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Old Aug 11, 04, 9:47 am
Join Date: Oct 1999
Location: BOS
Programs: JetBlue Mosaic, WN A List Preferred, Hyatt Globalest, Hilton Diamond, Marriott Platinum, IHG Spire
Posts: 3,951
Trip In Vain Procedures

First of all a "trip in vain" is an airline jargon term referring to a trip that is so delayed that you miss out on the reason why you took the trip in the first place e.g. a trip "in vain" . Airlines have procedures to refund, issue credits, or allow future use for trip in vain type tickets.

I put that preamble in because I only personally learned of this term a couple of months ago myself..

Anyway I wonder if people know UA's official and/or unofficial procedures for handling trips in vain? How do UA's procedures compare to the rest of the industry? Is it more customer favorable to get it resolved by the airport or customer relations?

Here is my initial experience:

I booked a same-day one-ticket single roundtrip PNR from X to Y with outbound and return on the same day. The outbound from X to Y got delayed due to atc first at the gate, and then out on the air field. The X to Y flight arrived in Y too late for me to do what I needed to do in city Y and still get back to city X on the same day.

I spoke to a Y gate agent and customer service center in Y, and basically they said they would love to help, but that I would have to call customer relations. They did book me on an earlier flight back to city X, and they offered to let me stay overnight in city Y and change the tix w/out penalty.

Per trip in vain I wanted to either get a refund and still fly home, get a credit voucher for the value of the ticket, or fly home and be able to use the X to Y ticket another day (that one would have been what I preferred). My strategy for preferring that latter option would be that in the flight reprotect I could possibly be booked in a higher (Y) booking code than my low price ticket which that booking code can be hard to find on the particular city pair at the last minute.

I called customer relations, and they initially told me that the airport was supposed to handle all compensation in these sorts of situations. I got the impression that customer relations didn't even look very deeply in my record. Basically they said that they were not obligated to do anything since it was ATC but as a goodwill gesture they would send a $100 travel voucher (the ticket was slightly more than $100). I told them this would be fine. Again the person in customer relations didn't seem to know what city I was in, etc. They seemed to just have this canned speech of "airline schedules are subject to change without notice, but as a goodwill gesture we will compensate you a $100 travel voucher." Also they adv only can USPS mail a t/c, cannot email it? I thought UA had e-travel vouchers?

Then the flight from Y back to X was delayed due to atc/weather, but the weather looked fine outside, and nobody could see why. People were irate with the gate agents, and wanted to go on another airline. As quietly as I could, I said "could I get a meal voucher," and they printed out two $10 meal vouchers. Is $10 a standard amount? What gets appended to your record when they issue a meal voucher?

Then the flight from Y back to X was indeed very delayed, and I was able to get a cab voucher (about $30) back home on count of that delay.

I would say I did pretty well, but only because I was pro-active in asking for things.

Trip in vain is still pretty new to me, so I am wondering how it really works? I'm surprised the airport didn't just reissue my ticket with 3 coupons:
1=return Y to X
2=X to Y new trip; and
3=Y to X new trip return.
I have heard other airlines will do this when trips are made in vain.

But again it was a good and cheap segment run! They did fyi take out e-upgrades, I was thinking maybe for the second flight they would have op upgraded it .

Given how delays are this summer, I think this is a timely topic to understand. I heard that in the infamous summer of 2,000 they gave out a lot of travel vouchers due to delays?
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