Coming soon to a flight near you: the ability to bid against other fliers for an upgrade to business or first class. In the never ending quest to give travelers more options when they travel, several airlines have rolled out online upgrade auctions. Startup company Plusgrade has developed software that airlines can use to enable fliers to enter bids a set number of hours prior to flights. Under the system, you compete against others travelers to win the auction and secure upgrades to business or first classes. If you win, the airline confirms your upgrade and charges your credit card for the amount you bid. Rather than telling you how much an upgrade should cost, Plusgrade allows airlines to let passengers determine how much they’re willing to pay for an upgrade to the next class of service.
Twelve airlines now using Plusgrade:
- Air New Zealand OneUp
- Austrian Airlines Smart Upgrade
- Virgin Atlantic Your Bid
- Ethiad Airways Select Upgrade
- Brussels Airlines Plusgrade
- Copa Airlines Apply for an Upgrade
- TAP Portugal Plusgrade
- El Al Upgrade
- Air Mauritius Upgrade Now
- Czech Airlines Upgrade
- Estonian Air Service Class Upgrade
- Sri Lankan Airlines Upgrade
No U.S. Airlines Yet…
So far no U.S. airlines have rolled out Plusgrade. It will be interesting to see if any do sign up and start auctioning domestic first or business class upgrades. This could make complimentary upgrades for elite flyers even more challenging.