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Old Mar 27, 12, 7:49 am   #1
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Schedule change on award ticket: UA won't allow me to change the itin!

A few weeks back, I booked a normal one-way award, 12.5k per seat, SFO-MCI. Peak summer weekend, high fares, good place for a 12.5k award. It had a 45-minute connection in DEN.

Today, I logged in just to look at my seat assignments and noticed that the flight has been changed and I now have a three minute connection in Denver. I never received an email or robocall from United about the time change, which was basically due to the fact that UA466 now departs SFO at 6:08PM instead of 5:25PM.

So I think no biggie...this is a normal event...surprised I didn't get a robocall with new flights automatically, but not worried. There are plenty of flights with seats from SFO to MCI, either nonstop or via DEN, on my travel date. So I call to rebook to one, hoping for the 5:50PM nonstop but willing to accept the 4:31PM connection through DEN.

However, I can't convince the agent that I should be entitled to a change to the itinerary. He says that the three-minute connection in Denver isn't a reason to change the flights. He keeps asking "So you want to change your Saver Award to another flight with Saver Award seats?" I try to explain that no, United changed my flights, leaving me with an impossible connection in Denver.

So he relents and offers up a 7AM departure, connecting in LAX and DEN. Obviously he was still looking for Saver Award seats. Of course, we'd planned the evening flights on purpose - we won't be back into the Bay Area until after noon that day.

So I'm wondering what the next step is. This has happened to me on numerouse occasions in the past. I book an award 8-10 months in advance, sometimes schedules change, and UA has always ensured that I still had legal connections even if they had to later put me on other flights that aren't available for new award bookings. Actually had one to MUC a couple years back where they had to reroute/rebuild the whole itin.

Problem is...I'm now 2P with no access to an onshore call center. The person I spoke to yesterday never really understood my problem. I can't blame the agent too much - English definitely was not his first language - but I fear that calling back will lead to the same problem. I have a friend who is a fluent Hindi speaker who I know would call for me...but no idea whether he'd be able to communicate any better than me.

Somebody confirm that I'm not crazy: I do have the right to one free change in this case, right? And not constrained only to flights with XY seats? This wasn't just UA being nice to me in my 1P/1K years? (A 1K would simply book a new award and redeposit the old one, I know...) They aren't going to say "Just fly the itin as planned with a 3 minute connection in Denver." That seems like a recipe for a night in Denver, knowing that they aren't holding a plane for a 2P...
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Old Mar 27, 12, 7:51 am   #2
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Yes, you are right.

But when are you flying? Do you need to fix this now?
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Old Mar 27, 12, 7:53 am   #3
 
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When you have an agent like that, just politely hang up and call back. Rinse and repeat if necessary.
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Old Mar 27, 12, 7:57 am   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aacharya View Post
Yes, you are right.

But when are you flying? Do you need to fix this now?
I'm flying in June...I simply called yesterday because I had a few minutes available to do it, and airfares for that weekend/route are already high so I suspect I'm looking at a lot of flights that are filling up fast.

So I just checked online to confirm that *some* coach seats were available on my target flights and I called.

However, I will be in a couple of airports with smaller United operations in the next two weeks. I might just visit them in person and explain the situation.

Quote:
Originally Posted by squarestatejeff View Post
When you have an agent like that, just politely hang up and call back. Rinse and repeat if necessary.
Yeah, but won't I continue to get directed to the same call center as a 2P/Silver? Is there a time of day when I might get routed to a different call center? Has any of this changed post-merger?
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Old Mar 27, 12, 8:15 am   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pinniped View Post
I'm flying in June...I simply called yesterday because I had a few minutes available to do it, and airfares for that weekend/route are already high so I suspect I'm looking at a lot of flights that are filling up fast.

So I just checked online to confirm that *some* coach seats were available on my target flights and I called.

However, I will be in a couple of airports with smaller United operations in the next two weeks. I might just visit them in person and explain the situation.



Yeah, but won't I continue to get directed to the same call center as a 2P/Silver? Is there a time of day when I might get routed to a different call center? Has any of this changed post-merger?
Not the call center, it's the agent. If it's off-shore, it's critical to use clear & concise language, such as: "United changed it's schedule so that I will miss my connection, please rebook me onto your Flight XXX."
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Old Mar 27, 12, 8:16 am   #6
 
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When you can't win on this; Hang up and call back ALWAYS to a different agent... don't waste time arguing with an agent like this EVER...This holds true for ANY customer service industry not just Airlines - not just United.
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Old Mar 27, 12, 8:29 am   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Often1 View Post
Not the call center, it's the agent. If it's off-shore, it's critical to use clear & concise language, such as: "United changed it's schedule so that I will miss my connection, please rebook me onto your Flight XXX."
Agree. Just saying you might want to wait a week or two. Call times are getting better, day by day.
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Old Mar 27, 12, 8:39 am   #8
 
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The off-shore call centers have also had CO rules jammed down their throats.

Yes, you'll probably get it done, but it's a hassle.

Also, please consider posting your pathetic SHARES rebook engine experience in this thread:

SHARES rebook engine is pathetic
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Old Mar 27, 12, 8:45 am   #9
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NickP 1K View Post
When you can't win on this; Hang up and call back ALWAYS to a different agent... don't waste time arguing with an agent like this EVER...This holds true for ANY customer service industry not just Airlines - not just United.
+1 Yes, you're more likely to get an ignorant agent at an offshore call center, but hopefully you'll still be able to get a decent one if you try again (and perhaps again if your first re-try does not work). It's lousy that you have to hassle with this, but might be the best route to go.
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Old Mar 27, 12, 10:34 am   #10
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pinniped View Post
Problem is...I'm now 2P with no access to an onshore call center. The person I spoke to yesterday never really understood my problem. I can't blame the agent too much - English definitely was not his first language - but I fear that calling back will lead to the same problem.
I'd recommend using this "trick": http://www.dansdeals.com/archives/20506

I get through in a few minutes max every time and it's an English-as-a-first-language agent.
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Old Mar 27, 12, 10:44 am   #11
 
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Why not simply escalate this to a SD right off the bat?

It seems clear the front-line ICC troops have been instructed not to do this...
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Old Mar 27, 12, 3:27 pm   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by danpeake View Post
I'd recommend using this "trick": http://www.dansdeals.com/archives/20506

I get through in a few minutes max every time and it's an English-as-a-first-language agent.
Post of the day! Thank you very much: clicked the link, entered phone number, and was talking to a native English speaker in about 15 seconds.

Two minutes later, I was confirmed on the nonstop flight.
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