Like you all know from my little airline dinner post I was over to the Middle-East this past week. While a full trip report will come up soon, this one got me asking why Jet Airways is holding on too tight to their premium cabin seats.
Like I do when I travel and I need an upgrade with Jet Airways, I send them an email with the details of the travel team and voucher details. In this case, I wrote to them with the details and I was travelling KWI-BOM. The response from Jet Airways, amongst other things, included the following line:
I was looking at the tickets the night before, and Premiere tickets were available on the route, right up to 4-5, which gave me an idea that the cabin was almost empty.
The next evening, I turned up for check-in and on chatting up with the check-in agent, I was told the flight was full. I asked about buying an upgrade, and I was told by the same agent that I could buy one for Kuwaiti Dinar 42 (roughly about Rs. 8400). I was told for this amount I would get only economy class mileage, no lounge access, no excess baggage weight (not that I needed it!) but it seemed like too stripped down a proposition to buy for that price. I was in seat 10C, and though Jet Airways does not have Economy Plus seating, for me this one was like an economy+ seat and I was going to do ok for a 4-hour trip. With the trimmings (lounge access and J class mileage) maybe I would have bought in, but not without.
I was then chatting to the station manager, who asked me if I was okay for taking an op-up if the flight went full in the back of the plane. Obviously, one would usually not refuse an upgrade and I told him to go ahead if he needed my seat at the back of the plane.
At the time of boarding, looking at the mile long queue waiting to go through pre-boarding security, I knew I was going to sit upfront, but going by the tone of Jet Airways so far, they made me feel the plane was packed.
However, when I got in, there were only 2 other passengers in the Business cabin while everyone went through to the back. A colleague travelling with me was also at the back, and we tried getting him upfront but was refused. When doors closed, the J cabin was only full 3/8 (including me).
I was very surprised considering the sequence of events since the afternoon. The moral of the story for me, though not new, was that here was Jet Airways, holding on to 6 business class seats hoping they would be able to sell them to someone at the last minute in a market primarily dominated by blue-collar traffic.
Their inability to confirm upgrades T-5 hours out indicated to me they would have been full upfront, but the load was 2/8. They were perhaps not going to sell those seats, but they would still not extinguish some frequent flyer’s upgrade instruments and give him/her that seat upfront and get some brownie points for rewarding their customers.
I am not questioning policy on upgrades here, but the intent to upgrade. I’ve got the upgrades (against vouchers) 60-65% of the times except when the flights are full, but mostly at check-in, or sometimes even at the gate. I’ve even been asked to give away my vouchers sometime when they could easily have op-uped me. And I’ve been foolish sometimes after a long day at work to give them away as well.
So in this case, it is a thanks but no thanks to Jet Airways. I’m actually confused, should I thank them or not…
What have been your experiences upgrading on Jet Airways?
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- Airborne: Flight 9W 309 (BOM-DEL), Jet Airways, Premiere Class
- Readers Question: Using Jet Airways upgrade vouchers