Upgrades with companion on AA

Discussion in 'American Airlines | AAdvantage' started by Jason, Sep 3, 2011.  |  Print Topic

  1. Jason
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    Jason Silver Member

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    Multiple times now I've had something odd happen when using 500 mile sticker upgrades on American. Currently she has gold status and we always request an upgrade when booking, usually far in advance of travel. We've had pretty good luck on our upgrades, but many times are upgraded to not sitting together...even when side by side seats are together! For example, this morning I checked the seats available in first and saw 3E, 3F, and 6F available for our flight this afternoon. A few hours later we received an email telling us of the upgrade. Her to 3E and me to 6F. I looked and saw 3F was still available, but wasn't able to change it on-line. I called in and they weren't able to change it since I had checked in online the night before. I was able to change easily at the airport, but I feel like I must be doing something wrong. Why wouldn't AA put two upgraded passengers, booked together, traveling together in coach, together when possible? Thanks for any insight!
     
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  2. NYBanker
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    NYBanker Gold Member

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    Do you mean in the same PNR?
     
  3. newbluesea
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    newbluesea Gold Member

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    Its a bit difficult to give advice when not enough information has been provided.
    a) What is your status?
    b) Are you both on the same PNR?

    One thing however you should have learned is not to do OLCi if waiting on upgrades to clear.
     
  4. Jason
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    Jason Silver Member

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    I'm sorry, I didn't know more info was needed. I'm honestly not sure how to know if we're on the same pnr, but we book together online. I don't have status yet, so we book both through her account online and request the upgrade. Does that help? I would assume it's the same way most couples do it, but that's why I'm asking. Thanks!
     
  5. Jason
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    Jason Silver Member

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    Oh and yes, I won't ever be checking in on line ahead of time again.
     
  6. Microwave
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    Microwave Silver Member

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    Without dismissing your frustration, we aren't really the ones with an answer to the "why" question. All I can say is that AA's systems are pretty old, so making changes to them is always a process. Best suggestion is to get right on to aa.com when the upgrade notification arrives and pick the seats you want, and only then check in. OLCI will negate your ability to change seats until the airport, as has been noted upthread.
     
  7. jasher926

    jasher926 Silver Member

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    I've had the same thing happen to me. I think it has to do with your elite status and the seat preference listed in your AA account. I am an EP so if it is a computer-driven upgrade it looks at what I prefer (i.e. aisle seat) and picks the best available. It will put me in the best available aisle (6E) instead of putting me in the bulkhead (3E and 3F). Once that seat is reserved, it will then put my wife in one of the remaining seats (3E because it is an aisle seat). I believe this is what happens unless you have someone clearing these manually at the gate to notice that the two people on the same PNR would like to sit next to each other.
     
  8. Jason
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    Jason Silver Member

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    Thanks, that makes sense. When it happened a few months ago, the agent I called had said the system didn't look at that. I just couldn't imagine that was really the case.

    And I'm really not that frustrated, I'm actually still in the boat of being thankful for getting the upgrade as a non-elite. I just assumed I must have some preference wrong because I would think this would happen all the time to couples...

    From now on i'll just make sure never to check in and stay near my iPhone to change my seat after upgrade.

    Thank you!
     
  9. trooper2001

    trooper2001 Member

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    This happens quite frequently. Check your seating preferences and her seating preferences. Also, because first/business class passengers can change seat assignments on a whim, when your upgrade was processed it is quite possible that the seat you are hoping for actually was taken. I often change seats periodically when I have a confirmed business or first class seat --- each time selecting a seat closer to what I like. The fact is that there are so many possible variables you're dealing with it's impossible to know why, in any given situation, upgraded seats even on the same PNR (which you probably had) may not be adjacent or even near each other.
     
  10. Travel2Food
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    Travel2Food Silver Member

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    As EXP, routine automagic seating on upgrades is per my preferences (aisle) starting at the back of the section. For the 737. This usually means seat 6B or 6E, even if aisles are open further forward. If westbound, row 6 is fine (FEBO), eastbound I'd prefer row 4 or 5.

    The systems don't automatically seat upgraders together. If you talk to a human, it can usually work out. Quite frequently, I am asked by a couple to trade seats so they can sit together. I recall one flight where 6 people ended up changing seats on-board so 3 couple could sit together.
     
  11. gemac
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    gemac Silver Member

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    This is a well-known and much-discussed flaw in the AA upgrade program. It assigns seats as it upgrades people, one at a time. The best I can figure out, it takes into account your preference for aisle/window, but does not consider if it is upgrading two passengers on the same PNR. As far as I can tell, it seats from back to front, in the type of seat you requested. If the available seats were 3E, 3F, and 6F, and one of you had requested aisle and one window, the window pax would get the window seat furthest to the rear (6F) and the aisle pax would get the aisle seat furthest to the rear (3E).

    Mrs. gemac and I experience this frequently. It is especially frustrating if their are more upgrades after us, and the computer plops somebody else into the previously empty seat next to one of us. People are generally pretty good about switching like seat for like seat, although not always. We have one of us aisle and one window, so mostly we ask to switch like for like, never OLCI if we haven't cleared, and watch for the upgrade alert.
     
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  12. Jason
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    Jason Silver Member

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    Thanks, that sounds exactly right. On a somewhat separate note, when do you find you typically clear the upgrade, compared to the time it's able to be processed...or isn't there a typical? For example, we're gold, so I've been watching out 24 hours in advance. I'm kind of surprised that we haven't been confirmed yet on our flight in 14 hours, when there's 10 (out of 16) first class seats available. Does that sound pretty typical?
     
  13. gemac
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    gemac Silver Member

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    Upgrade clearing times are all over the map (or is it clock face?). It seems to bear no relationship to number of first class seats available. It has seemed to me to be later this year than prior years. Others have reported it becoming somewhat earlier in the last month or two, I haven't done enough flying in that period to tell.
     
  14. Jason
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    Jason Silver Member

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    Yes, that definitely seems to be the case. Now 1 hour before boarding and still no upgrade with the same 10 seats available:)
     
  15. Travel2Food
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    Travel2Food Silver Member

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    For me, it depends on the route.

    Where in the past IAD-LAX often cleared at T-100, this year it's generally been clearing 24-72 hours out (last week was 72). For LAX-IAD, it's been worse since the 757's were replaced with 737s. Last week cleared at about 60 hours. It does often clear at the gate, and for a while it cleared after I'd boarded. Earlier in the summer (May-June-July) the upgrades were clearing routinely at <24 hours, even with the cabin 1/2 full.

    I recently had DCA-DFW-AUS and return clear at 100+ hours.

    Someone on the other board has an upgrade tracking spreadsheet via Google Documents
     
  16. Jason
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    Jason Silver Member

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    For those you you that care (no one, I'm sure :) ) We did end up getting upgraded right before boarding. The ended up having 2 seats empty in First Class (one a pilot took after asking the guy beside him if there was anyone sitting there).
     

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