Downgrade After Seated in Biz Class

Old Mar 12, 12, 7:32 am
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Downgrade After Seated in Biz Class

This was for a flight from IAD to MUC on United. I was flying through IAD on Friday and was delighted to be given an upgrade to business class with a new boarding pass, etc. Went and sat down, had champagne, took my shoes off, and about 30 minutes later, the flight attendant came up and told me I had to move from 8C to coach (IAD to MUC). I told her there must be some mistake, that I had been there for 30 minutes at least and she said, "No, the gate agent was too afraid to come tell you, so he told me I had to do it!" I said that the situation was unreal, and that I wanted to speak with him. When he came back, I said I was disappopointed that he didn't have the courage to come tell me himself, etc. and this guy told me it was another gate agent and that we should talk off the plane....The other gate agent finally came down and told me it was a "computer glitch" but the flight attendant had told me that it was oversold (biz and first were full for sure I could see). I really did not think that I had much need to complain, but was clearly upset, because I didnt want them to call airport security or anything. I told them they should give me my original bulkhead seat, and they said they would try. They did offer me my original seat, but it would mean that the man and woman sitting next to me would have to hold their baby the whole flight. I declined, thinking I have more class than doing this, and went back to my window seat. This was a mileage upgrade, and had taken 3 hours to get through on the phone to deduct the mileage as well. The guy who ended up sitting in my biz seat was, I realized on the phone in the BIZ class lounge when I left talking to United about his upgrade that was "Lost in the system." Seems like there would be another way to settle this. Any suggestions on what to do to get compensated in addition to putting the miles back in? I am Premier Gold. The gate agent asked me what he should do because he had a full fare paying customer...I think they should have told him his upgrade did not come through rather than moving me, or they should have offered someone in first or biz some compensation to give up a seat on an oversold flight. I was not in a too cheap a seat, B class, which is only next to Y in ugradeability. Any suggestions?

Last edited by dmhawk58; Mar 12, 12 at 7:33 am Reason: Add detail.
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Old Mar 12, 12, 7:42 am
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That's some first post. Welcome to FT.
You mentioned that you called UA, waiting 3 hours on hold.
How many days/hours before your flight did you call and get your upgrade? Did you get email confirmation of the transaction?
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Old Mar 12, 12, 7:49 am
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Welcome to FT!!!

There is a plicy for this. CO had it documented under "GG OVS DOWNGRADE" ... and since that is the surviving underlying system and policies were being aligned, I suspect that's what the proper thing here is. I am not sure what the formal policy is, though. If this was a mileage upgrade you should absolutely get your miles back and receive additional compensation.
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Old Mar 12, 12, 8:05 am
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I asked for an upgrade the week before, was on waitlist, took three hours to get someone on the phone to deduct my miles, 24 hours before the waitlist was dissolved, put my name back on waitlist when I checked in in OKC, was always number 2 on waitlist, got upgraded at gate, got new boarding pass, sat down in my seat in business class, 30 minutes later or so, the flight attendant came and told me to move. She was very nice, the gate agent was not so nice. Told me to write to CEO Smisek, will call him perhaps today, but am out of the country. KNow I will not get him, will talk to Exec. Secretary who will point me in right direction. Anyone know what the policy was for this under Continental?

Last edited by dmhawk58; Mar 12, 12 at 8:08 am Reason: Wrong name
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Old Mar 12, 12, 2:37 pm
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Happened to me on UA ORD-PEK. I got a paper SWU out of it and my miles returned. This was as a PremEx in 2002.
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Old Mar 12, 12, 5:05 pm
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I think you should have asked for a jump seat in the cockpit and unlimited champagne (as well as a decent meal) as a compensation. Would have worked for me.
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Old Mar 12, 12, 7:58 pm
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The J pax who took your seat may have been grousing to United about his F upgrade being lost in the system.

Unfortunately all around, I was once on the other side of this issue on a PS flight: paying J upgraded to F with a CR-1 at the 24-hour mark. UA "lost" my F seat and sold it, leaving me in an awkward situation with a full-fare J ticket. The GS member who got kicked back to coach was *not* happy.
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Old Mar 12, 12, 8:21 pm
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Send a note to CS using the online form. Make it brief (about 1/4 the length of your post). None of the stuff about the GA vs. FA matters and none of the stuff about how long you waited on hold.

You will get back your miles and some token coupon / miles.
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Old Mar 13, 12, 1:32 am
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This has happened to me several times PM. UA used to be really good about giving "downgrade kits" and usually they included SWUs, CR1s, RCC passes, drink/meal vouchers etc. The last one I got for a downgrade IAD-NRT was 2 SWUs and 2 RCC passes. By the way, I never asked for anything, a GA would just give the kit to me and apologize. I was always happy with what I was given although their generosity varied over the years.
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Old Mar 13, 12, 5:12 am
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I'd be royally pissed off in this situation as well. They should definitely compensate you, as the drop from C to Y is massive. Did you at least get a decent seat in E+
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Old Mar 13, 12, 10:09 am
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It was in E+, but window.
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Old Mar 13, 12, 10:12 am
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Originally Posted by Often1 View Post
You will get back your miles and some token coupon / miles.
The official GG OVS DOWNGRADE policy calls for a TCV to be given, not just miles. Whether they follow that or not remains to be seen, but that should be what the comp is.
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Old Mar 13, 12, 12:57 pm
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Originally Posted by sbm12 View Post
The official GG OVS DOWNGRADE policy calls for a TCV to be given, not just miles. Whether they follow that or not remains to be seen, but that should be what the comp is.
What is a TCV?
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Old Mar 13, 12, 12:59 pm
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Originally Posted by dmhawk58 View Post
What is a TCV?
Travel Credit Voucher, aka funny money for use on the airline.
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Old Mar 13, 12, 1:07 pm
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1. Welcome to FT!

2. Thank you for following up rather than being just a "one and done" complaint. We get a lot of the latter.

3. I am not a patient person and, after being stuck on hold for three hours and later losing the seat, I would have found it very difficult to be as calm as you seemed to have been.

4. It was a classy move to give up your seat for the baby and family. Was the child originally supposed to be a lap child and then they realized that they could seat the kid in the empty seat? I'll tell you this: We traveled with our kids as lap children, so I do know what that couple was going through, but you had every right to ask for that seat back.

Mike
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