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Airline Lets Travelers Bid for Upgrades

Borrowing an idea from Priceline’s “Name Your Own Price” program, El Al now gives travelers the opportunity to place bids for upgrades from economy class to business class.

Log on, make an offer, and wait until 30 hours before departure for an email to see if El Al accepted your bid (48 hours for intervening Fridays or holidays). If your bid is accepted, you move up and pay; if not, you stay in the cattle car.

For many years, some airlines have shopped upgrades at fixed prices to economy travelers at the departure gate, and, more recently, a few have sent out emails offering last-minute upgrades. Pricing on these deals seems to be pretty much ad hoc. But as far as I know, El Al is the first line to introduce a systematic and opaque bidding process for upgrades.

This bidding option is new; it started just last month. I haven’t yet seen anything about success rates posted on BiddingForTravel or any other online site, so I have no clue as to what sort of bid might be required. Let us know if you try this.

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