UA Intl Business Upgrades - NO Waitlist ???

Discussion in 'United Airlines | MileagePlus' started by mail4me.jy, Apr 25, 2011.  |  Print Topic

  1. mail4me.jy
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    mail4me.jy Active Member

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    I have been flying the “Friendly Skies” of United for over 12 years. Historically I have used miles from my MP account to upgrade from the economy ticket to a Business seat. Used to be 25,000 miles one way, then 30,000, then 25,000 +$500, and with new “enhancements” from UAL the upgrade will be 30,000 miles + $1200 each way.

    I have always found that the upgradable seats have normally were unavailable as the current date approached the travel date. The normal scenario would have it that at 30 days out there was no upgrade seats freely available and flight business class seating would be waitlisted, usually not clearing until days, or hours, before departure.

    I am looking at a departure from USA on an international trip less than a week from today. On a whim I called tonight and asked IF I wanted to spend the miles and hefty cash <extortion> to UAL to upgrade from eco to business where there any seats available? I thought I was hearing things when I was told that there were dozens of available seats in Business class that I could upgrade to….. for the right cost.

    This is just a supposition but it seems to me that with UALs new requirement to pay <through the nose> for these international flights that far fewer folks are willing to go for the bait and lay that much cash out for the business experience. OPINION???

    With an approaching flight date I am wondering; If the day of the flight swings around and there are unsold seats in the USA to NRT flight will UAL start calling names (based on status) and upgrading folks from economy to business? Or will they fly the bird with empty business seats and those of use not willing to pay sitting behind the curtain with our backsides falling asleep in the thin cushioned economy seats? OPINION?

    Has anyone ever been in this scenario and actually been upgraded (post co-pay policy start) from eco to international business, without having to pay dollars for your MP mile usage?
     
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  2. Lufthansa Flyer
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    Lufthansa Flyer Gold Member

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    My bet would be that they would fly with empty business seats before just giving them away. Unless you offer them something (cash in this case), there's no motivation for them to improve your seating. Just IMHO.

    and with their 30k miles+$1200 each way, coupled with what you probably paid for your eco. ticket, your probably paying as much, if not more than had a biz seat been originally booked. Its as if they're trying to goad you into thinking your getting such a good deal, but at the end of the day it doesnt seem like that good of a deal

    I know on LH, my best bets/successes to move from biz to F has usually been day before, or on the day of departure at the gate just innocently inquiring if there's any chance of an upgrade. And after a few keyboard clicks, I've come away with a 50% success rate.
     
  3. mail4me.jy
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    mail4me.jy Active Member

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    So I am a UAL gate agent. The flight leaves in 50 minutes, I have an economy section full of pax and folks standing at my gate who are wait-listed for eco seats and wanting to pay me to travel. There are twenty business seats available (unsold) and I have frequent flyers who have NOT paid UAL $500 for upgrades from eco to business. Do I move these frugal flyers from economy to business to get more butts in seats or do I hold my ground and let the aircraft fly with empty business seats?
     
  4. misman
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    misman Gold Member

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    I think that is a different scenario. If Y is oversold, the operational upgrades (Op-Ups) will occur. Probably GS, 1K, 1P, 2P, or something similar. There has also been anecdotal evidence of J-F upgrades to open J sets to move Y passengers into so that Y can be filled.
     
  5. Scottrick
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    Scottrick Gold Member

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    UA will usually want to get everyone on the plane. Yes, they will likely move passengers from Y to J, and from J to F, if necessary to take care of the standby list from passengers who couldn't make their earlier flights. They will certainly do this if the flight is oversold. (I don't think they're likely to move someone from Y to J just to create room in Y so someone can do a same-day change to an earlier flight.) This is called an operational upgrade, or op-up. But they don't just move people to J or F because there's an empty seat.

    This is the same as the old domestic policy before UDU. If passengers aren't willing to redeem miles or pay cash to upgrade, then UA is happy to let the F or J cabin fly empty as long as there's room for everyone in Y.

    My guess is that if the new policy leads to a significant decline in the number of upgrades redeemed, then UA might be compelled to reduce the co-pay to make it more affordable. They would make more money selling 10 seats at $700 each rather than 2 seats at $1200. However, it can take time to find the balance. Obviously they thought the price was too low at $500, and that even after raising the price they would maintain enough upsells to continue making the same or more profit.
     
  6. mail4me.jy
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    mail4me.jy Active Member

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    Where United learned it customer focus, and came up with its "exciting changes to enhance the customer's experience" ............

    Navin R. Johnson: [bleakly] I've already given away eight pencils, two hoola dolls, and an ashtray, and I've only taken in fifteen dollars.
    Frosty: Navin, you have taken in fifteen dollars and given away fifty cents worth of crap, which gives us a net profit of fourteen dollars and fifty cents.
    Navin R. Johnson: Ah... It's a profit deal. Takes the pressure off. Get your weight guessed right here! Only a buck! Actual live weight guessing! Take a chance and win some crap!
     
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  7. mikeef
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    mikeef Silver Member

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    Sorry, I'm new to the UA program. I could find the $600 copay on the website but can't find the new enhancements anywhere. Could somebody point me in the right direction?

    Thanks!
    Mike
     

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