to be upgraded during the reservation process and even select seats up front. But then you get kicked back into coach while your reservation is being ticketed. After the reservation is ticketed, then the upgrades process. (This may have changed, but that's the way it used to work. It's been a while since I bought a ticket that was eligible for immediate upgrade at purchase time.)

    There has been much angst among Delta medallions about government contract fares. As you note, they are treated as full Y for upgrade purposes even though the actual fare paid is quite a bit lower than full Y fares.

    Delta is working hard to sell FC seats and sooner or later you are going to end up in coach. My philosophy is that I worry less about upgrades these days, and try to pick flights where I can get a decent coach seat. When I really want the upgrade, I cough up an SWU.

    David
     
  15. jomolungma

    jomolungma Silver Member

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    Thanks, you pretty much nailed it. I ended up getting the UG on both legs (interestingly, the return flight UG'd before the outbound flight, but just by about 18 hours). I'm not sure what special sauce SATO uses, but I definitely can reserve a seat on a DL flight, often months in advance, and the flight isn't ticketed nor is my credit card charged until two business days before travel. It would be a bummer to not get UG'd as much, but I have the same approach as you - I only take flights I can get a good coach seat on, then take everything else as a bonus. I've never booked a back-of-the-plane middle seat and relied on a UG. That has disaster written all over it.
     
  16. MSPeconomist
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    MSPeconomist Gold Member

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    If this is a government YCA fare, DL treats it as not quite full Y. IME it will usually upgrade overnight after purchase, but not quite almost instantly as a true full Y should, assuming of course that upgrade inventory is available. You might not be allowed to purchase the ticket on your own without special permission/circumstances. SATO tends to ticket government fares late to optimize cash balances; it's better to pay the same price later rather than earlier. Also, there are service charges for ticketing and changes paid to SATO, so to avoid these fees, agencies prefer to have the tickets issued as late as possible.
     

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