UA Using Dishonest Tactics to Avoid Oversell

Old Sep 10, 19, 2:03 pm
  #1  
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UA Using Dishonest Tactics to Avoid Oversell

So this is a new one for me. Was scheduled to fly AAA-ORD-BBB today. It starts off with the text several hours before the flight saying “We’ll see you soon!”, except that the message states my flight leaves over an hour earlier than scheduled and to a different destination.

I go to the app and find that my BP’s are gone and that two new segments AAA-BBB direct are in my PNR. I can see these and my original flights under “My Trips” but on the home screen and “Details” from home my original flight is gone.

Anyway, I call the 1K line to find out what’s going on and if it’s my company’s TA, UA ops, or airport. Turns out it’s the latter but the 1K agent tells me notes say it’s due to “storms in Chicago” and “very likely that one or both of my flights will be cancelled.” She then proceeds to ask if I want to have one of the two AAA-BBB options confirmed. Honesty only one option would work as I can’t make the first one.

I tell the agent that I’ll go to the airport to figure it out. In the meantime check my Wunderground app and FlightAware. No major airport delay and no weather. No storms on radar and less than 20% chance of rain. Sensing something fishy I check the UA app and my two original flights are on time and inbound aircraft scheduled to arrive early.

A quick check of the UA app and I find J1Y0 for my AAA-ORD flight.

I get to the airport and find a TA as I can’t get my BP’s on the phone and ask what’s going on with my PNR. She researched, says hmmm a few times, then explains more or less that a Sup at MCI probably did this to avoid an oversell and wanted to help me out.

So, here’s my thoughts. If there is an oversold flight, I appreciate being offered a chance at a faster itin for free. Heck, kudos to UA for offering me an F seat on AAA-BBB (both original flights had been CPU’d to F). I’d love it if they even offered me a small VDB ECV (they didn’t). But what leaves me with a sour taste was the dishonesty of someone who tried to scare me into taking a different itin so UA could save some VDB vouchers. I don’t know if it was the 1K agent or someone who put notes in my PNR about storms.

Anyone else law ever have this happen? Wonder if this is a new UA thing or just a local AAA ops thing. I’d happily consider and appreciate if UA proactively reaches out, was honest about it, and offered the change. I’d probably would have taken it for sure if they threw in as small as $100 ECV. But the dishonestly is what is going to make me move business the rest of the year once I hit 120 PQM’s.

How would you react?
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Old Sep 10, 19, 2:12 pm
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It's really hard to figure all this out with fake places such as "AAA" and "BBB,":

Bottom line is that if the reroute is scheduled to get you to your destination within one hour of the originally scheduled ticket, you have been IDB but the compensation is $0. In theory, UA is obligated to have sought volunteers but there is no penalty or compensation for not doing so nor has DOT enforced that provision.
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Old Sep 10, 19, 2:14 pm
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The first reaction is there is a lot of supposition and speculation leading to the conclusion. It may be the right conclusion, but it is still mostly speculation on the motivation.

Having my flight changed without overt notification is a bigger deal to me.

My guess, if the ETC is important, a post-flight email to 1Kvoice about the lack of notification will get that.

I guess I would wait to see a pattern before moving my business. One-offs are a fact of life.
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Old Sep 10, 19, 2:25 pm
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FWIW, there was a Traffic Management program active into O'Hare this morning, reason WX/Thunderstorms.

Storms were predicted, but never materialized (at least near me and I am 15 minutes from ORD).
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Old Sep 10, 19, 2:28 pm
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Yes, too many whatifs

If you care, contact UA and ask for ORC (original routing credit). Mostly useful for chasing status (since RDM is based on PQD, no changes there)

Generally when this happens, a UA agent calls to offer the switch instead of doing it under the covers. Not everyone can arrive to airport to catch the earlier flight
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Old Sep 10, 19, 2:35 pm
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Why so scared to put the actual airport codes? Would make it a lot easier to track what you're talking about!

That being said, I doubt there was some scheme to lie about storms. Likely, there was a delay warning triggered in the system and you were proactively offered a flight that you admit worked fine. I'm also confused why if only one of the two options worked for you, you'd tell the agent on the phone that you'll just go to the airport and figure it out there? Why not just confirm and be done instead of showing up to AAA with a bunch of segments and an unsynced ticket?
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Old Sep 10, 19, 2:56 pm
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I have had something similar happen to me a few times. The last time I was flying SNA-EWR-DCA with EWR-DCA being after a 3 or so hour connection. I got to SNA and was checking in when my itinerary showed a completely different routing (i believe it was SNA-ORD-DCA or SNA-IAH-DCA that would get me to DC earlier than scheduled. Anyways to make a long story short after asking why my flights were changed, I was told “someone thought you would prefer getting into DC earlier” which at first pass I would agree with but was traveling with someone on another PNR. They fixed the ticket and it turns out they were over sold on the SNA-EWR leg and were soliciting volunteers at the gate👍 😏

Originally Posted by mnredfox View Post
So this is a new one for me. Was scheduled to fly AAA-ORD-BBB today. It starts off with the text several hours before the flight saying “We’ll see you soon!”, except that the message states my flight leaves over an hour earlier than scheduled and to a different destination.

I go to the app and find that my BP’s are gone and that two new segments AAA-BBB direct are in my PNR. I can see these and my original flights under “My Trips” but on the home screen and “Details” from home my original flight is gone.

Anyway, I call the 1K line to find out what’s going on and if it’s my company’s TA, UA ops, or airport. Turns out it’s the latter but the 1K agent tells me notes say it’s due to “storms in Chicago” and “very likely that one or both of my flights will be cancelled.” She then proceeds to ask if I want to have one of the two AAA-BBB options confirmed. Honesty only one option would work as I can’t make the first one.

I tell the agent that I’ll go to the airport to figure it out. In the meantime check my Wunderground app and FlightAware. No major airport delay and no weather. No storms on radar and less than 20% chance of rain. Sensing something fishy I check the UA app and my two original flights are on time and inbound aircraft scheduled to arrive early.

A quick check of the UA app and I find J1Y0 for my AAA-ORD flight.

I get to the airport and find a TA as I can’t get my BP’s on the phone and ask what’s going on with my PNR. She researched, says hmmm a few times, then explains more or less that a Sup at MCI probably did this to avoid an oversell and wanted to help me out.

So, here’s my thoughts. If there is an oversold flight, I appreciate being offered a chance at a faster itin for free. Heck, kudos to UA for offering me an F seat on AAA-BBB (both original flights had been CPU’d to F). I’d love it if they even offered me a small VDB ECV (they didn’t). But what leaves me with a sour taste was the dishonesty of someone who tried to scare me into taking a different itin so UA could save some VDB vouchers. I don’t know if it was the 1K agent or someone who put notes in my PNR about storms.

Anyone else law ever have this happen? Wonder if this is a new UA thing or just a local AAA ops thing. I’d happily consider and appreciate if UA proactively reaches out, was honest about it, and offered the change. I’d probably would have taken it for sure if they threw in as small as $100 ECV. But the dishonestly is what is going to make me move business the rest of the year once I hit 120 PQM’s.

How would you react?
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Old Sep 10, 19, 2:59 pm
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AAA-ORD-BBB


Why the secrecy over airports? Please use real codes. Your privacy is safe here...
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Old Sep 10, 19, 3:04 pm
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Originally Posted by Often1 View Post
It's really hard to figure all this out with fake places such as "AAA" and "BBB,":
It's amazing how popular AAA and BBB are. I've tried numerous times to book flights there but they must always be sold out because they never show in the search results.
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Old Sep 10, 19, 3:23 pm
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Originally Posted by TomMM View Post
It's amazing how popular AAA and BBB are. I've tried numerous times to book flights there but they must always be sold out because they never show in the search results.
Often over booked but an easy play for a VDB. I once got stuck in BBB for days.... Simply horrible but I got my ECV out of it.
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Old Sep 10, 19, 3:27 pm
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Originally Posted by TomMM View Post
It's amazing how popular AAA and BBB are. I've tried numerous times to book flights there but they must always be sold out because they never show in the search results.
Alas, AAA and BBB don’t have scheduled passenger flights! How they can therefore be overbooked is anyone’s guess. Though if given a choice I’d much rather go to French Polynesia than Minnesota.
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Old Sep 10, 19, 3:29 pm
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Originally Posted by nomad420 View Post
I once got stuck in BBB for days.... Simply horrible but I got my ECV out of it.
I once had a forced overnight in XXX and all I got afterwards were some antibiotics.
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Old Sep 10, 19, 3:43 pm
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Originally Posted by mnredfox View Post
I tell the agent that I’ll go to the airport to figure it out. In the meantime check my Wunderground app and FlightAware. No major airport delay and no weather. No storms on radar and less than 20% chance of rain. Sensing something fishy I check the UA app and my two original flights are on time and inbound aircraft scheduled to arrive early.
I think you really misread the information you had available to you, or were looking at the wrong info.

FAA was expecting terminal constraints for ORD due to tstorms, with ground stops and CDRS/SWAP possible after 11Z, which then materialized around 1015Z. A proposed GDP due throughput issues/gate issues and unstable air was out by 1018Z for arrivals 12Z-19Z, and implemented by 1034Z. It ended up being cancelled at 1454Z as the weather didn't go as poorly as expected.

I think the airport agent, noting that things were headed south at ORD and you had nonstop options, was trying to help you out more than avoid a VDB. They may have also been somewhat overbooked, although with J1Y0 not that much.

UA comms sucked as usual.
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Old Sep 10, 19, 3:44 pm
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When I was cabbing out to ORD this morning just around 05:00, I can attest that there were multiple lightening strikes in the sky to the north of the airport. But I didn't see any rain.
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Old Sep 10, 19, 4:26 pm
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Originally Posted by mnredfox View Post
So, here’s my thoughts. If there is an oversold flight, I appreciate being offered a chance at a faster itin for free. Heck, kudos to UA for offering me an F seat on AAA-BBB (both original flights had been CPU’d to F). I’d love it if they even offered me a small VDB ECV (they didn’t). But what leaves me with a sour taste was the dishonesty of someone who tried to scare me into taking a different itin so UA could save some VDB vouchers. I don’t know if it was the 1K agent or someone who put notes in my PNR about storms.
File this under "no good deed goes unpunished."

Your supposition makes little sense unless -- maybe -- AAA is SFO and they're trying to clean up the mess from runway construction. UA might occasionally try to clear an oversell by moving someone onto a more convenient flight, but the idea that there's a big conspiracy to avoid giving vouchers seems over the top. If you had tried to board your original flights, you would have been accommodated on them.

Did you look at the flight statuses? Did they go out full, with no standbys cleared?

I will give you some credit, though -- at least you didn't blame this on somebody wanting to open a space for non-revs...
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