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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, 2:38 pm
  #91  
 
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I think you need to identify some material harm suffered if you want miles or ETC compensation.

This does seem like a relatively major inconvenience in the way the app handles boarding passes, but it only occurs in a niche circumstance. I guess at this point it's up to you how to handle it -- don't rely on your phone?, use a screenshot? -- now that you know it can happen.
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Old Jan 13, 20, 2:40 pm
  #92  
 
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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?
Any machine can malfunction at any time. Locked up, service outage, you dropped it in the toilet, you forgot to charge up your backup battery.
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Old Jan 13, 20, 2:41 pm
  #93  
 
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Originally Posted by HNLbasedFlyer View Post
What were you expecting them to say - seems straight to the point. Said they were sorry. Explained the issue. Appreciated the feedback
If OP described the issue the way he did here, then they just ignored the gist of the issue. OP had a boarding pass, but UA made the (wrong) assumption that he would not make his flight, and deleated that boarding pass, causing an issue for him.

I seem to recall years ago arriving at the gate in ORD, having run from a connection, to find that UA had - assuming I would miss my flight - upgraded someone into my seat, and canceled my boarding pass (which beeped when I arrived). It was 15 minutes before departure I was all sweaty, they were surprised, and they trudged down the jet way to tell the person who was upgraded that they were back in Y.

At they time there were ONLY paper boarding passes. No such thing as an "app"

United needs to fix the issue by not deleting your "old" reservation/seat until 10 minutes before departure, and having the "new" reservation be an actual back up. It is really customer unfriendly to do it the way UA is now, and OP has every right to be upset.

OP, I would write the executive office since customer care does not know their head from a hole in the ground. It really is a systems issue, not an individual service failure.
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Old Jan 13, 20, 2:45 pm
  #94  
 
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Originally Posted by dval44 View Post
"We deleted your boarding pass" is a fairly staggering admission. Not a fluke, not a glitch. It's just something they do - delete traveler's boarding passes while they are traveling before they board the airplane.

Some miles or a small token would have been nice. I never complain to United. I have never asked for anything.

But on the whole, you are right that at least they clearly understood what I said, and are ostensibly addressing it in some way. Better than the form letter responses.
If they could delete the old boarding pass, why didn't they just put the new one on OP's phone? Why couldn't they at least have texted information what to do?
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Old Jan 13, 20, 2:46 pm
  #95  
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Originally Posted by Tizzette View Post
Any machine can malfunction at any time. Locked up, service outage, you dropped it in the toilet, you forgot to charge up your backup battery.
Maybe I am just trumpeting an edge case - but IMO it's much worse for them to be able to delete your bp at any time than for you to knowingly lose/break your phone. There were many times throughout the trip I could have gone to a kiosk or CS rep to print BPs at no inconvenience to me. And indeed, that's what I would have done if my phone was lost, broken, etc.

It's more akin to comparing a lost/ripped paper boarding pass to someone taking it out of your pocket and stealing it without your knowledge.

To me, the nefarious part is deleting it without alerting you, when you reasonably assume your boarding pass is with you.
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Old Jan 13, 20, 3:01 pm
  #96  
 
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Originally Posted by jsloan View Post
There's really no point in continuing this line of discussion. OP was not removed from the flight. OP had a valid reservation that was out of sync. You could argue that UA's app should display a boarding pass anyway, if only to allow somebody through security, but I promise that this isn't a scenario that anybody's really thought about. In general, when this happens, it gets sorted out at the counter or at the gate.
I do not think anybody here thought OP was forcibly removed from a flight. We have moved past that stage of UA (or other American airlines).
Luckily the people who designed the app and UA IT are not in charge of the airplanes then. 'No need for safety procedure training. It will never happen.'
"Nobody has really thought about?" I did not think that anybody over the age of 5 still used that excuse
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Old Jan 13, 20, 3:21 pm
  #97  
 
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Originally Posted by jsloan View Post
They didn’t. They stopped displaying it within the application because it wasn’t valid anymore, because your ticket was out of sync.
I agree with this, although I make reservations about the "not a scenario that anybody's really thought about" part. What annoys me, however, is how this "ticket out of sync" issue, which is the source of multiple and often obscure problems a traveler may face, is still not something that can be flagged and fixed right away to minimize customer impact. Why oh why does it still either 1) require the customer to talk to an agent to fix it 2) require hours or days to be manually reviewed and get fixed in the background (red exclamation point in PNR display)?

When the app attempts to refresh the BP and the backend sends an error back, why doesn't it pop up a dialog notifying the customer that the refresh failed and ask if the BP should be deleted or kept and retry later? Why does it by itself go ahead and delete an important travel document without assurance that the traveler has an alternative ready?

It's sad that we and agents are supposed to shrug and blame IT, while knowing very well that this won't fix anything.

Originally Posted by STS-134 View Post
Okay, seriously...those BPs that get printed from the kiosks or by the agents aren't very big, and aren't very thick either.
Is it actually paper that comes out of the kiosks? I've always wondered that that is. It feels like some sort of artificial cheap plastic with a thermal layer on top of it. Wrinkles are impossible to get out. The print fades much quicker than on real paper.

I do still get real paper United BP's with colored logo at the GS receptions and most INTL J counters.

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.
AFAIK TSA does have procedures for a passenger presenting with no ID or no BP, but not sure that it entails. It'd probably take a lot longer to get you through security, however, so not sure if anything would've been gained.
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Old Jan 13, 20, 3:25 pm
  #98  
 
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Yep, a printed copy of the BP along with a printed copy of every reservation confirmation is always with me. Thankfully I've never needed them but I do know that whenever I don't have them is when I will.

On returns trip when I don't have access to a printer than the kiosk it is.
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Old Jan 13, 20, 3:30 pm
  #99  
 
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Originally Posted by mozilla View Post
AFAIK TSA does have procedures for a passenger presenting with no ID or no BP, but not sure that it entails. It'd probably take a lot longer to get you through security, however, so not sure if anything would've been gained.
A decade ago I was with someone who forgot his ID and still got let through.
But times have changed. TSA is not known for flexibility/intelligence.
Can you imagine the fallout if they let someone through who just said 'I have a ticket' but can not actually provide it?
I mean, this is the same TSA that ...
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Old Jan 13, 20, 3:34 pm
  #100  
 
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Originally Posted by dval44 View Post
Some miles or a small token would have been nice. I never complain to United. I have never asked for anything.
Ultimately, you got on the next flight 1 hour 50 minutes later - that doesn't seem bad to me. If you had to overnight, that would be different. You weren't on your way to vacation. Besides being annoying, I don't see the harm here.
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Old Jan 13, 20, 3:34 pm
  #101  
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OP, a question and a comment...
  • Since they protected you on a later flight, didn't that BP show up in the app? Or did you just not know to look for it?
  • One other "belt and suspenders" idea that doesn't involve paper BPs: You can have the app email you a copy of your BP. That way, if it disappears in the app, it's still in your email. (Possibly more useful for the Android universe.)
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Old Jan 13, 20, 3:38 pm
  #102  
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Originally Posted by s0ssos View Post
I do not think anybody here thought OP was forcibly removed from a flight.
Words have meanings. Many people have insisted that the OP was removed from the flight for UA's own nefarious purposes. It's utter nonsense. OP was protected and the ticket went out of sync.

Originally Posted by s0ssos View Post
"Nobody has really thought about?" I did not think that anybody over the age of 5 still used that excuse
If you think that all contingencies are examined in application software development... I don't even know where to begin.

Originally Posted by mozilla View Post
I agree with this, although I make reservations about the "not a scenario that anybody's really thought about" part.
Specifically, the idea that somebody's going to get stuck in transit security with a crazy-long line on a tight connection, such that they had a boarding pass when they entered the line but didn't have one anymore by the end of the line (and somehow it took 30+ minutes to resolve?!)

Originally Posted by mozilla View Post
What annoys me, however, is how this "ticket out of sync" issue, which is the source of multiple and often obscure problems a traveler may face, is still not something that can be flagged and fixed right away to minimize customer impact. Why oh why does it still either 1) require the customer to talk to an agent to fix it 2) require hours or days to be manually reviewed and get fixed in the background (red exclamation point in PNR display)?
Agreed. Unfortunately, UA's back-end systems seem so brittle that I'd be terrified of a new app feature that let you fix problems like this.

Originally Posted by mozilla View Post
When the app attempts to refresh the BP and the backend sends an error back, why doesn't it pop up a dialog notifying the customer that the refresh failed and ask if the BP should be deleted or kept and retry later? Why does it by itself go ahead and delete an important travel document without assurance that the traveler has an alternative ready?
One person's important travel document is another person's "why would anyone ever need this feature anyway?"

Anyway, unless the BP is saved to the device, the app is going to try to load it each time. You could make an argument that they should cache the last-known-good copy of it, but, again, I don't think anybody ever considered this. They could even have a boarding card that allowed you to pass through security but instructed you to proceed to the gate or to customer service (essentially a 'see agent' seat assignment).

Originally Posted by mozilla View Post
AFAIK TSA does have procedures for a passenger presenting with no ID or no BP, but not sure that it entails. It'd probably take a lot longer to get you through security, however, so not sure if anything would've been gained.
I mean, we're talking about a passenger who can presumably show a previous boarding pass and a ticketing confirmation, plus valid ID. Yes, I know the TSA has this strange belief that bad actors don't have names and can't get boarding passes, or something, but it couldn't have hurt to ask.

Oh, and OP: it's clear that UA does not understand what you said, because their response was incorrect. They didn't rebook you on another flight.

Also, another option for anyone who finds themselves in this situation: while I don't normally recommend this, in this particular case I would have felt entirely justified buying a refundable ticket for later that day, going through security, getting things figured out, and then refunding the ticket.

Originally Posted by s0ssos View Post
Can you imagine the fallout if they let someone through who just said 'I have a ticket' but can not actually provide it?
What do you suppose the copy of the reservation in the United app is?

Besides, it's not like it's hard to get past the screeners even if you don't plan to fly (see: procedure above). I suspect that a large percentage of the TSA workers understand that they're just security theatre.

Originally Posted by DenverBrian View Post
Since they protected you on a later flight, didn't that BP show up in the app? Or did you just not know to look for it?
People on this thread are obsessed with boarding passes.

OP wouldn't have had a boarding pass for the later flight for the same reason that he didn't a have boarding pass for the earlier flight; his ticket was out of sync, because he was confirmed on two flights at the same time.
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Old Jan 13, 20, 3:38 pm
  #103  
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Originally Posted by mozilla View Post
I agree with this, although I make reservations about the "not a scenario that anybody's really thought about" part. What annoys me, however, is how this "ticket out of sync" issue, which is the source of multiple and often obscure problems a traveler may face, is still not something that can be flagged and fixed right away to minimize customer impact. Why oh why does it still either 1) require the customer to talk to an agent to fix it 2) require hours or days to be manually reviewed and get fixed in the background (red exclamation point in PNR display)?

When the app attempts to refresh the BP and the backend sends an error back, why doesn't it pop up a dialog notifying the customer that the refresh failed and ask if the BP should be deleted or kept and retry later? Why does it by itself go ahead and delete an important travel document without assurance that the traveler has an alternative ready?

It's sad that we and agents are supposed to shrug and blame IT, while knowing very well that this won't fix anything.



Is it actually paper that comes out of the kiosks? I've always wondered that that is. It feels like some sort of artificial cheap plastic with a thermal layer on top of it. Wrinkles are impossible to get out. The print fades much quicker than on real paper.

I do still get real paper United BP's with colored logo at the GS receptions and most INTL J counters.



AFAIK TSA does have procedures for a passenger presenting with no ID or no BP, but not sure that it entails. It'd probably take a lot longer to get you through security, however, so not sure if anything would've been gained.
It's possible to get past TSA with no ID (at least for a domestic flight) but AFAIK a "civilian" over age 2 cannot go through TSA airport security without a boarding pass for the flight. CLEAR generally avoids the TSA document check, but one starts by scanning a boarding pass at the CLEAR kiosk.
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Old Jan 13, 20, 3:43 pm
  #104  
 
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Originally Posted by s0ssos View Post
Can you imagine the fallout if they let someone through who just said 'I have a ticket' but can not actually provide it?
I mean, this is the same TSA that ...
Aviation security wise, there would be no fallout at all. Your identity will still be verified and ran against the lists, and you and your bags will still be screened. But that's already way too complicated for the general public and the media to grasp, and I understand TSA wants to avoid the PR fallout.

However, I do believe the no-ID-present or no-BP-present procedures are still in place, but it will take you a lot longer to get through security as they run all the checks, and that's assuming TSA is willing to cooperate. Note these procedures apply when an ID and a BP exist, but pax doesn't have it in his/her physical possession. TSA won't help you when an ID or a BP was never produced in the first place.
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Old Jan 13, 20, 3:54 pm
  #105  
 
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I am very disappointed in this thread. Clear, inexcusable screwup by United.

And for everyone who thinks a paper BP solves everything, that BP still has a bar code that has to scan as valid. We actually don't know if the same thing wouldn't have happened to OP with a paper BP. TSA agent scans the bar code and it says it is invalid....
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