Upgrade auction

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  • Anonymous


    A very clever idea by Air New Zealand rather than a proactive upgrade cost, get the passenger to offer what they want to upgrade



    This is already under consideration by quite a few carriers…sure beats handing out upgrades for free!


    Indeed a good idea!
    I recently came across another cheap upgrade method, http://www.optiontown.com. Passengers on Malaysian, SAS, Air Asia and a few other airlines can log onto this site and pay a minimal amount for an upgrade. Ive never used it but the testimonials seems encouraging.


    Seems to be sensible. Of course AA started the trend with upgrades liberally handed out to all and sundry.

    BA then monetised it, by giving the option within MMB or at check-in.

    Seems to be the right approach, though obviously from a frequent flyer perspective it reduces the likelihood of an op up.


    The website looks amazing with the graphics and fuel meter showing how good your upgrade offer is. But I wonder if they fill up the premium cabins with the best offers (what if $10 is the best offer to upgrade, will they upgrade you?). Or are they just auctioning off the seats they would op -up anyway?

    Their concept falls apart once enough customers realise that people will be upgraded anyway, since then you don’t have to bid anything and you will be upgraded. But if enough people can be convinced to bid and don’t think they will get a free upgrade then it’s extra revenue for the airline – at the expense of annoying status card holders who no longer get free op-ups and might then choose another airline.


    Im not sure those ‘seats which would have been op upped anyway’ are the issue here. But surely there is a risk to their revenue if people start booking premium economy and putting a strong bid in for an upgrade, why would I buy a business class ticket in the first place??

    Could you imagine having paid 4k to LAX, only to be sitting next to someone who spouts they have paid 1 plus 500 to one up. I would be pretty hacked off and strongly consider doing that myself next time.

    A delicate balance for the airline which Im sure they will be watching closely.


    Yeah I guess as they will let you know a few days before travel if you have been upgraded or not, they will look at the (over)booking with a fine toothcomb and if they see that Mr X has had 3 AUS-NZ international upgrades he might not get that many more if they see that he used to travel at a higher fare normally.. It also might tempt more people to fly NZ if there is a potential of a cheapish upgrade from time to time. As people say a very interesting proposition.


    I believe that New Zealand flyers are not happy chappies about it


    There are minimum payments so I don’t think you would get it by paying just a few extra dollars. NZ have an auction system now for seats to various points and generally there are no bargains there especially in the premium seats. It’s also unlikely some clown is going to say “look at me I paid half of what you did” IMhO, but it is possible.
    Having never been upgraded it’s not likely to make a lot of difference to me but I would think that gold elite flyers are still going to get that option on occasions but maybe not as many


    Etihad is another airline who have been doing it for a few months. They will email you when there are likely to be seats free for upgrade and ask you to bid online.

    As stated above there is a sliding scale with a minimum and maximum limit and you set the arrow to the price you want to pay. I’ve been successful on a few occasions and waiting to see if lucky again with my bid for First next month. They say they will contact you 48 hours before but I’ve usually been informed a lot earlier than that.

    Watch though, if you make a bid they take your card details and when they accept your bid it becomes non-refundable after that.


    It appears Cathay is considering joining Virgin Atlantic, Etihad, El Al, Air New Zealand and Austrian Airlines.



    And CX are asking for passengers’ opinions on another forum: http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/cathay-pacific-asia-miles/1579501-class-upgrade-bidding-initiative-your-feedback-sought.html. Must say that (as you can see on the thread) I am not keen, since I am sure it will make the availability of redemption upgrades even tighter

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