When an A fare is not for First Class

Old Nov 4, 16, 10:29 am
  #1  
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When an A fare is not for First Class

Had a strange thing occur last night. I have a flight booked to GRU in GF (A fare code) .. and a couple of days ago I needed to make a last change to the return and extend out for a couple more days. When I did the "Change Flights" I specifically chose to go back through ORD for the GF 767. After the change, and paying ANOTHER $300 change fee , I selected my return seat in GF (1K not available ).

Last night, checking my flight to ensure my seats were sticking (as a good FT'er learns to do).. I noticed my outbound for tomorrow had me seated in business?! I called in and the CSR told me that the seating chart was correct and that I had a business seat as the A fare on a 3-cabin plan was a business fare?? I mentioned to her that I was fairly certain that A was a discounted first fare and that if she was correct why was it I was able to select a GF seat on the return and had originally had a seat in GF on the outbound? She quickly stated that "let me put you on hold".. about 7-8 minutes go by and then she comes back on ad says they are "fighting with the system to get you back into seat 1K and it will be a few more minutes".

After about another 3-4 minutes she came back on and said "you are all set and back into 1K... but don't make any more changes to the itinerary as it will put you back into business on the outbound"?!

Is this one of those situations where the A isn't really an A? I can't find the fare basis code on the itinerary:

Fare Breakdown
Airfare:6,993.00USD U.S. Customs User Fee: 5.50 U.S. Immigration User Fee: 7.00 U.S. APHIS User Fee: 3.96 U.S. Transportation Tax: 35.60 September 11th Security Fee: 11.20 Brazil Embarkation Tax: 34.80 U.S. Passenger Facility Charge: 13.50 Per Person Total: 7,104.56USD eTicket Total: 7,104.56USD
Form of Payment:
MISC DOCUMENT
The airfare you paid on this itinerary totals: 6,993.00 USD
The taxes, fees, and surcharges paid total: 111.56 USD
Fare Rules:
Additional charges may apply for changes in addition to any fare rules listed.

NONREF/0VALUAFTDPT/CHGFEE
Cancel reservations before the scheduled departure time or TICKET HAS NO VALUE.

Additional Charges: Tue., Sep. 13, 2016/Visa xxxx was charged 153 USD for the / EDD 016........ 153.00 USD for: Change Fee
Tue., Sep. 13, 2016/Visa xxxx was charged 153 USD for the / EDD 016........... 153.00 USD for: Change Fee
Fri., Sep. 30, 2016/Visa xxxx was charged 300 USD for the / EDD 016........... 300.00 USD for: Change Fee
Tue., Nov. 1, 2016/Visa xxxx was charged 300 USD for the / EDD 016........... 300.00 USD for: Change Fee

Last edited by NH_Clark; Nov 4, 16 at 10:34 am
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Old Nov 4, 16, 10:47 am
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I do "A" from ORD-LHR on the 767 many times throughout the year.

Never been an issue getting a F seat (unless there is none available). Never had an issue with a seat changing on me either.

However, I never do it on-line and just call the GS desk to do it for me.
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Old Nov 4, 16, 10:55 am
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Lesson to Learn: NEVER do anything on UA horrible IT that you can do on the phone.
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Old Nov 4, 16, 11:03 am
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For what it's worth there are differential fares on the route - if from BOS your basis is probably ZNX8E9EN/UPDI (or ZNW-), but the computer choking on this is comically terrible.
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Old Nov 4, 16, 11:07 am
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Originally Posted by findark View Post
For what it's worth there are differential fares on the route - if from BOS your basis is probably ZNX8E9EN/UPDI (or ZNW-), but the computer choking on this is comically terrible.
Translation: Z fare basis that books into A.

Changing the UPDIs on the website typically doesn't work so well. Better to call.
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Old Nov 4, 16, 11:24 am
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Originally Posted by Kacee View Post
Translation: Z fare basis that books into A.

Changing the UPDIs on the website typically doesn't work so well. Better to call.
And yet strangely does not require Z space (allows D on subordinate segments):

Code:
>$LB57                                                         
057 BOSSAO 04NOV16 UA USD 6194.00 ZNX8E9EN STAY-SU/-- BK-A     
FARE CLS  EXPLANATION                            BOOK CODES    
--------  ----------------------                 ----------    
ZNX8E9EN  FARE BY RULE                           A             
                                                               
 BOOKING CODE EXCEPTIONS                                       
   VIA UA  A     REQUIRED      WHEN AVAILABLE  Z- FARES  WITHIN
                               CANADA                          
   VIA UA  D     PERMITTED     Z- FARES  WITHIN CANADA         
   VIA UA  Y     REQUIRED      Z- FARES  WITHIN CANADA         
   VIA UA  A     REQUIRED      WHEN AVAILABLE  Z- FARES  WITHIN
                               USA                             
   VIA UA  D     PERMITTED     Z- FARES  WITHIN USA            
   VIA UA  Y     REQUIRED      Z- FARES  WITHIN USA            
   VIA UA  A     REQUIRED      WHEN AVAILABLE  Z- FARES  BETWEEN
                               USA-CANADA                      
   VIA UA  D     PERMITTED     Z- FARES  BETWEEN USA-CANADA    
   VIA UA  Y     REQUIRED      Z- FARES  BETWEEN USA-CANADA    
                               SOUTH AMERICA                   
   VIA UA  Y     REQUIRED      Z- FARES  WITHIN SOUTH AMERICA  
   VIA UA  A     REQUIRED      Z- FARES

UA has been trying to clean things up domestically, as I think the fact that the original differential fares using the /UPDI suffix causes GDS problems because things after the / are traditionally private fare designators (like corporate discounts or account codes). It gets the '' tag in SABRE which indicates a private fare, which it is patently not.

The new domestic nomenclature uses a letter in the regular basis to indicate cabin class, and the header texts are updated to display the proper cabin. Hopefully they'll roll this out to the international routes too.
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Old Nov 4, 16, 4:52 pm
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I've learned my lesson and always call to make changes like this.
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Old Nov 4, 16, 5:28 pm
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Originally Posted by physioprof View Post
I've learned my lesson and always call to make changes like this.
I've learned mine now 😉 although part of my gripe was the CSR's assertation that an A fare was Business on a 3-cabin plane when UA's own site shows A as a discounted First fare.
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Old Nov 5, 16, 3:06 pm
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I assume you bought an UPDI fare. That's not an A fare. And it's not first class (only).

Only the fares with a fare basis codes starting with A or F are "true" first class fares. All UPDI fares on BOS-GRU are sold as hybrid first/business class service fares.

From the fare rules:

CLASS OF SERVICE
THESE FARES APPLY FOR FIRST/BUSINESS CLASS SERVICE.
(To be sure, the "true" A/F fares have that line too, but it's further specified that those are "FIRST CLASS UNRESTRICTED FARES" while the UPDI fares are "FARE BY RULE").

Domestic "First" fares have the same issue.
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Old Nov 5, 16, 3:19 pm
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Originally Posted by mozilla View Post
I assume you bought an UPDI fare. That's not an A fare. And it's not first class (only).

Only the fares with a fare basis codes starting with A or F are "true" first class fares. All UPDI fares on BOS-GRU are sold as hybrid first/business class service fares.

From the fare rules:



(To be sure, the "true" A/F fares have that line too, but it's further specified that those are "FIRST CLASS UNRESTRICTED FARES" while the UPDI fares are "FARE BY RULE").

Domestic "First" fares have the same issue.
I think you're spot on. I fell into the trap of just selecting the F/GF flights & fares and didn't bother checking the underlying fare basis. Also, issue was exacerbated by my muliple changes. Word to the wise... never assume that the "A" means first class 😉
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Old Nov 5, 16, 10:11 pm
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In my experience you need to be careful when changing a reservation with segments booked in A. Especially if you are changing the return before you have taken the outbound. More than once, changing a return ticket in A class prior to leaving, I have ended up with the outbound switching to a Y cabin fare. I have always caught the mistake before making the change, and what flagged me was united.com offering me a significant refund when on the rebooking. While A fares are usually a pretty good deal if you want to pay for first class, I am disheartened that united.com is so incompetent in it's rebooking abilities. Every time I have to change a flight I plan on a minimum of 30 minutes of Rhapsody in Blue. These long calls to do something which, in theory, should be relatively easy, must be costing UA a heck of a lot. Does anyone know if there are any efforts underway to truly make the change functionality better? This issue bothers me more than any other with regards to UA ;(
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Old Nov 6, 16, 9:21 am
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Yes, the UA change flights mechanism on the Web site is very broken. For example, most of the time when I try to change a PS flight P fare ticket to the same route different day or time, it refuses to show me any PS flights at all, and only shows non-PS connecting itineraries.
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