View Full Version : Flight upgrade newbie!

Tarheel Tink
04-30-2004, 08:04 AM
I took an offer for a first class upgrade on a flight a few weeks ago and am spoiled for good now! I have a flight to Alaska coming up booked and want to know the best way to "position myself" to try for another upgrade. I am aware I can let the airline know I would be interested in an upgrade 24 hours in advance (for AA). I am assuming I would just call (my travel agent has proved useless in this endeavor). As far as being at the airport, do I just inquire about the possibility? Stand by closely and be ready to leap with my credit card?
Thank you!

04-30-2004, 10:42 AM
I don't see that many upgrades for sale at the airport. I think you got lucky. Most times the frequent flyers get to upgrade not leaving many seats for upgrade for sale.

04-30-2004, 12:40 PM
Do you have enough Frequent Flyer miles in your account to upgrade? Many airlines will allow you to upgrade at time of booking if you have the miles in your account.

04-30-2004, 02:00 PM
I fly fairly often and usually on American, and I've never heard first class upgrades available for sale at the gate. You were very lucky to have the opportunity!

Usually, American first class upgrades are available only to Gold, Platinum and Executive Platinum AAdvantage members. These fliers are eligible for complimentary upgrades when traveling on a full-fare (Y or B class) coach ticket and can use electronic certificates to upgrade other tickets. Electronic upgrade certificates are good for 500 miles (or a fraction thereof) each and cost $25 each online (they are more at the airport) or 35,000 miles for eight. Elite members also get four free upgrade certificates for every 10,000 miles flown. It'll take a lot of certificates for a flight to Alaska.

Non-elite AAdvantage members also can purchase electronic upgrade certificates, but they are good only to upgrade a full-fare ticket to the next class of service.

If you're in any of the categories above, you can request an upgrade at the time of booking. When they will start processing your request depends on your status. Executive Platinum members get first dibs at 100 hours before the flight, Platinum at 72 hours and Gold/non-elite at 24 hours. They will continue processing your request until a few hours before flight time and you can get on the upgrade standby list for any last minute seats if you don't get an upgrade in advance.

If you're an elite member, the best option is to register on the aa.com site, purchase electronic upgrades and make your upgrade request online. The same applies for non-elite members, but remember that you'll only be eligible for an upgrade if you're on a full-fare ticket.

Tarheel Tink
04-30-2004, 05:03 PM
Thanks for your replies and suggestions! I told my husband if we ever have any questions on any matter I'm taking it to the DIS- repaired my computer, got discounts on trips, etc. You guys rule!

04-30-2004, 07:28 PM
Originally posted by Jestocost
I fly fairly often and usually on American, and I've never heard first class upgrades available for sale at the gate. You were very lucky to have the opportunity!

I know ya'll are talking about AA, but as an FYI, Delta does often allow you to purchase an upgrade to First at the gate. Provided there are seats available and there are not a lot of medallion members waiting to upgrade, the gate agents have the discretion of opening the flight up to allow most anyone to purchase upgrades. We did this on our last cruise flying from ATL-MCO. Going back the flight was full, so no opportunity.

04-30-2004, 09:29 PM
And I'll note that I saw AA and immediately thought American, while upon further review it could be Alaska Air. Truth is that policies vary widely from airline to airline, so you should investigate the specific airline to check their practices.

Tarheel Tink
04-30-2004, 09:55 PM
It is on American Airlines. On the earlier flight from Dallas to Charlotte, the upgrades were offered for $100.00. A friend flew the same flight one day later and the same upgrades were offered; he declined and saved his money.