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-   -   Rebooking BOS-LAX flight (https://www.flyertalk.com/forum/united-airlines-mileageplus/2017259-rebooking-bos-lax-flight.html)

Graciecatt May 6, 20 2:23 pm

Rebooking BOS-LAX flight
 
I've been rebooking my UA BOS-LAX flight monthly since April, hoping to be able to see my daughter. I'm now booked for June 10 and paid cash. I've been stalking the UA website for any flight changes I might not be notified about and now there are only 6 UA BOS-LAX flights listed and no non-stops on 6/10. I'm hoping that means my flight is no longer an option for new bookings, but is not cancelled.

I plan to wait until the last minute to decide if I'm going in June and also to give UA the opportunity to cancel the flight rather than me canceling so I get a refund. Since there are so few flight choices even now in the first week of May, should I book a (second) flight now for July or August when there might be more choice (and hopefully a nonstop option) and then cancel whichever flight I don't take? If yes, should I book that second flight on points or cash?

CPH-Flyer May 6, 20 5:20 pm


Originally Posted by Graciecatt (Post 32353916)
I've been rebooking my UA BOS-LAX flight monthly since April, hoping to be able to see my daughter. I'm now booked for June 10 and paid cash. I've been stalking the UA website for any flight changes I might not be notified about and now there are only 6 UA BOS-LAX flights listed and no non-stops on 6/10. I'm hoping that means my flight is no longer an option for new bookings, but is not cancelled.

I plan to wait until the last minute to decide if I'm going in June and also to give UA the opportunity to cancel the flight rather than me canceling so I get a refund. Since there are so few flight choices even now in the first week of May, should I book a (second) flight now for July or August when there might be more choice (and hopefully a nonstop option) and then cancel whichever flight I don't take? If yes, should I book that second flight on points or cash?

United has stopped calling cancellations for cancellations. They don't cancel flights any longer. They remove them from the schedule. A schedule change is when the flight is removed and you can be reaccommodated within 6 hours, a significant change is if the change is more than 6 hours. A cancellation is only if the flight is removed, and they can't reaccommodate the passenger. So getting a cancellation from United is tricky at best.

I am sure this definition will be challenged, but so far it stands.

econ May 6, 20 6:57 pm


Originally Posted by Graciecatt (Post 32353916)
I've been rebooking my UA BOS-LAX flight monthly since April, hoping to be able to see my daughter. I'm now booked for June 10 and paid cash. I've been stalking the UA website for any flight changes I might not be notified about and now there are only 6 UA BOS-LAX flights listed and no non-stops on 6/10. I'm hoping that means my flight is no longer an option for new bookings, but is not cancelled.

I plan to wait until the last minute to decide if I'm going in June and also to give UA the opportunity to cancel the flight rather than me canceling so I get a refund. Since there are so few flight choices even now in the first week of May, should I book a (second) flight now for July or August when there might be more choice (and hopefully a nonstop option) and then cancel whichever flight I don't take? If yes, should I book that second flight on points or cash?

Given the stance UA has adopted on refunds for cancelled flights, I'd be very reluctant to make any cash bookings on UA if your schedule isn't flexible.

I'd go with the miles option since UA is also waiving re-deposit fees as long as it is done 30 days prior to departure.

Then, if you ultimately decide to go in July/August, you can determine if you want to use the funds from your June flight (which there should be a change fee waiver for) towards the July/August flight and cancel the award booking, or just keep the award booking and try for a possible refund or use those funds for something else.

Graciecatt May 7, 20 7:19 am


Originally Posted by CPH-Flyer (Post 32354362)
United has stopped calling cancellations for cancellations. They don't cancel flights any longer. They remove them from the schedule. A schedule change is when the flight is removed and you can be reaccommodated within 6 hours, a significant change is if the change is more than 6 hours. A cancellation is only if the flight is removed, and they can't reaccommodate the passenger. So getting a cancellation from United is tricky at best.

I am sure this definition will be challenged, but so far it stands.

So given that UA just removes flights without notice, should I assume that my current flight is already cancelled since it doesn't show up on a fresh search for 6/10? It's UA 255.


Originally Posted by econ (Post 32354513)
Given the stance UA has adopted on refunds for cancelled flights, I'd be very reluctant to make any cash bookings on UA if your schedule isn't flexible.

I'd go with the miles option since UA is also waiving re-deposit fees as long as it is done 30 days prior to departure.

Then, if you ultimately decide to go in July/August, you can determine if you want to use the funds from your June flight (which there should be a change fee waiver for) towards the July/August flight and cancel the award booking, or just keep the award booking and try for a possible refund or use those funds for something else.

So then maybe I should book a second, easily refundable flight on a different airline? I have plenty of Chase UR and Amex MR - which airline has the best cancellation policy that can get me from BOS-LAX? Or even cash? - flights are certainly cheap enough - I'm more interested in the ease of cancellation.

Often1 May 7, 20 7:48 am

For those who have already booked and who have a situation where the flight they booked is not operating, do not give up if you are issued a credit by UA. The April 3, DOT Enforcement Warning to carriers is manifestly clear that if the flight is cancelled OR there is a significant change, a refund is due. People who want a refund absolutely ought to both file a DOT complaint and also initiate a chargeback with their credit card issuer (bank).

DOT does not enforce individual consumer complaints, but it does require carriers to answer the complaint and it does track what they say. Your complaint should make clear that your flight was cancelled (if it does not operate, it is cancelled), that you exercised your right under DOT rules as most recently made clear (April 3 letter) and were denied.

Your chargeback should include a copy of your e-ticket receipt, a screenshot showing the absence of the flight (or a cancellation if there is one), your request for a refund, and the UA response (or a note that your received one) or that you were issued a credit and did not want one.

"Carriers have a longstanding obligation to provide a prompt refund to a ticketed passenger when the carrier cancels the passenger’s flight or makes a significant change in the flight schedule and the passenger chooses not to accept the alternative offered by the carrier."

UA may well back down and issue a refund or it may choose to fight DOT should DOT pursue the matter. But, if you do not pursue your claims, you are stuck.

Graciecatt May 7, 20 8:50 am

UGH - so my flight not appearing in a new search for the date, time, and flight means it's cancelled? I guess I have to call United then.

fumje May 7, 20 9:02 am


Originally Posted by Graciecatt (Post 32355677)
UGH - so my flight not appearing in a new search for the date, time, and flight means it's cancelled? I guess I have to call United then.

That does not actually mean your flight is cancelled, but it is a strong indicator that it will be. In fact, although inventory is zeroed (hence being unable to find it in a new search), the flight is still on the schedule.

So no point calling united about it yet.

Good luck.

Graciecatt May 7, 20 9:23 am


Originally Posted by fumje (Post 32355735)
That does not actually mean your flight is cancelled, but it is a strong indicator that it will be. In fact, although inventory is zeroed (hence being unable to find it in a new search), the flight is still on the schedule.

So no point calling united about it yet.

Good luck.

Thank you for the definitive response. I'll hang on then. I was wondering if not seeing it in a new search meant that it was "full" according to new social distancing seating requirements or if it was cancelled.

jsloan May 7, 20 10:10 am


Originally Posted by CPH-Flyer (Post 32354362)
United has stopped calling cancellations for cancellations.
...
I am sure this definition will be challenged, but so far it stands.

The definition of cancellation used by United is standard in the industry and matches DOT use of the term. The only thing that might be questioned is whether or not 6 hours is a reasonable cutoff for determining what constitutes a significant delay.


Originally Posted by econ (Post 32354513)
Given the stance UA has adopted on refunds for cancelled flights, I'd be very reluctant to make any cash bookings on UA if your schedule isn't flexible.

Agreed.


Originally Posted by econ (Post 32354513)
I'd go with the miles option since UA is also waiving re-deposit fees as long as it is done 30 days prior to departure.

Also agreed.


Originally Posted by Graciecatt (Post 32355524)
So then maybe I should book a second, easily refundable flight on a different airline? I have plenty of Chase UR and Amex MR - which airline has the best cancellation policy that can get me from BOS-LAX? Or even cash? - flights are certainly cheap enough - I'm more interested in the ease of cancellation.

I believe that Delta is still allowing refunds for schedule changes greater than 90 minutes. American has moved its threshold to four hours. Both airlines have sporadic reports of problems getting refunds. Alaska will allow you a refund if the flight changes by more than 60 minutes, but they have a limited LAX-BOS nonstop schedule.


Originally Posted by Often1 (Post 32355565)
Your complaint should make clear that your flight was cancelled (if it does not operate, it is cancelled)

That simply isn't the way that it works. The DOT is not going to force United to treat all schedule changes, no matter how minor, as cancellations.


Originally Posted by Often1 (Post 32355565)
"Carriers have a longstanding obligation to provide a prompt refund to a ticketed passenger when the carrier cancels the passengerís flight or makes a significant change in the flight schedule and the passenger chooses not to accept the alternative offered by the carrier."

The path to a potential refund comes from the phrase "significant change," not the attempt to say that every single schedule change is a "cancellation."


Originally Posted by Graciecatt (Post 32355832)
I was wondering if not seeing it in a new search meant that it was "full" according to new social distancing seating requirements or if it was cancelled.

There's no way to distinguish a flight that is full from a flight that United has zeroed out due to an intention to cancel. However, that flight is nearly empty on the seat map. While that isn't definitive, I wouldn't expect it to operate, but see above on the difficulty getting a refund from UA if the change isn't large enough, and note that nonstop travel is not guaranteed.

Given current flight loads, I don't see much of a rush to book a separate ticket for July or August. In general, one month of advance purchase should get you a reasonable fare, so I'd be tempted to wait, see what happens with your existing flight, and be prepared to change it if/when it becomes necessary.

Also, AFAIK, United has not announced any inventory limits. They're blocking advanced seat assignments, but if they sell enough tickets, they'll fill every seat.

Graciecatt May 7, 20 10:45 am


Originally Posted by jsloan (Post 32356024)
There's no way to distinguish a flight that is full from a flight that United has zeroed out due to an intention to cancel. However, that flight is nearly empty on the seat map. While that isn't definitive, I wouldn't expect it to operate, but see above on the difficulty getting a refund from UA if the change isn't large enough, and note that nonstop travel is not guaranteed.

Given current flight loads, I don't see much of a rush to book a separate ticket for July or August. In general, one month of advance purchase should get you a reasonable fare, so I'd be tempted to wait, see what happens with your existing flight, and be prepared to change it if/when it becomes necessary.

Also, AFAIK, United has not announced any inventory limits. They're blocking advanced seat assignments, but if they sell enough tickets, they'll fill every seat.

Thank you so much. This is super helpful. I am curious how you were even able to see the flight and its seat map - when I do a fresh search, it isn't there. I could check the seat map via my own reservation I guess.

jsloan May 7, 20 10:47 am


Originally Posted by Graciecatt (Post 32356130)
Thank you so much. This is super helpful. I am curious how you were even able to see the flight and its seat map - when I do a fresh search, it isn't there. I could check the seat map via my own reservation I guess.

I looked the seat map up on ExpertFlyer. But, yes, you should be able to view it from within your reservation also. Note that the middle seats are blocked for pre-assignment, so I ignored those.

tphuang May 7, 20 5:02 pm


Originally Posted by Graciecatt (Post 32353916)
I've been rebooking my UA BOS-LAX flight monthly since April, hoping to be able to see my daughter. I'm now booked for June 10 and paid cash. I've been stalking the UA website for any flight changes I might not be notified about and now there are only 6 UA BOS-LAX flights listed and no non-stops on 6/10. I'm hoping that means my flight is no longer an option for new bookings, but is not cancelled.

I plan to wait until the last minute to decide if I'm going in June and also to give UA the opportunity to cancel the flight rather than me canceling so I get a refund. Since there are so few flight choices even now in the first week of May, should I book a (second) flight now for July or August when there might be more choice (and hopefully a nonstop option) and then cancel whichever flight I don't take? If yes, should I book that second flight on points or cash?

If I were you, I would prepare UA not operating BOS-LAX for a long time and book on another carrier. UA has been the most aggressive of the big 4 in cutting flights and both BOS & LAX have got the axe.

Graciecatt May 7, 20 7:47 pm


Originally Posted by tphuang (Post 32357192)
If I were you, I would prepare UA not operating BOS-LAX for a long time and book on another carrier. UA has been the most aggressive of the big 4 in cutting flights and both BOS & LAX have got the axe.

That's what I was wondering - should I book a second flight on a different airline (which one (best refundable policy)? points or cash?) that I am positive is refundable and just wait and see if United cancels my existing flight.

jsloan May 7, 20 9:54 pm


Originally Posted by Graciecatt (Post 32357472)
That's what I was wondering - should I book a second flight on a different airline (which one (best refundable policy)? points or cash?) that I am positive is refundable and just wait and see if United cancels my existing flight.

The only flights that you can be sure are refundable are refundable fares, and those tend to be pretty expensive. In most cases, award flights are refundable, but they are generally subject to refund conditions, so you'd have to look at each program's conditions. United awards are refundable for free with 30 days notice, through the end of the year.

But, honestly, I don't understand why you'd do anything right now. If your United flight gets cancelled, and you're able to get e refund, then that's great; start from scratch at that point. But if it they merely turn a nonstop into a connection, and refuse to refund it on that basis, you're looking at a fight to get refunded: there are over 2000 posts on the refund thread, and I promise you that very few of those are "easiest thing I've ever done in my life." On the other hand, turning it into a travel credit would be simple; you could then rebook for a later date.

I could understand getting a refundable flight on another airline for June, in order to increase your options if one cancels. But I just don't see the hurry to book anything for July or August. There will be plenty of time to book something if it becomes necessary.

Graciecatt May 8, 20 8:02 am


Originally Posted by jsloan (Post 32357650)
The only flights that you can be sure are refundable are refundable fares, and those tend to be pretty expensive. In most cases, award flights are refundable, but they are generally subject to refund conditions, so you'd have to look at each program's conditions. United awards are refundable for free with 30 days notice, through the end of the year.

But, honestly, I don't understand why you'd do anything right now. If your United flight gets cancelled, and you're able to get e refund, then that's great; start from scratch at that point. But if it they merely turn a nonstop into a connection, and refuse to refund it on that basis, you're looking at a fight to get refunded: there are over 2000 posts on the refund thread, and I promise you that very few of those are "easiest thing I've ever done in my life." On the other hand, turning it into a travel credit would be simple; you could then rebook for a later date.

I could understand getting a refundable flight on another airline for June, in order to increase your options if one cancels. But I just don't see the hurry to book anything for July or August. There will be plenty of time to book something if it becomes necessary.

Thank you. Yes, I am wondering about options for both a June alternative flight or rebooking for July/August/September. So much depends on having to wait until the last minute to see if UA cancels my flight. I'm hoping if they do cancel, it would be done more than 24 hours ahead of time.

tphuang May 8, 20 9:26 am


Originally Posted by Graciecatt (Post 32357472)
That's what I was wondering - should I book a second flight on a different airline (which one (best refundable policy)? points or cash?) that I am positive is refundable and just wait and see if United cancels my existing flight.

seems like getting refund right now is pretty hard with an airline that's going through cash crunch as badly as UA. I would simply wait until you are more sure about traveling. I would be weary of AA/WN right now, because they schedule more flights and cancel more up close. The only airline to have operated this continuously is B6, so there is no reason they wouldn't fly this in June or later. DL canceled this for part of May, but if they still have it scheduled 2 to 3 weeks before your planned flying date, they should be flying it. I think you will be better served to wait until you are closer to expected traveling date.

Graciecatt May 8, 20 11:29 am


Originally Posted by tphuang (Post 32358821)
seems like getting refund right now is pretty hard with an airline that's going through cash crunch as badly as UA. I would simply wait until you are more sure about traveling. I would be weary of AA/WN right now, because they schedule more flights and cancel more up close. The only airline to have operated this continuously is B6, so there is no reason they wouldn't fly this in June or later. DL canceled this for part of May, but if they still have it scheduled 2 to 3 weeks before your planned flying date, they should be flying it. I think you will be better served to wait until you are closer to expected traveling date.

Thank you. I was definitely thinking of B6 next time. My return flight is currently scheduled on DL - I usually book one-ways rather than RT. I haven't even looked at my return flight - I've been more concerned about getting there. :)

Graciecatt May 11, 20 9:08 am

So United changed my direct flight to a one-stop leaving 1.5 hours earlier to BOS-EWR layover 4 hours then EWR-LAX arriving 4 hours later. Total is more than 6 hours change but b/c it doesn't ARRIVE 6 hours later they say I am only eligible for a future flight credit or an electronic ticket certificate. Both credit and ETC are good for the same 2-year period. I also paid for upgraded seats and I know I have to apply for that credit separately.

The UA rep told me I have until 5/31 to change/cancel my flight and maybe this new flight will be changed again so she advised me to wait and see if it qualifies for cancellation and refund. Shouldn't the total change of 1.5 hours earlier + 4 hour layover + arriving 4 hours later = enough time for a refund? She supposedly checked with a supervisor and was told no.

I'm going to hang up and call again to see if I can get a different answer re the refund but in the meantime, which is better - the future credit or the certificate? From what I can gather from google, the future credit can be used with UA partners and the certificate cannot? or that you have to use the whole thing at once with a credit and a certificate can be used on multiple occasions until you use it up? This is super confusing. If I can't get a refund, I want to choose the smartest choice.

jsloan May 11, 20 10:37 am


Originally Posted by Graciecatt (Post 32365959)
The UA rep told me I have until 5/31 to change/cancel my flight and maybe this new flight will be changed again so she advised me to wait and see if it qualifies for cancellation and refund. Shouldn't the total change of 1.5 hours earlier + 4 hour layover + arriving 4 hours later = enough time for a refund? She supposedly checked with a supervisor and was told no.

You're double-counting the layover time. You're counting it first as part of the layover, and then again as part of the arrival delay. If the total travel time changed by more than 6 hours, you might have gotten a different answer.


Originally Posted by Graciecatt (Post 32365959)
I'm going to hang up and call again to see if I can get a different answer re the refund but in the meantime, which is better - the future credit or the certificate? From what I can gather from google, the future credit can be used with UA partners and the certificate cannot?

This is correct. Also, future flight credit can only be used for your travel; you can't buy someone else a ticket with it.


Originally Posted by Graciecatt (Post 32365959)
or that you have to use the whole thing at once with a credit and a certificate can be used on multiple occasions until you use it up?

A certificate can definitely be used multiple times. Future flight credit can only be used once, but for most tickets booked prior to March 2, residual value would be returned to you as a travel certificate.

WineCountryUA May 11, 20 10:43 am


Originally Posted by Graciecatt (Post 32365959)
.... Shouldn't the total change of 1.5 hours earlier + 4 hour layover + arriving 4 hours later = enough time for a refund? ....

The stated policy is a change in 6 hour change of departure or arrival from the original schedule, not a change in trip time. And your total trip time increase was less than 6 hours anyways.
Long, detailed discussion with multiple points of view of this in COVID19 Schedule Change (6+hrs)/Cancellation Refund, UA resisting refunds, DOT ruling

Originally Posted by Graciecatt (Post 32365959)
.. - the future credit or the certificate? From what I can gather from google, the future credit can be used with UA partners and the certificate cannot? or that you have to use the whole thing at once with a credit and a certificate can be used on multiple occasions until you use it up? This is super confusing. If I can't get a refund, I want to choose the smartest choice.

The is a whole thread on that Choosing between UA Electronic Travel Certificate (ETC) vs Future Flight Credit (FFC) and the thread's wiki summarizes the key points

Graciecatt May 11, 20 12:12 pm

Thank you both so much. I will go back and read those threads.

I am not thrilled with UA. But after spending an hour arguing about how lousy the new flight was (4 hours in EWR? :)) they put me on a different connection through ORD where I arrive at the exact same time as I was arriving originally. And only 1.5 hours in ORD, which is reasonable and won't cause stress. BOS-ORD UA3409 and ORD-LAX UA1967.

Obviously I may still not fly this ticket either, in which case I will give up, get a certificate rather than a credit to use w/in 2 years, and fly Jet Blue nonstop instead.

Plus they say they will refund me for the cost I paid to upgrade to E+, gave me E+ seats for free on the new flight. We'll see if I receive the seat refund.

dkc192 May 11, 20 1:20 pm


Originally Posted by Graciecatt (Post 32366445)
BOS-ORD UA3409

BOS-ORD on UAX? Yikes. Never seen that before!

Graciecatt May 13, 20 8:37 am


Originally Posted by dkc192 (Post 32366655)
BOS-ORD on UAX? Yikes. Never seen that before!

What? They don't normally fly to ORD?

fumje May 13, 20 8:47 am


Originally Posted by Graciecatt (Post 32371477)
What? They don't normally fly to ORD?

Historically it's usually mainline, not express ('UAX'), for BOS/ORD.

Graciecatt May 13, 20 8:51 am


Originally Posted by fumje (Post 32371507)
Historically it's usually mainline, not express ('UAX'), for BOS/ORD.

Yeah that makes sense. It will probably be a full flight. I'm still wondering if I should just give up, take the ETC, and fly B6 direct.

cfischer May 13, 20 9:23 pm


Originally Posted by fumje (Post 32371507)
Historically it's usually mainline, not express ('UAX'), for BOS/ORD.

there have always been some weekend UAX BOS-ORD. And a change to UAX is good news because you can get a refund ... different operating carrier.

Dave_C May 14, 20 4:23 am


Originally Posted by cfischer (Post 32373468)
there have always been some weekend UAX BOS-ORD. And a change to UAX is good news because you can get a refund ... different operating carrier.

Is this in the CoC anywhere? Iíve got a booking for the end of June from SFO to SEA that has changed from mainline to UAX. It was a separate ticket designed to connect from LX (which Iím waiting to be cancelled too). I only paid £80 one way for it, so hardly the end of the world, but would be great to be able to get my money back if possible.

jsloan May 14, 20 10:05 am


Originally Posted by Dave_C (Post 32374013)
Is this in the CoC anywhere? Iíve got a booking for the end of June from SFO to SEA that has changed from mainline to UAX. It was a separate ticket designed to connect from LX (which Iím waiting to be cancelled too). I only paid £80 one way for it, so hardly the end of the world, but would be great to be able to get my money back if possible.

It isn't. In fact, the CoC claims that UA can switch carriers at their election. However, cfischer's statement is based upon longstanding DOT guidance that the operating carrier must be disclosed at the time of booking. Prior to COVID, it wouldn't have been a problem to get a refund under this situation. Recently, though, there are several reports of UA insisting that people had to take partner flights, and subsequent DOT complaints. I don't think we've heard the results of those complaints yet.

IMO, the law is clearly on your side if you request a refund, but you may need to go through a DOT complaint to get it.


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