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Pregnant Wife Flying United. Ask for upgrade or not?

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Pregnant Wife Flying United. Ask for upgrade or not?

My wife and I will be flying to Shannon Ireland on United in a few weeks. She will be 18 weeks pregnant when we leave and 20 weeks when we return. We bought the tickets before she was pregnant and got them for a deep discount directly from United when they had a big sale after all the bad publicity they had this summer.

I really haven't flown much and have never asked for an upgrade of any kind before. I'm sure she will be able to handle the trip with our current economy seats, but she would be much more comfortable in economy plus or even business class. Is it even worth asking for an upgrade in these circumstances or would it just be rude? I wouldn't ask for one for myself, just for her (although I certainly wouldn't turn it down if they offered one for both of us).

Is an upgrade pretty much off the table entirely since we're not frequent flyers and bought the tickets so cheap? They were about $600 round trip from Minneapolis to Shannon.

I did manage to get her aisle seats on all of our flights. Our flight from Newark to Shannon is sold out in economy, although there are some economy plus seats left, so I'm assuming there's no chance of upgrade in that one, but the leg of our return flight from London to Washington, DC is not even half full with plenty of seats in both business and economy plus.

Not being a frequent traveler, I'm not sure what the proper etiquette is in this situation, but I would like to do whatever I can to make the trip more comfortable for my wife.

I would open to purchasing the upgrade, but I'm not really sure how much we should expect it to cost for a trans-Atlantic flight and we were stressing our budget to pay for this trip even before we found out she was expecting.

Thanks for all the help and I apologize for my ignorance on these subjects!

Jake

46 replies to this topic
Edinburgh, United...
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1. Re: Pregnant Wife Flying United. Ask for upgrade or not?

"Is an upgrade pretty much off the table entirely since we're not frequent flyers and bought the tickets so cheap?"

Pretty much. Even frequent flyers don't get upgraded just because they ask. When it happens it's done by a computer and almost always a result of overbooking or an aircraft change.

Dubai, United Arab...
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2. Re: Pregnant Wife Flying United. Ask for upgrade or not?

You can always ask, but I give you little to no chance for an upgrade.

You will not need a doctors letter for you wife to fly. But it is maybe not a bad idea to have a document showing in which week she is pregnant. Just in case of.

Upgrades are pretty much computer selected based on rational criteria (FF status, miles flown, turnover, type of ticket etc.). They vary from airline to airline but they are geared towards frequent flyer and high turnover individuals.

Also imagine how many people on a normal flight may have also have a birthday, anniversary, honey moon and many other things.

But, you can ask by all means. Maybe you have a lucky day. Just don't be sad if it does not work out.

Aberdeenshire...
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3. Re: Pregnant Wife Flying United. Ask for upgrade or not?

No chance. I just flew back from the US at 32 weeks and short of getting a seatbelt extender there were no special provisions made.

Wales, United...
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4. Re: Pregnant Wife Flying United. Ask for upgrade or not?

I think your chances of getting a free upgrade will be zero. If you want to purchase one contact the airline and ask how much it would be.

Cornwall, United...
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5. Re: Pregnant Wife Flying United. Ask for upgrade or not?

I've had no problems flying long haul from Australia to the UK at 27 weeks going out and 31 weeks returning. I don't think she will be any more uncomfortable than anyone else. At half way through a pregnancy some people are hardly showing - the growth 'spurt' happens a bit later usually. She'll be able to get up and walk around when it's as safe as it can be to do so - I wouldn't sorry or spend any money on an upgrade IMHO!

Seattle, Washington
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6. Re: Pregnant Wife Flying United. Ask for upgrade or not?

A free upgrade is off the table. UA has a protocol they follow to upgrade passengers. I guarantee people have upgrade requests waiting to clear for both your flights.

You can't accurately judge how full a flight is by looking at seat maps.

Pull your reservation up on UA's webpage. There should be blue boxes under it that say, "change flights" "change/view seats" and usually, "redeem upgrade."

If you have the upgrade option, click on it and it will give you the price to upgrade a seat. If you click on change seats, it will give you the price to purchase an E+ seat.

Availability is constantly changing.

UA won't care about your wife; if you want an upgrade, you'll have to pay.

Edited: 26 September 2017, 22:54
Harrogate, United...
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7. Re: Pregnant Wife Flying United. Ask for upgrade or not?

I flew to NYC/JFK at 26 weeks pregnant and asked at check in, they upgraded me (I was flying alone to visit a friend in NYC). No harm asking.

Aylesbury
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8. Re: Pregnant Wife Flying United. Ask for upgrade or not?

Although an upgrade may indeed be pretty much off the table, it equally may well not be. Why don't you just give them a call, explain the situation and see what they say. After all there's no harm in asking, and the worst they can say is 'No'.

Regarding purchasing an upgrade: sorry, can't help with that. It's not something I've ever done so I have no idea as to the possible cost.

Wales, United...
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9. Re: Pregnant Wife Flying United. Ask for upgrade or not?

I'll be incredibly surprised if United give you a free upgrade but feel free to ask them. You never know, I could be proved wrong!

Edited: 26 September 2017, 23:00
Edinburgh, United...
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10. Re: Pregnant Wife Flying United. Ask for upgrade or not?

"After all there's no harm in asking, and the worst they can say is 'No'."

By the same logic you should always ask the cashier at your local supermarket if you can take your shopping home free of charge.

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