Getting bumped up (on airline)

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by FredHD, Sep 7, 2002.

  1. FredHD

    FredHD Stunt Coordinator

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    My fiancee and I are flying to Hawaii on September 19th to get married. We are flying on American Airlines from DFW to Honolulu and then on to Kauai. On the flight to Honolulu, we are thinking of trying to get bumped up to first class. Right now, according to the website, 14 of the 24 first class seats are empty. Does anyone have any advice on what we should do to try to get a free upgrade to first class? Neither of us have flown first class before and to get to do it on the flight to our wedding would make the thing even more memorable.

    Thanks In Advance,
    JW
     
  2. Lars Larsen

    Lars Larsen Stunt Coordinator

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    I don't know if that's possible, unless the airline made a mistake and double booked seats below first class or if it is convenient for them to do so, due to pending last minute reservations. Of course they want to fill up as many seats as possible but I don't know.

    My parents and I got bumped up to Business Class on a BA flight from London to L.A. a few years ago, but that's probably easier than going from monkey or business class to First.

    Regardles of how you eventually travel - have a very nice trip!
     
  3. MikeAlletto

    MikeAlletto Cinematographer

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    You could try calling them. Be very very nice and explain you are going there to get married and chose their airline to get you there. Ask them if there is anyway they can help you get bumped up to first class. Tell them you want to do it as a surprise for your wife to be or something. If they won't do it for free ask them if there is anyway they can help you, they may give you a good price break or something. Doesn't hurt to call and ask.
     
  4. Andrew W

    Andrew W Supporting Actor

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    You can trade in frequent flyer miles for an upgrade, but it is highly unlikely that you can get into first for free.
     
  5. Ryan Peter

    Ryan Peter Screenwriter

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    A flight I took to Vegas offered a bump to First Class for like $50 or $75.
     
  6. Richard Travale

    Richard Travale Producer

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    I read that you should wait at the boarding desk right until they are about to close the doors. Then go on very last. If there are seats still there, go on in and sit down.
     
  7. Philip_G

    Philip_G Producer

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    don't call, just talk to the gate agent when you get to your gate shortly before the flight. You can probably sweet talk them into it, or barter some FF miles or a few dollars for an upgrade. Make up a sob story about how the airline CEO shot your dog, whatever you can do [​IMG]
    from the airline's standpoint if they get $50 from you to upgrade and those seats are empty, it's 50 bucks in their pocket, it costs them no more to seat you there if it's empty.
     
  8. Henry Carmona

    Henry Carmona Screenwriter

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    Hmm, i wouldnt count on it.

    When i worked for AA, i never heard of such a thing, at least not on the Rez line.

    Bout the only thing we would offer travelers is to wait at the gate of a FULL flight so as to try and get seats right before they departed.
     
  9. Rob Tenniswood

    Rob Tenniswood Stunt Coordinator

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    My aunt works for Air Canada, and she told me that there are a few tricks to getting bumped up.

    The first, and most important - be dressed up. If you show up wearing a hawaiian shirt and surf shorts, they'll laugh at you and try to seat you in the luggage compartment. Collar and dockers, and you're money. I've tested this when I fly home from school - not only is it really easy to get upgraded if I'm wearing a nice dress shirt and tie, but you also get through customs and all that much faster.

    The other thing you can do is mention that you're going on your honeymoon when you're checking in. If the seats are still open, airlines have little problem in upgrading you 'as a wedding gift from the airline'.

    Good luck with all that, and congrats on getting married.
    -Rob
     
  10. Philip_G

    Philip_G Producer

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  11. Michael*K

    Michael*K Screenwriter

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  12. Shane Bos

    Shane Bos Second Unit

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    You could try my trick it probably won't work for you though. Take your coach seat and as soon as the seat belt light goes off stand up and continue to stand. Being 7 foot 1 they realize that I will stand for the entire flight as it is more comfortable than the sardine can of a seat. I always get bumped up unless 1st class is full then I usually get one of the flight attendant seats in the galley.
     
  13. JohnRice

    JohnRice Lead Actor

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    Well, almost. Try it when you check in, not at the gate. do the "We're going on our honeymoon" thing.
     
  14. Jay H

    Jay H Producer

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    I've flown from Oahu to Kauai before, it's not a long flight, I think it was like 30 minutes max so really if you're trying to get any kind of first class XP, try your flight to Oahu not the puddle jump from Oahu to Kauai. I believe that seating wasn't assigned anyway (I flew Aloha Airlines) so best bet would be checking at the gate before the airline boards.

    Great place to have a wedding BTW, I love that island. I hated Oahu or at least Honolulu though, too many people.. ugh. But Kauai was nice for the most part.

    Jay
     
  15. CameronJ

    CameronJ Stunt Coordinator

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    Jackson,

    A couple of points (note that I am not as familiar with AA as with UA).

    First, calling ahead of time generally won't work. Res agents by themselves can't usually process upgrades outside of system rules (which this would be, as you're not "paying" for the upgrade).

    Secondly, ask at check-in. This may work, as the check-in agents have greater control of seat inventory. It probably won't work, as they'll be keeping those seats open for elite (top-level fliers) upgrades.

    Third, ask at the gate. The gate agent has the most control over seat inventory.

    Keep mentioning that you're on your honeymoon. Also, a box of Godiva chocolates works wonders at the airport.

    Lastly, whatever you do, DO NOT just sit down in a first class seat. You're just setting yourself up for embarrasment. The flight attendants have a manifest that lists who's in each seat.
     
  16. Scott Wong

    Scott Wong Second Unit

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    I work for a major airline. I can concur that simply walking inside of the aircraft and sitting yourself and your fiancee down in first class will not work. I don't care who you are. The passenger manifest is there for a reason. And as mentioned earlier, after finding out you guys don't belong in the first class cabin, would only be more embarrasing

    Calling reservations will not work, although asking for their customer relations/customer service area may be worth a shot.

    And also, as mentioned earlier, I'd probably wait until you got to the gate.
     
  17. PeteyG

    PeteyG Stunt Coordinator

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    I would agree with everyone else - talk to whoever is at the gate. Definitely use the Honeymoon thing. I was in Hawaii in June on my Honeymoon, we dropped that line "we're on our honeymoon" all over - upgraded rooms in the hotels, free drinks at dinner, bottles of champagne at the hotel delivered to us. I would try it at the airlines as well (we didn't because we were already flying 1st class - and there is no other way to fly [​IMG] )
    As for the flight from Honolulu to Kauai - there is no "real" first class. As a matter of fact, there's no assigned seating - first come first serve. But the flight is really short.
    Have a blast - Kauai is absolutely gorgeous, I couldn't think of a more beautiful place to get married. We went to Kauai and Maui and had the best vacation of our lives - exactly what you want a Honeymoon to be. Hawaii is definitely paradise!!!
    Good Luck & Congrats!!
    Pete
     
  18. BrianWoerndle

    BrianWoerndle Supporting Actor

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    My uncle used to work for TWA at the boarding desk. He used to get us into first class all the time. Now that AA has bought TWA, he is working for them. He can not get us bumped up anymore. AA checks every ticket and compares it to where the person actually sat on the plane. So if there are any differences, someone has to explain why. So I highly doubt you will get bumped up for free. Sorry.
     
  19. Lew Crippen

    Lew Crippen Executive Producer

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    In my experience, an upgrade in class usually happens when the lower class is overbooked and the higher class has open seats. Gate agents will move someone to business or first from a lower class in order to make room for already booked (or standby) passengers. This usually happens close to departure, but when they know about the situation ahead of time, its not uncommon for the upgrade to occur 30–45 minutes (or even longer) ahead of time.

    The criteria that the gate agents use to select those chosen few for upgrades, are pretty open. Often they choose FF, especially the very high mileage ones. Of course the FF have probably already chosen to upgrade on their own, so you might not have to worry about them. Be nice and ready to accommodate. I once got an upgrade by just offering to have my carryon checked at the gate. I just noticed that it was going to be a very full flight and when checking in, asked if they would like to check my carryon. The gate agent smiled, said yes, and asked if I would like to ride up front.

    I think that if there is a chance for an upgrade, mentioning that you are on your honeymoon, would likely work wonders.

    Business and first usually fill up for flights that cater to business men, who do not usually fly on weekends. They tend to fly on Monday mornings and Friday evenings, so I’d avoid those times. Coach fills up, especially for vacation spots, on the weekends.

    So try the weekend for your departure. You never know.

    And if you really want to fly first class, use some miles (or pay the money). That might impress your new bride, always a good thing.

    Good luck!
     

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