When does a first class downgrade equal a first class upgrade? Read on to find out.
Sunday, I was scheduled to fly from Burbank to New York JFK via San Francisco. “Premium Service” transcon flights feature three-cabins of service with international business and first class seating, but are not eligible for a complimentary upgrades, so I used one of my regional premier upgrades (RPUs) to upgrade the 5hr flight from San Francisco to New York. As an added bonus, the Burbank-San Francisco flight was operated by a two-cabin CR7, so I got an upgrade on that flight too (which I would have got anyway).
Despite seat 1C showing on my reservation, when I checked in at Burbank the boarding pass indicated “SEE AGENT” under seat assignment. The check-in staff could not find a way to print the boarding pass stating 1C, but instructed me to talk to the gate agent. My conversation with the gate agent went something like this—
ME: Would you mind printing my boarding pass, it says “SEE AGENT”?
GA: Sure. <typing> How about the exit row?
ME: Actually, I have a first class seat.
GA: Oh, you’re 1C?
GA: Well, the FA jump seat is broken, so she is going to need to take that seat.
ME: That presents a problem. But why don’t you board the flight first then we’ll talk?
I actually preferred to go into Newark or Philadelphia and this was now a perfect excuse, but first class was zeroed out on all flights and I was not going to fly in coach. So I suggested an upgrade to first class on the SFO-JFK flight. The cabin was booked only 3/12 at the time, so the agent promptly agreed, moved me into first, and re-issued the boarding pass.
First class is always nice, but I did have two exit rows seats to myself on the 1hr flight up to San Francisco and as you’ll see in my upcoming report, flying in p.s. First Class is still a treat.
I could have made a big scene, thrown a temper tantrum, and yelled at the GA. But what good would that have done? Instead, I was clam and collected, reasonable in my requests, and I believe I got something much better in return.