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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 Nov 26, 13, 10:40 am
  #751  
RJ1
 
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I don't know my issue is limited to the new app, or if it would also existed if I'd checked in through the website.

We are 2 silver elites, traveling on the same PNR. Used the app to check in this morning. Agreed to the PNR split for upgrade purposes. Got our E+ seats. Everything seemed OK. Went back to check the upgrade list, and only one of us is listed.

Called UA. Despite the 2nd passenger's elite status, somehow or another, the system denied his ability to get on the upgrade list. Nothing the agent could do about it, and said we'd have to wait until we got to the airport. She said it was a system issue and that she reported it. Well I wasn't having any of the "wait until you get to the airport" business. I was polite, and asked that I be transferred to a supervisor so I could express my displeasure. After about a 5 minute wait, a very nice supervisor comes on the line. Evidently she's the 2nd supervisor that is looking at the record. She acknowledged this was a bug in the system. She was able to get the passenger on the upgrade list because she had "airport rights". Apparently the first supervisor didn't.

Anyway, bad on UA for having these glitches, but kudos for them transferring my call to multiple supervisors until finding the one that could fix the problem.
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Old Nov 26, 13, 11:17 am
  #752  
 
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Originally Posted by BH62 View Post
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.
FYI. Late last week, flying from SAN to ORD, neither of our bp's had pre-check logos at the top as per usual. Lo and behold, when we got to TSA in the normal shoes off line, the officer informed us we were TSA PRE-Check and directed us to the proper shoes on line.
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Old Dec 1, 13, 9:23 pm
  #753  
 
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I didn't realize it despite following this and the GPU threads closely, but a PNR split is required in order to check-in with advance-cleared GPUs for two pax on one itinerary. The other day I was able to successfully OLCI my +1 but not me. When I called, the Premier agent said I was probably getting SSSSed at random and would have to speak with an agent at the airport. I was pleasantly surprised to learn that I was not flagged for SSSS. But the agent did have to split the PNR to check me in.

How many hours of labor do these system limitations cumulatively cause UA every year? How can they hope to push us to full self-service with these mickey-mouse glitches?
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Old Dec 3, 13, 3:17 pm
  #754  
 
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As an avid reader on FT, I'm pretty familiar with the dangers of split PNRs. Here's what transpired with me last week...

Tried to check in online on 11/28 for our 11/29 flight: DCA-ORD-HNL. My partner and I were waitlisted for upgrades (with miles). I was unable to check in, and it said I had to see an airport agent. Normally, I would have just called, but we were going to be driving by IAD on the way to see family so I thought I'd see what the deal was.

Went to the counter, and explained that I couldn't check in online. It took at least twenty minutes and four agents to check us in. They were actually nice about it - we were joking about the horrible system, married segments that needed to be "divorced", etc. Got boarding passes but as we walked away, we noticed we were now on different PNRs, which I did NOT want to happen since the upgrades probably weren't going to clear and I didn't want any trouble on the return in case of IRROPS.

The agent who had originally been nice completely changed her tune and was done with me - she told me I had to go to the "originating station" (DCA) for anything else. Needless to say, when we stopped by the counter at DCA the next day, there was nothing they could do but apologize and use the system as an excuse.

I'm still ticked off that they had to split our PNR just to check us in, but even more upset about the fact that I was flat-out lied to about the whole thing. I'm all too aware of most of the existing system limitations, but there's still a customer service element in how you deal with them that was sorely lacking here.
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Old Dec 14, 13, 3:26 pm
  #755  
 
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Originally Posted by GoAmtrak View Post
I didn't realize it despite following this and the GPU threads closely, but a PNR split is required in order to check-in with advance-cleared GPUs for two pax on one itinerary.
I have to say, I thought I had been on top of this PNR splitting stuff too, but hadn't realized this until it just happened to me......

Mrs GroundStop and three kids are on SFO-xxx-LHR tomorrow, where the xxx-LHR leg was cleared using GPUs at ticketing, but SFO-xxx was only waitlisted. As expected, with 4 people on one PNR, that domestic flight did not clear prior to check-in opening (R=2 currently), but we weren't too bothered about that as we would rather keep the reservation under a single PNR.....

However, when I just went to check them in online, the reservation was automatically split into four PNRs - I was on the look out for a "Do you want to split this reservation" option, but was never presented with one - instead, it just checked in the passengers and spewed out BPs with different confirmation numbers on.

Has this always been the case that it doesn't even warn you that it's going to do that?
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Old Dec 15, 13, 2:47 pm
  #756  
 
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TWA Gal, TWA Kids and I (TWA Guy) are flying IAD-DEN-SLC next week, I'm 1K. I had the upgrade request removed for the outbound since the flight was downgauged from a 757 to an A319 and has been full up-front for months. We also want to sit together on the flights. DEN-SLC-DEN are on CRJ-200s. We're already upgraded on DEN-IAD, I used RPUs since it's a 777 and the kids were begging to try the lie flat seats. Do I need to be concerned about the PNR getting split? Thanks!
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Old Dec 15, 13, 3:02 pm
  #757  
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Originally Posted by TWA Guy View Post
TWA Gal, TWA Kids and I (TWA Guy) are flying IAD-DEN-SLC next week, I'm 1K. I had the upgrade request removed for the outbound since the flight was downgauged from a 757 to an A319 and has been full up-front for months. We also want to sit together on the flights. DEN-SLC-DEN are on CRJ-200s. We're already upgraded on DEN-IAD, I used RPUs since it's a 777 and the kids were begging to try the lie flat seats. Do I need to be concerned about the PNR getting split? Thanks!
I will be surprised if your PNR is not split at some point in the journey. I understand it's theoretically possible to not split, but from my experience it's just not going to happen.
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Old Dec 15, 13, 3:35 pm
  #758  
 
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My wife and I flew MSY-ORD-MSY last week. We are both Silvers, but there was a lot of room in F. We were able to both get E+ seats at check in with no problem, but the PNRs were split for CPU. I was at the top of the waitlist and she was not on the list. I called twice and was told she was on the list, but she never showed up online or on the app.

At the gate, I explained the situation to the agent. After initially giving me the trademarked "there is nothing I can do/you do not know what you are talking about" autoresponse, she actually took a moment to look into things, made a phone call and put my wife #2 on the list. We both cleared.

We had IRROP on the return and were initially autobooked on two very different flights/routings. It took a few hours standing in line to get us on the same flight the following day. The CPU process is annoying, but the issue with IRROP is just stupid. I can only imagine the frustration others have when flying with several family members.

The most frustrating thing was dealing with one of the agents in ORD who kept asking me why I made separate reservations in the first place! I gave up trying to explain to her that it was done at check-in and not when I made the reservation, but she seemed to know nothing about this issue.
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Old Dec 15, 13, 3:52 pm
  #759  
 
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Originally Posted by mduell View Post
I will be surprised if your PNR is not split at some point in the journey. I understand it's theoretically possible to not split, but from my experience it's just not going to happen.
I just called UA and confirmed there were no upgrade requests on the outbound. The agent assured me that the PNR wouldn't be split.
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Old Dec 15, 13, 4:37 pm
  #760  
 
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Originally Posted by TWA Guy View Post
The agent assured me that the PNR wouldn't be split.
And Santa Clause is real.



In general, my understanding is that the autosplit isn't happening anymore. But there have been recent reports of it happening nonetheless.
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Old Dec 15, 13, 4:38 pm
  #761  
 
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Originally Posted by mgcsinc View Post
And Santa Clause is real.



In general, my understanding is that the autosplit isn't happening anymore. But there have been recent reports of it happening nonetheless.
I heard he likes the Jeff McMuffin
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Old Dec 22, 13, 9:40 pm
  #762  
 
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Itinerary split?

I'm a 1K, the husband is premier platinum and we always book tickets with my account. A few weeks before our last trip, his itinerary somehow got split and he got a different confirmation number (though I could still see both of us listed in my account).

Is there any rhyme or reason for this?

I suspect the separate itinerary was one contributing factor to his luggage getting lost (going on day 6!) and my luggage arriving fine.
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Old Dec 22, 13, 9:52 pm
  #763  
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http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/unite...nces-here.html

http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/unite...eeds-stop.html
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Old Dec 27, 13, 10:01 am
  #764  
 
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Quick question regarding auto-splitting.

I am flying with my girlfriend ORD-CDG with a waitlisted GPU on the outbound. The GPU cleared already on the return. I would prefer at least one of us (which of course will be her) to be in business. When we check-in for the outbound, if it prompts us, is there any issue with splitting the reservation, which will likely increase our chances of getting at least one upgrade?

As I understand it, she will not lose her already confirmed upgrade and since we will be together I won't run into any issues with extending my benefits to her for security and boarding.

Is that correct? Thanks in advance.
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Old Dec 27, 13, 4:19 pm
  #765  
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Originally Posted by WhyPayRent View Post
Quick question regarding auto-splitting.

I am flying with my girlfriend ORD-CDG with a waitlisted GPU on the outbound. The GPU cleared already on the return. I would prefer at least one of us (which of course will be her) to be in business. When we check-in for the outbound, if it prompts us, is there any issue with splitting the reservation, which will likely increase our chances of getting at least one upgrade?

As I understand it, she will not lose her already confirmed upgrade and since we will be together I won't run into any issues with extending my benefits to her for security and boarding.

Is that correct? Thanks in advance.
Yes to all, your thinking looks sound.
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