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Continental Airlines and FF points for lst class upgrade - only on Wednesday?

Continental Airlines and FF points for lst class upgrade - only on Wednesday?

Old Nov 11th, 2008, 05:03 AM
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Continental Airlines and FF points for lst class upgrade - only on Wednesday?

DH and I were planning on cashing in points to upgrade to First on a trip to Paris. After checking, DH found that the only flight available for this type of upgrade, using our miles, is on a Wednesday. We planned on leaving on a Friday, so that wasn't what we had in mind.

Is this typical?
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Old Nov 11th, 2008, 05:22 AM
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I do not know if it is typical. Did you try on the website or did you call to try to upgrade?
I had better luck actually talking with a person.
Jaye
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Old Nov 11th, 2008, 06:14 AM
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Using miles for free tickets or upgrades requires flexibility. If you have ONLY 1 day in mind then perhaps miles are not your game.

What IF that particular Friday all the seats are sold out in first? Did you think about that possibility?
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Old Nov 11th, 2008, 06:20 AM
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"What IF that particular Friday all the seats are sold out in first? Did you think about that possibility? "

I asked my husband that question and he said that was not the case.

He also said that the upgrade would only be good for one particular flight time on Wednesday (can't remember which time).

I only asked if this was "typical" - sure we can be somewhat flexible, but it will throw a wrench in our plans.
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Old Nov 11th, 2008, 06:25 AM
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Hello seetheworld

FF seats (coach or first class) book up very quickly, sometimes as soon as they are released (like 11 months ahead of time).

If you really can only fly on a Friday, sometimes you might get lucky and be able to upgrade when you check in on flight day. Not ideal, but MIGHT be an option if the first class section is not full and the elite passengers have not used their upgrades before you.

On the other hand, two extra days in Paris can't be that bad, can it?

Happy travels!
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Old Nov 11th, 2008, 06:48 AM
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Giving away free tickets or upgrades is based on a very sophisticated software that predicts on how many seats will be SOLD for any given flight based on past performance.

Just because there are still some seats available, the revenue dept will not release these seats until they are sure there won't be anymore passengers BUYING these seats.

You can always call and ask to be put on a wait list. There will be some seats released for upgrades, if they don't sell out about a week or so before the flight.
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Old Nov 11th, 2008, 06:52 AM
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Hi there, swisshiker.

We are 9 months out and realize we need to commit soon. There still seems to be plenty of availability for coach with FF - I guess that wouldn't be the end of the world. We are also heading to Belgium and just trying to make the most of DH's time.

Thanks.
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Old Nov 11th, 2008, 06:56 AM
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We posted the same time, AAFF. Well, we figured there was some rationale behind it all. Thanks for the explanation.

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Old Nov 11th, 2008, 06:57 AM
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tidbits, do they still have people answering the phone these days?
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Old Nov 11th, 2008, 10:30 AM
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In the past, CO rarely gives out confirmed mileage upgrades at all. After implementing the co-pay, that has gotten more frequent, but upgrades usually won't clear until about 2-4 weeks before flight time.

More recently, with the downturn in economy, that has gotten easier. My mom cleared upgrades for her flight to HKG in late Nov and back from HKG in late Dec - when she booked in late October.

You can pay the miles and co-pay to get yourself on the waitlist. Friday night flights may be harder to get upgraded on, but it's still possible. You just can't count on it.

Also check to see if their flight to BRU have confirmed upgrade. It's only about 2 hours to Paris by train.
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Old Nov 11th, 2008, 10:34 AM
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Let me add that upgrades are cleared more frequently these days on CO not only because of the economy, but because CO itself has changed it internal policy.

Up until about perhaps 1-1.5 years ago, CO would regularly leave BF seats empty while there are people on the waitlist for upgrade. They were trying to "protect the integrity of the front cabin".

But now, if there are unsold BF seats, they will let anybody who wants to upgrade upgrade. And just recently, they changed the policy again, allowing clearing the upgrade all the way till boarding. Before, if you don't clear at 24 hours, you won't get it.
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Old Nov 11th, 2008, 02:50 PM
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Midweek reward are almost always easier to snag - Wednesdays are more available because they are not as popular a travel day.

As to CO upgrades, ditto rkkwan. Over the years I have had to be wait listed numerous times for BF upgrade on purchased coach tickets, and roughly 95% of the time they cleared. No guarantees, of course, especially on popular routes during busy times. It also helps if you hold elite status.
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Old Nov 11th, 2008, 04:31 PM
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Another factor is what flight you'll be on. If you're flying through IAH, then there's only one flight. But did you ask about the flights from EWR?

Next summer EWR is getting one 764 and two 752 to CDG. I have to say I don't know which flights are easier to get upgraded on. You may want to ask this on the Continental Onepass forum on Flyertalk.com.

In terms of ratio, upgrade chance is probably higher on the 764 flight, with 35/200. 752 is 16/149. On the other hand, more people paying for their BF tickets may want to fly the 772, which some find it more spacious mentally and has the espresso machine.

CO is cutting capacity to CDG next summer compared to 2008. Both EWR and IAH lose the 772 with 48 or 50 BF seats, and will get the 764 instead with 35 seats. On the other hand, BRU will get the 772, like it did in summer 2007. Since you're going to Belgium anyways, you should consider the BRU flight.
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Old Nov 11th, 2008, 04:32 PM
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Sorry, I mean more people paying for their tickets may want to fly the 764 vs the 752.
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Old Nov 11th, 2008, 05:22 PM
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Thanks for the additional information. We do plan on flying out of EWR. I'm printing this thread out and giving it to my husband to figure out the next step (he's the one who does the ticket booking and I do everything else). Now we have to rethink if we head to Paris first or Belgium.

Thanks again.
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Old Nov 12th, 2008, 05:51 PM
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rkkwan, I'm not sure what this waitlist is you're talking about?

I called two months ahead of my flight to LGW and asked about using miles to upgrade. They didn't mention anything about a waitlist.

However they did want $450 plus 20,000 miles to upgrade one-way, and I wasn't willing to pay $450 so I said no.
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Old Nov 12th, 2008, 05:59 PM
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Londonlover - if they offered you the upgrade (for miles + fee) then it was probably available at that moment and you would not have needed to wait list. If here was nothing available at that moment (and you were willing to go the miles + fee) they would have offered you to go on a wait list. You must have been on of the most deeply discounted fares, as the fee varies from zero (Y or H fare) with fare class and at that time 450 was he thighest (it is now 500.)
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Old Nov 12th, 2008, 06:43 PM
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You're charged the miles and co-pay to get on the waitlist. If you don't clear, then both are returned to you.
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