You can now bid to upgrade to first class on Hawaiian Airlines

Posted: 5 August 2017 10:59 am


You're not feeling lucky until you're bidding in the green zone.

Hawaiian Airlines has joined the seat auction upgrade party. Some airlines have been playing with the idea for years now, while others are relative newcomers. Cathay Pacific did it in July, followed a couple of weeks later by Fiji Airlines and then Norwegian Cruise line just days after that.

But while Cathay lets you bid on premium economy, and Fiji on business class, Hawaiian Airlines is now going straight to the top with seat auctions for first class upgrades, and a very different type of interface.

Unlike a bland blind-auction deal, where you simply put in your offer and wait for an email, Hawaiian Airlines is making it interesting. Use a slider to adjust your bid, and watch the meter on the right to see how strong your offer is.

hawaiian airlines upgrade auction interface

Yellow? This guy's not getting an upgrade.

It's a fun twist on the usual formula, with the additional benefit of almost making people bid higher than they would otherwise. It's also not clear whether or not the strength meter has anything to do with how many people are bidding, or if it simply gets greener the more you bid.

But to be fair, these are first class upgrades, so you could probably take that slider all the way to the right and still get a great deal, compared to usual prices, if you win.

The system is called Bid Up, and it's fairly straightforward. Once you've booked your Hawaiian Airlines flight...

  1. Check your eligibility - Enter your booking confirmation code and last name to see if your flight is eligible, and whether there are any first class seats left to fill. You'll also receive an email 10 days before the flight if you'll be eligible.
  2. Submit your offer - Play with the slider until you're satisfied with the strength of your offer.
  3. Enter and finalise your payment information - Check the total expenses and enter your card details, then double check the details on the next screen.
  4. Get an email confirmation - You'll receive a confirmation email, letting you know when you can expect to receive the good news, and telling you how to cancel or change your bid, which can be done up to 48-hours prior to departure.

Of course, you won't be charged if you don't win. But if you do win, you can look forward to:

  • Extra luggage allowance and priority handling
  • First class check-in lines at the airport
  • Hawaiian Airlines Premier Club access, where applicable
  • Priority pre-boarding
  • Bigger and nicer pre-assigned seats, and lie flat beds on A330 aircraft

Depending on the route, you might also find yourself enjoying complimentary and unlimited (within all legal reason) in flight beverage services, an entertainment tablet and complimentary headset for your flight, and a better in-flight cuisine experience, courtesy of Hawaiian Airlines' Chef Chai Chaowarasee.

Hawaiian Airlines flights take off from Brisbane and Sydney for Hawaii, and from there fly onwards to mainland USA. It's a long haul, but if you win you might not want to get off the plane.

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