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Old May 31, 12, 6:08 am   #1
 
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Full Fare International Biz - Involuntary Downgrade

This was a new one for me. Showed up in plenty of time for an EWR-GRU UA flight on 5/23. Had booked in business earlier that day for around $3300 one-way.

When I got to the airport, was offered three adjacent coach seats and a $1200 voucher. Same thing happened to another business passenger who was seated in three adjacent coach seats a row ahead of me.

This happening to anyone else or was my experience an anomaly? Am a bit reticent to book last minute business class internationally on UA for my upcoming trips. I took TAM on the way back for the first time and it was pretty comparable to UA.
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Old May 31, 12, 6:45 am   #2
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I assume you're also getting a refund of the difference in fare?
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Old May 31, 12, 7:03 am   #3
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Originally Posted by KPhill View Post
This was a new one for me. Showed up in plenty of time for an EWR-GRU UA flight on 5/23. Had booked in business earlier that day for around $3300 one-way.

When I got to the airport, was offered three adjacent coach seats and a $1200 voucher. Same thing happened to another business passenger who was seated in three adjacent coach seats a row ahead of me.

This happening to anyone else or was my experience an anomaly? Am a bit reticent to book last minute business class internationally on UA for my upcoming trips. I took TAM on the way back for the first time and it was pretty comparable to UA.
If the voucher was a courtesy for your troubles, that's nice. But, you are entitled to a refund of the difference between your C fare and Y to our original form of payment as well.
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Old May 31, 12, 7:08 am   #4
 
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Originally Posted by Often1 View Post
If the voucher was a courtesy for your troubles, that's nice. But, you are entitled to a refund of the difference between your C fare and Y to our original form of payment as well.
Sadly, the difference between D fare ($3,387) and Y fare ($2,668) is only $719, so thats probably all the new UA will give him.
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Old May 31, 12, 7:10 am   #5
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Welcome to COdbaUA. They claim to want to attract business travelers, but they seem to pull this garbage frequently now. I'm sure there were no shortage of upgraded pax in the C cabin they could have downgraded instead.

If I were you, I'd choose LX for my next flight to GVA. Sorry for your troubles.
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Old May 31, 12, 7:12 am   #6
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Originally Posted by emanon256 View Post
Sadly, the difference between D fare ($3,387) and Y fare ($2,668) is only $719, so thats probably all the new UA will give him.
That raises an interesting question. Should he get difference between D and Y or between what he paid and cheapest economy fare? Not many people planning to fly in E- would actually choose to pay Y.
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Old May 31, 12, 7:16 am   #7
 
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Originally Posted by UA-NYC View Post
Welcome to COdbaUA. They claim to want to attract business travelers, but they seem to pull this garbage frequently now. I'm sure there were no shortage of upgraded pax in the C cabin they could have downgraded instead.

If I were you, I'd choose LX for my next flight to GVA. Sorry for your troubles.

Except he is going to GRU, not GVA!
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Old May 31, 12, 7:19 am   #8
 
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Originally Posted by mitchmu View Post
That raises an interesting question. Should he get difference between D and Y or between what he paid and cheapest economy fare? Not many people planning to fly in E- would actually choose to pay Y.
Given he booked last minute, presumably Y was the only coach fare left. If there were a lower fare option, I'd say that's the relevant difference.

Pretty remarkable they would sell a business seat and then not provide it--I doubt the C cabin was all paid biz.

FWIW, I was recently in biz on an upgrade and the woman next to me--also an upgrade--was asked to move back to coach because another passenger, who appeared to have paid, was being put in her seat. Oddly, the downgraded pax said her upgrade had cleared several days earlier. (Legacy UA flight)
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Old May 31, 12, 7:19 am   #9
 
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Originally Posted by mitchmu View Post
That raises an interesting question. Should he get difference between D and Y or between what he paid and cheapest economy fare? Not many people planning to fly in E- would actually choose to pay Y.
In my opinion, if someone buys discount C or F, and gets involuntarily downgraded, they should get the difference between what they paid, and an equivalent discounted Y fare, based on what was available at the time of purchase. At least that’s my opinion, probably not the airlines.

One time I purchased a discounted A fare, and I was involuntarily downgraded to Y, and at the time of the downgrade, Y was the only fare available, so they put me in it. When I called for a refund of the difference, the first agent actually had the nerve to tell me that the Y class I flew in cost more than my A, and they that I actually owe them money, but they will waive it. When I asked for a supervisor, they finally refunded the difference between what I paid for A, and I believe a Q fare, which they said was the lowest fare available at the time I booked. I thought that was quite fair. This was pre 3/3 though. Who knows if SHARES can view what was available, I would hope it could.
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Old May 31, 12, 7:19 am   #10
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Originally Posted by mitchmu View Post
That raises an interesting question. Should he get difference between D and Y or between what he paid and cheapest economy fare? Not many people planning to fly in E- would actually choose to pay Y.

The policy is to give the difference between fare paid and the lowest economy fare available on the date of purchase.
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Old May 31, 12, 7:26 am   #11
 
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Originally Posted by UA-NYC View Post
Welcome to COdbaUA. They claim to want to attract business travelers, but they seem to pull this garbage frequently now. I'm sure there were no shortage of upgraded pax in the C cabin they could have downgraded instead.

If I were you, I'd choose LX for my next flight to GVA. Sorry for your troubles.
Here's the thing. If UA is focused on making profit, they would have if they have kept the Full Fare C passengers like the OP. What's the incentives of downgrading the full fare C passenger? Are they secretly doing the math to also make profit off the passengers who are downgraded after the vouchers and the difference of the fare? That doesn't seem to make much sense to me.
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Old May 31, 12, 7:26 am   #12
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Except he is going to GRU, not GVA!
Reading too fast. JJ makes a nice subsitute then. Or AC even
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Old May 31, 12, 7:29 am   #13
 
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It would be interesting to hear from UA Insider whether this flight had any upgraded passengers in the front cabin (obviously there were no nonrevs) and whether it's UA policy to involuntarily downgrade the last person who checked in, rather than prioritizing full-fare pax over upgraded pax.

KPhill: If you send UA Insider a message with your flight number & travel date you might be able to get a good answer about whether this is SOP.

I am somewhat reminded of http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/unite...le-agents.html where the computer got to decide who was IDB'd -- "they had economy board...and if the gate scanner buzzed, you were denied boarding and put into a long line to be dealt with."
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Old May 31, 12, 7:57 am   #14
 
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Thanks for the replies. Very helpful.

Re the fare difference, have not been offered a refund but also have not asked. I sent a "what is going on?" message to customer service a week ago but have heard nothing. I will ask about the fare difference as well.

Re the upgrades or reward seats, the Club and gate agents were very forthcoming and said that many of the pax in the front were upgrades. They had a pretty long conversation in front of me about whether one of the upgrade pax should be "G.O.'ed" if that means anything to anyone here, although from the context I deduce it means that the upgrade would have been rescinded. They decided not to "G.O." them because they all had checked in and been assigned seats.

The ironic thing is that from my perspective, when I am traveling internationally using an upgrade or miles, it is a personal trip and because I usually have the wife and maybe even the kids with me, a downgrade would be a lot worse than when traveling by myself. So I wouldn't want to inflict that on someone in a similar situation.
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Old May 31, 12, 8:07 am   #15
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Originally Posted by KPhill View Post
Thanks for the replies. Very helpful.

Re the fare difference, have not been offered a refund but also have not asked. I sent a "what is going on?" message to customer service a week ago but have heard nothing. I will ask about the fare difference as well.

Re the upgrades or reward seats, the Club and gate agents were very forthcoming and said that many of the pax in the front were upgrades. They had a pretty long conversation in front of me about whether one of the upgrade pax should be "G.O.'ed" if that means anything to anyone here, although from the context I deduce it means that the upgrade would have been rescinded. They decided not to "G.O." them because they all had checked in and been assigned seats.

The ironic thing is that from my perspective, when I am traveling internationally using an upgrade or miles, it is a personal trip and because I usually have the wife and maybe even the kids with me, a downgrade would be a lot worse than when traveling by myself. So I wouldn't want to inflict that on someone in a similar situation.
I feel like that this is a situation where, if you had been proactive, you would not have been downgraded. Stepping in and telling them that downgrading a paying passenger while there were upgrades is unacceptable, and involving a supervisor, would probably have gotten someone else booted back.

Plus checking in before you get to the airport would almost always prevent this sort of situation.
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