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Is an "eTicket Itinerary and Receipt" a legally binding document?

Is an "eTicket Itinerary and Receipt" a legally binding document?

Old Jan 26, 20, 3:07 pm
  #1  
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Is an "eTicket Itinerary and Receipt" a legally binding document?

I just booked an award ticket for a family member who has no status. Emailed receipt shows $0 bag fee for bags 1 and 2. I have Gold status.

Thanks!
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Old Jan 26, 20, 3:10 pm
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Originally Posted by shdflyer View Post
I just booked an award ticket for a family member who has no status. Emailed receipt shows $0 bag fee for bags 1 and 2. I have Gold status.
What's the route and class of service? Does it show the regular price, struck through, or does it just say $0?

UA is required to print the luggage allowance on the receipt. I don't know about "legally binding," as it's often wrong, especially where partner flights are concerned, but I might be willing to press the point and find out what the DOT thought, if the situation warranted.
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Old Jan 26, 20, 3:32 pm
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Originally Posted by jsloan View Post
What's the route and class of service? Does it show the regular price, struck through, or does it just say $0?
SHD-IAD-DTW, XN
It just says 0 USD for Bags 1 and 2, with no regular price/strike through:


Last edited by shdflyer; Jan 26, 20 at 3:38 pm
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Old Jan 26, 20, 3:41 pm
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Originally Posted by shdflyer View Post
SHD-IAD-DTW, XN
It just says $0 for Bags 1 and 2, with no regular price/strike through
OK; I thought maybe the route or class of service included baggage, but that's not the case. I suspect that the computer will charge for bags. A printout might be enough to get the charge waived, but I sort of doubt it. You could apply for a refund after the fact, which I suspect would be denied, and then you could follow up with a DOT complaint and see what happens.

It really depends upon your appetite for risk. The DOT can't be very happy with UA's incorrect receipts -- to the extent that they know about them -- but I also don't recall seeing any stories, one way or the other, about what happens when you try to get them to abide by what they wrote.
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Old Jan 26, 20, 4:47 pm
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In answering OP's question, the answer is no - it is not legal binding.

However, in this case, if UA presented to the passenger that there would be no bag fee even the information was wrong, UA would not be allowed to charge, as that can be seen as a violation of 49 U.S.C. § 41712 as an unfair and deceptive practices, which is actionable by DOT.
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Old Jan 26, 20, 5:40 pm
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This was an award tix where the miles came from an UA elite, right? Don't elite benefits pass onto the reservation regardless of the actual pax's status? Or is "passed on benefits" no longer the case? I haven't been an UA elite for a long while.

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Old Jan 26, 20, 5:43 pm
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Originally Posted by LAX View Post
This was an award tix where the miles came from an UA elite, right? Don't elite benefits pass onto the reservation regardless of the actual pax's status? Or is "passed on benefits" no longer the case? I haven't been an UA elite for a long while.
No; that stopped several years ago. In theory, anyway.

Even then, I would have expected the struck-through price, with the text saying "we'll waive these fees as long as you have Premier status on the day of travel"

Last edited by jsloan; Jan 26, 20 at 6:14 pm Reason: updated
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Old Jan 26, 20, 5:48 pm
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Originally Posted by jsloan View Post
No; that stopped several years ago. In theory, anyway.

Even then, I would have expected the struck-through price, with the text saying "we'll waive these fees as long as you have Premier status on the day of travel"
Thanks for the correction. I guess it's a glitch then and up to UA to honor its "mistake."

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Old Jan 26, 20, 5:55 pm
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Isn't the weight also "wrong" for a non-elite?

I wasn't aware that SHD had regular service. I just checked some pricing to FL and it looks to add a $200-300 premium on the drive to IAD.
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Old Jan 26, 20, 6:01 pm
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OP attempt to put in 2 bags now on the app and see what happens.
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Old Jan 26, 20, 6:05 pm
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Originally Posted by birdiedouble View Post
Isn't the weight also "wrong" for a non-elite?
Yes (the image was added after I replied; thanks for pointing it out Someone without elite status will pay an overweight bag fee between 51 and 70 lbs.

Originally Posted by birdiedouble View Post
I wasn't aware that SHD had regular service. I just checked some pricing to FL and it looks to add a $200-300 premium on the drive to IAD.
It depends upon inventory, of course, but the SHD people are cognizant of that, to the point where they actually have a calculator on their website comparing the cost of flying out of SHD vs CHO, RIC, and IAD. (Parking, mileage on the car, etc.)
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Old Jan 26, 20, 6:11 pm
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Just curious - what does the online bag calculator say (I mean the one where you type in your PNR and last name). That theoretically should give you the same thing an agent will get - though it’s completely possible it could change at some point - like the mileage accrual line that can go from one number to ineligible to another number (though almost always credits like it should, no matter what the predicted number is).
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Old Jan 26, 20, 6:23 pm
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Originally Posted by jp12687 View Post
This is one of those interesting points that I wonder if it’s worth holding UA accountable.

i routinely fly LIH-HNL-EWR on miles. The first leg is Hawaiian and they always charge me bags.

even though my receipt from UA says I get 2 free bags on the route up to 70lbs

hawiian says they charge based on the originating carrier (them) vs what United might offer you.

is that a violation of DOT rules since united shows it as free bags but o get charged?
So, it looks like UA has changed their receipts, and boy is this a bad change.

The previous receipt format included the struck-through values that I mentioned earlier, showing the regular fee and then replacing it with a zero. The accompanying text indicated that the free bags were only available if checking in with United.

The new receipt format does not do that. It just has the zeros, with the disclaimer. "Baggage check-in must occur with United or United Express, and you must have valid MileagePlus Premier® 1K® membership at time of check-in to qualify for waiver of service charges for up to three checked bags (within specified size and weight limits)."

What a huge can of worms they've opened. If I didn't know how UA's baggage rules worked, it would be easy to read that table as "two bags are free, and the third will be waived if I'm still 1K." And this really doesn't comply with the spirit of the DOT regulation; if I were checking in with another airline, or losing my status, there is no way for me to tell what the baggage fees would be by looking at my receipt. So, that dovetails into your question: whose rules are supposed to apply depends upon whether your flight is a one-way or outbound (HA's rules) or the return flight of a round-trip ticket (UA's rules). However, if UA is printing a receipt like that, that just shows zeroes when it shouldn't, and you still get charged, I would be tempted to complain, not because I thought the fee shouldn't apply (it should), but because UA needs to prioritize getting this right for the millions of its customers who aren't experts in its broken IT systems.

OP: I suspect that you'll find similar text to mine just underneath that table on your receipt.

Originally Posted by emcampbe View Post
Just curious - what does the online bag calculator say (I mean the one where you type in your PNR and last name). That theoretically should give you the same thing an agent will get - though it’s completely possible it could change at some point - like the mileage accrual line that can go from one number to ineligible to another number (though almost always credits like it should, no matter what the predicted number is).
Agreed; this is worth checking out.
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Old Jan 26, 20, 6:56 pm
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The family member should have a paper copy of the entire e-ticket receipt with him and should raise the issue should the check-in agent at SHD attempt to charge the fee. The family member should also have his CC ready in case the fee is charged. All the rest comes after the fact and isn't worth arguing about at the check in counter.

The bottom line is that even if UA has issued an incorrect receipt, that does not entitle the passenger to enforce the lower limit. Rather, it may result in DOT fining UA (unlikely) but that does not really help the family member.

Just a guess, but I am willing to bet that the SHD agent will "honor" the e-ticket receipt allowance.
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Old Jan 26, 20, 7:01 pm
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Originally Posted by jsloan View Post
OP: I suspect that you'll find similar text to mine just underneath that table on your receipt.
Yep, you are correct, I found the following fine print: "Baggage check-in must occur with United or United Express, and United MileagePlus Premier® Gold membership must be valid at time of check-in to qualify for any applicable waiver of service charges for checked bags (within specified size and weight limits)."

So if this ticket were in my name, the $0 bag fee would be correct, but why in the world can their IT system not recognize that the ticketed passenger is not me? My son's award ticket has his UA no-status FF# is in the reservation as well; this should be child's play for competent IT...
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