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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 Dec 28, 13, 5:49 pm
  #766  
 
Join Date: Aug 2002
Programs: UA 1K & 1MM/AA Gold & 1MM/HH Gold/Marriott Ambassador
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Originally Posted by TWA Guy View Post
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.
Success! The PNR was not split and I was never even offered the opportunity to add myself to the upgrade list. Finally, something worked right, well sort of...
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Old Dec 28, 13, 5:55 pm
  #767  
 
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Originally Posted by WineCountryUA View Post
Yes to all, your thinking looks sound.
Thanks for the reassurances. Always good to get another set of eyes on it, as it were.
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Old Dec 30, 13, 5:22 pm
  #768  
 
Join Date: Dec 2011
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Wasn't put on upgrade list for return segment of flight... Discovered this at 24 hr checkin notice when i also noticed upgrades had already cleared for others (no seats left). When I attempted to go on upgrade standby the website stated PNR would be split according to our separate statuses.

Am I over-entitled because thinking my loyalty / $80 more per seat would garner me the chance of the UDU. Am i over-entitled thinking that UA would follow their own published rules that 1K's travel-partners fly under same status?

Contacted CSR to politely inquire why I wasn't put on upgrade list just to be rudely (not crisply or precisely but actually snapped at) that "we reserve the right to sell those seats and not give them to you for free." -yes, mam i certainly agree you're running a business and maintain that prerogative, however we haven't addressed the issues of not being placed on the list in the first place and then attempting to split Mrs. Dirty off the original PNR....


Disappointed again but in a consumer's market the only real way to complain is with your dollars; 1K direct to the cattle call in single year... Happy Mrs. Kept her oneworld status.

Last edited by DirtyDan; Dec 30, 13 at 5:32 pm Reason: Fully clarify the fickleness of my previous rant... Maybe.
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Old Dec 30, 13, 6:14 pm
  #769  
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Originally Posted by DirtyDan View Post
Wasn't put on upgrade list for return segment of flight... Discovered this at 24 hr checkin notice when i also noticed upgrades had already cleared for others (no seats left). When I attempted to go on upgrade standby the website stated PNR would be split according to our separate statuses. ...
If you decline the split (and therefore the upgrade opportunity) on the outbound, the system assumes will also be doing the same on the return and therefore you are not placed on the upgrade list. You can only change this seletion by calling prior to the return to change the preference flag on the itin.
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Old Dec 30, 13, 6:41 pm
  #770  
 
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Hello,

Thank you for clarification. One additional point is that outbound was not declined, this is something that happened automatically on only the return segment of the RT.

Regards,
Dan
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Old Dec 30, 13, 6:55 pm
  #771  
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Originally Posted by DirtyDan View Post
....One additional point is that outbound was not declined, ....
If you don't split on the outbound, you have effective declined upgrading at the gate and on the return. Yes that is not immediately obvious.
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Old Dec 30, 13, 7:24 pm
  #772  
 
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Originally Posted by WineCountryUA View Post
If you don't split on the outbound, you have effective declined upgrading at the gate and on the return. Yes that is not immediately obvious.
Last time I did it, it didn't remember it for the return, and I thought there were reports that they had fixed that aspect.
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Old Dec 30, 13, 7:42 pm
  #773  
 
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Wirelessly posted (Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; CPU iPhone OS 7_0_4 like Mac OS X) AppleWebKit/537.51.1 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/7.0 Mobile/11B554a Safari/9537.53)

Originally Posted by mgcsinc
Originally Posted by WineCountryUA View Post
If you don't split on the outbound, you have effective declined upgrading at the gate and on the return. Yes that is not immediately obvious.
Last time I did it, it didn't remember it for the return, and I thought there were reports that they had fixed that aspect.
For my Silver companion and Myself this year, we made sure to book one-ways instead of RTs just to not have to worry about this-- and then we'll split at check-in if not upgraded by then
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Old Dec 30, 13, 7:46 pm
  #774  
 
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Originally Posted by demkr View Post
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For my Silver companion and Myself this year, we made sure to book one-ways instead of RTs just to not have to worry about this-- and then we'll split at check-in if not upgraded by then
Yeah, definitely the best approach.

Originally Posted by DirtyDan View Post
When I attempted to go on upgrade standby the website stated PNR would be split according to our separate statuses.
That's not what it said...

Last edited by iluv2fly; Dec 30, 13 at 9:10 pm Reason: merge
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Old Jan 3, 14, 11:26 am
  #775  
 
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travelers added to the upgrade list will be placed in separate reservations....

Originally Posted by mgcsinc View Post
That's not what it said...


So not the "website" but the app sure did.

I think that will link properly, but just in case my inability to work with computers shines through (no sarcasm, my sausages are terrible at manipulating these things) my phone's screen shot says "travelers added to the upgrade list will be placed in separate reservations."

Although disappointing that UA is not following its published upgrade rules, this isn't a huge deal; I bought Y and I flew Y. It's the last two instances that were frustrating when we've been auto-split and then lost our seats together when someone else was upgraded into my now empty E+. I will state the little caveat that the gate staff has ALWAYS been wonderful in trying to put us back together in Y, but if the computers were working correctly in the first place...
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Old Jan 3, 14, 11:35 am
  #776  
 
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Originally Posted by DirtyDan View Post


So not the "website" but the app sure did.

I think that will link properly, but just in case my inability to work with computers shines through (no sarcasm, my sausages are terrible at manipulating these things) my phone's screen shot says "travelers added to the upgrade list will be placed in separate reservations."

Although disappointing that UA is not following its published upgrade rules, this isn't a huge deal; I bought Y and I flew Y. It's the last two instances that were frustrating when we've been auto-split and then lost our seats together when someone else was upgraded into my now empty E+. I will state the little caveat that the gate staff has ALWAYS been wonderful in trying to put us back together in Y, but if the computers were working correctly in the first place...
And, once again, that's not what you said it said, bud.
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Old Jan 4, 14, 6:47 pm
  #777  
 
Join Date: Jan 2013
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Having read the awesome sticky above, I still have one question:

As gold, if I have a reservation with me and two other non-elites, what happens at my T-48 window, assuming availability?

Will no one on the reservation be upgraded because there are three of us? (In this case, should I just split the reservation now so that two of us could get upgraded? I'm not concerned about the lost premier benefits for the third person).

Or would the system choose me and randomly select one of my companions to receive the second upgrade?

Ah, answering my own question from http://www.united.com/web/en-US/cont.../upgrades.aspx

If a reservation includes three or more travelers, and only one is not a Premier member, the Complimentary Premier Upgrades will be processed according to the lowest Premier status level in the reservation. If two or more travelers on the reservation are not Premier members, it will not be processed automatically. In these cases, Premier members should call the Premier Priority Desk to request a separate reservation for themselves and the eligible companion.
I guess I need to split the reservation

Last edited by iluv2fly; Jan 4, 14 at 8:06 pm Reason: merge
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Old Jan 8, 14, 11:45 am
  #778  
 
Join Date: Feb 2010
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Thumbs down Checked for possible change and it split PNR?

Husband and I flying to San Diego together on single PNR. He might need to leave out of a different airport so I went to UA website to check possible flights, change fees etc. DID NOT initiate a change at all, just checking. Decided not to make any changes and it split the PNR. What did I do wrong?
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Old Jan 8, 14, 12:19 pm
  #779  
 
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Originally Posted by AlohafromKOA View Post
Husband and I flying to San Diego together on single PNR. He might need to leave out of a different airport so I went to UA website to check possible flights, change fees etc. DID NOT initiate a change at all, just checking. Decided not to make any changes and it split the PNR. What did I do wrong?
You ticked the box that says "by ticking this box I understand the reservations will be split and cannot be recombined", I'm not sure UA could be any more explicit about this on the website.

For future reference if you just want to look at changes then you should start by searching change options for both passengers and if you find something that looks good, go back and split the reservation to make just the one change.
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Old Jan 12, 14, 8:48 pm
  #780  
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
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What I don't understand is why upon split upon checkin, atleast 5 people seperate between myself and my companion. Anyone have insight as to why this occurs?

Not that it matters anyway, I'm "only" a 1K and thus upgrades are hard.
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