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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 19, 12, 12:30 pm
  #91  
 
Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: DEN
Programs: 2012 Plat-2013 Plat-2014 Silver-2015 GM
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Originally Posted by Beerman92 View Post
Maybe the PSS (Premier Stupid Splitting) is just more unbundling and United is getting ready to launch a) a new credit card that allows pax to stay unsplit, b) an upsell to allow pax to stay unsplit and c) a new 5MM level that allows spouses to stay unsplit.
Made me laugh out loud. Ya just got to laugh at some of this stuff. Truths are stranger than fiction sometimes.
ibuyyoufly is offline  
Old Apr 19, 12, 12:37 pm
  #92  
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: Arlington, VA
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Originally Posted by ibuyyoufly View Post
Not just IRROPS, but also aircraft changes. I swear, if my family and I get "scattered" all over a plane due to IRROPS or an aircraft change, when seats together have been booked, I'll go "United" on someone. You can screw with me a little more when I am flying alone on business, but when it comes to time with my family, that time together is sacrosanct. I'm not sure I could any more PO'd than I am today, but that would do it.
Absolutely!

I haven't been involved in many plane swaps, but this is a perfect case as well.

I obviously think UA should have chosen a computer system that can handle more than a single passenger in relation to upgrades, but evidently their decision was to goto SHARES.

That said, given UA's obvious poor choice on systems and technology in general, it does not give them permission to lie about how they handle upgrades with companions.

UA simply does not tell the truth on how it handles these upgrades, end of story.

-jeremy
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Old Apr 19, 12, 12:39 pm
  #93  
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 871
Can you avoid PNR splitting by not checking in on line? If not how does one decline to be put on UG list before T24?
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Old Apr 19, 12, 2:24 pm
  #94  
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Originally Posted by milemonkey View Post
Can you avoid PNR splitting by not checking in on line? If not how does one decline to be put on UG list before T24?
You can avoid splitting during OLCI. But you must play VERY close attention when checking in online, and untoggle the suggestion assumed by the software to split that appears at some point during check in.
kokonutz is offline  
Old Apr 20, 12, 10:13 am
  #95  
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: SEA
Programs: UA 1P, SPG Plat
Posts: 161
Mobile check in splitting PNRs without me asking for it?

I checked into a flight with the mobile app for SEA-SFO (upgrades already cleared) with a companion on the same PNR. After I was done with the checkin, I noticed that there were two PNRs. Since the companion is GM, now the companion can't get upgraded in my upgrade window.

There was a question about upgrades, to which I unchecked the box. Perhaps I chose the wrong option.

Web support and reservations spent a bit of time trying to fix it, but to no avail.

Just an FYI that the mobile app may be doing something odd--web check in may be the right way to go.
slimothy is offline  
Old Apr 20, 12, 10:43 am
  #96  
 
Join Date: Nov 2011
Location: ORD/SFO
Programs: UA 1K (pmua), Hhonors Gold
Posts: 51
Sadly this is a well known and incredibly frustrating problem. IMO, it should be the highest priority to fix (above mileage posting issues and the like). It isn't just limited to mobile checkin.

You can find details in http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/unite...eeds-stop.html
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Old Apr 20, 12, 11:19 am
  #97  
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: SEA
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Now I see. I don't know how the OnePass people learned all of the issues in their system...and I'm sure the OnePass folks think the same about (old) Mileage Plus.

1-star ratings of their app in your favorite app store of choice may help prioritize this bug.

Last edited by slimothy; Apr 20, 12 at 11:19 am Reason: missed a few words
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Old Apr 20, 12, 12:14 pm
  #98  
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Chicago - NYC - Naples
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Posts: 279
Perfect example: have a RT flight with no-status companion on same PNR. Got an email 2 days out that I had been upgraded (no mention of companion) on the outbound flight. Went on-line and it let me select FC seats for both of us. Cool.

Check in for the flight today and boom...splits us into two PNRs. The outbound still has us in the FC seats, but my question is: does the system know that she should be on the upgrade list for the return on MY status? Or is she basically on her own for the return half of the RT flight?

This whole merger process has been frustrating to say the least...
msg75 is offline  
Old Apr 20, 12, 12:24 pm
  #99  
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
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Originally Posted by kokonutz View Post
You can avoid splitting during OLCI. But you must play VERY close attention when checking in online, and untoggle the suggestion assumed by the software to split that appears at some point during check in.
And if the kiosk won't let you check-in, you can be SOL:

Pathetic SHARES auto-rebook engine.... and splitting itineraries

Or, the pundit(s) around here say that you should explain to the Skywest employees manning the counter that you don't want them to split your itin. As though they'll have any idea what that means.....
hobo13 is offline  
Old Apr 20, 12, 12:43 pm
  #100  
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 871
So if my wife and I do not clear prior to T-24 I am willing to give up on the upgrade as it is more important to sit together. Shouldn't I just check-in at the airport to avoid this morass?
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Old Apr 20, 12, 1:28 pm
  #101  
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Originally Posted by msg75 View Post
. The outbound still has us in the FC seats, but my question is: does the system know that she should be on the upgrade list for the return on MY status? Or is she basically on her own for the return half of the RT flight?
No - won't be on list. Yes, she'll be on own. You can add her as your companion at the airport to get her on the list though.

Last edited by Xyzzy; Apr 20, 12 at 1:40 pm Reason: Fixed UBB code
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Old Apr 23, 12, 1:38 pm
  #102  
dm
 
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What a mess. On a flight yesterday from ABQ to IND via DEN, the system split our reservation and upgraded me (plat.) on the DEN/IND leg while leaving my wife (GM) in coach (ABQ/DEN was a one-class EMB145). It was the return and I had selected auto check-in, not knowing about this problem. Of course, my original seat disappeared immediately. When I asked at the ticket counter in ABQ to be moved back to coach, the agent began berating me for not understanding that this was "the way upgrades have always been handled." A woman checking in at the next kiosk actually defended me to the agent, explaining that the same thing had happened to her and her husband, and it was NOT the way it used to work.

Anyway, that's not the point :-). What I noticed on my way to the gate was that my wife had lost her seat assignment next to me in the exit row on the ABQ/DEN flight and had been moved to the last row. My guess is that when the reservation was split, the system concluded she was ineligible to sit in the exit row and moved her. The flight was overbooked, but the agent at the gate said she would do what she could, and called me up just before boarding to hand me a new boarding pass -- next to my wife in row 19.

So beware -- this mess of a system can also result in you losing seating assignments on flights without a first class cabin!
dm is offline  
Old Apr 23, 12, 2:30 pm
  #103  
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Location: CLE
Programs: UA Gold, OZ silver,
Posts: 552
So just to confirm what I have been reading here:

If I am traveling with my wife and daughter that have no status I should not have to worry about the split since there are 3 on the same PNR correct?

This is a reward ticket booked in Dec 2011.
767400 is offline  
Old Apr 23, 12, 2:56 pm
  #104  
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Originally Posted by kokonutz View Post
You can avoid splitting during OLCI. But you must play VERY close attention when checking in online, and untoggle the suggestion assumed by the software to split that appears at some point during check in.
I was asked what I meant by this by PM, and thought I'd share the answer here for all...

I wish I could be more specific...

But when I was doing OLCI for my wife and I last week, somewhere among the questions 'do you want to buy miles, do you want to check luggage, do you want to do auto check-in for your return, do you want to buy blah, blah, blah' there was a question: 'do you want to maximizes your upgrade chances? This means your reservations may be split' or something to that effect. It was already toggled/checked to 'yes.'

I roared past it without thinking about it, and when the OLCI was finished there were two PNRs.

So the key is to answer that question correctly to avoid having the PNRs split....

Hope that helps!
kokonutz is offline  
Old Apr 26, 12, 8:03 am
  #105  
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Programs: UA - GENERAL MEMBER, DL - GENERAL MEMBER, etc.
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Fun fun

Due to the recent lack of travel requirements by my company and no personal travel (since Dec) due to the preparation for and birth of our new son!

I was kind of missing it, but honestly it seems like all this merger stuff has gone about as well as the launch of Crystal Pepsi. So maybe not having to deal with COUA or whatever we're calling it nowadays has been a privilege?

ANYWAY, I'd like to ask your advice on two things in the context of keeping the family seated TOGETHER.

1. We've got a flight scheduled DEN-DTW in mid-June. We're both on the same PNR. Equipment in CRJ-700. I'm 1P and my wife is GM. The baby will travel on our lap. Best advice to prevent a UDU for me?

2. We're traveling to SOF in August. Baby has an infant ticket (for int'l travel) attached to my rev ticket. Legs are DEN-IAD-MUC-SOF and back the same routing. My wife is on an award ticket. So our PNR's are actually already "split". Any advice on this situation?
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