Sunday, October 28, 2007

BA apologises to customers the old fashioned way - handing out money

You may recall that on a recent trip to London on BA I discovered that the new BA in flight video on demand service had caught the "not sure why but it is not working" bug that plagued Qantas for so long. At the time I commented that while both systems seemed to have the same bug that the BA attitude and response was much more apologetic and customer focused than that from Qantas.

Now BA have gone one step further in sending me a letter and GBP100 worth of vouchers to be used in the on-board shop (or mail order). That is an Australian $250 apology for not being able to watch a movie all the way through. The contrast against the "process culture" at Qantas could not be more stark. You may also remember the response from David Cox the E-GM of Engineering when he was asked about the constant failures in the VOD system.
"As with any complex system there have been some technical issues,...The problems usually involve a small number of seats and the passenger can be moved to a different seat in these cases. We are dedicating considerable resources to address these reliability issues, including through the supplier Rockwell Collins."

So while BA apologised and took strong steps to compensate a customer for their VOD failure, the Qantas response was no apology and a statement more like "not a big problem and not our fault".

WHOOT: AOT climbs to 19.9% and Webjet claims it is back in the hunt

Time for another The WHOOT series update - WHoever Owns Outright

Long term (TVL) shareholder and director Daniel Droga has sold more than 9% of TVL stock to the "quiet accumulator" AOT - who can now claim 19.9% of the stock. This is not enough (yet) to completely end the Wotif charge for TVL ownership as Wotif have made it clear tha they would be happy with 75% - bit it is close.

Webjet have also come back swinging claiming that with recent increases in Webjet stock value, the Webjet offer is now worth more than the TVL Board recommended Wotif offer. We are still yet to see the official Wotif bidders statement.

Singapore first class on the A380 – bring good clean fun to 30,000ft

The number one travel industry gossip story is always anything to do with claims about the mile high club. Even here at the venerable and always high moral ground aiming BOOT we have been forced to mention the odd story or rumour about shenanigans in the air.
With the launch flight of the A380, Singapore Airlines has re-launched its first class product with a level of luxury that none of us expected. Highlights include an actual cabin with floor to ceiling coverage, a separate bed to seat, a choice between Dom Perignon and Krug and the ability for the two centre seats to be combined into one larger room with connected (ie double) beds.
We are all thrilled and relived to discover that despite the obvious inferences that can be made about what people could be doing in a double bed suite at 30,000ft it appears from the advertising that all we can expect is a good, hard game of chess. Knight to Queen 4.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

It's raining Samsonite - Bags fall from the sky in Chicago

How is this for the ultimate lost baggage story.

A change in cabin pressure on Delta Flight 4718 blew two of the cargo doors ajar, raining bags across the Midway Airport area. Only two bags were declared missing. One was found almost a kilometre from the airport, the other is still MIA.

What is more frightening:
  • you are in an aircraft and a door "comes ajar";
  • you are minding your own business plane spotting and a carry-all falls on your head; or
  • you turn up to a check in counter for an American airline - any American airline - and the check in clerk tells you "I'm sorry sir you are going to have to check that bag"?
Answers in the comments please...

Thanks to Consumerist for the story (originally from the Chicago Tribune).

Monday, October 22, 2007

NZ - Expedia In, Zuji/Travelocity out

Hot on the heals of Expedia announcing its entry into the New Zealand market, the NZ Herald is reporting that Zuji (the Travelocity operation in Asia) is shutting down its New Zealand site. was being operated under a franchise style relationship with Stella Travel Services. Site will shut down on November 30. There is a chance that Travelocity may try and re-launch Zuji New Zealand with their own team but I think they have more issues to face in growing the Australian business first.

UPDATE - received an email from Phang Shueh Chyan, Zuji's Singaporean based Head of Business Development. Tells me that in while the Zuji/Stella relationship is coming to an end, Zuji will retain the NZ site and operation. We wait to see what resources/team will be used to operate the business when the Stella deal ends on 30 November (assuming that date is still correct).

Crystal ball gazing over at the TourCMS blog

Alex Bainbridge has published an interesting post over at the TourCMS blog where he considers "the future of travel distribution and travel ecommerce". I have added Alex to my RSS feed and Blog roll. If you enjoy reading about the industry I recommend you do the same.

The Airline Industry - IAG podcast style

Received an email recently from Addison Schonland from the Innovation Analysis Group (IAG) recommending that I check out the series of aviation podcasts that he and others publish on the IAGblog. Starting from September they have been publishing an Airline Insight podcast on the aviation industry at a rate of more than one a day. I have listened to a few and these podcast are informative, detailed and focused but also not for the faint-hearted. By that I mean you if you are a passionate follower of the aviation industry you will be very impressed by the level of insight, material covered and access to insiders that comes from each edition. However if you have a only a passing interest in who has bought what aircraft, which bankrupt/struggling airline is going to survive another day or which low cost carrier has found another way to charge its consumers without telling them up front then you may find this heavy going.

To give a taste of the coverage - I listen to the Oct 18 podcast interview with Airbus North America Chair Allan McArtor where he pulled no punches in the he said, I said, you said, I want to kill you war of words between Airbus and Boeing over who gets more from which government. Great to hear a company head not afraid to tear into a competitor. At the other end of the aviation industry I enjoyed the interview with Kate Hanni who you will recall is driving force for an airline passenger bill of rights after her marathon lock down on the tarmac without food, potable water or sanitary toilets. Fascinating though not unsurprising to hear about how she has to convince the US government to stop corporations from locking people in tin boxes without any guarantee of release.

Subscription feeds for the IAG Podcasts are here.

Friday, October 19, 2007

The BOOT interviewed in Yeoh Siew Hoon's Transit Cafe

Travel editor, conference organiser and industry veteran Yeoh Siew Hoon has published an interview with me on her blog The Transit Cafe.

Here is the beginning of the interview

Q: What made you decide to start blogging?

I left the travel industry and missed it. I was doing venture capital work in blogging and new media. It became clear that launching a travel industry blog would meet two aims - teach me about blogging and online media and help me to stay connected with the online travel industry.

Q: Do you think bloggings the best thing to happen to humankind since the invention of fire?

No, pizza is. But on the media side, blogging has enabled us to re-write the rules of media and communication which is fantastic. It has enabled me to become virtual colleagues with bloggers from Europe, Asia and US. It has introduced me to senior executives, financiers and entrepreneurs. It has given my wife a break as now I have someone else to rant to about this industry that I love.

Q: What does it take to be a good blogger in the B2B space? Questions you must ask before you take that first step ...

Time and commitment. You have to be prepared to write for 3-6 months 5-7 days a week before anyone will notice. This won’t happen if you see it as an obligation, it will only happen if you enjoy it. The secret to enjoying it is to write for yourself not for anyone else. Turning that into a question - are you prepared to write with passion and enthusiasm even though no one will notice for a long time?

Q: What do you do it for? Fame, passion or money?

Challenge and enjoyment. I have made money from my blog in the form of consultancy projects but that is not why I started it.

Q: Do you think people trust bloggers more than traditional media? Should they?

No general answer. Even the biggest bloggers in the world cannot command the generalist influential muscle of the likes of CNN, Fox News or even People magazine. That said the blogger is able to marshal influence in sectors and groups that previously did not enjoy a medium for collective communications. See the way TreeHugger has built a movement around the environment, the Consumerist around customer service, Lifehacker around tech tips and tricks etc. However a blogger has to do more to build trust than traditional media. A person who arrives in a foreign country will feel comfortable switching on the news (assuming they understand the language) and listening to the stories told out of the television or radio despite having never heard of the news reader before. However if a web surfer stumbles onto a blog that they have never heard of, then there is not the same natural/base trust...

For the rest head over to the Transit Cafe.

For more information on Siew Hoon's Wired In Travel conference look here.

Expedia launches in NZ - Hoffman adds two letters to his title is up and running with air, car, hotel, destination and packaging. Here is the press release care of Travelmole. Arthur Hoffman is the boss. His title is now MD Australia & New Zealand. NZ is a small market with United Travel, House of Travel and Holiday Shoppe already battling for the limited OTA scraps left behind from Air New Zealand's online dominance. Oh and Zuji are there too but not sure anyone had really noticed.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

The Airline Industry - Freakonomics style

Loved the Freakonomics book, now have the pleasure of adding a link to their view on the future of the aviation industry to my little series of commentaries.

Thanks to the regular tipster for sending through the link.

Travelzoo AU and NZ launch imminent with appoint of new GM - Brad Gurrie

First there was an advertisement in the newspaper giving a hint of Travelzoo's arrival in the the Australian/New Zealand market. Now we have word that current GM Hotels Brad Gurrie has been appointed as Travelzoo's Australian and New Zealand General Manager- starting next month.

The AU site is in beta already - as you can see from this shot - so Brad starts with something to work on.

For those of you that don't know Travelzoo are a NASDAQ listed company with a market cap of about US$320 based on revenues of $75mm. Their difference is that they are neither a retailer or a pure review/content/network site. They are a deal hunter. They use screened advertiser driven content to provide consumers with deals and specials.

If the rumours prove true, Brad may find himself working for Priceline. Would be the first Priceline employee in Australia since they shut down the Myprice joint venture with Telstra during the boom.

Congratulations to Brad on the new job. Not sure yet what this will mean for Lastminute staff retention post the Wotif acquisition.

UPDATE - are reporting that the Sydney office will open on Nov 15 to be followed by a Taipei office on December 1

UPDATE 2 - Reliable rumours that in January at least one maybe more US based Travelzoo staff will be seconded to Sydney for an extended time to help Brad with the set up.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

The New TripAdvisor - looking a lot like a retailer

Travolution have broken the story of the new look TripAdvisor being rolled out in the UK first.

In his post Kevin talks about CEO Steve Kaufer's desire to have the site look less cluttered through a reduction in gizmos and functionality.

In my view this the first step in a content/review site wanting to look more like a retail site. TripAdvisor now has the site layout, look and feel that you would expect from a full service OTA - widget in the middle, destination maps on the edges and a promotion spot or two highlighting the things of the moment. I have talked about the need for content/networking players to constantly innovate to produce the loyalty and scale defending abilities of retailers. Here is a twist on that where a content player seeks to defend its scale by looking more like a retailer.

PS to ensure that I continue to received the search engine traffic let me once again confirm that Expedia Owns TripAdvisor...

WHOOT: Wotif are happy, AOT even happier

Wotif have defended the price tag of $55-57mm for despite the fact that profits will come next year. But COO Robbie Cooke in an interview with Travel Today has given away little in terms of what the strategy will be (see my thoughts from yesterday) other than to day that flights will be a benefit to Wotif. I continue to suspect that its more that they are interested in than a flights engine.

Meanwhile AOT has continued its steady acquisition of TVL stock, now claiming more than 10% according to today's filing. CEO Andrew Burnes can at his leisure now decide whether or not to keep a stake in a business controlled by Wotif or sell for what we presume is a reasonable return. Well played.

Two planes collide on the ground at Heathrow airport

First saw the story on the SMH website. No injuries but imagine the place is a nightmare. Involved in the crash are a BA 747 and Sri Lankan Airlines A340. Cant find any photos yet online

Monday, October 15, 2007

WHOOT: Webjet are out - it is all over bar the AOTing

It seems smooth sailing now for Wotif in their chase for the ownership title. The board have backed Wotif, Wotif have their hands on 19.5% of the stock and Webjet have just announced that they are pulling out of the running. Webjet MD David Clarke is quoted in Travel Today as saying
"We wish Wotif the best. Time will tell whether the value Wotif attributed to the business is prudent. We did not believe it was for our shareholders but Wotif’s shareholders and board may have different perspectives."
This does not mean that we at the WHOOT are calling it all over in the battle for WHoever Owns Outright There is still the matter of AOT's shareholding and if this battle has taught us one thing it is that ain't over 'til its over.

WHOOT: Wotif takes the lead, gets backing of the Board and buys out netus

Wotif has taken the clear lead in the battle for WHoever Owns Outright (WHOOT). Filings today confirm not only has the (TVL) board come out and unanimously recommended the Wotif bid but that Wotif is already a substantial shareholder having bought out venture firm Netus' 19.5% stake as well as holding commitments from executives for a further 9.4%.

Wotif have amended their offer to two tiers depending on whether or not they gain 75.1% or 90% acceptance. Presumably a tactic to both entice AOT to sell their almost blocking stake and provide protection if they don't AOT engaged. At 75.1% they have more than enough for control.

Range in valuation of and is thus $55-57mm depending on which threshold they reach. Market cap before the announcement was $61.4 mm so in theory is a discount on market. But in reality this is bid is almost 40% above the price range prior to Webjet's first bid.

What will Wotif do with the business? Could we see the amusing situation where they maintain both the Lastminute and Wotif brands but with Wotif as the last minute brand - focusing on only 28 days out - and Lastminute is the "full service" brand that services 365 days a year. Air is clearly not the priority here (unless I am missing something).

Travel Today have the story here as well

WHOOT: board director resigns

After the close of business of Friday a director of resigned. No reasons given.

UPDATE - reasons now clear as venture firm Netus had sold out to as part of Wotif's revised bid.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

WHOOT: meanwhile AOT keeps buying stock

While the TVL ( Board has freed itself from its recommendation of the Webjet offer, AOT is quietly increasing its stake in TVL. It now has 9.03%.

WHOOT: Board drops support of Webjet but not yet fully in favour of Wotif

The WHOOT series update - WHoever Owns Outright - continues.

The have officially advised against accepting the Webjet offer but have not gone so far as to throw support behind the Wotif offer.

Two announcements out in the last half an hour. Webjet published their announcement first saying that it has heard from the board that the Implementation Agreement is terminated. Then moments later news from the Board confirming the termination and announcing that they
"change its unanimous positive recommendation for the proposed offer by Webjet .....[and] have withdrawn their support for the Original Webjet Offer but are continuing to consider the revised proposals from Webjet and Wotif and have instructed TVL’s advisers to explore the terms of the revised proposals with Webjet and Wotif."
Again shareholders are urged to do nothing until they hear from the Board. So we wait on the Board - or maybe for another round of betting?

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

WHOOT: Webjet pleads Wotif seethes

The WHOOT series update - WHoever Owns Outright - continues.

Webjet has "stepped up" in the battle according to the SMH with a bidder's statement. A bidders statement is like the case/argument that a bidder puts to the shareholders of a target to convince them to sell. Usually it says something like - "we are offering a lot of money, you'd be crazy not to accept". This statement from Webjet is not like the standard. It instead says "I know we are not offering as much as the other guy but you should accept our bid anyway because you will become an owner in Webjet". Is a good story but nowhere near a killer blow.

Wotif on the other hand is a little perplexed. CEO Robbie Cooke is quoted in TravelWeekly's TravelToday as saying that he is a "bit frustrated" that the Board have kept him waiting by asking the shareholders to do nothing until the Board makes a recommendation. Says Wotif are planning their own bidders statement (though he is not in a rush) which I presume will be more along the lines of "we are offering the most money".

So, we wait on the Board.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

New Boss and Execs at Viator - promotion for Barrie Seidenberg and Board role for Chris Vukelich

With all my travelling last week and eye on the WHOOT I missed the news that Rod Cuthbert the founder of destination services company Viator has moved to a corporate strategy role as Executive Chairman of the company to make way for new CEO Barrie Seidenberg. Seidenberg has been President of the group since 2005. She has an important place in the history of online travel as she was previously CMO of Preview Travel. Preview is famous as the first big deal in online travel when it was bought by/merged with Travelocity in 1999 (completed in 2000) to make a company that I think was was first to hit the combined $1billion in gross bookings mark. Certainly first to hit $2bil.

In the same release comes news that ex Hilton, BA and Cendant exec Chris Vukelich has joined the Viator Board.

Thanks to Martin Kelly at where I first spotted the story.

The turning point for eLong

Business blog Seeking Alpha's Shane Farley is convinced that the hiring of Chinese born Guangufu Cui as the new CEO is just what eLong need to reinvigorate its campaign to take on Ctrip and to bolster its comparatively flagging share price. Farely provides some interesting financial analysis of eLong particularly pointing out that while eLong has not been matching Ctrip's profitability growth it is sitting on a cash pile of $156mm and no debt. That plus a new boss, Farely argues, should be enough to help be competitive again. More of the article here.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Introducing the WHOOT sub-blog - WHoever will Own Outright

Over the next few weeks it is inevitable that the pages of the BOOT will hijacked at times by the WHOOT (WHoever will Own Outright as the battle for between Webjet, Wotif and AOT (with more to join?) reaches its conclusion. Will try to keep you as updated as possible.

Latest just before the weekend break was the Board of advising shareholders to do nothing (ie accept neither offer) while the Board considers what advice to give. No date for a recommendation to be delivered.

Seems the Board did have time to approve the issue of 175,000 shares to employees under the employee share program. Just in time.

The advice also contains a summary of the agreement between Webjet and stemming from the original Webjet offer. Highlights of the Implementation Agreement" and the "Pre-bid Acceptance Agreement" include:
  • Non-solicitation obligation: preventing from looking for other bidders. Indicates that Wotif and AOT are acting independently of any prompting from the Board or TVL execs. This means Wotif and AOT have relied only on public data for their bids;
  • Matching Rights: Webjet gets the right to submit counter-proposals to bids from others but the there is not absolute obligation on the Board to accept a Webjet counter-proposal;
  • Break Fee: If the Board rejects the offer from Webjet then Webjet is entitled to a $250k break fee (unless "the recommendation is withdrawn on the basis that an independent expert appointed by TVL has concluded that the Offer is neither fair nor reasonable" which would presumably be able to be achieved if there is a higher offer on the table but maybe not); and
  • The Webjet Pre-Bid 19.9% is not as sewn up as they would like: under Pre-Bid Acceptance Agreement Webjet gains rights of 19.9% of the stock from lead shareholder Co-Investor. However, Webjet cannot enforce this right if another offer is received, accepted by the board and Webjet does not increase its offer within 10 days.
Game on!

Lonely Planet Sale to BBC - an admission of defeat or a perfectly timed sale

Lonely Planet are good at what they do - publish guide books. But have failed at almost every effort to use the Internet as a tool or morph their publishing model beyond static guidebooks. The sale of 75% of the company to BBC enterprises can be seen as a clear admission of this. Founder Tony Wheeler did an interview with Lisa Allen in this week's weekend AFR (subscription only so not available online) where he admitted as much. "We did feel we weren't getting as much out of the digital side of the business as we could" he is quoted as saying. He goes on to claim that they believe they were doing a good job online but admits that "given the size of our brand that our website should be a lot more than it is." I agree completely.

The problem with Lonely Planet online is not the product range it is that they waited too long before getting serious about online. In the last year alone they launched a booking engine (Haystack), a TV/video sharing site (Lonely Planet TV), a classifieds site and cut a number of content distribution deals. Even more recently they announced the launch of Pick & Mix where you can buy individual chapters or build your own guidebook. Other than Pick & Mix each of these was a "me too" product and launched years after other players had established deeper product lines and captured audience attention.

In the case of Pick & Mix I had a chance to speak to Tom Hall the product manager in charge at Lonely Planet. The ultimate vision of Pick & Mix is to give consumer the information they want how they want it - all good Internet stuff. However the product starts out as just the ability to mix and match existing chapters in pdf with limited custom features like names and photos. There is no-auto updating, no online search, no user generated content and it is not available on mobile devices. Tom hopes to build up to those features once they had since the results of the initial launch. Further the system is not yet set up to allow Lonely Planet to see the types of combinations that people have bought to enable them to gain insight into unpredictable destination combinations. Thus as good as the Pick & Mix idea and initial launch is, it highlights the undercurrent of hesitancy and conservatism in Lonely Planet's approach to the Internet.

Tony and the Planet team may have slipped up online but he has been able to spend the last thirty plus years being paid to travel the world and has presumably made enough from the sale to never need work again. Somehow it paid off to miss the Internet revolution.

401 not out

Time for my "not out series" - a regular summary of the last 100 posts that I first started with 101 not out and continued with 201 and 301.

Without a doubt this recent period of posts on the BOOT have been dominated by consolidation and deals:
In other general news
and in quirky news
I hope you're enjoying reading because I am enjoying writing.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Wotif joins in the chase for (updated)

Thanks to all the tipsters and commentators that added to my story on a new bidder for The mystery bidder is Australian online hotel giant (here is the AustralianIT story). The offer is $0.50 cents in cash or between 0.0893 and 0.1042 Wotif shares or about AU$49.8mm versus Webjet's original offer valued at $42.3mm. This is an aggressive play for Wotif. Not sure why they would want an air business but maybe they are ignoring the air part and seeing all of the value in the business (now 100% owned by I see two main reasons why Wotif would want to bid. Either they are hoping to simply push the price up and force Webjet to spend more of their cash reserves on the acquisition leaving less for marketing. Alternatively it is proof that organically Wotif are struggling to find growth out of the Australian market and therefore need to find greater than organic opportunities within Australia to maintain valuation.

UPDATE - the board have made an announcement to the stock exchange in response saying that it will review the offer and give guidance to shareholders soon but concluding that the Webjet offer is fair and reasonable. It concludes by urging sharehodlers to take no action (ie don't sell to Webjet just yet).

UPDATE 2 - Webjet is back with an increased offer.

UPDATE 3 - Wotif returns with a higher offer of its own valuing the company at just shy of $55 million. Market cap at time of this post (4 Oct 250pm) was $63.75mm. The Wotif bid notes that it values the company at 57.1% premium on TVL’s closing share price on September 5 – the day before Webjet made its first approach. Webjet’s new bid, released this morning, offers a 50.8 per cent premium.

UPDATE 3 - worth remembering that at its IPO raised $52mm and shares closed the first day at $2.94. There is little to link the company now to then in terms of shareholders or management but a nice little reminder of the craziness of the dotcom boom

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

And now there are three - AOT joins the hunt for

Am in an airport lounge struggling to stay in touch with the moves and shakes around the acquisition. Now we learn that top tier Australian wholesaler and second tier online retailer AOT has joined the hunt for According to the SMH they have already got their hands on 7.8% of the stock and are looking for more. AOT already operate and content player Travelmate. Also recently snapped up little known player NeedtoEscape (story here). At the very least AOT boss Andrew Burnes has built a nice little blocking stake. Anyone else out their want to join in?

Thanks to Grah from Voysage who sent me the story first.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Another deal! Priceline and Travelzoo (updated)

I cannot type fast enough to keep up with the deals that are flying around. The latest to hit the BOOT radar is the piece on speculating that Priceline is going to announce an acquisition bid for content/travel advertising firm Travelzoo. Travelzoo is up 22% on the news. And I thought this was going to be a slow news week.

UPDATE - on the Q3 2007 PCLN earnings call a few subtle questions were asked of the Priceline management about any interest in owning Travelzoo. The questions were subtle and the answers therefore equivocal but it seemed that there is not (public) interest from Priceline in buying Travelzoo. A reader and I agree that this constitutes a "no" for now.

BBC buys Lonely Planet

Am having a tough time on the road keeping up with all the deals that are flying every which way across the industry. Thankfully I have my spies everywhere helping me to stay in touch. Latest piece is that the venerable UK broadcaster the BBC (trough their BBC Worldwide division) has bought the Melbourne based guidebook and information group Lonely Planet. Is not a full buyout - the founders Tony and Maureen Wheeler will retain 25% (according to the SMH). Is proof that travel content is highly prized. Let's hope the BBC can help Lonely Planet work on its online execution where they have to date had a mixed record.

Thanks to Stuart McDonald of Travelfish who was first to send through the story to me.

The BOOT goes to London - in style!

Many thanks to BA for an unexpected upgrade to first class. Turns 23 hours in the air from Business Class great to First Class fantastic. Two cute twists to the updgrade. The first is that they give you a cosmetics/amenities kit that you have to empty in the garbage bin at Bangkok airport because you can neither leave it on the plane nor take it through Bangkok security when in transit. Second - you will recall my great experience re-visiting of Qantas Business Class in my last trip where after a year or more of faulty VOD system I was pleased to find a system working and full of movies. Now here I am in BA first class with a new and highly publicised VOD system that had to be re-booted twice and failed again an hour and half out fo Bangkok. According to the copy of Business Traveller I was reading on the plane this is a common complaint in the BA roll out. One big difference with the Qantas VOD failures was the charming and constant apologies of the BA staff. Though as the staff member joked after the final re-boot attempt, "we'll need a crowbar to fix it and put it out of my misery".

UPDATE - forgot to mention another cute part of this story. My boarding pass contains a comment to indicate that it is an upgrade not a "pure" first class boarding pass. I assume so that I can be differentiated by the staff from the people who actually bought a first class ticket. The boarding pass describes this as "INVOL UPGRADE DUE O/SALE". That's something I could get used to - an involuntary/forced 23 hours in a first class seat.