Domestic CPUs: Validation, Confirmation of the "New Normal"

Discussion in 'United Airlines | MileagePlus' started by VVanderlust, May 8, 2012.  |  Print Topic

  1. VVanderlust

    VVanderlust Silver Member

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    So I have read all the threads and need confirmation for other Milepointer's of the "New Normal" for domestic CPUs to gain acceptance about where 1Ks sit in the new United.

    1. Status window's don't mean anything anymore in regards to CPU's
    2. Buy Up's available until 30 prior to flight departure.
    3. Instruments trump Status no matter what.

    I am a 1K and on my last 4 transcon's to PHL and EWR (all at non peak times -) I am number 11 or 12 on the list (Granted this is from SFO but...come on...)

    Am I wrong or in denial about any of this? My therapist thanks you in advance ;)
     
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  2. Wandering Aramean
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    Wandering Aramean Gold Member

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    Number 1 is not true. You cannot clear outside the window but just being inside it doesn't mean all R inventory will immediately be exhausted.

    Not sure about the cut-off time for buy-ups/fare-ups.

    As for being #11 or 12 on the list, I was #21 the other night on LAX-EWR. It happens some times.
     
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  3. unavaca
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    unavaca Gold Member

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    I've been 20-ish on LAX-SFO and v.v. flights in the past as a 1K. It happens.
     
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  4. Mackieman
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    Mackieman Gold Member

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    A bit.

    Firstly, status windows still apply, and I haven't seen anything that would make me think that isn't true. ssullivan was reporting just this morning that upgrades were clearing for him at the 4 day 1K window as prescribed. My supposition is that lots of folks still don't know how the R bucket works and that just because you see an open F seat doesn't mean that it is available for CPU.

    Secondly, we need to be more specific about, "buy ups" and what that means (and when they're available). The, "buy up" option you see prior to OLCI (or during OLCI in some cases) is supposed to be the fare difference between the fare you bought and the lowest economy fare that provides an automatic upgrade into F (usually Y/B or M for 1K). While UA marketing has decided to market this as a paid upgrade, in reality, it is an opportunity to buy a Y/B (or M for 1K) fare. This is the same opportunity anyone has when they book a ticket, except done in two separate transactions and without a change fee. This is not the, "tens of dollars" paid upgrade offers that are presented at the kiosk when all elites have been upgraded and there are still open F seats that revenue management doesn't expect to sell.

    Thirdly, yes, instruments trump CPUs.

    There have been isolated cases where these things haven't worked correctly, but absent other data, I think they're pretty rare given the number of reports we see when compared with the number of CPU-elgible flights operated in a given day. Also, some of the CPU timing logic in the OLCI window currently broken, but UA knows about this and is planning to resolve that this summer (last I heard anyway).
     
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  5. Cuse44
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    Cuse44 Silver Member

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    If there is space available at the window (96 hours for 1K, you should clear). If there isn't space available at the window, but it becomes available WITHIN your window, you have to wait until the next sweep. The sweeps happen at the 24 hour windows prior to departure.

    Fare ups are always available (which is the difference between your economy class ticket and the lowest available first class ticket available to you considering your status). Buy ups, which is a discounted price on an upgrade to first class, are only offered on the day of departure if all elites have been accounted for (i.e. the number of remaining seats is greater than elites on the flight that have not been upgraded). This is how the practice is supposed to work although there have been reports that this hasn't been working the way it is supposed to work. YMMV

    Yes, instrument supported upgrades (GPU, RPU, or miles) have a higher priority than Complimentary Premier Upgrades.
     
  6. desamo

    desamo Gold Member

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    I'm seriously surprised that I cleared on a sold-out flight SFO-EWR the other night, but I was very happy about it. Probably it being a Friday night red-eye helped my chances.
     
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  7. VVanderlust

    VVanderlust Silver Member

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    So are you starting to get a handle on when revenue management is opening R inventory on a flight?

    Of course I would emphasize IN GENERAL since it will vary by flight..


    I have set up Expertflyer alerts for R inventory and each time have been notified at T-24 hr mark.


    On the plus side my RPU for a May 27th PS flight cleared already and I got Global First both ways on last week's NRT-TPE flights (which is really a CPU...)
     
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  8. goalie
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    goalie Gold Member

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    According to UA Insider, there are no sweeps and "the moment R becomes available, the next person on the waitlist should be cleared"

    http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/18526485-post23.html
     
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  9. desamo

    desamo Gold Member

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    Well, I know I saw R5 for a while after my upgrade didn't clear. Made me wish I'd had an unapplied RPU to throw at the problem in that moment. (I never did clear, RPU was returned to sponsor).
     
  10. Wandering Aramean
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    Wandering Aramean Gold Member

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    That is only for RPUs and GPUs and that has always been the case. For CPUs it is still on sweeps at 24-hour cycles in advance of the departure time. Context is very important. :-:
     
  11. desamo

    desamo Gold Member

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    Good point: I was talking about a p.s. flight, which is instruments only.
     
  12. downhillcrasher

    downhillcrasher Gold Member

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    I agree, this is my understanding of how it works. This is my frustration with the current system, it is arcane and seems to me to be driven by the ancient IT infrastructure that United has opted to use.

    More importantly, though, I don't think this is how it should work. If there are un-upgraded elites within their window, then R should never be anything but zero. This goes back to the OP's first point, the status window concept is very misleading at best.
     
  13. DCA1K

    DCA1K Silver Member

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    From my perspective as a PM/United 1K flyer, there is a demonstrably different process at work today than before March 3. Even if the system is working as promised, the process has yielded different results, for me.

    Since March 3, I have been CPU'd twice within the window (including today on a TUS-IAH on an RJ) and never at the gate. I have missed the upgrade on 7 segments. When I have been upgraded, it has been using instruments or miles, mostly confirmed at about the time of booking. I have seen more Economy Plus in the last two months than the previous two years combined. In the previous two years, since UA eliminated 500-mile certs, I was CPU'd 92% of the time. The few I missed were SFO - IAD and once on an ORD-DCA when I took an earlier hop (and I was still #1 on the waitlist).

    I never bought buy-ups and rarely used instruments because upgrades were pretty automatic. Now, I find myself with a very different dynamic. I am having to choose when to use miles, RPUs much like when we had 500-mile certs, but with far fewer instruments to use. Next year will be even leaner...

    When I check in at 24 hours, I am usually #1 for the upgrade. By the time I get to the gate, I see that I am usually around number 5 - 7 at the gate. I can't believe that CO brought that many new GS members with them, although I could be trumped by 1Ks with higher fares... In the "old days" I was almost always first for the upgrade (maybe second).

    I don't blame UA for selling and promoting buy-ups, but I feel a real shift has occurred and I don't like it. Maybe in a few months it will shake out some more, or maybe I will get comfortable with paying an extra $200 or so to buy-up in advance. Certainly for transcons, I will use RPUs. On another note, it seems that upgrades are more available if you are willing to buy-up, mile-up or instrument-up, and that is nice, since before you never knew what was going to happen with the gate lottery (but when you win 92% of the time, you keep playing...)

    Just some thoughts as this process unfolds.
     
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  14. redwoman

    redwoman Silver Member

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    People on TOBB challenged me when I said that I never receive U/CPUs but it's true for me. I am in the double digits on the gate waitlist ALL THE TIME for domestic flights. Perhaps it's the routes I fly: I always going to/from SFO or IAD. So, if it continued to be this way for me, I would say that there's nothing different compared to PMUA.
     
  15. Golfingboy
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    Golfingboy Gold Member

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    FWIW, last weekend 3/4 upgrades cleared at the window and one did not clear due to a glitch in the system, which was resolved with a phone call and my upgrade was processed manually.

    This weekend, all 3 upgrades cleared at the window.

    So, it works. Just that there are many elites.
     
  16. downhillcrasher

    downhillcrasher Gold Member

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    I think you are oversimplifying. I don't think the issue is that upgrades never clear and I don't think its simply there being more elites. There is more going on than that.

    Its that it 'works' in a frustrating/misleading/crummy manner, specifically, upgrades don't clear when R space is avaiable inside the window, only during periodic sweeps. At the same time, there seems to have been a precipitous drop in upgrade success as UA takes every opportunity to sell upgrades for RPUs/miles/TODs etc. For instance, I have a flight on Friday where R=1, but I am not upgraded. If it worked well this R space would go to me or another elite, but it doesn't. This is the source of frustration, IMO. I am not even going into claims that CO revenue management zeros/reduces R inventory just before the sweeps.
     
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  17. ssullivan
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    ssullivan Gold Member

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    I think this is really a huge part of the issue, and something we're realizing more now than before, since everything is consolidated on one system.

    I had a few weeks with no upgrades in April, but this week, all of my upgradable segments cleared four days out. I did sit in E+ on Monday, but that was due to a maintenance issue with my flight delaying it to the point where I had a connection at risk, and UA was able to put me on an earlier flight and preserve my connection, if I flew in E+. Not a big deal, considering the flight I ended up on was almost empty and I had an entire row of E+ to myself.

    Looking at my flights next week, DCA-IAH and IAH-ORD are looking quite good for upgrades on Monday. I'll find out soon how it's going to shake down with those, but so far, it looks promising.
     
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  18. VVanderlust

    VVanderlust Silver Member

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    Agree with you on both points. It is first not making the "sweep" during the window, then checking in and seeing that I am number 1 thru 3 on the list with open F seats, then getting to the gate and seeing I am much further down with 1 or no F seats left. As someone who puts in 120k BIS miles per year....it is a new reality as other have stated.

    As a side note I have stood in the "Premier" line that is longer than the Economy line on the IAD-SFO and other hub to hub routes - but as the other poster stated very well - the system in place just does not seem to work with a reliable/sensible logic.

    Nice to hear that others are reporting getting CPU's when the window opens though.
     
  19. Mackieman
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    Mackieman Gold Member

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    This is certainly an issue today. I sought clarification from the UA Insider team recently and found some enlightening tidbits, because I experienced an issue where a flight was R2 inside OLCI and I was number two on the list, but I did not get upgraded.

    Essentially, the CPU process is not working as they would like it to. The process is essentially the same as the legacy CO EUA process: Upgrades processed at the windows, and then during OLCI, CPU runs once three hours before the flight. This causes the issue where we see space in the R bucket but no upgrades are processed. This is different than what was posted previously as the goal for CPUs (running, "near continuously" inside OLCI window, etc). The folks at UA recognize this is an issue but it requires a series of back-end system changes that were scheduled for this summer at last report. In sum, it's not a simple fix.

    It is supposed to work like this: CPU runs at the prescribed windows, and near-continuous inside of OLCI. At a minimum, this means every time a passenger checks in, but they would like it to be even more frequent than that. Additionally, at OLCI moving up until flight closure, the R bucket would always be 0. This eliminates situations where one of us intrepid Internet detectives that stalks the R bucket sees space in R but no upgrades. The CPU system would know how many upgrade seats are available on a flight based on input from revenue management per existing protocol, and simply force overbook upgraded passengers into R.

    Now, I think that's pretty bad from a transparency point of view. I think most people would agree with me that more data (space in the R bucket during OLCI) is better than having R be 0 all the time and upgrades happen during OLCI, "magically." But UA doesn't owe me or anyone else any transparency at all, so it is what it is.

    Now, this does little if anything to address the complaints of people who say they're not getting upgrades. I personally find it interesting that a lot of folks in SFO are complaining when it comes to flights to EWR/JFK or IAD. These are extremely elite heavy flights, certainly on the sCO front but on the sUA front as well, so I don't see why anyone should expect the experience to be different after the merger. If we allow that the number of elites transiting those routes is roughly the same, a combined program would result in more elites being eligible for those particular flights, causing some of you to move further down the list as someone invariably bought a more expensive fare. It seems to me that these routes were not an easy upgrade before, and that there should be no expectation that this situation would have changed due to the merger.

    My personal feeling (not backed up by hard data, only anecdotal conversations and a general feeling from reading these forums) is that upgrade success continues to be dictated by two things, ceteris paribus: route and timing. Some routes are harder than others, and some times are harder than others. Such is life.
     
  20. Hannaman
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    Hannaman Silver Member

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    There's still something going on with EUA stalling when it gets to problem records. I had this situation the other day where I would get upgraded at the 96-hour mark, and my other half would not. This on flights that were R3 and R9 respectively, after my upgrade.

    Nobody could figure out what's wrong with her ticket, but clearly with that data point, we can be fairly certain her who stalled it.
     
  21. Golfingboy
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    Golfingboy Gold Member

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    If you are fairly certain there is an issue, ask the agent to call the support desk. That way most of the time the upgrade stalling will be resolved for that particular flight, and almost all of the time the issue will be documented.
     
  22. Hannaman
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    Hannaman Silver Member

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    Oh yeah. After listening to the usual BS answers, I insist that they either 1) manual upgrade; or 2) file a bug report.
     
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  23. Infinite1K
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    Infinite1K Silver Member

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    Another data point. Well within 12 hour window of flight departure with R3/RN3, and upgrade is not clearing. Yet, I was offered an upgrade to first for $139 (which is far less than the difference between the M fare and my original fare).

    Calling to the 1K Premier Line and having the agent call the support desk didn't result in the upgrade clearing either. I was told that things were working correctly and this is "how it works now".
     
  24. Golfingboy
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    Golfingboy Gold Member

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    It should run 3 hours before the scheduled departure for your flight.

    As the system currently stands CPU will run every 24 hours before departure starting at T-120, when OLCI opens, and 3 hours before departure. Adding a more near real time upgrade processing scheme is high on the list for UA especially when we are under the 24 hours window.
     
  25. Hannaman
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    Hannaman Silver Member

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    That schedule is is a bit dated. It's every 24 hours starting at T-120, and then every time someone checks in at OLCI or kiosk.

    CO used to have a 3-hour final run, but there hasn't been for years (since they started the OLCI-triggered runs). Now the last run is when the last person checks in.
     

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