Etiquette for handling upgrades you know you won't use?

Discussion in 'American Airlines | AAdvantage' started by Mike Reed, Oct 14, 2011.  |  Print Topic

  1. Mike Reed

    Mike Reed Gold Member

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    Question:

    What's the etiquette for handling upgrades you get where you know you won't be taking the flight because you're going to standby for an earlier flight?

    The situation:

    EXP, bought the lowest fare tickets with some research on flights more suitable to my schedule and expected loads, knowing I'd likely same-day-standby. The ones that cleared outbound I'll use... but the upgrades for the return have started clearing and it's 95% likely that I won't even be on the same ROUTE, much less the same FLIGHTS (will be routing through different hub for better times). I don't want to cancel, and don't think I can give up the upgrades (X) at this point, but hate thinking that if I wait until day-of-travel I'm making someone else wait for their upgrade. Sure, someone will get the battlefield when I don't show... and once I change my first flight I'll be off the rest of them... just looking to see if there's a graceful way to put those awarded X upgrades back in the system without hosing my own travel plans.

    Thoughts?
     
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  2. jetsetr
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    jetsetr Gold Member

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    Wow, that's very thoughtful of you. But I'm not sure how this could be signaled ahead of time to AA (or any airline, for that matter). I mean, theoretically, you could call AA, but say the flight you are booked on is completely sold out, and that - even if they could - there would no longer be any space for you to be downgraded into. And since your SDC would not be confirmed until same day, you would be in no-man's land, reservation-/seat-wise.

    Maybe you can have an agent put a note in your PNR, so that the gate agents can likely expect one more seat to clear off of the waitlist. But FWIW, my guess is that until your reservation officially changes, your upgrade will still be held for you.

    Hope that your positive attitude gets rewarded karmically down the line.

    And sorry I didn't meet you in person at the OWMD launch!
     
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  3. gemac
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    gemac Silver Member

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    It's a different situation if you know you won't take the flight vs. you might or might not take the flight. In your situation, if your standby doesn't clear, you'll take the originally scheduled flight. If you have given up your upgrade, you would get a nice view of the passenger you did the favor for on your way back to that coach seat. That would be tough to put up with. I would make sure you book a window seat so that there is a wall to pound your head against. :D
     
  4. zpaul

    zpaul Gold Member

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    Just by asking you've done the right thing - very cool of you. But what's been said is it - you'll just going to stress another lucky soul a few hours more before they get their uppie.
     
  5. DestinationDavid
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    DestinationDavid Milepoint Guide

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    Stressing over an upgrade is familiar ground for any airline elite. It's not pain you're feeling, it's nostalgia!
     
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  6. Mike Reed

    Mike Reed Gold Member

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    In this case, I know I'm not taking the flight. And earlier flight is currently F7Y7 with 7's all the way through deep discount. That goes through a different hub (DFW), and the upgrade that's cleared is from that now avoided hub (LAX).
     
  7. Mike Reed

    Mike Reed Gold Member

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    Yep. I absolutely don't want to call reservations and risk something getting hosed... too many flights in this chain that could break. Since it's an earlier flight, I don't have to (were it a later flight, AA requests a call to reservations to ensure your ticket isn't voided when you no-show)... so I'd rather just avoid the possibility of headache until the GA touches my first standby flight.
     
  8. sukn
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    sukn Silver Member

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    Jetsetr offers the most practical advice. You can call the EXP desk and tell them you want to be downgraded on the return. They may be able to do it if the loads are light and/or your original booking inventory exists. It will not mess up the rest of your itinerary.

    Another way to look at your situation is like this: Yes, currently you are making someone wait for an upgrade, but when you eventually change the return, your upgrade will go to someone else who would not have gotten upgraded otherwise.
     
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  9. Mike Reed

    Mike Reed Gold Member

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    Yep, it's primarily the knowing that I'll have checked in, so it's only going to the guy that waits for 1st for BOARD full. :)
     
  10. MSPeconomist
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    MSPeconomist Gold Member

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    Sounds like a reward for those of us who know the rules, which is not at all a bad thing.
     
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  11. jetsetr
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    jetsetr Gold Member

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    Wow, thanks for the compliment. As an (ahem) "occasional" mileage runner having to explain my actions to family and friends, "practical" is not often a word I hear used to describe the advice I dish :p
     
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  12. Mike Reed

    Mike Reed Gold Member

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    Now just pray to the MR gods for me - all my flights look good except for one that could be close on Sunday. The next to the last flight in my run, SEA-DFW, is showing F2 A0 P0 Y3 B3 H3 K3 M0 in EF. Worst case, the next flight is F6 A4 P2 Y7 B7 H7 K7 M7 L5 W3 V2 G1 S0. We'll see!
     
  13. Mike Reed

    Mike Reed Gold Member

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    Quick update. For the first two flights today, flown as booked, both upgrades cleared before the airport: AUS-DFW and DFW-SEA. I called the EXP desk this morning to let them know I'd be standing by for later SEA-DFW and DFW-TPA flights. At DFW, leaving for SEA, got put on the upgrade list for both. The GA at DFW went ahead and confirmed me on both flights since they had seats open, so there was no question. SEA-DFW cleared at SEA, and now I'm in the AC at DFW with a 7:15 PM flight DFW-TPA. It's currently F1 Y1, I have a seat assignment in Y, I'm the only one on the upgrade list, I'm EXP and I'm a through passenger. Short of someone buying that last F seat to Tampa, it's mine. :)

    Now we'll see if my luck holds tomorrow. EF predicts things may be tighter (see previous post).
     
  14. Scottrick
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    Scottrick Gold Member

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    My issue is slightly different, since I rarely change flights but try to avoid an upgrade if we're down to the day of travel and it still looks unlikely my companion will be upgraded along with me. I always immediately go to the podium and ask them to take me off the list. It's the best you can do, and often I'm there before the battlefield upgrades get processed.

    Of course, sometimes it goes horribly, horribly wrong despite your best intentions. :eek: Like when I was 1 minute late after they cleared me, so I asked the GA to put me back. Then she cleared a few more people and ended up clearing my girlfriend. So I had to go ask her to put her back, too. And then they cleared me again... Finally she just told us to take our original coach seats, where we sat until 2 minutes before push back when the GA ran in with new F assignments, still sitting apart. I just handed them to two Navy and Air Force fellows sitting in our row.
     
  15. OceanBreezes

    OceanBreezes Gold Member

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    It has worked for us to go to the podium and tell the agent that we do not want to split. Usually they interpret this as one in first and one in coach though so if you only want to sit side by side, you have to be specific. Admirals Club will also make a note on your record for the gate agent to read.
     

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