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Got bumped on UA flight and UA never informed us

Got bumped on UA flight and UA never informed us

Old Sep 8, 15, 12:24 pm
  #1  
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Got bumped on UA flight and UA never informed us

On August 29, 7 of us flew from MCO to IAH and IAH to LAS using Air Canada Aeroplan pts. Stopover at IAH was originally ~4.5 hrs. The UA rep at MCO handed us our boarding passes without telling us we got bumped on the IAH to LAS flight. We didn't find out until mid MCO to IAH flight. New stopover time was ~8 hrs.

At IAH, first excuse UA rep gave us was we or somebody had called United on August 27 to change/cancel our IAH to LAS flight. We definitely didn’t call or ask United to change/cancel our IAH to LAS flight. Wouldn’t a change/cancellation fee be charged? The United rep then said maybe United computer system got hacked.

Second excuse was we asked our IAH to LAS flight to be changed at MCO airport when we checked in. We definitely didn’t ask our IAH to LAS flight to be changed at MCO airport when we checked in. Why would we? The stopover/connection time at IAH was already 4 h 25 min. Why would we extend that to ~8 hrs, especially since we had expensive Las Vegas show tickets for that night?

We have never been bumped before. I am baffled how this could have happened and how/why nobody from United informed us of this ahead of time.

What happened to us clearly is against United’s stated/written United Customer Commitment.

I just sent UA a note about this via their website.

Never been bumped before so not sure what to expect. Any guess?

Last edited by Speedy12; Sep 8, 15 at 9:23 pm
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Old Sep 8, 15, 12:44 pm
  #2  
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Was your original flight from IAH to LAS cancelled? Or, was there a schedule change?
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Old Sep 8, 15, 12:54 pm
  #3  
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Originally Posted by PTahCha View Post
Was your original flight from IAH to LAS cancelled? Or, was there a schedule change?
Or change of aircraft followed by an auto rebook?

This is why I always check my UA reservations every couple days to be sure they're all still in place.
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Old Sep 8, 15, 1:05 pm
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OP:

There have been many recent reports of UA just offloading passagners when the flight is full. This is a very clear violation of Federal Rules. See: http://www.transportation.gov/airconsumer/fly-rights

If your arrival time is more than one hour later (as it appears to be) and the flight you were booked on actually flew (i.e. it was not cancelled) then you got bumped, and are entitled to compensation for an involuntary bump.

If your original flight flew, then its important to let DOT know about this, as its a recurring and entirely dishonest practice by United. DOT will require them to give you the IDB compensation, and United ought to be getting close to a big big fine for these type of crooked acts.

Complaint can be filed here: http://airconsumer.dot.gov/escomplaint/ConsumerForm.cfm

UA responds quickly to DOT complaints.... good luck!
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Old Sep 8, 15, 1:35 pm
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As a side note, I would never buy expensive event tickets for something the day of scheduled arrival when flying on UA. Unfortunately, UA just isn't reliable enough for that IMHO.
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Old Sep 8, 15, 3:30 pm
  #6  
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Original IAH to LAS was not cancelled.

After we landed at IAH, I asked United what the heck was going on. Then they gave me the 2 possible excuses (both ridiculous?). 2nd United rep was somewhat helpful and helped us as best she can. We subsequently got 2 confirmed seats on the original IAH to LAS flight (dep IAH at 2:36 pm) and 5 were on standby. 3 of 5 on standby managed to get on the original IAH to LAS flight as well. Other 2 in our group, took the later IAH to LAS flight (dep IAH at 5:58 pm).

Is it normal for UA or any airline not to at least tell us ahead of time?

I have already sent a note to United seeking an apology and compensation. They are supposed to respond in 5 to 10 business days. I will research IDB compensation and see what I can expect.

It caused great inconvenience and stress since there were 2 adults, 2 seniors who barely speak English and 3 kids (7, 12 & 14) in our group plus the cirque show tickets for that night were on the line.

I assume it doesn't matter my flight was on points? Thanks for all the comments thus far.

Cirque show was at 9:30 pm so I thought we would have plenty of time if we were able to board the original flight to LAS (dep 2:36 pm arr 3:57 pm).

Both original and later flights departed on time.

Last edited by Speedy12; Sep 8, 15 at 9:27 pm
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Old Sep 8, 15, 3:42 pm
  #7  
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http://frequentlyflying.boardingarea...ion-explained/

"Domestic flights within the United States: No compensation is due if your airline finds alternate transportation that will get you to your next stopover point or final destination within one hour after the scheduled arrival time of your original flight. For flights getting you to your next point or destination more than one hour but less than two hours, cash compensation equivalent to 200% of the one-way fare on the flight you were bumped off to a maximum of $650. Flights getting you to your next point or destination more than two hours from the original time will net you cash compensation of 400% of the one-way fare to a maximum of $1,300."

Does it matter we were flying on points? If it doesn't matter, so we should get 2 x $1,300 = $2,600 in compensation since 2 of 7 had to take a later flight?

Should I file a DOT complaint now or wait until UA respond to my email to them this morning? (edit: just filed a complaint with DOT)

The article I found was written in Nov, 2011 and there are lots of comments/questions right after the article. One of the first comments/questions was regarding IDB on a reward flight:
"Thanks and very good question. I have yet to find actual text related to award travel in the rules. The only thing I see is, “The passenger will not be eligible for compensation if the ticket was issued at a free or reduced fare available to employees within the transportation industry.” Award travel is different, though, and I know United adds an SSR (Special Service Request) to award bookings of “NODBC,” which means no denied boarding compensation. So… if they apply the formula, you’d indeed be SOL on an award ticket."

Last edited by Speedy12; Sep 8, 15 at 9:29 pm
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Old Sep 8, 15, 3:45 pm
  #8  
fti
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I am surprised you don't look at your boarding passes when you receive them. Certainly UA should not have just rebooked you to another flight, but on the other hand, the passenger bears some responsibility for not examining their travel documents thoroughly. If you had reviewed the boarding passes in MCO before you left, it could have been much more easily resolved.
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Old Sep 8, 15, 3:46 pm
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Getting 7 free seats using non-United miles on a flight was impressive especially if the flight was full as you indicated.

No idea what happened but UA should not have bumped you without informing you. The only issue is that compensation is based on what you paid. Since you used award miles, compensation can be the lowest priced ticket for that journey from IAH to LAS so might not be a whole lot and thus why the airline would bump you before a fare paying passenger.

Good luck.
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Old Sep 8, 15, 4:14 pm
  #10  
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Originally Posted by fti View Post
I am surprised you don't look at your boarding passes when you receive them. Certainly UA should not have just rebooked you to another flight, but on the other hand, the passenger bears some responsibility for not examining their travel documents thoroughly. If you had reviewed the boarding passes in MCO before you left, it could have been much more easily resolved.
We were running late. Got to MCO 75 min before departure time. Will arrive sooner next time. When we arrived at MCO, we couldn't generate boarding passes at the kiosk machine. A UA agent "helped" us but he had to walk back and forth a couple of times to ask another agent. He then handed the boarding passes to us. We were rushing thru security and running to the gate. Didn't check boarding passes for IAH_LAS flight until we were in the air. Not sure when UA sold our original IAH_LAS seats.

I am not sure complaining at MCO would have helped as my guess is UA already "sold" our original seats. Perhaps that's why UA agent had to go back and forth to discuss with another agent when he helped us with the boarding passes.

I was surprised I got 7 reward seats on UA as well. I booked it ~3 weeks before the trip. UA had a big sale on in mid-late August as well. I think there were lots of seats available. I figured I got 2 Cdn cents per aeroplan pt.

Speaking of UA, interesting news today.
http://money.cnn.com/2015/09/08/news...ceo/index.html

United Continental's CEO and two other top executives are out following a company investigation related to an ongoing federal probe.

Last edited by Speedy12; Sep 8, 15 at 5:56 pm
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Old Sep 8, 15, 4:20 pm
  #11  
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Originally Posted by Speedy12 View Post
Speaking of UA, interesting news today.
http://money.cnn.com/2015/09/08/news...ceo/index.html

United Continental's CEO and two other top executives are out following a company investigation related to an ongoing federal probe.
Big thread on this already

http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/unite...-chairman.html
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Old Sep 8, 15, 4:49 pm
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http://www.cnn.com/2011/11/04/travel...-bumping-tips/

"If your ticket does not show a fare (for example, a frequent-flier award ticket or a ticket issued by a consolidator), your denied boarding compensation is based on the lowest cash, check or credit card payment charged for a ticket in the same class of service (e.g., coach, first class) on that flight."

We had assigned seats as well.
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Old Sep 8, 15, 4:56 pm
  #13  
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Originally Posted by Speedy12 View Post
Is it normal for UA or any airline not to at least tell us ahead of time?
Yes, it is standard for UA not to notify you when your flights change.

Originally Posted by Speedy12 View Post
I assume it doesn't matter my flight was on points?
It minimizes the IDB compensation; the fare used for the 200% or 400% calculation is the lowest that anyone on the plane paid for that segment.
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Old Sep 8, 15, 7:35 pm
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Need to report to the DOT

This is one of several reports suggesting United end runs around denied boarding compensation rules. Important you report this to the DOT. They need evidence of a patter to take appropriate action.

Everyone in your party is entitled to denied boarding compensations. It appears this should be a check for 4 times the lowest fare paid for this flight among economy class passengers.

Note that even the passengers later allowed on the flight are entitled to compensation. Once they were issued a ticket on the later flight, they were involuntarily bumped. By DOT rules, the compensation needed to be issued on the spot. The fact that they later managed to get standby accommodations is not material.
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Old Sep 8, 15, 9:19 pm
  #15  
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Originally Posted by oswaldjacoby View Post
This is one of several reports suggesting United end runs around denied boarding compensation rules. Important you report this to the DOT. They need evidence of a patter to take appropriate action.

Everyone in your party is entitled to denied boarding compensations. It appears this should be a check for 4 times the lowest fare paid for this flight among economy class passengers.

Note that even the passengers later allowed on the flight are entitled to compensation. Once they were issued a ticket on the later flight, they were involuntarily bumped. By DOT rules, the compensation needed to be issued on the spot. The fact that they later managed to get standby accommodations is not material.
I sent UA a note this morning asking for an apology and compensation.

In the afternoon, I sent DOT my complaint.

I did specifically ask the UA rep at IAH whether I would be compensated and she said I can send UA a note and they would respond to me within so many days.

Thanks for the point that all 7 of us should be entitled to compensation. I will double check with the DOT. Not happy with UA at all about this, esp not even bothering to tell us about it.

Last edited by Speedy12; Sep 8, 15 at 9:33 pm
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