Note to self: never fly again on a Thursday!

Since my schedule is usually pretty flexible, I avoid traveling during peak days, which might be why my upgrade percentage is pretty darn good. This week, however, I don’t have much choice. I’m traveling from Tampa to Los Angeles via Washington Dulles on Thursday, and I have a feeling my perfect upgrade record since United introduced “unlimited domestic upgrades” will come to an end.

Both of my outbound flights are waitlisted, and I’m willing to bet virtually anything that neither upgrade will clear. Frankly I wasn’t expecting the upgrade from Washington to Los Angeles. That’s a tough upgrade, especially on a Thursday afternoon. Every seat in Economy Plus is taken, and there was no upgrade space at the upgrade window. Hell, they were only selling a couple more seats. I fully expect to have a double digit position on the waitlist after first class is checked in full.

What nearly gave me a heart attack, though, was the lack of upgrade space from Tampa to Washington. Let me be clear — we had Ted for several years, and that was for good reason. Premium passengers are just lacking out of here. Hell, even with unlimited domestic upgrades, United can’t seem to fill up first class. So as I’m sure you can imagine, I nearly had a heart attack when I noticed that 22 of the 24 first class seats were sold five days out, which is before the 1K upgrade window.

Seriously? Like, really? Hell, I expected I’d never have an upgrade not clear at the 100 hour mark out of Tampa. Something must be going on.

So I’m fully expecting to fly coach all the way across the country, which is hardly a big deal. And what do I think my first reaction will be? There’s hardly a difference between domestic first class and an exit row, probably!

The one thing that’s good news is that both flights are basically sold out, with four days to go till flight time. Hoping for some bump action, though it seems a bit unpredictable as of late.

Filed Under: United
  1. Will you be in LA this weekend? If so, we should have a Flyertalk dinner. I am doing a Mileage run/ mattress run this weekend to LA.

  2. I was just looking for space to Miami about a month from now… and found my preferred 0600 flight already at F0 with only a few E+ seats left. Sure, it’s an E70, but who buys first anymore? Everyone’s fleeing Florida at once?

  3. Could be 1k passengers buying multiple F seats to refund at the last minute to create an upgrade situation. I can block an E+ seat next to me also by buying the middle seat in another name on a full Y fare and then refunding at the end of the day.

  4. I doubt it has something to do with the ash, since there are no flights ex-Europe, so no connections. I’ve had amazing success as 1P with UDU, except when weird things happen..C & F zeroed out 5 days out on a B747 ORD-SFO, with only 1 middle seat available in E+!

  5. IAD-LAX is likely due in part to folks with speculative bookings trying to get home from Europe to the west coast via IAD. TPA – no idea.

  6. UA learned this from CO. I personally miss the 500 milers.

    Tomorrow, 4/20 – will be much better. For your same at least šŸ™‚

  7. Ahh…. So you’re the one! I’m also going out to LAX Thursday afternoon from IAD and been watching my “non-upgrade” for days! I’d love to meet you before our flight…since obviously neither of us will be up front!

  8. The full flights to DC this week may partially be due to a lot of New England public school children being out of school this week. I know a lot of people who traveled to Florida this week and they are flying home on Thursday. A lot took UA because WN and Air Tran were sold out for the whole week.

    When I fly UA from PVD, UA only goes to IAD or ORD so IAD is a big connection point to go anywhere in the south on UA.

  9. @ Iceman — Have a meeting on Friday.

    @ Nick — Wish I were! I’m leaving on Saturday morning. Hopefully next time.

    @ MrLincoln — Ouch, especially since there’s virtually no service on that flight.

    @ Sean — Probably, good point. I guess I should hold out a bit of hope that I’ll at least have an empty next to me on IAD-LAX.

    @ mrpickles — I doubt that many passengers are as bright as you. šŸ˜€

    @ Kevin — That’s gotta hurt, especially when you’d be missing out on such a nice product on the 747. Seems like a lot of elites are specifically choosing that flight for obvious reasons, making it a tougher upgrade than meets the eye.

    @ Carol — Agreed, makes sense to me.

    @ Mike — I miss them as well to a certain extent, though on the other hand, it’s not like UA has lowered their F fares like Continental to cause F to be sold out before any upgrades can even clear.

    @ Paul — Always love running into fellow flyers! I only have a 30 minute connection in IAD, so may not have time before the flight, but would definitely love to meet up aboard. Who knows, maybe we’re seatmates.

    @ Kevin T — Poor kids, stuck flying paid F!

    @ Blandon — Hey, just trying to tell you how I really feel. šŸ˜‰

  10. Flew IAD-TPA Monday night, upgraded to first, only had 8 of us in the 24 seats. The flight was half full in the back.

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