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UAs Official Response to HKG Ticketing/IT Error: Redeem @ Correct Amount or Redeposit

UAs Official Response to HKG Ticketing/IT Error: Redeem @ Correct Amount or Redeposit

Old Jul 20, 12, 9:44 am
  #2251  
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Originally Posted by teddy25 View Post
where should DOT draw the line on the size of the error, for honoring the tickets?

4 miles?
40 miles?
400 miles?
4,000 miles?
40,000 miles?

Will the people say it is unethical to travel on the 4 miles fare be ok with a 40, 400, or 4000 miles mistake fare?

you can NOT tell me 4,000 or even 40,0000 miles for first class round trip tickets to HKG is ethical if you think 4 is unethical. what is the difference if you know a big error made by the United's IT department?

would you have taken advantage of the error at 4,000 or 40,000 miles?

I just don't see any difference. going 40 mph or 50 mph on a 30 mph road are both speeding.
Originally Posted by janetdoe View Post
There is a point where it is no longer a 'incredible deal/steal' but just a 'discounted price'.

4,000 - Yes I would have taken it. That's still less than 10% of the normal cost.
40,000 - Maybe, if that was the round-trip total. Definitely wouldn't have booked more than one.

But driving 100 in a 30 mph is "driving with intent to kill". There are degrees of egregiousness for almost any violation.
And yet you cannot draw the line.


Originally Posted by MarkXS View Post
What most posters are missing is that there's a subtext to the DOT regulations, and we should be seeing it: The reason that the regulations explicitly say "mistake fares" are covered and cannot be raised after ticketing is to provide a deterrent from sloppy practices, deliberately or not, by inflicting a penalty on the airline that tries to get away with weaseling out of honoring its mistakes.

Mistakes aren't supposed to happen. That's why they're called mistakes. "Miss-takes."

In the past, airlines had impunity when the made a mistake. Now the DOT regulations say, "tough luck Charlie, eat it and let the customer fly."

If eating it causes millions of dollars in losses to the airline, than that's a darn good "teachable moment" to encourage that and other airlines to fix their business processes, controls, and systems to not do it again.

All us current or ex-UA/CO flyers are pretty disgusted with all the systems and business processes and bad decisions around IT and training resulting from the botched merger, right? Well isn't making United eat it and honor these EXACTLY the kind of lesson SMI/J needs to get about how much he screwed up? Me buying flights on Taca, LAN, and Alaska instead of UA doesn't exactly send a message the way a DOT order to honor the tickets or pay the fine does.

I didn't get in on this one, and I had no excuse, because I wasn't in jail without WiFi (to paraphrase MommyPoints BoardingArea blog.) So I don't have a dog in this race. I've never gotten this good a deal; just the Y-cabin $314 LAS to MUC and $214 LAX-LHR LH/UA combo meals a few years back, and getting screwed out of a better one on Air Canada a couple of years ago, months after booking. But this is now, and the DOT rules are now different and stronger, and explicit that mistakes must be ordered.

Those same rules also require one cash price quote, without the nonsense about what's base fare, YQ, taxes, 9/11 fee etc - it's got to be quoted as "what does the customer's form of payment get charged to be able to fly on the plane?" Put that concept together with the "mistakes must be honored" and these tickets did cost money, did have value other than the miles. A monkey could see that UA has very little wiggle room here, and that their UA Insider response was old-rules-thinking.

UA screwed up, and under the law nowadays in the USA, they have to honor their screwup. Which is a great incentive to stop screwing up.
Gold medal post.

Originally Posted by rankourabu View Post
Wow lots of bitter people here who didn't get a ticket and now pulling the ethics card!
?
Silver medal.

Originally Posted by Antepali View Post
So what do we do? If we have tickets for travel in the next week do we just show up to the airport and travel as we normally would?
I would hate to go to the airport and be told-- sorry but we can't honor this ticket, etc, and have a dilemma.

Do we call UA to reconfirm or something-- but we're attracting more attneinton? Not sure...
What dilemma? You demand IDB compensation and stand your ground until the airport cop tells you to leave or face a trespass charge. The IDB comp will 4x the some of DOT tax and fuel surcharges. It will cover your cab fare and then some, maybe enough to cover a nice dinner.

Therein lies the answer to UA's problem. Overbook J and F, and IDB all the 4 milers.
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Old Jul 20, 12, 9:44 am
  #2252  
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Originally Posted by chinatraderjmr View Post
"That is the right thing to do," says United spokeswoman Robin Urbanski. In 2007, United honored a business-class fare from Los Angeles or San Francisco to destinations in New Zealand that was missing one zero: it was sold as $1,062 plus taxes and fees instead of $10,620 plus taxes and fees.
I said back in 2007 that I would excercise every day. Does that mean i'm stuck with that decision for 20 years? Just becaue they said it does not mean its now the rule for time to come.
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Old Jul 20, 12, 9:45 am
  #2253  
 
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I wonder if UA would be withing their rights to look at everyone who had decided to persue this and just close their MP accounts. UA says they reserve the right to close any account for any reason and the people that really want to make a big deal out of this by dragging UA thru the mud are certainly customers that UA no longer want. That would be interesting

Before UA came out w the decision to finally cancel reservations, I didn't care one way or the other if they were honored or not.

But as someone who saw this deal, saw what the site said and could have taken advantage but chose not to, I'm happy to see that most people are just walking away. As for the ones that really want to cause trouble, I wish there was a way for me to file a report w the DOT backing up United and letting them know (from a customers point of view) that it was very obviously a mistake from what I saw on my computer.
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Old Jul 20, 12, 9:47 am
  #2254  
 
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Originally Posted by apk123 View Post
Despite united's claims, the full price charged was 4 miles:

1) Airlines (including united) often have promotions with redemption levels below the published charts.
2) Airlines often display one price at the first screen and another price at the subsequent screen. Always, the price displayed in the last page is what matters.
3) A breakdown of the charges above the "total price" is an optional section for informational purposes only.

So none of united's excuses invalidate the fact that the "full price" requested was 4 miles.
Someone correct me if I am wrong, but I have yet to read the first report of ANYONE that had only 4 miles taken out for the HKG ticket. For those without enough miles for a ticket, ZERO miles were taken out. That would indicate the ticket was NOT paid for. The taxes may have been paid but NOT the ticket. That is the reason your tickets were canceled - you never paid for them. Those of us that had the miles taken out have not had our tickets canceled. Asking for more miles would definitely fall under the issue of charging more after ticketing. Now if you actually had just 4 miles taken out then I am mistaken.
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Old Jul 20, 12, 9:49 am
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Originally Posted by flyinghigh77 View Post
what do you mean? he sounds like united does or does not have to honor it?
he laughed and he said " i have important people around"

lol
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Old Jul 20, 12, 9:49 am
  #2256  
 
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Originally Posted by chinatraderjmr View Post
file a report w the DOT backing up United and letting them know (from a customers point of view) that it was very obviously a mistake from what I saw on my computer.
The fact that it was a mistake is irrelevant per the DOT regulations.
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Old Jul 20, 12, 9:49 am
  #2257  
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Originally Posted by mre5765 View Post
You demand IDB compensation and stand your ground until the airport cop tells you to leave or face a trespass charge. The IDB comp will 4x the some of DOT tax and fuel surcharges. It will cover your cab fare and then some, maybe enough to cover a nice dinner.
If the ticket is already cancelled before OLCI and you dont have a boarding pass, How can you be IDB'd.

Originally Posted by mre5765 View Post
Therein lies the answer to UA's problem. Overbook J and F, and IDB all the 4 milers.
The DOT rules also state that $0 tickets are eligible for IDB and VDB compensation. I'm sure they checked loads before allowing those with tix through Saturday to travel. I'm sure they are out $0 so it would be a waste of their time ot IDB.

Last edited by CDKing; Jul 20, 12 at 10:01 am
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Old Jul 20, 12, 9:50 am
  #2258  
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Originally Posted by chinatraderjmr View Post
But as someone who saw this deal, saw what the site said and could have taken advantage but chose not to...
Yeah, only because you didn't know that you could have booked *A partners.
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Old Jul 20, 12, 9:52 am
  #2259  
 
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Originally Posted by chinatraderjmr View Post
I was wondering what prompted UA to say in 2007 that the policy was to honor mistake fares. I found this quote from UA on a post above:

"That is the right thing to do," says United spokeswoman Robin Urbanski. In 2007, United honored a business-class fare from Los Angeles or San Francisco to destinations in New Zealand that was missing one zero: it was sold as $1,062 plus taxes and fees instead of $10,620 plus taxes and fees.

There is a HELL of a difference between selling a ticket for over $1000 and selling a ticket for 4 miles. Many people really have no idea what a business or first class ticket costs. Even though UA sold a tkt for $1000 that should have been $10,000, it is still within the realm of possibility that "some" people did not know it was a mistake - or such a big mistake. Everyone knew that 4 miles was a mistake. The people STILL trying to take advantage if this are only making themselves look like fools. This is not what the DOT had in mind when drafting these rules to protect us. Someone above said he spoke to the DOT and the guy at the DOT was acting like the whole thing was funny or a joke. The whole thing IS funny and IS a joke. Those of you wasting your time, spinning your wheels trying to get "justice" just look like petty little people and it looks like UA plans to give you exactly what you deserve; NOTHING!!!
And everyone knew, or should've known, that $1,000 was a mistake in that case. If "knowing it was a mistake" is the deciding factor, why is the cash mistake fare morally OK to utilize but not this?
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Old Jul 20, 12, 9:54 am
  #2260  
 
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Originally Posted by travelinfoo View Post
You are NOT owed the extraordinary fare!! It was very obviously a mistake fare and to try to justify it is appalling, both in terms of the increased workload to United and the frivolous lawsuits.
In your opinion, no one is "owed" the fare. Your forgot the "in your opinion" part. Stop stating things as fact that clearly are not. I'm not saying we are "owed" the ticket (considering it was ticketed, I think there is at the least an argument that can be made), but if I did, that would be my opinion.

The DOT will issue a ruling on this, and until that time, everyone is just hypothesizing and stating their opinion.

It's seriously hilarious how many people who've probably taken advantage of mistake fares and fuel dumps (I've done neither) on this board are now all of a sudden the great moral voice of the frequent flyer universe.

Last edited by Majikow; Jul 20, 12 at 10:12 am Reason: Grammar
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Old Jul 20, 12, 9:54 am
  #2261  
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Originally Posted by CDKing View Post
I said back in 2007 that I would excercise every day. Does that mean i'm stuck with that decision for 20 years? Just becaue they said it does not mean its now the rule for time to come.
^ How many of us would want to be held to everything we ever said five years ago?

Originally Posted by as219 View Post
Just out of curiousity, do you think UA will ever fix its IT problems in the absence of singificant financial incentives to do so? ...
Presuming you are asking in good faith, yes, I do think that UA will continue to try to fix its too-often-screwed-up IT. There have been fixes that have happened since 3/3. It all just proceeding too slowly, but, yes, I think they are committed to doing so -- I'm just not convinced that they have enough of the right people working on it.

Originally Posted by chinatraderjmr View Post
I wonder if UA would be withing their rights to look at everyone who had decided to persue this and just close their MP accounts. UA says they reserve the right to close any account for any reason and the people that really want to make a big deal out of this by dragging UA thru the mud are certainly customers that UA no longer want.
+1 Particularly when so many of them claim to be UA's "most loyal customers." That's not the way folks who are "loyal" behave.

As for the ones that really want to cause trouble, I wish there was a way for me to file a report w the DOT backing up United and letting them know (from a customers point of view) that it was very obviously a mistake from what I saw on my computer.
Another +1. These folks are you-know-what-bent on hurting the airline that, for better or worse, I want to continue to fly with (even with all the many frustrations of such a decision -- which are indeed real, even if this whole tempest isn't one of them).
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Old Jul 20, 12, 10:00 am
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Originally Posted by as219 View Post
IMO, of course, UA's stupidly-worded CYA emails have made a bad situation worse.
This is the thing that surprises me about the whole ordeal.

I personally never redeemed my own 4 mile trip because I felt there was a 0% chance I'd ever get to take it. I don't think that many people availing themselves of the 4 mile fare actually thought that they'd ever get to take it, either: it was sort of a let's see what happens thing.

But then UA comes back with a single, legalistic post, followed by a long silence, even in the face of media coverage. This allowed everyone to work themselves up into a frenzy. People started to view the thing adversarially: "UA screws us over time and time again". Because of UA's handling of the situation, people who never expected to take the trip became enraged, and now feel entitled to take it.

If United had been active on this board (the way CO Insider used to be on the CO board), giving explanations, gently pushing their point of view, and (especially) if they'd offered some small token (a $100 e-cert or 10K miles) and offered to listen to any more specific concerns individual people had, then IMHO this whole thing would have blown over.

This whole thing has been handled incredibly badly.
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Old Jul 20, 12, 10:02 am
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Originally Posted by cblaisd View Post
Presuming you are asking in good faith, yes, I do think that UA will continue to try to fix its too-often-screwed-up IT. There have been fixes that have happened since 3/3. It all just proceeding too slowly, but, yes, I think they are committed to doing so -- I'm just not convinced that they have enough of the right people working on it.
Of course it's in good faith!

Your answer, however, makes my point. Saying that it's proceeding "too slowly" and that they don't have "enough of the right people working on it" means they're not committed to fixing the problems, unless by being "committed" what you really mean is engaging in public spin. It been patently obvious for quite some time that functional IT is not their top priority. Because if it were, the problems would be fixed by now.
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Old Jul 20, 12, 10:04 am
  #2264  
 
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Originally Posted by cjermain View Post
This is the thing that surprises me about the whole ordeal.

I personally never redeemed my own 4 mile trip because I felt there was a 0% chance I'd ever get to take it. I don't think that many people availing themselves of the 4 mile fare actually thought that they'd ever get to take it, either: it was sort of a let's see what happens thing.

But then UA comes back with a single, legalistic post, followed by a long silence, even in the face of media coverage. This allowed everyone to work themselves up into a frenzy. People started to view the thing adversarially: "UA screws us over time and time again". Because of UA's handling of the situation, people who never expected to take the trip became enraged, and now feel entitled to take it.

If United had been active on this board (the way CO Insider used to be on the CO board), giving explanations, gently pushing their point of view, and (especially) if they'd offered some small token (a $100 e-cert or 10K miles) and offered to listen to any more specific concerns individual people had, then IMHO this whole thing would have blown over.

This whole thing has been handled incredibly badly.
+1......I wasn't initially going to push this issue but United has shown that they really are a horrible huge corporation just as bad as a wall street bank....they don't care for you as a passenger so why should I care for them as an airline. We will let the regulators decide after I have pushed it as far as I can.
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Old Jul 20, 12, 10:05 am
  #2265  
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Moderator note: The volunteer moderators have been working non-stop since Sunday on the HKG threads. That's not a complaint. It's what we volunteer to do. Primarily, we have been removing personal attacks against other posters. Our work is pretty invisible, but we're doing our best to protect posters. However, some of you are making things far more difficult than they need be. We are seeing some people sign up with new handles because you apparently don't want the board to know who you really are. Please be advised you will be suspended for that. We are seeing some people beat the same drum over and over again. Most people understand there is a great divide on ethics here. Repeating your thoughts won't change minds, but does bog down the thread. And lastly, some of you are trying to start new "facts-only" thread. We understand these are with good intentions, but the ones that have started have within seconds only attracted yet more posts on ethics debates. So these "facts-only" threads immediately start off in the same direction as this one. We're doing our best to keep this thread free of attacks and such, but your cooperation in realizing that some are making the task more difficult is appreciated.
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