I’m sure you hear this lots, but I’m going to tell you again—this site is fabulous! The tips and advice you provide are superb! Anyway, I’d like to ask: I’ll be traveling from Kuala Lumpur to Vienna on Austrian Airlines on a fare class ‘N’ ticket—I hold a Miles and More card, which, sadly I’m just a blue card member.
I’m allowed to make a seat request now, and that usually means I already have a guaranteed seat in economy. My question is:
1) Should I make the seat request to guarantee my seat in economy, or will this reduce my chances of being upgraded since I already have a seat?
2) Should I check in earlier or later? My friend was recently upgraded when he checked in late, since economy was full. If I’m not mistaken, check in and gate agents are handled by someone else on behalf of Austrian Airlines in Kuala Lumpur—does that make any difference in the upgrade tips you gave?
3) Does my Blue (as opposed to higher Silver and Gold) card offer any advantage at all, or does this depend on whether there are higher tier card holders on board?
Also, on my previous flight, Austrian Airlines delayed my luggage for more than 24 hours on my flight home—and they refused to give me any form of compensation, saying that they do not pay or give passengers any compensation (not even a single air mile or an upgrade voucher) if their (passenger) luggage is delayed on their flight home—which I find unacceptable. Is this the norm? I complained, they gave an e-mailed apology and didn’t state any reason.
Answered by The Penny Pincher
Great questions—you’re a savvy traveler.
Reserve your seat now—you do not want to be stuck in a middle seat, this will not affect your upgrading opportunities.
The check-in process for Austrian Airlines is handled by a local agency in Kuala Lumpur, which sometimes can work in your favor. The local agents can be a bit freer doling out upgrades. I recommend that you check-in early and request an upgrade at check-in. Most likely they will not upgrade you at that time, but should offer to place you on a stand-by list. Then proceed through security and find a gate agent. Inform them that you are on a stand-by list for an upgrade and inquire if they can clear you now. If not tell them that you really would appreciate an upgrade and will wait for one to open up. Periodically, inquire about your status and hope for the best.
If they bump someone up due to a full coach section you will get the nod. Likewise, if seats are available for upgrades you stand a good chance of being given that golden upgrade.
By the way after this flight you should qualify for their Frequent Traveller level, good for two years.
With respect to the luggage issue, if you’re still not satisfied, which I would not be, contact the airline and specifically state you want miles as compensation for your inconvenience.
Go get that upgrade in Kuala Lumpur.