Ridiculous upgrade policy

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This topic contains 15 replies, has 12 voices, and was last updated by  rferguson 17 Oct 2015
at 13:54

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  • Anonymous


    One of my client is a bit stingy and only accept to pay Premium eco. For a six hours day flight, I don’t really care. And the AF product is fine for this. But sleeping on these seats is close to impossible, even on the first raw.

    That said, on the first trip I could upgrade myself upon check in for the night inbound flight at actually a good price (EUR 200+ – can’t remember the exact figure). Happy of that outcome, I wanted to repeat the experience on the second trip. But there, impossible to find that upgrade possibility online… So I tried at the airport and got that absurd answer:

    – “No problem, we have availability. Hold on, there is a message in your file, Oh, did you lately upgrade? Because if you did, I cannot upgrade you unless you change your ticket”.
    – Fine I said. How much?
    – “Close to EUR 1200!”
    – …
    – “See you can only upgrade online at check-in once every 3 or 4 months” at a discounted price. Otherwise you need to pay full fare!
    – … EUR 1200 upgrade fee for a 6 hours flight? No thank you!

    What an absurd policy. AF will fly with empty premium seats while a passenger is ready to pay for that upgrade just because he might make a good deal. Isn’t it a loose loose?

    Did I miss something?


    A Euro 200 upgrade on longhaul, sounds like a marketing sweetener to me… If this became common knowledge, the airline may find more passengers chancing it. I can see the logic of allowing this, once every 3 – 4 months..

    I doubt very much the airline would be making any money selling a long haul upgrade for Euro 200 and can understand why they would prefer to leave the seat empty..


    Well, Martyn, leaving the seat empty is a loss of EUR 200 for the airline… That said, yes, this price is a bargain. But they would be better off not going that low and being consistent.


    Most European airlines have a similar policy, they will occasionally offer a ‘loss leader’ to try to tempt people to change their buying patterns and purchase a higher cabin, but they will not offer it too often, otherwise it means people will rely on the low cost upgrades.

    It works differently in the US, where frequent flyers can bid for upgrades at the airport, using certificates (vouchers.)


    The EY upgrade bid process works well also, and whilst I haven’t ever used it, I think it is something other carriers would do well to copy.


    I think the answer is simple – knowing that it’s available every few months, take your business elsewhere for a few months and only book with AF when you think your upgrade block has been reset.


    I had two flights recently with AF with what I can only call strange upgrade opportunities! Travelling CDG to AMS, I check in on line and given seats 10E and F, then I get asked if I wanted emergency exit row for a half price of, I think it was, €3.60. As my partner is short I can always stretch over her side so didn’t bother. Get on the flight to find that row 10 is emergency exit row!

    Next flight EDI to CDG, paid £122 in Y but the business fare was about£647. On check in it gave me the option to upgrade for £48 each, as it was an Embraer and we had row 6 I didn’t bother. There was one guy in business and as they forgot to close the curtain I could see he was offered the same sandwiches as we had!


    This would dilute the revenue for the airline.
    Passengers would wait to pay EUR 200.00 at the airport which the airline does not want.

    Take the EUR 200.00 as a treat and don’t expect it every time.


    Nope. EUR 200 represents a marginal revenue with almost no marginal costs (seats and crew are there anyway, and food price difference is minimal if any). And the RASM would increase.


    I have to agree with SealinkBF. The airline would be foolish to allow passengers to get into the habit of waiting for cheap upgrades. The 200euro is a nice bonus for the airline but to enshrine it as a rule rather than a occasional benefit would be suicide for most carriers. The cheap upgrade should be used to allow passengers to experience the higher class and garner loyalty so they will pay for full price tickets in the future, it should not be used to cheapen a premium product every time you turn up at the airport, retaining brand value is more important than 200euros.


    With the awful sliding seat-back instead of normal reclining, the premium eco seat on AF is appallingly uncomfortable. Will never, ever choose that again.


    I agree EUR200 is a bargain – but EUR1200 per leg is too much! BA offered me an upgrade from WT+ to Club for GBP695 from LHR to CPT last week – which I declined! My ‘pain threshold’ was EUR500…
    Also I cannot understand why such free premium class seats are not offered to senior EC members 24h before a flight or at check-in as ‘last minute / standby’ Avios upgrades….


    I am just a silver with FB. But I occasionally get a free upgrade on long haul with KL, AF and DL. I don’t know what their specific policy is.

    Sometimes I also take the bargain offer of free upgrade. My friends and I speculated, perhaps if you are a resident of one of the main market (NL) and you often and are willing to fly with them direct (the more expensive ticket) they will honour you. For example, KL ticket from AMS SIN return cost €850 while BA was €480. I always took KL if SQ price is above KL, and occasionally I got free upgrade on the route.


    There is no doubt EUR 200 is a bargain. And if it is known as a fixed upgrading price, it would not be good for the airline on the long term. My contention is the price should be variable (depending on the cabin occupancy), probably higher albeit accessible.

    Regarding the idea not to fly AF, it would be conceivable provided another airline would get to Lomé… And the sole other one flying there from Europe is Brussels Airline that doesn’t offer premium eco…

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