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Questions about 1st class upgrade flight.

Atlanta, Georgia
posts: 87
reviews: 38
Questions about 1st class upgrade flight.

I am flying from ATL(Atlanta USA) to DXB(Dubai UAE) on August 30th - I have been checking on daily on the flights and each day there are around 5 seats open in 1st class up until take off when people get upgraded. As of now there are 30 open 1st class seats for my flight in August. I called Delta and asked them how much it would cost to upgrade on the day of, the lady told me it depends on the check in agent and how many seats are available..

So here's my question. The cost on purchasing the 1st class ticket now compared to my economy ticket is around $7250 more than what I already have purchased. So on the day of I know the prices will be much cheaper.. Assuming there are still the 3-8 open first class seats when I check in 3 hours before flight, does anyone have an idea of what the check in agent pricing will be? $500?, $1000? $2000? - Do they negotiate? I figure Delta would rather have $500 than give an upgrade to someone for free??

Thanks so much for your help everyone!!

18 replies to this topic
Maryland
Destination Expert
for Las Vegas, Washington DC, County Donegal, Western Ireland
posts: 32,491
reviews: 51
1. Re: Questions about 1st class upgrade flight.

" I figure Delta would rather have $500 than give an upgrade to someone for free??"

No, actually they would prefer to have the seat fly empty rather than take the $500. Delta doesn't offer any paid upgrades at the gate on international flights.

Chances are the seats you're looking at will end up being used by either frequent flyers with Delta using their upgrade certs, or (maybe more likely) by Delta employees.

UK
posts: 37,750
reviews: 77
2. Re: Questions about 1st class upgrade flight.

figure Delta would rather have $500 than give an upgrade to someone for free

----------

You figure wrongly for multiple reasons.

Watford, United...
posts: 2,980
reviews: 12
3. Re: Questions about 1st class upgrade flight.

figure Delta would rather have $500 than give an upgrade to someone for free

====================

And de-value the seat so much? If they did that no-one would buy at full price and every Tom Dick and Harry would simply just go for the $500 upgrade.

Liverpool, UK
posts: 7,933
reviews: 13
4. Re: Questions about 1st class upgrade flight.

It's fairly common for First Class cabins to fly at less than 100% capacity - these are major sources of income for airlines and they wont devalue the cabin for $500 or even $2000 if the full fare is closer to $8000.

uk
posts: 2,499
reviews: 71
5. Re: Questions about 1st class upgrade flight.

Yep, as the others have Said your chances of a cheap upgrade are slim to none.

If you want to fly first, buy first.

Atlanta, Georgia
posts: 87
reviews: 38
6. Re: Questions about 1st class upgrade flight.

Why did the lady on the phone tell me that my best chance of getting the upgrade to first class(business elite) would be to arrive about 4 hours early and purchase the upgrade at the counter.. She said id get it a big discount too!

Calgary, Canada
posts: 2,712
reviews: 40
7. Re: Questions about 1st class upgrade flight.

I'm no expert (by any means) but I understand that there are times when airlines will upgrade at online check-in, then if there are still seats available will offer them to other passengers starting with the airlines FF customers/Elite etc and then at a charge to the hoi-polloi.

....but the bottom line is that the waters are very murky. Every flight/ticket has different variables.

The CSA may just have been saying what she did to shut you up. She might have her wires crossed and be giving you the wrong info or what she predicted may actually happen. I definitely would NOT bank on it though.

The only time we got a reasonably priced upgrade was on a red-eye from Honolulu to Vancouver and it was only about $250 (old style Executive first on Air Canada - nothing to die of excitement about) otherwise when we look at them prior to check-in it's just not worth it. Like the others say....First/business is big money for the airlines - they seldom give it away.

Disclaimer - I only really know this stuff because my husband is a bit of a guru. I pick it up sort of by osmosis and hope I don't get flamed for my input.

Seattle, Washington
Destination Expert
for Seattle
posts: 2,983
8. Re: Questions about 1st class upgrade flight.

The OP has had this question answered definitively in a Flyertalk cross-post - flyertalk.com/forum/delta-skymiles/1485377-c…

Short answer - nope.

Mount Dora, Florida
Destination Expert
for Istanbul
posts: 12,019
reviews: 186
9. Re: Questions about 1st class upgrade flight.

Occasionally I see Delta sell a first-class upgrade on a domestic flight at the gate, but only people who have purchased more expensive economy fares are eligible to purchase first class upgrades.

I have never seen Delta sell a first class upgrade at the gate for a significant discount on any international flight. I don't know what the customer service rep was talking about in terms of a significant discount, but I have never seen that happen.

First class international seats are very expensive and Delta will never de-value those seats by discounting them at the gate. I rarely see the first class cabin completely full, and I am positive Delta does not care.

If you want to upgrade your flight you need to purchase the appropriate ticket.

Atlanta, Georgia
posts: 87
reviews: 38
10. Re: Questions about 1st class upgrade flight.

I just called delta again and they are telling me what im asking is accurate. On the day of the flight I could be upgraded to business elite for $2000 to $3000 depending on availability. ..??? Your guess is as good as mine but this us 2 different people telling me this and the one I talked to today even confirmed it with a supervisor

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