United First Class upgrade

The most difficult part of writing is starting. Every time I want to write a blog post, I think the quality of the content will not be good enough and therefore I let it go and don’t write.

Today let’s try to not do that, so it might be crappy content.

Thanks United!

During the fundraising of company, I have to travel in order with meet with potential investors. This week is actually quite busy.
– Monday: virtual pitch through video call with Des Moines
– Tuesday: flying to Nebraska and pitch in the end of afternoon
– Wednesday: meeting with individual investor in the morning, flying back to Colorado and pitching in the end of the afternoon in Denver
– Thursday: flying to Phoenix in the morning, pitching at noon and flying back in the afternoon
– Friday: meeting with individual investor in Boulder in the morning
– Saturday: family time
– Sunday: flying to Cincinnati for Techstars FounderCon and meeting with corporations, VCs and angels for 3 days

Classic entrepreneur week, right?

When I fly, I don’t necessary look for a specific airline company. I have two parameters: schedule and price. It happens that, from Denver, United usually does a good job satisfying these 2 parameters. And this week, I’m only flying United.

This morning, at the gate, I had the pleasant surprise to be upgraded in first class for free. That’s the first time this happens to me (being upgraded for FREE without asking). As an engineer, I can’t no think of the algorithm that runs and selects who get to be upgraded. It’s hard to believe that it was completely random. Flying 5 times this week (+1 next week) with the same company, it has to be the result of an algorithm, right?

But then, other questions are popping, let’s say the algorithm selects you and you’re eligible for upgrade:
– which flight? The first one that available first class seats?
– the shortest flight?
– have I been selected because of my number of collected miles? Or the density of flights in a short period?
– What about the guy seated next to me who has also been upgraded?

Airlines IT systems have to be incredibly rich of data (thank you SAP and Oracle I guess) after a few decades and I can only think that most of it is not used. Today was a good surprise as it’s first time I personally experience the outcome of an algorithm that has been built to satisfy the customer and his fidelity. I’m sure more data could be used to even satisfy me more:
– history of entertainment I usually watch on the little screens and therefore tailored the catalog of my next trip. Specially now that entertainment is provided through our own devices via Wi-Fi
– history of food choice or allergy (instead of asking each time…not that I’m allergic but between “chicken or pasta”, you should know by now ;))
Any other tailored experience you’d like to have when flying?

What are your experiences with airline upgrades? Any tips or hacks to insure you’re upgraded?

 


Also published on Medium.

Written by julien

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