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UA cancelling paid for reservations without notice

UA cancelling paid for reservations without notice

Old Mar 21, 12, 1:42 am
  #1  
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UA cancelling paid for reservations without notice

I think it is no longer smart to fly on UA at all if another carrier is available. Since the merger, you cannot trust that you will get the seat or ticket that was paid for. Computer errors are two words most used by UA reservations agents these days when explaining to passengers why UA is denying the service that was paid for. My very recent egregious examples: First, UA cancelled my brother-in-law’s paid-for reservation, for no apparent reason, without any notification. There had not been a change of aircraft. Lucky for him, he checked his reservation three days prior to departure and learned of the screw-up. He asked that his reservation be reinstated. Even though the reservations agent recognized that UA made a mistake, the agent insisted he still had to pay an extra $50 for the privilege of reinstating the cancelled reservation.

The second incident is far more serious. My 85 year old handicapped mother-in-law paid extra to secure an E+ aisle seat, to accommodate her very limited mobility. She advised UA she was handicapped when the reservation was made. For her return flight SFO-EWR, on attempting online check-in 17 hours pre-departure she learned that the UA has dumped her from E+ and put her in a middle seat in the back of the plane. I tried resolving this for two hours with a reservations agent and supervisor (located in India), but was told by the supervisor that the only person in the company that can resolve the seat assignment error was the gate agent, since the departure time was less than 24 hours away. I told the supervisor this was unacceptable, because my 85 year old mother-in law was not only physically handicapped, but would not have the mental capacity to deal with the gate agent in getting her seat re-assigned, and I could not accompany her through security to the gate. The reservations supervisor told me 3 times that he could not do anything further to help me. But each time when I politely insisted that he do something, he said he called someone, but was not successful in making any changes. The supervisor eventually said he made a call to “Chicago” for help, but was told by “Chicago”, that nothing could be done to change the seat assignment. He said he was told by Chicago that no one in all of UA could change the seat assignment at this point. I asked to speak to his supervisor, but the supervisor told me that his supervisor would not get on the phone, since he does not deal with passengers. The supervisor said he had greater authority in dealing with reservations than his boss. This looks like it will end up with my mother-in-law not being able to fly home tomorrow, and having to stay an extra day. I predict that UA will then insist on trying to charge her the $838 for a one-way ticket SFO-EWR and a cancellation charge for her unused return ticket, because UA breeched its contract of carriage.
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Old Mar 21, 12, 2:13 am
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Sorry to hear about the difficulties. The Indian phone agent must be a newly outsourced gig with all the hold ups they have with customer service. Continental used to have alot of there CS reps somewhere in Utah.

Have you tried maybe the check in counter at the airport? I don't think you necessarily need to speak to a gate agent but the check in people should be able to help you out especially if your mother in law is fragile looking...anyone with common sense and a hint of compassion should be able to change the reservation at the check in counter.
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Old Mar 21, 12, 2:20 am
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Originally Posted by Diogenes1789 View Post
I told the supervisor this was unacceptable, because my 85 year old mother-in law was not only physically handicapped, but would not have the mental capacity to deal with the gate agent in getting her seat re-assigned, and I could not accompany her through security to the gate.
FWIW (probably not much), you should be able to get a gate pass to accompany your mother-in-law through security, which it sounds like you might want to do regardless of how the seating situation works out.
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Old Mar 21, 12, 6:26 am
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First off, for any domestic carrier in the US, no flight is restricted to the gate agent until <20ish minutes prior to departure.

Unfortunately, I fail to see where UA breached its CoC. Her ticket is still there and I will guarantee you are able to check her in on line. E+ was an added benefit. Like all carriers, seating is subject to change, without notice. I am in no way saying its ethically right, but they can change seating without any sort of notice. I am going to suggest that they probably had an aircraft swap/downguage from what was originally scheduled. The only way that they would break their CoC is if they denied boarding her without notice, which they aren't according to your post. And the ADA would have a field day with that one.

And unfortunately, unless she has a guide animal or has a fused/cast on leg, that would be the only reason to move someone out of the bulkhead. And that's if she's not traveling on a 757 where bulkhead seats are absent.

Now just looking at the flights on EF, you won't have much luck tomorrow as most flights are only showing Y2 B1 etc and most seats completely filled.

Go to the airport and check with a human. You may get lucky and find a compassionate agent, but just so long as UAL gets your mother from Point A to Point B on her original flight, they did not breach their CoC and you will have to pay for a flight change if you want to change her ticket.

Oh and FWIW, ask to speak to someone that is a CRO. They will not be able to move anyone already in there, but they may be able to open a blocked seat for your mother. I don't know what flight she is on, so I cannot tell you if there are blocked seats from EF. Care to share?
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Old Mar 21, 12, 7:53 am
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Originally Posted by Narendra View Post

Have you tried maybe the check in counter at the airport? I don't think you necessarily need to speak to a gate agent but the check in people should be able to help you out especially if your mother in law is fragile looking...anyone with common sense and a hint of compassion should be able to change the reservation at the check in counter.
Thanks Narendra. I will try the check in counter.

Originally Posted by aviatorzz View Post
First off, for any domestic carrier in the US, no flight is restricted to the gate agent until <20ish minutes prior to departure.

Unfortunately, I fail to see where UA breached its CoC. Her ticket is still there and I will guarantee you are able to check her in on line. E+ was an added benefit. Like all carriers, seating is subject to change, without notice. I am in no way saying its ethically right, but they can change seating without any sort of notice. I am going to suggest that they probably had an aircraft swap/downguage from what was originally scheduled. The only way that they would break their CoC is if they denied boarding her without notice, which they aren't according to your post. And the ADA would have a field day with that one.

And unfortunately, unless she has a guide animal or has a fused/cast on leg, that would be the only reason to move someone out of the bulkhead. And that's if she's not traveling on a 757 where bulkhead seats are absent.

Now just looking at the flights on EF, you won't have much luck tomorrow as most flights are only showing Y2 B1 etc and most seats completely filled.

Go to the airport and check with a human. You may get lucky and find a compassionate agent, but just so long as UAL gets your mother from Point A to Point B on her original flight, they did not breach their CoC and you will have to pay for a flight change if you want to change her ticket.

Oh and FWIW, ask to speak to someone that is a CRO. They will not be able to move anyone already in there, but they may be able to open a blocked seat for your mother. I don't know what flight she is on, so I cannot tell you if there are blocked seats from EF. Care to share?
Flight is UA 1136.

"First off, for any domestic carrier in the US, no flight is restricted to the gate agent until <20ish minutes prior to departure." So, I was being lied to by the agents on the phone?

"E+ was an added benefit. Like all carriers, seating is subject to change, without notice." Even if the seating was paid for with a higher fare? If one pays for F, the carrier has the right to put you in Economy?

"they probably had an aircraft swap/downguage from what was originally scheduled." I have no way of knowing, but the phone agents said there had not been a change of aircraft.

Last edited by iluv2fly; Mar 21, 12 at 12:06 pm Reason: merge
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Old Mar 21, 12, 8:02 am
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It is also not -that- difficult to secure a gate pass, but I would definitely suggest showing up a few hours ahead of time because, as you can imagine, anything outside the norm, like a gate pass, is going to take a while.

But, like I said, not that difficult to get. When military units return home from Iraq/Afghanistan they give the families gate passes so that there is a large homecoming reception at the gate when they get off their flights, so the airport personnel should be fairly experienced with everything they'll need to do for you.
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Old Mar 21, 12, 8:32 am
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Sounds to me like a lawsuit under the American's with disabilities act is in order.
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Old Mar 21, 12, 8:36 am
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Originally Posted by Diogenes1789 View Post
Flight is UA 1136.

"First off, for any domestic carrier in the US, no flight is restricted to the gate agent until <20ish minutes prior to departure." So, I was being lied to by the agents on the phone?

"E+ was an added benefit. Like all carriers, seating is subject to change, without notice." Even if the seating was paid for with a higher fare? If one pays for F, the carrier has the right to put you in Economy?

"they probably had an aircraft swap/downguage from what was originally scheduled." I have no way of knowing, but the phone agents said there had not been a change of aircraft.
Since the flight is within 24 hours of flight, seatmap could be under airport control (not specifically the gate agent), and the phone agent would not be able to make any changes. However, someone at the airport can do so.

And yes, people have been downgraded from F to Y for various reasons, and are compensated accordingly.
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Old Mar 21, 12, 8:39 am
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Originally Posted by Diogenes1789 View Post
Flight is UA 1136.

"First off, for any domestic carrier in the US, no flight is restricted to the gate agent until <20ish minutes prior to departure." So, I was being lied to by the agents on the phone?

"E+ was an added benefit. Like all carriers, seating is subject to change, without notice." Even if the seating was paid for with a higher fare? If one pays for F, the carrier has the right to put you in Economy?

"they probably had an aircraft swap/downguage from what was originally scheduled." I have no way of knowing, but the phone agents said there had not been a change of aircraft.
flight 1136 is a 737-800 = a PMCO plane few if any have E+ seats, there is premium seats but thats just a seat closer to the front as all seats should be E- on that bird. I kinda think it was always a PMCO plane as PMUA had but 2 flights a day between SFO & EWR

Bout all you can request is a Handicap seat which is the 1st row Coach but Im sure its taken by now, if she isnt handicapped but only older in yrs that wont work, so if she doesnt use wheelchair assist etc it wont help her.

If she paid for E+ she should request a refund if not seated in that area

Pre 3/3 I had my seats changed by an airport rep and the 1K desk wasnt able to do anything but suggest I deal with a rep at the airport. In the end she was able to fix 2 of the 3 legs only, teh 3rd had to be done at the airport I was deaprting from and not the 2 previous ones I arrived at

Originally Posted by [email protected] View Post
Sounds to me like a lawsuit under the American's with disabilities act is in order.
Nope it happens to my Mother all the time as well on DL & AA. Sometimes Im able to get her the handicap seat back other times its gone and nothing can be done about it

Last edited by iluv2fly; Mar 21, 12 at 12:09 pm Reason: merge
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Old Mar 21, 12, 4:42 pm
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Originally Posted by craz View Post
flight 1136 is a 737-800 = a PMCO plane few if any have E+ seats, there is premium seats but thats just a seat closer to the front as all seats should be E- on that bird. I kinda think it was always a PMCO plane as PMUA had but 2 flights a day between SFO & EWR
Actually, the majority of the 738's have E+ now. However, if there was an equip swap of an E+ 738 for a non-E+ 738, the res agent may not have known the difference.
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Old Mar 21, 12, 5:52 pm
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Originally Posted by Diogenes1789 View Post
I think it is no longer smart to fly on UA at all if another carrier is available. Since the merger, you cannot trust that you will get the seat or ticket that was paid for.
Well, I don't know about UA having violated the CoC. I've paid several hundred $ over regular F fare for the F lie-flat seats on the 3-cabin international configured 767 between SFO and ORD, only to find they have switched it to a domestic 767 when I show up to board. They hide behind their statement that they can't guarantee a particular seat or a particular type of aircraft. Your mom does have a seat.

I think that you have received good advice to go with your mom to check in with a person at the airport, and to get a gate pass. I have learned upon check-in that I have been separated from my companion on a res made months in advance because somebody traveling with a little kid needed to sit next to him. So, somebody can make changes T-24. I have seen caregivers accompany old folks to the gate area and not board the plane, so don't worry about that.

I can't believe that someone in an exit row wouldn't give up their seat in this situation, or even volunteer without being asked. I've seen people do that twice.

Finally, I would send an email to your elite CS address if you know it and outline the hardship that thier computer snafus have caused. I once complained about a checkin counter baggage handler literally going "talk to the hand" when all I wanted from him was to ask an agent to help me because the checkin kiosk wasn't working. I got a $100 travel voucher and 10,000 miles out of it, and that didn't come close to your issue. I hope that you get something to make up for the "downsell".
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Old Mar 21, 12, 5:56 pm
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Originally Posted by redwoman View Post
I can't believe that someone in an exit row wouldn't give up their seat in this situation, or even volunteer without being asked. I've seen people do that twice.
It doesn't sound like this passenger would qualify to sit in an exit row.
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Old Mar 21, 12, 6:34 pm
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Originally Posted by Diogenes1789 View Post
For her return flight SFO-EWR, on attempting online check-in 17 hours pre-departure she learned that the UA has dumped her from E+ and put her in a middle seat in the back of the plane.
...
I predict that UA will then insist on trying to charge her the $838 for a one-way ticket SFO-EWR and a cancellation charge for her unused return ticket, because UA breeched its contract of carriage.
Seat requests are non-contractual.

Originally Posted by [email protected] View Post
Sounds to me like a lawsuit under the American's with disabilities act is in order.
ADA does not apply to airlines, ACAA does. ACAA can only be enforced by filing an administrative complaint with the DOT.

Last edited by mduell; Mar 21, 12 at 6:41 pm
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Old Mar 21, 12, 6:45 pm
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Whenever someone on an upgrade gets bumped from C or F, we are told by apologists, if you want to sit in C or F, pay for C or F.

Well, this woman paid for E+. So what's your excuse?

Last edited by iluv2fly; Mar 21, 12 at 7:07 pm Reason: unnecesssary
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Old Mar 21, 12, 7:01 pm
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Originally Posted by N515CR View Post
Actually, the majority of the 738's have E+ now.
This in general true? Seat maps describe them as having ordinary leg room. I'm about to book on one BOS-IAH, that's why I'm asking. I have not been flying the pmCO planes yet, are they really changing the leg room on the E+ section or just calling the seats closer to the front that? Thanks!
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