United Voucher for Fare Price Change?

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Old Jan 2, 17, 6:54 pm
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What it sounds like happened is UA opened (a) lower fare bucket(s) than were being sold when you purchased.

If your original ticket an unrestricted ticket, you can cancel/refund and repurchase or call an agent and see if they'll refare/reissue into the new fare (likely attached to a lower fare bucket but not certain) and refund the residual to the original FOP.

Originally Posted by JCrew7384 View Post
I get supply and demand, but doesn't that seem like a misrepresentation and false advertising of the price and number of seats and price of remaining seats?
I can see why that would seem to be the case but the leagalease in the contract of carriage (and fare rules) give wide latitude. Specifically contract of carriage rule 4(E) https://www.united.com/web/en-US/con...iage.aspx#sec4

E. UA may limit the number of Passengers carried at any fare level and certain fares will not necessarily be available on all flights. The number of seats which UA shall make available on a given flight will be determined by UA.
Fare rules have similar language. At the time you purchase the ticket for whatever reasons United decided that they were only making available 2 seats at full-fare available for purchase. Between then and now, something happened (maybe a group canceled...or someone in UA revenue management decided to swipe left rather than right, or an aircraft change, or... for all we know) that caused either the fare for the bucket you purchased to go down [not typically that wide a swing for full/unrestricted fares IME] or opened a lower bucket.
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Old Jan 2, 17, 7:20 pm
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Is UA able to retroactively search the history for the fare bucket offered for something that happened a week ago? I'm thinking you had to have called at the time to have been given a fare difference credit...
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Old Jan 2, 17, 7:52 pm
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It's worth a shot to write in; nothing to lose in doing so. Just keep it to the point and not nasty.

I don't find anything here that UA did that isn't allowed; fare buckets don't relate to the capacity of the plane. They only show what United wants to sell.

But it's possible that there might have only been two seats open when you bought your ticket. You don't mention routing, but if there were irregular ops in play elsewhere, there could have been a lot of missed connections. Or simply re-routed passengers. I've been on flights expected to be full and yet had a lot of empty seats when the plane left. I would expect, as more seats become available, the pricing on those seats would drop.
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Old Jan 2, 17, 8:06 pm
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There is no harm in sending a factual note to UA asking that it research its availability at the time you booked to be certain that it did not erroneously report availability and, if so, to refund to you the fare difference to the lowest fare bucket which should have been then available.

As to your immediate situation, the chances of UA doing anything are less than zero as this goes to the entire underpinning of supply and demand as it affects RM/IM. Without knowing the route, date and flight number, it is hard to make even an educated guess, but there are any number of reasons why this might have occurred. The $300 suggests an international routing.

As you point out, had you checked a bit earlier, you could have called in and had your ticket cancelled and purchased a new one (more likely the agent would simply have reissued at the lower fare, allowing you to use the fare difference as a credit and pay the $300 when used).
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Old Jan 2, 17, 8:07 pm
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Prices fluctuate. Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose.

I always set up a Google alert for my flights and check them at least once a day (the alerts do not, as the name implies, actually notify you of changes). If you're within 30 days of purchase, can refare for a $50 fee (or no fee if you're nice . Something to keep in mind for the future.

I don't think UA will give you your money back after departure but it's worth a shot.
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Old Jan 2, 17, 8:11 pm
  #21  
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Originally Posted by JCrew7384 View Post
I get supply and demand, but doesn't that seem like a misrepresentation and false advertising of the price and number of seats and price of remaining seats?
No, you were welcome to time your purchase at any time you like, just like they're welcome to adjust their fares/availability at any time they'd like.
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Old Jan 2, 17, 8:18 pm
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Airlines, hotels, car rental companies, etc. change prices dynamically based on a multitude of factors, many of which are opaque to us. Don't waste your time contacting United.
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Old Jan 2, 17, 11:23 pm
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Originally Posted by JCrew7384 View Post
...Does anyone else also think it is pretty crappy of the United site to list Y2, and 2 seats remaining for a given price, and then offer a significantly cheaper fare class days later?
Likely there was some change (such as misconnects, schedule changes or other) that opened up the seats and UA opened up the lower fare buckets in response -- probably too late for most to take advantage.

Originally Posted by JCrew7384 View Post
I get supply and demand, but doesn't that seem like a misrepresentation and false advertising of the price and number of seats and price of remaining seats?
Your assuming the original number was incorrect but the situation may have changed in the meantime.


Doubt post-flight you will get any fare refund but maybe some squeaky wheel customer service miles.
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Old Jan 3, 17, 8:13 am
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UPDATE: I wrote in, short and sweet, factual issue, with attached screenshots of the cheaper fare I saw after boarding, as well as a screenshot of my fare when purchased (which I only happened to have because I forwarded to a friend).

I got a big spiel about fares and rates and algorithms and complex processes, and that they wouldn't honor my request for $500 voucher, but would in good faith offer me $250 voucher.

Although not the full amount I requested, that is a win in my book.

I understand everyone's comments here, but it still seems unfair to claim 2 seats remaining at a given price, when United.com is supposed to offer the lowest price, and then magically discount that in half. My flight was from EGE to EWR on 12/30. Prime date and prime airport. Doubt that any connections or operations issues impacted that flight, nor do I think it was a big group that cancelled because they would not have been on that flight.
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Old Jan 3, 17, 10:23 am
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Originally Posted by JCrew7384 View Post
UPDATE: I wrote in, short and sweet, factual issue, with attached screenshots of the cheaper fare I saw after boarding, as well as a screenshot of my fare when purchased (which I only happened to have because I forwarded to a friend).

I got a big spiel about fares and rates and algorithms and complex processes, and that they wouldn't honor my request for $500 voucher, but would in good faith offer me $250 voucher.

Although not the full amount I requested, that is a win in my book.

I understand everyone's comments here, but it still seems unfair to claim 2 seats remaining at a given price, when United.com is supposed to offer the lowest price, and then magically discount that in half. My flight was from EGE to EWR on 12/30. Prime date and prime airport. Doubt that any connections or operations issues impacted that flight, nor do I think it was a big group that cancelled because they would not have been on that flight.
Glad you got something.

With regards to your bolded statement, as others have said, at the time you purchased your ticket, UA did give you the lowest price and there were two seats available. Subsequently, things changed, and thus so did the price. Within 24 hours of ticketing, I always check fares to see if they've gone down to take advantage of the new lower price. If on a flexible ticket, then I continue to monitor all the way to departure (set a google flight price tracking for your flight).

The only advice is next time, check sooner than as you're boarding so you can actually take advantage of the price movements (if any).
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Old Jan 3, 17, 11:38 am
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Originally Posted by JCrew7384 View Post
I understand everyone's comments here, but it still seems unfair to claim 2 seats remaining at a given price, when United.com is supposed to offer the lowest price, and then magically discount that in half.
Are you claiming that at the time of purchase there was a lower price available for sale, or there were not 2 seats available at the lowest price? Or UA claimed/implied the fare would never go down after your purchase?

Otherwise it just seems like bad timing, and sour grapes, on your part.
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Old Jan 3, 17, 12:18 pm
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Originally Posted by mduell View Post
Are you claiming that at the time of purchase there was a lower price available for sale, or there were not 2 seats available at the lowest price? Or UA claimed/implied the fare would never go down after your purchase?

Otherwise it just seems like bad timing, and sour grapes, on your part.
United.com said 2 seats remaining on plane in general, Y2, confirmed with Expert Mode. And that the price I saw said 2 seats remaining at that price. That would imply completely sold out.

Not sour grapes. That is false advertising to encourage a customer to purchase now at that price, when in fact it may not be true, as in my case...
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Old Jan 3, 17, 1:20 pm
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Originally Posted by JCrew7384 View Post
Not sour grapes. That is false advertising to encourage a customer to purchase now at that price, when in fact it may not be true, as in my case...
The distinction is that at the time you made the purchase it was true. As you said, even Expert mode showed Y=2 -- thus at the time the purchase was made there were only two seats available and the price offered was the lowest price available at that time

Inventory and pricing/revenue management is an instantaneous art -- there's no promise or obligation that the statement will be true for any length of time. For an extreme example, someone could have bought those two seats while you were looking at fares dropping Y=0 and making no seats available at any price. Or UA could have substituted a larger aircraft causing them to open up more inventory at a lower pricepoint to prevent inventory from spoiling, or..., or..., or...

The process is very dynamic and very opaque, for better or worse. The only alternative I personally see would be to have some sort of "price floor" legislation that would prohibit them from selling any seat at any price lower than has already been paid for that itinerary. And as someone who regularly shells out $2k+ for domestic unrestricted fares [gotta love indecisive clients] no one on any of my flights would like that or me
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Old Jan 3, 17, 1:30 pm
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Originally Posted by JCrew7384 View Post
UPDATE: I wrote in, short and sweet, factual issue, with attached screenshots of the cheaper fare I saw after boarding, as well as a screenshot of my fare when purchased (which I only happened to have because I forwarded to a friend).

I got a big spiel about fares and rates and algorithms and complex processes, and that they wouldn't honor my request for $500 voucher, but would in good faith offer me $250 voucher.

Although not the full amount I requested, that is a win in my book.

I understand everyone's comments here, but it still seems unfair to claim 2 seats remaining at a given price, when United.com is supposed to offer the lowest price, and then magically discount that in half. My flight was from EGE to EWR on 12/30. Prime date and prime airport. Doubt that any connections or operations issues impacted that flight, nor do I think it was a big group that cancelled because they would not have been on that flight.
I think you did OK, all things considered, with that $250 voucher.

But again, as others pointed out, you put too much faith in Y=2. Consider that's something the average person isn't even aware of. I'm certainly guilty at times of thinking I know the system well enough to take advantage of it, and often it works in my favor, but there are times when there's a "gotcha" and this is one of those times.

For what it's worth, if I have to fly somewhere and the fare is that far out of the ordinary, I'd consider using miles, even on a standard fare. 25,000 miles vs $1000? That's 4c/mile right? Plus, if you're a 1K, you can swap that for a 12,500 mile award at the last minute, when that becomes available, without penalty.
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Old Jan 3, 17, 1:35 pm
  #30  
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Originally Posted by JCrew7384 View Post
United.com said 2 seats remaining on plane in general, Y2, confirmed with Expert Mode. And that the price I saw said 2 seats remaining at that price. That would imply completely sold out.

Not sour grapes. That is false advertising to encourage a customer to purchase now at that price, when in fact it may not be true, as in my case...
I have seen F0 Y0 on some flights two-three days out and then day of travel Fx Yz where x and z are >0. PS flights regularily do this. And this is before misconnects. (Never give up on chance of upgrade )

Inventory is dynamic, people change plans, ... it happens. Without better evidence the statement "false advertising" just shows a misunderstanding of air travel booking. Never assume inventory only goes in one direction
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