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AC changing flights at check-in, how common is this?

AC changing flights at check-in, how common is this?

Old Aug 19, 22, 11:42 am
  #1  
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AC changing flights at check-in, how common is this?

Hi. Recently, we were at YYZ checking in flying Y to LHR via layover at EWR (AC first leg, then UA codeshare). I enquired about the connection time and what to do at EWR if misconnection, because we only had 50min at EWR. The desk staff offered to change our tickets to YYZ-LHR direct on AC, departing a couple hours later instead. Obviously we took the itinerary change and went to the lounge because it's 7hrs of travel vs 11 hrs.

My question: is this a rare occurrence? I'm only 25k Aeroplan elite status, but I don't think our flight was changed bc of status...We booked YYZ-EWR-LHR (booked via UA website) bc it was significantly cheaper than YYZ-LHR AC direct, yet it seemed like the AC staff wanted us to take their direct flight when we showed up to check in. Is it always worth asking at the checkin desk at Pearson to swap to an AC direct flight if you're flying from YYZ to say EWR, IAD, or ORD for a layover before going to the final destination?
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Old Aug 19, 22, 11:44 am
  #2  
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I think with current issues with AC and YYZ, it's not as surprising as it normally would be.

But in general, without a posted delay, no, that is not something that "ever" happens.
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Old Aug 19, 22, 1:00 pm
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Originally Posted by bigdog2 View Post
Hi. Recently, we were at YYZ checking in flying Y to LHR via layover at EWR (AC first leg, then UA codeshare). I enquired about the connection time and what to do at EWR if misconnection, because we only had 50min at EWR. The desk staff offered to change our tickets to YYZ-LHR direct on AC, departing a couple hours later instead. Obviously we took the itinerary change and went to the lounge because it's 7hrs of travel vs 11 hrs.

My question: is this a rare occurrence? I'm only 25k Aeroplan elite status, but I don't think our flight was changed bc of status...We booked YYZ-EWR-LHR (booked via UA website) bc it was significantly cheaper than YYZ-LHR AC direct, yet it seemed like the AC staff wanted us to take their direct flight when we showed up to check in. Is it always worth asking at the checkin desk at Pearson to swap to an AC direct flight if you're flying from YYZ to say EWR, IAD, or ORD for a layover before going to the final destination?
are you sure one of the flight times didnít change at some point after booking? I suspect the switch was offered because the connection doesnít meet MCT at EWR (much less the term Iíve seen another poster use - SCT or Ďsensible connection timeí). the UA EWR connection thread seems to indicate D-I has an MCT of 1 hour, 15 minutes.

My personal rule is never to book a connection through EWR of less than 2 hours unless there is no other way - Iíve seen too many Ďthe wind blew 1 extra MPH and causes a ground stop/delay of hoursí (okÖperhaps a bit of an exaggeration, but the point is, Iíve seen many minor items that donít seem to cause huge backups anywhere else cause major ground delays at the NYC-area airports - probably also because of the constrained airspace in that area). My preference is to avoid EWR completely (although these days, donít think YYZ is any better).

if the MCT is correct, the agent should have rebooked you (although I think UA was back to about 5 or 6 flights to LHR, so chances are you could have been rebooked pretty easily on a later flight if you got to EWR and missed it). Also, the AC-UA connection process is a PITA - I donít think you can get from the pier at A AC uses to UA terminal C at EWR airside - the part of A that UA uses is different, and unless things have changed, the airside shuttle bus only runs from the UA pier of A to term. C. So you would have had to exit the secure area at A, take AirTran to C, then re-clear security. Even assuming everything is on time, thatís really tight, UA can also offload you if not at the gate ready to board at T-30 for international flights - so that turns your 50 minute connection into 20. Thereís no way I would ever have agreed to that kind of short connection at EWR.

Iíd guess most travelers wouldnít make that connection on a good day.
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Old Aug 19, 22, 1:31 pm
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Take the win and enjoy Sure you have to wear a mask, but you go direct and don't have to pay US fees and taxes. Did they refund this to you?
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Old Aug 19, 22, 1:47 pm
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Originally Posted by emcampbe View Post
are you sure one of the flight times didnít change at some point after booking? I suspect the switch was offered because the connection doesnít meet MCT at EWR (much less the term Iíve seen another poster use - SCT or Ďsensible connection timeí). the UA EWR connection thread seems to indicate D-I has an MCT of 1 hour, 15 minutes.

My personal rule is never to book a connection through EWR of less than 2 hours unless there is no other way - Iíve seen too many Ďthe wind blew 1 extra MPH and causes a ground stop/delay of hoursí (okÖperhaps a bit of an exaggeration, but the point is, Iíve seen many minor items that donít seem to cause huge backups anywhere else cause major ground delays at the NYC-area airports - probably also because of the constrained airspace in that area). My preference is to avoid EWR completely (although these days, donít think YYZ is any better).

if the MCT is correct, the agent should have rebooked you (although I think UA was back to about 5 or 6 flights to LHR, so chances are you could have been rebooked pretty easily on a later flight if you got to EWR and missed it). Also, the AC-UA connection process is a PITA - I donít think you can get from the pier at A AC uses to UA terminal C at EWR airside - the part of A that UA uses is different, and unless things have changed, the airside shuttle bus only runs from the UA pier of A to term. C. So you would have had to exit the secure area at A, take AirTran to C, then re-clear security. Even assuming everything is on time, thatís really tight, UA can also offload you if not at the gate ready to board at T-30 for international flights - so that turns your 50 minute connection into 20. Thereís no way I would ever have agreed to that kind of short connection at EWR.

Iíd guess most travelers wouldnít make that connection on a good day.
I wasn't aware of flight time changes or departure delay.
Our ticket stated 52 minutes layover at EWR. So it doesn't meet the MCT and the agent knew to rebook?
I guess I am naive for thinking that a 52m connections at EWR is enough. I've 40m AC/LH connections through FRA and the airport had staff + car waiting to make the connection. At other airports they have staff and a golf cart or something.
But if you explicitly book an itinerary that has a connection that doesn't meet the MCT, such as YYZ-EWR (52m stop)-LHR or something like EWR-YUL (45m stop)-LHR, can you bring up the MCT at check-in and rely on the agent rebooking you onto a direct flight instead?
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Old Aug 19, 22, 1:51 pm
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Flights from Canada are generally treated as DD or DI in the US, not II, due to preclearance.

So that might have still been valid. And likely was, if it was bookable.
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Old Aug 19, 22, 1:51 pm
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Originally Posted by HerpaYvr View Post
Take the win and enjoy Sure you have to wear a mask, but you go direct and don't have to pay US fees and taxes. Did they refund this to you?
No. I was not refunded. I am looking at my ticket receipt now and seeing several US fees. Should I have demanded a refund at check-in? Or is this something I bring up to UA customer service?
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Old Aug 19, 22, 1:55 pm
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Originally Posted by canadiancow View Post
Flights from Canada are generally treated as DD or DI in the US, not II, due to preclearance.

So that might have still been valid. And likely was, if it was bookable.
Do you mind explaining to me the difference between these MCT Status categories (DD,DI,ID,II)?
TIA.
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Old Aug 19, 22, 1:57 pm
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Originally Posted by bigdog2 View Post
No. I was not refunded. I am looking at my ticket receipt now and seeing several US fees. Should I have demanded a refund at check-in? Or is this something I bring up to UA customer service?

the ticket was purchased through AC so it's AC that should refund. But you got a better flight is it worth it?
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Old Aug 19, 22, 2:02 pm
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Originally Posted by HerpaYvr View Post
the ticket was purchased through AC so it's AC that should refund. But you got a better flight is it worth it?
The original tickets were purchased through UA.
Yes, the flight change was a lovely surprise. But in the instance of not traveling thru the US as expected, are customers in this situation entitled to refunds on the US airport taxes?
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Old Aug 19, 22, 2:02 pm
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Originally Posted by bigdog2 View Post
Do you mind explaining to me the difference between these MCT Status categories (DD,DI,ID,II)?
TIA.
DD - Domestic to Domestic connection
DI - Domestic to International
ID - International to Domestic
II - International to International

From ExpertFlyer:

STANDARD.D/D...D/I...I/D...I/I.
ONLINE 1.00 1.15 1.30 1.00
OFFLINE 1.00 1.15 1.30 1.00
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Old Aug 19, 22, 2:12 pm
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Originally Posted by bigdog2 View Post
No. I was not refunded. I am looking at my ticket receipt now and seeing several US fees. Should I have demanded a refund at check-in? Or is this something I bring up to UA customer service?
If you wanted a reprice, you should have made a voluntary change through reservations. It probably would have cost you four figures.

Reroutes due to IRROPS (or expected IRROPS) do not collect or refund anything.

Originally Posted by bigdog2 View Post
Do you mind explaining to me the difference between these MCT Status categories (DD,DI,ID,II)?
TIA.
Generally speaking, a domestic to domestic connection requires a shorter time, because you just get off, walk to the next gate, and get on. International to domestic have higher thresholds due to immigration (and often security) formalities. In the US, there's no sterile transit, so anything coming in from abroad is basically international to domestic. Unless you come from a pre-clearance airport, where you don't need to do immigration or security on arrival, which allows a shorter time.

That being said, it looks like the lowest MCT at EWR is 60 minutes, so I suppose it is possible it wasn't legal.
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Old Aug 19, 22, 2:48 pm
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It already happened to me once at YUL airport, they gave me the YUL-LHR flight instead of my short connection in YYZ.
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Old Aug 19, 22, 2:50 pm
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Originally Posted by frankontheglobe View Post
It already happened to me once at YUL airport, they gave me the YUL-LHR flight instead of my short connection in YYZ.
That's:
1. Very different, because it was all AC metal
2. Very much in line with their "avoid YYZ connections" waiver
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Old Aug 19, 22, 3:12 pm
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Originally Posted by canadiancow View Post
Reroutes due to IRROPS (or expected IRROPS) do not collect or refund anything.
Thanks for clarifying. The nature of my question wasn't due to my desire for a refund. Just curious whether a refund would even occur in that situation.

That being said, it looks like the lowest MCT at EWR is 60 minutes, so I suppose it is possible it wasn't legal.
So UA or any other airline is technically (legally) not allowed to sell flights connecting through EWR that have a connection time lower than 60 minutes?
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