Reports lately from American Airlines’ elite members have been that upgrades are not clearing ahead of time. While I haven’t flown American that much in the last two months, I’ve experienced the same behavior lately. Since the merger with US Airways, upgrades have generally not cleared as far ahead as they used to. As an Executive Platinum, I could usually count on upgrades right at the 100-hour window unless I was flying IAD-LAX. It wasn’t a big surprise that things slowed down after the merger, given the size of both programs elite membership.
View From The Wing reported a few days ago that an apparent technical glitch had been fixed. I was glad to hear there was a glitch and this wasn’t just a new policy. American has been ramping up their efforts to sell discounted upgrades, which could impact upgrade availability. Those changes are billed as something that will only happen if they anticipate they can upgrade all eligible elite members. But, the new world of domestic first on airlines is “you get what you pay for on that flight”.
But, Is Everything Really Fixed?
I’ve seen some notional reports from fellow road warriors that upgrades are clearing before they get to the airport. That’s a definite improvement.
I did observe some oddities this week. I had applied some systemwide upgrades (SWUs) to a few flights I had before they expire at the end of the month. I’m guessing I won’t have that problem in 2017 with the reduced number going forward.
At any rate, even though my SWUs cleared, I was still on the upgrade list (showing that I hadn’t cleared yet) on all of my flights. The AAgents noted that they’ve been dealing with a system glitch related to that.
Additionally, there was a non-rev (airline employee) seated next to me on one of my flights in first class. That’s very atypical for that date and time. Heck, it’s pretty atypical on most of my flights lately, where the plane is full and even I’m not clearing on a regular basis. The non-rev could have been bumped ahead of other elite members by a friend at the gate, hard to say.
For my two cents, I think American is still digesting some sort of tech glitch. Maybe that’s wishful thinking, since I’d love to think I could clear a free upgrade once in a while…..
The post Is Everything Back To “Normal” With American Airlines Elite Upgrades? was published first on Pizza in Motion