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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 13, 20, 9:37 am
  #61  
 
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Rather shocked to see the paper fans. Mobil boarding pass is my preference. Does no one carry a portable cell battery pack? Theft of phone? If my phone was gone, likely the paper BPs and paper itineraries would also be gone. I guess I'm not as last century as regards tech as I thought........

I've not a problem with Apple wallet on four continents, multiple airlines, many trips.

OP - I do sympathize. I'd be livid.
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Old Jan 13, 20, 9:37 am
  #62  
 
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Originally Posted by TomMM View Post
Two of the many things I've learned during my years of travel are: 1) Printed BPs are a great backup 2) Always bypass transit security at IAH and go through the normal security checkpoints.
I'm the opposite. The mobile BP is my back-up. The printed one is primary. It actually makes me sweat a little seeing how many people use their mobiles for everything. Don't do it. One of these days, it will all go down. Ever try to catch a flight in an airport that has power issues?
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Old Jan 13, 20, 9:47 am
  #63  
 
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Isn't the key point here that the OP had a confirmed reservation on his IAH-DEN flight, and the CoC only allows UA to cancel this reservation if the OP does not appear at the gate by T-15. UA's action to remove the BP made it impossible for the OP to appear at the gate, thus it had the practical effect of cancelling his reservation. To me, this seems eligible for a DoT complaint. While I am unsure as to what compensation this may generate, at least it will begin to generate a DoT record that could force UA to correct the problem of surreptitiously deactivating BPs -- which will a benefit to us all.
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Old Jan 13, 20, 9:48 am
  #64  
 
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Originally Posted by jsloan View Post
"Compensation," in this context, meaning "mandatory compensation." UA might give an ETC as a customer service gesture. Several people were suggesting that this was denied boarding and that DOT-mandated compensation should kick in, and that's simply not true -- and is generally counterproductive, because, anecdotally, going to UA with an invalid compensation demand often seems to make them reticent to provide said customer service gesture.
The airline's system created the denied boarding in the first place. The airline should not be removing BPs stored on a customer's phone and that is the bigger problem here.

As an aside, I have in the past had other airlines proactively 'protect' me when they thought I was going to misconnect and I never actually have in any of those instances. I wish there was a way to decline 'protection' on later flights until requested by me.
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Old Jan 13, 20, 9:55 am
  #65  
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Originally Posted by seenitall View Post
Isn't the key point here that the OP had a confirmed reservation on his IAH-DEN flight, and the CoC only allows UA to cancel this reservation if the OP does not appear at the gate by T-15. UA's action to remove the BP made it impossible for the OP to appear at the gate, thus it had the practical effect of cancelling his reservation. To me, this seems eligible for a DoT complaint. While I am unsure as to what compensation this may generate, at least it will begin to generate a DoT record that could force UA to correct the problem of surreptitiously deactivating BPs -- which will a benefit to us all.
The "benefit" would be for us to lose protection flights. Pass.

You're suggesting filing a DOT complaint for a technological issue, wrapped in the guise of a denied boarding claim. That seems specious.

Originally Posted by cmd320 View Post
The airline's system created the denied boarding in the first place. The airline should not be removing BPs stored on a customer's phone and that is the bigger problem here.
The airline didn't remove anything. If the OP had stored the BP on the phone (in the Apple wallet, possibly with updates disabled), this wouldn't have happened. It wouldn't have been any different if there had been an outage of some kind, or OP was going through a cell phone dead zone. UA simply didn't pull up any boarding passes for the reservation, because OP wasn't currently checked in.
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Old Jan 13, 20, 10:01 am
  #66  
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If you want to explain it this way, then I would respond that UA should not un-check a customer without the customer's permission on a flight that's operating on time when the customer hasn't yet missed the flight. This *could* be used as a way to avoid paying IDB (or VDB) compensation when flights are full.

BTW, IIRC WestJet did something like this, changing the reservation of a couple who had already checked in for a honeymoon flight on which they had been confirmed. While it's unclear that Canada's new airline passenger rights legislation would have prevented this, it had resulted in some bad publicity for the airline that did it.
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Old Jan 13, 20, 10:05 am
  #67  
 
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Originally Posted by jsloan View Post
The airline didn't remove anything. If the OP had stored the BP on the phone (in the Apple wallet, possibly with updates disabled), this wouldn't have happened. It wouldn't have been any different if there had been an outage of some kind, or OP was going through a cell phone dead zone. UA simply didn't pull up any boarding passes for the reservation, because OP wasn't currently checked in.
My understanding is that the OPs BP would have to be stored in the phone in order for it to work. Iím not aware of any way to scan a mobile BP if it isnít in your passbook/wallet.

This whole process of proactive protection is stupid because itís consistently executed poorly and needs to have an option to opt out. I would much rather manage my own changes.
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Old Jan 13, 20, 10:16 am
  #68  
 
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Originally Posted by FlyerfromORD View Post
Rather shocked to see the paper fans. Mobil boarding pass is my preference. Does no one carry a portable cell battery pack? Theft of phone? If my phone was gone, likely the paper BPs and paper itineraries would also be gone. I guess I'm not as last century as regards tech as I thought........
If you ever trust technology to work 100%, you're going to get burned.

One upon a time, someone in my family was watching a Youtube video on her phone. Then the screen just went blank. Then she tried all the tricks to get the phone to reboot (holding down power button, etc.). The phone eventually did reboot -- and promptly went into a boot loop. The usual screen showed up that indicates that the phone is booting, but instead of proceeding to the next step (the main screen), the phone display just went black again and it infinitely kept rebooting. Then after we tried a bunch of other stuff and we decided that we probably couldn't save the data on it, we tried connecting the phone to a computer and wiping the user data partition which should have reset the phone to its factory default state. Same thing. The only solution was a system board replacement, and that required taking it into a repair store and literally having them disconnect all of the components from the system board and swapping it out.

You're going to do all of that in line at an airport in time to make your flight? You're amazing. For those of us who cannot, there are always paper BPs for backup. You probably won't even have to use them after you get them, but it's nice to know that they're there.
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Old Jan 13, 20, 10:20 am
  #69  
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Originally Posted by MSPeconomist View Post
If you want to explain it this way, then I would respond that UA should not un-check a customer without the customer's permission on a flight that's operating on time when the customer hasn't yet missed the flight. This *could* be used as a way to avoid paying IDB (or VDB) compensation when flights are full.
Look, there is simply no way that anybody at UA imagined all of these things going wrong in exactly this way. This was not some kind of denied-boarding shenanigans, and it would be a really inefficient and haphazard way to try to accomplish that goal anyway. It was the perfect storm, and OP got caught in the middle of it.

Originally Posted by cmd320 View Post
My understanding is that the OPs BP would have to be stored in the phone in order for it to work. Iím not aware of any way to scan a mobile BP if it isnít in your passbook/wallet.
The UA app displays mobile boarding passes. They don't have to be added to the wallet to be scanned.

Originally Posted by cmd320 View Post
This whole process of proactive protection is stupid because itís consistently executed poorly and needs to have an option to opt out. I would much rather manage my own changes.
That's on you -- but by the time you manage your own changes, I'll be on my way to my destination thanks to the protection. I can give you a specific example: I missed an ORD-AUS flight the Sunday after Thanksgiving due to getting stuck in traffic (both on the way to drop off my rental car, and then between the rental car center and T1). I wasn't proactively rebooked (nor should I have been; there was no way for UA to know I'd be late). By the time I got through security -- no Premier security after 8 PM, apparently -- my flight had departed ten minutes earlier. I went to customer service, and I got put onto a 1:30 PM Monday flight.

The guy in line behind me also happened to be going to AUS, and he had misconnected due to a delay (the extremely frustrating "wait for a gate while my connecting plane is boarding... pushing back.. taxiing..." scenario). Because he was automatically rebooked, he got space on the 7:25 AM flight that wasn't available to me. (I could have gone stand-by and would have cleared, as it turns out, but that's not always going to be the case).
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Old Jan 13, 20, 10:49 am
  #70  
 
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Watch out for remote station boarding passes without TSA Pre

I returned from Mumbai via Newark recently and noticed there was no PRE indication on the onward boarding pass. This put me in a LOOOOONG line and I abandoned it, went to the ticket counter and got another boarding pass and barely made my onward flight. Sometimes even having a paper boarding pass isnít enough to avoid delays.
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Old Jan 13, 20, 11:27 am
  #71  
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OP here .

1. You Should Have Called
Originally Posted by jsloan View Post
After waiting through this long line, you elected to go back past everybody, then wait for the attention of a UA agent, instead of calling them. The lesson: call. (Did you then wait through the security line again?)
There are some good pointers and tips on this thread, but this one is not. I had no idea how long the call time would take (5 mins or 10 mins or 20 mins). Remember, I was playing a game of minutes at this point. Also, I had no idea if they could help. Maybe the agent says, "Sir, we have no way of pushing some new boarding pass to your phone, are you insane? Go to gate agents." I have a feeling if I wrote this post but told everyone I stood in front of security waiting on hold with United and then missed my flight, I would be equally pilloried. And deservedly so.

Also, FWIW, I went through a regular security line after visiting the ticket counter and it was 1,000X better than the transit mess.

2. They didn't "take away" your boarding pass...they just removed it (or something like that)
Originally Posted by jpezaris View Post
Any data that appears on your phone is most emphatically NOT yours. You have been granted temporary, conditional access to it, but you do not have ownership.

If you think it is otherwise, then you're not paying close enough attention.
Ok, I don't know the perfect language for everything. But the boarding pass was usable to me on my phone, then it wasn't. And this caused me great problems. So by your logic, is a paper boarding pass also not mine, but merely a piece of paper that I have access to? If they can't physically take away a paper boarding pass at their leisure, then these two boarding passes are not equal. My issue with this is I also don't understand the logic behind it. Is it a bug in the system that they remove old ones, or is it truly a big brother type thing where they "take it away from you." If the latter, then it really makes no sense as you can easily get around it by printing/screenshotting, thereby bypassing their scheming little hands.

3. You should have screenshotted it or have gone to the kiosk

I usually do. I just didn't this time. I don't know. I had hours at SJO in the Amex lounge. Coulda woulda shoulda. Just figured everything was easy and I was at a UA hub and all would be OK.

Side note: I usually take a screenshot because I have found in the event of being late or missing a flight, the airline will do nothing for you at the ticket counter or on the phone, but once you get through security they will be so helpful. So in the past, I had American tell me at the ticket counter it was $500 for the next flight since I missed it, had the phone people say I was SOL, then I thought to scan my screenshotted missed flight bp through security, and went to the service counter inside security where they just printed me a new one for the next flight with a smile. In case that helps anyone!

4. The IAH transit signs (side issue, not my core problem)
Originally Posted by tods27 View Post
The IAH international transfer has signs that indicate for TSA Precheck you need to exit and go to the regular checkpoint and not the transfer checkpoint. The problem is that it isn't very clear and there used to be a precheck line at the transfer security (at least I seem to remember one). Last November when I went through IAH, I almost went up to the transfer checkpoint, but realized that the precheck sign did not point that way. Not sure if that would have really changed the BP problem in any material way, but it's a good thing to remember if connecting in IAH.
Ahah! I indeed saw the signs for precheck off to the side in the main dog sniffing area. I was searching the room and considering leaving to a "regular" security line at that point. BUT, the signs were pointed backwards towards the exit, so I figured there were just moved aside and precheck was not operating at that time. I considered asking someone, but figured they would think I was stupid for asking about signs that appear to be pointing backwards and clearly (to me) not in use. Also, at the upstairs metal detectors after the dog sniffing area, there was some precheck signage off to the side, so it's possible they run it sometimes there.

5. You should have tried to get through security with no boarding pass
Originally Posted by jsloan View Post
Heck, if the TSA guy would just have let OP through -- "look, I'm clearly on this flight; my phone's just messed up. Here's my earlier boarding pass. Look at that line; don't make me go through again." -- it would have been cleared up.
I am assertive and can be persistent when I need to be. However, in this post-9/11 world this did not seem like a fight worth having. I dont' fault the TSA for not letting me through without a boarding pass.

------

I'll email Untied today. Maybe they'll throw me a bone.
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Old Jan 13, 20, 11:34 am
  #72  
 
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Originally Posted by Kannai View Post
This! I'm amazed at all the people who say their phone might die. Why would anyone travel without a portable battery?
Why would anyone travel without paper? If you checked your bags you were physically at a location (check in desk) where they hand you a piece of paper. Also if you didn't check bags, there are check-in kiosks EVERYONE walks by as they enter an airport on their way to security, regardless of what airport it is. Travelling international is all the more reason to carry paper.
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Old Jan 13, 20, 11:52 am
  #73  
 
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Originally Posted by gmt4 View Post
Why would anyone travel without paper?
Some people just don't want to take an extra few seconds to stop by a kiosk, and don't think about what the consequences would be if for any reason, they'd be unable to access their mobile BPs. A lot of people simply over trust the technology they're using. I personally don't think this is a smart thing to do, but lots of people do it. Some subset of those people get burned, and hopefully, those folks never do it again. I don't think the OP will ever try to do this again.

I got burned at the Disneyland Resort earlier this month, for over trusting my phone as well as Disney's servers. I was with a group of people, and we all got fastpasses for Radiator Springs Racers. Disney has a new feature on their tickets called "MaxPass", where instead of actually physically going around the Parks to put your tickets into the machines near each attraction, you can get fastpasses on your mobile phone. This is convenient if you are in line for one attraction when the time you can get another fastpass comes up; you simply open the app and select what you want. So all of our fastpasses were on our phones. Instead of handing a physical piece of paper to the Cast Member at the attraction, you scan your phone in a barcode reader as the Cast Member watches and looks for the green lights. We split into two groups, one of which went on Radiator Springs Racers about 30 minutes before the other. Well at the time the second group (which I was a part of) got to the fastpass line for Radiator Springs Racers, one of our fastpasses had vanished. I couldn't access it on my phone, and I hadn't taken a screenshot. I'm not sure if it was a computer hiccup but I explained the situation to the Cast Member and fortunately she allowed one extra person to go through the fastpass line. Now I always take screenshots of my fastpasses, but unfortunately with this MaxPass thing, there is no way to get a physical piece of paper, which I would prefer because it just eliminates all possibilities of something like this happening. Even so, my wife and I were the only people in the group who were actually carrying two phones, for backup just in case the first phone were to fail...
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Old Jan 13, 20, 12:11 pm
  #74  
 
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Originally Posted by jsloan View Post



I do question booking this flight and then complaining about UA when it didn’t work out, despite the fact that UA did everything in their power to try to make it work.
Lol, wut?

Perhaps it's damned if they do, but it's still their faulty processes that caused the OP to miss the flight. In addition to the delayed inbound with a legal connection.
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Old Jan 13, 20, 12:22 pm
  #75  
 
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Always, always, always add your BP to your "wallet" (Apple iOS talk) once it's generated by the app. This will always get you through security, even if you are removed from the flight. The bar code only gives name, TSA PreCheck status, flight info, etc. but does not actively link to the airline reservation system to check if you're still on the flight. Meaning...you can get through security with the BP and then sort out any flight issues at the gate or the customer service area.

-RM
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