South African Airways offers innovative product allowing customers to bid for a business class upgrade

Published on : Thursday, April 9, 2015

South African AirwaysSouth African Airways (SAA) has added another product innovation which gives customers the opportunity to upgrade their seat from economy class to business class through an innovative bidding system.

The product, branded as Step-Up, allows customers to bid online for an upgrade for an upcoming trip where business class inventory is available.

‘Step-Up’ follows fresh on the trail of recent innovations such as the launch of SAA’s newly designed Fly SAA Duty Free online shop:, where you can shop at you leisure with purchases delivered directly to your seat, next time you fly on all SAA’s regional (except Victoria Falls and Maputo) and long-haul flights.

“Innovation has become a key component of SAA’s customer experience enhancement programme. Besides these latest innovative offerings our customers can expect many more innovation product offerings, in line with the strategic aim of improving customer service,” says Nico Bezuidenhout, SAA Acting Chief Executive.

How Step-Up works is that customers will get an email seven days before their scheduled departure informing them of the possibility of available seats in business class. The email contains a link to the Step-Up tool, where the customer will be able to place their bid.
The minimum and maximum bid range is dependent on the original ticket purchased and where the passenger is flying.

All bids stop 72 hours before departure, and customers have the ability to view, modify and cancel their bid before this cut-off. Nothing is confirmed immediately, the system creates a prioritised list of all the bids. Hereafter customers will be notified 24 hours before departure of the outcome of their bid.

For successful customers, their credit card will be charged with the amount they have bid. For unsuccessful passengers, they retain their original itinerary and pay nothing.

If the email in the booking is that of the travel agent’s, the travel agent may follow the link and bid on behalf of their customer. Alternatively the travel agent may pass the email onto their customer and the customer may bid for themselves. The programme has been launched on selected routes and will be extended to more routes in the near future.


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