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Old Jul 10, 12, 10:14 am   #1
 
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Trying to Visit Exhibit Past Security, Without Flying

A photograph of mine is being shown as part of an exhibit past security at CHO (Charlottesville, VA) and I would like to view the exhibit. CHO is not my home field and I have no plans to fly out of there anytime soon. I have spoken with the airport management and they say there is no way to see the exhibit without clearing security as a traveling passenger.
Can I get a reward ticket departing CHO with no intention of flying, check in on-line, go through security, visit the exhibit and then never fly out and somehow get my miles back as I never boarded?
Thanks in advance!
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Old Jul 10, 12, 10:17 am   #2
 
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Originally Posted by shdflyer View Post
A photograph of mine is being shown as part of an exhibit past security at CHO (Charlottesville, VA) and I would like to view the exhibit. CHO is not my home field and I have no plans to fly out of there anytime soon. I have spoken with the airport management and they say there is no way to see the exhibit without clearing security as a traveling passenger.
Can I get a reward ticket departing CHO with no intention of flying, check in on-line, go through security, visit the exhibit and then never fly out and somehow get my miles back as I never boarded?
Thanks in advance!
This is not a United question so I think this will be moved somewhere..

But yes you can do what you propose. However unless you're Plat or above there will be a fee to cancel an award ticket. Instead you should just purchase a refundable ticket on a credit card and then cancel and refund it.

I'm surprised that airport management is unwilling to help you..there are published acceptable reasons why people are allowed security passes and being an airport vendor/having business with the airport is one of them.. you loosely qualify in those categories. I'll bet that there is someone at that airport who would be sympathetic and willing to issue you a pass. But, failing that, go the refundable ticket route.
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Old Jul 10, 12, 10:23 am   #3
 
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Originally Posted by SEA1K4EVR View Post

But yes you can do what you propose. However unless you're Plat or above there will be a fee to cancel an award ticket. Instead you should just purchase a refundable ticket on a credit card and then cancel and refund it.
.
I am Platinum, so no problem there. So if I have a boarding pass and don't board the flight, I can still *easily* get the miles back? How does that work? Would I need to call United before the scheduled flight departure time?
THANKS!
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Old Jul 10, 12, 10:32 am   #4
 
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Originally Posted by shdflyer View Post
I am Platinum, so no problem there. So if I have a boarding pass and don't board the flight, I can still *easily* get the miles back? How does that work? Would I need to call United before the scheduled flight departure time?
THANKS!
Yes, just call United before departure. Or even easier, go online and request a refund. Expect several weeks before the miles get credited back to you.
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Old Jul 10, 12, 10:35 am   #5
 
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You could book a flight for late at night, use it to pass security earlier in the day, for example because you would like to go standby on an earlier flight. If your plans for flying change after you have seen the exhibit, you can always exit the airport secure area, cancel the check-in and then cancel the award online to get the miles back. To minimize complications, I think that canceling while the check-in for the flight is still open would be recommended (let's say no later than one hour before departure to be on the safe side).

I experienced similar circumstances a couple of years ago, first taking my parents to the gate (to make sure paper upgrades on a LH flight were handled correctly), and then changing my mind regarding boarding a later flight I had a refundable ticket and got the money back on the credit card within a day.

PS: if you have a reward flight, to get the miles back online you have to cancel the reservation first, and then request the redeposit of the miles (there is a link for this in the canceled reservation). This way my redeposits have been always instantaneous. Calling carries the risk that the agent only does step one, so miles remain in a limbo...

Last edited by CASAFlyer; Jul 10, 12 at 10:39 am. Reason: added ps on mile redeposit
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Old Jul 10, 12, 10:51 am   #6
 
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Or just book an award or refundable flight, check in 24 hours ahead of time, print your boarding pass, then cancel the flight. Go to the airport later that day or the next day at your leisure.

All you need is a valid boarding pass to get past security, right?
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Old Jul 10, 12, 10:56 am   #7
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Originally Posted by catocony View Post
Or just book an award or refundable flight, check in 24 hours ahead of time, print your boarding pass, then cancel the flight. Go to the airport later that day or the next day at your leisure.

All you need is a valid boarding pass to get past security, right?
If you've already cancelled, is it still a valid boarding pass? If TSA has a scanner at document check, like the PreCheck places, would the cancelled boarding pass flash an alert?
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Old Jul 10, 12, 12:54 pm   #8
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forget using miles, just use cash. be sure to cancel before departure.
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Old Jul 10, 12, 1:32 pm   #9
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Just buy a refundable ticket and refund it after leaving the airport. No need to complicate matters with miles.
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Old Jul 10, 12, 2:38 pm   #10
 
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Why not just ring up the Airport Administrator and ask for a press pass?
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Old Jul 10, 12, 3:11 pm   #11
 
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Originally Posted by MSPeconomist View Post
If you've already cancelled, is it still a valid boarding pass? If TSA has a scanner at document check, like the PreCheck places, would the cancelled boarding pass flash an alert?
It would not. The scanner interprets the BCBP on your boarding pass and spits out the data, such as name, etc. The machine is not hooked up to a life database, but merely converts static information.
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Old Jul 11, 12, 2:21 pm   #12
 
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I think the best tips in this area would probably be found on a Nigerian message board.

You could try Bankops' suggestion. Use the words "press pass" or "gate pass". Simply asking if you can "get through security without a ticket, even if I don't want to fly" may be triggering a Pavlovian response of "NO!". But asking for a gate pass or press pass may trigger the questioning reflex - instead of saying "NO!", they may ask, "What's your business in the sterile area?" Actual conversation may ensue, and perhaps you can convince them of the legitimacy of your request.

You might also ask one of the airlines with whom you have status if you could get a gate pass, like folks who are escorting others to their gates or meeting incoming pax.
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Old Jul 12, 12, 12:48 am   #13
 
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Ask for a gate pass from the airport administration, or ask for an employee escort if they are unwilling to give a gate pass to enter alone. Usually, there is a person in the airport administration who handles public art (at a large airport, its all they do. At a small one, it might be trickier because they might have other duties).
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Old Jul 12, 12, 6:42 am   #14
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Congratulations on having a photo in the exhibit!

And I'll second the gate pass / refundable ticket suggestions. I wouldn't get miles mixed up in this, though it should also work.
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Old Jul 12, 12, 8:02 am   #15
 
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Find out when the local media is going out to cover the exhibit, and offer to go with them so they can interview the local artist along side the art.

When they get through security, and you are stopped, there will be a second story for them to cover.
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