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2014 UA Issued Awards on Air China (CA) Are Mysteriously Being Canceled (Hacked?)

2014 UA Issued Awards on Air China (CA) Are Mysteriously Being Canceled (Hacked?)

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Old May 13, 14, 4:42 am   -   Wikipost
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A number of folks with award flights booked on CA (Air China) found their reservations cancelled. The only notification of cancellation appears to be an email in from UA written in chinese. UA reps confirmed that cancellations were made online and CA award space was no longer available. UA can rebook on other flights when award space is available.

It is plausible that a third party with access to PNR and pax name on the flight can fraudulently cancel an existing itinerary and book the reopened award seat.

Affected FlyerTalk members — with links to where in this discussion they posted their experiences — include:
  1. MikeMpls
  2. nihaoa
  3. lewende Reported 4 friends with this issue
  4. ordbkk
  5. twebst
  6. kb1992
  7. litesleeper
  8. zombietooth
  9. critten Reported 2/3 confirmations (3 people CA Business class) cancelled at the same time
  10. skyvanman Also 1 friend with the issue
  11. chris1234
  12. atiger29
  13. bubble o bill
  14. genemk2
  15. jefftiger
  16. CuddlyFlyer
  17. gpeso8
  18. imm2b
  19. acf1270
  20. dgxoxo
  21. ACM two passengers
Originally Posted by ordbkk View Post
It seems everybody wants to see the message.. here was mine:
united.com 通知 - 航班预订取消
2014年4月17日 (星期四)
united.com | 优惠促销 | 预订 | 赢取前程万里 (MileagePlus®) 奖励里程 | 我的帐户

先生 ORDBKK
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感谢您使用 united.com

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Originally Posted by ordbkk View Post
For tracking purposes, I went through the 27 pages of this thread and compiled a list of those affected:

MikeMpls
nihaoa
lewende (reported 4 friends with this issue)
ordbkk
twebst
kb1992
litesleeper
zombietooth
critten
skyvanman (also 1 friend with the issue)
jefftiger (but, happened during October 2013)

So we're at 13 people affected, although some like critten have had multiple trips canceled.
From what I understand, all of these occurred in the last 3 weeks.
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Old Apr 29, 14, 1:55 am
  #766  
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 8,654
2014 UA Issued Awards on Air China (CA) Are Mysteriously Being Canceled (Hacked?)

CA knows exactly what happened, there is just a snowball's chance in Hainan they will admit it. :-)
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Old Apr 29, 14, 3:40 am
  #767  
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Originally Posted by restlessinRNO View Post
Although this is possibly a little off topic , I would also appreciate any comments you wish to share regarding your CA F flights, as I have similar flights coming up in the future. Thanks.
I just posted on the 'other Asian carriers forum':

http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/22778045-post28.html
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Old Apr 29, 14, 3:53 am
  #768  
 
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I assume that this has been reported to the FBI? If the questioning is not being done in advance, you would assume that the FBI would be there at departure or arrival in the US to document and question the first class passengers.

There are major security and criminal activity concerns with this.

Some major defrauding is going on here and major security concerns.
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Old Apr 29, 14, 4:17 am
  #769  
 
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Originally Posted by BF263533 View Post
I assume that this has been reported to the FBI? If the questioning is not being done in advance, you would assume that the FBI would be there at departure or arrival in the US to document and question the first class passengers.

There are major security and criminal activity concerns with this.

Some major defrauding is going on here and major security concerns.
I would think the FBI cares as much about catching these people as CA does.
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Old Apr 29, 14, 5:31 am
  #770  
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Originally Posted by BF263533 View Post
I assume that this has been reported to the FBI? If the questioning is not being done in advance, you would assume that the FBI would be there at departure or arrival in the US to document and question the first class passengers.

There are major security and criminal activity concerns with this.

Some major defrauding is going on here and major security concerns.
No, my assumption is the FBI has bigger and more beneficial things to do.
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Old Apr 29, 14, 7:14 am
  #771  
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Nothing could be bigger than the welfare of an FT member!
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Old Apr 29, 14, 7:40 am
  #772  
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Originally Posted by TPJ View Post
I just posted on the 'other Asian carriers forum':

http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/22778045-post28.html

LAX-PEK

Great hard product - yes, it is EXACTLY the same product TG has on A380's.Below average soft product. Wanted to try Chinese meal - was told that as there are only 2 Caucasians on board they loaded only Western food - what a rubbish.
2 'mature' F/A's with poor English language skills.
Western food average for F - more like C-class.
IFE better than expected - the good thing is that there are movies from all around the world - so watched a good Spanish movie (not just in Spanish - made/filmed in Spain), also tried Russian movies (I think there were 2 or 3), but my Russian is too poor to understand everything...
I guess i'm not missing much since moving off CA. Althought it would have been nice to try a new carrier, I flew TG A380 in F before, i thought the CA seat looked more spacious than TG but checking SeatGuru (i know not 100% reliable) it may be a tiny bit smaller at 80in pitch vs 82in on TG and 23in width vs 26.5in on TG. But who knows if they took the measurements the same.
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Old Apr 30, 14, 4:23 am
  #773  
 
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Originally Posted by critten View Post
UPDATE:

Response by CA in regards to the award booking.

"The mileage award seats allocated for the CA flights in question were limited and were used as follows: 2 seats were used by CX, 2 seats were used by AC, 1 seat was used by US Airways and 4 seats were used by UA. None of these seats were allocated or given to CA customers. When an airline such as UA cancels its allocated and reserved mileage award seats, CA cannot allocate more mileage award seats for use by UA ticketed passengers after CA cancels its reserved mileage award seats, as this would open the door to a carrier such as UA controlling the restricted inventory of CA seats to be used by UA mileage award passengers."

So the award theory, that CA passengers took the extra award seats, seems wrong. Revenue seats were probably still available (and not affected by award seats?).

I can guess that MAYBE someone on UA canceled and rebooked other UA awards. Seems mighty fishy, and seems that UA may should have a good record on this, if it was rebooked UA.

Thoughts? I am as puzzled as ever!
This is disappointing

We'll see what the response is to my reservation which was never properly ticketed and was phantom confirmed.

We've know this for a while, but alliances are dying and this is just more proof of that.
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Old Apr 30, 14, 10:36 am
  #774  
 
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another victim, but all worked out in the end

Well they finally got me yesterday as well.

Since first reading this thread I have been diligently checking my reservation on united.com every day to make sure that everything is order, and yesterday when I logged in I saw that the reservation had been cancelled. I was ticketed to fly next week JFK-LAX-PEK (UA J - CA F) stopover, PEK-SIN (CA-J) open-jaw destination, then return HKG-ICN-JFK (OZ J - OZ F).

I had been logging in every day not only because I was concerned about all of the CA F tickets being cancelled, but also to check if availabilty opened up on the outbound for something more desirable than CA F (such as NH, OZ or LH). Yesterday at around 2pm, while at work, I logged in for a second and saw that my ticket was still intact and that JFK-ICN-PEK was now available in OZ F and OZ C, but I didnt have time to call at that moment because I was quite busy so I had to wait a few hours to call. When I got home at about 6pm I called UA to make the change, ready to pay the change fee of course, and while I was on hold I logged in and saw that the reservation was now cancelled. I was on hold for a good 20 minutes, so while on hold I had time to check if my original flights were still available. The return flight as well as the intra-asia flights were still available, as well as the new outbound flights on OZ that I saw earlier in the day, but the CA flight was NOT available anymore, in fact expert flyer now showed that same flight as F0. When the agent finally came on the line I quickly explained to her that I did not cancel this ticket and that we needed to reinstate the reservation. She said that the reservation had been cancelled over the phone and that it was documented in the record that the caller claimed to be the actual passenger. I know that most people on this thread have said that their tickets had been cancelled online but she said that it was clearly documented that it was cancelled over the phone. I also did not receive any cancellation email like most others say they have received. She said that it was cancelled at 3:30 pm Central US time, so about 90 minutes before I called.

When trying to reinstate the flights she saw the same thing that I did, that all flights were still available except the UA and CA flights. She quickly grabbed the return flight and the intra-asia flights, and she said she could probably force open inventory on the UA flight but since the CA flight was no longer available we would still have to find some other solution for the outbound. So I then told her that while on hold I had found the JFK-ICN-PEK availability on OZ and she was also able to see it and she immediately booked that for me. She reissued the ticket while I was still on the line, and waived all fees since the CA flight was no longer available and I was not the one who cancelled. I only had to pay $4 for the difference in taxes.

She dealt with the whole situation very efficiently as if she already knew about these issues with the CA F flights being randomly cancelled, so I asked her about it. She said that she is a supervisor and that last week she had 2 similar cases but that those were much harder to fix because by the time those passengers had called in because they realized their tickets had been cancelled that several days had already passed so the availability was no longer there for rebooking. She said that I was very lucky to catch it only a few hours after being cancelled or else my original return flight probably would not have still been available. After reissuing the ticket she said that she was concerned that I still had one CA flight on my itinerary (the PEK-SIN flight in CA J). So she checked for availability other airlines to avoid CA completely and she found a seat on a SQ flight the same day. She then switched me to the SQ flight and reissued the ticket once again.

She then said that for more security she was putting a note in the record stating that agents should not make any changes to this reservation without the caller verifying the PIN number of the mileage plus account. Even though we all know that this is only an issue with CA flights and I no longer have any CA flights on my ticket I still thought that this was an excellent idea. So I asked her to please put the same notes on 3 other future award tickets that I have booked, even though there are no CA flights on any of those tickets either.

So after all of this chaos I agree that I was extremely lucky, considering that I ended up on the exact flights that I wanted and even avoided paying a change fee that I would have had to pay if the reservation had not been cancelled. Those first 20 minutes that I was on hold were probably the most stressful 20 minutes that I have had all year, I would have much preferred paying the change fee than having to experience all of this. I strongly suggest that anybody who has an award ticket that contains any flights in CA F call UA and ask them to put the same note in their record requesting PIN verification from the caller. That wouldn't prevent any online cancellations but at least it would protect tickets from being cancelled over the phone as mine was.
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Old Apr 30, 14, 10:43 am
  #775  
 
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Originally Posted by acf1270 View Post
Well they finally got me yesterday as well.

<lengthy snip> I know that most people on this thread have said that their tickets had been cancelled online but she said that it was clearly documented that it was cancelled over the phone. I also did not receive any cancellation email like most others say they have received. She said that it was cancelled at 3:30 pm Central US time, so about 90 minutes before I called.
Maybe the increased security UA has implemented is working, to the extent that the perpetrator can no longer cancel reservations online. Calling to cancel instead is an easy-enough workaround, but it's got to be more time-consuming and less reliable for them. Hopefully UA will increase security on phoned-in cancellation attempts.
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Old Apr 30, 14, 10:58 am
  #776  
 
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What would you do?

Mrs747FC and I are flying Air China on an UA J award from HKG to PEK in November. Flight time is listed as 3 hr. 15 min. on a 777.

Would you keep this flight for now, or would you change to these J options:

1. Eva Air connection in Taipei on 321/777s with a 6 hour travel time, or

2. Thai connection in BKK (747/330) with a 9 hour travel time

3. OZ connection in ICN (321/330) with a 8.5 hour travel time

Thanks for your thoughts....
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Old Apr 30, 14, 11:02 am
  #777  
 
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Originally Posted by 747FC View Post
What would you do?

Mrs747FC and I are flying Air China on an UA J award from HKG to PEK in November. Flight time is listed as 3 hr. 15 min. on a 777.

Would you keep this flight for now, or would you change to these J options:

1. Eva Air connection in Taipei on 321/777s with a 6 hour travel time, or

2. Thai connection in BKK (747/330) with a 9 hour travel time

3. OZ connection in ICN (321/330) with a 8.5 hour travel time

Thanks for your thoughts....
I think these issues are only arising with long haul CA flights in F, so you short flights in CA J should be safe
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Old Apr 30, 14, 11:11 am
  #778  
 
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I would keep the original.

Originally Posted by 747FC View Post
What would you do?

Mrs747FC and I are flying Air China on an UA J award from HKG to PEK in November. Flight time is listed as 3 hr. 15 min. on a 777.

Would you keep this flight for now, or would you change to these J options:

1. Eva Air connection in Taipei on 321/777s with a 6 hour travel time, or

2. Thai connection in BKK (747/330) with a 9 hour travel time

3. OZ connection in ICN (321/330) with a 8.5 hour travel time

Thanks for your thoughts....
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Old Apr 30, 14, 1:11 pm
  #779  
 
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Originally Posted by acf1270 View Post
She then said that for more security she was putting a note in the record stating that agents should not make any changes to this reservation without the caller verifying the PIN number of the mileage plus account.
This requirement for a PIN [bolding mine] is a great idea! There are lots of times when I might either intentionally or unintentionally share my record locator with people that I do not want to have the power to change or cancel my flight.

For example, I recall a thread awhile back about the ex-spouse cancelling part of a child's ticket without the permission of the purchaser. Or perhaps I'll e-mail my confirmation to my parents. While they would never intentionally cancel a flight, they're not computer savvy, so I would hate for them to be able to cancel a flight accidentally online. (far-fetched I know).

On the unintentional side, there are plenty of opportunities for people to see or overhear your confirmation numbers: in a phone call to UA in an airport, on a discarded copy of a reservation or boarding pass, etc.

Some minimal security really seems kind of essential. Maybe this is worth its own thread or a message to UA Insider.
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Old Apr 30, 14, 1:43 pm
  #780  
 
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Originally Posted by astroflyer View Post
This requirement for a PIN [bolding mine] is a great idea! There are lots of times when I might either intentionally or unintentionally share my record locator with people that I do not want to have the power to change or cancel my flight.
Last week I was required to give my PIN when I had to call in to deal with the "reissue" of my wife's ticket when the GPU upgrade of any inter-Asia leg of a Asia-US itinerary cleared. I don't remember that in the past.

Greg
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