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LH flight delays when on UA 016 award tix -- hung out to dry?

LH flight delays when on UA 016 award tix -- hung out to dry?

Old Nov 24, 18, 7:59 am
  #1  
TA
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LH flight delays when on UA 016 award tix -- hung out to dry?

Hi all, just wanted to get your sanity check of this issue.

When on an award ticket using UA miles, on a purely intra-EU flight operated by LH, there was a recent 7+ hr delay and LH refused to touch the ticket on the day of flight/delay because it was "a United award". All they would suggest was for me to contact UA, but you know very well that UA would not have access to more desireable rebooking options and would only offer award inventory they could see. By that time, all gone of course.

I was under the impression that the operating carrier is always responsible for handling / rebooking regardless of whose ticket (the point being LH would take over the ticket to 220- stock, and provide access to their other flights to get me to the destination).

Is this not the case? I have had it happen with revenue tickets, but are award tickets legitimately treated differently? Thanks.
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Old Nov 24, 18, 8:09 am
  #2  
 
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Originally Posted by TA View Post
Hi all, just wanted to get your sanity check of this issue.

When on an award ticket using UA miles, on a purely intra-EU flight operated by LH, there was a recent 7+ hr delay and LH refused to touch the ticket on the day of flight/delay because it was "a United award". All they would suggest was for me to contact UA, but you know very well that UA would not have access to more desireable rebooking options and would only offer award inventory they could see. By that time, all gone of course.

I was under the impression that the operating carrier is always responsible for handling / rebooking regardless of whose ticket (the point being LH would take over the ticket to 220- stock, and provide access to their other flights to get me to the destination).

Is this not the case? I have had it happen with revenue tickets, but are award tickets legitimately treated differently? Thanks.
I'm not sure I understand: Did LH rebook you? You indicate that inventory was gone, does that imply that there were no options and you were stranded?
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Old Nov 24, 18, 8:13 am
  #3  
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Originally Posted by katan View Post
I'm not sure I understand: Did LH rebook you? You indicate that inventory was gone, does that imply that there were no options and you were stranded?
I meant that if I had gone with calling UA to be rebooked, they would simply have checked existing UA award inventory for options (and offered no special efforts or allowances). And at that point all saver inventory is likely to be gone and you're told to pound sand / wait for the next award flight which may be days away. Versus if it had been a revenue ticket, LH would have offered me other sooner options, including rerouting and any seat available.
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Old Nov 24, 18, 8:22 am
  #4  
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It was LH's sole responsibility to rebook you. Both under EC 261/2004 and by long-standing IATA convention, e.g., that day-of-travel IRROPS are handled by the operating carrier causing the delay. You have not told us where you were stranded, but it is generally the case that LH airport staff are well-versed in what they may and may not do. You simply hit the wrong agent.

To provide the specifics, you really need to provide the flight information for the 7-hour delay and the option you wanted.

In the moment, I would simply have walked to another agent and asked them for assistance without getting into a fight about what the last agent said. If not satisfied, ask for a manager. As *G, you should get some action.

What happened eventually?

Now, it is also time to follow up. At a minimum, LH owes you a duty of care for your meals during the period of delay (possibly satisfied as you had lounge access depending on location). In addition, unless the cause of the delay was an "extraordinary circumstance" you are due delay compensation which could be as much as EUR 600 per passenger depending on the distance to be covered by the flight (need the routing of that flight to give you solid information).

In addition to the EC 261/2004 follow up, I would also send an entirely separate complaint to LH pointing out that the agent was wrong. If you have a name, provide it to LH. If not, as much of a description as possible, including the time and rough location.
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Old Nov 24, 18, 8:38 am
  #5  
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Thanks, yes I will be following up with feedback/compensation with LH.

In the end, I took the 7 hour delayed flight but wanted to get out on a flight sooner, to make an onward connection (which ended up being missed). It was a 2 hour intra-EU flight so not as significant as the long-haul tier of the regulations. But it still made me miss my next flight (which was long haul). If LH had been able to rebook me, even on another carrier it might've been salvaged. But to toss me back to UA would have left me no possibility of rebooking at all.
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Old Nov 24, 18, 8:50 am
  #6  
 
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Originally Posted by TA View Post
In the end, I took the 7 hour delayed flight but wanted to get out on a flight sooner, to make an onward connection (which ended up being missed). It was a 2 hour intra-EU flight so not as significant as the long-haul tier of the regulations. But it still made me miss my next flight (which was long haul).
EC 261 compensation is based on delay to your final destination. Assuming you are on one ticket, LH should be covering all your extra costs until the end of your long haul.
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Old Nov 24, 18, 9:08 am
  #7  
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Originally Posted by silver_halide View Post


EC 261 compensation is based on delay to your final destination. Assuming you are on one ticket, LH should be covering all your extra costs until the end of your long haul.
Unfortunately they were separate tickets (and onward with Skyteam), so I think I'm out of luck there. Thanks though!
And lesson learned for me... I thought LH's usual punctuality would make a 3 hour connection beyond doubt -- but from a city with few alternatives I probably should've flown the night before.
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Old Nov 24, 18, 9:47 am
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Originally Posted by TA View Post
Unfortunately they were separate tickets (and onward with Skyteam), so I think I'm out of luck there. Thanks though!
And lesson learned for me... I thought LH's usual punctuality would make a 3 hour connection beyond doubt -- but from a city with few alternatives I probably should've flown the night before.
All this means is that your EC261 compensation will be based on the delay suffered on your short-haul intra-EU flight -- and not on your delay to your long-haul destination. At 7 hours for the short-haul delay, absent "extraordinary circumstances," it certainly qualifies for EC261 compensation.
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Old Nov 24, 18, 10:22 am
  #9  
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Where did this happen? LH uses contract staff at many European airports.

As already evidenced by comments above, it's very difficult to provide meaningful input without relevant details.
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Old Nov 24, 18, 7:22 pm
  #10  
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Sorry for missing details:
It was BEG-FRA morning flight, LH 1411, should've been 6:50am but delayed until 2:00pm. By the time I heard about the delay I was already on my way to airport, where the line for assistance was about 100 people deep. The phone agent of LH (Germany) was the one who gave me the brush off. At that point I didn't want to rely on waiting 2 hours for assistance, so began investigating my own options. There are only 2 flights a day LH BEG-FRA so not many options to get out of there...
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Old Nov 24, 18, 7:28 pm
  #11  
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Originally Posted by TA View Post
Unfortunately they were separate tickets (and onward with Skyteam), so I think I'm out of luck there. Thanks though!
And lesson learned for me... I thought LH's usual punctuality would make a 3 hour connection beyond doubt -- but from a city with few alternatives I probably should've flown the night before.
Maybe the stats say otherwise, but every one of my LH experiences this year has involved a significant delay. One caused an overnight at FRA; another meant getting out of KEF at 2am instead of midnight (after there were no LH agents even at the counter until 10pm to handle check-in, meaning hanging out at check-in for a few extra hours that could have been spent in the lounge).
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