First Class Upgrade

Old Mar 3rd, 2005, 03:12 PM
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First Class Upgrade

Does anyone know of any tricks that can help get first class airline upgrades? Thanks!
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Old Mar 3rd, 2005, 03:24 PM
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It always works for us when we buy first class tickets
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Old Mar 3rd, 2005, 03:30 PM
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is this a trick question? frequent flyer miles?

or maybe showing a little leg?
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Old Mar 3rd, 2005, 03:40 PM
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Don't even embarrass yourself by trying the "honeymoon" trick, either. Airlines couldn't care less these days. The upgrades go to frequent flyers and the few who pay for the tickets. Period.
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Old Mar 3rd, 2005, 03:43 PM
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Upgrades are not easy to score without paying for them or using miles. With so many people having so many miles to use, first class is often more full than coach!

But, in the off chance that coach is over-sold and first class has capacity, they will upgrade passengers to first before bumping people I assume. To be the lucky ones, it's best to arrive at the airport very early, dress nicely, and be friendly. But be prepared to sit in your coach seats as that's the more likely outcome.
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Old Mar 3rd, 2005, 03:51 PM
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They always want to give me a "no class" downgrade. :-<
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Old Mar 3rd, 2005, 04:12 PM
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Kal: And well deserved, I might add.... Belle
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Old Mar 3rd, 2005, 04:20 PM
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Kal, you're lucky they don't strap you to the wing!

A couple of weeks ago I was sitting in the lounge listening to a jerk try to get his travel agent into getting him upgraded for free. She wasn't helping him so he worked on the desk clerk. I was so happy to see him sitting in the middle seat in a middle row in coach.

If you want to fly Business or First Class be prepared to pay for it.
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Old Mar 3rd, 2005, 04:27 PM
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If they upgrade you out of coach it's because you either have the miles or paid out the wazoo for a refundable coach r/t ticket. If you got a cheapie ticket that is non-refundable--your chances are slim to none.

Hey Kal-They should put you in the cargo hold with all the other party animals. ;-)
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Old Mar 3rd, 2005, 04:33 PM
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....tuff crowd...tuff crowd
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Old Mar 3rd, 2005, 05:10 PM
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Ha Ha! Joke right?

The trick to getting into first class is to purchase first class seats.

Unless you are a big time frequent flyer, it's hard to even use miles for an upgrade. The upgraded seats go to the platinum/diamond/super duper flyers then down the next tier, and to the next.
 
Old Mar 3rd, 2005, 05:12 PM
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jlm, even if coach is full or oversold, the frequent flyers get upgraded first.

 
Old Mar 3rd, 2005, 05:15 PM
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Yeah, that makes sense. But we were lucky enough a few years ago to get upgraded to first class on Virgin Atlantic flying home from London even though we'd never flown with them before. It was such a great flight!
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Old Mar 3rd, 2005, 05:21 PM
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Wow! That's cool. Was this before September 11th? Before then, you could actually get in first class without selling your soul.

 
Old Mar 3rd, 2005, 06:20 PM
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Cut. Slack.

Joannelyn, the bad news is that US airlines are so downgrading the level of comfort and service in coach (in order to "compete" with the likes of Southwest et al) that getting upgraded is simply a daydream for most non-elite frequent flyer coach pax. It really is a race to the bottom among the carriers, so the motivation to upgrade for those that have the miles, the dollars, or the status, has never been higher. American Airlines, for example, recently announced they are doing away with their "more room throughout coach" program which gave tolerable legroom in the back of the bus, so much so that "elite" AA frequent flyers (myself included) didn't have to panic if we couldn't upgrade. No more, so speaking personally, and on behalf of most frequent/business flyers, I'll bust my tuckus to get up front, because it's so awful in the back (esp. on long flights.) The result is going to be that the old tales about wearing a tie (or a skirt) or chatting up the gate attendents, or the "honeymoon" gig, is going to cut faint slack with airlines that even offer first class, which many are, by the way, not.

Is there good news? A little. Some airlines allow "gate upgrades" for a modest amount of cash (e.g., $25 per 500 miles) if they have, by some miracle, empty seats up front an hour before the flight leaves. Others have "discounted" first-class fares that you can see if you go to the airline websites and use the "advanced features" part of their flight booking screens. And in fact, the gap between first class and coach fares has narrowed quite a lot in some markets, especially where the "legacy" airlines (those that even have FC) are having their lunches eaten by the low-cost types.

There are some compromises, too. One thing to note is that the food and beverage service in most US airlines' FC cabins is fast taking on the appearance of happy hour at Denny's. Don't fly FC for the cuisine - a gloppy cheese pizza is the likely offering on many AA flights, for example. And soy nuts to replace the warm cashews you used to get. All that's left of real value up front is legroom and seat width. The former you can't get in most coach cabins; the latter you can get without spending 4x your coach fare by having 2 passengers split 3 seats (if the plane is 3 x 3 as most are.) For a couple, if a CrumpleCoach(R) seat is $200, two for $400, then the price only goes to $300 each for a 50% increase in butt room, plus you can sit sideways and have legroom too. Poor man's FC - woo hoo. But it works.
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Old Mar 3rd, 2005, 06:48 PM
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I have flown tons and tons of times since Sept 11, and on several occasions I have had a first class upgrade. Most often it was (ironically) when Iw as trying to change my flight at the airport (i.e. to get me on an earlier plane, they just stuck me on a first class seat). Other times it was just because I asked if there was a way to upgrade -- once I had to pay $25 to upgrade; another time they just reassigned my seat to first class, probably because I was very pregnant. They almost always put me on the wait list to SEE if I could upgrade just for asking. Once my husband had an ear infection and we were trying to get on an earlier flight and they put us BOTH in first class.

Not sure what the trick is, but I always ask and many times it works!
 
Old Mar 3rd, 2005, 06:59 PM
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BTW--I do have frequent flyer status, so I suppose this helps. However, the interesting this is that my husband does not have the medallion status, but when I ask for him to sit next to my good seat or get upgraded with me, they always include him in my good deal.

never hurts to ask!
 
Old Mar 3rd, 2005, 07:09 PM
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Gardyloo wrote:

"No more, so speaking personally, and on behalf of most frequent/business flyers, I'll bust my tuckus to get up front, because it's so awful in the back (esp. on long flights.) The result is going to be that the old tales about wearing a tie (or a skirt) or chatting up the gate attendents, or the "honeymoon" gig, is going to cut faint slack with airlines that even offer first class, which many are, by the way, not."

Amen.

Very well put Gardyloo.
 
Old Mar 3rd, 2005, 07:23 PM
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My MIL has been very fortunate to fall into the good graces of BA (and on occassion VA) and receive upgrades to business class on transatlantic flights. No, she doesn't wear a skirt...she's just a nice senior lady who has difficulty walking and if a seat is available they offer it to her (and she usually asks). There is still some kindness among carriers but I am well aware that others would rather leave the seat empty than offer an upgrade.
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Old Mar 3rd, 2005, 09:15 PM
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Gardyloo, how do two people buy three seats? When you check in do you just say "I'm just one person but I bought both seats so don't give it away?" That's a pretty freaking good idea, I may try that for a flight to Hawaii with my mom.

love
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