How Real Are TODs?

Discussion in 'United Airlines | MileagePlus' started by EyeOnTheSkies, Jan 30, 2013.  |  Print Topic

  1. EyeOnTheSkies

    EyeOnTheSkies Silver Member

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    I'm curious how rampant TODs still are. There's a lot of anecdotal evidence from right after the merger, but I can't imagine they're as frequent as some say. I've never experienced (in my 101,500 miles last year) getting TOD'd.
     
  2. Black Cloud
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    Black Cloud Gold Member

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    They happen and I think their impact is greatly overstated by a vocal minority. And the reality is that almost every US based airline does this.

    The idea that a non-elite flier is getting a first class upgrade offer for less than $100 is very few and far between. UA is aggressively promoting the fare difference between the price paid and the cheapest way to get into the F cabin. Yes there's some fare manipulation and, I think, maybe a chicken pooping on numbered squares - but the impact is pretty minimal.

    When I travel with my wife as a companion I'll see upgrade offers of a few hundred dollars. I can't see many people plunking down that coin for a high sodium meal and a coupe jack and cokes. But I certainly don't fault UA for trying to capture those that will.

    Have I personally lost out an upgrade because someone "TOD'ed?" I have no clue and I'm certainly not losing sleep over it.
     
  3. Wandering Aramean
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    Wandering Aramean Gold Member

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    How would you know? Did you never miss an upgrade?
     
  4. HaveMilesWillTravel
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    HaveMilesWillTravel Gold Member

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    I have gotten a HoD upgrade offer (12+ hr flight), and took it. It was cheaper than the miles+copay I was waitlisted for as a 1K.

    I have not seen any cheap domestic upgrade offers for myself or others I book/check-in for.
     
  5. davef139

    davef139 Gold Member

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    The $10 tcon ones everyone think is happening doesn't seen to be. I flew 100k from silver on up so I missed lots of upgrsdes, most seemed like a buyup to x fare.

    Most of the other ones seemed fair buyup pricing for distance and base fare.
    Fair pricing in respect to what you would pay discounted
     
  6. Captain Oveur
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    Captain Oveur Gold Member

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    You mean TODed in terms of their presence in the first place or losing out on an upgrade because of a TOD?
     
  7. EyeOnTheSkies

    EyeOnTheSkies Silver Member

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    TOD'd as in losing an upgrade because of them as a Plat last year. My upgrades would either all clear in advance or I'd miss them at the gate, etc. but not because it went From F3 to F0 within 6 hours of departure. I ask because so many people b*tch that UA doesn't care about it's elites and TODs are exhibit A but it sounds like more of an urban legend than a common occurrence.
     
  8. Captain Oveur
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    Captain Oveur Gold Member

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    I would say they are far from an urban legend. There is a lot more empirical data on this at FlyerTalk. While you can't believe everything on the internet, unless there is some mass well-planned conspiracy, there is a lot of evidence that ToDs happen, and the rates differ based on distance and even Mileage Plus level.

    Whether you are ToDed depends on several factors, such as day traveling, routing, etc.

    My personal experience as a 1KMM last year, my upgrades dropped dramatically to/from SoCal. Prior to ToDs, I cleared upgrades on aircraft as small as E170s with reasonable regularity. With ToD in effect, on the same days and routes, it's not uncommon to find myself somewhere around fifth to 10th on the upgrade list on a 757.
     
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  9. Black Cloud
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    Black Cloud Gold Member

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    Apples and Oranges.

    Are those 757s connecting to or receiving pax from an international bank at a hub airport where people actually buy premium seats? Are they on routes like LAX - SFO that has a moderate degree of paid premium travel? Are you really good at buying cheap fares?

    To say that your position is lower because of TODs is a questionable leap in logic.

    By the way - I've always wondered - what is your Avatar supposed to represent? Ever time I see it I think of my college roommate's girlfriend in the morning; and it's rather disturbing. I mean, really, how does someone have stale coffee breath before they've had a cup of coffee?
     
  10. Captain Oveur
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    Captain Oveur Gold Member

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    <chuckles> yeah, okay.


    No.


    No.


    I'm not better than anyone else.


    Whatever you say. All I was trying to do was answer your questions and cite personal experience, and this is the response I get?

    I learned my lesson.
     
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  11. Black Cloud
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    Black Cloud Gold Member

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    Upgrades success rates are highly variable. I asked you a few questions; I could ask 100 more and we still wouldn't have a clear understanding if your lack of upgrades / lower position on the upgrade list was due to TODs or the set of a gazillion other variables. Maybe it's due to TODs, maybe it isn't. You don't know and I don't know.

    Last year my upgrade rate was about 20% on UA as a 1k. Does that bother me? Nope. Not really. If and when I feel like UA isn't delivering me what I think I'm buying, I'll buy something else.
     
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  12. mikeschu
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    mikeschu Gold Member

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    I've found this to be generally true for UA. Most of the TOD upgrades I've been offered as a kettle have been rather crazy for the flights they were pushing (like 40-50 TOD for SAN-IAH), so my guess is that the TOD price is the difference between fare buckets. However, I've seen them on every flight that has a first-class cabin.

    The only one that seemed out of line to me was 20 TOD for LAX-ITO last year. For a 5.5-hour flight I found that to be pretty reasonable, and I would have taken it if I was all that interested in the food, wanted a bigger seat, and could drink myself silly if I wasn't driving after the flight.

    Only in rare instances does UA sell the F cabin at the gate like AS does and at AS-like rates, probably because they upgrade everybody they can and there are enough elites to minimize selling at the gate. I think I've only seen that once for the F cabin on UA.
     
  13. HaveMilesWillTravel
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    HaveMilesWillTravel Gold Member

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    You. Did. Not. Take. It??!!

    Do you realize what UA charges for mileage-based upgrades on that route?
     
  14. 8MiHi

    8MiHi Silver Member

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    I manage my mother's flying. She is a GM and has been offered TODs on the EWR-PBI flight down to PBI after Christmas on both PMCO and current UA. These only showed up around 20 hours before her flight after all Premier upgrades had cleared. I have not seen them on her flights outside of holiday lull dates. I used to see them on PMCO on random flights not usually filled with business flyers.
     
  15. DeacFlyer1
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    DeacFlyer1 Silver Member

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    You sure you didn't drop a zero here? You didn't move up to F for $20 on a five hour flight to Hawaii? That's less money than it costs my wife and I to eat dinner at our hole-in-the-wall local mexican restaurant...I'm pretty cost conscious, but that would be a no-brainer to take that if that number is accurate.
     
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  16. Steve GadFly
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    Steve GadFly Gold Member

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    20 Tens of Dollars = $200
     
  17. HaveMilesWillTravel
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    HaveMilesWillTravel Gold Member

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    Hah, seems I misread it, too.

    I wouldn't have paid $200 for that upgrade unless I was in the middle seat of the last row of E-. And even then I probably wouldn't.
     
  18. JetsettingEric
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    JetsettingEric Silver Member

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    As a frequent UA flyer that credits to another program.. i have never seen a TOD upgrade. I hope.. but nope.

    Op'd up once. Happy with E+ when i get it.. otherwise i suck it up in E-.

    Sounds like a lot of the system issues are fixed. In particular, it's likely the M fare rates which are instant upgrade to the top elites, but not for everyone else. Y/B fares in general are never near TOD to my fare - including my day of departure purchases.
     
  19. DeacFlyer1
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    DeacFlyer1 Silver Member

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    Ha, makes more sense. Thanks.
     
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