Beware UA award bookings on Swiss Air!

Old Sep 6, 17, 9:37 pm
  #1  
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Caution for UA award bookings on Swiss Air!

Booked award tickets in May four business-class seats for my family through United on LX from JFK-ZRH for a winter ski trip. Bored tonight and decided to check our seat assignments only to see a message on the Swiss website that our reservation had been deleted! Called United and supervisor response was "Swiss had a system glitch and deleted your reservation. Inventory on Swiss is now not available." The only option that United gave me was re-booking us on an inferior itinerary in Polaris. The last experience I had in Polaris to Japan over the summer was not very good. Is this practice of canceling reservations without any notice or reason typical with Swiss or with United partners? I am amazed at this incredibly bad experience with a United partner award reservation.....

Last edited by essexnyc; Sep 8, 17 at 4:15 pm Reason: eliminate alarmism
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Old Sep 6, 17, 9:47 pm
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Question -- were you sure you had a valid reservation from day one? Did you have a ticket number and assigned seats?
UA has had issues not getting the final validation from the partner airline.
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Old Sep 6, 17, 9:56 pm
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Yes, I had a ticket itinerary and receipt issued by United, a UA confirmation code, an LX confirmation code, and assigned seats that I had made over the phone with LX in May and viewed online on the LX website several times since. The flight still exists (I tried a dummy booking, and there is paid J availability on the same flight number at the same date and time). Swiss Air just made the unilateral decision to delete our reservation without any notice.
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Old Sep 6, 17, 10:29 pm
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Originally Posted by essexnyc View Post
.... Swiss Air just made the unilateral decision to delete our reservation without any notice.
There is more to this story -- either on the LX side or the UA side. Call UA and escalate to a supervisor or the supervisor's supervisor. UA is hoping you will just accept their resolution and go away.
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Old Sep 6, 17, 10:34 pm
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Originally Posted by essexnyc View Post
Yes, I had a ticket itinerary and receipt issued by United, a UA confirmation code, an LX confirmation code, and assigned seats that I had made over the phone with LX in May and viewed online on the LX website several times since. The flight still exists (I tried a dummy booking, and there is paid J availability on the same flight number at the same date and time). Swiss Air just made the unilateral decision to delete our reservation without any notice.
Confirmation code is meaningless. Did you have a ticket number?
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Old Sep 6, 17, 10:38 pm
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Originally Posted by essexnyc View Post
..Swiss Air just made the unilateral decision to delete our reservation without any notice.
It's no longer Swiss Air ... and how do you know that? It's just a story a UA sup told you. Maybe he wanted to get you off the phone, maybe he tried to shift the blame ... I doubt there was anything to his excuse.

Having said that ... LX has a horrific IT, so it isn't out of reach entirely...

As Swiss is the operating carrier and you had a valid reservation, maybe you should go the legal route on this on this one: ask them for mandatory re-accommodation. If they cannot prove you have canceled the ticket, they owe you transport.
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Old Sep 6, 17, 10:55 pm
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Originally Posted by weero View Post
It's no longer Swiss Air ... and how do you know that? It's just a story a UA sup told you. Maybe he wanted to get you off the phone, maybe he tried to shift the blame ... I doubt there was anything to his excuse.

Having said that ... LX has a horrific IT, so it isn't out of reach entirely...

As Swiss is the operating carrier and you had a valid reservation, maybe you should go the legal route on this on this one: ask them for mandatory re-accommodation. If they cannot prove you have canceled the ticket, they owe you transport.
I've learned from OS that these carriers will bend over backwards to re-accommodate you if the issue is due to their airline. The issue lies however in the ticket reissue process. They won't take control of the ticket unless it's within 2 days of departure. Outside of those 48 hours, you have to get UA to reissue the ticket and UA won't do it unless LX/OS/LH has rebooked you into the I fare bucket (award business class).

I had an OS supervisor who was happy to rebook us into full C on NH due to their cancelled flight but UA wouldn't reissue the ticket that way... naturally I was disappointed because it's a massive bonus for C on NH to Mileage Plus.

For the OP, I'd certainly push back on LX and see if they'll open up I inventory for you on the flight. UA can also do this, but the Sup you get on the phone may or may not be willing to call. If that fails and you're stuck with Polaris, then go for the SFO flight, you get the new 773 with the new seats... it's a big difference.

Having said all of that, your departure is REALLY far away still. Both LX and LH are pretty good at opening up last minute I inventory, sometimes within 2 weeks, but often within a couple days of departure. You can always change it later if something more appealing opens up. You're not required to rebook anything with UA right now, just leave it pending until you see something you like. OZ also has pretty good business class availability on their JFK and LAX flights (both A380).
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Old Sep 7, 17, 12:23 am
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Originally Posted by dvs7310 View Post
If that fails and you're stuck with Polaris, then go for the SFO flight, you get the new 773 with the new seats... it's a big difference.

Having said all of that, your departure is REALLY far away still. Both LX and LH are pretty good at opening up last minute I inventory, sometimes within 2 weeks, but often within a couple days of departure. You can always change it later if something more appealing opens up. You're not required to rebook anything with UA right now, just leave it pending until you see something you like. OZ also has pretty good business class availability on their JFK and LAX flights (both A380).
Am I missing something? The OP is trying to fly from NYC to Switzerland? Why would they back track all the way to SFO to take the 77W TATL and what does Asiana have to do with getting them to Zurich?
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Old Sep 7, 17, 1:04 am
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Originally Posted by JVPhoto View Post
Am I missing something? The OP is trying to fly from NYC to Switzerland? Why would they back track all the way to SFO to take the 77W TATL and what does Asiana have to do with getting them to Zurich?
Same here

He maybe thought they're headed to Japan.
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Old Sep 7, 17, 1:08 am
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Originally Posted by JVPhoto View Post
Am I missing something? The OP is trying to fly from NYC to Switzerland? Why would they back track all the way to SFO to take the 77W TATL and what does Asiana have to do with getting them to Zurich?
I'll add also that LX is extremely unlikely to be accommodating. They're just going to point the finger at UA and insist they could not have made an error. "It is not possible."
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Old Sep 7, 17, 5:10 am
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Originally Posted by flyerbaby19 View Post
Confirmation code is meaningless. Did you have a ticket number?
Actually, the DOT has something to say on that. It looks for evidence of a confirmation (conf code is certainly that) and a purchase transaction (as with taxes/fees charged to a credit card).

https://cms.dot.gov/sites/dot.gov/fi...t_05082015.pdf
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Old Sep 7, 17, 5:11 am
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Originally Posted by WineCountryUA View Post
Question -- were you sure you had a valid reservation from day one? Did you have a ticket number and assigned seats?
UA has had issues not getting the final validation from the partner airline.
Originally Posted by essexnyc View Post
Yes, I had a ticket itinerary and receipt issued by United, a UA confirmation code, an LX confirmation code, and assigned seats that I had made over the phone with LX in May and viewed online on the LX website several times since....
The question is: do you have a UA ticket number begin with 016? If not, you were not ticketed.
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Old Sep 7, 17, 5:30 am
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Originally Posted by TerryK View Post
If not, you were not ticketed.
And I guess this is what happened - no ticket. I cannot even imagine LX cancelling ticketed reservation...
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Old Sep 7, 17, 6:22 am
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Originally Posted by dvs7310 View Post
I've learned from OS that these carriers will bend over backwards to re-accommodate you if the issue is due to their airline...
Because they have to.

And they also have to transport you if you have"a valid itinerary", as the regulation calls it.

So if the OP is correct (which I don't really think but entertain for the sake of the argument) and LX' IT canceled the OP's ticket, then LX owes him re-accommodation.
I'd give it a shot. Should LX accidentally admit that the ticket was cancelled unilaterally, the OP should be covered.

And even if not, he'll learn that UA just makes s##t up whenever required.
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Old Sep 7, 17, 9:21 am
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I had the same thing happen years ago on PMCO JFK-CDG on Air France. Got the run around from both AF and CO. Sent a private message to Scott, the CO Insider, and was rebooked on AF within hours with an apology from Scott regarding the fact that AF and CO systems sometimes didn't play nice together. Does the UA Insider ever get involved on behalf of customers in the way Scott occasionally did?
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