The 'science' of op-up?

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thewinchester

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Having really only flown enough this year to have QF start looking after me better than most of the turgid dross in economy, I've been wondering what logic is usually applied by the airlines (QF in particular) when deciding who's lucky enough to get an op-up.

Is there any real science or logic to it, or is it just Altea playing favourites, waving a magic wand and deciding at random who it wants to be nice to?

As a bonus question (and hoping I'm not stretching the friendship), given that all upgrades are gone on QF1011 MEL-HBA on 21 Nov are already gone, what's do you see as my likelyhood of being handed an op-up considering;

  • Pax is QF Bronze for 10+yrs, w/paid corporate club membership for past 2yrs,
  • travelling on an upgradeable fare,
  • Currently 150SC & 10 segments travelled (2 international) this year,
  • On a 7 segment domestic trip worth AUD1200/90SC,
  • One segment (PER-MEL) already upgraded using points, and
  • currently availability (via Seatcounter) of B9 D6 I0 J6 K9 L9 M9 N0 O0 Q6 Q7 V9 K9.
Also, does how you check-in (OLCI, QuickCheck or Desk) have any bearing on the possibility of an op-up?

Your thoughts, insight and information greatly appreciated as always.
 

Mwenenzi

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21 Nov is a long time away. Look llke QF are still selling cheap seats Q7 V9 K9
Many business trip are booked a few day before (like I do).
QF up op's are rare. They are good at yeild management
Bronze = zilch IMHO
 
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opusman

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My only op-ups on QF domestic have been as a bronze (albeit QP member). Since reaching gold, I've had none :rolleyes:
 

Dave Noble

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The liklihood of an involuntary upgrade due to oversell is very low and expecting/hoping for it will lead to disappointment nearly all the time

The odds on needing to do them are low and even if they do need to do involuntary upgrades, there are a lot of people onboard to select from.

With 7 sectors , i would expect 7 sectors to be in economy

Dave
 

NM

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On QF, operational upgrades are only provided for real operational reasons, not just because there are business class seats available and there is a frequent flyer on board.

So what constitutes an operational reason?
  • The economy cabin is full and the business class cabin is not full and they want to get more passengers onto the flight.
  • They want to seat a family/group together but there are only individual seats available in the economy cabin.
The first of these can happen for a number of reasons. It may be that the economy cabin has been oversold on the basis that some people can be accommodated in the business class cabin. It may be that due to IROPS (Irregular Operation) the aircraft type has been changed resulting in an oversold economy cabin. It may be that due to another flight delay or cancellation it is in Qantas' interest to move passengers onto a different flight.

In thee cases its generally the compute (Altea) that flags who is to be upgraded. It has been reported here and other places that Altea has a defined set of rules it applies to determine who gets the upgrade, based on a combination of things including FF status (both Qantas and OneWorld) and fare paid.

The second type are more likely to be manually generated and processed by the gate staff as they try to rearrange seating to allow the family/group to be seated together. The most likely candidate for an upgrade in these circumstances is the person already allocated to a seat that would make seating the group together easiest. So not necessarily the person with the highest FF status and the fare paid is unlikely to be considered in this situation.

As a Qantas Club member, you best opportunity for an upgrade on a domestic flight is to get to the Qantas Club early and request an On Departure Upgrade using points.
 

htchapman

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IMO there is no 'science' to getting op-ups. But some things can be done to help your chances of getting one.

Basically you need to be a high tier frequent flyer (Platinum or Gold) booked in an economy cabin that is oversold and then you have a chance.

In the past 12 months my travel has ramped up from 70-90 flights per year to about 150 flights a year - 80% is domestic. I have noticed this calendar year that I have received a huge number of op-ups compared to previous years. This year so far, without counting my activity or BP's, I'd say I've had 15 op-ups. Mostly SYD-MEL or MEL-SYD but have had a couple AKL-SYD and SYD-AKL. I used points for a PER-BOM upgrade, but about 6 were op-up'd at gate (Gold and Silvers).

From my travel patterns I have noted a few things, but also have a few remaining questions.

- I book my flights about 1-2 days before I travel. I book on cheap (Red E Deals) flights when possible, and am flexible with time I travel (to an extent). If their isn't much $'s (20% of fare) between some fares I will choose one that may give me a chance of an op-up (eg: empty J and relatively full Y cabin).

- If there is a flight cancelled either side of your departure, the chances of the op-ups increase. (Especially true for SYD-MEL-SYD flights).

- Bad weather in Sydney helps get op-ups. They want to get rid of passengers on earlier flights when storms are forecast.

- Op-ups are given at the gate usually. I have had some upon checkin. They are, in my experience, never called out in the lounge.

- I always do OLCI, usually 23-24 hrs out.

- I always re-OLCI a few hours before departure to see if better seats available (sometimes if the 767 config changes).

- I either go to the checkin counter or Quick Quick in Business Lounge to get BP.

- I believe QF has a futher ranking system for their high tier FF's. How else would they decide which Platinum to op-up? I believe, for what ever reason, that I have a high ranking in this system. Yesterday I go an op-up and I followed no less than 15 Platinums from the Business Lounge to Gate. They were in Y also. Only two were op-up'd, myself and a CL. My constant op-upping has led me to believe that if a plane is full I have more chance of an op-up than other WP's.

- If the above point is incorrect, perhaps its done alphabetically?

- If the above two points are incorrect, perhaps its done on SC's? I'd suggest if this was the case it would be a rolling 12 month cycle.

- I do not know anyone at QF and do not work for a large corporation.

- I don't think QF keeps a record of op-ups to ensure they are shared around between members.

- I don't think the fare class makes a difference.

- I don't think the method of checkin makes a difference.

To be op-up'd as a Bronze would be very very good luck. I think you have less than 1% chance. Their will nearly always be higher tier FF's on board.

Op-ups remain an interesting issue - but I feel I am gaining a better understanding of them.

No doubt their will be plenty of experts on here who will dispute the above points and information.
 

albatross710

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Having really only flown enough this year to have QF start looking after me better than most of the turgid dross in economy, I've been wondering what logic is usually applied by the airlines (QF in particular) when deciding who's lucky enough to get an op-up.

Is there any real science or logic to it, or is it just Altea playing favourites, waving a magic wand and deciding at random who it wants to be nice to?

As a bonus question (and hoping I'm not stretching the friendship), given that all upgrades are gone on QF1011 MEL-HBA on 21 Nov are already gone, what's do you see as my likelyhood of being handed an op-up considering;

  • Pax is QF Bronze for 10+yrs, w/paid corporate club membership for past 2yrs,
  • travelling on an upgradeable fare,
  • Currently 150SC & 10 segments travelled (2 international) this year,
  • On a 7 segment domestic trip worth AUD1200/90SC,
  • One segment (PER-MEL) already upgraded using points, and
  • currently availability (via Seatcounter) of B9 D6 I0 J6 K9 L9 M9 N0 O0 Q6 Q7 V9 K9.
Also, does how you check-in (OLCI, QuickCheck or Desk) have any bearing on the possibility of an op-up?

Your thoughts, insight and information greatly appreciated as always.
They really only want to do it when they are desperate at which time they will apply their magic algorithm and obtain a 'good enough' outcome.
 

serfty

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- I book my flights about 1-2 days before I travel. I book on cheap (Red E Deals) flights when possible, and am flexible with time I travel (to an extent). If their isn't much $'s (20% of fare) between some fares I will choose one that may give me a chance of an op-up (eg: empty J and relatively full Y cabin).
...
It's more than simply status - your "Value" to Qantas is used to create a priory order contain in a list termed "Proactive Onload". As a WP who flies so much, your "value" may be ahead of some CL.

More here: The Australian Frequent Flyer Online Community - View Single Post - The Op-Up thread

Note the "Proactive Onload" list provides recommendations; it's still up to the person doing such upgrades to decide on how use the list if at all.
 

JohnK

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I think serfty's summation is fairly accurate.

I believe Altea determines the priority order on a flight and then it is up to the person(s) looking after any operational upgrades to determine who gets one and who doesn't. I also believe some QF staff take care of high status frequent flyers before anyone else.

I have had 6 op-ups this year all coming in the last 3 months (and the last 5 in the last 6 weeks) and from memory these flights were full. I have found out about op-up at check-in, using QuickCheck and at the gate.

I also believe I got an op-up yesterday but was denied by the gate attendant. My boarding pass * beeped * twice and the gate attendant, who looked extremely bored, was shocked and surprised and processed my boarding pass manually. :-| Seat 2D was the only empty seat in business. At check-in I was asked if I wanted a better seat and I stupidly mentioned that I thought I already had the best seat at 23D. :(
 

thewinchester

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Thanks as always to everyone who's replied, some really great and insightful information.
 

PaulC83

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It's more than simply status - your "Value" to Qantas is used to create a priory order contain in a list termed "Proactive Onload". As a WP who flies so much, your "value" may be ahead of some CL.

Advertising for Altea states "Proactive Onload and re-grade" as a customer management feature, so that fits in with most of the other information wormed out of the powers that be. Oh to be a fly on the wall sometimes to see how this "feature" actually is worked/interpreted.
 

mattm199

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The algorithm gods have been smiling on me recently - as a WP, last two Friday evening- down and Sunday afternoon- return BNE-SYD trips (on the last two weekends) had a SYD-BNE and BNE-SYD upgrade to business at checkin, the first on a Red-e-deal $79 fare, and the second on a G-class group booking.
It would seem that status would be the common factor.
On a side note they really have mastered the art of filling every seat on an aircraft, so perhaps Altea is more likely to slide someone into a spare J seat if they can pack more in down the back!
 

odysseus

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They want to seat a family/group together but there are only individual seats available in the economy cabin.

I'd have to say that's pretty rare - nil in my experience. I/my family have been split up numerous times (with child) and there's been no electronic attempt to re-shuffle things around, or resolution. The most is on-board when an FA might ask someone nearby if they can move to a free seat but that has not been very successful either.
 

NM

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I'd have to say that's pretty rare - nil in my experience. I/my family have been split up numerous times (with child) and there's been no electronic attempt to re-shuffle things around, or resolution. The most is on-board when an FA might ask someone nearby if they can move to a free seat but that has not been very successful either.
In my experience, they are unlikely to shuffle people around in the same cabin. But if there is room up front, and upgrading someone frees up a suitable block of seats, then it can happen.

I had it happen to me when I had pre-selected 23D on an A330. I knew 23E and F were unallocated and that the economy cabin was heavily loaded but not full (all confirmed by check-in agent). I was given op-up at check-in and the agent informed me it was so they could free up the block of 3 seats for a family.

My first instinct was they wanted the bassinet positions for the family. But the check-in agent denied this and I did peak back through the curtain and there was no infant capable of travelling in the bassinet in those seats.

So it can happen. But really is more down to luck than status or anything else. I guess mine was the easiest seat to find in order to make a block of three seats on the A330, and given I did have status the person doing the rearrangements decided I was a suitable candidate for a pleasant day.
 

mattm199

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Re: The 'science' of op-up?



So does that mean this is a 'Science vs Religion' argument?

Is voodoo a religion? :p

Rule 1 remains "always expect to travel in your ticketed cabin", or the converse "never book a seat that you wouldn't like to travel in for a given journey"
 

bkkrop

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Thanks as always to everyone who's replied, some really great and insightful information.
Hi thewinchester, when all else fails, consider the benefits of lounge access, in here the process is on a one to one basis. I had to, well I didn't have to, but I bought a couple of the mangers into the SYD lounge to show them, and it was just after a sales pitch on our new chocolate range, and an innocent young one told the reception they must try them and off loaded our supply, consequently we didn't have to carry them home:). They were all upgraded, but the highlight wasn't that, no, it was they were able to help Patti newton off the plane with her bag. Internationally the secret is to buy a fully booked cabin if you have status, just make sure your airline will accept a standby paid upgrade in case it fails, 12 hours in the back of the bus is not good, regards bkkrop
 

thewinchester

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Is voodoo a religion? :p
I'm sure we can find a toy manufacturer somewhere in SE Asia who'd make us an order of Alan Joyce voodoo dolls. I'll pass on getting close enough to get the necessary tufts of hair and nail clippings.

I can just imagine the conversation with the FA now as she sees me driving a few extra pins into its brain as a complaint for inconsistent on-board service ;)
 

AnonymousCoward

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what's do you see as my likelyhood of being handed an op-up considering;

  • Pax is QF Bronze for 10+yrs, w/paid corporate club membership for past 2yrs,
  • travelling on an upgradeable fare,
  • Currently 150SC & 10 segments travelled (2 international) this year,
  • On a 7 segment domestic trip worth AUD1200/90SC,
  • One segment (PER-MEL) already upgraded using points, and
  • currently availability (via Seatcounter) of B9 D6 I0 J6 K9 L9 M9 N0 O0 Q6 Q7 V9 K9.

I'd say your chances are about 0% (or very close to that).

Generally domestic Op-Ups are only because the economy cabin has become oversold (assuming you are not some VVIP) due to QF deliberately overselling the cabin (common during school holidays etc) or due to change in aircraft.

Given that there appears to be plenty of economy seats left on this flight, Op-Up changes are very low. You can, of course, as as QC member, ask for an upgrade on the day (for the requisite number of points).

As others have mentioned, QANTAS has a system for upgrading people. Status, fare class and the amount of money you spend with QF appear to have some influence. The last couple of years I've spent a lot more with QF than the previous 4-5 and op-ups have increased significantly (no doubt the QFC has also lead to an increase in op-ups generally, but I suspect that they would have gone to others on the flights but for my increased spending with QF)
 
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