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Question On Deadheading


boestar

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I am wondering if someone can answer a question for me.

A good friend of mine is a Super Elite traveller with Aeroplan. He was complaining to me yesterday that he was in Montreal heading back to YYZ and was one of many awaiting an upgrade to Executive. An Upgrade to which his status entitles him. He was a tad miffed because there was a group of uniformed Flight attendants occupying seats that would have been filled by revenue passengers.

Under what circumstances is this allowed to occur? I know I have been bumped many times for revenue passengers when travelling POS on business.

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Notwithstanding the likely several pages of explanations, devolving into who is and isn't "entitled" to what seats in which priority, I'd like to offer this general piece of advice:

The only way to GUARANTEE that you are ENTITLED to sit in business class is to pay for it.

Signed,

Zan Vetter

Captain

Entitled to J on DH

Sat in Y yesterday YUL-YYZ

Went home

Thought nothing of it

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I am wondering if someone can answer a question for me.

A good friend of mine is a Super Elite traveller with Aeroplan. He was complaining to me yesterday that he was in Montreal heading back to YYZ and was one of many awaiting an upgrade to Executive. An Upgrade to which his status entitles him. He was a tad miffed because there was a group of uniformed Flight attendants occupying seats that would have been filled by revenue passengers.

Under what circumstances is this allowed to occur? I know I have been bumped many times for revenue passengers when travelling POS on business.

He should contact the company. It sounds to me like he got screwed, but I don't know enough about it to comment.

And Zan, priorities notwithstanding, if a Super Elite is miffed, that should be taken seriously. If an agent bent the rules to put friends in seats that should have gone to passengers, especially Super Elites, that should be dealt with.

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Agents do not put "friends" in seats to which they are not otherwise entitled. The consequences of doing so are severe.

An I/C provided a meal to one Con in priority to another---and was disciplined.

Consider one possibility----a crew deadheading from BRU to YYZ through YUL. The seat assigned is from BRU to YYZ. Hence, no seat was open from YUL to YYZ.

Rev. Pax are the "bread and butter" but as suggested, the frequency in which you travel "Y" gives you certain upgrade privileges on an SA basis. It does not give you a "right" to that "J" seat.

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Nonsense. Sometimes employees break rules. Sometimes they get caught, sometimes they don't. When it comes to J upgrades, there is a very specific order of priority for upgrades, deadheads and pass travel. I don't know what that order is. I suspect you don't either.

Boestar, just tell your friend to put in a query with customer relations. There might be a logical reason why he didn't get upgraded. Either that or someone has some 'splainin' to do.

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If you were going to upgrade a friend out of order, probably the stupidest place in the whole system to do that would be

-on a rapid air

-in uniform

-on a full flight

-with super elites standing by

-in Montreal

It stinks that this person didn't get asked to sit in the nice seats, but it happens. Except in one (and only one) case- when he pays for it. Lay out the dough and he can kiss upgrade angst goodbye...every time.

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Perhaps those uniformed F/A's were returning from a long duty period. If it is in their contract to do so, my take is that any Pass traveller "entitled" to an upgrade isn't going to get it.

Suck it up for 45 minutes.

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His general concern was that an employee should NEVER trump a revenue passenger. He has a point. These are called LOYALTY programs for a reason. I do understand that some travelers have a certain sense of entitlement that is completely unfounded. However in this case there were 20 status passengers awaiting upgrades that were denied over uniformed employees. I suspect there was a reason for it but if they were just commuting then there is a issue there.

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Not sure about the contractual aspect of inflight, but it is a contractual right for Capts to d/h in j [something we paid for in contract negots].

The optics are bad but is the co's decision to d/h crews. It is the agents decision on where to put the positive space employees.

I will state I am embarassed by the behaviour of some of our recent new hires who have had the priveledge of an upgrade, oblivious to the customers trying to have some peace and quiet, either in the boarding lounge or on the aircraft.

Commuters are another matter.

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Revenue customers are always upgraded before dh'ing crew. Exception is Captains but they arent upgraded they are booked in J.

Boestar, was your friend hoping for a courtesy upgrade or was he/she using upgrade credits? There is a difference. As I mentioned, DH crew will never go before e rev pax using upgrade credits.

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AS it turns out he wasn't even interested in the upgrade for the 45 minute flight. His concern revolved around the optics of having employees ahead of the others that were trying to use their upgrade.

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His general concern was that an employee should NEVER trump a revenue passenger. He has a point.

I don't agree with that. The loyalty program is very important. I think it's safe to say that it is the airline's bread and butter, but at the end of the day, it is a contract between the company and it's customers. But employees also have contracts, and just because a passenger thinks he is entitled to something in an employee's contract doesn't make it so.

I do think his complaint merits a query, but there are circumstances under which he may have been legitimately denied, ie, if he asked for the upgrade after the standby list had already been cleared, or if his Y fare didn't qualify for an upgrade. But if his only problem is that employees should never get J ahead of him under any circumstances, he might not like the answer.

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boestar - if I have this correct, in his view the lowest economy fare passenger should be upgraded to "J" prior to any company staff? In a perfect world I would actually agree with that, entice all your customers with the J product.

In reality it doesn't work that way, AC gives out lifetime J like candy on Halloween. Every deadbeat executive that has tried their level best to run the company into the ground, plus their entire family, Politicians - the list is long and NOT very distinguished.

Super Elites are our bread and butter, the company treats them like gold. If he is truly an "existing" (key word) S.E. he should have got the seat prior to the F/A's. Plenty of lower status holders "bark and whine" at the gate and expect upgrades they are not entitled to.

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AS it turns out he wasn't even interested in the upgrade for the 45 minute flight. His concern revolved around the optics of having employees ahead of the others that were trying to use their upgrade.

Ummm, does he even know for sure that Super Elites were actually denied upgrades, or is he just griping for the sake of it?

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He's no dummy. He could see what was happening. I know there is a reason behind what he saw and that's why I inquired here. He is a very seasoned Traveller and is loyal to AC (after a brief try with WJ).

One of the other Gripes (not by him) is that AA will upgrade any joe with a ticket. Like was said above, thats nice but not necessary.

As stated he is an existing SE but he was opting to travel in the back as it is a short flight. he did not even try for the upgrade himself even though he could have.

Johnny: His view was that there were Status passengers standing by for the seats that were taken by employees nothing more. A tango fare ticket would have no entitlement to an upgrade nor was that ever implied.

My comment to him originally was that the crew could have been travelling for operational reasons and needed the seats. It happens.

I have been deplaned on POS Business travel for a revenue passenger so I know where the companies priorities are... The Customer. Right where they belong. People think just because they have a loyalty card that they are entitled to an upgrade every time. as was said above. if you pay for the seat you get the seat (99% of the time) :glare:

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He's no dummy. He could see what was happening.

Not to be argumentative, but actually, he can't see what's happening. Unless you have the computer generated standby list in front of you, you have no idea who is entitled to what, or in what order.

One time my husband and I were traveling confirmed in J, and during boarding a DHing crew who were sitting in Y recognized us and complained to the in charge because they thought they were entitled to those seats. They weren't.

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Boestar,

Your friends super elite status was paid for by someone, or reimbursed by someone, or packaged as part of a work agreement. He did not take his after tax dollars and purchase enough non reimbursable tickets to achieve that status. He is not out of pocket hundreds of thousands of dollars. Someone, somewhere, wrote off those tickets as a before tax expense, and yet the benefit remains with the original reimbursed purchaser.

Bell, imperial Oil, Microsoft, Suncor, universities, etc, move their employees around in the comfort of business class under varying level of restrictions ranging from none to certain lengths of flights. Years ago when loyalty programs were new, companies started getting rid of in house travel agencies in favour of employees booking there own flights. This was a hit as now it was up to the individual whether to use an upgrade, or save it for a better time, which is what your friend did that day in YUL.

Air Canada is one of the largest airlines in the world, and it is also a business. Does your friend feel Air Canada cannot move its employees around in comfort the same way his Company does? It might be very revealing to ask your friend why he feels he can travel in business class, but a flight attendant can't.

There is a huge difference between Super Elite, and Elitist.

I have run into people before, and thankfully they are few, who think that they shouldn't have to sit with the riff raff. These tend to be newly upgraded travellers who are still in the "pass the Grey Poupon" stage. They reveal themselves usually quite early in a flight, much to the amusement of the real road warriors. I seldom travel in uniform for this reason. It is nobodies business who sits where. As was mentioned in another post, if they were eligible to be upgraded (pax, guests, or employees) they were, and it was done in order of EVERYONE'S agreements.

His business and loyalty are needed and appreciated. If, in fact, an agent pulled a fast one for an entire crew (and I believe the chances of that are nil ), then he should talk to AC about it. However, the way the priority system works, no flight attendant would have been in J class unless there was no one eligible to be upgraded, with a priority higher than themselves, as per their agreement with their loyalty program. That does not stop them from trying. Many, when told they won't be upgraded, will still wait till the end, just in case. This strategy will sometimes work. It sometimes occurs for weight and balance purposes, broken seats/video and others, that someone may need to be moved up. The manifest can then be consulted and we enjoy giving that little surprise out to an eligible SE, in order of their priority, especially when they had already taken their seat in economy.

You've now implied that he didn't want to upgrade, and therefore was not on any list. It is interesting why he thinks he knows who was standing by for what. If for instance, all those people he thought were on a waiting list, were in fact, and this is most likely the case, booked on a later, or earlier flight (often the case), then have chosen to standby for this flight, their priority is to get on the flight, not a business seat.

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AS it turns out he wasn't even interested in the upgrade for the 45 minute flight. His concern revolved around the optics of having employees ahead of the others that were trying to use their upgrade.

I am wondering if someone can answer a question for me.

A good friend of mine is a Super Elite traveller with Aeroplan. He was complaining to me yesterday that he was in Montreal heading back to YYZ and was one of many awaiting an upgrade to Executive. An Upgrade to which his status entitles him. He was a tad miffed because there was a group of uniformed Flight attendants occupying seats that would have been filled by revenue passengers.

Under what circumstances is this allowed to occur? I know I have been bumped many times for revenue passengers when travelling POS on business.

Your posts are a bit confusing, was your friend on the list, or not?

Why would he put his name on a list that he didn't want to be on?

By the way, we never want anyone's flights to be less than what they expected, and often do more than expected when possible. This is worse when bad things happen to friends. I have two who just returned on a 777 overseas. After talking up the flight for months with me and excited about the 777 j class, his seat was broken and locked in the upright position so he couldn't lay it down. His wife's chair was intermittent. I cringed as they told me how great the flight was except for those two "little" things.

Though we want everyone's flight to be great, we really hope our friends flights and treatment are exceptional.

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I agree with acss to a point.

If I order a car from Ford, it's quite possible that its delivery is delayed because it is behind a number of vehicles being built for Ford employees. When I'm standing in line at a bank, it's quite possible that a bank employee is at a teller doing a transaction that is making me wait. When I order the special at the Keg and am told that there isn't any left, it's quite possible that an employee took one earlier in the evening, preventing me from having my menu selection. When I'm on hold for customer service at Bell, or Telus, or Cogeco, it's quite possible that part of my wait is due to an employee on hold for service. It's just not as obvious as a person in uniform who works for the company that you're currently doing business with.

If Boe's friend was waiting for an upgrade to J and it was taken by an employee from Chrysler who had more right to it, would he even question the motive for giving it to that guy or think that it was an affront by the Chrysler employee? There might have been half a dozen other AC employees in J that day, some that may not even have been entitled... but they were invisible. But because it was someone in uniform who happened to work for the host company, there is some sense that some wrongdoing is going on. And if Calin himself had been there, would a standby J SE passenger think that Calin should ride in the back to leave a J seat for him?

It's human nature (nowadays) for people to look for a reason when their expectations are not fulfilled or when they think that they are more entitled. Maybe an extension of seeing unentitled people wasting their hard earned tax dollars in other aspects of their lives. Who knows?

Is there anything we can do about it? Nope.

Will many of them actually make the effort to find out so that they can get a good explanation so they don't get frustrated next time. Nope. (What would they talk about the next time they're standing around waiting for an upgrade?)

Will those that do get that good reason share it with those that they're standing with with next time that there's a good reason? Nope.

Is there a way to convince those SE's waiting for J that there is no funny business going on? That there was a good reason for those employees in uniform to be sitting there? Nope.

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I agree with acss to a point.

If I order a car from Ford, it's quite possible that its delivery is delayed because it is behind a number of vehicles being built for Ford employees. When I'm standing in line at a bank, it's quite possible that a bank employee is at a teller doing a transaction that is making me wait. When I order the special at the Keg and am told that there isn't any left, it's quite possible that an employee took one earlier in the evening, preventing me from having my menu selection. When I'm on hold for customer service at Bell, or Telus, or Cogeco, it's quite possible that part of my wait is due to an employee on hold for service. It's just not as obvious as a person in uniform who works for the company that you're currently doing business with.

If Boe's friend was waiting for an upgrade to J and it was taken by an employee from Chrysler who had more right to it, would he even question the motive for giving it to that guy or think that it was an affront by the Chrysler employee? There might have been half a dozen other AC employees in J that day, some that may not even have been entitled... but they were invisible. But because it was someone in uniform who happened to work for the host company, there is some sense that some wrongdoing is going on. And if Calin himself had been there, would a standby J SE passenger think that Calin should ride in the back to leave a J seat for him?

It's human nature (nowadays) for people to look for a reason when their expectations are not fulfilled or when they think that they are more entitled. Maybe an extension of seeing unentitled people wasting their hard earned tax dollars in other aspects of their lives. Who knows?

Is there anything we can do about it? Nope.

Will many of them actually make the effort to find out so that they can get a good explanation so they don't get frustrated next time. Nope. (What would they talk about the next time they're standing around waiting for an upgrade?)

Will those that do get that good reason share it with those that they're standing with with next time that there's a good reason? Nope.

Is there a way to convince those SE's waiting for J that there is no funny business going on? That there was a good reason for those employees in uniform to be sitting there? Nope.

While i get your point, it's also true that the steak the Keg employee consumed didn't cost $4000. And while the steak was consumed by a Keg employee, it wasn't consumed in front of your face. And while a Keg employee consumed the steak, had it been served to a non-employee, it wouldn't not have subsidized all the burger specials served that night. As for the Ford analogy, there are vast storehouses of new vehicles maintained in North America. It's not like the car you get is fresh off the line, like in the old days.

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If you have ever waited for a flight in YUL or YOW heading to YYZ you know EXACTLY who is waiting for an upgrade and who is standing by etc etc. The gate areas are small and you can hear and see what is going on. My initial understanding was that he was the subject when in fact he wasn't H had a seat in the back and thats where he went. Why wast an upgrade certificate on a short flight when he will likely be going to LAX in a week or somewhere else.

The point was there WERE passengers with Certificates to use and he questioned why a Uniformed employee would be boarded in J before a revenue loyalty passenger. Nothing more than that. So I asked the question. Don't read more into it than there is.

ACSS I do not see who pays for the ticket has anything to do with it. Sure his employer pays the bills for the flights and he reaps the reward miles. That is what is known as a NON-Taxable benefit. I used to do the same thing with airmiles when I fueled the ompany trucks at Shell. The point is he was a PAYING passenger and those are the people we are in business to serve.

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There are no certificates anymore. It is all handled electronically.

I have 12 years airport experience of watching from the sidelines and in those days could figure out exactly what was happening. But, many years ago I was waiting for my own e-upgrade on a flight and thought that I was keeping rack of everything quite well and yet could not figure out exactly what was going on. I sent a buddy in Montreal an e-mail and after he researched it thoroughly I found out that I had a lot of the players wrong and the script was totally different from what I thought that I saw.

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Nonsense. Sometimes employees break rules. Sometimes they get caught, sometimes they don't. When it comes to J upgrades, there is a very specific order of priority for upgrades, deadheads and pass travel. I don't know what that order is. I suspect you don't either.

Boestar, just tell your friend to put in a query with customer relations. There might be a logical reason why he didn't get upgraded. Either that or someone has some 'splainin' to do.

With all due respect, though I might disagree with your opinion, I doubt I would characterize an observation as "nonsense". Many things have changed since you wore the uniform. One of those things is the willingness of agents and IC's (CSD's) to put non-revs in seats to which they are not entitled.

There are many nuances to POS and non-rev travel priorities that I do not profess to understand. I have also found that the vagaries are not understood by all agents. I do know that the YYZ>BRU example was apt because I researched the priorities with the assistance of a company "guide". Unless varied fairly recently, the "rule" was that a SA pax boarded in BRU to YYZ took priority over a YUL pax because only certain seats were assigned to the YUL>YYZ leg. The seat assigned to the BRU pax was part of the BRU>YYZ segment.

I think your initial suggestion of reporting the matter to the company was made without due relection and it appears from your later remarks that you recognize that the initial description of events may have been less than complete.

I prefer to give employees on the front lines the benefit of doubt and wait until all of the relevant facts are known before passing judgment. Nonsensical perhaps---but fair.

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Boestar, it is entirely possible that everyone of the people your friend saw were booked on earlier or later flights and were simply standing by to get out of YUL when they wanted to. This happens on EVERY Rapidair. The FA were positive space and there WAS room in J class, so they were upgraded. Your friend got the seat he wanted, they got the seat their contract said they could, and the standbys got home for dinner earlier than expected. Sounds like a win for everyone.

By the way, I went and looked an old copy of industry boarding priorities (2003), and there are no less than 161 "pecking order" priorities for non revenue

Passengers. Pilots while DHing are 53/161 and normal employees are 131/161 on the list. You wouldn't believe who gets on our planes ahead of the actual people who work here.

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