TOD trumps applied instrument?

Discussion in 'United Airlines | MileagePlus' started by violist, Apr 26, 2012.  |  Print Topic

  1. violist
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    violist Gold Member

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    I had an itinerary (AUS MegaDo) where I applied an RPU for AUS-IAH-BOS.
    AUS-IAH of course cleared immediately, IAH-BOS waitlisted and didn't clear.

    This morning I was offered an upgrade of the second leg for $399.
    Declined it of course, and never cleared.

    Is there something wrong with this picture? and/or is this what I am likely
    to expect for the future?
     
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  2. Mackieman
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    Mackieman Gold Member

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    There is likely no R space on your flight currently. The price you were offered is very likely the difference between your fare and the fare you as an elite would need to purchase which would get you an automatic upgrade which comes out of a different bucket, not R.
     
  3. redwoman

    redwoman Silver Member

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    Good point Mackieman. Most people probably aren't constantly monitoring R space.

    A lot of people on TOBB have been complaining a lot about this issue, and I wonder if UA is not releasing R space and is offering paid upgrades instead. I guess we'll never know. :(
     
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  4. Mackieman
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    Mackieman Gold Member

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    What, you mean people don't watch the R bucket incessantly like I do? ;)

    In almost all cases in the normal course of my flight research, JN and PN are always available and match the A and/or Z fare bucket availability, assuming there is availability in A and/or Z. This is completely independent of R availability, and always has been as far as I know.

    And this follows the company's general modus operandi: those who pay more get more. As an elite, buying a Y fare (JN upgrade bucket) or a B fare (M for 1K) (PN upgrade bucket) is going to get the automatic upgrade the majority of the time, and the price offered to elites for upgrades prior to OLCI is generally the fare difference between the fare purchased and the Y or B (or M for 1K) fare that allows access to JN/PN.
     
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  5. desamo

    desamo Gold Member

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    Point in fact, there were five C spaces left on tonight's flug until 24h out, they were offering HoD upgrades, but all instruments were waitlisted as it was R0.
     
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  6. redwoman

    redwoman Silver Member

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    OK so we know that *you* watch the R bucket. :) It sounds that at least on your flight, UA didn't open up R space. Do you know if those 5 C seats remained empty or did they CPU some passengers?

    I can see that I'm going to start taxing my phone's battery (and data plan LOL) collecting data from UA's mobile app after boarding every one of my flights from now on. It will only get worse when they expand wi-fi through UA's fleet. :D
     
  7. unavaca
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    unavaca Gold Member

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    It seems like revenue upgrades (whether it's by buying up to a higher fare class or by UFC) trumps all freebies and instruments.
     
  8. goalie
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    goalie Gold Member

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    This is a trick question, isn't it ;)
     
  9. violist
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    violist Gold Member

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    Ah, okay ... but the annoying thing was that it was F8 with a
    pretty open seatmap for weeks, until a couple days before the flight.
     
  10. NYBanker
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    NYBanker Gold Member

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    Seems reasonable, no?
     
  11. NYBanker
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    NYBanker Gold Member

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    Annoying for me (and the carriers) when I want to/need to purchase a last minute fare...will pay for the forward cabin...and all the seats are filled with upgraders on discount fares!

    DL does this (holds back upgrades) till the gate on their transcons. I suspect they sell a few J seats on day of departure pretty regularly. I know I've bought same day j on that route twice.
     
  12. KenInEscazu

    KenInEscazu Gold Member

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    I was wait-listed for an UG on two of my eight flights last week. The seats were available on both one hour before each respective departure, and I was high enough on the list (position 1 or 2) to get them, but an agent told me that UA won't release them until 30 minutes prior to departure. They were offering the upgrade to every single passenger at the check-in kiosk. I didn't clear either one. Right or wrong, I hate it. I am insulted by it. I want to punch my fist through the screen when I see it. This is my single biggest pet peeve since 3/3. This NEVER happened on CO. Maybe I need anger management. LOL
     
  13. JLSocks
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    JLSocks Silver Member

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    It didn't happen on UA before 3/3 either. UFCs were never offered unless there was NC or NF space available and no elites on the upgrade list.
     
  14. goalie
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    goalie Gold Member

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    But PMUA would it happen even if there were elites (or any one else for that matter) on the upgrade list? COdbaUA likes to sell ToD'$ to anyone regardless if there are folks on the upgrade list
     
  15. KenInEscazu

    KenInEscazu Gold Member

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    It doesn't bother me too much if the inventory is low and they want to hold those seats until "day of" or maybe even 12 hours prior to departure, but 30 minutes? Let's face it... Nobody gets to even Gold without spending a lot of money with them. FF programs were designed to lure passengers to become loyal to one carrier. IMHO, this practice does exactly the opposite. It's a slap in the face.
     
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  16. violist
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    violist Gold Member

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    And people like Continental why?
     
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  17. Mackieman
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    Mackieman Gold Member

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    Because a lot of folks understood that they're not really selling upgrades out from under elites. They're simply pointing out that you can spend X dollars to buy up to an automatically upgraded fare. Anyone and everyone has this option all the time. It is the exact same thing as buying a B fare, only done later (and without a change fee).

    The only time the, "tens of dollars" upgrades are offered is when all elites have already been upgraded and there is still F availability that revenue management expects to go unsold. There have been some reports of this process not working well, but they're quite limited given the scope of the number of flights on any given day, and the UA Insider team has taken on the task of investigation and resolution in those cases.

    Remember, all of this stuff is marketing, and a lot of marketing is smoke and mirrors. Just because they call it an upgrade doesn't mean it's an upgrade in the truest sense. In this case, it's a revenue fare up that just so happens to be automatically upgradeable. If a person bought a B fare and thus was instantly upgraded to F, no one balks because that is a stated offering that comes with buying Y/B (and M for 1K) fares. The cash upgrade offering prior to OLCI is the exact same thing, just done in two different transactions.
     
  18. violist
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    violist Gold Member

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    OK, so what's the value of the unconfirmable confirmable instruments?
     
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  19. Mackieman
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    Mackieman Gold Member

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    I believe the issue here is the supposition that the instruments are always confirmable. There's actually a little bit more to it: the instruments are confirmable, providing there is space available. This is an important distinction and a completely different animal than the revenue fare up offerings we discussed above.

    Prior to the merger, UA offered CR-1 and SWU certificates on a space-available basis. NC/NF had to be open for them to be applied; otherwise, they were waitlisted. And there were many cases where NC/NF were not open, just as there were many cases where those buckets were wide open. The same exact thing is now occurring with the merged UA, only the fare bucket identifiers have changed from NC/NF to R/O. Nowhere in the program literature or rules is it stated that instruments are always confirmable.

    The decision to open R space on any given flight is made by revenue management based on a series of criteria and data on which I personally have little understanding. This is probably why I often consider revenue management to be one of the dark arts. ;) Having flown IAH-BOS recently, I can share anecdotally that this is one of the more difficult routes to secure an upgrade on ex-IAH. It is not only elite heavy, but has lots of folks that are purchasing F or other higher coach fares.

    The moral of the story, at least for me, is that upgrade space (R/O) is heavily dependent upon route, time, and season. The expectation of being able to use an upgrade instrument anytime you would like is a sure recipe for disappointment and frustration. Those instruments have value, and potentially great value, when applied in the most advantageous way. For example, I have an itinerary with a friend in a few weeks where he used two RPUs to acquire three domestic segments worth of upgrades (though one is currently waitlisted due to lack of R space currently). It doesn't always work for everyone, but it does work for a lot of folks often.
     
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  20. violist
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    violist Gold Member

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    If there had been, would they have told me? The real United
    would have automatically put me in it. On the other hand, I
    checked every couple days from as soon as I knew that I had
    to, and, no, nothing opened up.

    I booked these flights as soon as MegaDo was announced and
    applied the instrument - the first leg (25 minutes) cleared
    right away, and the second never did at all, even though I was
    offered TOD when having my boarding pass printed an hour
    before the flight.

    I'm pretty certain that that's what happened.

    And I'm pretty certain that that's not what happened.

    My point was that in this case Continental did something
    it said it wouldn't do. I don't think that it was Jefflike
    malice or anything but rather that the system broke and
    threw me into a no man's land that I was unfamiliar with.
     
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  21. stephenbgarvan

    stephenbgarvan Silver Member

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    THIS IS CO.
     
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  22. Captain Oveur
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    Captain Oveur Gold Member

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    FWIW, I booked a ticket a couple of weeks ago, with all four segments saying R0 (and F8 on A319s). Called 1K Line to apply the CR-1 (couldn't do it on-line of course, even though the "customer is in control"), and two segments cleared instantly.

    The other two cleared 24 hours later.
     
  23. ClarkyBoy
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    ClarkyBoy Silver Member

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    and this is exactly why people (including me) are moving to AA to try it out....i can't stand my 1/7 upgrade ratio since 3/3 especially flights that had 8-9 F seats the day of the flight and i was #1 and didn't clear....

    one day a UA exec might look at this and see it as the start of the end.
     
  24. desamo

    desamo Gold Member

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    Hmm. Post 3/3, I've had:

    1 award flight (no upgrades -- my flight home after meeting violist, WA, and the person whose handle I've temporarily misplaced)
    4 p.s. flights (one with a waitlisted RPU that didn't clear but was returned to the sponsor; no upgrades otherwise, and the $ for cash upgrades were over $1000 on each segment)
    1 upcoming that cleared (CPU)
    1 upcoming that didn't (but the window may not be open yet? Was offered cash upgrade of around $300 for a 3-hr flight)
    2 upcoming that were successfully upgraded with an RPU when there was R1 space available
     
  25. ClarkyBoy
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    ClarkyBoy Silver Member

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    I love CO. I have flown with them for 6 years and had great upgrades and great rewards.
    UA last year was not as good - but still very acceptable.

    650K miles in 6 years.

    post 3/3 - just a mess. And what really makes this bad for me is the total obliviousness of UA Execs. I lead a team of 100 IT people - I get IT, I get screw-ups. But own up to it, early, and by giving your loyal customers reason to stay.

    I'd stay with a broken company a long time if they show me they realize it's broken and work hard to fix it, not with "we didn't think this mattered to you" and 1K reps that are not really 1K reps.

    To each is own, but i'm just offended.
     

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