On a very long four-and-a-half-hour flight to Las Vegas, I was invited to bid for an upgrade to a Big Front Seat and I… won?
Ahead of The Flight
A few days after I booked my roundtrip flight from Pittsburgh to Las Vegas, Spirit sent me an email inviting me to bid for an upgrade to the Big Front Seat from a standard coach seat. This was the first and only time I have seen this, but the usually affordable $50ish upgrade was selling for $248 at the time of booking.
I genuinely wanted the upgrade for the long flight during working hours because especially on Spirit, work space can be at a premium.
Submitting a Bid and Waiting
The bidding website had a slider and it was preset to about what the Big Front Seat was selling for before I purchased my coach roundtrip. I moved the slider all the way to the lowest level and expected to find $50, the usual standard price.
However, the minimum was unexpectedly high at $119, and it gave me pause. Is it really worth the extra $119? I wasn’t so sure. I switched screens and looked back at the seating chart to see how full the flight was. I paused again; I really wasn’t sure. Then, I considered the possibility that I might not win it anyway.
I placed a bid and I waited.
Result of Winning?
I was notified late the night before that my upgrade bid had been successful but that means that I was clearly the only bidder. Had I not placed a bid, it would have presumably been available for my 7:30 AM departure.
In the past, I have secured the Big Front Seat for as little as $25, buying it once the door closed, and often at the gate for $50. I might have saved myself some money by rolling the dice but I wouldn’t have known until I reached the airport if I would be sitting in the front with plenty of room to work. I’d also risk someone else buying it out from underneath me.
At the same time, I don’t love that the lowest bid was so much higher than the standard price, I also don’t love some of the language that was used in terms of how many others were bidding.
In the end, it was worth it to me to know that I had the seat I wanted, that it was still cheaper than booking it outright, and I knew I would be comfortable and have the room to work. That said, I would have submitted a lower bid if offered, may have still won it, and this may only encourage me to pay for the seat from the beginning. This flight was uniquely long during a work day so I am glad to have bid and won it.
What do you think? Have you bid for upgrades before? How was your experience?