Have you had times when you couldn't get an upgrade or paid seat in Qantas business class?!
On several occasions when I couldn't get a fully paid domestic business class ticket I asked how many commercial seats were for sale on the flight - the replies were 9 on 737-800 (12J) and 9 on a 767-300 (30J).
A surreptious peak at the manifest left conveniently in the forward gallery area alerted me to the fact that QF business class is often crammed full of their own staff - I have even been on a flight with 7 out of 9 occupied seats taken by staff on a 737-800!!!
Further investigation has shown this is the norm on the routes I fly. It appears there are two types of staff - subload and duty. I am told by the airline that subload are staff travelling in their own time and in theory they are not supposed to take precedence over
1. a full paying passenger
2. an upgrading passenger
3. seating preference for a paying for upgrading passenger
Furthermore they are not supposed to have seats allocated on a flight until 20 mins before departure.
Duty staff have precedence due to union agreements and absolute precedence is also granted to the airline managers and pilots ahead of customers.
No wonder fares are so high and have gone up 18.25% in 2 years! No wonder Qantas is complaining it can't make business class pay on certain routes!!! A significant portion of seats are non revenue! Furthemore, they are diluting their brand and creating a situation where cabin crew know they are serving principally their colleagues rather than paying passengers.
It's happening as well on international - I have travelled first class to Europe several times and witnessed the same staff faces enjoying their ride in first class!!! Does the airline expect us to pay $14,000 return when we know the cabin is a glorified staff junkett?
If you have had similar experiences please post them!
If you are unable to get an upgrade or paid seat you might want to consider asking the airline how many staff are on the flight - and especially whether any subload staff are there because YOU should get pecendence over them for paid, seats, and upgrades and seating allocation!!!
Incidentally, British Airways sell off their Club Europe (Business) seats at discount as restricted fares at anywhere between 25-70% discount!!!