Wednesday, December 21, 2022

Getting an upgrade

By coincidence, I attended weapons of mass destruction (WMD) training at the Center for Domestic Preparedness in Anniston, Alabama during the week of the Boston Marathon bombing in April 2013. On my way home to Salt Lake City from Atlanta, Delta cancelled the flight. 

I wrote in my journal for April 19. "Blood test at 4:45 a.m. and then went to the Atlanta airport where I waited five hours for my plane to Chicago Midway and then to SLC where I arrived at 9:53 p.m."

As I recall, other passengers from the cancelled flight were able to catch earlier planes but 11 of us were left stranded in the airport. Most of us had attended the courses at Anniston. Finally, we got to Chicago and an unscheduled flight was brought in for us for the final leg home. There were 11 of us on the flight to Salt Lake City. Because first class was empty, we asked for an upgrade but were denied. So each of took an empty row and tried to make ourselves comfortable.


Photo Courtesy Flickr Commons

Victor M. Walker wrote December 2, 2022 in AFAR online magazine about getting upgrades. People are more likely to get upgrades, she wrote, if they are dressed in business attire. They also get upgrades if they have elite status. She interviewed Dave, an airline agent.

"Dave says there’s a saying among airline professionals that the closer a traveler gets to the aircraft, the more expensive an upgrade gets: If you’re offered an upgrade as an elite member, you typically won’t have to pay for it; if you’re offered one at check-in as a non-elite, you’ll pay a discounted rate. But you’ll pay the most if you’re trying to upgrade at the check-in counter. Taken together? It’s improbable a traveler without some sort of elite status is to receive an upgrade—and the likelihood that attire would be the sole reason for an upgrade on that flight to San Francisco virtually non-existent."

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