• About Tom Dougherty

    Tom Dougherty CEO, Stealing Share

    Tom Dougherty is the President and CEO of Stealing Share, Inc., and has helped national and global brands such as Lexus, IKEA and Tide steal market share over his 25-year career.

    An often-quoted source on business and brands, he has been featured recently by the New York Times and CNN, discussing topics ranging from television to Apple to airlines.

    Tom also regularly speaks at conferences as a keynote and break-out speaker. To find out more on inviting him to your speaking engagement and view a video of him speaking, click here.

    You can also reach him via email attomd@stealingshare.com.

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United Airlines – “where free is not free” – Doesn’t Do It Again.

Here is another United Airlines (read the fine print) 1K million-mile flyer update.

In booking a trip to Brussels, I went online to book four roundtrip seats in March. I called the 1K desk to make sure that the seats I was booking in economy were upgradable this time (read my earlier blog about this). Good News — “All United Seats are now upgrade eligible” intoned the very pleasant customer service agent.

Being forsaken by an airline.

“Remember, however, when your reservation is made, it does not mean that you are guaranteed to be upgraded, but you are waitlisted for the upgrade”, I was reminded. In other words, I am buying the seats hoping against hope that United finds its way to upgrade my economy seats to business class so that, when I arrive in the early morning in Brussels, I have had the benefit of a descent night sleep.

I asked about the types of upgrades I can use (if the seat become available). “Wel,l Mr. Dougherty, you can use your  System Wide Upgrades or you can upgrade by using your frequent flyer miles.”

Really, how many miles will it take” (out of my 1,007,000 United Frequent Flyer miles)?, I asked.

“Well, the outbound flight will cost you 20,000 miles for each ticket and an upgrade fee of $400 per ticket raising the cost of each ticket to 1,800 each and at the expense of using 160,000 miles.”

Wow! A real bargain and an upgrade I have earned again by BUYING it..

By the way, when I went on the web site and looked at the flight seat map. United had 77 Business class seats on that flight. They have so far sold 19. But, on the off chance that they can sell more of those seats between now and my departure date, United won’t confirm my upgrades.

As an aside, I can fly to the same destinations on Continental Airlines for half the amount of money. But alas, I don’t’ have the status on Continental to upgrade the seats on Continental.

Wait a minute. I obviously have no status on United either. Go figure.

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