Upgraded on Alaska

 Alaska and Delta have greatly expanded their partnership and frequent flyer cooperation and mutual benefits since Delta and NWA merged in 2008. However for the first time last week I received and upgrade to first class on Alaska using my Delta’s Gold Elite Status!  Back when NWA was around, I received upgrades on almost every Alaska Flight, however in recent years I have not been nearly as fortunate.

One of the best parts of the Delta/Alaska partnership is Mutual Elite Access. This means Delta/Alaska Elite members receive priority boarding, security, and check-in, free baggage allowance and even free upgrades when flying each other’s airlines! Per the program rules, Delta Diamond, Platinum, and Gold Elite members are eligible for Alaska Airline First Class Upgrades 24 hours before departures and Alaska MVP Gold and Gold 75 are eligiable for Delta upgrades 24 hours before depature (good luck with a DL upgrade AS Frequent Flyers). Upgrades are automatically processed by Alaska Airlines and Elite members are added to the upgrade request list at ticketing. Unfortunately, unlike Delta and United, the upgrade priority cannot be seen anywhere except for at the gate, leaving one questioning the likelihood of an upgrade till just about the time of departure.


Despite the unlikelihood of an upgrade, being a Delta Gold and being upgraded after Alaska’s own MVP Elites, I surprisingly received an upgrade on my flight last Sunday from Seattle to San Diego. In fact, due to two other passengers in first class using illegal locks on their suitcases, first class had 2 empty seats because the passengers were removed from the flight so they could unlock their bags and there was no one else on the list to upgrade, RARE!  Furthermore, not only was I upgraded, but when I went to check in for my flight, I had already been upgraded to first class! It was a great surprise to find myself in 2A instead of 21 something!


My Breakfast SEA-SAN Eggs were quite nice, Apple Tart blan, didn't eat the sausage, fruit was fresh

What has your upgrade percentages been with Alaska Air as a Delta Elite? This was my first time in years being upgraded on Alaska, but was very appreciative for the upgrade.  Since my motorcycle accident last week, the extra leg room is very much need because I can barely bend my knees and flying right now is far from comfortable. My advice to frequent flyers though would be to fly weekends and early mornings if you want to be upgraded. Fly when most frequent flyers aren’t flying (I.e. weekends, saturdays), for the fewer frequent flyers on the plane, the more likely you’ll be upgraded as a Delta Elite on an Alaska Flight and finally fly routes out of cities where Alaska doesn’t have as big of a Frequent Flyer base (aka SAN-MCO or SAN-PVR).

Happy Flying and Good luck with your next upgrade!

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Congrats on the upgrade and the breakfast looks pretty darn tasty.

But what's the story with the locks? Were there TSA goons at the gate?

Odd. Usually the goons (nice, Matthew :D) will just cut off the locks. Perhaps the two pax had a gun case that had to be inspected, which can only be opened by the pax.

Rocky October 24, 2012 at 08:48 am

Honestly not 100% sure what was going on with their bags, first the gate agents came on board and said security needed to manual hand check their checked bags, but they were having a hard time accessing their bags because they did not use standard TSA locks. Then about 1 minute before take off/door closure the gate agent came back on again and said the gentleman was going to have to get off the flight and unlock his baggage but due to the timing now they would not make this flight/Alaska wasn't going to hold the flight while TSA screened the man's luggage. So the couple went together and probably unlocked their bags and go a flight later that day. Honestly though, i was high on pain killers from my motorcycle accident that had happened 2 days prior. I only heard half the conversation and 1/2 didn't care because I was still numb and in pain :) There might have been more to the story, byt that's all I heard

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