While accessing my AOL email account (I know, I never left the 90’s) I saw an article about “How to Score Secret Airline Perks.” Most of the “secret perks” fall firmly into the “so what?” category, like champagne on Air France, concierges on Air New Zealand, and food in coach on Continental, but this suggestion stuck out to me:

Y-Ups are special codes on first-class airfare which indicate that the seat can be assigned to those looking to upgrade from economy. To find one of these secret fares, go to your preferred airline’s Web site. Search the first-class seats on the flight you want to take. If any of those seats are tagged to a code like Q***UP, write that code down. Then, search for an upgradeable coach seat (some airlines don’t allow upgrades for super-cheap coach fares) and write down that code, too. Finally, call the airline–they’ll usually waive the telephone service fee for frequent fliers, if you ask–and request that your coach seat be upgraded to the first-class seat. For the price of coach, of course.

 What the heck are they talking about? I’m familiar with Q-UP fares, but this has to be some of the worst (or at least most poorly worded) advice I’ve seen in months. Q-UP fares are typically paid (discounted) first class fares, and not upgrades. Yes, maybe it’s a similar price as full fare coach, but I can’t even begin to imagine how many hundreds of travelers are going to be calling their airlines and saying “yes, I want my free upgrade that I read about on AOL.”

Filed Under: Media
  1. Wow… unbeliveable. And so soon after you posted about the worst travel advice ever! Imagine all those poor schmucks who have to be embarrassed calling their airlines trying to get a free F ticket.

  2. Don’t entirely blame AOL for this one… it’s actually syndicated content from Forbes…

    However, I agree that it’s completely misleading, especially for a novice traveler. Sort of like the promos for the late local news… “something is lurking in your house that could kill you AND your pets… tonight at 11!”

    Disclaimer: I am an AOL employee, but the opinions represented in this post are my own and do not necessarily represent those of AOL, Time Warner, etc.

  3. > but I can’t even begin to imagine how many hundreds of travelers

    You really think there are hundreds of AOL users left???

    (sorry, Mark, but I couldn’t resist)

  4. Lucky, I’m surprised to see that’s the first time you’ve noticed that rotating link among the other rotating Enquirer-like headlines that AOL spews out now (no offense Mark). That link appears regularly with others like “Fly First Class for Free” (where apparently you can get upgraded all the time for just wink and a smile) or other similar nonsense.

    And Oliver, yes there are plenty of us out there who have had email addresses dating back to the dark ages of Windows 3.1 (maybe even earlier, but that would be before my time 😉 ) and now it would be too complicated to switch everything over.

  5. 1. Burn AOL with fire…My parents still use it too, sigh
    2. Even if they are right about the upgradeable coach fares, they skip around the point that such fares are quite expensive. That article makes it seem like almost any coach fare can get a free upgrade

  6. Exactly what I was thinking whakojacko. Most people hear “coach prices” and automatically think of the ultra-discounted LUT (on DL) prices, not the YMB which are almost always going to thrown an extra zero into the mix.

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