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Does AA actually ever upgrade at 100 or 72 hours out?
Over the past 5-7 years, I’ve always been either Plat or Exec Plat with AA (I’m currently Exec Plat). Yet I can’t recall a single time when I’ve actually received a 500-mile upgrade at the maximum designated advance window of 100 hours (EP) or 72 hours (P) and I wonder if anyone ever has?
This question is especially on my mind right now because of a recent post of Lucky’s about the new Platinum Pro tier and how it now gets an upgrade window of 72 hours and plain-old Plat is now 48 hours. It just seems silly that AA has actually shifted these around when I’m not sure they have any meaning/effect at all.
Take a flight I have booked to fly tomorrow from SFO to LAX on AA. It’s an E175 and it looks like the load is very light. Only 3 F seats are showing as taken on the seat map, out of a total of 12 seats. You’d think with 75% of the cabin empty, this would be a case where an Exec Plat like me might actually get an upgrade at 100 hours, but you’d be wrong. The flight leaves tomorrow at 10:30am and it’s now about 9:00am, so I’m at roughly 26 hours out and still no upgrade.
You might also think that maybe AA is holding back because the Y cabin is a mess or it’s full of Exec Plats or something like that. But again, you’d be wrong. The plane has 5 rows of main cabin extra, where elites are entitled to sit — and of the 20 seats in this section, only 6 are taken as of now. Even if you assume all 6 of those people are Exec Plat, wouldn’t AA be able to upgrade all of us and still have 3 empty seats in F?
There are 11 rows in Y behind MCE, and of those 44 seats, the seat map shows 23 of them taken, so roughly a 50% load. I don’t see anything there that suggests a massive op-up situation that might also make AA want to hold off on processing upgrades.
I’m just stumped. It’s not like getting my upgrade on this flight is a big deal. I’m happy in MCE and it’s a short flight. This isn’t really about me needing an F seat, it’s more about it seeming like a perfect example of where someone like an Exec Plat should be getting an upgrade at 100 or maybe even 72 (or heck, I’d take 48!) hours before departure, but it hasn’t happened.
Which leads me to ask… If there’s no upgrade prior to 24 hours on THIS empty flight, where AA has a lot of frequency and most of the flights that day have light loads, then when DO they ever upgrade someone like an Exec Plat more than 48 hours in advance? Anyone have any examples of this?
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I don’t fly AA much but it’s hard to extrapolate from flights like these. I think there is a fair bit of last minute business travel between major metro areas and AA may want to keep space available for walk up sales.
I’ve been PLT for three years and EXP this year and I too have never received the 72 hour upgrade within the window. Always happened within 24 hours. Always figured there were a lot of EXPs ahead of me and I was lucky getting upgraded but now I’m beginning to wonder if anyone gets upgraded within these windows.
Former EXP, lifetime Gold. For me, when I was EXP or PLT, it always happened within 24hrs. These days, if I am lucky, it happens at the gate just before I board. On the very very rare occasion these days it clears before I actually get to the airport, it is within 24 hrs and I find its generally a full flight or a flight with lots of standbys.
I’ve had flights clear at the window in the past, but it rarely happens anymore, even as an EXP. Agree it’s ridiculous for everyone to be clearing at the gate, as it makes everything more chaotic.
I find myself really having to watch the monitors at the gate as I have been caught out (i.e. boarding pass issued doesnt work as I board because, oh – its been upgraded, hold up the line while we sus out why the reader didnt take your boarding pass) a couple times of late. With the recent changes to the AAdvantage program (and the resulting boarding plan changes), my experience has been that boarding *seems* more hectic in general – possibly simply because folks are not yet in sync with AA’s new boarding plan. I dont know if this is different by location or not.
On a recent international flight (MAN-ORD), my wife’s upgrade cleared as she was boarding. If there is a secret decoder ring out there that explains the hows and whys and whens upgrades clear, I sure dont have it.
Dont get me wrong – I am happy to be upgraded, even last minute. I would just like a *little* bit of time to get sorted out so that I am not a nuisance to my fellow travelers, or the airline staff trying to launch a plane on time.
Totally anecdotal, but as PLT I almost never clear before 24 out. I do believe I’ve cleared at or near the window a once or twice in the last year or so, but oddly only on LGA-DCA on legacy US Air metal. Otherwise it’s usually at the gate if at all