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Upgrades? Pffttt

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missanalytical

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Oct 13, 2005
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After flying to the US previously in economy, I decided this time to use points to upgrade and possibly have a more comfortable trip.

On the trip out Brisbane to LAX I did not get my upgrade, and even though I had paid extra for the ticket in order to opt for an upgrade. I was seated between a mother with a 3 week old on one side, and a mother with a 16month and 4 yo on the other....

The trip home, again I was told that my upgrade was unsuccessful due to business class being full... although upon leaving the plane it was evident that some of the business class seats had not been used...

I have emailed the airline, and received a generic spam like email, with no apology or explanation.

Does anyone have advice on what I can do to avoid this happening in the future... I just couldnt go through it again lol

Cheers
 

Dave Noble

Senior Member
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You are unlikely to receive much of an apology since upgrades are on request, not guaranteed

To improve your chance of an upgrade, you want to look at less popular routes than the USA-OZ routes or get a higher status in Qantas such that you are higher on the list for receiving them

Dave
 

NM

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missanalytical said:
The trip home, again I was told that my upgrade was unsuccessful due to business class being full... although upon leaving the plane it was evident that some of the business class seats had not been used...
Qantas does not claim to make every business class seat available for upgrades. This is the usual practice for many QF flights. It is their commercial decision to often retain some unused premium cabin seats for purposes such as last minute sales, disrupted travellers, catering limitations, or just to preserve the perceived value of the premium cabins for those who pay the ticket price. Whether this policy is right is wrong has been debated many times on this site, but it is what it is.
missanalytical said:
I have emailed the airline, and received a generic spam like email, with no apology or explanation.
For what are you seeking or expecting an apology?
missanalytical said:
Does anyone have advice on what I can do to avoid this happening in the future... I just couldnt go through it again lol
A few suggestions:
  • Purchase a business class ticket
  • Get to Platinum FF status and hence to the top of the waitlist priority
  • Fly with an airline whose upgrade policy matches your expectations (such as UA)
QF's upgrade policy is designed to favour their highest status FF members. It is also my opinion that they purposely limit the number of upgrades in order to preserve the value of their premium cabin products. If people were easily able to confirm an upgrade, some would stop paying the $10,000 for a business class seat and pay the $2000 for an upgradeable fare and use their stash of FF points earned from credit card spending to upgrade.
 

missanalytical

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The business class section was quite obviously full outbound... and I cant argue with that.. however I paid top price for my ticket, and it is my belief that the seat surrounded by small children should have been given to someone who bought a cheap on sale fare... or not sold at all...

Business class was not full on the trip back... I questioned a flight attendant about this, and literally going red in the face his response was that he was not at liberty to say whether it was full or not, and even if it wasnt, only ground crew could grant an upgrade...

As for upping my status... I have an ongoing dispute with Qantas about missing miles from Nadi to Lax return from 2 years ago lol.
 

Keith009

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missanalytical said:
The business class section was quite obviously full outbound... and I cant argue with that.. however I paid top price for my ticket, and it is my belief that the seat surrounded by small children should have been given to someone who bought a cheap on sale fare... or not sold at all...
Apart from checking for eligibility (ie if you bought into the non-upgradeable fare classes you're not allowed to upgrade), I don't think fare classes are relevant when deciding things like seat allocation, upgrade priority, op ups etc. Status is the primary differentiator.

I was told by friends from 2 different airlines that when deciding who to op up, they'd only look at status as it's one or two keystrokes extra (lots of time when you're in a panic) to use fare class as a point of discrimination. I won't be surprised if this is also followed through for other things like seat allocation.

FWIW you're allowed to preallocate your seat on QF international Y. You don't need any status to avoid middle seats. :)
 
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NM

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missanalytical said:
The business class section was quite obviously full outbound... and I cant argue with that.. however I paid top price for my ticket, and it is my belief that the seat surrounded by small children should have been given to someone who bought a cheap on sale fare... or not sold at all...
Now that would open a real can of worms. Should meals be served in order of most expensive ticket paid? Should boarding priority be given to people on higher fares? Should people on the cheap fares have to wait until the higher fare paying passengers have used the toilets?

Qantas permits pre-allocation of seats if you book early enough or if you have sufficient FF status. So select yourself a seat away from the bulkheads where the bassinet positions are found. Other than that, how do you expect a check-in agent to know which passengers are going to be noisy? What about smelling passengers? What about not being seated next to someone who overdosed on curry or garlic the previous night? How do you know the family with children did not pay the same or higher fare than you paid and hence just as entitled to the good seats as anyone else?
missanalytical said:
Business class was not full on the trip back... I questioned a flight attendant about this, and literally going red in the face his response was that he was not at liberty to say whether it was full or not, and even if it wasnt, only ground crew could grant an upgrade...
Sound like a completely honest and accurate response to me
missanalytical said:
As for upping my status... I have an ongoing dispute with Qantas about missing miles from Nadi to Lax return from 2 years ago lol.
Status credits from two years ago are not going have much affect on current status level. Qantas FF program does favour those with higher status. When I was a Platinum FF, I have had very high success rate with upgrades. I think the only two flights I have not managed to upgrade were a SIN-BNE during the BA catering strike when the flight was 100% full and passengers who has paid BA business class fares were being carried in economy so no chance of an upgrade, and when I booked a BNE-SIN on the morning of departure and hence not eligible because less than 24 hours notice. So holding high status does make a difference.
 

missanalytical

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Good Grief... in NO way was I implying that the mothers and their children not be allowed on the flight.. I am a mother myself.... I was simply stating that the airline should NOT have sold the seat situated between them.... I will leave it at that.
 

one9

Active Member
Joined
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Messages
607
missanalytical said:
After flying to the US previously in economy, I decided this time to use points to upgrade and possibly have a more comfortable trip.

On the trip out Brisbane to LAX I did not get my upgrade, and even though I had paid extra for the ticket in order to opt for an upgrade. I was seated between a mother with a 3 week old on one side, and a mother with a 16month and 4 yo on the other....

The trip home, again I was told that my upgrade was unsuccessful due to business class being full... although upon leaving the plane it was evident that some of the business class seats had not been used...

I have emailed the airline, and received a generic spam like email, with no apology or explanation.

Does anyone have advice on what I can do to avoid this happening in the future... I just couldnt go through it again lol

Cheers
I agree that babies are one of the potentially worst things on airplanes. It is not just economy class.
They can be a lot worse than full flight seat recliners.
Maybe putting all passengers with babies at the rear of the plane is an idea and imposing an age limit for business and first class.
 

Evan

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I was once upgraded simply because i was between 2 mothers and babies.
I did not ask, i was offered, do you think i hesitated, no.
But hey luck of the draw, i never would pay more for an upgradable fare as like you have experience the chances are not that great :(
Having said that i have used pointed upgrades often and been very happy when i have. Sometimes you get it , sometimes you miss out, i am afraid thats just life.
E
 

Commuter

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Well it's unfortunate, but I have to tell you that I didn't get the points upgrade on my last six requests (in fact I have never managed to get a points upgrade on international flight yet - all flights that I am on seems to be oversold in every class...), and I'm a WP. On my last flight, I was also been stuck in an awful seat as a result of some weird mess that a computer appears to have created (my requested seat went missing, after appearing for some time in my booking).

Unfortunately, on some flights, the chance of upgrades are not good. However, you could always have the seat pre-allocated to reduce your chance of being seated in an awful position.
 
P

Platy

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missanalytical said:
Good Grief... in NO way was I implying that the mothers and their children not be allowed on the flight.. I am a mother myself.... I was simply stating that the airline should NOT have sold the seat situated between them.... I will leave it at that.
Welcome to the real world of being a Qantas frequent flyer...my views differ to some on this site - I think that the airline should make every effort to fill empty seats in business class. If people have the points for an upgrade they have earned them. They should be allowed to use them. The airline should take the opportunity to lower its liability of unused frequent flyer points. The airline should treat its passengers with more respect. The argument that keeping seats empty in business class increases the percieved quality of the product is (in my opinion) a load of absolute twaddle.

I personally think we frequent flyers are letting the airline rip us off and should be shouting blue murder when we don't get looked after...

...I also think it entirely reasonable that you write to Qantas and ask politely for an explanaton - what is their policy in such circumstances? What is a fair expectation for a customer to harbour in their opinion? Email me if you want the name and address of a senior manager to write to. (But don't necessarily expect a reply - they don't like responding to customers).
 

MelUser

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I was told by someone on AFF that all staff leisure travel [ie where staff and spouse/partner/etc pay 10%] in business is on standby and that all paying customers and points upgrade customers take priority and will result in a staff leisure travel downgrade from business to economy.

I now think this is wrong. Such a policy would only be correct if QF filled every available business seat - ie paying passengers and then the upgrade requests but clearly this doesn't happen.

I think they must have a model which allocates certain seats to paying passengers, certain ones to staff and a couple for upgrades if you're lucky.

An example of the disrespectful way in which QF treats its frequent flyers was given on this site a while ago:

- A QF passenger travelling QF codeshare on a jetstar flight is given a meal.

- HOWEVER, a QF passenger travelling QF codeshare on a jetstar flight who has chosen to pay with his/her flight with points rather than money is not given a meal.

- in my view this discriminatory treatment of QF passenger is disgraceful!
 

simongr

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I am currently sat at 4/5 upgrades to F from J and hoping for 5/6 on my mid-week flight to HKG in Nov. You win some and you lose some. I will most likely decide to retain QF SG next year just to improve my upgrade chances.

QF's revenue model works for them and sure this means that some FFers can't upgrade but at the same time people who are wiling to fork out for that last minute seat can buy it if they need to and that is a fairly valuable resource for QF.

Sure it would be nice for QF to allow ODU for INt'l flights but that does creaye logistical problems in terms of staffing and meals.
 
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Platy

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simongr said:
QF's revenue model works for them Sure it would be nice for QF to allow ODU for INt'l flights but that does create logistical problems in terms of staffing and meals.
yes, I'm sure it works for them, but the question is does it do enough for the customer?!

I seem to remember it used to be possible to get ODUs on international flights not that long ago!
 

serfty

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Platy said:
... I seem to remember it used to be possible to get ODUs on international flights not that long ago!
In all honesty I cannot recall any such benefit being publicised in my 13 years as a Qantas FF.

It was only on 2001 that Qantas actually implemented a scheme where international Point/UC upgrades became available.

Before that, for international flights, you flew in the cabin you booked (aside from an abnormal event - like an op-up).
 

Alanslegal

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my question would be this 1) if QF knows there will be availabity in (say) J, why can't they process upgrade request "last minute" at the gates, just prior to boarding??
 

simongr

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Platy said:
yes, I'm sure it works for them, but the question is does it do enough for the customer?!
You see there is the rub - in theory for QF I was until recently a premium passenger - all business class flights, on my way to WP and very happy with my upgrade chances. I liked the model. My biggest issue was with 2 class flights where I couldnt upgrade ;) So yes they are doing enough for this customer - a customer they probably value more than a non-status passenger.

I have only missed opn UG request in the past twelve months and I think only had one QF flight where I havent been in the highest cabin. I think that is pretty reasonable.
 
P

Platy

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MelUser said:
I think they must have a model which allocates certain seats to paying passengers, certain ones to staff and a couple for upgrades if you're lucky.quote]

Yes, I think you are right. And that means that the allocation model is not flexible enough to deliver more upgrade seats when potentially available (seat empty). I doubt however, based on my personal observations of numbers of staff in seats, that they have the same problem as frequent flyers.

In this regard, I respectfully disagree with fellow poster(s) who maintain that the QF yield management sytem is effective. We have already debated this elsewhere in relation to denial of seats on the basis of lack of catering and agreed to disagree!

IF the airline is really trying to make the opportunity to ugrade extremely exclusive (a restricted privilege to a few rather than a benefit) to the upper tiers of the frequent flyer scheme, they should make it clear to lowly folk on lower tiers that they have little hope of redeeming their hard won points on (notably international) upgrades.

Personally, I think the real reason is that they regard a seat redemption or upgrade as a cost and are far from dinkum in allowing passengers to access the advertised benefits that they can reasonably expect.

Somewhere along the line the airline has conveniently chosen to forget that people end up with points through loyal patronage of their product and thus they are earning extra revenue (cash!) as a result.

Those who have earned points on credit cards have paid the associated fees and higher interest rates and Qantas has earned cold hard cash from the credit card supplier.

BUT Qantas wants it both ways - to earn the cash and secure the loyalty but be far from dinkum in supply of benefits.

Sure they cover themselves in the small print, which is why they avoid being slam dunked by the ACCC, but the situation clearly creates problems in terms of customer perceptions and thus customer relations.

An empty seat on an aircraft is bad business!
 

serfty

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Alanslegal said:
my question would be this 1) if QF knows there will be availabity in (say) J, why can't they process upgrade request "last minute" at the gates, just prior to boarding??
Because Qantas Yield Management know that quite often a business traveller will be prepared to pay $8K+ for that seat at an hours notice. They have statistics about such things.

In a financial sense over a period of time 'tis better to let (say) 1 or 4 seats a flight go out empty than not having threm available for those High revenue walk up.
 

bambbbam2

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For all our theoretical squabbling, its Qantas that has regained its title as the most proftable airline in the world.. what does that tell you? :cool:
 
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