AA Upgrade Glitch

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As an AA ExPlat, I come to expect not a certain level of service but a certain level of consistency. This is one of the main reasons I am completely loyal to them. But lately I’ve run into an AA upgrade glitch that has been extremely frustrating.

Aromas and Rum writer here at Points, Miles & Martinis is an American Airlines Ex Platinum, whose work takes him to places far and many times remote. From Guyana to Palestine to UAE to Trinidad and everywhere in between, he loves to dive head first into the local culture though food, music, politics and traditions. Boarding Area readers will be able to take this journey along with “the Captain”, through his words and pictures on Points, Miles and Martinis.

To illustrate loyalty, AA will get over 300,000 butt in Seat miles from me in 2016 on top of the over 200,000 last year. Do I deserve anything for this out of the ordinary? No. Do I deserve a level of consistency in their systems, no doubt. When I fly AA, I don’t want to worry about anything except if my phone and iPad need charging. I have enough to keep track of, traveling the world for work.

Well the consistency and reliability of the upgrade lists has brought me out of the woodwork to write my first post in a while. I’m upset. Really upset. Not because there seems to be some sort of glitch in their system but because no one can figure out why. And worse than that, no one seems to care.

Mind you that the situation I’m about to dissect has been happening to me about 50% of the time since the beginning of the year.

AA Upgrade Glitch

Take a look at these images. Can you guess what the crawl in my side is?

AA Upgrade Glitch AA Upgrade Glitch AA Upgrade Glitch AA Upgrade Glitch

NO? Let me explain.

1) I buy a ticket on AA.com for SLC to PHX to LAX and apply an upgrade certificate request.
2) SLC to PHX upgrade clears 72 hours in advance.
3) PHX to LAX hasn’t cleared and I’m not even showing on the requested list. No big deal, maybe it will at the gate.
4) As I’m sitting in the Admirals Club, I go to the app. Check the upgrade list.
5) WTF! Why is my name not on the list?
6) My request must have dropped somehow right? NOPE. Still there.
7) I gather by belongings and hurry to the gate.
8) as I stand and look at the list in the screen do I see my name? NOPE. So My request is showing in the system but I am not on the upgrade list on either the app or the gate screen.
9) I politely ask the gate agent why I have a request in for an upgrade but I’m not on the list. Unfortunately I got the same answer that I’ve been getting for months. “I’m not sure air but I would call the Executive Platinum Desk”. Afterwards she magically molests keyboard.
10) Guess What. To the top of the list. Voila

Bottom Line

I can accept these types of errors/glitches a few times but dealing with it consistently for months is inexcusable. AA, I don’t want to hear how this is merger related. My own company is going through a merger now and if something is broken it gets fixed. Maybe I’m the only person to complain about this numerous times. (Mr. Parker check my EXPLAT Desk call log) Maybe I’m just really unlucky. All I want is an answer and a resolution.
So as we wrap this up, I ask you AA loyalists, have you experienced anything like this?
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About aromas and rum

The Captain is an American Airlines Ex Platinum, whose work as an Export Manger, takes him to places far and many times remote. From Guyana to Palestine to UAE to Trinidad and everywhere in between, he loves to dive head first into the local culture though food, music, politics and traditions. Boarding Area readers will be able to take the magical journey, along with the Captain, through his words and pictures on Points, Miles and Martinis.

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  1. Yes I can be at top of list with 6 empty seats and they won’t clear until I get to the gate. I live in Phoenix and only 1 in my last 10 flights have I received the upgrade email instead of at the gate. I have been told they hold the last 2 seats, on that flight they upgraded 6 people other than myself and 2 weren’t even on the list. Thank for sharing you have a much bigger voice then most on this topic.

  2. I think I understand what you’re saying, but it’s a little unclear.

    You’re upset because one leg clears in advance and the other leg doesn’t?

    I have been having some upgrade weirdness too, so I’m really curious to make sure I understand what you’re saying.

  3. Two possible reasons:
    1. A concierge key member had higher priority than you.
    2. Another ExecPlat switched from a different flight to your flight, and they had a better time of check-in.

    Possible solution:
    If you’d like a first class seat, you might consider purchasing a first class ticket.

  4. Some of these posts are downright idiotic. I mean. Who gives a crap about who many miles you fly AA. System issues are with every airline .

  5. Maybe I’m just dumb, but I really don’t understand why you are upset? If it’s because one leg cleared and the other not, you wrote that it’s no big deal… Can you make it clearer what the issue is?

  6. Man, talk about first world problems. “Waaah I’m rich and didn’t get upgraded for free on a 1 hour flight! I had to sit with the peasants!”

  7. I had a similar issue. As a PLT, my upgrade should clear (as early as) 72 hours in advance. The day before my flight, there were two seats open in first, and my upgrade still didn’t clear. I tweeted AA and they said:
    @PatMcPSU When there are only a couple of seats for sale, upgrade typically won’t clear until the day of departure.

    If there are tons of open seats in first, your upgrade clears ahead of time, as advertised. If there’s only a few, AA deliberately holds onto them so they might get sold instead of given away. This isn’t a glitch, it’s intentional.

  8. They are having tons of IT problems. During last several months I get upgraded and receive no notification so for me to know I have to constantly check. I have been an EXP for over 15 years. VERY FRUSTRATED

  9. I don’t think he’s complain bc he didn’t get upgraded, he complaining because clearing the first leg somehow drops his upgrade request on the second leg. On this specific example at least the second leg is short. If his trip was slc – phx – mia I’d be mad too.

    I also think the “merger” excuse is getting tired.

  10. Can someone do me a huge favor who has a SWU in there account and see if these flights have space and if so how much.

    May 19 MSP-PHX AA1572
    May 19 PHX-SJD AA534
    May 22 SJD-PHX AA444
    May 22 PHX-MSP AA 1262

  11. It happens to me all the time. Only 1 leg of my itinerary gets upgraded and for the second leg I am never on the stand by list! EVERY TIME!!! I know exactly what you’re taking about and its so frustrating. Most times I always get upgraded on the shortest leg, when I request with 500-mile certificates both legs!

  12. To start, the “first world problems” comments are uncalled for. You’re reading a blog about frequent flying tips. You have them too. At the end of the day the post is about loyalty not being properly addressed because the airline can’t reach anywhere near the level of consistency that US Airways had pre-merger (which is why Phoenix is now an AA hub, you’ll recall). I was Dividend Miles Chairman Select for years and never had these issues, so I can agree that it’s annoying to be told by AA that they still aren’t “really” merged yet after years of planning, and the 2 systems seem to still be operating in the background which is what is most likely still creating these inconsistencies.

  13. I agree that it is frustrating when you ask to be upgraded and you’re at the gate and not on the list. There is only incompetence to blame for that.
    I have had some other really frustrating upgrade issues and I’m curious if anyone else has had this happen.
    Last year 2 SWU’ds gone from my account! They said I used them on a domestic flight!!!
    The horror! The outrage!! It took several calls to the advantage desk and finally we figured it was a “keystroke error” they gave them to someone else!!!
    Well it just happened again to me and I have been following my SWU’s closely as they are mine to use and not a first world problem. They take a lot to get and I don’t want to loose them by keystroke error. It takes several calls and a lot of time to get them back. There should be a way to confirm when they are using one. LIKE AN EMAIL confirmation.
    Furthermore, I was at the gate and we were 4, I was on top of the list and 6 open seats. The gate crew was saving them for crew!
    That I find irritating to no end as well! Just putting it out there.

  14. You’d think that someone that travells over 300K a year, would know there is no such country “palestine” LOL

  15. I think that sometimes they will give preference to one of their own employees that will depart from Lax. One time I saw a employees getting a seat on F when the upgrade list had 8 Passenger. Not fair !!

  16. I’m an ExPlat. This happens to me only when I same day confirmed change. In that case, my upgrade request often doesn’t transfer over. Otherwise, I can’t remember the last time I didn’t clear in advance on a revenue ticket.

    I don’t fly very competitive routings/times though.


  17. Yes, very frustrating.
    Since the merger I have yet to get an upgrade ahead of time in “my 72hr window”.
    Never a problem with US

  18. I have experienced the exact same thing just yesterday – PDX-LAX-CLT – Leg 1 cleared and both were requested 6-21-16 – today is 7-23-16. At the AAdmirals club I was told when this happened a few weeks ago coming in from SYD ‘you have to gate wait list, this happens sometimes’. Well yesterday when it happened again, I confirmed with a few at the gate they held a lower status than me and purchased their ticket after me – yes, I did speak with people I did not know. Now, that I see this post, and see exactly what I have seen – I am fully convinced it is just another thing that has fallen through the crack. I am on the phone Monday with the AAdvantage Customer Service to let them know everything I experienced yesterday. Including this obvious and well document glitch. Why are the employees not aware of this issue? We all know that AA observes all posts, as they should – – –

  19. Same thing happens to me! It’s frustrating. I call the ex plat desk and they tell me I’m on the list….trust me. I’m not on the list. I’ve learned when I get to the airport, the day of travel, I use a kiosk and request it again and magically it shows up. It is frustrating. It should be automatic.

  20. It happened again. Rushed through airport and didn’t have time for kiosk. Called exe plat desk and assured I was on the list. I was not…went to gate agent. She assured me if they told me I was on the list. Then I was on the list…left the gate. Magically, I’m now on the upgrade list.

  21. Yes I am experiencing this exact situation right now as I sit at Ohare waiting to board my flight. This has happened to me at least 4-5 times in the last couple of months. Very irritating.

  22. I know what you mean. This has happened to me multiple times, last time was June 2017. Four hours before the flight I find out that as an ExPlat I am not on the list, and as a result I’m losing out the opportunity to clear sooner than at the airport.
    Some people commenting have misunderstood the problem, the problem is not that we are not clearing, I’m perfect fine if I don’t clear the upgrade, the problem is that I am not even on the list, while the upgrade status shows requested.
    I have seen this problem more often during a multi-leg journey and almost always when purchasing the ticket within 24 hours of departure. Calling the 800 number for ExPlat desk does not help, they only look at the requested status and not at the actual list, you have to get in line at the check-in or at the gate to get listed.

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