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Help! Brother is stuck in PEK on a UA F Award Ticket

Help! Brother is stuck in PEK on a UA F Award Ticket

Old Dec 30, 16, 8:01 am
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Help! Brother is stuck in PEK on a UA F Award Ticket

I finished this year with Top Tier status with both DL & AA but have never flown on UA.

My brother has a UA award ticket PDX-ORD-PEK-BKK and just flew UA Polaris First ORD-PEK and had a 3.5hr layover to catch an Air China PEK-BKK flight.

The ORD-PEK FLIGHT arrived on time but Air China said UA never reserved the seats on the PEK-BKK leg that has now departed and he has spent hours on the phone with UA and in person with Air China's people and he tells me nobody is taking accountability or trying to help him get to BKK.

Sorry I don't have many other details as I just arrived myself in BKK on a different airline.

It it sounds like he isn't getting anywhere until tomorrow, which completely throws off our next flight on a different airline to Chiangmai.

Not the best way to start our two-week vacation.

Csn anyone offer any any guidance here? Will he be owed any compensation/mileage refund/etc?
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Old Dec 30, 16, 8:04 am
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Booked with UA? If so, they will be the ones to battle this out with.

Unless willing to buy another flight (which won't be reimbursed), I'd recommend he be at the UA counters early to get on the next flight.
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Old Dec 30, 16, 8:05 am
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Originally Posted by popoemt View Post
Booked with UA? If so, they will be the ones to battle this out with.
Yes, it is a UA Award ticket booked with UA miles. And he has no status.

Does UA have a dedicated First phone number?

Who is going to pay for his hotel?
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Old Dec 30, 16, 8:08 am
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I do feel like there will be a lot of questions, i.e. how was he not checked in for the Air China flight before leaving ORD? Air China may have some sort of policy on checking in within a set time (I'm just speculating). In any event, he needs to be at UA counters ASAP to get it sorted out (maybe see if he can get an Air China rep on a conference call for them to talk directly to the UA counter supervisor)?
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Old Dec 30, 16, 8:10 am
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CA is a notorious problem with award tickets and I watch these like a hawk because there are too many stories like this. I assume he checked on o.k. and just didn't get a BP with luggage checked through to BKK?
My guess is that this is CA's fault and technically CA is responsible to get him to BKK assuming he has a UA ticket which shows this segment as ticketed. That being said on such issues UA and CA must talk to sort these things out and if he can find someone from UA willing to take this on it will certainly be easier.
On the problem of 'separate ticket to elsewhere'; that is not covered by anything. Honestly, I would try and get a ticket from PEK to the final destination asap and sort out the mess later.

pull up the ticket on Saudia and check the PEK-BKK coupon status ... that should be telling
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Old Dec 30, 16, 8:24 am
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This post/problem asks a bunch of questions but I think the key points in resolving things are:

Were these your brothers miles or a gift from someone else. Given you brother has no status this is a lot of award miles to have accumulated. If the miles are a gift does that person have status? The goal is to find someone with both familiarity with United and that has some status. There is no doubt this has to be resolved with the support of UA so status always helps.

I agree your brother should park himself at the UA desk and not take no for an answer. I'm afraid that getting UA to pay for a hotel is a long shot. Hotels in Beijing are reasonable as far as cost is concerned.

I'm not sure how he got through the immigration process for a transfer without a boarding pass for BKK, I've transited PEK several times and the boarding pass for the next leg is required. I have no idea why your brother wasn't given this when he checked-in.

Again, UA needs to sort this one out, find someone who can act as your champion, there was clearly a mistake made somewhere.
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Old Dec 30, 16, 8:34 am
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He was forced to wait at the transfer desk for 5.5hrs. AC kept telling him someone from UA would come help him but nobody came.

He just texted me that they put him on an AC PEK-SIN flight tonight but that they weren't able to give him physical tickets for the connecting Thai Airways SIN-BKK flight tomorrow morning and that he would have to get them at SIN.

The miles are his. I finally convinced him to get a "Miles" CC for the $400,000+/yr he spends through his dental practice. He was just writing checks for bills/etc earning nothing. He decided on the $450/yr UA card as it provides 1.5mi/dollar spent on every purchase.
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Old Dec 30, 16, 8:44 am
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As noted already, this is not unheard of with award tix on CA and it is likely their fault. Though UA likely should have known there was a problem when he checked in at ORD. I'm glad to hear CA got him on a flight finally and hope you guys have a great vacation. If he writes to UA with a concise explanation, they will likely offer some miles as a customer service gesture.

btw, if returning on an award, it would be a good idea to check with each partner carrier and confirm he is ticketed. That's something many of us do as a matter of course with partner award tix.
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Old Dec 30, 16, 8:45 am
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Update is that I told him to get the TG booking code from AC and they gave it him and I checked online that he IS confirmed in J but arriving 10hrs later than scheduled and will probably have no sleep as there is only a 2hr layover @ SIN. 😐
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Old Dec 30, 16, 8:50 am
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Originally Posted by 355F1 View Post
Update is that I told him to get the TG booking code from AC and they gave it him and I checked online that he IS confirmed in J but arriving 10hrs later than scheduled and will probably have no sleep as there is only a 2hr layover @ SIN. 😐
AC is Air Canada. Air China is CA.
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Old Dec 30, 16, 8:58 am
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So, unfortunate lesson for everybody is that anytime you are traveling on another carrier's metal, check with that carrier to be certain that you are properly ticketed and confirmed.

To the extent that this is adviseable in general, it is a 100% necessity on award tickets and a 120% necessity when CA (OP - note that AC is Air Canada) is involved. This can generally be done online, but it may take frustrating phone calls to carriers which do not staff 24-hour customer service lines or provide toll-free service (Skype is your friend).

Ultimately, as the ticketing carrier, UA would have fixed this. But, on the ground, you can bet that CA agents see many of these and when you are firm and won't budge, they know that they are inevitably stuck with you, so stand up to them and sooner or later, accept some face-saving story about how the "computer just found a seat" and walk away.

Then wash, rinse, repeat. It also pays to have a friend or colleague back home who has access to all of your information and whom you trust. Setting up a three-way call is not quite so easy from a crowded airport.
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Old Dec 30, 16, 12:23 pm
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Originally Posted by 355F1 View Post
He was forced to wait at the transfer desk for 5.5hrs. AC kept telling him someone from UA would come help him but nobody came.

He just texted me that they put him on an AC PEK-SIN flight tonight but that they weren't able to give him physical tickets for the connecting Thai Airways SIN-BKK flight tomorrow morning and that he would have to get them at SIN.

The miles are his. I finally convinced him to get a "Miles" CC for the $400,000+/yr he spends through his dental practice. He was just writing checks for bills/etc earning nothing. He decided on the $450/yr UA card as it provides 1.5mi/dollar spent on every purchase.
355F1 - I'm glad this has been resolved. It could have been a lot worse!

It does seem we hear more of these UA award tix disasters, USA-SE Asia, involving Air China (CA) and connections through PEK. In addition to the advice mentioned above re award tix, perhaps one could also add:
  • Try to avoid booking CA TPAC. UA is a consideration here, with Polaris. In my experience, TG often has good premium availability intra-Asia.
  • Avoid transfers in PEK. NRT, HND, HKG, TPE may be better choices.

Last edited by restlessinRNO; Dec 30, 16 at 12:33 pm
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Old Dec 30, 16, 12:29 pm
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Originally Posted by 355F1 View Post
Update is that I told him to get the TG booking code from AC and they gave it him and I checked online that he IS confirmed in J but arriving 10hrs later than scheduled and will probably have no sleep as there is only a 2hr layover @ SIN. ��
Need to make sure the ticket number (and probably a CA's ticket number (999), not UA's 016) is in TG's system. Otherwise, the same problem will happen again.

In the mean time, make sure the return trip is OK.
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Old Dec 30, 16, 12:30 pm
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Originally Posted by restlessinRNO View Post

It does seem we hear more of these UA award tix disasters, USA-SE Asia, involving Air China (CA) and connections through PEK.
Not just UA, I've seen similar threads on the AC board involving issues with award bookings on CA.
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Old Dec 30, 16, 12:31 pm
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Originally Posted by restlessinRNO View Post
355F1
  • Try to avoid booking CA TPAC. UA is a consideration here, with Polaris.
  • Avoid transfers in PEK. NRT, HND, HKG, TPE may be better choices.
This x 1,000,000.
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