Upgrading International Flight

Jul 7th, 2006, 09:42 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 246
Upgrading International Flight

We always fly cheap (coach) and do not have frequent flyer miles. We have an upcoming trip to Glasgow already booked with American. In the past, I have paid an extra amount to upgrade to 1st class right at the gate before boarding the flight (on domestic flights only). I suppose they will let you do that to squeeze every bit of $$ out the us, but it has worked out well for me in that I can sit in 1st class for a fraction of the cost when I am lucky enough to get the upgrade.

My question is - Does anyone know if American ever does this on International flights? We go from Chicago to Glasgow, beginning travel out of LAX. I already called American to find out how much to upgrade and they said you can't do that for just one segment of the trip - it has to be for the whole trip or none. I only want to upgrade for the trip from Chicago to Glasgow and leave the rest alone. Thus my question about upgrading at the gate and if it is ever offered on international flights.

dbaker is offline  
Jul 7th, 2006, 11:01 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 17,566
There are occasional reports of one-class upgrades being offered for anywhere from $250 to $600 (or €300) on some flights. Generally it seems to be on US-bound planes, not US departing. Certainly wouldn't count on it, though.
Gardyloo is online now  
Jul 8th, 2006, 03:26 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 12,885
Gardyloo is correct. Don't count on it and you won't be disappointed.

The only times it happens is when economy is oversold, they expect everybody to show up and business has empty seats. Instead of upgrading people for free, which eventually they would have to do it anyway, they came up with a brilliant solution. Offer what seems like a cheap upgrade and see who bites. If enough do, it's a win-win situation. They collected some extra money and few passengers think they got a deal of the century, where in fact they just helped in freeing up some seats in economy for the airline and ended up paying for the privilage.

It doesn't happen that often. It's not an official daily policy. If you don't see some handwritten sign offering the upgrade at the ticket counter then it's not happening. In short, they just don't sell upgrades for no reason. It would cheapen the upper cabin experience for the people that actually pay for it. Imagine if it was an official daily policy on all their flights? Many people would gamble and not pay for first/business class cabin hoping that they could purchase a cheap upgrade at the airport. The airline would not sell as many first/business class seats in the long run, thus it would hurt them more than help them by selling cheap upgrades.
AAFrequentFlyer is offline  
Jul 8th, 2006, 06:18 AM
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 5,950
Does it ever happen from business to first on trans-Atlantic? Also, I took a voluntary bump on BOS-LHR once & got a free hotel/meals, taxi & nice $$ voucher for going the next morning instead. I was in Business. Would it have been possible to negotiate an upgrade from Business to First (space available) for that next morning's flight instead of the voucher ?
Carrybean is offline  
Jul 8th, 2006, 07:55 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 17,566
Does it ever happen from business to first on trans-Atlantic?

Yes, same story. There are even recorded instances of "double op-ups" (with or without cash) i.e. Y > F.

Probably in the same statistical cohort as UFO sightings in Duluth.
Gardyloo is online now  
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