Good evening everyone. The details of this post come from my friend Whitney, who flies US Airways quite a bit. She told me about this trick at FTU DFW last weekend and I asked her to explain her process. Unfortunately, this trick is likely to end when American Airlines and US Airways finally merge, which is supposed to be sometime this month.
Before I continue, there are 2 important notes:
- You have to be traveling on US Airways metal (no codeshare flights)
- You needed to have US Airways status prior to the merger of US Airways Dividend Miles with the American Airlines AAdvantage frequent flyer program
1. Check-in at exactly 24 hours. Obviously, status is the first thing that determines your placement on the upgrade list. If there are 2 American Airlines Executive Platinum members on the upgrade list, the Executive Platinum member who checked in first, get’s the #1 spot. So, I always check-in right at the 24-hour mark. The very moment that clock strikes 24-hours prior to my flight, I’m online ready to check-in.
2. Once checked-in, use any method to monitor the upgrade list. I use the website if I’m at work or the app if I’m away from a computer. I check every hour or so throughout the day, but I find that it’s usually a few hours before the flight when (and if) seats open up. There are various reason why a first class seat may become available at the last minute. Someone could have missed their connection; a business traveler could have made a last minute change to his/her itinerary; someone could have been re-routed, etc. To reach the upgrade list from the app, follow these steps:
From the home screen on the US AIrways app, select My Trips at the bottom.
Select the trip that you want to upgrade.
Click the gray arrow below the word Depart.
Click on Upgrade in the lower right corner.
The upgrade list will show 3 numbers:
- Capacity: the number of first class seats in the cabin.
- Checked-in: the number of confirmed first class travelers who have checked-in for the flight.
- Available: the number of unassigned first class seats available.
Note: you can also monitor the upgrade list from a computer using the mobile website. You need to go to Flight Status, instead of Check-In and once you’ve selected the specific flight, click on Upgrade List.
3. The moment you see the “available” number show any number other than 0, go to the US Airways mobile website (not the desktop or mobile app), enter your information, click Check-In.
4. Click Change My Seats and select an available first class seat.
5. As long as you are already on the upgrade list, you will see at least 1 purple (available) seat in first class. Snag it! It does not matter whether you are number 1 or last on the upgrade list, you will be able to snag that seat at no charge.
If traveling on an award ticket, you will most likely not be placed on the upgrade list (by some miracle it has happened to me before, but I have no idea how or why). Your best bet is to get to the airport early and butter up the agent at the ticket counter. Find the nicest way possible to ask them to add you to the upgrade list w/o mentioning that you’re on an award ticket. Sadly this will only last until the merger mid-October, but I hope that at least some of you are able to take advantage of this over the next 2 weeks.
A big thank you to Whitney for sharing the upgrade process. If you have any questions, please leave a comment below. Have a great weekend everyone!