Do Qantas upgrade requests get processed by computer or manually by a person?

Hi When Qantas upgrades an international traveller from economy to business class is this done via computer or manually by Qantas employees please?

why do you want to know?

Hi Madam,

I find your friends story unlikely, as Qantas upgrades for paid tickets are prioritised by a computer. If your friend travels on industry discounted tickets or staff/interline fares then these do get actioned by a real person, however even then the staff have a strict hierarchy to determine who gets upgrades.

The order of priority for an upgrade goes…

  1. Status; platinum outranks gold, gold outranks silver etc.
  2. Type of fare being upgraded; if you're trying to upgrade from a flex fare you will be higher priority than upgrades from standard economy fare, and at all times a paid fare outranks an industry discounted fare.
  3. Date the upgrade was requested; first in best dressed.
  4. Your join date with the frequent flyer program; rewarding long-standing members ahead of newer ones.
As I say I highly suspect that your friend is telling porkies, as the only people in Qantas who can override that system and allocate a business class seat to someone who shouldn't get it is the check-in agent managing that specific flight, and I can tell you they would definitely get severely disciplined for stepping outside the guidelines. I know of at least two check-in staff in Auckland who lost their jobs a few years ago for prioritising the close friends of one of the check-in agents over a platinum frequent flyer for a business class upgrade. Qantas investigated after the customer noticed how chummy they were being and raised hell over the incident, it was found the staff had gone outside the system and bumped the platinum customer from a seat the system says that he should have got.


Thanks Jimmy

You have made everything so much clearer for me I think my friend was definitely just trying to show off. It sounds like Qantas has quite a process in place which is good to hear.