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The stupid PNR auto-splitting at T-24 needs to stop

The stupid PNR auto-splitting at T-24 needs to stop

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Old Jan 12, 20, 3:04 pm   -   Wikipost
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What is this whole PNR auto-splitting thing about?
First, you need to realize there are two separate upgrade waitlists. There's the advance upgrade waitlist, which runs periodically from your applicable upgrade window until about four hours before departure, and the airport waitlist, which is manually cleared by the gate agents about 30 minutes before departure.

The first waitlist can handle an elite and a companion automatically. If you're next in line for an upgrade and there are at least two upgradeable seats available, you'll both get the upgrade.

The second waitlist (the airport one) can only handle upgrading one traveler on a PNR. If there is more than one person in your reservation when you check in, you'll be asked if you want to either split the reservation if waitlisted for CPU or stay on the same reservation and decline being on the gate waitlist. For supported waitlisted upgrades (GPU. RPU or Miles) you will not be asked and it will split (without choice) at check-in.

Next, you need to be familiar with United's "auto-check-in" feature. If you select this option when you check in for your original outbound flight (depending on how you check in, it may automatically default to selecting this), then shortly after 24 hours before your return flight segment, you'll automatically be checked in and boarding passes will be electronically delivered to you. discontinued

If you opt for this and the system automatically checks you in, and if you have two people in your reservation, the system will automatically split your reservation. You and your companion will now be on two separate reservations, and you'll be waitlisted for an upgrade and your companion won't.


Why might splitting be bad?
If your companions are not elite, they will no longer qualify for the elite benefits they inherited from you. That means no free baggage (including credit card companion bag benefit), no Economy Plus seating access (although they won't be booted out of E+ if they're already seated in it, barring irregular operations), no Premier Access, and potential issues in irregular operations as a result of being on a separate reservation (they may be rebooked on a separate flight from you without agent intervention). If you have TSA pre-check your family traveling with you on the same PNR can use the precheck line - which they cannot do if you split. And if you are traveling with children <18 and they are split into a different PNR they will become "unaccompanied minors" which means you cannot check them in electronically and will have to stand in line to check them in with an agent at the airport.

On the other hand, splitting allows you (the elite) to waitlist for an upgrade. Although your companion won't be listed on the return, you can still list him or her as your companion upon arrival at the airport, in which case they'll be upgraded after all other elites in your elite tier. If the smaller baggage allowance is not an issue, this may not be a bad deal: you can usually bring friends and family traveling with you through the Premier Access lanes at check-in, security, and boarding without question.

What is the recommended practice?
  1. If possible buy one-way tickets so that an auto-split won't affect your return resevation.
  2. If you have 3 or more persons flying in your group and want to upgrade everyone, consider splitting into 2 groups (i.e. 2+1, 2+2) and using RPUs to upgrade the group with the non-elite. You can then roll the dice on CPU for the elite+1, assuming you don't mind the risk of traveling in separate cabins.
  3. Wait as long as possible to check in for your return flight. If you check in and opt to stay together, a "do not upgrade" flag will be entered into your reservation, and you'll no longer be listed on any upgrade waitlist (advance or airport).
  4. When you finally do check in, make a decision: are you okay with the second traveler losing some elite benefits and having at least one of you sit in F, or do you need to remain on the same reservation? Decide whether to split accordingly.
  5. If you split, talk to an airport agent upon arrival at the airport and have them add your companion to the upgrade waitlist.

Oops, I did the wrong thing. How do I recover?
If you split and didn't want to, it's too late. Think carefully before splitting. Split reservations cannot be re-integrated.

If you checked in early and didn't split, you can always call in and have your check-in canceled (as if you'd never checked in). At this time, ask to have the "do not upgrade" flag removed from your reservation. You can then either attempt check-in again and this time split (if you want) or do the recommended thing and wait until as late as possible before checking in.
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Old Apr 13, 12, 12:48 pm
  #61  
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: DEN
Programs: UA 1K, once-upon-a-time NW Gold, BMI Gold, Hyatt Diamond, SPG Gold
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Originally Posted by lax2010 View Post
It is nice to learn that the problem has been fixed but it costs me two upgrades for both me and my companion because I was stubborn and insisted of testing the upgrade system the first week post 3/3! Is UA Insider going to hand out apology cards for all those 3/3 system conversion victims? :-)
No kidding. I had horrible experiences on 3/5 and 3/6 with upgrades. Ended up in economy. And even met a supervisor who of course denied that there was any problem.

Some sort of compensation is in order.
hobo13 is offline  
Old Apr 13, 12, 7:17 pm
  #62  
 
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Speaking of compensation...

I got a lousy $150 off cert. Told 1K customer care that's great and all but $150 isn't going to change the fact that the next trip I fly I won't be able to sit with my wife. Oh but you can "inhibit" the PNR they say....a lot of good that does because then basically you skip to #3 in an upgrade queue and all of a sudden another seat opens up. Well if they would have left us on the same PNR, upgraded one of us wife would have stayed #2 and we both would have sat in F.

Interestingly enough today, wife stayed at #1 and quickly dropped to #4...because wait for it....a GS checked in. Now where is the logic in that...A 1K...meaning me...cleared before a GS. I suppose it's possible they were a displaced or irrops but according to GA oh that happens all the time.

Bottom line UA needs to either change their stated policy or fix res system. No incentive to fly UA with a companion. I'm not expecting an upgrade to F every flt because I didn't pay for it....but I do expect they aren't going to jerk me around or muck up a stated policy.
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Old Apr 13, 12, 8:37 pm
  #63  
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Originally Posted by qukslvr619 View Post
Except in doing so it split her off into a new PNR. So what that in essence did is when the upgrade sweep happened for our return flight on Monday it upgraded me but it didnt upgrade her because the system now only sees her as Silver, rather than my 1K status.
Same thing happened to me, though I'm a 1P, my SO a 2P. Records got split on the outbound, so for the return, we were each considered by our own status. On our YYZ-ORD leg, we both got upgraded in advance, me at the 48 hour window, her the day of travel. However, on the connection, I got upgraded at T-48, but she was still on the list at check in. Tried to add her as my companion at the airport in YYZ, and she tried, but couldn't confirm that it worked. At ORD, they said it had not been done, and they did it, she moved from number 4 to 1 on the list and got a seat. Luckily, though.

It does seem that agents, at least on the phone, can see a history of the record, and can tell that they were split. So my question is, why can't the system see that the record was split, and consider them companion reservations?
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Old Apr 13, 12, 8:41 pm
  #64  
 
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Originally Posted by qukslvr619 View Post
Bottom line UA needs to either change their stated policy or fix res system. No incentive to fly UA with a companion. I'm not expecting an upgrade to F every flt because I didn't pay for it....but I do expect they aren't going to jerk me around or muck up a stated policy.
Cheers.

Either COdbaUA needs to modify their stated policy or do something severe - like get rid of the terrible SHARES.

Companion upgrades do not work, it's as simple as that.

There were no threads on the PMUA forum about two passengers not sitting together, because it wouldn't happen. Fastair could actually handle 2 passenger PNRs that needed upgrades. It's sad that SHARES can only handle itins with 1 passenger, but that's obviously the case, plus the fact that SHARES doesn't really have a waitlist - when a single seat comes up for upgrade, it looks that the set of people that are desiring an upgrade and determines which from that list deserves it the most - not the same as a waitlist obviously, since this companion issue is coming up.

COdbaUA is flat out lying about this and the silence is deafening. CO basically took UA's policy which seemingly everyone enjoyed the most, but without a system to implement it.

Now, it's screwing people and families over and no one including UA Insider can admit that it does not work as set in their policies. Sad.

-jeremy
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Old Apr 13, 12, 10:15 pm
  #65  
formerly bbrantley
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 160
Bought tix for myself and wife a month ago, with a lap child scheduled for wife. Cleared complimentary upgrade several days ago. Went on website back then and picked two adjacent seats in F.

Made mistake of selecting "add to upgrade list" on checkin yesterday. Got emailed PDF boarding pass, but no link to app or the electronic board pass.

Halfway into security line today at airport, decide that something is messed up because I cannot get a boarding pass up on my phone to scan at security. Remember seeing a thread with the word "auto-split" in it on FT, so run back to Chicken and punch in my MP number. Now I am the only on the reservation, plus my child is schedule in my lap. Wife is nowhere to be found. Don't know her MP number, don't have a credit card with her name on it, etc.

Find an agent and scramble to look up her record, log in, and get a boarding pass. Still in the same seat, but hers shows no lap child.

Run to gate, start scanning my BPs, and computer rejects them. I watch GA fiddle with computer, and it turns out gate computer shows lap child on original parent (wife).

We co-grumble about the crappy situation, which almost made me miss our flight (would be first time I have missed out of my home airport in, like, 150 flights). Now that I read this thread, I am still somewhat confused, though.

a) If I had not clicked "add to upgrade list," would our reservation not have been split? We were already assigned seats in F before I did check-in.

b) Now that I have clicked the button of death, are we screwed on the return, or can I call into UA and get them to rejoin the tickets? I don't want us split up with the baby because it will be a big challenge with a squirmy lap child.

c) Is there a way, for two-adult PNRs, to prevent split from ever happening? I am happy to get the early upgrade, but I don't want to mess around with the split-at-gate scenario as described. And it's not like those domestic F seats are all that comfortable anyway.

Sigh.
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Old Apr 15, 12, 4:19 pm
  #66  
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Originally Posted by bbrantley View Post

a) If I had not clicked "add to upgrade list," would our reservation not have been split? We were already assigned seats in F before I did check-in.

b) Now that I have clicked the button of death, are we screwed on the return, or can I call into UA and get them to rejoin the tickets? I don't want us split up with the baby because it will be a big challenge with a squirmy lap child.

c) Is there a way, for two-adult PNRs, to prevent split from ever happening? I am happy to get the early upgrade, but I don't want to mess around with the split-at-gate scenario as described. And it's not like those domestic F seats are all that comfortable anyway.

Sigh.
a) I had the same thing happen (in the situation I posted about above) - when I added us to upgrade list at kiosk, we had already been upgraded, but still clicked it anyway (more because it was 4:30am and I wasn't thinking clearly). I'm pretty certain this is where the record split, because the night before, when upgrade was confirmed, we were still on once record. So presumably, yes, if you wouldn't have clicked add to list, you should have been on one PNR - though on another note, why it asks if I want to be asked to be put on the upgrade list when we have received confirmed upgrade on all segments that day is another story.

b) UA can not rejoin the records - impossible once split. However, if you call in to UA, they can tell the records have been split - either record should reference the other. This won't help to get the same upgrade priority (unless you are the same status) - at least in my case, on the return, I cleared my upgrade at window before my SO, since she had lower status and our records were split.

c) Theoretically, if you don't want the records split, click no to all pax when asked at the kiosk if you want to be added to the upgrade list. Though fair warning, some others have reported that it got split automatically at some point before they actually checked in or were asked anything, but this is not supposed to happen.
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Old Apr 15, 12, 6:15 pm
  #67  
 
Join Date: Dec 2011
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The only upgraded me on a two person PNR?

Hello FlyerTalk,

I was happy to see I cleared the 72hr upgrade to R on our last domestic leg until I went to pick seats online and noticed they had split the PNR giving me both a new PNR number along with the upgrade but leaving Mrs. Dirty back in Y cabin. I've never had them break our seats apart before, it's always been all-or-none.

After talking to csc, she informed that the new computer system will automatically split the PNR and upgrade only the elite status holder if there is only one R bucket available at the window. Luckily, I was able to get my original seat back (with only $40 of int'l roaming charges) but just though I would share this story.

Is this a new repercussion of the computer change? Should I be watching for it all the time now?

Happened to anyone else recently?

Regards,
DirtyDan
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Old Apr 15, 12, 6:20 pm
  #68  
 
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http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/unite...eeds-stop.html
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Old Apr 15, 12, 6:24 pm
  #69  
 
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Has happened to Mrs. Stealth and I on numerous occasions.
91StealthES is offline  
Old Apr 15, 12, 6:26 pm
  #70  
 
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OK... I* searched the forums for this issue and it sent me over to AA... Perhaps the mods would be kind enough to move this over to the thread already started.

*Seldom at the cutting edge of information.
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Old Apr 15, 12, 7:15 pm
  #71  
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Originally Posted by DirtyDan View Post
OK... I* searched the forums for this issue and it sent me over to AA... Perhaps the mods would be kind enough to move this over to the thread already started.

*Seldom at the cutting edge of information.
Why would you waste time/money getting back into your old seat?

Your companion would be next on the list, and might've been upgraded at 48 o 24 h out. Worst case, Mrs. DD would sit upfront. Now none of you will.
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Old Apr 15, 12, 8:43 pm
  #72  
 
Join Date: Nov 2008
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Originally Posted by twoaisleplane View Post
Wasn't aware of this. Does the system still split the PNR if both passengers have been upgraded prior to T-24?

And after the split, does the non-elite passenger still get placed on the upgrade list? If so, is it based on the status of the elite member?
Admittedly the process is awkward and not at all intuitive but it did work getting my GM companion upgraded at my status without having to ask anyone to do it. I do remember "joining" the PNRs together with some checkbox but that may have been something different. Actually I think it was just to manage them together. Regardless, they have a long way to go to make this easy.
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Old Apr 16, 12, 10:25 pm
  #73  
 
Join Date: May 2006
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And for tonight's experience SFOSAN...1 seat open in F. Agent in UA club had to get a PMCO agent to put wife at my status but a 1K companion must fall below a Platinum or Gold because she only moved from #17 to #13. GAs said well they go by their own status on day of departure once a PNR is split. Which can't be the case because on the flight up she stayed at #1 until a GS checked in. Even the old CO process was amazingly more transparent. If a companion doesnt clear in advance what the heck are you supposed to do. If the last person to clear has the highest status wouldn't it stand to reason that if a seat would open up the companion should clear next not someone with lower status?

UA Insider I really hope your reading this because someone needs to clarify this. What is the official companion policy? Is this just a temporary issue that is going to be resolved. I just want to be able to sit with my wife if a seat opens up.
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Old Apr 16, 12, 10:33 pm
  #74  
formerly bbrantley
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
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Originally Posted by qukslvr619 View Post
If a companion doesnt clear in advance what the heck are you supposed to do. If the last person to clear has the highest status wouldn't it stand to reason that if a seat would open up the companion should clear next not someone with lower status?
Yeah, I had a few hours at IAH yesterday to deal with this on my return flight, and so I spent some time running my complaint up the personnel ladder there. Which was somewhat interesting, since all those people are SHARES people who like the old system and know it well.

I had a lot of trouble getting anyone to acknowledge that the way it is implemented is problematic, much less my preferred term ("sucky").

My wife was definitely not auto-tagged as a "1K companion", and even after they did it, there were tons of people above her. I don't really understand how different the 24-hour upgrade window is than the multi-day upgrade window, but it seemed weird to me that I would clear several days earlier (on split PNR already) and she would then be #13 or something on the list at the gate 4 hours in advance.

When we got to the gate, I just asked them to move me back into my economy seat next to my wife. The flight was full at that point, so I know they had to move some other people around. Then, strangely, at the very last minute they came on board and give my wife and me adjacent F seats! Go GA... except, when we got up to F, there were like 6 or 7 empty seats that no one was upgraded into, which doesn't make sense.

So basically it is pretty buggy.
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Old Apr 17, 12, 1:08 am
  #75  
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Posts: 179
Split PNR: Wife Must now pay for E+?

So... like everyone else on here. at T-24 the PNR split me and my wife and now when I go online I see that she now has to pay ridiculously high charges even to change from the middle seat that she was in in E+ if she wants another seat. This would not be the case if we were still on the same PNR. Here's my biggest fear - now they will make her pay baggage fees at the airport when previously she could check 3 for free. Even if I have the time to argue with the GA, it sucks. Can anyone confirm that the system is at least smart enough to recognize that originally we purchased the reservation together and that she still should get all her bags for free?
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