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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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Last edit by: WineCountryUA
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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 Sep 25, 13, 4:15 pm
  #736  
 
Join Date: Jan 2011
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I goofed and bought round-trip tickets for an upcoming trip. D'oh!

We've been upgraded on the outbound, which takes place at T-72 before the return. As of right now, my plan is to check in at the airport for the outbound and NOT split. Then I'll try to make sure that we're not flagged for the return. I'll probably wait until T-4 to check-in and split for the return if we haven't been upgraded by then.

Based on what I'm reading, that's probably the best plan. Anyone disagree?
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Old Sep 26, 13, 3:32 pm
  #737  
 
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It strikes again; a possible world record for PNR splitting time

Ms BH & I (both 1Ks) are booked on a RT SEA-NRT-SIN w/ upgrades confirmed SEA-NRT, but waitlisted NRT-SIN (which another thread has described as one of the toughest upgrades to get). We were on the same PNR & so I got an email about checking us in & it assured us that we'd remain waitlisted for the 2nd leg. OK, clicked away, got to the point of printing the BPs & noticed something odd. The usual patter about Destination Highlights appeared, but the no highlights were there. In fact, the UA screen had no "print" button, but I went ahead anyhow & just 4 barebones BPs appeared w/o "highlights". At first, didn't look at them too carefully, but a moment later I saw (a) that there was a different PNR on each set ... mine had the original PNR, but Ms BH's had changed, and (b) her ex-SEA BP had the expected Pre-Check logo, but mine did not. (BTW, we had been merrily prechecking on all appropriate (domestic departure) flights since the beginning of the year). My takeaway: apparently, in this instance, the PNR split occured in the microsecond between punching the confirm button & requesting to print the BPs. My guess is that I won't get PreCheck (maybe it's one of those random times when you don't score) but she will. And we'll have to wait for the outcome of the 2nd leg upgrade roulette.

Last edited by BH62; Sep 26, 13 at 4:47 pm Reason: clarified status
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Old Oct 1, 13, 12:26 pm
  #738  
 
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Read thread, took advice, still split...

Booked myself (Plat)+4 (no status) LAS-LAX-HNL.

I read this entire thread two days ago on one PNR and took all the appropriate steps. Checked in at T-24 and specifically checked the "do not split this reservation" box.

Despite this, arrived at airport this morning to check bags and desk agent said my family and I were now on separate reservations (the +4 on original PNR and myself on a new one).

No IRROPS yet so minimal impact on the outbound (got 1 of 2 upgrades, even, and top of list for 2nd flight) but hoping this doesn't screw anything up for the return in 8 days. No way I am paying for their checked bags on the return!

Frustrating that there seems to be no way to stop this stupid computer from thinking on its own.
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Old Nov 20, 13, 7:47 am
  #739  
 
Join Date: Mar 2001
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Thumbs down Lost exit row seat due to 24h PNR autosplit

I know about the PNR splitting if waitlisted for an upgrade, but is it normal for seat assignments to be lost?

Travelling EWR-TLV with Mrs. Ryu2, and requested upgrade using GPUs. At time of booking, I had selected confirmed exit row seats for the two of us (I'm 1K, she's Silver).

Was unsuccessful in the upgrade, but due to the PNR autosplit, she lost her exit row seat and was reassigned to a middle seat in E-. Being 24 hours before the flight, her original seat was immediately taken and we couldn't change it back.

I complained to 1Kvoice, but just got a BS generic reply about how seat assignments are not guaranteed.

Is this the norm and we just have to live with or should I try to get some compensation for this? Usually when we travel together, we avoid UA and now we know even more why.
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Old Nov 20, 13, 7:55 am
  #740  
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Originally Posted by Ryu2 View Post
...Is this the norm ...
no but is a possibility

Originally Posted by Ryu2 View Post
..and we just have to live with or should I try to get some compensation for this? .....
no real grounds for compensation -- realize you are upset but it is a risk for splitting. In the od days you might have gotten some miles (and a chance your could today) but my guess you will just increase your frustrating trying.

Bottom line, splitting in your circumstances was probably a poor risk to take.

http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/unite...eeds-stop.html
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Old Nov 20, 13, 8:01 am
  #741  
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I'd like more wisdom on this issue too....

I have a one-way flight with spouse and child and I have the three of us in an Exit Row. If I were to getting upgraded via CPU I would, of course, give the upgraded seat to spouse, but am not terribly interested in having the other two seats (spouse and child have no status) kicked back to E-

So, is the current wisdom not to allow the PNR-splitting in such situations?
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Old Nov 20, 13, 8:05 am
  #742  
 
Join Date: Mar 2001
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Is there a way to NOT allow the auto split?

I read the wiki in the linked thread, but couldn't find anything explicit about that.
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Old Nov 20, 13, 8:08 am
  #743  
 
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I think a better strategy would have been to call and split in advance.
With two people waitlisted for GPU - your chances for upgrade are smaller since two seats are required.
There is little negative for a non-stop flight irrops to preemptive splitting.


Originally Posted by cblaisd View Post

I have a one-way flight with spouse and child and I have the three of us in an Exit Row.
So, is the current wisdom not to allow the PNR-splitting in such situations?
If you really want the upgrade - call and split yourself from your spouse and child.
pick a seat for yourself that you dont want to seat in if you get upgrade.
If you get CPU just swap with the spouse and seat in their seat - leaving your old seat to someone else.

Last edited by dsauch; Nov 20, 13 at 8:13 am Reason: make PC corrections :-)
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Old Nov 20, 13, 8:23 am
  #744  
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Originally Posted by dsauch View Post
If you really want the upgrade - call and split yourself from your spouse and child.
pick a seat for yourself that you dont want to seat in if you get upgrade.
If you get CPU just swap with the spouse and seat in their seat - leaving your old seat to someone else.
Thanks. Yes, I've already assigned myself to the middle-seat in the Exit Row, but my concern is if my seat is upgraded will the other two seats likely/always/possibly get re-assigned back to E- ?

If it makes any difference, this is on an 800-mile one-segment domestic flight.
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Old Nov 20, 13, 8:26 am
  #745  
 
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Originally Posted by cblaisd View Post
I'd like more wisdom on this issue too....

I have a one-way flight with spouse and child and I have the three of us in an Exit Row.
How old is the child in the Exit Row?

Passengers traveling with infants and children under 15 years of age may not be seated in exit rows

http://www.united.com/web/en-us/cont...s/default.aspx
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Old Nov 20, 13, 8:26 am
  #746  
sfo
 
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Originally Posted by cblaisd View Post
I'd like more wisdom on this issue too....

I have a one-way flight with spouse and child and I have the three of us in an Exit Row. If I were to getting upgraded via CPU I would, of course, give the upgraded seat to spouse, but am not terribly interested in having the other two seats (spouse and child have no status) kicked back to E-

So, is the current wisdom not to allow the PNR-splitting in such situations?
Just curious, you say you have an exit row with your spouse and "child" how old is this child? If I remember right the minimum age is 15?
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Old Nov 20, 13, 8:26 am
  #747  
 
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There are multiple split threads; let's not let this become one of them.

http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/unite...eeds-stop.html

http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/unite...questions.html

http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/unite...nces-here.html
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Old Nov 20, 13, 8:29 am
  #748  
 
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Originally Posted by cblaisd View Post
Thanks. Yes, I've already assigned myself to the middle-seat in the Exit Row, but my concern is if my seat is upgraded will the other two seats likely/always/possibly get re-assigned back to E- ?

If it makes any difference, this is on an 800-mile one-segment domestic flight.
Don't care CPU on such short flight.

I would stick to the exit seats together.
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Old Nov 20, 13, 8:41 am
  #749  
 
Join Date: Dec 2011
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Originally Posted by cblaisd View Post
I'd like more wisdom on this issue too....

I have a one-way flight with spouse and child and I have the three of us in an Exit Row. If I were to getting upgraded via CPU I would, of course, give the upgraded seat to spouse, but am not terribly interested in having the other two seats (spouse and child have no status) kicked back to E-

So, is the current wisdom not to allow the PNR-splitting in such situations?
Same situation here, I know CPU can only upgrade 1 companion, should I split my wife out of out and hoping my son and I will get CPU (then let my wife and my son sitting in front.)
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Old Nov 20, 13, 8:45 am
  #750  
 
Join Date: Aug 2011
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Originally Posted by gokeeper View Post
Same situation here, I know CPU can only upgrade 1 companion, should I split my wife out of out and hoping my son and I will get CPU (then let my wife and my son sitting in front.)
Lots on this in the splitting threads linked above.
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