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W Fare Availability Limited - Is it just me?

W Fare Availability Limited - Is it just me?

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Old Apr 22, 12, 12:12 pm
  #1  
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W Fare Availability Limited - Is it just me?

This is very strange, hope it's not another "change I will like" but rather a system error.

I'm trying to book a flight IAD-DXB leaving the 24th and returning on the 27th of May. I wanted to use my SWU so taking the direct flight on UA metal is my preference. When I search for a non - W fare I can see plenty of availability on the direct...but when I search for a W class it tries to route me through MUC which will dump me on to a LH flight to DXB. Not cool.

I've played around with the dates, but still finding the same issues.

When I've pushed the dates out to June I get this error:

"united.com could not find any available seats meeting your requirements. You may modify your search criteria, or call 1-800-396-1751 for assistance."

What good is a SWU if I can't find a flight or fare to use it on?

Is this a bug, SHARES issue, or something more nefarious?
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Old Apr 22, 12, 12:28 pm
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There's no W available on the outbound--you have to upfare to V.

Now, .bomb still has an issue: even telling it V, it properly offers the outbound in V, but wants to make the return in T. That means calling in I suppose.
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Old Apr 22, 12, 12:29 pm
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The outbound flight has no W inventory; it will price into V at $1624 round trip if you specify that V fares are acceptable, too.

See also my post here on how to make the new united.com site show GPU-eligible fares.


Originally Posted by exerda View Post
Now, .bomb still has an issue: even telling it V, it properly offers the outbound in V, but wants to make the return in T. That means calling in I suppose.
I'm not seeing that at all. I can get the return in V if I only specify V or in W if I specify both.
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Old Apr 22, 12, 12:54 pm
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Originally Posted by sbm12 View Post
I'm not seeing that at all. I can get the return in V if I only specify V or in W if I specify both.
I've tried logging out and back in, and it still tries to price the return in T, despite the fact I specified W and V as the fare class restrictions.
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Old Apr 22, 12, 1:22 pm
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i'm showing sbm's 1624 itinerary, outbound on V, return on W.

exerda, i'm not sure if you're doing the same thing i run into frequently (and it's going to sound dumb) but make sure you check off the "specific class of service" radio button. it's a quirk in the webpage design that really annoys me and took me months to get used to. if you manually type in (or paste, or whatever) the fare classes in the text box, the radio button does not automatically change to that and will default to "lowest fare" even if you have fare classes typed in. i know it sounds stupid, but even to this day i still accidentally do it and leaves me confused until i realized what i did because just like any modern webpage, if i type into the box i expect it to automatically change the corresponding radio button to it.
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Old Apr 22, 12, 3:02 pm
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Originally Posted by sbm12 View Post

See also my post here on [URL="http://boardingarea.com/blogs/thewanderingaramean/2012/03/the-new-united-com-primer-how-to-find-swuable-fares/"]how to make the new united.com site show GPU-eligible fares


.
Incredibly helpful! So strange about the lack of W though. I really don't understand what the difference is between W V T etc? Just more expensive it seems. First time I've run into a lack of W with Biz so empty right now. I really miss the old UA flag that showed you your upgrade would clear if you used an instrument.
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Old Apr 22, 12, 3:19 pm
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+1 - Exactly. These fare buckets are simply allotments of seats at a given price.
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Old Apr 22, 12, 3:21 pm
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Originally Posted by DCEsquire View Post
Incredibly helpful! So strange about the lack of W though. I really don't understand what the difference is between W V T etc? Just more expensive it seems. First time I've run into a lack of W with Biz so empty right now. I really miss the old UA flag that showed you your upgrade would clear if you used an instrument.
For the upgrade to clear you need R inventory. Click on "Fare Class" and it will show you all the buckets on that flight. Or check out the script here that shows all the fare buckets all the time.

As for the differences between all the letters, it comes down to price and restrictions for the most part. But W is not intrinsically tied to business class; it is an economy fare.
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Old Apr 22, 12, 3:53 pm
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Originally Posted by sbm12 View Post
For the upgrade to clear you need R inventory. Click on "Fare Class" and it will show you all the buckets on that flight. Or check out the script here that shows all the fare buckets all the time.

As for the differences between all the letters, it comes down to price and restrictions for the most part. But W is not intrinsically tied to business class; it is an economy fare.
Thanks again. incredibly helpful also.

I understand that W is an economy fare, but it's also the lowest fare basis that you can use to qualify for the use of your SWU. To the larger point of the thread, if UA is not going to make W fares available or severely limit their availability and require 1ks etc to book higher economy fair buckets I think it's not a stretch to say that UA just imposed a greater "tax" on the use of a SWU and they reduced the benefit of being a 1k.

It would be one thing if they were guaranteeing me the upgrade, but they don't. I'm paying to play the lottery so to speak. If W availability is limited, the price of Biz Class Lotto just went up.
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Old Apr 22, 12, 7:02 pm
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Originally Posted by sbm12 View Post
For the upgrade to clear you need R inventory.
One more point on this... There is zero R inventory on any of these flights, but C is wide open. Can I assume that they will open up R closer to departure date if they aren't selling the capacity?
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Old Apr 22, 12, 7:11 pm
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Originally Posted by DCEsquire View Post
To the larger point of the thread, if UA is not going to make W fares available or severely limit their availability and require 1ks etc to book higher economy fair buckets I think it's not a stretch to say that UA just imposed a greater "tax" on the use of a SWU and they reduced the benefit of being a 1k.
A W fare is a discount fare, and so by default, is limited availability compared to number of seats left on the aircraft. Only full Y fare is guaranteed not to be capped (beyond number of available econ seats left in the aircraft).

Originally Posted by DCEsquire View Post
It would be one thing if they were guaranteeing me the upgrade, but they don't. I'm paying to play the lottery so to speak. If W availability is limited, the price of Biz Class Lotto just went up.
I know its been said many times before on this board - the only way to be guaranteed a seat in C is to buy it. If UA wanted to guarantee a seat in C at the W fare, that they would price a Z fare at the same price as W. If they think they can sell it at the higher price, they should.
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Old Apr 22, 12, 7:18 pm
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Originally Posted by DCEsquire View Post
One more point on this... There is zero R inventory on any of these flights, but C is wide open. Can I assume that they will open up R closer to departure date if they aren't selling the capacity?
Generally, yes, but "if" is the key word.
One caveat -- it seems that in recent months they have been tighter on releasing R inventory and processing waitlisted upgrades and have been trying harder to sell upgrades to Business/First class at check-in for discounted prices. Many anecdotes here suggest these discounted buy-ups (still not cheap on international, probably $500+) are slipping in before the waitlisted elites. This was not supposed to happen, based on communications here from company representatives, but AFAIK, they've gone silent as (perhaps coincidentally) the evidence mounts that cash is king, so it's really hard to say what's happening.

Originally Posted by DCEsquire View Post
To the larger point of the thread, if UA is not going to make W fares available or severely limit their availability and require 1ks etc to book higher economy fair buckets I think it's not a stretch to say that UA just imposed a greater "tax" on the use of a SWU and they reduced the benefit of being a 1k.
Correct me if I'm wrong, but UA always had a minimum fare restriction on the SWUs, right? CO only offered SWUs in the one year prior to the merger, and they were unrestricted, but that was a one-off.

It would be one thing if they were guaranteeing me the upgrade, but they don't. I'm paying to play the lottery so to speak. If W availability is limited, the price of Biz Class Lotto just went up.
Yes, you are effectively playing the lottery. However, you could be playing it on DL, where you have to buy up to an "M" fare in order to enter the lottery, and their M fares are minimum $2,500 r/t on short transatlantics, to $3,500-4,000 minimum on longer transpacs. That's thousands of dollars extra to enter the lottery, vs. maximum a couple hundred on UA.

AA, on the other hand has no restrictions on SWUs. You just have to factor this in as one piece of information when comparing which program you prefer.

Last edited by iluv2fly; Apr 22, 12 at 7:37 pm Reason: merge
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Old Apr 22, 12, 8:41 pm
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Originally Posted by DCEsquire View Post
I understand that W is an economy fare, but it's also the lowest fare basis that you can use to qualify for the use of your SWU. To the larger point of the thread, if UA is not going to make W fares available or severely limit their availability and require 1ks etc to book higher economy fair buckets I think it's not a stretch to say that UA just imposed a greater "tax" on the use of a SWU and they reduced the benefit of being a 1k.

It would be one thing if they were guaranteeing me the upgrade, but they don't. I'm paying to play the lottery so to speak. If W availability is limited, the price of Biz Class Lotto just went up.
If you can't get a W (say V or better only), you can't get any lower fare class, so the lottery cost is zero since you're not upfaring to W.
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Old Apr 22, 12, 8:43 pm
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Originally Posted by ijgordon View Post
Correct me if I'm wrong, but UA always had a minimum fare restriction on the SWUs, right? CO only offered SWUs in the one year prior to the merger, and they were unrestricted, but that was a one-off.
Correct. PMCO only recently started offering SWUs and that first batch had no fare bucket restrictions.
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