Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Scoring first class seats

Use check-in kiosk upgrades and coach instant upgrade fares to score a cheap first class airline seat (free WSJ Digg link).

Airlines have expanded their offers of upgrades at check-in kiosks, priced anywhere from $50 to $300. They are also making it easier to find coach tickets that come with instant upgrades (known as Y-UP fares in industry jargon) on their Web sites. AMR Corp.'s American Airlines launched a feature on a few weeks ago that lets users see Y-UP fares with one click (Hit "Search by Price & Schedule.")


American says it incorporated Y-UP fares into its new online function. Before, Y-UP fares, also known as Q-UP and M-UP in airline coding nomenclature, were almost impossible to find on American's Web site (they don't show up under first-class tickets or unrestricted coach). But the fares, sold with coach-class ticket coding so they don't violate corporate travel policies if they prohibit domestic first-class tickets, have grown in popularity, hunted by smart travel agents, road warriors and savvy vacationers in particular., a ticket-searching site, has a search option specifically for Y-UP and Q-UP fares.

FareCompare's Y-UP search is located at

American still has the Y-UP fare finder feature, as described in the story. I was unable to find a similar feature on,, or I did a quick search of the FlyerTalk forums and couldn't find a mention of the other airlines having the upgrade feature, but I don't have time to do a detailed read through and deciphering of the forum to try to rule it out for certain.