Delta Seat Upgrade (overseas)

Jun 14th, 2009, 08:33 AM
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Delta Seat Upgrade (overseas)

Does anyone have ideas on how one can upgrade from coach to business class specifically on Delta Airlines free or at low cost on an overseas flight?
nanabee is offline  
Jun 14th, 2009, 09:15 AM
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1. Lots more money.

2. More money (more expensive economy seat) and 25,000 frequent flyer miles.

3. Top tier elite status with Delta/NW + high-cost economy seat purchase (not discount economy) - no FF miles needed.

4. Extraordinary good luck.
Gardyloo is offline  
Jun 14th, 2009, 09:20 AM
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Ok scratch #1-3
How does one get upgraded with good luck?
nanabee is offline  
Jun 14th, 2009, 09:32 AM
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If you don't have elite status with the airline, and depending very much on your travel dates and route, the rare time a non-status economy passenger is upgraded is usually when the airline has over-sold economy (remember deliberate over-booking?) and somebody needs to be accommodated in the back, thereby bumping some passenger from coach up to the front of the plane. However many airlines will not upgrade anyone at the gate, but instead will offer vouchers and seats on the next flight, while upgrading (if there's any room) someone with status or on a high-cost coach ticket. Like all airlines, Delta keeps waiting lists of pax who have used miles or status for upgrade requests, and these "clear" sometime before the flight - maybe 2 or 3 days, maybe that morning, maybe at the gate, but if there are open business/first seats there's almost always a waiting list for them, so showing up at the gate and hoping for a free upgrade is pretty long odds.

Most airlines, and I'm almost certain including Delta, have rather well-orchestrated methods for doing this - high status frequent flyers (who frankly mean much more to Delta's bottom line than occasional discount coach passengers) get first dibs, or people who have purchased more expensive "fare class" economy seats, etc. - in a ranking that has low-paying coach pax near the bottom, just above people traveling on coach award tickets. Now, lightning does strike, and there are thousands of stories of people getting upgraded because (in their minds) they dressed nicely or flirted with the gate agents, or were wearing their camo army uniforms straight from Iraq... etc. Many may well be true, but that's set against the tens of millions of passengers who try all those things and end up in a middle seat. Luck happens.
Gardyloo is offline  
Jun 14th, 2009, 09:36 AM
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Thanks, so much, really appreciate you response.
Well, coach here we come!
nanabee is offline  
Jun 14th, 2009, 01:40 PM
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Sometimes if you are traveling alone and they need one seat in coach, but is more likely for US travel than overseas.
kybourbon is offline  
Jun 14th, 2009, 10:52 PM
Join Date: Aug 2007
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Without getting your hopes up, I will say that the current downturn is, disproportionately, impacting business class bookings. What that will probably mean is that you will see airlines overbooking coach and just pushing people into business class to cover the overage. I would expect such "op-ups" to increase.

Unfortunately, most airlines (and certainly Delta), will try to upgrade employees (who pay more for the privilege) or elite frequent fliers over Jane Doe in the back. As such, I would think that, if you don't have elite status of any sort, don't hold your breath.

One additional wrinkle for Delta, though, is that they seem to be upgrading people systematically, rather than at the gate, as has been done in the past. Twice in the past 6 months, I have shown up to check-in for Delta and Northwest (owned by Delta) international flights and was told by the agent that "the system upgraded" me. Clearly, what I was dressed like or how nice I was to the agents meant little to nothing. Probably the only deciding factor was that I am top-tier elite with Delta. And I would think this systematic approach will increase, so even as op-ups increase, the chances for non-elite upgrades may decrease.

Nonetheless, it might be useful to inquire about whether they are overbooked upon check-in and at the gate. If you show a willingness to help them out, they may be more likely to upgrade you. Also, I would keep an eye out for, and perhaps even ask about paid upgrades at check-in. Delta does not do this, AFAIK, but other airlines do (including BA, except at Heathrow), and some extra money (probably $350-$700) might see you sitting up front.
travelgourmet is offline  
Jun 15th, 2009, 12:47 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 4,859
We have always lived in a NW hub and while they've had their troubles and their faults, I found the employees to be friendly and helpful. Since Delta took over NW, I have not had one happy person at a ticket counter or a gate. I don't know what's going on, but they all seem to be just really irritated of late. Maybe overworked, maybe under paid, maybe getting laid off, I don't know - but I wouldn't hold my breath for a "nice" gate agent to just randomly upgrade the average Joe. My husband and I are both Elite members and even we find it increasingly difficult to get a gate agent to respond to the simplest of questions. It makes me very sad to see so many unhappy people.
TC is offline  
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