Tipping for a seat upgrade?

Dec 19th, 2007, 02:34 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Oct 2006
Posts: 709
Thanks for the suggestion, and the explanation, Patty! I found this site yesterday when I was digging around, but like the other person, wasn't really sure what I was looking at. Your explanation was helpful

I'll have to look at Lufthansa's specific booking classes, I think. My flight is a bit tricky because our flight is ticketed on United, but it's operated by Lufthansa... good old code shares!

Kyliebaby3 is offline  
Dec 19th, 2007, 02:51 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 5,994
Jeff_Costa_Rica is absolutely correct; upgrade by flirt/honeymoon/etc probably never existed, and it certainly doesn't now. A gate agent who hands out upgrades will be fired in a flash.

Operational upgrades -- where economy is oversold, for example, and some economy customers are put in business or first -- do happen, though maybe not as often as some would hope. Each airline has its own system for determining who gets upgraded.

I have elite (Senator) status on Lufthansa, and I have yet to see them offer gate upgrades for cash. (Not to say it doesn't occur on LH, just that I haven't seen it.) I have seen it frequently on United.
DonTopaz is offline  
Dec 19th, 2007, 02:54 PM
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 3,037
In addition to what Jeff_Costa_Rica and others have said, keep in mind that some airlines have very specific policies that their gate agents are supposed to follow re: upgrades (if you don't believe me, go look on the United board at Flyertalk for the post from a former gate agent at Dulles...spelled out in extreme detail). While some will need to use a bit of discretion at times to get a flight out, they are generally not empowered to hand out upgrades however they see fit.
ms_go is offline  
Dec 19th, 2007, 04:45 PM
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Y'all are just jealous of those of us that are cute. ;-)
hills27 is offline  
Dec 20th, 2007, 02:22 AM
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I have a hard enough time getting upgrades with miles.
Carrybean is offline  
Dec 20th, 2007, 03:10 AM
Join Date: Mar 2005
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On a recent LH flight there was a very dapper, 60ish gentleman who seemed bent on getting an upgrade with his charm. It was an interesting spectator sport to watch.

Dressed to the nines - poofy scarf, slick, combed back hair, hankie in jacket pocket. His seat was front of coach cabin, one row a head of mine. During boarding he hovered in the biz class galley. He carried a box of chocolates, trying to find the head stewardess (purser?).

I could see him pointing to empty seats in biz, apparently asking if he could get one. After everyone else finally being seated (as plane was about to push back), he was still standing. The purser was finally brought to him. He handed over chocolates, had a quiet word, then sat down in his seat with a dejected look.

He never did get the upgrade, but they did bring him a biz class meal and wines.

Part of me felt happy for him to have the confidence and persistence he displayed, and part of me felt sad as he seemed to be almost groveling "I deserve to sit in biz class, not back there in coach."

J62 is online now  
Dec 20th, 2007, 06:37 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 2,711
".....not back there in coach", with the unwashed....Heaven forbid!!
BeachBoi is offline  
Dec 20th, 2007, 06:54 AM
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 3,864
I do get upgraded frequently, but I'm requesting the upgrades when I make the reservation with the understanding that they may or may not come through, and that I will have to pay for them out of my FF miles or AA's stickers. But I never go into it thinking that I deserve anything.

If that's what the man the J62 described thought, that he "deserved" to sit in business, then he should have bought a business-class ticket.
Jeff_Costa_Rica is offline  
Dec 20th, 2007, 10:46 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 15,142
My nephew and his fiance were to fly on Lufthansa from Boston via Munich to Krakow last April. Economy was oversold for BOS-MUC so they volunteered and accepted the denied boarding compensation: $600 each plus business class reservations for the next day. They spent the night in Boston. The next day the flight was again oversold and they were offered the same DBC. He wanted to collect again, but she insisted on going to KRK to finish prep for their wedding.
mrwunrfl is offline  
Dec 22nd, 2007, 05:26 AM
Join Date: Sep 2003
Posts: 2,420
A few thoughts...

1. Seat availablity maps are NOT the same as "unsold" seats. They can show full on empty flights and vice versa.

2. A LOT depends on your airline. I fly Delta almost exclusively (I live in Atlanta) Your chances of any upgrade to Business on the DAY of travel slim and none! I have seen them "begging" for volunteers on an International flight, but letting Business Class seats go empty......THey don't sell gate upgrades and if you have "el cheapo" fare they aren't going to let you upgrade.

3. My Christmas Dzy flight to London is actually FULL. (I checked the unsold seats using a TA so I know the seats are sold)

4. I travel almost weekly on business. I cannot recall the last time the frequent flyers like me did not take every upgrade. I have NEVER actually met anyone who "flirted" or "honeymooned" thier way to an upgrade. (I think it is an urban legend LOL!) I did once "polite" my way into one. Got on my Delta flight from CDG to ATL and "el jerk" was in my seat. "El jerk" proceeded to tell FA that "I am an MILLION MILE FLIER, "I SPEND HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS on this airline" etc... while I kept my mouth SHUT. FA comes back with my new seat... BUSINESS! If HALF of "El Jerk's" statements were true he should have outranked me on the upgrade lottery! However, I was not on the cheapest fare out there (I think it may have even been an upgradeable fare?) and I was at least a Gold level FF then.
CarolA is offline  
Dec 30th, 2007, 11:58 AM
Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 110
In 2000, I had an awful day at the airport...delays, cancelled flights and rude seatmates. Near tears, I left the plan (we were delayed on the ground and this was before 9/11 when you could come and go as you liked) and was prepared to pay for upgrade certs, but I had to get away from the rude woman seated next to me (long story). As a UAL frequent flier, I use the certs provided, but NEVER pay for them...however, that day I was at the end of my rope and needed more space, a cocktail and a nap! As I was rambling about my day, the gate agent handed me my first class ticket and did not charge me for the upgrade. These days, however, everything is so much more automated, the gate agents don't seem to be able to do things like this anymore. I've had plenty more bad flight experiences since that time, but no more freebies.
LauraT is offline  

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