When coach feels more like first class…

It’s funny how the upgrade “game” works out sometimes.

On Thursday night I flew from Dallas to Seattle, an upgrade I figured would be near impossible to clear since Thursday night upgrades are among the toughest. At the same time tonight I was flying from Seattle to Chicago, an upgrade I figured was a given since Saturday is one of the easiest days to clear upgrades.

What ended up happening? My outbound upgrade cleared 100 hours out, while my return upgrade didn’t clear (I’m writing this from seat the exit row). Of course I don’t mind flying coach, though this upgrade hurts my head more than my rear. After all, if I can’t clear a Saturday night upgrade, what can I clear anymore? The other interesting data point was that there were only a total of two people on the upgrade list at the gate, and I was one of them. Oddly enough there’s something comforting about being at the top of one of United’s 100+ person upgrade waitlists as opposed to American’s two person upgrade waitlists.

But American really does know how to take care of Executive Platinum members in coach. As the flight attendants rolled the cart to the front of the cabin they first stopped at my seat, addressed me by name, and asked if I might be interested in a free drink or snack. Awesome.

Comments

  1. yeah, i like the free drink and snack for AA EXPs, and with a smile no less. I wish UA did that. It really is the little things.

    When UA upgrades do not clear, which seems to be more frequent these days, we do not receive so much as a bag of peanuts. But i guess we are over entitled.

    I really should do an AA challenge.

  2. UA Gives you tons of drink vouchers though…for those times you don’t get the upgrade.

  3. Regarding the lack of upgrade tonight, my guess is there were some heavy duty Boeing travelers on that flight, given their HQ is in Chicago and their production is in Seattle. They also have a large customer base in Chicago.

    Now why on a Saturday night, who knows. But that would be my best guess.

  4. Once I was upgraded to F on a DL flight bound for Chicago. The plane was completely full–coincidentally it was the Bear Fest weekend. Well I guess that’s another story.

  5. The Alaska cruise season out of Seattle has begun. I think the cruise lines can buy discounted F and bundle it as an upcharge option.

  6. And alot of times cruise travel agents will also book passengers in Y making it easier to upgrade. And with cruises many people are booking 10 to 11 months in advance!

  7. A ton of drink vouchers? On UA you will sit in Y more than 10x unless you work for the gov’t or get lucky on the upgrade lotto, so I think a few is more on par. 🙂

  8. Lucky – the NATO summit is going on in Chicago, and people are flying in from all over the world. I would venture that all the FCs were probably taken by the Boeing folks who are all flying in for the summit.

  9. just to add to my previous comment, i should first state that I go back and forth ORD-SEA all the time, and I typically come back on Saturday afternoons. I’ve never once not had my UPG clear at the 100hr mark. So that’s why I believe that this is a unique situation, probably due to the NATO summit.

  10. Agree with Arjun–the NATO summit officially started Sunday and played havoc with travel in and out of ORD all weekend. Given the number of revenue seats sold, I doubt many Executive Platinums upgraded Saturday on any route into ORD.

  11. @Carl

    Yeah… when I was a platinum on NW, I absolutely hated the fact that if your upgrade didn’t clear, you were no better than a silver onboard.

    While that may not be that big of a deal, psychologically, it sets you up for a nice high (hey, the almighty upgrade cleared!) or a big bust (you get nothing.) The real annoying thing was on the 757s, I could have 15A, which was a seat six inches from the exit door. I could get off the airplane ASAP. But no… I had to wait until first class emptied out. That actually pissed me off — the only thing special about those 24 people is that their upgrade cleared.

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