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Can DL gate-agent refuse to accept UA-endorsed DL tickets? Almost denied boarding.

Can DL gate-agent refuse to accept UA-endorsed DL tickets? Almost denied boarding.

Old Jun 26, 14, 6:56 pm
  #1  
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Can DL gate-agent refuse to accept UA-endorsed DL tickets? Almost denied boarding.

Sorry for posting twice today, but since I am now stuck in MSP for a while, I'd like to share a story and hopefully get a piece of advice or two from you experts.

Pardon my rant.

1. Booked four C-class award tickets on UA 1, non-stop IAH-NRT for today.

2. UA cancelled the flight yesterday afternoon, and after spending a couple of hours on the phone, they rebooked us on DL flights today IAH-MSP-NRT. IAH-MSP in F, MSP-NRT in J. Tickets got reissued, and even called DL to confirm everything is okay.

3. Checked-in at IAH. No trouble. Because we have two children and IAH-MSP flight didn't have any neighboring seats, the check-in agent gave boarding passes with "seat requested," informing us that we will get new boarding passes with seat assignments at the gate.

4. Now at the gate, it became rather stressful. The gate agent told us that we will not fly today, because these tickets are issued by UA, and even when the original tickets were in C class and reissued in J booking class, they will not honor UA issued DL tickets in F/J, because rerouting should always be booked in economy. Then, she sternly asked us to see a UA agent to find alternate flights, because we will not fly DL today.

5. Flabbergasted, I called UA (instead of going out to find a UA agent at IAH) and the UA phone agent reassured that the DL gate agent is misinformed, UA will pay DL for the tickets, and since the tickets are now in DL's possessions, DL should accept them as they are. The UA phone agent wanted to speak the DL agent, but the DL agent again refused to talk.

5. I stood firm demanding my boarding passes. And it went like 10-15 minutes, leaving around 20 minutes for departure. Then, all of a sudden, after speaking with her supervisor (I guess), the DL agent issued our boarding passes, both for IAH-MSP and MSP-NRT.

6. After boarding ended, now seated in my F seat, I saw that DL was looking for two volunteers from the passengers who already had boarded.

So, here is my guess.

The flight was overbooked. The agent wasn't happy that UA rebooked four of us on her flight occupying four F seats, thus creating the overbooking situation. If I had bought her argument and went off to find a UA agent, I may well have missed the flight, and she probably could have responded, "well, too bad, but too late."

Is there anything I can do to prevent something like this from happening again?

By the way, my MSP-NRT flight is now cancelled, and we will depart in 15 hours.

Last edited by nydad; Jun 26, 14 at 9:11 pm
nydad is offline  
Old Jun 26, 14, 7:05 pm
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Glad you stood your ground. Too bad that Delta is as bad as United though.
Good luck tomorrow. Keep us informed.
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Old Jun 26, 14, 7:11 pm
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Originally Posted by nydad View Post
Is there anything I can do to prevent something like this from happening again?
Get a printout of the new reservation showing the alternate carrier flights confirmed, the 'OK' designation, with cabin and booking code.
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Old Jun 26, 14, 7:15 pm
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Originally Posted by bruceba View Post
Glad you stood your ground. Too bad that Delta is as bad as United though.
Good luck tomorrow. Keep us informed.
Gee, to listen to just about anyone else talk about Delta in this UA forum you would think Delta is the Wonder Airline that can do no wrong. Thanks for the dose of reality.
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Old Jun 26, 14, 7:18 pm
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Originally Posted by 3Cforme View Post
Get a printout of the new reservation showing the alternate carrier flights confirmed, the 'OK' designation, with cabin and booking code.
I did bring the print out, well actually two of them, one from united.com and another from Delta.com, and even got another physical ticket receipt and itin from the UA Club loung that was literally right next to the DL gate. But the DL gate agent refused to take a look at them. She KNEW that our tickets are good, all confirmed, and we're checked-in.
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Old Jun 26, 14, 7:21 pm
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*** DISCLAIMER *** This is only what I heard, I've not found a regulation on it, but I heard it from a pretty accurate source that I usually believe.

While they may accept a reservation thru automation, another carrier still has 24 hours to accept an offline ticket. I had the debate with a smart co-worker that a reroute, once we had a record locator from another carrier is as good as gold, that if the other carrier was unable to board them, that they were responsible for DB comp and re routing. My coworker said true, as long as the other carrier accepted the offline (in our example, UA's) ticket, and if made less that 25 hours b4 dptr, they could refuse it.

I asked for documentation and have not been provided it (to support this view, which differed from mine) and have yet to see it, so AFAIK, it's only an opinion, but it came from someone who hasn't steered me wrong in the past.
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Old Jun 26, 14, 7:25 pm
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OP sorry for your ordeal. DL also has rogue agents like the real world that I live in. As far as doing something to prevent another occurrence like this from happening, I don't see how anyone can. You were rightly protected on DL and had the confirmation to prove it. The DL agent took it on themselves to try to deny you boarding, presumably to protect DL from being penalized for IDB.

Originally Posted by fastair View Post
I asked for documentation and have not been provided it (to support this view, which differed from mine) and have yet to see it, so AFAIK, it's only an opinion, but it came from someone who hasn't steered me wrong in the past.
From the perspective of reservations, if the seats were available, bookable, and confirmable, then the reservation is good.
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Old Jun 26, 14, 7:43 pm
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Originally Posted by fastair View Post
*** DISCLAIMER *** This is only what I heard, I've not found a regulation on it, but I heard it from a pretty accurate source that I usually believe.

While they may accept a reservation thru automation, another carrier still has 24 hours to accept an offline ticket. I had the debate with a smart co-worker that a reroute, once we had a record locator from another carrier is as good as gold, that if the other carrier was unable to board them, that they were responsible for DB comp and re routing. My coworker said true, as long as the other carrier accepted the offline (in our example, UA's) ticket, and if made less that 25 hours b4 dptr, they could refuse it.

I asked for documentation and have not been provided it (to support this view, which differed from mine) and have yet to see it, so AFAIK, it's only an opinion, but it came from someone who hasn't steered me wrong in the past.
I don't think this is accurate. Inside 24 hours, they're supposed to call the OAL and verify they'll take you. If the answer is yes, it's done.

The "Seat Request" card on DL was a confirmed BP. It should have said "CONFIRMED" in the top right corner. It's just a card indicating you're awaiting seat.

Sounds like the GA was trying to deny boarding based on the UA ticket since they realized they were oversold.


Originally Posted by nydad View Post
3. Checked-in at IAH. No trouble. Because we have two children and IAH-MSP flight didn't have any neighboring seats, the check-in agent gave boarding passes with "seat requested," informing us that we will get new boarding passes with seat assignments at the gate.

4. Now at the gate, it became rather stressful. The gate agent told us that we will not fly today, because these tickets are issued by UA, and even when the original tickets were in C class and reissued in J booking class, they will not honor UA issued DL tickets in F/J, because rerouting should always be booked in economy. Then, she sternly asked us to see a UA agent to find alternate flights, because we will not fly DL today.
Notice how the story changed between check-in and gate. That sort of validates the oversold theory - they were trying to bump you off without compensation to resolve their situation, grasping at whatever they could.

Good thing you stood your ground.
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Old Jun 26, 14, 8:09 pm
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It's actually 72 hours, but that's up to DL. When DL agreed to accept the UA tickets when UA called, that's the end of it. A GA can't later countermand DL's acceptance.

There's nothing to be done better here.

As soon as you hit a bad GA, don't move. Simply politely ask them to have a supervisor pop over.
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Old Jun 26, 14, 8:37 pm
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Originally Posted by Often1 View Post
It's actually 72 hours, but that's up to DL. When DL agreed to accept the UA tickets when UA called, that's the end of it. A GA can't later countermand DL's acceptance.

There's nothing to be done better here.

As soon as you hit a bad GA, don't move. Simply politely ask them to have a supervisor pop over.
how can someone prove that UA called and got verification? the ticket looks the same (to me at least) if they call and get an "ok" versus if they just book it. i've had both happen and in both cases, the tickets were accepted.
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Old Jun 26, 14, 8:57 pm
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Originally Posted by nydad View Post
Sorry for posting twice today, but since I am now stuck in MSP for a while, I'd like to share a story and hopefully get a piece of advice or two from you experts.

Pardon my rant.

1. Booked four C-class award tickets on UA 1, non-stop IAH-NRT for today.

2. UA cancelled the flight yesterday afternoon, and after spending a couple of hours on the phone, they rebooked us on DL flights today IAH-MSP-NRT. IAH-MSP in F, MSP-NRT in J. Tickets got reissued, and even called DL to confirm everything is okay.

3. Checked-in at IAH. No trouble. Because we have two children and IAH-MSP flight didn't have any neighboring seats, the check-in agent gave boarding passes with "seat requested," informing us that we will get new boarding passes with seat assignments at the gate.

4. Now at the gate, it became rather stressful. The gate agent told us that we will not fly today, because these tickets are issued by UA, and even when the original tickets were in C class and reissued in J booking class, they will not honor UA issued DL tickets in F/J, because rerouting should always be booked in economy. Then, she sternly asked us to see a UA agent to find alternate flights, because we will not fly DL today.

5. Flabbergasted, I called UA (instead of going out to find a UA agent at IAH) and the UA phone agent reassured that the DL gate agent is misinformed, UA will pay DL for the tickets, and since the tickets are now in DL's possessions, DL should accept them as they are. The UA phone agent wanted to speak the DL agent, but the DL agent again refused to talk.

5. I stood firm demanding my boarding passes. And it went like 10-15 minutes, leaving around 20 minutes for departure. Then, all of a sudden, after speaking with her supervisor (I guess), the DL agent tossed away our boarding passes, both for IAH-MSP and MSP-NRT.

6. After boarding ended, DL was looking for two volunteers.

So, here is my guess.

The flight was overbooked. The agent wasn't happy that UA rebooked four of us on her flight occupying four F seats, thus creating the overbooking situation. If I had bought her argument and went off to find a UA agent, I may well have missed the flight, and she probably could have responded, "well, too bad, but too late."

Is there anything I can do to prevent something like this from happening again?

By the way, my MSP-NRT flight is now cancelled, and we will depart in 15 hours.
I'm a bit confused. Did you eventually get on the DL flight? Are you stuck in IAH or MSP now?
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Old Jun 26, 14, 9:00 pm
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You flew the first leg--that pretty much says DL accepted the situation.

I would be complaining to the DOT about denied boarding. I think they were scamming you out of IDB compensation.
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Old Jun 26, 14, 9:07 pm
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Originally Posted by Loren Pechtel View Post
You flew the first leg--that pretty much says DL accepted the situation.

I would be complaining to the DOT about denied boarding. I think they were scamming you out of IDB compensation.
That's not how I read it. To me, DL refused the tickets in IAH. Did I misread (I may have). Point #5 makes it appear that DL did not accept the tickets at the 1st point (IAH).
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Old Jun 26, 14, 9:07 pm
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Originally Posted by zrs70 View Post
I'm a bit confused. Did you eventually get on the DL flight? Are you stuck in IAH or MSP now?
Sorry for the confusion. I flew the DL IAH-MSP leg and am currently stuck in MSP. Earlier today, the boarding pass for MSP-NRT was accepted without any issue at MSP.

Originally Posted by fastair View Post
That's not how I read it. To me, DL refused the tickets in IAH. Did I misread (I may have)
Now I see that "Tossed away" was a confusing word choice. The DL agent printed out our boarding passes and "tossed" them to us.

Last edited by FlyinHawaiian; Jun 26, 14 at 9:11 pm Reason: Merge
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Old Jun 26, 14, 9:25 pm
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Originally Posted by nydad View Post
Sorry for the confusion. I flew the DL IAH-MSP leg and am currently stuck in MSP. Earlier today, the boarding pass for MSP-NRT was accepted without any issue at MSP.



Now I see that "Tossed away" was a confusing word choice. The DL agent printed out our boarding passes and "tossed" them to us.
I'm confused. you are stuck in msp? but you said they accepted the bp w/o any issue???
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