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Denied Seat on Award Flight (Partner Airline did not confirm booking)

Denied Seat on Award Flight (Partner Airline did not confirm booking)

Old May 9, 2018, 6:26 pm
  #46  
 
Join Date: Sep 2008
Posts: 7,877
Originally Posted by mduell
No, outside of a few special relationships, 24-72h to confirm is the standard for interline ticketing.
Hmm, I don't recall that for anybody other than United. Booking on BA, JL, CX, seems almost instantaneous.
s0ssos is offline  
Old May 9, 2018, 6:44 pm
  #47  
 
Join Date: Jan 2017
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Originally Posted by s0ssos
Hmm, I don't recall that for anybody other than United. Booking on BA, JL, CX, seems almost instantaneous.
It depends on the host systems and carrier participation in the GDS but this is absolutely not a problem isolated to United. Type B messages can have up to 24 hour gap for confirmation. If the two carriers are in the same host system like ALTEA and the partitions have equal participation levels then theres a greater likelihood for instantaneous confirmation.
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Old May 9, 2018, 6:49 pm
  #48  
 
Join Date: Mar 2017
Location: Miami
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Posts: 53
Given that we are talking about United, I am not at all surprised. I learned the hard way not to trust United when it comes to issuing tickets with its partners. A couple of months ago I found a good fare for my mother on google flights for a multiple airline ticket, United, Lufthansa and Austrian. This was a cash ticket. I had a choice to use the united.com site, lufthansa site, or an OTA for comparable prices. I made the mistake to choose united.com. After I booked the ticket, I get an email that they are waiting for the austrian flight to be confirmed, and that it usually takes up to 24 hours to get a confirmation from partners. Next day I get an email to call united. They claimed that Austrian did not confirm and offered to help me book the flight over the phone for a significantly higher fare. The United agent was so incompetent, and when I told her that I should have used an OTA to get an almost instant confirmation, she said "probably". Making you wait 24 hours for a confirmation is ridiculous, since a good fare does not usually last that long.
I also had an issue a couple of years ago with a confirmed award ticket. The ticket was confirmed 6 months in advance, then 3 weeks before the flight, Austrian cancels the flight. I had to call United six times from overseas till I found an agent who was able to rebook the flight without asking for additional miles.
While none of the big 3 are great, United is the worst! I will avoid United as much as I can!
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Old May 9, 2018, 7:42 pm
  #49  
 
Join Date: May 2001
Location: Toms River NJ USA
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It's not only Lot-I am still having a problem with the 8/28 dps/ewr award ticketed incorrectly last week (partner is Eva air)-Without rehashing my long story the supervisor noted the record and told me to keep checking, call if I see availability and there would be no charge to change.Website has shown availability since yesterday-I called yesterday-can't ticket it. It is still showing availability now-I called again, still cannot ticket it-I have called 4 times since yesterday,keep being told to call if I find availability?-But that is what I am doing-Well,"sorry,Eva is not confirming".I have never encountered this before-why show availability for 2 days now if it can't be ticketed(Havn't heard back from customer care yet)
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Old May 9, 2018, 7:52 pm
  #50  
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
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Once happened to me on a paid business ticket...got to FCO and LH could not check me in for flight to FRA to connect to UA. UA eventually had to book me via IAD from FCO costing me over eight extra hours (and I lost my GPU to First LOL). Lesson learned to confirm the PNR UA gives directly with the partner airline via phone. I had gone online and even picked a seat but UA never "paid" for the seat per UA.
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Old May 10, 2018, 6:57 am
  #51  
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
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I would agree with others that there seems to be an issue with LO. Earlier I booked an UA award with LO flights, yes got that 24 hrs message and then got an email next day stating that system couldn't confirm a seat with LO while UA's website still was showing award seats available on the flight that I attempted to book. So most likely there's a significant delay and maybe even more than 24 hours.
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Old May 10, 2018, 8:06 am
  #52  
 
Join Date: Nov 2012
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Unfortunately, there's not a lot (no pun intended) you can do. United has little sway over their partner airlines. I have actually had a similar situation on a paid business class ticket (not an award ticket) with Lufthansa where i could not get a seat on a connecting flight within the EU after flying to Germany business class on United. Lufthansa would not clear me on that flight and I was forced to take another flight.
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Old May 10, 2018, 8:53 am
  #53  
 
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I have on 3 separate occasions been the victim of United partner inventory mess ups. Twice using business class awards, once on paid C. In all cases, my tickets were issued, more than 24 hours elapsed, ticket numbers given, and then the partner inventory went away without any notification. I have had the OP's problem (inventory showing up, issuing but failing to ticket) more times than I can count. I literally have had to call UA about this for about 1/3 of my partner awards.

United during SMI/J forced me to rebuy my (paid C) ticket because agents claimed there was nothing they could do. I ended up escalating to the C-Suite and it was resolved. For my award itins, under new management, 1K desk folks seem empowered to "fix" issues with award availability.

Now for those trying to explain that "non-instantaneous confirmations are perfectly normal", it would seem that you need to get re-educated on how award ticketing in Star Alliance normally occurs.

Since September of 2002, Star airlines have participated in a system called Starnet, whose original purpose included the centralized storage and ticketing of award inventory. UA (pmUA), LH, LX, OS, AC, etc. all used Starnet inventory to determine availability roughly since that time. I remember distinctly the change in UA systems that happened during the introduction of Starnet. Awards went from being mostly phone-only, to available online and instantly ticket able electronically. During the SHARES transition, something in the back end was changed (I think to allow UA to display/retrieve asymmetric inventory from partners) and the wide range of ticketing issues started happening.

If you book awards on other carriers' stock, this is a non-issue. If you book revenue tickets on other carriers' stock, it's also basically not an issue. Just ask any AA or DL flyer you know if they encounter TICKETED flights falling off of reservations for no reason and without recourse. If you had booked with pre-SHARES UA, it would also not have been an issue.

The issue is UA's reservation system. No one else. It's not the partners pumping phantom inventory, it's how UA reads and then displays what it gets from Starnet.

I also know this because in the case of my specific C ticket (LX BOM-ZRH-LAX), United told me that the reason the ZRH-LAX flight was no longer in my itinerary was that "LX cancelled that flight". Of course, it took me exactly 2 seconds to find out that LX had not, in fact, cancelled the flight (it was renumbered). UA agents swore up and down that they could no longer find the flight for revenue inventory in any class of service. And yet, miraculously, the flight was available on every other GDS, correctly. UA also didn't notify when this happened, so it was extra frustrating and weird.

Summary, OP - this is SOP at United. The company continues to be a disaster, and while the service recovery on the awards issue seems to have improved (from my viewpoint), there is no guarantee with United that anything won't happen to your itinerary, pre-or-post issuance. Book any partner awards or revenue tickets through them at your own peril.

-G

Last edited by WineCountryUA; May 10, 2018 at 3:01 pm Reason: discuss the issue;not the poster(s)
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Old May 10, 2018, 8:55 am
  #54  
 
Join Date: Aug 2012
Location: Seattle, WA & Bali
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Welcome to the world of award travel. There is no free lunch. It often takes some time and effort to get what you want. But it sounds like, from other responses of people who fly your route, that there are many possibilities. If you spend some time on your computer, you should be able to get something as good or nearly as good, as your original itinerary for the same, or possibly even less miles. Maybe even the same itinerary will open up. Even the direct United flight for 155,000 miles might open for a saver award for 60,000 miles. But it will take the time and effort, and an understanding of the rules, and for United, the difference between saver awards, and standard awards. For example, if going on a wait list for business, look at the seat map and see if it is almost sold out, or if there are many seats available. Find a flight where there are lots of business class seats still available. Make sure you understand United's website, so you can do a good search. Some routes open up immediately for award seats. Others only in the last week or two. But odds are, if you spend some time and effort, you will find something that you feel good about. But I don't think United has any blame in this situation.
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Old May 10, 2018, 9:16 am
  #55  
 
Join Date: Aug 2012
Location: Seattle, WA & Bali
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People love to bash United, and maybe for good cause. But frankly, I am a United million miler. I have flown hundreds of flights, many upgraded with miles, some purchased with miles, both United, and other Star Alliance airlines booked through United. I have never had a major problem, and whenever I had minor problems, I felt like I was over compensated. I will say that sometimes the planes were outdated and slow to be upgraded. But I was always so happy to be flying business and paying coach that I did not care. And I always had good service from the flight crew. I literally used to sometimes get hugs from the flight crew when I boarded the route I took the most.
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Old May 10, 2018, 10:39 am
  #56  
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Originally Posted by IAH-OIL-TRASH
Logic 101 fail

A problem with some (reported) itineraries does not definitively mean that all itineraries suffer the same problem.
Logic 001 fail -- poster did not claim or imply that all itineraries have this problem.
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Old May 10, 2018, 11:23 am
  #57  
 
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Originally Posted by SFOdelayed
It depends on the host systems and carrier participation in the GDS but this is absolutely not a problem isolated to United. Type B messages can have up to 24 hour gap for confirmation. If the two carriers are in the same host system like ALTEA and the partitions have equal participation levels then there’s a greater likelihood for instantaneous confirmation.
The problem is much worse at United than at most other carriers, most likely because of poor integration with SHARES. Interline segments sold in Sabre, for example, confirm almost instantly in all but a few extraordinarily remote situations, regardless of what host system the airline is using.
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Old May 10, 2018, 12:20 pm
  #58  
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Originally Posted by gabrielz
If you book awards on other carriers' stock, this is a non-issue. If you book revenue tickets on other carriers' stock, it's also basically not an issue. Just ask any AA or DL flyer you know if they encounter TICKETED flights falling off of reservations for no reason and without recourse. If you had booked with pre-SHARES UA, it would also not have been an issue.
You're conflating different issues here. SHARES has many failings, but in OPs case we're not talking about ticketed reservations.
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Old May 10, 2018, 3:50 pm
  #59  
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Originally Posted by mduell
No, outside of a few special relationships, 24-72h to confirm is the standard for interline ticketing.
i believe this is the case but i have never had any booked award come back rejected except one recently on ua.. op made me realize this was not some one off glitch..
it still seems fairly infrequent though.. i also got one lot award booked not long ago which seems to be ok..
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Old May 10, 2018, 8:53 pm
  #60  
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Join Date: May 2018
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Thanks for everyone's input.

So long story short, I got a call from a very nice United rep that seemed to be based in the US and was much more helpful than prior reps that I spoke with. Since the flight is nearly 5 months away, she suggested booking the direct United flight in economy for the lower point value, and waitlisting the upgrade to business. I think that is what others have suggested above? She said that I am likely to get a seat (if there are open ones on the flight, but won't find out until 3 days prior to departure) if I waitlist since the flight is 5+ months away, and since the order of priority for waitlist upgrades is based off of first come, first serve on the waitlist (unless you are a United Elite, which I think is a rare status to have?).

I do not understand how this is the case, but she said with the current upgrade requirement, if I were to be granted a seat in business, that I would actually be refunded 10,000 points? I'm not sure how that is the case. Does anyone know if the upgrade point or cash requirement for waitlist upgrades can change? For example, what if, 2 days prior to the flight, I am notified that my upgrade request has been accepted but I need to pay 60,000 miles and I do not have that many miles? Right now, that is not the case.....but can it change?

It seems that I have a good chance for my waitlist upgrade request to actually work-out, I looked and there are currently 22 open business class seats. My only concern is that, this is a direct flight from Munich to Chicago right at the tail end of Oktoberfest, so it will likely be a crowded flight.....but with it being on a Tuesday, that probably helps my cause.
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