Aloha, welcome to First Class.
Your chances of hearing that phrase on your next flight to Hawaii just got a whole lot brighter. Hawaiian Airlines announced a new upgrade service called Bid Up that will auction off unsold seats in First Class to the highest bidders.
Bid Up means passengers who typically buy main cabin seats may be able to snag premium seats up front for less than the cost of a First Class ticket.
The program is similar to auctions offered by airlines across the globe, such as Lufthansa and Qantas. A few U.S. airlines, including American, have tested auction upgrades.
How Bid Up Works
Bid Up is available to all main cabin passengers with at least one ticketed segment between Hawaii and North America. To find out if you’re eligible to bid, enter your last name and 6-letter confirmation code at Hawaiian’s Bid Up website. Hawaiian says eligible passengers will also receive an email approximately 10 days prior to their flight inviting them to participate in the auction.
When bidding opens, use the offer slider to name the price you’re willing to pay for a First Class upgrade. Hawaiian will be setting a minimum and maximum bid, so you won’t be able to bid something as low as $1 for an upgrade. You can make separate bids for each segment of your journey, including your departure and return flights. Each bid applies to all guests on your itinerary, so you can’t submit upgrade bids for only one passenger if you purchased your tickets together. You can check the status of your offer, cancel it, and modify it up to 48 hours prior to the flight.
Hawaiian will notify winners of the auction approximately 48 hours prior to departure. If your offer is accepted, you’ll be charged the amount you indicated for the upgrade and will be given an upgraded boarding pass at check-in. If you don’t win, you won’t be charged and you’ll keep your original seat.
Maximize Your Chances
Your chances of winning the auction are based on how many other passengers are making offers for the same flight and the amount they are willing to pay for an upgrade.
To improve your chances, try these strategies:
- Avoid flying on days that are popular with business travelers, such as Mondays and Fridays, since they typically take the First Class seats.
- Check to see how many seats are available in First Class using a website such as ExpertFlyer.
- Most passengers will likely choose the minimum bid, so bid just slightly above it, such as $20 more, to beat the crowd.
First Class Experience
Passengers traveling in First Class on Hawaiian Airlines enjoy premium benefits, including: two complementary checked bags, expedited check-in and priority boarding, unlimited in-flight beverage service, free premium entertainment options, Hawaiian-inspired meals, and access to Hawaiian Airlines Premier Clubs.
First Class passengers on select Hawaiian flights may also be able to catch some premium ZZZ’s. In May, Hawaiian began installing lie-flight seats with high-end bedding in the First Class cabins of its Airbus A330 aircraft. Hawaiian is targeting honeymooners and other couples with a 2-2-2 seating configuration. The first routes featuring lie-flat seats are expected to be announced in September.