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First experience as 1K (during IROPS) not ideal

First experience as 1K (during IROPS) not ideal

Old Jan 5, 14, 8:55 am
  #1  
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First experience as 1K (during IROPS) not ideal

I am scheduled MKE-CLE-ATL.

First I tried calling 1K desk last night for any updates due to weather and question due to check-in offered to volunteer for a later flight. Since there was not a later flight I wanted to ask what that could even mean. After prompts phone line dropped. I tried three times so I figured there is an issue with system.

Today I wake up and see, via E-mail, no phone call, that flight was cancelled. When I was EXP they would have called first thing this morning. They booked me on flight leaving on Jan 9. Since my flight coming home is tomorrow night they just ended up cancelling leg and leaving coming home there. No phone call nothing. I could have gone to airport and been really upset. So I would have an itinerary of just ATL-CLE-MKE. How stupid is that?

I called 1K line, they fortunately have issue with phone lines fixed. She tells me about system cancelling flight due to being past my trip coming home. I did homework, due to volunteer about options. There were two flights from MKE-ATL, non-stop after my 3pm scheduled flight. One at 4:30pm and one at 6pm. 1K line now says on 6pm is available (would that have been something if these were now sold out due to UA procrastinating?)


She did book me on that flight.

What really bothers me is she told me that UA does not oversell flights. In my EXP days (1998-2003) and NW Plat days (2002-2009) and CO Plat (2009 to 2011) 2012 and 2013 Plat on UA was 1K due to 100K on last year of CO. in all above cases they would have called (AA or NW and I think CO too) they would have called and for sure over sold a flight for a top tier.

I understand that weather is crazy system wide now but EXP for sure has humans reviewing these things and will call with options not just take out leg for outbound and not call and tell what is happening.

Last edited by FlyinHawaiian; Jan 5, 14 at 9:03 am Reason: added missing detail to thread title
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Old Jan 5, 14, 9:03 am
  #2  
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yes, Delta will call you and if memory serves me correctly PMUA called me a couple of times as well in similar cases. The new UA won't call and the auto-rebooking feature is known to be terribly broken.
That being said my experiences when calling in such situations has been very good recently (not so much in the beginning) where agents were very willing and able to get me onto flights sa long as there was at least Y1 or F1 available. Don't think UA will do anything is a Y0F0 situation and while I have heard stories that DL is able to do this, I can tell from my experience that it is extremely rare.
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Old Jan 5, 14, 9:15 am
  #3  
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Originally Posted by cfischer View Post
yes, Delta will call you and if memory serves me correctly PMUA called me a couple of times as well in similar cases. The new UA won't call and the auto-rebooking feature is known to be terribly broken.
That being said my experiences when calling in such situations has been very good recently (not so much in the beginning) where agents were very willing and able to get me onto flights sa long as there was at least Y1 or F1 available. Don't think UA will do anything is a Y0F0 situation and while I have heard stories that DL is able to do this, I can tell from my experience that it is extremely rare.
I will say it has been 10 years since EXP so I am not sure how they handle. I know I was pretty good friends with a woman that works for AA and part of her job is to call EXP when IRROPS occur.

In my case it is almost like I am being bumped, due to my work, from a sold out flight to get me where I was supposed to be in a timely manner. UA did nothing to help me in this case. I know it is all being done by computer but any human would know that I would be needed in Atlanta for business. Not like fare was $75 and looking for miles.
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Old Jan 5, 14, 9:25 am
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Originally Posted by thepla View Post
I will say it has been 10 years since EXP so I am not sure how they handle. I know I was pretty good friends with a woman that works for AA and part of her job is to call EXP when IRROPS occur.

In my case it is almost like I am being bumped, due to my work, from a sold out flight to get me where I was supposed to be in a timely manner. UA did nothing to help me in this case. I know it is all being done by computer but any human would know that I would be needed in Atlanta for business. Not like fare was $75 and looking for miles.
If I understand your comment correctly, you are mistaken about being bumped. You can't be bumped from a flight that you were never booked for in the first place.
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Old Jan 5, 14, 9:26 am
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1K is better than not being a 1K during irrops but certainly not what it was 5-10 years ago. I don't know about Delta or or American.

When there are huge storms and dozens to hundreds of impacted flights during a holiday, any airline is going to be stretched.
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Old Jan 5, 14, 9:56 am
  #6  
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Originally Posted by JPG3392 View Post
If I understand your comment correctly, you are mistaken about being bumped. You can't be bumped from a flight that you were never booked for in the first place.
I was actually not even on a flight. I had to find a way to get to my destination. They put me on a flight past my return and than pulled that one.

To me that just does not make any sense; my communications is via E-mail and no E-mail of flight being pulled.
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Old Jan 5, 14, 10:26 am
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People should not make excuses for UA. The service is exactly what it is: UA elite service < industry legacy average

I'm not piling on here, but how OP's flight/IROP situation was handled is just what it is, no more no less. No question the "old" UA would have had handled better than this in my experience, as an AA exec plat it is handled better from my own experience, and as a former DL medallion it's handled better. There is always the outlier statistic during IROPs, but sadly for UA loyalists (myself included!) this is no longer an outlier. It's the new norm = new UA.

The mental change occurs when one realizes we should/can no longer expect excellent or segregated service as ultra frequent fliers on UA (+100k bis per year on a dedicated carrier). It just is what it is. UA's clearly visible MO/SOP for those that care to look or acknowledge the fact is that UA/Smisek's plan to corporate profitably is to overpromise and underdeliver both hard and soft product, mainly to elites. This plan is particularly hard on those to whom much is promised (elites) and little is delivered, and much less hard on Kettle's where little is promised/little is delivered. The UA implied contract between promise/deliver is much more frequent and higher value for someone who flies weekly. The person who flies twice a year not so much.

To my way of thinking, this is where the logic is flawed. It's an emperors new clothes mindset that I used to see at legacy CO in recent years. They trumpet service and value/benefit but it just isn't there. I don't care how many degrees they have, what UA has created is a negative corporate vacuum in terms of service and customer. Whatever business you run, one of the main ways to create loyalty, good will, and long term happy customers is to overdeliver on promises, and to have excellent customer service. Most will even pay more for it in terms of value. So it's not a great picture at UA or for us as elites.

I recently read through DL's new program changes, and I have to say the DL Diamond status is just CRUSHING UA's 1K status. 6 SWU's on virtually any fare, free Sky Club, better planes, etc. I never spend enough cpm to make GS, but I probably fly 150k on $20k spend every year...enough to easily make Diamond.

Anyway, just trying to define what OP experienced. The problem is these days as a 1K it's hardly worth a post! It's the norm. (No intent at all to say OP shouldn't post, people need to see and understand and take business elsewhere if it warrants. Up to an individual flyer!).
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Old Jan 5, 14, 10:48 am
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Originally Posted by thepla View Post
What really bothers me is she told me that UA does not oversell flights.
She made that up.
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Old Jan 5, 14, 11:49 am
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Originally Posted by bldr1k View Post
1K is better than not being a 1K during irrops but certainly not what it was 5-10 years ago.
I don't see much evidence that irrops service is any better for 1K these days vs no status.
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Old Jan 5, 14, 12:39 pm
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Originally Posted by escapefromphl View Post
I don't see much evidence that irrops service is any better for 1K these days vs no status.
I dunno - last night my 1K buddy got a text, checked the flight and he'd already been rebooked (just had to accept).

I'm 1K, was on the same flight and while I didn't get the text I normally do, I did get an e-mail. I wasn't able to respond instantly (driving) and flights were fully booked by the time I got him. Called and had little luck with the 1K agents (who were nice, but overwhelmed).

Showed up at the airport with a co-worker who has no status and was supposed to be on the same flight that was cancelled. We both waitlisted for the same alternate flight, but I cleared before we even left the check-in desk. I'm on the flight right now, she didn't make it. She said she got a flight to Newark and was then waitlisted to our final destination, but my hopes for her aren't high.

1K was a big value for me today. It took more legwork and had less certainty driving to the airport this morning than I'd normally want, but I'm going where I'm supposed to and will even arrive slightly earlier than my original itinerary...
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Old Jan 5, 14, 12:39 pm
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Originally Posted by escapefromphl View Post
I don't see much evidence that irrops service is any better for 1K these days vs no status.
I am not a big fan of Smisek's UA, customer service and the whole airline are nothing like the past, however, I do believe that 1K's are treated better then none status pax. I was caught this week in IAD due to the snow, and I will say the 1K people and UC agents did everything they possibly could to assist me. I am very grateful to them. I felt so very, very sorry for the HUGE lines at CS throughout IAD. I never had to stand on line nor wait for a phone agent. If I was not 1K I would have gone nuts. It is not what it was, but it is better to be 1K. Next year when I am not 1K (by choice due to Jeff) I would not fly UA for the lack of CS.
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Old Jan 5, 14, 1:12 pm
  #12  
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As I have said previously if you are that unhappy take your business somewhere else. There are other choices. United will only change once their profits diminish and stockholders get fed up. No matter how many people tweet or post about how unhappy they are you still continue to spend money with United. Change your behavior and give your business to another company.
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Old Jan 5, 14, 1:23 pm
  #13  
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Originally Posted by JSlo View Post
The mental change occurs when one realizes we should/can no longer expect excellent or segregated service as ultra frequent fliers on UA (+100k bis per year on a dedicated carrier). It just is what it is. UA's clearly visible MO/SOP for those that care to look or acknowledge the fact is that UA/Smisek's plan to corporate profitably is to overpromise and underdeliver both hard and soft product, mainly to elites.
Nice, eloquent post but it couldn't be more removed from the reality I experience on a regular basis. UA's 1K service during IRROPS has been nothing short of outstanding for me. Every single time I've had an issue, I've ended up with an outcome that I was completely satisfied with. That has involved rebooking on other (non-*A) airlines, getting partners to open up premium award inventory, paying for hotels, retroactively paying for out of pocket expenses, etc. Phone calls get answered immediately, I regularly get calls / emails / texts from UA in the event of IRROPS indicating that I've been rebooked. I think the most I've had to ask for something is twice - normally the service recovery is proactive.

I don't think I'm alone - the general feedback here seems to be that UA looks after high level elites well in the event of IRROPS. There are plenty of things that UA does incredibly badly - this isn't one of them, IME. Of course, if you disagree you shouldn't fly them
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Old Jan 5, 14, 1:35 pm
  #14  
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Originally Posted by thepla View Post
When I was EXP they would have called first thing this morning.
Not sure you'd see that level of service now at AA. My last couple flight cancellations have come via text message that my flight has been cancelled and "rebooking is in progress" and that's usually followed by new flight info and a note to call if new flights don't work.
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Old Jan 5, 14, 1:52 pm
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In all the ads I have seen, none of it says Weather Problem Friendly

Cut too much and can't handle problems in the system. I think that is what happened. I am sure someone did the numbers and think this is still a more profitable way [short term] to do things.
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