Yesterday United announced it will be implementing a complimentary upgrade scheme starting in Q2 next year. The changes will bring UA’s domestic upgrade program closer to those of Continental, US Airways, and Delta.
First, this was posted on FlyerTalk yesterday afternoon:
We want you to be among the first to know that Mileage Plus will be introducing Unlimited Domestic Upgrades in the second quarter of 2010.
All members that have premier and higher status will enjoy unlimited domestic upgrades that will include Hawaii, which most of our competitors don’t do. You will no longer need to request an upgrade; you’ll automatically be on the list, making it much easier for you to enjoy a more comfortable flight.
With our exclusive Economy Plus seating, new unlimited amount of domestic upgrades and systemwide upgrades that typically have the fewest restrictions compared to our U.S. competitors, you now have the industry’s most comfortable seating.
Stay tuned for an e-mail from Mileage Plus tomorrow explaining the program in detail.
VP – Mileage Plus
Today, we received more details from UA (see: http://www.united.com/page/article/0,6867,53214,00.html). Most disturbing, is that CR-1s and e500s will be phased out (http://www.united.com/page/article/0,6867,53216,00.html).
I don’t like the changes. Though complicated, UA had a great upgrade system which allowed me to upgrade almost every flight I desired to upgrade and the option to upgrade family and friends when I was not traveling with them.
I appreciate that I will probably be upgraded on every domestic flight now, will still receive systemwide upgrades, and may even get reciprocal upgrades on US and CO (I have a hunch that is coming…), but there are many details left unanswered.
For example, UA has said that one traveling companion can also be upgraded under the new upgrade scheme. But it has not specified if the companion upgrade will clear at the same time as the status member or whether it will clear like CO’s system, where the companion upgrade clears after all elite upgrades have been cleared.
Also disturbing is that p.s. flights are not included in UA’s new upgrade program. That means once the confirmed regional and e500 upgrades run out, miles+co-pay will be the only way to upgrade these flights unless you want to burn a systemwide upgrade.
I will reserve further judgement until we learn all the details, but I do not like the sound of these changes.