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Risk of no status paid F being downgraded for status upgrader?

Risk of no status paid F being downgraded for status upgrader?

Old Nov 18, 15, 6:03 am
  #16  
 
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Originally Posted by aveRex View Post
While likely true about being rare, when it happens to you, it stings! Just happened to me on Sunday (11/15) - IAH-ORD. I used an RPU to upgrade. I received initial confirmation, and received 2nd confirmation after aircraft was downgraded to A319. Only when I was boarding did the gate agent revoke my seat in 1A and told me I was now in Economy. Not fun, not cool...downright sucked.
did you receive $200 downgrade compensation? and your RPU back?
The first time it happened to me, I was delighted. It was only a 1hr flight so I gladly took my $200. The second time it happened, I was disappointed they were able to get me back into F because it would have been $500.
Now if this happened on an intl flight or even a tcon, I'd be pissed
I was flying PHL-SFO-SYD once and PHL-SFO was delayed as usual. Their only option was to fly me on US PHL-LAX (so I was in economy) then LAX-SYD where they somehow got me into the last J seat eventhough R was 0. Sitting on US in economy sucked and having a middle J seat wasnt so great either. Didn't get any downgrade compensation but after some complaining got $500.
That scenario is far more likely, so I'd only worry if it looks like bad weather
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Old Nov 18, 15, 7:59 am
  #17  
 
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Originally Posted by eng3 View Post
did you receive $200 downgrade compensation? and your RPU back?
...
I haven't received anything at this point nor my RPU returned. The mileage has posted to my account but that's it. I hope they will provide the downgrade certificate you mentioned and return of my RPU. Is this something you have to call them about?
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Old Nov 18, 15, 8:03 am
  #18  
 
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Originally Posted by physioprof View Post
Reading long threads here on FT about horrible downgrade experiences (no doubt real) can give a false impression of how likely they are (very unlikely).
Please share source material for claim that it is very unlikely.
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Old Nov 18, 15, 8:53 am
  #19  
 
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Originally Posted by aveRex View Post
I haven't received anything at this point nor my RPU returned. The mileage has posted to my account but that's it. I hope they will provide the downgrade certificate you mentioned and return of my RPU. Is this something you have to call them about?
YES. Call the Mileage Plus Service Center to sort it out.

(Nothing happens the way it should at United anymore - to fly them, and then deal with the aftermath, is to prepare for and enter battle. This sounds somewhat dramatic, but I find it to be my truth more often than not.)
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Old Nov 18, 15, 10:31 am
  #20  
 
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Originally Posted by aveRex View Post
I haven't received anything at this point nor my RPU returned. The mileage has posted to my account but that's it. I hope they will provide the downgrade certificate you mentioned and return of my RPU. Is this something you have to call them about?
Yes definitely call. The RPU is a given. Not sure if you can use this ask an excuse to extend the expiration. If I recall, they only extend GPUs for 1Ks. If they give you flack about the downgrade cite "GG OVS DOWNGRADE". They should haven given you the ecert at the gate. Unfortunately, sometimes they expect the customer to have a phd in UA policies and ask for it.
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Old Nov 18, 15, 10:59 am
  #21  
 
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Originally Posted by aveRex View Post
While likely true about being rare, when it happens to you, it stings! Just happened to me on Sunday (11/15) - IAH-ORD. I used an RPU to upgrade. I received initial confirmation, and received 2nd confirmation after aircraft was downgraded to A319. Only when I was boarding did the gate agent revoke my seat in 1A and told me I was now in Economy. Not fun, not cool...downright sucked.
While I'm sure this experience really did suck this just supports what others are saying in regards to the OP being on a paid F ticket not needing to worry too much about being downgraded.

My guess is that in your case there ended up being enough paid F on the flight to fill the A319 F cabin so when the aircraft switched to a A319 those with paid F stayed and the upgraders got downgraded.
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Old Nov 18, 15, 11:17 am
  #22  
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Originally Posted by FlyWorld View Post
Please share source material for claim that it is very unlikely.


Please share source material for claim that it is very likely.

Airlines are not going to release data regarding downgrades from First. OP is asking about specific case of a paid F passenger being bumped by a upgrader. If you want to insinuate it happens frequently, that runs counter to the experience of most experienced travelers. Downgrades in themselves are not a common experience by heavy travelers, much less those paying for F and getting booted for an upgrader. Is one in 100 "common"? One in 24? That would be one customer on every 757 domestic-configuration flight getting booted. Doesn't happen. I'd say getting booted (for whatever reason) in one of 10 trips could be termed frequently, but that ratio (as being routine) is too ludicrous to even discuss.
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Old Nov 18, 15, 1:22 pm
  #23  
 
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United can downgrade in case of IRROPS.

The issue is that almost all first fares have underlying fare codes that United believes allows them to rebook you into Y.

This has happened to me twice in the past two years.

If they try this, stand your ground, insist on an F seat and don't let them tell you your fare was an "upgrade". This is a form of fraud United specializes in and is the reason I only fly UA when there is no other choice.

Good luck.

Originally Posted by IAH-OIL-TRASH View Post


Please share source material for claim that it is very likely.

Airlines are not going to release data regarding downgrades from First. OP is asking about specific case of a paid F passenger being bumped by a upgrader. If you want to insinuate it happens frequently, that runs counter to the experience of most experienced travelers. Downgrades in themselves are not a common experience by heavy travelers, much less those paying for F and getting booted for an upgrader. Is one in 100 "common"? One in 24? That would be one customer on every 757 domestic-configuration flight getting booted. Doesn't happen. I'd say getting booted (for whatever reason) in one of 10 trips could be termed frequently, but that ratio (as being routine) is too ludicrous to even discuss.
United has tried to boot me out of paid first twice in the past two years. And I'm a 1k.

That's frequent in my book.

Last edited by WineCountryUA; Nov 18, 15 at 1:56 pm Reason: merging consecutive posts by same member
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Old Nov 18, 15, 1:45 pm
  #24  
 
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Originally Posted by IAH-OIL-TRASH View Post
...Please share source material for claim that it is very likely. ...
I have not seen a message in this thread claiming it is "very" likely. What I have seen in this thread is discussion about the policy.

In fact, I have been following this topic closely for several years, and have seen no credible source material proving anything about the frequency this occurs, but I have seen several credible sounding reports that describe incidents when it did occur.

From that, a reasonable person can conclude that it occurs, but cannot make credible claims about the frequency or probability of it occurring.

Therefore, it's still my position that nobody can credibly claim that it is "very unlikely" to happen.
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Old Nov 18, 15, 2:23 pm
  #25  
 
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The last time I flew to the Big Island from SFO (in January), there were two upgrades of Silvers from economy. Since these flights tend to be touristy as opposed to business flights, I'd speculate that you won't encounter the surfeit of GS, 1Ks, Platinum you'd see on a SFO to BOS flight. I don't have a citation for the poster who seems to think this stuff is peer-reviewed data.
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Old Nov 18, 15, 4:10 pm
  #26  
 
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I'd also like to make a point: The reason so many people have so much interest in this topic (myself included) is because, when this happens, it is a gross violation of law, ethics, and what any reasonable person could characterize as proper business conduct. Not only that, but the degree to which the passenger gets screwed is higher than just about any other adverse action that UA does against a customer.

Worst case, you pay $8,000 for a full fare J/F ticket, and you're forced to fly in a middle seat, in the back of the plane, in e-, probably banging your head against the lavatory wall and breathing human waste, for, say, 10 hours.

And, if that weren't bad enough, UA apparently has the legal right to screw you out of your money as well. That horrible seat in the back of the plane probably would have cost $700 at the time when the passenger paid $8,000 for his J/F ticket, but because UA is enjoys immunity from the laws that everyone else must abide by, they will "apply" the full fare walk up fare of, let's say, $3,500 to the e- seat they threw the passenger into, and so therefore, the refund is $4,500, and the customer is screwed out of $2,800, which is the difference between the Y value that UA makes up and the actual value of that seat that the passenger would have paid if he had purchased that ticket with the intention to fly in e-.

And, even if you bought an -UP fare or a upgraded into that seat, the screw factor is the same. In those cases, the refund is nearly zero, and UA simply pockets almost all the money that you paid for a premium seat.

This is why it matters. It is different from all other adverse events that a passenger might experience because UA is actively pulling you out of the seat that you paid for and screwing you in multiple ways that would be patently illegal if any other business were to do it.

There is no other experience that passengers encounter with UA that compares with this one and that's why, even if it doesn't happen "very often" - it matters a lot - and I argue it should NEVER be allowed to happen.

This is not acceptable. UA should never throw someone out of a confirmed and paid seat unless it's for a FAM or due to a down-guage when there simply are not enough seats or because a flight is cancelled. In all such cases, they ought to open J/F space on next available flight and offer it to the passenger. And, only if passenger refuses and insists on flying sooner, in Y, then they should be refunded properly.

And, when they do this, they ought to refund the difference between fare paid and the lowest Y fare that existed when the passenger bought his ticket in the first place, because that's the price any rational person would have chosen to pay for the seat they end up flying in.
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Old Nov 18, 15, 4:45 pm
  #27  
 
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Originally Posted by FlyWorld View Post
And, when they do this, they ought to refund the difference between fare paid and the lowest Y fare that existed when the passenger bought his ticket in the first place, because that's the price any rational person would have chosen to pay for the seat they end up flying in.
I totally agree with how horrible it is to be subject to an unexpected downgrade, and I totally agree that this should be the basis for the refund computation. I have been flying CO and then UA after the merger for decades, including many years where I purchased economy seats and only sat in first on complimentary or voucher upgrades. In all these years reaching nearly 1M BIS miles, I have only been downgraded once, and it was over ten years ago on CO on a complimentary upgrade.

So yes, it's horrible when it happens, and yes, if UA is only refunding the difference between the actual F fare paid and the walk-up Y fare available at the time of downgrade, that is despicable. But I don't think there is any reason to think that a downgrade is anything but a rare occurrence, nor that it is more common on UA than other airlines.
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Old Nov 18, 15, 4:50 pm
  #28  
 
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I recently had a HNL-ORD 3 class 777 swapped out for a Hawaii config. The app showed 8 confirmed upgrades. Sure enough two of my party (Z fares) were bumped. I took it up with the Lounge agent who insisted the upgrades lost their seats.

To date, I don't know if that's true. I don't know how UA's system works, but as a non-UA FF, I now view it as an unnecessary gamble.

What is UA's policy on accommodating on other flights in oversold J flights? Most airlines I use do that. UA once rebooked me in Y on a flight to PEK after my connector to EWR was cancelled. Thankfully my TA intervened - would've been a nasty shock at the airport.

Last edited by yulred; Nov 18, 15 at 5:17 pm
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Old Nov 18, 15, 6:02 pm
  #29  
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Originally Posted by FlyWorld View Post
I'd also like to make a point: The reason so many people have so much interest in this topic (myself included) is because, when this happens, it is a gross violation of law, ethics, and what any reasonable person could characterize as proper business conduct. Not only that, but the degree to which the passenger gets screwed is higher than just about any other adverse action that UA does against a customer.
Agree, except for the statement about a violation of law.

Originally Posted by FlyWorld View Post
And, if that weren't bad enough, UA apparently has the legal right to screw you out of your money as well. That horrible seat in the back of the plane probably would have cost $700 at the time when the passenger paid $8,000 for his J/F ticket,
Somewhere, some place there has to be one lawyer smart enough to find a consumer protection law, or equal protection clause, or something to get past this. Because there is no doubt that it's unethical.
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Old Nov 18, 15, 6:16 pm
  #30  
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Originally Posted by FrequentFlyKid View Post
Welcome. Your knowledge of terminology, acronyms, and the general process is oddly remarkable for not having flown commercially in 40 years. I am not sure whether to commend you for your research or be skeptical.

The pessimist in me is hard to ignore.
You have every right to be skeptical, but I am not a travel type person, I don't have a passport and I have no desire to see the world.

That being said, I have traveled on Netjets through my job. I'm an IT tech guy and every once in a while an executive's laptop computer will go on the "fritz" during a business trip and the executive will get all bent out of shape and demand to have a "tech head" (the executive's words, not mine) accompany him on his business trip to make sure all laptops, tablets and smartphones are working to his satisfaction.

We use VNY airport and typically we will depart in the morning, the executive will have his meeting/presentation and then he will have lunch with his guests (his admin assistant and I would schlep it at a nearby deli) and we all fly back mid-afternoon and we are home for dinner on time.

It is a very nice way to fly, no long lines, no crowds, no TSA. It is a very productive and time saving way to fly. I would love to fly on a private jet to Hawaii, but it is out of my price range for the duration of my life. I've flown on Netjets nine times in the last 6 years and I must say every trip was very pleasant and relaxing. I have to say, once you have flown on a private jet, you never want to fly commercial.

Again, many thanks for the all the replies to this thread. It seems like I would have a very low chance of being bumped, but I guess it could happen.

P.S. Call me a sophisticated kettle in training. I have not flown commercially in 40 years, but I do want to learn all I can before I depart...

Last edited by TimeWarp; Nov 18, 15 at 6:33 pm Reason: additional thought
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