United Business Class Upgrade Query

Old Mar 21st, 2022, 07:14 PM
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Posts: 575
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
United Business Class Upgrade Query

Iíve booked round trip non stop flights on UA to Paris from Chicago in mid February for a week this June with my adult son (a gift of a long awaited Mother/son trip) in Economy(W) using miles and co-pay for upgrades to Business Class. Iím a senior citizen of advanced age and my days of being trapped in the back of the bus now constitute a health hazard as I must be able to get up and move about frequently.

I was told by the UA agent (off shore and most likely reading from a script) when I asked how likely these upgrades might come through and when, I was told there is a good chance they would be made available since I booked ďon the early sideĒ but probably would not be notified until just before departure. I have been charged the economy tix cost plus $550 co-pays ($2200) and the 80,000 miles have been deducted from my Mileage Plus account. Now I wait with bated breathe.

Can any Fodorites out there provide personal experience they might have had with this scenario pro or con? I thought about having the fall back of booking Economy Plus seats just in case the upgrades donít come through but hesitate to invest yet more $$$.
Thanks for any and all input!
travelchat


travelchat is offline  
Old Mar 21st, 2022, 07:36 PM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 69,770
Likes: 0
Received 50 Likes on 7 Posts
I'd definitely consider registering on FlyerTalk and asking there. They have a very active United Airlines sub forum and if you tell them your flight # and date they can look up on some paid specialist websites and see the actual load factor on your flight and tell you the best way to get an upgrade - or if you have no chance.
janisj is online now  
Old Mar 22nd, 2022, 05:26 AM
  #3  
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 3,190
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
We are sitting on a mountain of United Plus Points, which are an upgrade "currency" awarded through the Mileage Plus program that use the same inventory as mileage upgrades. I hate playing the waiting list game, so one of my recent "hobbies" has been trying to find available United upgrades in order to use our Plus Points (which do expire next January). At least in my experience, United doesn't seem to be releasing upgrade award space until close to the date of the flight - international or domestic. I've tried every which way and many possible European destinations for late spring, summer and later in the year (also traveling from Chicago) and have so far found nothing. On the other hand, about a month ago, I found upgrades available to/from Spain on two weeks' notice, so we made a more spontaneous trip. This is not to say your upgrades won't clear - they might and at any time - but I doubt anyone can predict now what will happen for flights in June.

If I was in your shoes, I probably wouldn't pay for Economy Plus (a few extra inches of leg room) right now and see how things go for a while. But since this route is operated with a Dreamliner that has a Premium Plus (more of a true premium economy) cabin, I might eventually consider that if the price difference wasn't too much. Good luck!

ms_go is online now  
Old Mar 22nd, 2022, 07:57 AM
  #4  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Posts: 575
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Thanks JanisJ, I’ve just registered on FlyerTalk with my query and await input.

gms_go, I feel your pain. Navigating FF programs is a challenge, given the wait times involved when calling as well as dealing with off shore agents who read from a limited script. Frustrating and discouraging. The airlines seem unwilling to do their loyal customers any favors - the almighty $ the bottom line. But we who love to travel soldier on!
travelchat is offline  
Old Mar 22nd, 2022, 06:58 PM
  #5  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 10,043
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
UA would much rather sell those business class seats than let them go for miles, so you will probably not know until shortly before your flight if the upgrade cleared. That's been my experience with UA for the last several years, especially on popular routes at popular times such as your itinerary. It can happen, but don't expect it to be confirmed far in advance.
Seamus is offline  
Old Mar 23rd, 2022, 02:20 PM
  #6  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Posts: 575
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Thanks Seamus and others for your responses.
Paramount to starting off this milestone trip with my son by having a comfortable eight hours in the air has led me to bite the bullet and purchase the BC upgrade offered on the UA site for the outgoing portion. Taking my chances on the return. It was necessary to call UA after the BC option purchase for seat assignments as the on-line site was not responsive. An actual on-shore agent in Houston(!) answered after the usual 30 minute wait and I almost dropped the phone in shock not to have reached the Philippines Call Center. Once the seat assignment was complete, I was reassured by this most gracious and patient agent that she felt it was very likely the return upgrade would come through in lieu of the fact of our early booking and being first on the wait list. So, we’re gonna sit and wait it out, hoping for a happy ending to our much anticipated travel. Next - monitor that the unneeded outgoing portion of miles and co-pay are reinstated/refunded!
travelchat is offline  
Old Mar 23rd, 2022, 03:25 PM
  #7  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 10,043
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Good choice, IMO, travelchat. Keep in mind that the upgrade also gets you admission to the very nice Polaris lounge at ORD by gate C18. For your return from CDG there's no Polaris lounge, nor a United Club but there is the decent Star Alliance lounge but I am not certain if it is currently open.
Seamus is offline  
Related Topics
Thread
Original Poster
Forum
Replies
Last Post
Kathie
Air Travel
14
Nov 29th, 2015 11:30 AM
samtraveler
Europe
39
Feb 14th, 2006 07:30 AM

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On


Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Do Not Sell My Personal Information