Is BA going to limit operational upgrades to 3 per annum


There has long been evidence that passengers who regularly buy upgrades at the airport are denied further upgrades after BA decides that they have had enough. The common theory is that BA thinks these passengers should be buying tickets in the cabin that they want, rather than buying a cheap upgrade at the airport. I have to say I have never done this, or even enquired, but I think that’s a personal thing.

Now there is a thread on Flyertalk which is causing a little more consternation. It suggests that BA is now going to limit your operational upgrades to 3 per annum – based pretty much on the same theory – if you get used to OpUps then you won’t pay for the cabin you want to travel in.

Of course the issue here is that no traveller can control the number of OpUps they receive or when (and if) they come. The worry amongst nervous Flyertalkers is that they might ‘waste’ their OpUps on short haul flights only to miss out on sitting in a comfy seat from London to Sydney.

More interesting is the discussion/speculation that BA is changing the way in which OpUps are given out. Typically airlines would reward its best travellers with a ‘treat’ to thank them for the business. It seems that BA is looking to turn this on its head and give the infrequent traveller a taste of the good life in a premium cabin in the hope that they will like it and pay for it next time. Loyalty schemes are really odd these days if this is true. There are reports of colleagues with lower status being upgraded over a colleague with higher status so it does seem that there might be a change.

The BA rep on FT has stayed mum so no one know if any or all of this is true.

Have you seen any of this out there?


  1. I am a BA gold and I got upgraded a few times either at check in or at the gate, but didn´t pay for any of those upgrades. They tried a few times charge me (first about 500, then 250) but if you insist they end up giving it for free.
    All of them were in long haul flights by the way

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