How to tell if a flight has global upgrade space before booking?

Discussion in 'United Airlines | MileagePlus' started by Lipman, Aug 7, 2012.  |  Print Topic

  1. Lipman

    Lipman Active Member

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    I need to book an international trip (SFO to TLV), and even though I'm a no-status member these days, my 1K dad has unused global premier upgrades that he's donating to my cause. Ideally I'd like to book flights that offer me the best chance of actually getting upgraded -- is there any way to figure that out before I book? Or do I have to book the tickets, then apply for the upgrades and take my chances?

    Thanks very much!
     
  2. desamo

    desamo Gold Member

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  3. Wandering Aramean
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    Wandering Aramean Gold Member

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  4. NYCUA1K

    NYCUA1K Gold Member

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    Yup, gotta search "R-space", the final frontier...:)
     
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  5. Seacarl
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    Seacarl Gold Member

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    You're more likely to find a unicorn than intercontinental R space
     
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  6. desamo

    desamo Gold Member

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    Thanks for the correction -- I was tired and thinking of alerts. Also, I looked at that page before posting, not sure why I came up with RN instead of R.
     
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  7. Wandering Aramean
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    Wandering Aramean Gold Member

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    I've upgraded a number of TATL flights this year and have seen several to HKG or NRT with R inventory as well, though I ended up not booking it. Is it always available on every flight at the moment I go looking? Of course not. But I've upgraded a number of flights, both for myself and friends, without too much trouble.

    I'm also willing to waitlist and hope for the best more often than not.
     
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  8. Flyer1976
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    Flyer1976 Gold Member

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    Plus I don't think United flies to the land of Unicorns just yet so it's more likely we'll be seeing R space until that happens ;).
     
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  9. NYCUA1K

    NYCUA1K Gold Member

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    I must disagree, as my experience has been otherwise -- in fact, I was recently sponsored for intl upgrades on a 2-intl/1-domestic segment itinerary, and the upgrades for the two intl segments cleared instantly, while the domestic is still wailisted, for a trip in Jan 2013. Checking R space a few days later still showed R9 and R3 for the other...

    Out of 8 GPUs so far, it looks like I will fail to clear only 1 intl segment out of more than a dozen.

    Conclusion: UA is still the airline to be with for "ease" of upgrades...
     
  10. Seacarl
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    Seacarl Gold Member

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    I've had far more luck with finding free biz class award seats or discounted sale Z/P fares than finding R inventory, even using tools like Expert Flyer. My success rate in waitlisting for the UGs is decent, but often not until day of departure, so the uncertainty is a pain, especially when +1 is coming along
     
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  11. radonc1951

    radonc1951 Gold Member

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    Trying to get upgrade space to TLV is very difficult, but maybe out of SFO through Europe may be easier. It is much more dicey from EWR. Also, without status, you literally get to go to the end of the upgrade line. I tried to have a GPU applied to my daughter's TLV trip and she was shooed off when she inquired at the gate (whether her GPU had cleared). However, she was trying to go EWR-TLV so it was highly unlikely that she would have succeeded.

    Finally, you will have to buy a W fare or higher to use the GPU. So I would certainly make sure that the R space was available before spending the extra dough to take a chance at a standby upgrade.
     
  12. NYCUA1K

    NYCUA1K Gold Member

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    I have made that claim quite a few times and here's a snapshot of why I make it. I have 4 trips left until the end of the year and right after. It is a mix of domestic and intl trips, which I have already booked. Here's the picture, color coded for effect: only two upgradable segments are waitlisted (yellow), and I have no doubt that they will clear just like the others (green) have.
    UA_UGS.png


    BTW: HKG-NRT still shows R2 and NRT-IAD is still at R9

    Not.too.shabby.
     
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  13. COFlyerCLE
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    COFlyerCLE Gold Member

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    Has anyone had any luck with Global Upgrades clearing on flights to CDG? I can't find days in Sept/Oct with any R availability - from EWR, IAD, or ORD.
     
  14. desamo

    desamo Gold Member

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    Except in one case that I've found. My Island Hopper I just bought the last I seat, but it's still R1.
     
  15. NYCUA1K

    NYCUA1K Gold Member

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    Update:
    UA-UG-EZE.png
     
  16. Lipman

    Lipman Active Member

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    Thanks all. I ended up booking the flights that worked best for me timewise -- of the 4 segments, 1 cleared immediately (the final EWR-SFO leg), I'll keep my fingers crossed for the others...
     
  17. HansPeter

    HansPeter Active Member

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    It's a bit of a crap shoot. I see nothing in "R" (using Expert Flyer) for every flight to London through ORD, IAD or IAH on December 26th (middle of the holiday week) yet most flights have over 80% unsold capacity in Business or Business/First. Zero, Zilch....
     
  18. Wandering Aramean
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    Wandering Aramean Gold Member

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    1). Seat maps are not necessariy an accurate indicator of loads.

    2) Most C/F purchases do not happen 3 months in advance.

    3) The airlines have a lot more historical data on how this stuff behaves than we do.
     
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  19. Seacarl
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    Seacarl Gold Member

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    I saw R on a bunch of flights I checked yesterday mid-week in middle of October. I went to book and every one of them is gone.

    Does UA pull the R inventory at certain times? Is is plausible it was all booked in a few hours?
     
  20. Wandering Aramean
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    Wandering Aramean Gold Member

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    It is completely possible that the company changes the inventory allotted to any particular fare bucket for whatever reasons they choose. Doesn't mean that someone else necessarily bought it.
     
  21. Seacarl
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    Seacarl Gold Member

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    I think I figured out why the difference.

    It appears to me that the new expert mode has some kind of linked or married segment logic for dispalying R inventory. On connections it only shows the R inventory if it is available on both legs.

    I don't think that is how it used to work, and certainly R can differ on segments and clear independently.
     
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  22. Wandering Aramean
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    Wandering Aramean Gold Member

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    It has definitely been this way since 3.3 and, yes, the segments will clear based on the actual inventory for that segment.
     
  23. Seacarl
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    Seacarl Gold Member

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    Here's a question. If I book 2 people in a PNR, with connections where over-the-water is R2 and the connecting domestic flight is R1, will they clear one at a time, or only when both are R2?

    ETA - I don't do this as a revenue service, just for ourselves and family
     
  24. Seacarl
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    Seacarl Gold Member

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    I am learning yet again why I almost always book us on separate PNRs. (Ms. Seacarl+1 always asks me why I do this when we get reseated far apart...)

    The answer to my question is that when you apply the SWU (GPU) you both get upgraded on the R2 flight and neither gets upgraded on the R1 flight.

    There is a flaw in the upgrade logic that when there is a party of 2 wanting to upgrade that they are skipped when it is R1, instead of one being upgraded and the second being waitlisted. They can always give it back at checkin in if they don't both clear.

    Time to split the record.
     
  25. Wandering Aramean
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    Wandering Aramean Gold Member

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    That's not a flaw in the logic; that's the way the PNRs work. Passengers must be on the same flights and in the same cabin on those flights. It has been this way for a long, long time.
     
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