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Old Oct 9, 12, 10:40 am   #1
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Is this new? On VDBs, agents cannot put you in F for downstream segments?

Agent at MRY this past Monday needed a volunteer on MRY-LAX. She offered to put me on MRY-SFO-IAD, getting in around the same time, for $300.

I checked the seat map (remembering that SFO-IAD was a PMCO 753 with no E+ and F already checked in full), and declined. I did see that MRY-DEN-IAD had F availability but no E+, and suggested that as an alternative if she could put me in F. I said I'd even do that for less than $300.

"The system won't let us do that," she claimed. "They would have to do it in DEN since it's your connection and not your originating flight."

That was a new one for me. Is this really the policy? Used to be agents processing VDBs had much more latitude--I've had offers of F on 3-class planes (including connections) if taking an overnight VDB, for example. Is it a SHARES limitation, or a policy limitation (e.g. less empowered GAs)?

Anyway, they had to IDB a pax in the end since there were no takers at $300. (They likewise at LAX DB'd four pax off of a 777 due to "weight & balance"--hope they at least got something, but W&B means nothing due... )
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Old Oct 9, 12, 10:43 am   #2
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I also remember (from a long time back) that they used to be able to put you in other classes of service on your later connecting flight. They definitely could not overbook you onto something though -- pushing their problem to another station.

Perhaps the upgrading now also falls in to the same kind of prohibition.
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Old Oct 9, 12, 10:57 am   #3
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I also remember (from a long time back) that they used to be able to put you in other classes of service on your later connecting flight. They definitely could not overbook you onto something though -- pushing their problem to another station.

Perhaps the upgrading now also falls in to the same kind of prohibition.
As far as overbooking goes, I wonder how exactly the rule went? Was it if the classes were zeroed out entirely, or if they plane was oversold (since they can still be selling seats even when oversold)? I certainly have been in situations where the GA put me onto another flight which itself ended up needing volunteers (no, I didn't take the double-bump as I did need to get to my destination that day and these typically meant an overnight).
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Old Oct 9, 12, 11:00 am   #4
 
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Anyway, they had to IDB a pax in the end since there were no takers at $300. (They likewise at LAX DB'd four pax off of a 777 due to "weight & balance"--hope they at least got something, but W&B means nothing due... )
I didn't know 'weight and balance' factored in if the jet was that large?
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Old Oct 9, 12, 11:13 am   #5
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I didn't know 'weight and balance' factored in if the jet was that large?
It can, though it's rare.
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Old Oct 9, 12, 11:16 am   #6
 
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I didn't know 'weight and balance' factored in if the jet was that large?
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It can, though it's rare.
Several discussions of this in the Pilot Q&A thread. Short version: what exerda said.
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Old Oct 9, 12, 11:32 am   #7
 
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Paging channa to point out that this is a classic example of a poorly designed computer system that an agent couldn't figure out how to use leading to a worse customer experience (IDB).

"The system won't let us do that" is almost the canonical sentence sCO agents were known to use to mean "I have not been trained to do this, and although the system and its rules are perfectly compatible with what you want, in order for this flight to leave on time, I need to say no to you and IDB someone."
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Old Oct 9, 12, 12:38 pm   #8
 
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Paging channa to point out that this is a classic example of a poorly designed computer system that an agent couldn't figure out how to use leading to a worse customer experience (IDB).

"The system won't let us do that" is almost the canonical sentence sCO agents were known to use to mean "I have not been trained to do this, and although the system and its rules are perfectly compatible with what you want, in order for this flight to leave on time, I need to say no to you and IDB someone."
i disagree. i think it's a policy system of sCO. the agent doesn't want to get audited for booking a K ticket into full F and suffer the wrath of SMI/J
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Old Oct 9, 12, 12:48 pm   #9
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Originally Posted by mherdeg View Post
Paging channa to point out that this is a classic example of a poorly designed computer system that an agent couldn't figure out how to use leading to a worse customer experience (IDB).

"The system won't let us do that" is almost the canonical sentence sCO agents were known to use to mean "I have not been trained to do this, and although the system and its rules are perfectly compatible with what you want, in order for this flight to leave on time, I need to say no to you and IDB someone."

Yes. They can most definitely do it, but the culture of fear and intimidation that pervades the new UA prevents people from doing the right thing. I think they call this "dignity and respect" or something. Anyhow, the system is just the convenient excuse, because it's so bad, it's plausible to the customer.

It's also possible the GA would have done it had they realized your status.

I had one recently where the GA refused to put me in F on a VDB, and instead proposed a 3-segment itin for a 1-segment bump. I countered with a 2-segment itin in F, and he said he couldn't do F. I said that was surprising, because they've done it before. He said he can't. I said that I was surprised he couldn't do it, since I'd probably get F anyway as 1K.

Then he realized I was a 1K and had no problem doing it. Remember the 1K notation is miniscule on the cluttered CO BP, and their systems don't highlight status readily making it difficult to recognize customers (unless they use the new software which seems to have take-up issues due to some limitations and usability concerns).
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Old Oct 9, 12, 1:05 pm   #10
 
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Yes. They can most definitely do it, but the culture of fear and intimidation that pervades the new UA prevents people from doing the right thing. I think they call this "dignity and respect" or something. Anyhow, the system is just the convenient excuse, because it's so bad, it's plausible to the customer.
It's crazy that the Rah Rah, "We can do no wrong" culture of CO has been totally replaced by a "culture of fear and intimidation" in just 9 months.
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Old Oct 9, 12, 1:16 pm   #11
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It's crazy that the Rah Rah, "We can do no wrong" culture of CO has been totally replaced by a "culture of fear and intimidation" in just 9 months.
Replaced? Those were all part of the CO "No" culture before.

The arrogance you describe is part of the reason they have confidence saying "No" so frequently to customers, or they're happy to leave customers hanging in a situation rather than doing the right thing.
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Old Oct 9, 12, 1:20 pm   #12
 
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Originally Posted by DeaconFlyer View Post
It's crazy that the Rah Rah, "We can do no wrong" culture of CO has been totally replaced by a "culture of fear and intimidation" in just 9 months.
Its the same culture. We (United) can do no wrong so we have no problem using intimidation and inspiring fear in you (customers).
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Old Oct 9, 12, 1:21 pm   #13
 
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Replaced? Those were all part of the CO "No" culture before.

The arrogance you describe is part of the reason they have confidence saying "No" so frequently to customers, or they're happy to leave customers hanging in a situation rather than doing the right thing.
So it was really a culture of "Rah Rah we can do no wrong, but if we did, we'll be punished for it, even though we will never do wrong, because we are always right"?
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Old Oct 9, 12, 1:24 pm   #14
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It's also possible the GA would have done it had they realized your status.
Interesting that you mentioned that. The agent was handling my check-in at the time, so she should have seen my status, but... well, I must say that at the same station (MRY), I have had agents even pre-merger completely clueless about status.

Last year, I asked to go on standby onto a delayed flight, as I expected mine would also be delayed (and would lead to a misconnect). The agent kept insisting there was no delay shown, then when I pushed the point, said, "That will be $75." I had to explain--despite the fact he was looking right at my record at the time--that as a 1K, I did not pay the standby fee. I realized then that his reluctance to do standby was that he thought I was a GM or something and didn't want to get into an argument about the fee...

I had another agent there once say I would have to pay to check a 2nd bag (!) until I pointed out that yes, I was 1K.

I probably should have asked her something like you suggested!
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Old Oct 9, 12, 1:40 pm   #15
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So it was really a culture of "Rah Rah we can do no wrong, but if we did, we'll be punished for it, even though we will never do wrong, because we are always right"?
Do you see now why it's dysfunctional?

That's why the culture was so bad over at CO.
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