United Airlines Bait and Switch on Buy Up to First Class Upgrades


Last week, my friend Ceci (@newsceci) was checking in for her flight from SAN-BOS via EWR on her mobile phone.


As she was checking in for her flight segment from San Diego to Newark, she saw a buy-up price of $209 on her phone for a First Class upgrade.


As a novice frequent flyer, Ceci texted me to confirm if it was a good deal. I said $209 for an almost six hour flight from San Diego to Newark transcontinental flight was a complete bargain. That almost equates to $34.83 / hour which is worth it since she had to be at work the next day.

She clicked on the “First upgrade $209” button and it brought her to a new screen where the price changed to $879 for the SAN-EWR segment.


This is clearly bait and switch and she was not pleased. Earlier this week, I wrote about my United Airlines upgrade shenanigans experience after booking an award ticket. I’m having a serious love-hate relationship with United. Has this ever happened to you?


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2 Comments on "United Airlines Bait and Switch on Buy Up to First Class Upgrades"

  1. I experienced the same thing at an American Airlines check-in kiosk last year.

  2. This basically happened to me with Southwest about a year and a half ago when I was trying to book a flight. The website was offering it for $79 but when u clicked to buy it jumped to over $150 without changing anything! To test it I then tried the same flights via their mobile app. Low and behold the same $79 offer was displayed but when I tried to buy it the app ALSO flipped to the higher price. When I called CS and the girl there tried, she was completely befuddled as it happened to her also. To her credit she did offer to honor to lower price and booked it for me. But I’ve always wondered if this was a bigger issue and happens more then I thought. I guess my question was just answered.

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