UA International Upgrade At Gate for Cash

Discussion in 'United Airlines | MileagePlus' started by FlyingFree, Sep 9, 2011.  |  Print Topic

  1. FlyingFree
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    FlyingFree Gold Member

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    Not sure if this is the right place to post this, but here goes...

    I’ve flown business and first internationally many times, but always award travel and have never tried to upgrade an economy fare to business at the gate. Later this month I’d like to try to upgrade on UA 875 SEA-NRT. (If it helps, my Fare Code is: KLX73BM6).
    Of course, I’ll check on seat availability before I get to the gate, but I’d appreciate any strategies my Milepoint friends can share.
    -I’m assuming these last minute upgrades are only done by the agent at the gate.
    -Should I approach them when I arrive at the gate, wait to see if they offer upgrades at the gate, or approach them a little before boarding begins?
    -What kind of price do they usually ask for the upgrade? If they have a number of business seats available, might they be open to bargaining and accepting a lower upgrade price? What would you guess might be the going rate for a flight of this length?

    Appreciate the advice…
     
  2. colpuck
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    colpuck Gold Member

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    UA does do day of departure upgrades. It is done for a set fee regardless of fare class. The kiosk should tell you at check-in. I know LHR-US was 600.00
     
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  3. JLSocks
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    JLSocks Silver Member

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    Upgrade for cash (UFC) is usually offered to you during check-in (online or kiosk). That being said, I haven't always gotten the offer during check-in, and I've had to inquire at the RCC or the gate in the past and sometimes that worked.

    It used to be really cheap years back when it seemed to be a flat fee regardless of where you were going internationally. Now it seems to be more formula driven; I'm guessing based on the city pairs or distance traveled. Also, I've noticed it seems to be considerably cheaper to do it from US to an international destination than the reverse.
     
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  4. RichardInSF
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    RichardInSF Silver Member

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    I'm not so sure the fee amount is the same regardless of fare class -- do you or anyone have concrete evidence one way or the other? Certainly, when upgrading for miles and money, there are different fees depending on fare class.
     
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  5. Flyer1976
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    Flyer1976 Gold Member

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    CO does their Upgrades based on the fare paid also known as TODs (Tens of Dollars).
     
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  6. Golfingboy
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    Golfingboy Gold Member

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    I think UFC will be offered and can be done online anytime between booking and day of departure by accessing your PNR... In order for that option to be available there has to be NC or NF space... I think this is done through the "premium seating" add-on option above or below "award accelerator", however I do not know if the price is different if you do it now and if you do it at the airport...
     
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  7. HaveMilesWillTravel
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    HaveMilesWillTravel Gold Member

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    And there I thought conventional MP/FT wisdom dictated that there is virtually no NC/NF space available anymore until 30 mins before departure :D
     
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  8. Flyer1976
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    Flyer1976 Gold Member

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    Hah.... I just cleared right away for REI/K_12 on 10/3 EZE-IAD , flight had NC4...
     
  9. adexpert
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    adexpert Silver Member

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    SEA-NRT is an easy upgrade and relatively short flight. Usually if there is space available, the online checkin or self checkin kiosks will offer it. The gate agents can do it too, though I'd certainly ask well before boarding begins given they've got to do a bunch of stuff on their computer I imagine.
     
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  10. FlyingFree
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    FlyingFree Gold Member

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    Thanks much for the info...I'm assuming from your post that upgrades offered at the kiosk are at a 'standard' rate, and negotiating a lower price with the gate agent if there is plenty of space in business is not likely to be an option.
     
  11. RichardInSF
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    I don't think the GAs have the power to bargain. Ironically, they would have the power to upgrade you for operational reasons for free if the flight was overbooked.
     
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  12. FlyingFree
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    FlyingFree Gold Member

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    My entire intinerary for this trip is DEN-SEA-NRT-BKK-CNX. I'm most concerned with upgrading the SEA-NRT leg, in order to get better/longer sleep. Wonder if they'll let me do this, or if it's an 'all or nothing' upgrade situation? My plan is to check with the GA in SEA...
     

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