In case you aren't familiar with the upgrade requirements in JFK-LAX on the nonstop carriers that currently offer premium cabin(s):
AA: 500 mile upgrades for Gold and Platinum, complimentary for Executive Platinum (and Concierge Key)
DL: Global Upgrade Certificate (only available to Diamond Medallion)
UA: Regional Upgrade Certificate
VX: paid upgrades (~$300) available at designated windows with expanded window for elevate elites.
If I lived in NYC and traveled that route id be upset. I've heard from NYC colleagues that the seats are indeed going out empty or with non-revs, great for you guys to enjoy but less great for revenue passengers. Yes DL has an enhanced product on the route-just like international BusinessElite if I were DM I wouldn't waste a global upgrade on that route when it could be used for AMS, NRT, TLV, but with DL shrinking the size of their premium cabins those upgrades are probably few and far between.
AA transcon from BOS/MIA works like clockwork for me and they do indeed sell most seats, lately I'm upgraded at T-4 hrs or at the gate. Lately my JFK upgrades have cleared at the gate but under the current AA rules I get priority over originating pax at JFK.
WorldTraveler said:except that they aren't empty. DL is selling them for money. that's why they aren't willing to offer upgrades and the expectation that someone will get standby.
Remember that DL offers the smallest percentage of premium seats on JFK-LAX (which is true on many routes) yet DL's system average fare per mile is higher than its peers.
The fact that DL is not giving seats away on the transcons is an enormous step forward from where they were in the market for years.
Not sure why anyone would actually pay for a premium seat on DL when they can get a superior product with better service for the same price on AA
And keep in mind, I'm just a non-partisan observer