Overall Upgrade Availability

Discussion in 'United Airlines | MileagePlus' started by KenInEscazu, Apr 8, 2012.  |  Print Topic

  1. KenInEscazu

    KenInEscazu Gold Member

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    My home airport is SJO, so most of my flights start with SJO-IAH. Prior to the merger, I never missed an upgrade on this segment. Not once. Most of that time I was CO Silver, but my travel has since increased, and I am now Platinum.

    I missed my first upgrade on February 28 of this year. My next trip on 4/16 looks quite doubtful for an upgrade, and the return on 4/22 is even worse. When I try to buy an upgrade, there is no buy-up option with money, and the mileage upgrade has the remaining two seats as "waitlist only" for this portion of the reservation.

    Why in the world would they not offer me an option to pay for an upgrade? I reference the SJO-IAH (and IAH-SJO) segments as examples, but I notice this on almost all reservations. The "waitlist only" will never again lure me in, no matter how many open seats are showing in BC. I once used an upgrade from ORD to SJO via EWR, and they upgraded me from ORD to EWR, but not EWR to SJO (5+ hours). So my 2 hour domestic upgrade cost me international upgrade miles, and my rear was very sore upon arrival at SJO.

    I moved from AA to CO several years ago because of AA's near-universal arrogance (individual exceptions duly noted). While I have not experienced anywhere near the arrogance on the part of UA (or ExCon) employees, the depreciation of benefits is almost equally troublesome. Add the inability to upgrade for MONEY?.... What in the world are they thinking? They prefer to have someone else's money instead of mine? I just don't get it.

    I have 10 segments scheduled over the next 2 weeks. Maybe I'll feel differently upon their completion, but right now I'm anything but confident that I'll enjoy much if any benefit from being PP from now on. Even my May 20 SJO-IAH flight won't let me pay to upgrade or confirm a seat with miles.
     
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  2. Gtitan
    Original Member

    Gtitan Gold Member

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    This is as usual a YMMV situation. My upgrade percentage is much better since March 3 than it was prior whether CPU or RPU/GPU supported. As always it is a time, date, load, route and ultimately inventory dependent analysis. :)
     
  3. mht_flyer
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    mht_flyer Gold Member

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    My upgrade percentage been decent, with some exceptions -- tough for obvious reasons even as 1k on a 735.
     
  4. KenInEscazu

    KenInEscazu Gold Member

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    I would normally agree with your take on this 100%. The reason for my concern is the combination of my prior 100% CPU experience with at least 50 flights on that route over 4 years, and that until mid-2011 I was Silver. One would think that Platinum would improve, not decrease my chances.

    This is certainly not a conspiracy, even if UA does try a little harder than CO to keep F/BC availability for purchase a little longer. My theory is that there are now so many more members swimming in the pool that the 1Ks who did not affect me prior to the merge are now getting their rightful benefits.

    Still... I'm willing to pay something for an upgrade, but they are not offering it at any price. I'm sure that I could call and buy one, but why make me go through that hassle? This is particularly true on my flight that is 6 weeks out with 50%+ open in BC.
     
  5. seaflyguy
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    seaflyguy Silver Member

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    +1

    On upgradeable flights (i.e., flights with F) this year, I'm 14 of 14 for upgrades so far. I'm traveling this week, SEA-IAD-SEA, and I'll see if I keep up the streak. Both flights are going to come down to the wire. Still, even 14 of 16 would be pretty darned good.
     
  6. KenInEscazu

    KenInEscazu Gold Member

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    Your posts are encouraging. Like I say, I may feel differently about the upgrade situation in 2 weeks. Your experience still doesn't explain why they don't put a price on a guaranteed upgrade.
     
  7. ssullivan
    Original Member

    ssullivan Gold Member

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    I've been doing well so far this year with upgrades, as in previous years. In fact, most of my missed upgrades happened during a couple of weeks last month post-systems integration when I was incorrectly showing up as Platinum instead of 1K.

    I've even had a few flights with coworkers who are Gold and Silver recently where we all seated in first together.
     
  8. man on the move.

    man on the move. Silver Member

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    i will be 1 for 11 based on my first upgrade tonight. i fly mostly iah - may, which has a long list of high status flyers. as a co gold i was running about 75%, as ua silver 9%...

    As AirFrance Platnum - 0 out of 50ish

    As SQ PPS - 0 out of 40ish
     
  9. EWR764
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    EWR764 Silver Member

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    I'd hate to be "that guy", but they do. It's called a Y/B/M-Up fare or, better yet, a C/D/Z fare. ;)
     
  10. KenInEscazu

    KenInEscazu Gold Member

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    Yeah, I get that. I'm not talking about doing this at the time of booking. I'm talking about upgrading an existing reservation.

    I called to find out how much this was going to cost, and the agent said that the chart online is wrong. She says that BC and F cabins on all of my segments are "wide open" for all of my upcoming trips. "Save your money," was her advice.

    She sent reports to IT so that they will be aware of the chart errors and the failure to price an upgrade. From what she told me, they should always show a price for an upgrade when the inventory is available. That's just what I have been saying here. It appears to be a programming issue rather than a misguided policy.

    I feel better now. The flight between IAH and SJO may be just under 4 hours, but those hours add up when you do it as often as I do, not to mention the connection involved on every one of them, as Houston is never my destination. Losing the perk would have been a real game-changer.
     
  11. desamo

    desamo Gold Member

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    Per UA Insider, there's a very short window they can investigate these in, so getting the info to them as quickly as possible will help them be able to investigate what happened.
     
  12. KenInEscazu

    KenInEscazu Gold Member

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    The agent I spoke to on Sunday was wrong. BC is now completely full. The online chart was correct, and I lost both my CPU and option to pay for an upgrade.

    OK... Now I'm angry. Not only have I lost the ability to BUY an upgrade in both directions between SJO and IAH, but I have 4 domestic flights in between that look extremely doubtful. One connection is IAD, and the other is ORD. Those appear to be 1K-ful connections.

    I'm now in PTY, and although I got an upgrade from Copa, my 86 year old dad (on the same res) did not. Naturally I gave him my upgrade, and I have now been upgraded without him on the return, so he'll be up front again for the return while I sit aft again. 10 flights. I'm betting I don't see a premium cabin seat on any of them other than when I enter and depart the various planes. This is not going to work.
     
  13. EWR764
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    EWR764 Silver Member

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    I'm not sure I understand your dilemma here. When I see the word "buy", I read it as paying a cash fare (or explicit buy-up offer) for the desired class of service, not using miles or miles+money to secure the upgrade. Perhaps that's the source of my confusion. If not, read on.

    If the airline consistently offers an easy way to purchase (for cash) an upgrade from any ticket, any time that is less than the difference in fare between a discount economy ticket and M/B/Y/Z/D/C fare, then they essentially obviate the need to sell a premium fare in the first place.

    If your complaint lies with the lack of R/RN availability in advance (and resulting inability to use miles to confirm an upgrade) then this problem is hardly novel.

    Finally, I believe CO previously offered a fee-waiver for passengers looking to buy up into a higher fare basis, provided the add/collect was over $150. If instant-upgrade inventory is available, are you saying that they would not allow you to fare-up to a Y/B/M to secure the upgrade for yourself, or to buy a premium fare for your father? Has this program changed?
     
  14. KenInEscazu

    KenInEscazu Gold Member

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    I simply wanted to know how much it cost to change my ticket from coach to business. I was quoted a number on the phone that was high, but I would have paid it had I been given the facts. united.com said "online upgrade not available."

    A discounted upgrade was obviously not available, but they have always (pre March 3) given the lowest available price online, no matter how high that price may have been. That was the number I was looking for, and that was the number the agent gave me on the phone.

    Unfortunately, the agent also gave me inaccurate information about availability. She said, "Don't waste your money." Well... I didn't. Grrrrrrrrr............
     
  15. desamo

    desamo Gold Member

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    The problem was being misled by the agent. I think that's a valid complaint.
     
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  16. EWR764
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    EWR764 Silver Member

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    Got it. I don't think I'd ever listen to an agent's "advice", though.
     
  17. desamo

    desamo Gold Member

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    Well, I'd listen, but I probably wouldn't take it. I've been an agent, after all. :)
     
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  18. EWR764
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    EWR764 Silver Member

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    Fair enough... I promise I'm not that cynical in real life! ;)
     
  19. Captain Oveur
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    Captain Oveur Gold Member

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    Just wondering, on Copa....do they classify their classes of service by calling them the "Copa Cabana?"
     
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  20. desamo

    desamo Gold Member

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    That's only for the suites in F. ;)
     
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  21. KenInEscazu

    KenInEscazu Gold Member

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    No, but they do call me "Don Ken."
     
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  22. KenInEscazu

    KenInEscazu Gold Member

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    Final report on upgrades for 10 segments in 11 days:

    Copa - 2 for 2, but one was for me only, excluding my father on the same reservation.
    United - Technically, 3 for 8. Two of those flights were turbo-props w/o FC. One of the three upgrades took two hours of arguing/begging for a schedule change from PVD to DFW. They had canceled my originally booked flights, then put me on flights 4 hours later. Those flights were obviously overbooked with zero upgrade chance.

    I found a Newark connection within an hour of my originally booked flights, and the EWR-DFW portion looked good for an upgrade. I didn't want to spend all day in PVD for nothing, but the first two people (one rep/one supv.) would not change me without making me pay. I refused to pay for a schedule closer to that which THEY had canceled. I called back, got a different rep and different supv. who understood the situation clearly and made the change. This process took two hours, starting after midnight. It took all the tenacity I have to stay up that late and argue my case until I won it.

    I was wait listed for DFW-IAD on Tuesday. On hour prior to departure, I was number two on the list with two seats open. They wouldn't release them until 30 minutes prior to departure, but they tried to sell me (and every other passenger checking in) an upgrade at the kiosk. Number one cleared. I didn't.

    Same thing happened today on IAH-SJO. I was number one on the list with one seat open. It was available an hour prior to departure, but they sold it before boarding. I am now 0 for 4 between SJO and IAH post merger.

    The two flights where I was automatically upgraded were both less than 60 minutes gate to gate. I understand that they want to sell upgrades rather than give them away, but holding them until 30 minutes prior while luring us with promoting 72 hours prior verbiage in the literature is beyond irritating.

    Every employee I encountered, whether from CO or UA was fabulous. They all apologized for the things that irritated me, showing genuine empathy and a desire to help further. Their hands are tied behind their backs. The new management is winning battles while losing the war. I loved flying CO, but I hate dealing with this new UA which doesn't seem to resemble the policies of either pre-merger airline.
     

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