Does Continental offer F buy-ups at check-in?

Discussion in 'United Airlines | MileagePlus' started by Eric, Aug 16, 2011.  |  Print Topic

  1. Eric
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    Eric Silver Member

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    My company books all of our travel and 98% of the time that means Delta, which I have status with. However, it appears that both of my next two trips will be on Continental because their tickets are about 40% cheaper than Delta on the same flights. I have zero status but would like to pay out of my pocket(company will not book F) during check-in. Is that possible flying out of PBI? Thanks for the help.
     
  2. Scottrick
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    Scottrick Gold Member

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    Sometimes it happens. I've actually seen it happen more often on UA, but whatevs. You could try using your confirmation number to look up the details online and upgrade yourself in advance, which CO makes really easy. It will cost more, but you'll know for sure.
     
  3. Wandering Aramean
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    Wandering Aramean Gold Member

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    There are two different ways to move up to F on CO:

    The first is a "fare-up" whereby the change fee is waived for customers willing to pay more to get into a fare bucket that books into the forward cabin. The price of said upgrade is based on the fare difference in the published fares and on what inventory is available (i.e. if Z is available and you booked in W the fee is Z-W; if Z isn't available it might be J-W; if you are an elite it might be B-W or M-W, depending on status and inventory). These can be purchased at any time prior to departure by reviewing your reservation and assigning yourself a seat in the forward cabin. That will take you to the page where you are informed of the charges for the upgrade.

    The second is the "buy-up" that happens inside the OLCI period. When this was originally implemented it was based on a couple different policies. For non-elites it was supposed to be a fixed price based on segment duration/distance. So EWR-PDX would cost more than EWR-CLE. It was also only supposed to be available if all elites would be upgraded via EUA and there were still seats left over. There have been a number of recent reports suggesting that these Buy-Up offers are happening even if elites are not all upgraded.
     
  4. mommypoints

    mommypoints Gold Member

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    You will sometimes hear it referred to as the "tens of dollars" buy-up or something along those lines on various message boards. It has happened to me a few times. The discounted F rate is usually available beginning at 24 hours before departure (check-in time). On domestic flights, I have had it be anywhere from about $49 - $99 on the routes I have been on. I think it is supposed to happen only if there are F seats left after all elite flyers and those who are using miles to upgrade have been processed. Anecedotally, it has occasionally happened in additional situations, ahead of elite flyers.

    As Scottrick mentioned, you can alway check online to see what the going price is now to "buy-up". Unless you are already on a high fare class ticket, it will likely be much more expensive than the same-day "10's of dollars" buy-up that some of us have been lucky enough to purchase. :) Good luck!
     
  5. mommypoints

    mommypoints Gold Member

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    Ha ha, I love how we ended up saying more or less the same thing, only you used all the official terms and acronyms! I guess I speak "mommy" better than "airline". Great info, though! :)
     
  6. SS255
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    SS255 Silver Member

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    Basically, if any open seats are left at check-in time, CO will run a liquidation sale for the remaining seats in F (to the consternation of elites who are still waitlisted for EUA). The operative word here, of course, if "if."
     
  7. Eric
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    Eric Silver Member

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    I appreciate the help. I never even thought about taking my confirmation number through work and just entering it into Continental's website. I will check and see what it wants as the buy-up. Anyone care to offer advice on what a realistic price should be upgrading to F from PBI-IAH and then IAH-PBI?

    As someone who has only flown Delta F, I don't really know what value I should assign trying to buy my own upgrade. I know it is subjective to me and my wallet but with never stepping foot on a Continental plane it is hard for me to approximate the value? As heavy Continental/United flyers, what would you pay(ignoring the fact that you have status and wouldn't have to pay obviously)?
     
  8. sdm1130
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    sdm1130 Gold Member

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    At 2-2.5 hours, the value I'd give F on this route would be pretty low. Assuming a hot meal, free TV, a drink or two and the larger seat, I wouldn't pay more than $99-$129 which is likely far below the fare buy-up cost.

    Most domestic F products are close enough these days that you could probably just assign the same value you'd assign to a DL F experience on a 2-2.5 hour flight.
     
  9. Eric
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    Eric Silver Member

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    Thank you so much for all the help!
     
  10. Wandering Aramean
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    Wandering Aramean Gold Member

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    Assuming you're just flying the non-stop and not connecting onward you should be able to figure it out based on how much you originally paid and the lowest fare in the F cabin. Here's the full list of published fares on the route:
    Export from Wandering Aramean Travel Tools
    Code:
    Flexible Fare Search -- IAH-PBI roundtrp for date range Aug-Feb on carrier CO -- Continental Airlines
    Carrier|From |To   |FareBasis |Fare      |Min   |Max       |Adv. Purch|Earliest  |Latest    |
    CO     |IAH  |PBI  |HAP14KS   |USD$ 358  |      |          |14days    |23aug11   |14dec11   |
    CO     |IAH  |PBI  |HA14KN    |USD$ 401  |      |          |14days    |22aug11   |          |
    CO     |IAH  |PBI  |HA14KN    |USD$ 421  |      |          |14days    |          |21aug11   |
    CO     |IAH  |PBI  |UA14KN    |USD$ 446  |      |          |14days    |22aug11   |          |
    CO     |IAH  |PBI  |UA14KN    |USD$ 464  |      |          |14days    |          |21aug11   |
    CO     |IAH  |PBI  |EA7KN     |USD$ 495  |      |          |7days     |22aug11   |          |
    CO     |IAH  |PBI  |EA7KN     |USD$ 515  |      |          |7days     |          |21aug11   |
    CO     |IAH  |PBI  |MA7KN     |USD$ 666  |      |          |7days     |22aug11   |          |
    CO     |IAH  |PBI  |MA7KN     |USD$ 684  |      |          |7days     |          |21aug11   |
    CO     |IAH  |PBI  |BA0FY     |USD$ 1006 |      |          |seerules  |          |          |
    CO     |IAH  |PBI  |BUA       |USD$ 1087 |      |          |seerules  |          |          |
    
    CO     |IAH  |PBI  |HUAUP1    |USD$ 1164 |      |          |seerules  |          |          |
    
    CO     |IAH  |PBI  |D1        |USD$ 1337 |      |          |seerules  |          |          |
    CO     |IAH  |PBI  |YUA       |USD$ 1651 |      |          |seerules  |          |          |
    CO     |IAH  |PBI  |FUA       |USD$ 1987 |      |          |seerules  |          |          |
    CO     |IAH  |PBI  |Y         |USD$ 2413 |      |          |seerules  |          |          |
    CO     |IAH  |PBI  |F         |USD$ 3601 |      |          |seerules  |          |          |
    
    Powered by The Wandering Aramean Travel Tools. Click for your free account!
    That list is r/t so cut the difference in half for each direction. The HUAUP1 fare I isolated above is the cheapest non-elite fare that books into first and I believe it requires Z inventory to be available. If you're on a U fare you should expect the Fare-Up to price around $350 each way based on these numbers.
     
  11. DesertRose
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    DesertRose Silver Member

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    I have a little different perspective. It depends on the route. My parents have no CO status, but my mother is very diligent about checking in online at T-24 hours, and she reliably get upgrades for $39 - $79 on 2.5 hour flights. Of course, 95% of her flights are from IAH-Mexican resort destinations. ;)
     
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  12. Wandering Aramean
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    Wandering Aramean Gold Member

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    These would be the buy-ups that are offered if F is not going to be full and which are offered at a discounted, fixed price. Not particularly uncommon, especially on routes that do not fill up with elites.
     
  13. Pa Kettle
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    Pa Kettle Gold Member

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    I have bought TOD's upgrades on CO, so yes, it can happen to you if it can happen to someone who hardly ever flies. :oops:
     
  14. EX-LAX

    EX-LAX Silver Member

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    My last CO flight as a (1K) Platinum with me #1 on the upgrade list with 4 others below me and 4 open seats as per the Presidents Club lady stating that I was in good shape for my UG. Didn't happen and when I got to the other end I asked a GA nicely what happened. She stated that ALL 4 others upgraded with buy-ups (probably at a liquidation price) when they checked in. I don't recall seeing that offer, but then I wasn't looking for it either, as on UA this rarely occurs, unless it's now a new thing? These buy-ups occurred during the 3 hours it took for me to fly to IAH and arrive at the gate for my connection. Not a beef on my part because the airline is trying to make money any way they can, but different prices at different times to upgrade those who happen to be in the right place at the right time seems kind of c.s. to me! In other words, what's the sense of having a visible ug list that only pi$$es of the higher status folks at the top when for a small amount of cash one lower can trump you shortly before takeoff?
     
  15. Wandering Aramean
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    Wandering Aramean Gold Member

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    Did she state this or are you assuming it?
     

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