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Old May 19, 12, 5:23 am   #1
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Posts: 15
Purchased Upgrades--falling out of the system

Hi all - I posted this on another site without any real answers, so I thought I would try here.

I'm a long time Premier on UA (only silver; although will be back to gold within the week) and have flown back and forth to BKK from IAD twice in the last 2 months. Each ticket was purchased in a "Y" (full fare economy) code--albeit by our travel agency, who is unauthorized to buy instant upgrades (even if they're available) or the like. Per UA's instructions, 20K FF miles is the correct mileage to upgrade the flight. I've paid the "cost" accordingly. Also, according to the information I can find, UA prioritizes upgrades by premier status first, then fare class. Of the 3 one-ways I've taken so far, the first was upgraded successfully BEFORE the 24-hour cut-off window for the wait list. Finally, according to UA's information, if they cannot upgrade you more than 24 hours before the flight, your name then is supposed to roll onto a "standby" list for upgrade when you check in for the flight. This is when the problem arises.

Twice, now, I've simply fallen off the "standby" list when checking in for the flight; the result is that even if I am in the right position in line to get the upgrade, I cannot get it because I'm no longer on the list--even though I've paid.

The first time this happened (in BKK), the gate agent told me "It's the Continental system--we cannot do anything to put you back on the list". There were actually seats available in business! Since I connected through NRT, I asked again to be put on the standby list--and again--"It's the Continental system--I can't do anything to prioritize you for the upgrade" was the answer.

Finally, on the most recent trip, I checked in at IAD with the same problem. The gate agent had to force my name onto the the standby list 3 TIMES before it would not fall off. She, too, said the problem was "the continental system" but seemed to know a work around. This didn't only happen to me--another gentleman on the flight, albeit with Gold status, also needed to be re-inserted onto the list at least once.

My name didn't get high enough on the pecking order to get the upgrade, but, more importantly, I'm concerned that the same problem will happen again on my return from BKK.

Has anyone else had this same "falling off the standby list" problem? If so, what have you done about it? Why do they keep saying it's "the Continental system"? Can I do anything more than what I've already done to ensure my name is in the proper place in line (based on fare class/premier status)?

thanks
b52 Murph
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Old May 19, 12, 5:57 am   #2
 
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Just to make sure I understand correctly: you were flying BKK-NRT on a Y fare, had paid for an upgrade with frequent-flyer miles, and ended up flying in coach on a United flight while there were empty seats in the front cabin?
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Old May 19, 12, 6:15 am   #3
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mherdeg View Post
Just to make sure I understand correctly: you were flying BKK-NRT on a Y fare, had paid for an upgrade with frequent-flyer miles, and ended up flying in coach on a United flight while there were empty seats in the front cabin?
Yes....
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Old May 19, 12, 6:30 am   #4
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Dubai / NYC
Programs: EK-PLAT (I/O), UA-1K, BA-GOLD, SPG-PLAT100, JUMEIRAH-SIRIUS GOLD
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Why are you not Gold YET. IAD-BKK depending on routing is aprx 20,000 miles R/T. You get a 50% bonus in EQM for buying full Y and you made the R/T twice

20K X 2 X 150% = 60,000 EQM (you should be Gold). We're you credited for all your flights
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Old May 19, 12, 7:20 am   #5
 
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Not 20K. Its 8600 something each way, with fare bous I get 13170mi each way. Will be back to gold at the end of this round trip. Status level doesn't seem to matter, since same thing happened to a gold member ahead of me in line.
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Old May 19, 12, 8:34 am   #6
 
Join Date: Mar 2009
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When you call to apply the upgrade request, you should ask that they split the segments. Yes, you'll get more miles from the flights, reflecting IAD-NRT-BKK versus IAD-BKK; however, splitting the segments will allow you to get the upgrade if R class becomes available on either the IAD-NRT to NRT-BKK segments. If you don't split the segments, you'll only get the upgrade if R class becomes available on the IAD-BKK. There should be no additional charge to splitting the segments. Plus, the cost of the upgrade is still 20,000 miles from IAD-NRT-BKK versus IAD-BKK.
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Old May 19, 12, 10:47 am   #7
 
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Originally Posted by sannmann View Post
When you call to apply the upgrade request, you should ask that they split the segments. Yes, you'll get more miles from the flights, reflecting IAD-NRT-BKK versus IAD-BKK; however, splitting the segments will allow you to get the upgrade if R class becomes available on either the IAD-NRT to NRT-BKK segments. If you don't split the segments, you'll only get the upgrade if R class becomes available on the IAD-BKK. There should be no additional charge to splitting the segments. Plus, the cost of the upgrade is still 20,000 miles from IAD-NRT-BKK versus IAD-BKK.
Thanks for the recommendation; I'll certainly request that and see if it helps. Does NOT having the segments split for flt 803 cause problems in the computer for upgrades? thanks
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Old May 19, 12, 11:43 am   #8
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by b52murph View Post
Thanks for the recommendation; I'll certainly request that and see if it helps. Does NOT having the segments split for flt 803 cause problems in the computer for upgrades? thanks
From what I understand, yes. UA is more likely to make R space available on the individual segments than on the married IAD-BKK "direct" flight. At least, this is what I understand from a discussion I had with a 1K agent a couple weeks ago about that same very flight.
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Old May 19, 12, 9:58 pm   #9
 
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Many Thanks! I did call and have them split the segments for the return trip--resulting in more mileage. Hope it helps.

This still doesn't explain the "Continental System" answer I was getting from the agents. Any ideas on that?
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Old May 21, 12, 4:34 pm   #10
 
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Also, I should ask now...will checking in online help my position in line (again, assuming that the list actually works this time)? Amongst the same status level and fare class, how do they break it down further--i.e. two customers with 2P status and a "Y" class ticket?
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Old May 21, 12, 4:51 pm   #11
 
Join Date: May 2007
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Quote:
Originally Posted by b52murph View Post
Many Thanks! I did call and have them split the segments for the return trip--resulting in more mileage. Hope it helps.

This still doesn't explain the "Continental System" answer I was getting from the agents. Any ideas on that?
All of UA is now using the premerger Continental reservation system, which has a number of issues, including upgrade lists, noted in many other threads.
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Old May 21, 12, 7:27 pm   #12
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by b52murph View Post
Has anyone else had this same "falling off the standby list" problem?
Yes! This happened yesterday SFO-IAD-RDU. I applied a RPU to my itinerary. I was on the upgrade list for SFO-IAD, but I was not on the upgrade list for IAD-RDU.

Note to self 1: You need to check the mobile UA site continuously.

Note to self 2: A "U" fare on SFO-IAD only positions me in the mid-teens on the upgrade waitlist.

At IAD the GA, and the pmCO trainer standing behind her, both could not explain why my name was not on the upgrade waitlist. They also said that it was not possible to add my name to the list. I explained that it could be done, given R availability, and that the GA would have to yank another RPU from my account. I didn't feel like going through this ordeal and to have to call M+ multiple times for a RPU deposit. I politely retreated and had a seat in the boarding area. The IAD-RDU segment was just too short to bother with an upgraded seat.

I found it funny when the pmCO trainer asked me "What is a RPU?". Classic.
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Old May 23, 12, 7:53 pm   #13
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
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Oh no. Here we go again.

I just checked in for my return flight RDU-IAH-SFO - with a RPU previously applied. RDU-IAH showed my name on the upgrade waitlist, but IAH-SFO did not show my name on the upgrade waitlist.

I called COdbaUA. The CO agent said that it was a system glitch. I tried and tried to get a basic understanding of why this happened and how I can go about correcting it. The CO agent could not explain it or provide any addtional insight.

After some tap-tap-tapping, the agent comes back on the phone and says that both segments have cleared into F. Huh, what?! And, yes, I made sure - and confirmed with the agent too - that no additional RPU's were taken from my account for this.
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Old May 23, 12, 8:22 pm   #14
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What does splitting segments mean?
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Old May 23, 12, 8:48 pm   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mitchmu View Post
What does splitting segments mean?
When booked on a "direct" flight (e.g. UA 803 BKK-IAD, with a stop in NRT), splitting will fix things so that one is on UA 803 BKK-NRT and UA xxx NRT-IAD (I forget the NRT-IAD flight #).

The reason for doing this is that a GPU or miles upgrade won't clear for the "direct" flight unless R is available for both segments one is traveling on, and it's rare that inventory will be available at the same time on both (but when booked a ways out, much more probable to appear on both at different times).

Presumably one also gets the correct mileage credit (like one did toward the end of PMUA) instead of the point-to-point mileage only.
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