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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 7, 12, 4:28 pm
  #1  
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The stupid PNR auto-splitting at T-24 needs to stop

There were 5 of us on 3 different PNRs for flights home tomorrow (done so to maximize UG chances and make sure we had bags covered). I did auto-check in for the flight home, but nowhere did I agree to split PNRs at T-24. Lo and behold, we're now on 5 different PNRs (one of whom is a minor), and of course the new ones didn't show up in my account (had to log in under their MP numbers to find the info).

How do we stop this in the future? An incredibly annoying "feature" IMO.
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Old Apr 7, 12, 4:38 pm
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I wish there was a way to just opt out of the UG mess. If I'm travelling with my wife and kid, I don't want it, I just want to sit with them. And once they get split into all the little itty bitty PNRs, all h*** breaks loose if there's any change of aircraft or irrops that requires new seat assignments. Yuck.
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Old Apr 7, 12, 4:38 pm
  #3  
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Anyone else know how to trick this stupid system into not splitting?

Last edited by iluv2fly; Apr 7, 12 at 4:49 pm Reason: response to deleted post
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Old Apr 7, 12, 4:40 pm
  #4  
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Originally Posted by UA-NYC View Post
Anyone else know how to trick this stupid system into not splitting?
The system asked me specifically if I wanted to split for upgrades. Are you positive you didn't see that before clicking through?

Last edited by iluv2fly; Apr 7, 12 at 4:50 pm Reason: quote
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Old Apr 7, 12, 5:22 pm
  #5  
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Originally Posted by aacharya View Post
The system asked me specifically if I wanted to split for upgrades. Are you positive you didn't see that before clicking through?
I actually do remember seeing that, and specifically did NOT elect to split as 1) my PNR companion is a GM, so I wanted to keep us together, and 2) we've already been upgraded on the 1,700 mile leg and didn't need to press for an upgrade on the 400 mile leg, esp. as it's an E70 so a small Y/C delta.
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Old Apr 7, 12, 5:29 pm
  #6  
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Originally Posted by UA-NYC View Post
Anyone else know how to trick this stupid system into not splitting?
Don't use auto-check in.
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Old Apr 7, 12, 5:45 pm
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I know that calling and telling UA doesn't do squat. A couple weeks ago I was flying with my family (including 3 children). After making my reservation online I called and after being on hold FOREVER, specifically told the agent to keep me off the upgrade list so I could stay with my family. Of course, I got upgraded and couldn't get my original seat back. So once on the plane it took some juggling to get us all kinda together (there were all families around us so giving away a first class seat was a lot harder than I thought).

As I've mentioned before, I fully realize UA doesn't care about 1K's (or most any individual, for that matter), so the screw-up doesn't surprise me. I'm already at 50k qualifying miles for the year so with zero worry about keeping my status I've already started flying AA and SWA.
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Old Apr 7, 12, 5:51 pm
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Originally Posted by DeaconFlyer View Post
Don't use auto-check in.
I didn't use it and the freaking system split us (both 1K MM) anyway. Irrops ensued and we became ensnarled in a cluster of the highest order as a result.

deek
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Old Apr 7, 12, 10:36 pm
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I also hate the auto-split. Why is it so hard to keep two pax on one PNR?
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Old Apr 7, 12, 11:18 pm
  #10  
 
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Agree - this is a cluster

My former 1P now GM son and I got split in the process of going SEA-SFO-HNL last month. The result was that I got upgraded and he didn't and I couldn't decline it and stay seated with him. OK - he got NF and I got exit row. Bad as the "1 traveling companion on the same PNR" rule was clearly violated.

Problem: once split, the PNRs are split. So the return was a cluster in every possible way. Is this a pmCO thing?? No matter, it NEEDS TO STOP.
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Old Apr 7, 12, 11:25 pm
  #11  
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I also hate the auto-split. Why is it so hard to keep two pax on one PNR?
Why? because CO's vastly inferior SHARES system can't handle >1 person on a record for EUA purposes.
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Old Apr 7, 12, 11:33 pm
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+1
traveling with partner who is also gold, upgrade confusion on board after we had already boarded in coach. Both asked if we wanted to move up front at separate times after we were seated in exit row. Both declined individually but had we known we probably both should have been upgraded. Checked return today and our res is split without permission. Declined auto check in on return. What a pita.
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Old Apr 8, 12, 12:27 am
  #13  
 
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The PNR auto-splitting was amusing a couple weeks ago when I travelled with my infant daughter who had her own seat. I got upgraded and she was stuck in coach. Resulted in more work for the check-in agent to fix. Same thing happened on the return, since the PNR was already split.
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Old Apr 8, 12, 1:08 am
  #14  
 
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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?
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Old Apr 8, 12, 1:19 am
  #15  
 
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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?
IME, after split, the non-elite pax does not get placed on the upgrade list automatically. A request to add a companion to the upgrade list on the day of travel usually is met with the response "you can't do it" because the UC agent or the gate agent does not know how to to do it.
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