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Rant/request for help... I am irrationally but genuinely FURIOUS at Continental

Rant/request for help... I am irrationally but genuinely FURIOUS at Continental

 
Old Mar 5, 11, 12:35 am
  #1  
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Rant/request for help... I am irrationally but genuinely FURIOUS at Continental

And FWIW, I'm also furious at UA.

  • Going to Hawaii for the first time. I realize I am very lucky to be able to do so.
  • Booked a UA ticket almost a year ago with OnePass miles from JAX-OGG, leaving 10:00 AM, arriving 7:00 PM.
  • Received a phone call from CO rep saying my schedule had changed (I realize this sometimes happens; this is OK and I'm flexible enough to be fine with a slightly less convenient itinerary)
  • I asked on the phone if it was basically the same as the original; the rep said yes (lie).
  • I said I'll check it when I get the chance
  • I checked, and they're sending me out of JAX at 5:30 AM -- 4 1/2 hours earlier. Also, they changed me from a 1-stop to a 2-stop itinerary. This is a material change, and still arriving 7:00 PM -- a 17.5-hour itinerary! I never would have chosen such an itinerary.
  • I called UA with the UA confirmation number (mistake on my part, I know), and the freaking non-English-speaking person (forgive me) said that I already accepted the change (not true) and there was nothing I could do.
  • Furthermore, he stated all tickets to Maui were sold out that day (he was lying; there are at least a dozen JAX-OGG tickets available on UA that day). I calmly asked to speak to a supervisor, was placed on hold twice for a total of 40 minutes. He then says I need to speak to CO. Which was a good point in hindsight since I booked through them... but this guy was clearly at best incompetent.
  • I have called CO and have been on hold for the past 20 minutes.
  • When I checked available itineraries for the same date, I saw an almost identical itinerary to my original one available (2 flight numbers, 2 stops, ~45 minutes longer, arrival/departure both within 30 minutes of original itinerary). For whatever reason, they gave me a drastically different itinerary.

What the hell is wrong with them? Why in the world do they handle schedule changes in this manner? When new schedules are created, shouldn't CO/UA/whomever try to choose the itinerary that causes minimal disruption to the customers' existing schedules?

Thanks for allowing me to rant. And again: I realize I shouldn't have called UA since the ticket was purchased with CO miles.

As someone who is looking to move my business away from DL, I must say that CO/UA have just about convinced me the grass is not greener.
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Old Mar 5, 11, 1:09 am
  #2  
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Update:

Was on hold for 45 minutes before speaking to CO agent. Agent told me I could only change to an itinerary that had mileage seats available.

I told him that I booked this last year, 10 months later they changed my schedule, and that I was going to be extremely firm that they need to give me a similar itinerary to the one I booked.

I did not mention this to him, but I was thinking to myself that even Delta does complimentary changes when they materially change itineraries.

He placed me on hold for 20 minutes, then was disconnected.

Is there a representative from CO I can PM for assistance?

Thanks.
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Old Mar 5, 11, 1:23 am
  #3  
 
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You can PM UA Insider.
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Old Mar 5, 11, 2:17 am
  #4  
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PM'd. Continental reps have been extremely rude. I am talking to my 3rd rep. They are blaming United and saying it's out of their hands. They are claiming they can't change anything because there are no award seats left to Maui.

Does this not seem grossly unfair that they can change your ticket at the last minute, then not allow you to correct it to be closer to the agreed itinerary unless "award seats" are available?
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Old Mar 5, 11, 10:39 am
  #5  
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Originally Posted by judolphin View Post
  • I asked on the phone if it was basically the same as the original; the rep said yes (lie).
  • I said I'll check it when I get the chance
I think you would have saved yourself a lot of hassle if you just asked the agent to read the itinerary to you (which s/he should have done anyway). "Basically the same" is a very subjective concept. You're still flying on the "same" days, no?

I would continue pushing, with both CO reservations (need to talk to supervisor) and potentially 800-WE-CARE. Normally when a mileage itinerary changes on partner flights, CO does not have a lot of control over the alternate flights you are rebooked on; the partner does the rebooking of its own segments, and often they force the award inventory open on the alternate flights. But CO can't generally force, say, Lufthansa, to do this. With CO/UA, there's no reason why they shouldn't be able to, other than the fact that the systems don't let them do this yet. But a supervisor or someone higher at CO should be able to liaise with UA and get them to open the award inventory on your flight. The fact that you "accepted" the change may complicate the situation, though. Good luck.
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Old Mar 5, 11, 11:23 am
  #6  
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I know what I'm about to suggest is a hassle and a long shot, but you also could use an online tool such as AwardNexus, ExpertFlyer or KVS to search for award space available on CO, UA, US or a combination of those airlines for which CO awards might be available. I know that the first two show UA award space, but am not sure about KVS and how all three relate to CO and US. Also, with ExpertFlyer there's a five-day free trial and then just a monthly charge as opposed to having to pay for a whole year, and you can sign up for its service that emails you if what you're looking for becomes available.

Or you could simply add CO and US to the mix in calling CO to see about award space being available, if you haven't already done so. And it also can help to suggest search options that are a little out of the ordinary.

I suggest all of the above because often CSRs don't explore all the options when searching for award space.

Hope it all works out.
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Old Mar 5, 11, 11:53 am
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Originally Posted by ijgordon View Post
I think you would have saved yourself a lot of hassle if you just asked the agent to read the itinerary to you (which s/he should have done anyway). "Basically the same" is a very subjective concept. You're still flying on the "same" days, no?

I would continue pushing, with both CO reservations (need to talk to supervisor) and potentially 800-WE-CARE. Normally when a mileage itinerary changes on partner flights, CO does not have a lot of control over the alternate flights you are rebooked on; the partner does the rebooking of its own segments, and often they force the award inventory open on the alternate flights. But CO can't generally force, say, Lufthansa, to do this. With CO/UA, there's no reason why they shouldn't be able to, other than the fact that the systems don't let them do this yet. But a supervisor or someone higher at CO should be able to liaise with UA and get them to open the award inventory on your flight. The fact that you "accepted" the change may complicate the situation, though. Good luck.
I was busy at the time -- I never explicitly accepted it. In hindsight I should have explicitly rejected it until I looked at it online.
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Old Mar 5, 11, 12:52 pm
  #8  
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Call back and tell them you did not accept the change and the United offshore agent who barely spoke English lied to you and did something tricky to your PNR.

Here is what I recommend:

1. Ditch United on this trip. Rebook on CO flights.

2. Try and depart JAX for LAX the evening before your original trip start date

3. Overnight at LAX at your expense (this will be worth it, and there are tons of cheap hotel options near the airport) so you can take the first flight out the next morning and arrive OGG much earlier.

4. Get rebooked on CO to HNL the next morning, connecting on HA to OGG. Another option is to take JAX-SFO the evening before and UA from SFO-OGG. Yet another is JAX-PHX on US and PHX-OGG on US.

You need to insist on getting what you need. I've had my HNL schedule change multiple times and armed with specific alternatives, have always been successful getting the flights I wanted as long as open seats existed when I called.
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Old Mar 5, 11, 12:55 pm
  #9  
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Originally Posted by judolphin View Post
I was busy at the time
Don't answer the phone if you're too busy!!! There is a thing called voice mail. Not directed at you necessarily, and perhaps OT, but I hate when people absolutely insist on answering their cell phones wherever they are, whatever they're doing.
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Old Mar 5, 11, 2:32 pm
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Hmmm... Yes you got a bad deal but you did not take control of things when they called you.

This industry prides itself on screwing its customers again and again. Marketing departments call the changes enhancements, I call it the shaft. Bearing in mind this attitude pisses off many people who call the airline, try being extremely polite not rude and propose your own options. Expertflyer.com is a great resource for available seats.

If one agent turns you down, call back, but be nice.
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Old Mar 5, 11, 2:45 pm
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Originally Posted by ijgordon View Post
Don't answer the phone if you're too busy!!! There is a thing called voice mail. Not directed at you necessarily, and perhaps OT, but I hate when people absolutely insist on answering their cell phones wherever they are, whatever they're doing.
Some don't have the luxury you may have. Some are on call. I answer my phone every single time, if its important i don't care where i am or who is around me. If its not i tell them im in the middle of something, ill get back to them.

I agree with bocastephen be firm and keep calling until someone fixes the problem
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Old Mar 5, 11, 4:07 pm
  #12  
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Originally Posted by Thunderroad View Post
I know that the first two show UA award space, but am not sure about KVS and how all three relate to CO and US.
The KVS Tool supports Award Availability for all 27 Star Alliance member carriers (AC/UA/CO/US/LH/LX/OS/SK/TP/LO/JK/BD/TK/SN/A3/SQ/NZ/NH/OZ/TG/CA/FM/SA/MS/JP/OU/KF): http://Help.KVSTool.com/#Classes
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Old Mar 5, 11, 7:06 pm
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You were screwed royally. Keep raising hell.
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Old Mar 5, 11, 7:31 pm
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I am bit confused.
Why are we talking about the award seat availability?
CO ticketed the OP and it's doesn't matter NOW what bucket the fare is. Once you're ticketed only the cabin is all that matters.
Why CO is looking again for the award seats? Shouldn't they be looking for any seats in the cabin that was originally booked? Or they are treating the OP now as the change(on the accepted change) is initiated by the OP?
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Old Mar 5, 11, 7:46 pm
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Originally Posted by Awtas View Post
Why CO is looking again for the award seats? Shouldn't they be looking for any seats in the cabin that was originally booked?
Because travel is on another airline and on award tickets booked on another airline than the program you are using, generally award space is required after a schedule change.

As the other airline is UA, the merger should negate the above but systems are not there yet.

OP, I hope you can get someone at CO who will make things right for you!
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