BA testing ‘upgrade for £ in the departure lounge’ via their app

Very quietly and very slowly, British Airways has started to roll out one of the new features it trailed over the summer – the ability to upgrade your flight via the BA app after check-in.

British Airways has, for a number of years, been offering cash upgrades in advance of travel via ‘Manage My Booking’ at discounted prices.  This is not what we are discussing here.  What you can now do, on selected flights, is purchase an upgrade AFTER you have checked in online.

I haven’t had any personal experience of this yet, but reports on Flyertalk suggest typical pricing of £75 to £100 each way on short-haul flights.  There are no examples of this being offered on long-haul yet.

This is what is known, or suspected, so far:

The offer is available via both the Android and iOS apps

It will only be shown after you have checked in (if at all)

It is not offered on Avios bookings

It seems to be available until 45-60 minutes before take-off, so you can upgrade in the departure lounge if you wish

I fully expect that you will receive Club Europe Avios and tier points after upgrading – which is one good reason to do it

This offer should also be available on tickets booked via travel agents, as BA has control of your ticket by this point

Here is a screenshot of what you will see (hat-tip Flyertalk):

AppUp screenshot

Do let use know via the comments if you have any experience of seeing or booking these.

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  1. Row 9 on what aircraft?

  2. It’s really a slap in the face for Elites.

    As BA silver, I get upgraded a fair amount, including from Club World to First on long haul, which is pretty nice. This typically happens at the Gate, so I don’t get the lounge upgrade, but still.

    Now it seems that upgrade slot might be sold for a lousy 50 quid to somebody else, who perhaps has no loyalty to BA.

    • the real harry1 says:

      doesn’t seem to be offered for long haul yet, just European short haul

      if it were, LH upgrade cost more likely to be £hundreds, not a lousy £50 🙂

    • Interesting – I’ve only once had an upgrade as Gold. Generally I don’t see upgrades (except when spending Avios) as a status benefit with BA – by contrast with the US mileage programmes it’s a key part of what they offer (as no lounge access for them)

      • When I was Gold I had quite a few upgrades on LH, and when silver as well. But I’ve never once been upgraded to CE from ET. Makes me wonder whether upgrades exist on short haul!

        • the real harry1 says:

          plenty in Europe, see the FT thread

          probably route/ time dependent – not likely in peak

  3. I was offered and took late (cheap) upgrade to CE on flight from LHR to ABZ last weekend. Got all of CE perks and appropriate tier points and avios. Interestingly this was just one way and I f I tried to upgrade both ways it was going to cost me an extra £370!!!

  4. Bit pointless really.
    Its the same seat with some food thrown in.
    You would have already lost the valuable extra baggage allowance by checking in

    • the real harry1 says:

      MrEgg – do you have any evidence for that? if you check in @ T-24hrs then accept the upgrade – are you saying you won’t see your 23kg checked baggage increased to 2x 32kg?

      that would surprise me

      • Per the article title – if it’s about upgrading in the departure lounge – then you would have to have already checked in your bags. Or bought a shed load of duty free!

        But if you can upgrade prior to getting to the airport then surely yes you could benefit from the increased luggage allowance.

        • the real harry1 says:

          I think Raffles just wanted a catchy title, now that you mention it he might have been more explicit about T-24hrs! Not that I’m going to criticise a man flying back from Geneva in his own private jet 🙂

  5. I was recently offered an in app long haul upgrade post check-in on a LHR-JFK from WT to WTP. It was £195 so significantly more than these European upgrade offers which I have also been offered. I haven’t taken BA up on any of these yet – when I want to travel in CE/CW, I’ll usually book it at the time of ticket purchase with Cash or Avios. But it does seem that long haul in-app upgrades are out there.

  6. Fairly OT: I paid for an AUP from WT to CW on LHR-JFK. I went from the lowest class of economy ticket (O) to J, but only got credited the Avios for the lowest class of Business ticket (R/I 5187). Do I have an argument to get the higher Avios for business (8645) since it says J on my boarding card? Or is it usual to get the lower no. of points if you upgraded from a cheaper ticket?

    • Presumably you didn’t pay anywhere near the full cost of a J ticket, so I wouldnt have thought you would get full J Avios.

    • You didn’t upgrade into J class, AUPs go into I class. The ‘J’ on your boarding pass relates to cabin not fare class – it’s the same whether you’re in J, C, D, R or I. Similarly F means F, A or Z. So you did get the correct avios and there’s no chance of blagging more.