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United changed my paid for E+seat 2 days before flight

United changed my paid for E+seat 2 days before flight

Old May 16, 19, 10:29 pm
  #1  
Formerly known as James Flannery
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United changed my paid for E+seat 2 days before flight

I am flying SFO to London this Saturday (18 May). A month ago I paid for a window E+ seat. I log in tonight and I am now in a middle E+ seat 10 rows further back. The new seat costs about $70 less than the seat I paid for.

Do I have any recourse? What should I ask for? I am on hold right now. No other window or aisle seats are open!

Thanks in advance for any advice. I don't have status but two years ago I was 1K and prior to that was a combination of 1K , Platinum for about 5 consecutive years.

Thanks
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Old May 16, 19, 10:35 pm
  #2  
 
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A full refund of your E+ fee at the minimum.
sincx is offline  
Old May 17, 19, 2:56 am
  #3  
 
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Originally Posted by sincx View Post
A full refund of your E+ fee at the minimum.
Correct and here is what UA's contract of carriage has to say about this:

Seat assignments, regardless of class of service, are not guaranteed and are subject to change without notice. UA reserves the right to reseat a Passenger for any reason, including from a United® Premium Plus seat, Economy Plus seat, or from Preferred Seating for which the applicable fee has been paid, and if a Passenger is improperly or erroneously upgraded to a different class of service. If a Passenger is removed from a United® Premium Plus seat, Economy Plus seat, or from Preferred Seating for which a fee has been paid, and the Passenger is not re-accommodated in a seat of equal or greater value, or if a Passenger is downgraded from a class of service and is not re-accommodated in a seat in an equal or greater class of service for which a fee has been paid, the Passenger may be eligible for a refund in accordance with Rule 27. UA also prohibits Passengers from selling their seat assignments at any time and/or exchanging them at the time of boarding without first advising a member of the crew.
Based on what the OP is saying, UA is offering seats of lesser value than what they payed for. Perhaps UA can find a seat of equal or greater value that is a middle seat, but I wouldn't accept that. I'd stay in the downgraded E+ seat, take my refund and walk away laughing over the whole incident. This idea of charging for seat assignments (E+ or otherwise) is non-sense when you consider Premiers get it for free. Heck, even on Basic Economy fares I can still get free E+ seating assignments as Premier Gold meanwhile all the kettles are shelling out hundreds of dollars for the same luxury flying in normal economy!

Safe Travels,

James
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Old May 17, 19, 5:08 am
  #4  
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To be precise, the COC only provide for a refund of the difference. Thus, if OP's selected seat cost $100, he is entitled to a refund of $30.

While not expressly stated, it is likely that UA would also reassign OP to an E- seat and refund the entire E+ fee.

My suggestion is not to request any refund at this time. If a better seat, more to your liking, opens up between now and departure, grab it, If it does not, you can deal with the refund post flight. Bear in mind that E+ seats may open up between now and the flight as people cancel, no show, or are upgraded.
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Old May 17, 19, 6:49 am
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Originally Posted by j2simpso View Post
I'd stay in the downgraded E+ seat, take my refund and walk away laughing over the whole incident.
Walk away and laughing by sitting in a middle seat? No thanks if this had been my situation.

The seat swap could have been due to change in equipment. Agreeing with Often1 - I would recommend monitoring seating map like a hawk prior to departure; often times a better seat (or in this case, a window E+) would open up due to variety of reasons. If nothing opens up, I would consider a E- window (or aisle), request for refund after the flight, and write to UA.
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Old May 17, 19, 8:06 am
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Originally Posted by j2simpso View Post
Correct and here is what UA's contract of carriage has to say about this:



Based on what the OP is saying, UA is offering seats of lesser value than what they payed for. Perhaps UA can find a seat of equal or greater value that is a middle seat, but I wouldn't accept that. I'd stay in the downgraded E+ seat, take my refund and walk away laughing over the whole incident. This idea of charging for seat assignments (E+ or otherwise) is non-sense when you consider Premiers get it for free. Heck, even on Basic Economy fares I can still get free E+ seating assignments as Premier Gold meanwhile all the kettles are shelling out hundreds of dollars for the same luxury flying in normal economy!

Safe Travels,

James
SFO to London in a middle seat?
No thanks, unless that entire row is empty.
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Old May 17, 19, 10:47 am
  #7  
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I'd rather be in an aisle seat in a forward row of E- than a middle seat in E+ for ten hours.
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Old May 17, 19, 11:25 am
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Originally Posted by Repooc17 View Post
Walk away and laughing by sitting in a middle seat? No thanks if this had been my situation.
Originally Posted by TXJeepGuy View Post
SFO to London in a middle seat?
No thanks, unless that entire row is empty.
Originally Posted by BearX220 View Post
I'd rather be in an aisle seat in a forward row of E- than a middle seat in E+ for ten hours.
Perhaps I'm missing something here but what's so wrong about the middle seat? At the end of the day what matters when flying steerage is you have ample leg room. I'll gladly take a middle seat over-wing emergency exit seat over a normal E+ aisle or window seat. IMHO the middle seat gets a bad rap, people are willing to do anything to avoid it even if the middle seat is the best available seat.

That being said, I would be checking the seat map like a hawk every couple of hours to see if something opens up. The moment it does, pick up the seat online and/or get on the horn with UA. The best seat should be the over-wing exits regardless. IIRC the window over-wing exit seat is considered an E- seat due to the protrusion of the door. If you could switch to that it would be ideal since you would get most if not all of your E+ seat fee back. Having flown long haul on UA quite a few times it's not a bad seat at all. The profusion can be used to sit your feet on it whilst cruising. In addition, the leg room is ample and you can literally get out of your seat and into the galley without stepping over anyone!

Safe Travels,

James
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Old May 17, 19, 12:04 pm
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I would take a window E- over any middle or aisle seat. I prefer middle to aisle but both are basically non-starters for me. My shoulders are too wide for the seat so I'm the aisle I'm getting bumped and in the middle I'm getting squashed.

I would just ask to be reaccomidated on a different flight. There is no way I'd get on a plane with that seat assignment.
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Old May 17, 19, 2:22 pm
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Back on topic... The OP didn't say which flight they were on. Either way, both are now 777’s equipped with PP. One a -300, the other a 200. I’m guessing that when OP made seat reservations the seat map was still showing a non-PP version. That could explain why the change occurred. To be “10 rows back” means the original seat was likely in rows 16-22 (looking at the 772 Version 2 seat map) https://www.united.com/web/en-US/content/travel/inflight/aircraft/777/200/default.aspx
In the PP version, most of those don’t exist, and those which do are Polaris (16-18) or PP (20-22). https://www.united.com/web/en-US/content/travel/inflight/aircraft/777/200/default.aspx
Unfortunately… The morning flight is packed, and the afternoon flight has only middle E+ seats left. Two Polaris seats unclaimed… It’s possible that some upgrader will move into one, but there won’t be a lot. It’s booked full. No upgrade list for PP on this one… Guess the folks in the PP seats will be very happy!
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Old May 17, 19, 3:02 pm
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As far as the E- window versus E+ middle is concerned, it all depends on the particulars of the flight. Neither is a choice I would like. But if I were on a 10+ hour flight, the window might win out for me. I can't imagine how I could possibly get any sleep in a middle seat, even in E+. However, I might see a 20% sleep duty cycle by the window.
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Old May 17, 19, 3:56 pm
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Originally Posted by jtet View Post
Back on topic... The OP didn't say which flight they were on. Either way, both are now 777’s equipped with PP. One a -300, the other a 200. I’m guessing that when OP made seat reservations the seat map was still showing a non-PP version. That could explain why the change occurred. To be “10 rows back” means the original seat was likely in rows 16-22 (looking at the 772 Version 2 seat map) https://www.united.com/web/en-US/content/travel/inflight/aircraft/777/200/default.aspx
In the PP version, most of those don’t exist, and those which do are Polaris (16-18) or PP (20-22). https://www.united.com/web/en-US/content/travel/inflight/aircraft/777/200/default.aspx
Unfortunately… The morning flight is packed, and the afternoon flight has only middle E+ seats left. Two Polaris seats unclaimed… It’s possible that some upgrader will move into one, but there won’t be a lot. It’s booked full. No upgrade list for PP on this one… Guess the folks in the PP seats will be very happy!
this.

The early flight is a dedicated polaris route (so should offer PP fares), the later is not. I’d guess the OP is on the later.

Not only are there seats/rows that don’t exist, the re-seating algorithm appears to be somewhat mysterious. Reports have showed it has kicked lower elites out of rows that turn into PP (I’ve had this happen to me, as a silver), while keeping higher elites there. Even how the specific seats assigned are a mystery. I had a change on a domestic route once - myself and wife on the same PNR - seated in a window (wife) -aisle (me) on a 777. When a switch happened, I ended up in a window, a couple of rows in front of my wife who has now in an aisle. I was lucky I caught this quickly and was able to move so we were in the same row - others might not have been so lucky.

This will be an issue until the conversions of the 777s are complete.

I’d ask for a PP seat if it was me, but there are none assuming it’s the later flight. There are even only a handful of non-middle seats at all, in E-, the closest being a aisle in the middle section of row 46. If the aisle is more important than the extra legroom, I’d call and asked to be moved and have an agent issue a refund of E+ fees. If you want the legroom but can handle a middle, stay where you are, and see what kind of partial refund you can get (at minimum, UA should be able to offer an ETC for your next trip). Either way, keep checking the seat map - especially in the day or 2 before a flight, seats can come (and go) very quickly, so there is a decent chance that if you look at the right moment, a more desirable seat will open up that you can snag. If you don’t have anything better by the time you arrive at the gate, have a conversation with the GA, and calmly/nicely, with a smile, ask if they will move you to an aisle/window in E+ If one opens. Take a look at the seatmap constantly on the app or on the screens by the gate to check for yourself as well.
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Old May 17, 19, 4:38 pm
  #13  
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Originally Posted by j2simpso View Post
Perhaps I'm missing something here but what's so wrong about the middle seat? At the end of the day what matters when flying steerage is you have ample leg room. I'll gladly take a middle seat over-wing emergency exit seat over a normal E+ aisle or window seat. IMHO the middle seat gets a bad rap, people are willing to do anything to avoid it even if the middle seat is the best available seat.
Speak for yourself. What matters to you certainly doesn't matter to many others.
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Old May 17, 19, 5:13 pm
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Originally Posted by emcampbe View Post
The early flight is a dedicated polaris route (so should offer PP fares), the later is not. I’d guess the OP is on the later.
They are both dedicated Polaris. UA has committed refitted 772s to several routes, including SFO-LHR.
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Old May 17, 19, 6:23 pm
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Originally Posted by Kacee View Post
They are both dedicated Polaris. UA has committed refitted 772s to several routes, including SFO-LHR.
Yes, there are 772 routes that have dedicated Polaris/PP. SFO-LHR flight 930 doesn’t appear to be one of them, though is for the 77W flight 901.

The release of PP routes only shows 901 as dedicated with Polaris/PP, not 930. While that could have been updated, just tried a couple of random searches for SFO-LHR, and only 901 (77W) shows availability of PP fares, with 930 saying ‘not available’ and seat maps all showing 2-4-2 up front and without PP, obviously. And while flight status for 930 shows aircraft with PP scheduled tonight through Sunday, appears to be luck of the draw, as last night and Wed are the old configuration.

These seat swaps will continue to be an issue until the seat updates are on all 772s. It’ll be worse for a time as aircraft continue to be outfitted with PP but the route list doesn’t expand as fast, and then slow down as they have enough of a mass of available aircraft to presumably sell PP on most/all routes, with potentially occasional swaps down to old seat configuration while the final birds go in.
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