TAP Air Portugal introduces new app to bid for upgrades
Portuguese carrier TAP Air Portugal is making it easier for those who like to fly in comfort to snag an upgrade to business class.
The airline partnered with the tech company SeatBoost and last week introduced an app-based auction that lets passengers bid for a seat in the pointy end of the plane. Flyers can submit bids starting 24 hours before departure.
In order to bid, passengers will need both the TAP and SeatBoost apps. Available business-class seats will go to the highest bidder, who will be notified through the app and automatically receive a new boarding pass once they pay the agreed-upon fee.
The move allows TAP to make a little extra money off of business class seats that would otherwise fly empty, in addition to giving passengers more opportunities to sit up front.
The auction remains open up to 60 minutes before departure.
Other airlines also have bid to upgrade programs. U.S. customers in particular may remember SeatBoost as a partner of Virgin America, which ran similar auctions. That effort ended, however, after Virgin America was assimilated into merger partner Alaska Airlines. Now, SeatBoost is back in the U.S. market with its partner TAP.
A SeatBoost spokesperson told Business Traveller that TAP is the startup's first international partner, and the company is optimistic that other airlines will be interested in starting upgrade auctions of their own.
The new app isn't the only way for TAP passengers to get an upgrade. The airline also allows travelers to purchase an upgrade for a fixed price outside of the bid process 24 hours before their flights. There's also an option to bid for an upgrade with cash or miles through the carrier's website, but those auctions close 72 hours before departure.