What is the fuss with Jet Airways not clearing upgrades?

Some things are like the Unicorn, and getting a Jet Airways voucher upgrade is like one of them. Jet Airways gives out a certain number of paper upgrade vouchers to elite members of the Jet Privilege program: 1 to Silver, 3 to Gold and 5 to Platinum members. I had explained the use of these vouchers in this post a couple of years back, and the same rules exist still.

Upgrades are not so hard to use in any other program that I am a member of, such as American Airlines. Many a times, you can get instant confirmations, and at other times they will place you on an upgrade waitlist, which is known to everyone, is rule based, and upgrades clear accordingly.

However, with Jet Airways, the upgrades always seem to go on an upgrade waitlist, and the airline will not clear these upgrades in most cases till the last minute. Everytime I’ve called, I am told there is no availability of seats in the particular class, and hence we will work on priority to clear these upgrades for you. And then, you can keep calling, but the airline won’t budge, till the last minute, on processing these upgrades. As a result, you can leave home thinking you are still travelling in economy and go to the airport and find out you are in business class. I don’t have too much fuss with that, I usually travel light and I want that upgrade confirmed or denied for peace of mind. However, there are others who like to carry big bags and max out their travel allowance, and are denied an opportunity to do so with the airline’s behaviour.

I recently followed up with 9W to confirm an upgrade on an international sector to Europe where I am continuously seeing 5+ business class seats open for the past two months, and these guys can’t confirm it because they don’t see an open seat in upgrade class. The analyst must be a super optimist because he does not want to let go these seats in business class because he expects someone to buy so many of them last minute on so many dates in the months ahead.


I find this lack of transparency for upgrades ridiculous. I think if the airline does not want to honour these certificates or put up such a fight to honour them, maybe they should discontinue them altogether as a part of the elite package.

In my case, I am surprised that these tickets were booked about 5 months back, at a 50% premium to the price they were selling them two weeks back, and placed on the upgrade priority waitlist since then, and yet, Jet Airways sends me a response like this:

Dear Mr. Awtaney,

This is with reference to your email dated May 30, 2014.
We wish to reiterate you that your voucher upgrade request for ####-#### sector dated ####, 2014 vide PNR: ###### is on a waitlist status.

Allow us to mention that Award seats/ upgrade seats on Jet Airways, like most international/domestic carriers, are capacity controlled.  There is a certain number of seats allocated for award travel just as a fixed number of revenue seats at various price points.  These seats are offered on a ‘first come, first serve’ basis.

The number of such seats allotted depends on the demand on that particular route, which varies according to the flight, day, season across the network. Since the number of seats allocated is limited and during busy season the demand  for award travel is very heavy, we experience difficulty in booking award seats even when requests are received months in advance.

Mr. Awtaney, we make every effort to get an upgrade seat confirmed before expressing our regrets to our members.  Our Service Team continuously monitors flights to ensure we meet requests of our JetPrivilege Platinum members such as yourself.
We do hope you will allow us your understanding in this regards.
Should you require any further information or assistance, please do not hesitate to contact us. Do mention your JetPrivilege number and membership tier in the subject line, in your future correspondence.

I question the people on these “efforts” being made, and all they tell me is they’ve sent an email to Revenue Management about this. Not just that, some of them have lied to me saying only two seats are available when I clearly see 5 here, and I even called a TA to check who said the same thing.

Dear Jet Airways, loyalty is a two-way street, and you and me are in this together, right? Or is this only me being loyal to you about flying and you not being loyal to me about the benefits that are to be extended to me?

All I have to say to you is…

Related Posts:

Join over 3400 people who check-in daily to find out about the best in travel.
Free emails (once-a-day) | RSS Feeds | Facebook Updates | Twitter | Instagram

About Ajay

Ajay Awtaney is the Founder and Editor of Live From A Lounge (LFAL), a pioneering digital platform renowned for publishing news and views about aviation, hotels, passenger experience, loyalty programs, travel trends and frequent travel tips for the Global Indian. He is considered the Indian authority on business travel, luxury travel, frequent flyer miles, loyalty credit cards and travel for Indians around the globe. Ajay is a frequent contributor and commentator on the media as well, including ET Now, BBC, CNBC TV18, NDTV, Conde Nast Traveller and many other outlets.

More articles by Ajay »


  1. Hi Ajay,

    Just spent the last 1hour speaking to customer service…of that 45minutes was spent so I could speak to his supervisor. All 4 flights refused upgrades (‘waitlisted’) and all 4 flights have full premier class availability!

    I really hope this blog post gets some social media traction and members of the Jet team pick up on it.

    Good luck everyone trying to feel rewarded for investing their time and money in Jet! 🙂

  2. Hi, great article. I could see myself nodding all the way through having had hours of stressful attempts to upgrade fairly using miles. I’m actually waiting on 4 upgrade requests as we speak…all flights have premier class availability….and i’m sure that on all 4 i’ll be ‘high priority wait listed’ and then refused 🙁 They really need to buck up and reward those who deserve to be rewarded for flying with them.

    Continuing to love your blog.

  3. AJ: what do you mean by Platinum voucher? I have 5 of them that I got when I was upgraded to Platinum – are you referring to the tier mentioned on the top right corner? However, the voucher conditions mention the classes on which it can be used.

    • @Hemant the fuss is about making a benefit available to members and then making it so hard to use that you’d have a better chance of winning the lottery than using this benefit

  4. Totally agree with you AJ. I have got about 5 vouchers lying with me currently which I have not been able to use because (a) the ticket was not of the class that allows the upgrade or (b) if ticket is in the correct class then seat not available. Their modus operandi is to sell the seats till check-in [sometimes even till the boarding gate) and then allocate if something is left over. Better way is to use airmiles.

  5. Hi, wanted to add an experience I had with them, which also highlights their apathy towards customers had booked a flight using miles that I was forced to cancel. As per their policy, they were required to refund the miles (after subtracting 500 miles) and the additional booking charges. It took me 49 days, 4 calls (one lasting 30min+, where I insisted on speaking with a supervisor) and 2 mails before I received the refund, and the response mail did not even have an apology or even a hint of one – almost seemed like they were doing me a favour.

  6. Hi AJ, Your post reminds me of the follow ups that I had to do to get an upgrade confirmed on BOM-SIN sector. I had put in a request 2 months back on a mid-week flight. Every time I called or emailed, they would reply back saying there are no seats available. I could very well see award seats in Premier cabin on the website but for some reason the airline agent could not. Our seats got confirmed at the boarding gate and they didn’t even bother to issue us new boarding pass.

  7. Hi,
    I have been reading all you articles since 5 months. All of your articles have great amount of information which is really helpful.
    I was searching how can I get upgrade to business class and I came across your blog and have been reading since.
    After getting inspired from your blog, I registered for frequent flyer program. We are leisure travelers and never thought it will be of any use. Being Indian and seeing Jet airways has most partners we went for it.

    We traveled to NZ from India. It was Emirates flight. So we put our JP number expecting to get good miles. But after traveling when I put a claim for mile, they denied us saying it was marketed by Emirates and operated by Qantas so you won’t be receiving. It is such a ridiculous policy which they don’t write anywhere on the site. If I book Qantas and operated by them I will get, Emriates operated by Emirates will get, Jet operated by Qantas or Emirates I will, but if any partner airline operates code share I won’t get. So basically partner airlines will be useless in most cases as most of long distance flights are in code share.

    Also in case, we were 4 traveling together on Air New Zealand. one of us got mile, for others they rejected it. For one of them they said it is operated by Mt cook airlines and for other passenger they said it is operated by Air NZ Link. I don’t know how same flight can be operated by Air NZ, Mt cook airlines and Air NZ ling at the same time.

    They have no transparency. After reading your post my dream of getting free upgrade is over as even after collecting miles for years and having sufficient miles to get upgrade they won’t honor it.

  8. I totally agree with your post. 9W is the only airline which makes such a big fuss about redemptions and upgrades. There is absolutely no system in place and one can never know the status of their upgrade requests. Earlier when i was using the citibank card of 9W, I used to get uograde vouchers regularly based on my spending pattern. But they were of no use as 9W never honored my upgrade requests. Always the same excuses that the flt is overbooked. That I am waitlisted and so on. The same goes presently with the redemption requests of miles. Very difficult to get a premiere seat on 9W but more easier to get one on their partner airlines.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *