Another upgrade question

Discussion in 'UK Trip Planning Forum' started by Amyrlin, Sep 1, 2007.

  1. Amyrlin

    Amyrlin DIS Veteran

    Jul 20, 2005
    OK, we all would like upgrades, but they are difficult to get. I have often had SFU on a ticket, but it has never come to anything.

    So, a question, I know there are certain things you can do to increase the chances, such as not ordering a special meal, traveling singly or as a couple etc.

    Are there any other things that can help that anyone knows of?

    We are traveling with virgin who are not very generous at giving out upgrades, and I know it is not worth asking (and I am not complaining, traveling there economyu and back PE, so we pay fr what we want, but you never know).

    Does checking in online make any difference, esp if upgrades are given out at the gate, or if it is an operational one decided in advance will online check in invalidate that?
  2. AliceGardner

    AliceGardner Mouseketeer

    Apr 6, 2007

    How do you know that you have SFU on your tickets? SFU is normally put into your booking record by airline staff and not normally visible to the passenger.

    Who are you travelling with? Families are least likely to get upgraded (airlines generally don't like upgrading children into business class cabins - it does happen occassionally, but not very often). Couples sometimes get upgraded. Most upgrades are single people (because they are easier to fit into free seats).

    Are you a Very Frequent Flyer with Virgin. Although I can atest to it not always being the case, supposedly they SHOULD upgrade Gold FF members, then Silver FF members before anyone else. So being a VFF with Virgin could help your case.

    Even if you are SFU, most airlines will generally not upgrade ANYONE unless hthey have to. So most upgrades happen on oversold or full flights (where the airline needs to move customers up to the next Class of Service, so that they have enough economy seats for the oversold economy...).

    Also, from personal experience, many airlines wait until as late of possible to upgrade people: they know the flight is oversold, but they gamble that they will have enough "no shows". Most of our upgrades have been when we have checked in late (through no fault of our own). The airlines will generally upgrade the person checking in infront of them when they know that economy is full.

    So, to maximise upgrade chances:
    1 choose what will be a very full flight.
    2 be a VFF with the airline.
    3 travel by yourself or with just an adult partner (and no kids)
    4 do not use OLCI
    5 check in as late as possible (if you are really daring when they start calling "passengers for the VS?? flight to Orlando please come to the front of the check-in queue!"

    However, not using OLCI and checkiing in late mean that:
    - you risk being bumped from a flight altogether, and
    - you may end up with rubbish seats (i.e. middle seats and seperated from the rest of your party).

    So you have to decide whether the risks are worth it...

    In general I think it is better to either pay for the upgrade (i.e. buy a UC ticket to begin with or try to buy it at the airport - the latter tends to be an expensive way of doing it...) or just use OLCI to get the best seats available in your booked class...

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  4. Frances999

    Frances999 DIS Veteran

    Feb 6, 2004
    Excellent advice from Alice, but I would say a couple of points are negligible, such as the "Don't use online check-in". From my experience there are frequently Virgin staff looking for people to bump up a class or take a later flight around the bag drop area at Heathrow. We've been asked twice if we wouldn't mind taking a later flight (first time they over-booked PE (and UC was full), second time, UC was full) - and this was after we had done OLCI and were dropping off our luggage. On both occasions all classes had been over-booked, so the only option was to wait for a later flight (i.e. not upgrade). The "compensation" in both instances was free-of-charge return tickets to any VA destination in economy, with upgrades available for an additional fee.

    The most success we have had has been down solely to having VA flying club gold membership. I believe this is the #1 thing that can help you get an upgrade - as far as I am aware, it is standard practice for them to issue any upgrades to gold members before anyone else. It's worked for us a couple of times, and even once when we were travelling as a whole family.
  5. CustardTart

    CustardTart <img src= DIS Lifetime Sponsor

    Oct 19, 2004
    Never been upgraded from Ec with any airline but have been upgraded three times from PE to UC. Twice we were travelling as a family of 5 - 3 kids ranging from 16 to 6 and the pre-booked childrens meals we'd ordered appeared without us having to ask. Both times it was on the return leg from MCO and we were upgraded at the DTD check-in. The third time was on a LHR to JFK flight - we were upgraded as we boarded the plane and that time we were a party of 6 as DD's boyfriend came with us! :thumbsup2 Forgot to say that DH was a Gold Flying Club member due to crazy amounts of transatlantic business travel - not sure if he still is tho'...

    VA did the right thing commercially as, after such treatment, we prefer to fly with them whenever possible and factor in upgraded flights as part of our long-haul vacationing costs... :rolleyes:

    Incidentally, we overheard a couple of guys trying to get upgraded from PE to UC on our flight to Barbados in January - the VA staff gave them very short shrift and said they don't upgrade at check-in anymore. Not sure how true that is, but there were at least a couple of UC seats free during the flight... ;)
  6. Amyrlin

    Amyrlin DIS Veteran

    Jul 20, 2005
    I have actually had it on the ticket on a couple fo occasiosn, and on antoehr was told by the staff.

    A couple, a know singles are most likey, but couples are more likey than families.

    Yep :)

    I know, that's why I was aslking, I will not ask for an upgrade, but if I can tilt things towards it I can dream that maybe oneday a bit of magic will come my way.

    So OLCI may nt be such a good idea.

    Actually we have, we wanted PE on the way back so have bought it :)

    Thankf for the advice.

    Frances9999 I really wound not mind being bumped to the next flight if I got a free flight out of it :)
  7. wayneg

    wayneg Moderator Moderator

    Jul 24, 2003
    We have never been upgraded after 100's of flights. We are always just 1 point away form Silver status with Virgin, never quite do it. Always fly economy and very happy doing that as I sleep from getting on a plane to getting off usually.
    My Brother has Virgin Gold status, he always travels PE or Business and usually alone. He gets upgraded 50% of the time. Most of his travelling is to Vegas, he befriended a member of staff there, took him DVD's with Airline on:lmao: If that member of staff is on duty he gets upgraded everytime. So its who you know as well.
  8. giggler

    giggler Mouseketeer

    Jun 23, 2002

    Weve been upgraded a few times with Virgin. Its always been from Heathrow - never Gatwick. We currently hold Red Flying cards but have drifted into Silver the odd year here and there.

    But we have only ever had one return flight with BA and got upgraded both both legs of the journey.

    We never can work out why you get chosen over others to get upgraded, but never complain when we do.
    The only thing i can work out is that it doesn't realy matter how you dress or how polite you are to the check in staff, as every upgrade we have had has happened at the boarding gate, and we always use online checkin or twighlight checkin, so i think you can rule that one out to.

  9. Obi Wan Kenobi

    Obi Wan Kenobi DIS Veteran

    Sep 30, 2004
    There are so many variables as to how you get an upgrade, I would not even try to fathom it out.
    certainly with Virgin you have a better chance of an upgrade on the heathrow routes than teh gatwick routes due to the cabin configurations, with more PE and UC on those than on Gatwick aircraft.

    I have had upgrades on various airlines at various times. if you get it, then thats a nice bonus, if you REALLY want an upgrade, there is a 100% gauranteed way to do it......

  10. Mermaid2sea

    Mermaid2sea DIS Veteran

    Mar 29, 2007

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