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United removed my mobile boarding pass and ruined my trip

United removed my mobile boarding pass and ruined my trip

Old Jan 14, 20, 8:57 pm
  #181  
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To iapetus , mozilla , and jsloan :

Testing your theory that boarding passes within the app are not stored locally on your phone, and thus can never be taken away.

You check in for a flight, "download" (or I guess "view") all your boarding passes within the app. The next moment, you flip on airplane mode, shutting off both wifi and cell/data coverage.

Is it your contention then that the boarding passes immediately disappear the moment your phone loses its data connection? Given your assertion that they are not stored on the phone, and the phone cannot reach any outside data sources, then they must be.

The answer very well may be yes, they are gone. I don't know. I can't test it at the moment. This would settle it.

Last edited by dval44; Jan 14, 20 at 9:12 pm Reason: clarity
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Old Jan 15, 20, 12:21 am
  #182  
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Originally Posted by dval44 View Post
Is it your contention then that the boarding passes immediately disappear the moment your phone loses its data connection? Given your assertion that they are not stored on the phone, and the phone cannot reach any outside data sources, then they must be.
I just tested it, and you are correct, they are cached locally (they can be used even when in airplane mode, with wifi disabled).

So, while I still think it's an important distinction, I cede the point: the app does remove its local copy of the boarding pass when it's no longer valid.

They're still not cancelling your reservation or adjusting your ticket or anything like that, but, yes, the app removes a boarding pass that it thinks is invalid, and you can make a good argument that it probably shouldn't do that.

In fact, I'd write back to United with that specific comment:

"Because you need a boarding pass to get through security, the app should not remove a boarding pass due to a ticket synchronization issue; instead, it should keep the last good copy of the boarding pass and present a message that the passenger should contact a United representative."
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Old Jan 15, 20, 12:33 am
  #183  
 
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Originally Posted by STS-134 View Post
There's little downside to using mobile passes. They're incredibly convenient, since you typically are on your phone while you are near the gate.
You may typically be on your phone near the gate. I typically turn my phone OFF and have it stowed away safely in my backpack before boarding the aircraft.
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Old Jan 15, 20, 12:36 am
  #184  
 
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Originally Posted by dval44 View Post
Is it your contention then that the boarding passes immediately disappear the moment your phone loses its data connection?
As I mentioned, the BP data in UA's app is not persistently stored in memory and is subject to a refresh cycle. When you close and re-open the BP view, or when you refresh the BP view, the app considers any previous BP data stale and will attempt to refresh the data. If it manages to contact UA, it will discard the old BP data from memory and replace it with the new information received from UA. If it can't contact UA, the old data remains in memory (or "cache") until the next attempt or until a defined amount of hours after the flight.

In this case, a refresh cycle was initiated, your phone was able to contact UA, it discarded the old BP data, and it received a reply indicating that you were not checked in. That, in contradiction to the title of this topic, UA didn't go in your phone and remove your BP is the point we're trying to get across. The removal of the old BP happened because you instructed the app to retrieve a new BP when you were unknowingly no longer checked in.

So the misunderstanding here is assuming that requesting the BP display in the UA app stores the BP permanently on your phone, where you can perpetually access it without limitations. It doesn't. There are, however, options available to save a BP to the persistent storage of your phone, "Add to Wallet" is one of them.

I agree with jsloan's remark that the app should not discard a BP from cache when it is able to contact UA but is not able to refresh the BP (see my comment in post 97).
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Last edited by mozilla; Jan 15, 20 at 12:44 am
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Old Jan 15, 20, 9:29 am
  #185  
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mozilla jsloan Appreciate the responses.

So now we have met halfway: I should not assume the passes are stored “permanently” once they are in the app, but it is also not true that they are “never” stored in the app.

They are stored, albeit for a limited time. And the app causes them to be deleted when the right conditions are met (it’s able to query the servers and there is an issue).

UNITED this should be fixed!
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Last edited by WineCountryUA; Jan 15, 20 at 12:32 pm Reason: repaired tag -- selected username belonged to a member, not United Airlines
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Old Jan 15, 20, 9:40 am
  #186  
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Good reminder to take screenshots of your bp’s. OP’s tale is similar to something I ran into with less drama thankfully.
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Old Jan 15, 20, 10:09 am
  #187  
 
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Originally Posted by mozilla View Post
That, in contradiction to the title of this topic, UA didn't go in your phone and remove your BP is the point we're trying to get across. The removal of the old BP happened because you instructed the app to retrieve a new BP when you were unknowingly no longer checked in.
The app did the wrong thing. My question is: who wrote the app? United, or the passenger?
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Old Jan 15, 20, 11:05 am
  #188  
 
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Originally Posted by threeoh View Post
The app did the wrong thing. My question is: who wrote the app? United, or the passenger?
Are we actually surprised that United's IT did the wrong thing? After all of the other issues that they routinely experience? For infrequent flyers, I have some sympathy, although for anyone accustomed to UA's IT and their blunders, I don't understand why you'd ever trust them. And that's not even accounting for the fact that phones can just freeze or fail to boot sometimes.
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Old Jan 15, 20, 11:28 am
  #189  
 
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Similar situation: TSA wouldn’t let us through!

Was flying with my family BOG-EWR-ORD. Flights allowed for about 1-3/4 connection time. Flight delayed leaving BOG due to “weight and balance” issues. Plane lands with 44 minutes before scheduled time for next flight. Raced through customs with global entry. Had a paper boarding pass as well as mobile pass. Outbound plane to ORD was delayed nine minutes. When I get to TSA pre check, about 20 minutes before scheduled departure, daughter goes through TSA checkin. Next person in line is told that boarding pass is invalid. Rest of boarding passes also invalid. I then look at app and the mobile boarding pass is gone. Customer service agent had no idea what happen, further complicated that daughter’s pass appeared to be valid. What we surmised happened is that someone thought there was no way we could make the flight and cancelled our scheduled flight, after daughter passes through TSA gate! Bottom line, paper boarding pass could not solve this situation!
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Old Jan 15, 20, 11:36 am
  #190  
 
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Originally Posted by sbglencoe View Post
Was flying with my family BOG-EWR-ORD. Flights allowed for about 1-3/4 connection time. Flight delayed leaving BOG due to “weight and balance” issues. Plane lands with 44 minutes before scheduled time for next flight. Raced through customs with global entry. Had a paper boarding pass as well as mobile pass. Outbound plane to ORD was delayed nine minutes. When I get to TSA pre check, about 20 minutes before scheduled departure, daughter goes through TSA checkin. Next person in line is told that boarding pass is invalid. Rest of boarding passes also invalid. I then look at app and the mobile boarding pass is gone. Customer service agent had no idea what happen, further complicated that daughter’s pass appeared to be valid. What we surmised happened is that someone thought there was no way we could make the flight and cancelled our scheduled flight, after daughter passes through TSA gate! Bottom line, paper boarding pass could not solve this situation!
TSA does not connect to airline databases. Something else happened with the paper boarding pass.
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Old Jan 15, 20, 11:39 am
  #191  
 
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Originally Posted by HNLbasedFlyer View Post
TSA does not connect to airline databases. Something else happened with the paper boarding pass.
I know they were testing new scanners which do connect real-time (see the travel safety forum)

One thread talking about rfqs for such scanners, let me see if I can find the other one
https://www.flyertalk.com/forum/28424706-post15.html
Just don't know if he (or OP) would have encountered one

Someone can be a guinea pig at different airports - get an old boarding pass, perform sdc, and go thru with the old boarding pass
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Last edited by paperwastage; Jan 15, 20 at 11:48 am
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Old Jan 15, 20, 11:39 am
  #192  
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Originally Posted by sbglencoe View Post
When I get to TSA pre check, about 20 minutes before scheduled departure, daughter goes through TSA checkin. Next person in line is told that boarding pass is invalid. Rest of boarding passes also invalid. I then look at app and the mobile boarding pass is gone. Customer service agent had no idea what happen, further complicated that daughter’s pass appeared to be valid. What we surmised happened is that someone thought there was no way we could make the flight and cancelled our scheduled flight, after daughter passes through TSA gate! Bottom line, paper boarding pass could not solve this situation!
This is really odd. There shouldn't be any way for the TSA scanners to know that the paper boarding pass "isn't valid."
paperwastage is probably correct. Big for the TSA. This isn't going to stop any bad actor, but it's going to stop an awful lot of people in situations like this one. It's much more efficient to get re-accommodated airside than landside.

That said, if it was 20 minutes prior to the rescheduled time, meaning 11 minutes prior to the originally scheduled time, technically you were eligible to be offloaded. I suspect that they were trying to get the EWR-ORD flight out as close to on-time as possible to avoid losing their takeoff slot at EWR.
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Old Jan 15, 20, 11:57 am
  #193  
 
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I realize this is a bit late, but I ALWAYS add my e-boarding passes to my Apple Wallet. When you open it in the UA app, it gives you that option.
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Old Jan 15, 20, 11:58 am
  #194  
 
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Originally Posted by paperwastage View Post
I know they were testing new scanners which do connect real-time (see the travel safety forum)

One thread talking about rfqs for such scanners, let me see if I can find the other one
https://www.flyertalk.com/forum/28424706-post15.html
Just don't know if he (or OP) would have encountered one

Someone can be a guinea pig at different airports - get an old boarding pass, perform sdc, and go thru with the old boarding pass
While it isn't your job to verify this - I'm skeptical even with a test system, TSA will verify the validity of boarding pass beyond credentials as in you are who you say you are and does the boarding pass have a valid digital signature.
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Old Jan 15, 20, 12:41 pm
  #195  
 
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Originally Posted by STS-134 View Post
Are we actually surprised that United's IT did the wrong thing?
Sounds like we are in agreement that United did the wrong thing! And that cost OP the connection.

Last edited by WineCountryUA; Jan 15, 20 at 6:41 pm Reason: Discuss the issue, not the poster(s)
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