Yesterday, I wrote an update on my AAdvantage in Atlanta experiment. Long story short, a confluence of travel requirements means I’m flying American a bit in and out of my Atlanta home base for several weeks. Yes, that Atlanta. The one where Delta operates a hub….and it’s working out for me, a Platinum Medallion SkyMiles member. As a lowest tier AAdvantage Gold member, I am was at a 66 percent upgrade rate. How did we make it from “am” to “was?”

As I noted yesterday, my connecting flight from Miami was quite full. I did manage to nab a Main Cabin Extra seat at check-in (complimentary to Gold members at 24 hours prior to departure). Frankly, I was pretty happy with that given that the first class cabin had been showing full for a day or 2. Since I was flying an #ExpertFlyerFriendly airline, I checked bookings during my connection, and one more time just before boarding to find 0 seats available. Further, I was #2 for 0 on the upgrade list, so I walked on and took my seat.

Boarding was far more chaotic than I remembered taking the same flight the previous week, but we were booked more heavily too. For whatever reason, I decided to look at ExpertFlyer one more time to see if anyone had no-showed, and what do you know? There were now two seats open up front. I took a quick look at the AA iPhone app just for curiosity, but found myself still assigned to my coach seat. Telling myself I was being crazy, I got comfortable in my MCE seat and just watched the scene outside the window…..until I couldn’t help but look one more time at about the 10 minutes until departure mark, and what did I see?


That’d be your’s truly assigned to 5F in first class. A minute or 2 later, the agent appeared with my new boarding pass, had found space for my bag in first class, and held traffic just long enough for me to make a break for my new seat. This was not the longest flight in the world, but 2 hours is just enough for an upgrade to matter. If you were wondering, the first passenger on the upgrade list received the same treatment.

This might seem silly, but little things like this make an impression. It’s not the first time I’ve ever been collected from the coach cabin and been handed an upgraded boarding pass, but suffice it to say, it’s been a looooonnnnnggggg time. I won’t forget it. Oh yeah, that upgrade percentage now? Counting the two flights I’m taking today which have already cleared – 87.5 percent. A fluke? Maybe. Market specific? Indeed, a factor. Still stellar? You bet!

-MJ, May 9, 2015