Flight Upgrade - Day of Departure

Mar 14th, 2012, 03:30 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Nov 2009
Posts: 123
Flight Upgrade - Day of Departure

We are traveling as part of a "group tour" and are wondering if it is possible to seek (and pay for) an upgrade to business class on the day of travel. We have one leg to Toronto and then Toronto to Frankfurt. Definitely would like to upgrade for the transatlantic leg.

Are there any "restrictions" or is it just based on availability and one asks at the counter when checking in? Do I have to book upgrade on both legs or can I request just transatlantic leg when checking in? Any idea of potential cost? I have no idea of our ticket category since it was part of the package price.

Carrier is Air Canada - if that makes a difference. Any advice/ feedback would be most appreciated.
Beachnut11 is offline  
Mar 14th, 2012, 03:49 PM
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 636
This is a link to Air Canada's Last Minute Upgrade Program. It doesn't give you any information on cost, but it does indicate how it works:


I wouldn't be surprised if your ticket (purchased as part of a package) is either ineligible for upgrade or subject to a prohibitively expensive price (e.g., $1000 or more per transatlantic segment per person) to upgrade.
frogoutofwater is offline  
Mar 14th, 2012, 04:04 PM
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I went to Costa Rica with a tour group, and I was told upgrades were unavailable. The explanation was that the airline (USAir) gave the group discounted seats that were ineligible for upgrade..........this explained why the seven of us were in middle seats scattered all over the plane!

You can certainly ask when you check in. The worst they can do is tell you NO.
tenthumbs is offline  
Mar 14th, 2012, 05:12 PM
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Thanks - will check out the link and as you say...it never hurs to ask!
Beachnut11 is offline  
Mar 14th, 2012, 08:37 PM
Join Date: Dec 2006
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I would have to agree with frogoutofwater. If you look at the fine print on your ticket, it probably says something like "shut up and sit down. Be quiet."

I have been approached by agents at the ticket counter for spot one way upgrades. Price ranges were $800-$1200. I think I was only approached because business class was almost empty. It also might have been my elite status at the time.
Rastaguytoday is offline  
Mar 14th, 2012, 10:33 PM
Join Date: Feb 2004
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Many fares are upgradable if you pay enough. If you want to make sure you're sitting in front, you should do that prior. Or contact the tour company to have them do it for you. As for upgrade at the airport, only some airlines do it, not sure about AC. And only on certain flights with availability. Even when they are offered, cost can vary depends how much they think they can get enough passengers to upgrade.
rkkwan is offline  
Mar 15th, 2012, 11:04 AM
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Join Date: Nov 2009
Posts: 123
Thanks for the replies...

@rkkawa: ...we were offered a business class option for the tour but it was over $5,000 per person...too rich for us. I'm most interested in the transatlantic departure leg as that is when jet lag hits me the most. Since the tour offered a business class option originally, I assumed (perhaps wrongly) that they would not be interested in assisting us with a one way upgrade. I will check with them.

Since the day of travel would be Air Canada's "last opportunity" to make more $$ on the flight I thought inquiring at check in might be our best option.

@Rastaguytoday: ..I'll check the fine print when tickets are issued....unfortunately we aren't elite status (or even remotely close)....just retirees on a "bucket list" trip.
Beachnut11 is offline  
Mar 16th, 2012, 12:17 PM
Join Date: Dec 2006
Posts: 4,238

It's 10-13 hours at the most. Most of us can survive sitting at the back of the plane.

I once had a gate agent "upgrade" me to an exit row, only to find I was next to the lavatory. BTW: it was a 13 hour flight from Taiwan. People lining up for its use would step on my feet an legs with alarming regularity.
Rastaguytoday is offline  
Mar 19th, 2012, 07:29 AM
Join Date: Sep 2011
Posts: 304
With the Last Minute upgrade - you "may" be offered it at check in or you may not.

If really want the upgrade, then I would call AC explain the situation and ask if there is anything that can be done. You never know, you may get a proactive CS agent who will go out of their way to help you. IME - being upbeat and friendly goes a long way, give them the whole story.
johnnyomalley is offline  
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