Refund strategies for UA premium cabin mistake

Old Oct 3, 17, 2:18 am
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Refund strategies for UA premium cabin mistake

I have a friend who booked a premium cabin mistake fare. It is ticketed by United and operated by United.

He's had second thoughts about flying it. It would push him to a higher status with United, so there are definite benefits.

He will fly it if he can't get a full refund.

What are strategies (or things to say on the phone) to get this cancelled for a full refund?

None of the over-water segments are even remotely full in any cabin. One of the domestic US segments is F0 Y9, but there are hourly flights on that route.

The travel is this month, so a schedule change is very unlikely.
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Old Oct 3, 17, 6:49 am
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schedule change?

Cow, I do this often. The strategy (IMO) is obvious..............

Wait until UA makes a schedule change (every few weeks). UA does not apply the same ridiculous rule as AC (+/- 2 hours = "significant"). Don't wait for a message. Log on and look for the red ink. Then call the 1K desk and say the sched change makes the flight no longer convenient. (I don't go into any more detail, as this can be so subjective.)

In the past 6 weeks, I cancelled w/o penalty:

xxx-EWR-SFO-TPE
xxx-ORD-LAX-PVG

The last one was more difficult. Two calls, two schedule changes and one e-mail. But it is done.
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Old Oct 3, 17, 9:56 am
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Thanks.

Travel is coming up very soon though, and there has not yet been a schedule change, but I'll keep an eye out for one.
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Old Oct 3, 17, 3:54 pm
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*moved to the United Forum since this is not a milage-run related question*

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Old Oct 3, 17, 4:31 pm
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Originally Posted by rcs85551 View Post
*moved to the United Forum since this is not a milage-run related question*

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This is in relation to a mistake fare booked as a result of it showing up in the premium fare discussion forum.

The whole context of this thread is that the fare is so cheap that there's no way the airline really wants it to be flown, but that's not a discussion that front-line employees generally understand.

If you took out "United" from my post, the answers would probably be similar. If you took out "mistake fare", they would not.
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Old Oct 3, 17, 4:43 pm
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There are just a few scenarios for a free refund
-- schedule change/aircraft type change (unlikely once you get inside a month or two
-- weather /travel waiver
-- day of travel irrops

Outside of that, based on the ticket's most restrictive fare rule, there will likely be a change fee and UA "credit" toward a future flight.
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Old Oct 3, 17, 4:48 pm
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which mistake fare was it?
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Old Oct 3, 17, 5:22 pm
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UA may have made a decision to honor the fare. There are a lot of people who jump on mistake fares without thinking too much about it. UA knows that a substantial percentage of those people will simply no show, so it doesn't cancel them.

A game of "ticket chicken".

I'm presuming that the ticket is dirt cheap and that the change / cancel fee is $300+ so not worth doing anything other than hoping for a schedule change or if that doesn't work, a flight delay/cancellation.
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Old Oct 3, 17, 5:47 pm
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Originally Posted by WineCountryUA View Post
There are just a few scenarios for a free refund
-- schedule change/aircraft type change (unlikely once you get inside a month or two
-- weather /travel waiver
-- day of travel irrops

Outside of that, based on the ticket's most restrictive fare rule, there will likely be a change fee and UA "credit" toward a future flight.
Yeah, I'm aware of those, but I'm looking for something that wouldn't apply to a $5000 ticket, but would apply to a $500 ticket, under the reasoning that it would cost the airline more than the fare to carry the passenger.

Originally Posted by flyerbaby19 View Post
which mistake fare was it?
MUC-SFO

Originally Posted by Often1 View Post
UA may have made a decision to honor the fare. There are a lot of people who jump on mistake fares without thinking too much about it. UA knows that a substantial percentage of those people will simply no show, so it doesn't cancel them.

A game of "ticket chicken".

I'm presuming that the ticket is dirt cheap and that the change / cancel fee is $300+ so not worth doing anything other than hoping for a schedule change or if that doesn't work, a flight delay/cancellation.
I guess the delay/cancellation aspect could work. But my friend will fly it if he can't refund it, so it's not really a game of chicken. He will not be a no-show
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Old Oct 3, 17, 5:49 pm
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Originally Posted by canadiancow View Post
Yeah, I'm aware of those, but I'm looking for something that wouldn't apply to a $5000 ticket, but would apply to a $500 ticket, under the reasoning that it would cost the airline more than the fare to carry the passenger.
Your friend will not be able to reach anyone capable of thinking like that at UA, and it's more than $500 of that person's time to intervene in the case of a single pax. Expect to fly as booked, and there are worse things than being "stuck" in long-haul J
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Old Oct 3, 17, 6:41 pm
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Originally Posted by canadiancow View Post
Yeah, I'm aware of those, but I'm looking for something that wouldn't apply to a $5000 ticket, but would apply to a $500 ticket, under the reasoning that it would cost the airline more than the fare to carry the passenger...
If the flight is lightly book and the seat is not blocking additional revenue passengers, then the variable cost of one additional passenger is well below the $500 revenue -- and that fare will add to the bottom line. Now if it was $50 fare, there might be a case for the airline to work a deal, but no frontline employee will be so empowered.
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Old Oct 3, 17, 6:51 pm
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Originally Posted by WineCountryUA View Post
If the flight is lightly book and the seat is not blocking additional revenue passengers, then the variable cost of one additional passenger is well below the $500 revenue -- and that fare will add to the bottom line. Now if it was $50 fare, there might be a case for the airline to work a deal, but no frontline employee will be so empowered.
There is an SFO-ORD (or vice versa, can't recall) flight on the PNR that is currently F0. Every other flight (and the Y cabin on that flight) is wide open.
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Old Oct 3, 17, 8:54 pm
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Originally Posted by canadiancow View Post
There is an SFO-ORD (or vice versa, can't recall) flight on the PNR that is currently F0. Every other flight (and the Y cabin on that flight) is wide open.
Last F seat on SFO/ORD is sometimes sold for significantly less than $500, so as WineCountryUA succinctly points out UA doesn't have incentive to blink.

My counsel would be not to look a gift horse in the mouth, and certainly not to return it. Enjoy the ride.
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Old Oct 9, 17, 9:37 pm
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OP, any luck cancelling this ticket?
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Old Oct 10, 17, 1:30 am
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As far as I know, there has only been one attempt to cancel it, and the agent on the phone did not understand.

Per my instructions, my friend hung up, so as to avoid any notes being added.

He actually brought it up again tonight, so I expect he will try again. Or book a positioning flight.

I will definitely report back.
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