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United.com no longer allows bookings within 30 minutes of departure

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Old Nov 14, 17, 10:58 am
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United.com no longer allows bookings within 30 minutes of departure

Any idea when and why they started doing this?
I know its past the check-in cutoff so maybe you should have to acknowledge that, but when flights are delayed there's no reason (aka you're now within the checkin cutoff) why you shouldn't be able to book this.
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Old Nov 14, 17, 11:11 am
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Book the later flight - SDC to the earlier one
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Old Nov 14, 17, 11:24 am
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Originally Posted by dparkinson View Post
Any idea when and why they started doing this?
I know its past the check-in cutoff so maybe you should have to acknowledge that, but when flights are delayed there's no reason (aka you're now within the checkin cutoff) why you shouldn't be able to book this.
Are trying to change an existing reservation or book a brand new reservation. You have not been able to book (yourself) a new reservation within 30 minutes of departure but the GA can add you to a flight up to "closing" the flight..
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Old Nov 14, 17, 11:26 am
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Originally Posted by HNLbasedFlyer View Post
Book the later flight - SDC to the earlier one

I noticed this yesterday also. Problem with booking the later flight was they were asking $200 more for it. The price for an open seat on the flight I was on had dropped to $173 (since they had open seats to sell) vs $373 for the one in a few hours with about the same availability.
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Old Nov 14, 17, 11:57 am
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Sorry, I absolutely see no issue with not allowing one to book a flight wihtin 30 minutes of departure time. In fact, I'm surprised one could.

I do know I've seen canceled flights show as bookable - I've seen that when my flight, say a few hours away, was canceled, yet it still shows as bookable when I search to see what alternatives are available myself.
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Old Nov 14, 17, 12:08 pm
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Originally Posted by emcampbe View Post
Sorry, I absolutely see no issue with not allowing one to book a flight wihtin 30 minutes of departure time. In fact, I'm surprised one could.
Why shouldn't you be able to do so if you're willing to pay what they're asking?

I realize it may be disappointing to standby passengers, but if I show up at a gate 20 minutes prior to departure with no checked baggage and a willingness to pay whatever fare I'm seeing in the app, why is it not in the airline's interest to sell it?

Could be profitable, in fact. My <other airline> flight just canceled. I want to get home from this business trip. United has a seat for $500, middle seat in the last row, board right now. Fine, I'll take it!

(I'm obviously thinking domestic flights here.)

Granted, over the years I've more often been the standby - *not* the guy willing to pay whatever - so it's in my own personal interest that the guy not buy the seat. But I don't see why United wouldn't sell it or would make the guy go through a convoluted hoop that most people wouldn't consider - buying a ticket later and immediately SDC'ing it.
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Old Nov 14, 17, 12:15 pm
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In the old .bomb days I think the cutoff was one hour... maybe even 2.
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Old Nov 14, 17, 12:16 pm
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Originally Posted by pinniped View Post
Originally Posted by emcampbe View Post
Sorry, I absolutely see no issue with not allowing one to book a flight wihtin 30 minutes of departure time. In fact, I'm surprised one could.
Why shouldn't you be able to do so if you're willing to pay what they're asking?
Part of the issue is "where" you can do this. If within T-30, you need to be present, at the gate, not someplace outside of the airport. For pretty much the same reasons you need to check-in by T-30. If the process is done online or using a phone, you could be "anywhere." I see no problems limiting this to the gate and honestly, GA are a bit busy at T-30 to handle a new ticket -- so limiting it to changing an existing ticket is very reasonable in my mind.
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Last edited by WineCountryUA; Nov 14, 17 at 12:22 pm Reason: more
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Old Nov 14, 17, 12:19 pm
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Originally Posted by WineCountryUA View Post
Part of the issue is "where" you can do this. If within T-30, you need to be present, at the gate, not someplace outside of the airport. For pretty much the same reasons you need to check-in by T-30. If the process is done online or using a phone, you could be "anywhere." I see no problems limiting this to the gate and honestly, GA are a bit busy at T-30.
Well, yeah, I wouldn't buy this if I wasn't literally standing in the general vicinity of the gate or a 2-minute walk from it.

I just don't get why I shouldn't be able to do that. Again, the only person who benefits by *not* allowing me to buy it is one additional standby passenger. Or...nobody.
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Old Nov 14, 17, 1:39 pm
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Gate Takes over Control

They have to set some limit to allow the gate to have 'final' control over the flight. Otherwise there's too many moving parts and unknowns to deal with.

I remembering once I had GS snag me the last minute F seat on a flight after a rolling delay. Must have been just before cutoff. When I scanned my BP, the gate agent gave me a dirty look and asked 'how did you get that seat." I told him it was GS on the phone and he replied that my action really caused headaches for him trying to accommodate a bunch of travelers on the flights. I assume moving folks around, upgrading, and freeing up seats to clear standbys.
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Old Nov 14, 17, 2:42 pm
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Originally Posted by pinniped View Post
Well, yeah, I wouldn't buy this if I wasn't literally standing in the general vicinity of the gate or a 2-minute walk from it.

I just don't get why I shouldn't be able to do that. Again, the only person who benefits by *not* allowing me to buy it is one additional standby passenger. Or...nobody.
Having worked as a UA Gate agent for 5 years while I was doing my undergrad, there are many more steps involved in getting a flight out on time.

At T-30, we're already finishing up the boarding process, working the standby list, making sure that there's not a backup of people in the jetway and that there's still some carry on space on board (if not, they we need to start soliciting to gate check carryons) etc.

All this needs to be done, plane doors closed, and jetway pulled back...hopefully by 5 minutes prior to departure.

Having to process a ticket purchase at the gate, at T-30, would be a big burden unless the flight is practically empty...and everyone is boarded and no stanbys etc....besides...you'll need to have gone through security to get to the gate since the flight will be gate control only at this point.

We would get penalized more for a late departure than for delaying a flight to sell an additional ticket within 30 minutes prior to departure.

Of course, a lot of exceptions would be made during IRROPS etc. But for these, it's usually a simple cancel and rebook.
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Old Nov 14, 17, 2:49 pm
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Originally Posted by SFnFlaGuy View Post
Having to process a ticket purchase at the gate, at T-30
If you have to manually intervene in any way, then yes...I understand that.

I also realize it's basically a moot point (since every flight I'm on is essentially sold out anyway), probably a tiny amount of actual demand, and more of a thought experiment than anything else...
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Old Nov 14, 17, 6:21 pm
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The other part is that while you might be able to make an on-line reservation request quickly, who knows how long it would take for UA's back-end systems to get around to actually ticketing the reservation. You could easily watch the flight depart while waiting for that to happen.
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Old Nov 14, 17, 8:55 pm
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Thereís talk of thread of people buying the later fare, and SDCing to the earlier fare, but Iíve heard the issue was actually the opposite. People were buying the earlier fare, which they had no hopes of making, and then expecting to be rebooked on the later one, which was much more expensive. And then freaking out in the airport when they werenít able to do so. Iíd imagine the amount of revenue lost is minimal, and if it makes the airport agents lives easier, Iím all for it.
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Old Nov 14, 17, 9:17 pm
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Just curious...what are the reasons to book online within 30 minutes of a scheduled departure? Note my use of the word scheduled, not "delayed".

Within 30 minutes you can just book at the airport...the ol' "walk up fare".

-RM
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