Go Back  FlyerTalk Forums > Miles&Points > Airlines and Mileage Programs > United Airlines | MileagePlus
Reload this Page >

what is the current flat-tire rule? (Missed flight)

what is the current flat-tire rule? (Missed flight)

    Hide Wikipost
Old Nov 8, 19, 2:18 am   -   Wikipost
Please read: This is a community-maintained wiki post containing the most important information from this thread. You may edit the Wiki once you have been on FT for 90 days and have made 90 posts.
 
Last edit by: WineCountryUA
Wiki Link
GG FLAT TIRE (as of April 2018)

FLAT TIRE RULE:
CUSTOMERS CONTACTING UNITED WITHIN 30 MINUTES PRIOR TO DEPARTURE OR 2 HOURS AFTER DEPARTURE MAY BE REBOOKED AT NO CHARGE ON UA/UAX FLIGHTS. ALL SEGMENTS OPERATED BY OA SHOULD ONLY BE REBOOKED BY THE OPERATING CARRIER AS THEY MAY BE SUBJECT TO ADDITIONAL FEES
Flat Tire, is this referring literally to a car having a flat tire?
No, "Flat Tire" refers to a situation where one arrives too late to make a flight due to most any reason. If you show up within two hours of the original flight departure, UA generally will try to accommodate you as a low-level priority standby passenger on the next flight with standby space. Note this will only be for UA/UX flights and no guarantees on how soon UA might be able to accommodate the delayed passenger. No reason for the delay is needed (flat tire or not, does not matter).

Years ago, pre-deregulation, this was a formal rule. Nowadays, legacy USA airlines still provide this as a courtesy but they are under no obligation to provide. Note with non-USA airlines there is no such policy and you will mostly be required to purchase a new ticket.

This does not apply in a connection situation on a single ticket. The carrier creating the delay is obligated to address that situation
Print Wikipost

Old Apr 24, 12, 3:17 pm
  #1  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Mar 2000
Posts: 16,328
what is the current flat-tire rule? (Missed flight)

My wife (who is also a 1K) has run into a bit of bad luck. Due to weird circumstances, she is making a connection in PHX from an AS flight (award ticket from BA) to a paid non-refundable UA ticket. She originally had a 2 hour connection, but AS has moved the flight so she now has a 23 minute connection. BA is unsympathetic, and says there is nothing they can do to move her flight because it hasn't changed by 2 hours or more. Also, there is now no AS award availability on the earlier flight that day.

Both airlines operate out of the smallish Terminal 2 in PHX, so I think the odds are good that she could still make this connection. But, obviously, it wouldn't be surprising if something went wrong. If it does, and she arrives after the UA flight has left, what is UA likely to do for her? Are there published rules governing this stuff, or is it ad hoc? I assume her 1K status would help. Thanks.
iahphx is offline  
Old Apr 24, 12, 3:55 pm
  #2  
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Seattle, WA
Programs: DL Diamond, UA 1K MM, SPG Plat For Life, Marriott Plat, Nexus/GlobalEntry
Posts: 9,198
I don't think she'd be handled any differently than before...and at minimum would be allowed to go standby later. But with the much improved same day change options now post merger I would suggest checking other options the day before and making an online change to a later flight if it's available. As a 1K this would be free if there's space. If things are really wide open, she could leave it all as-is and just make the change at a kiosk when she arrives in PHX if she's too late to make the connection.
SEA1K4EVR is offline  
Old Apr 24, 12, 4:51 pm
  #3  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Mar 2000
Posts: 16,328
Originally Posted by SEA1K4EVR View Post
I don't think she'd be handled any differently than before...and at minimum would be allowed to go standby later. But with the much improved same day change options now post merger I would suggest checking other options the day before and making an online change to a later flight if it's available. As a 1K this would be free if there's space. If things are really wide open, she could leave it all as-is and just make the change at a kiosk when she arrives in PHX if she's too late to make the connection.
Ah, yes -- I forgot about that option, too. I've never tried it -- time to read the rules!
iahphx is offline  
Old Apr 24, 12, 5:20 pm
  #4  
 
Join Date: Dec 2011
Posts: 1,185
Even if she does make the flight, the chances of her luggage making it are slim.
UnitedFlyGuy is offline  
Old Apr 24, 12, 6:24 pm
  #5  
 
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: NJ
Programs: Avis Preferred, Hertz #1 Gold, National Exective, United Premier Silver
Posts: 1,363
Honestly, if you ask me, this question would be better off in the BA forum and changed to reflect what BA's policy on allowable changes after schedule changes to partner awards.
I honestly would find a 97 minute arrival difference to be unacceptable and would push to be reaccomidated.

Also, you need not necessisarily move her up at checkin to a later United flight. Monitor her AS flight, and if its showing arriving 25 minutes early, (or the UA flight 25 minutes late) things would be fine.

If when the AS flight is an hour out of PHX, its ontime or late, you make the change for her while she is enroute.
kwildnj is offline  
Old Apr 24, 12, 6:53 pm
  #6  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Mar 2000
Posts: 16,328
Originally Posted by UnitedFlyGuy View Post
Even if she does make the flight, the chances of her luggage making it are slim.
I guess I didn't mention it, but she's only going to have carry-on. It would, of course, be suicidal to check bags -- and I don't think the airline would take them anyway.

Originally Posted by kwildnj View Post
Honestly, if you ask me, this question would be better off in the BA forum and changed to reflect what BA's policy on allowable changes after schedule changes to partner awards.
I honestly would find a 97 minute arrival difference to be unacceptable and would push to be reaccomidated.

Also, you need not necessisarily move her up at checkin to a later United flight. Monitor her AS flight, and if its showing arriving 25 minutes early, (or the UA flight 25 minutes late) things would be fine.

If when the AS flight is an hour out of PHX, its ontime or late, you make the change for her while she is enroute.
I guess I will ask the question on the BA forum. I asked the BA agent I spoke to whether they had a parter liaison to deal with situations like this. She checked with her supervisor, who said no. She then told me they wouldn't do anything for me if the change was less than 2 hours. I guess that's not crazy unreasonable; just really bad luck in this instance.

Good idea about changing the flight in route. One problem is that I will be ON the AS flight with her. I'm staying in PHX and not making the connection, though.
iahphx is offline  
Old Jun 18, 12, 9:53 pm
  #7  
 
Join Date: Nov 2010
Posts: 63
My wife just got screwed -- no "flat tire" rule was granted. Due to a problem with the rental car that left her sitting on the side of the road for 90 minutes, she arrived at the counter 25 minutes before departure. She had not been able to check in online due to having a mix of carriers on the intinerary. Note that it was a very dead time of day at the airport, so she actually could have made it from the counter to the gate before the door closed.

They told her they'd given away her seat and canceled her ticket when she hadn't checked in at 30 minutes. No standby, only option was a new ticket for a later flight at over $1000. She found something for $500 on a different carrier and so is taking that, but she got not even a hint of sympathy for the situation at the UA airport counter, just tough luck, pay up.

At the least we'll follow up with the rental company, it wasn't bad luck, it was negligence at a level of putting water in the gas tank or leaving the oil drain plug out. I don't think we can get them to cover the ticket but I at least want their rental fee back. Pretty angry about that.
flyerguy99 is offline  
Old Jun 18, 12, 11:28 pm
  #8  
 
Join Date: May 2011
Posts: 5,783
Originally Posted by flyerguy99 View Post
My wife just got screwed -- no "flat tire" rule was granted. Due to a problem with the rental car that left her sitting on the side of the road for 90 minutes, she arrived at the counter 25 minutes before departure. She had not been able to check in online due to having a mix of carriers on the intinerary. Note that it was a very dead time of day at the airport, so she actually could have made it from the counter to the gate before the door closed.

They told her they'd given away her seat and canceled her ticket when she hadn't checked in at 30 minutes. No standby, only option was a new ticket for a later flight at over $1000. She found something for $500 on a different carrier and so is taking that, but she got not even a hint of sympathy for the situation at the UA airport counter, just tough luck, pay up.

At the least we'll follow up with the rental company, it wasn't bad luck, it was negligence at a level of putting water in the gas tank or leaving the oil drain plug out. I don't think we can get them to cover the ticket but I at least want their rental fee back. Pretty angry about that.
Was it a domestic ticket?
edcho is offline  
Old Jun 19, 12, 3:02 am
  #9  
 
Join Date: Nov 2010
Posts: 63
>Was it a domestic ticket?

Yes.
flyerguy99 is offline  
Old Jun 19, 12, 4:48 am
  #10  
 
Join Date: Dec 2011
Location: NYC
Posts: 1,281
Originally Posted by flyerguy99 View Post
My wife just got screwed -- no "flat tire" rule was granted. Due to a problem with the rental car that left her sitting on the side of the road for 90 minutes, she arrived at the counter 25 minutes before departure. She had not been able to check in online due to having a mix of carriers on the intinerary. Note that it was a very dead time of day at the airport, so she actually could have made it from the counter to the gate before the door closed.

They told her they'd given away her seat and canceled her ticket when she hadn't checked in at 30 minutes. No standby, only option was a new ticket for a later flight at over $1000. She found something for $500 on a different carrier and so is taking that, but she got not even a hint of sympathy for the situation at the UA airport counter, just tough luck, pay up.

At the least we'll follow up with the rental company, it wasn't bad luck, it was negligence at a level of putting water in the gas tank or leaving the oil drain plug out. I don't think we can get them to cover the ticket but I at least want their rental fee back. Pretty angry about that.
Very unusual IME. What is your wifes status with UA?
HumbleBee is offline  
Old Jun 19, 12, 5:51 am
  #11  
 
Join Date: Nov 2010
Posts: 63
>Very unusual, IME

OK, I have a better understanding of what happened now, sort of.

She was travelling SEA-DEN-BOS, on Frontier first (SEA-DEN) then UA out of DEN. It was booked thru Orbitz -- separate record locators for each airline, if that matters. Frontier did say that it was a United ticket -- the initial outbound trip was all UA -- and according to F9, that situation meant a) no online checkin possible for the initial F9 segment and b) any changes had to be done by and thru UA, even for the Frontier segment.

So when she showed up 25 min before departure, F9 told her that her seat had already been given away (30 min before with no check-in cutoff, full flight with a standby list), and that as noted above, it was a UA ticket and so she'd have to talk to United -- Frontier agent was sympathetic and said if it were a straight Frontier ticket, they'd definitely give her standby on a later flight.

UA counter agent in contrast was very UNsympathetic at a personal level, and said they would do a regular rebook for a later flight with her paying the change fee plus full fare difference (>$1000), but that was it, no slack for the "flat tire" situation.

I don't have a lot of experience flying different carriers on the same leg, let alone missing flights in that situation, so is this just what happens when you mix-match on travel sites like Orbitz? Did F9 have a kind ear but unfairly point the finger at UA? United treat her badly?

Btw, she has zero status on either airline.

Hmm, having looked over other threads I'm even more confused and unhappy -- most people in this situation seem to have gotten something better than, "buy another ticket", especially since my wife made it before the flight left (though after the 30 minute cutoff). Most posts were before the merger finalized though. Is this a new UA/CO policy that non-elites don't get "flat tire" standby, or did my wife just get unlucky with the agent on duty?

Last edited by FlyinHawaiian; Jun 19, 12 at 6:18 pm Reason: merge
flyerguy99 is offline  
Old Jun 19, 12, 5:39 pm
  #12  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Nov 1999
Posts: 22,908
Originally Posted by flyerguy99 View Post
Hmm, having looked over other threads I'm even more confused and unhappy -- most people in this situation seem to have gotten something better than, "buy another ticket", especially since my wife made it before the flight left (though after the 30 minute cutoff). Most posts were before the merger finalized though. Is this a new UA/CO policy that non-elites don't get "flat tire" standby, or did my wife just get unlucky with the agent on duty?
sounds to me that she got the Wrong agent . Ive been rerouted when I was delayed with renting my car and ended up < 15 mins till my flight was to depart and I had a bag to check. But I was a 1K so maybe that helped out

Id think most agents would do what they could as long as a person showed up within a resonable time of the Flight departure time to rebook them w/o any additional payment as long as its stil for the same date of travel
craz is offline  
Old Jan 31, 13, 9:09 am
  #13  
 
Join Date: Nov 2008
Posts: 299
Flat Tire Rule -- Supervisor says one can call instead of going to Airport

In past 24 hours I have spoken with 3 different UA phone reps, including one very polite and helpful supervisor -- all were aware of the "flat tire rule" and all said that it is *not* necessary to go to the airport in order to have the rule applied, and that phoning in is fine as long as it no longer than 2 hours after your originating flight's scheduled departure.

The supervisor actually encouraged me to apply this rule to an award reservation where I want to depart on a later flight the same day but the flight has no X/XN seats available. She told me to forget about going to the airport and call after the departure time and that i will be rebooked over the phone.

Has anyone had experience with the flat tire rule over the phone? All the posts I have found talk about using it at the airport...
shdflyer is offline  
Old Jan 31, 13, 9:55 am
  #14  
 
Join Date: May 2011
Posts: 5,783
Originally Posted by shdflyer View Post
In past 24 hours I have spoken with 3 different UA phone reps, including one very polite and helpful supervisor -- all were aware of the "flat tire rule" and all said that it is *not* necessary to go to the airport in order to have the rule applied, and that phoning in is fine as long as it no longer than 2 hours after your originating flight's scheduled departure.

The supervisor actually encouraged me to apply this rule to an award reservation where I want to depart on a later flight the same day but the flight has no X/XN seats available. She told me to forget about going to the airport and call after the departure time and that i will be rebooked over the phone.

Has anyone had experience with the flat tire rule over the phone? All the posts I have found talk about using it at the airport...
I have once -- in the PMCO days though. I missed a flight entirely and called in (on award). They rebooked me without an fees or questions.
edcho is offline  
Old Jan 31, 13, 10:02 am
  #15  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Mar 2000
Posts: 16,328
Sorry to hear of other travellers' troubles. My wife actually made her 23 minute connection (it was 3 gates away), so we didn't need to invoke the flat-tire rule. I guess, for obvious reasons, the airline isn't eager to clarify exactly what the policy is. I assume there is a formal procedure somewhere in their rule book, though.
iahphx is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Search Engine: