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Answers (3)

American Airlines Operational Upgrade Policy

American Airlines Operational Upgrade Policy

  1. Charles S.

    Allright so maybe I am not understanding the logic behind this maybe someone else can help me. Trans on flight JFK-LAX was full in coach and full in business. There were only three paid first class tickets. Here is what happened. They skipped all revenue standby passengers and gave 4 non-rev (personal travel) crew first class seats. I am thinking okay makes sense. But why would you not upgrade three paid business class passengers to first upgrade three of the elites on the upgrade list to business and get three more passengers on the plane. Maybe I am missing something can anyone explain the rationale behind this. It just seemed weird and maybe the gate agents were lazy. A strange part too was that a elite on the last flight of the night was trying to get to get on our flight and they told him it had to be in coach. Not complaining cause I didn’t get the operational upgrade to first just very confused.

  2. Gaurav

    Hard to tell. Maybe contractual reasons with staff who needed to be positioned for future flights?

  3. Anonymous

    It’s a good question. It’s essentially because that’s what employees are contractually entitled to.

    An airline will only clear revenue standby passengers into the class of service they’re booked in, so they won’t process upgrades just for the purposes of accommodating standby passengers. The exception would be if the flight were oversold in economy (with confirmed passengers), in which case they’d move people up to make room for them).

    However, employee standby passengers generally clear last, but are entitled to the best available seat. That means when there are economy standby passengers and there’s no room in economy, then you’d keep going on the standby list until you have a passenger who can be cleared into the cabin they requested (for an employee, that could be first class).

    Whether or not that’s right is a whole different story. [URL=’’]I raised this question a while back in a blog post[/URL], and there are certainly differing opinions. I’d note that this is a big perk for airline employees, so I’m guessing it’s partly why many employees continue to work in the industry. I agree it doesn’t look great to customers, though.

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