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Did I get a free substitute flight on another airline?

Did I get a free substitute flight on another airline?

Old May 19, 15, 1:19 pm
  #1  
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Did I get a free substitute flight on another airline?

I'm United Global Services, and was traveling east coast to west coast this weekend, connecting through ORD. Due to weather I missed my connection in ORD and there were no other options to get me out on time. Since I had to be at my destination by the morning, I pulled up Hipmunk and found another late flight on an airline I've never flown before. To avoid incriminating anyone, I'll just call it AirlineX.

So I walked up to the AirlineX gate, pulled out my credit card, and asked "Are there any available seat on this flight?" The GA checked and asked:

"Can I see your ID?"
I handed it over.
He asked, "You're not a psychopath, are you?" Umm. Nope.
"OK, I've got you on standby"
"Well OK, how much will it be?"
"Ah I don't care about that crap. Don't worry about it."
Huh?

I assumed that they'd ask for my credit card if I cleared standby. However the guy bumped me to the front of the standby line and cleared me for the (completely full) flight while other standby passengers waited. He joked around with the other GAs that he and I were old buddies, etc (I've never seen the guy before).

So I got an exit row seat and sat there totally confused. Flight went off without a hitch. I never got charged.

How is this even possible? Has anyone had this happen before? Did he let me fly free because I promised I was not a psychopath, and perhaps they needed one in an exit row? Does that imply that all of the paying customers *were* psychopaths?

And more importantly, why can't United adopt this "Non-Psychopaths Fly Free" program?
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Old May 19, 15, 2:38 pm
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Wirelessly posted (BlackBerry: BlackBerry8530/5.0.0.1030 Profile/MIDP-2.1 Configuration/CLDC-1.1 VendorID/417)

Were you given a boarding pass with your name on it?
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Old May 19, 15, 2:40 pm
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Flying Free?

Probably should just be happy about it and not post it all over online
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Old May 19, 15, 2:44 pm
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That's quite an imagination you have there.
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Old May 19, 15, 2:44 pm
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Lebanese, welcome to posting on FlyerTalk. As moderator, I edited the thread's title to make it a bit narrower.

Without having been a witness to the interaction, one can only speculate how this happened. So speculating, did you hand the agent the boarding pass for your original flight on United? Could it be that Airline X was planning to use that coupon's value to cover your passage. Another possibility is that Airline X knew that your were top tier on UA and wanted to try to poach your business. But it's all speculation.

A remaining question is why UA Global Services did not "rule 240" you over to another carrier (like Airline X) so that you wouldn't have had to do the legwork yourself. GS is known for offering this kind of support to displaced GS travelers. However, it could be that UA did not have a (clearing-house) relationship with Airline X. Had I been GS, I would've followed up with the GS desk to see why this wasn't offered.

Last edited by Ocn Vw 1K; May 19, 15 at 3:58 pm Reason: update terminology
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Old May 19, 15, 2:48 pm
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I'm guessing that AirlineX was a budget carrier that doesn't interline with UA.

I'm also guessing/speculating that the AirlineX agent either was flirting with you or was deliberately failing to take your money as a sort of passive-aggressive move against his/her employer.

I'd still like to know whether you had a boarding pass with your name on it or were officially flying as a stowaway.
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Old May 19, 15, 2:56 pm
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Originally Posted by Lebanese View Post
However the guy bumped me to the front of the standby line and cleared me for the (completely full) flight while other standby passengers waited. He joked around with the other GAs that he and I were old buddies, etc (I've never seen the guy before).
Not if he wanted to keep his job, he didn't.
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Old May 19, 15, 3:29 pm
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Or UA had proactively protected you on the airline so they already had you on standby? But somehow failed to inform you?
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Old May 23, 15, 5:13 pm
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Go see if the flight coupons for your original UA flight have been lifted or not.
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Old May 23, 15, 11:42 pm
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Originally Posted by Ocn Vw 1K View Post
Lebanese, welcome to posting on FlyerTalk. As moderator, I edited the thread's title to make it a bit narrower.

Without having been a witness to the interaction, one can only speculate how this happened. So speculating, did you hand the agent the boarding pass for your original flight on United? Could it be that Airline X was planning to use that coupon's value to cover your passage. Another possibility is that Airline X knew that your were top tier on UA and wanted to try to poach your business. But it's all speculation.

A remaining question is why UA Global Services did not "rule 240" you over to another carrier (like Airline X) so that you wouldn't have had to do the legwork yourself. GS is known for offering this kind of support to displaced GS travelers. However, it could be that UA did not have a (clearing-house) relationship with Airline X. Had I been GS, I would've followed up with the GS desk to see why this wasn't offered.
I wondered the same--whether they were comp'ing me the flight given my UA status. But I never showed them my boarding pass and never mentioned my status. UA had tried to Rule240 me, but every flight west had left for the night except AirlineX, and they said they didn't have a relationship with this one.
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Old May 23, 15, 11:47 pm
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Originally Posted by MSPeconomist View Post
I'm guessing that AirlineX was a budget carrier that doesn't interline with UA.

I'm also guessing/speculating that the AirlineX agent either was flirting with you or was deliberately failing to take your money as a sort of passive-aggressive move against his/her employer.

I'd still like to know whether you had a boarding pass with your name on it or were officially flying as a stowaway.
I did get a boarding pass...I probably wouldn't have boarded without it, since the whole thing felt a little creepy. Actually, I think you are right about the passive-aggressive move against his employer. He had an "I don't give a care" attitude with all the jokes at he gate and his comment about, "I don't give a crap about the money..." whrn I asked to pay.

Then again, maybe this was just a good guy trying to help an (almost) stranded traveler. I suppose I shouldn't be so suspicious, but there's so little of that in the industry today, it stuck out as unusual! Anyway I owe him for getting me on the flight. And would have been happy to pay.
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Old May 26, 15, 11:19 am
  #12  
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OP, what happened to your luggage?
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Old May 27, 15, 7:35 am
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Originally Posted by Lebanese View Post
I wondered the same--whether they were comp'ing me the flight given my UA status. But I never showed them my boarding pass and never mentioned my status. UA had tried to Rule240 me, but every flight west had left for the night except AirlineX, and they said they didn't have a relationship with this one.
I thought you found the flight on your own on Hipmunk?

Originally Posted by Lebanese View Post
I did get a boarding pass...I probably wouldn't have boarded without it, since the whole thing felt a little creepy. Actually, I think you are right about the passive-aggressive move against his employer. He had an "I don't give a care" attitude with all the jokes at he gate and his comment about, "I don't give a crap about the money..." whrn I asked to pay.

Then again, maybe this was just a good guy trying to help an (almost) stranded traveler. I suppose I shouldn't be so suspicious, but there's so little of that in the industry today, it stuck out as unusual! Anyway I owe him for getting me on the flight. And would have been happy to pay.
I don't know that a "good guy" commits theft from his employer by giving away a ticket without charge.
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Old May 27, 15, 7:25 pm
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You would have had to at least inform United of what happened (done this upon arrival at your destination) otherwise the third and fourth legs of your itinerary (your return trip) would have been canceled when you did not account for the second leg (the missed connection).

On the other hand, if you didn't say anything and your return trip went smoothly then there was probably some dealing behind the scenes between the two airlines and your employer that showed up as an expeditious trip on Airline X for you.

"You're not a psychopath, are you?"

That could be considered an "insult" and the gate agent then realized his error and tried to make it up to you by giving you prioirty over the others waiting.

********

Once (this was more than 20 years ago) I was flying east coast to Hawaii standby during peak season using an award ticket (on United). At the connection point in San Francisco there were crowds and standby lists out the wazoo because of late flights and missed connections. I had just gotten there when I heard an announcement at one gate with a Hawaii bound plane "all revenue passengers should be on board." I casually asked a gate agent, "What is a revenue passenger?" while showing him my ticket. He replied by sending me and a very small number of others to another gate where another Hawaii bound flight was loading and I got to Hawaii without further incident.

Back then the booking code for that award was "XY." I suspect that the gate agent saw the "Y" and treated me as full fare coach or plain "Y."

Last edited by AllanJ; May 27, 15 at 7:37 pm
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Old May 28, 15, 2:36 pm
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Originally Posted by AllanJ View Post
Once (this was more than 20 years ago) I was flying east coast to Hawaii standby during peak season using an award ticket (on United). At the connection point in San Francisco there were crowds and standby lists out the wazoo because of late flights and missed connections. I had just gotten there when I heard an announcement at one gate with a Hawaii bound plane "all revenue passengers should be on board." I casually asked a gate agent, "What is a revenue passenger?" while showing him my ticket. He replied by sending me and a very small number of others to another gate where another Hawaii bound flight was loading and I got to Hawaii without further incident.

Back then the booking code for that award was "XY." I suspect that the gate agent saw the "Y" and treated me as full fare coach or plain "Y."
I don't think UA routinely runs SFO/Hawaii flights that close together, so I suspect that they were dealing with so many pax in the wrong places that they added an extra flight to get rid of many of you.
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