Friday, February 19, 2016

Upgrade waitlists on Airlines

Further to my previous post, my story did have a happy ending! I was able to use one of the 2 annual upgrades that my Elite benefits allow me.

It is so frustrating when you see your name on the top of the Upgrade list, only to find yourself 10th from the top an hour prior to the flight. United uses many methods to prioritize the order and the fare comes into play too. Free Premier Upgrades on award tickets are prioritized after the lowest paid fare class.


It is nice that United has made the Upgrade process transparent by putting the names on the screen, in the order of priority. As you can see on this monitor, There were 2 pages on the upgrade lists, so there were more people on the list than there were first class seats available on the 737-700.

The order of priority for upgrades, on flights that are eligible for Complimentary Premier Upgrades are more transparent, but the more one looks into it the more reason passengers have to just fly the airline they choose for that particular flight and pay up for the cabin you want. Loyalty is not the result.

Premier Elite status seldom delivers any free upgrades. It is not worth taking the risk to just hope for and upgrade. Have you noticed that the seats are closer together and the padding on airline seats is getting thinner and thinner? Even though I am a Premier Platinum member, I’ve had several middle seats in economy.

It is almost a 4 hour flight from Newark-Liberty Intl to Texas-Bush Intl airport and there is often no video screen on the seat in front of you. They are removing the headphone plugs from planes because they are often worn out so most of the sound has not been working. Now days you have to bring your own device.

They did have DirectTV on my inbound flight, that was a real treat!  Most of my flights are international, where they don’t provide DirectTV, so I was entertained. Previously, food was the main entertainment, but that has gone too. They do have WI-fi on some flights, but you have to pay for it, even in first Class, but it is worth it to pay for inflight entertainment to make the time go by faster.

On AA you can Watch TV live, such as Sports LIVE on inflight channel Sport 24 on American Airlines flights.
United's "Private Screening" options, such as seatback on-demand entertainment and personal device entertainment, give you free access to movies and TV shows on board. Trouble is that it is difficult holding my mini iPad without accidently pressing one of the buttons on the side, thereby kicking me out of my video. 

You are in luck, if you fly coast to coast in the US, because there is a lot of competition for that route. They offer more comfort on those flights, but Houston is not such a good place to fly from because IAH does not really have an Airline with a real hub there, and flight prices are higher than from other cities.

The problems that surfaced during the contractor bidding process for the terminal redevelopment work at IAH airport, highlights how taxpayers lost $ via Bill Frazer.  The city council entered into favorable Hobby airport use and lease agreement with United and only entered into similar agreements with American in June last year.  The good news for Houston is that Southwest Airlines is now bringing prices down since they invested in Hobby airport. Unfortunately, a recent Audit Reveals Overcharges at Hobby Terminal Construction by Clark Construction Group-Texas, L.P., the prime contractor at the Hobby Airport Main Terminal Expansion project.  The Controller’s audit identified $1,411,695 in potential recoveries.Source: Guidrynews.

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