Go Back  FlyerTalk Forums > Miles&Points > Airlines and Mileage Programs > United Airlines | MileagePlus
Reload this Page >

Strange/Alarming reminder from UA on China flights when ticket was booked by miles

Strange/Alarming reminder from UA on China flights when ticket was booked by miles

Old Nov 18, 20, 5:06 pm
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: CTU (Chengdu, China)/ SFO (San Francisco, USA)
Programs: UA 1K/1MM; SPG Lifetime Gold
Posts: 937
Strange/Alarming reminder from UA on China flights when ticket was booked by miles

Got both a text message and an email about my trip to Shanghai this Friday, where the ticket is booked using award miles. Does this sound alarming that they might bump me off the flight as a non-revenue customer? Called 1K line and the agent said no worries as this might be a blanket statement to all customers on the flight and the flight currently is booked to capacity.

Anyone else got this type of reminder before?

================================================== ======================
Important information about your upcoming trip

Unfortunately, due to imposed government regulations, our flight to PVG can only be boarded to a maximum 75% total aircraft capacity. For the B777-300 aircraft, this is a total of 263 revenue and non-revenue customers. As a non-revenue customer, please be mindful of this restriction when making travel plans. Thank you for your patience during this challenging time.

Confirmation Number: XXXXXX

================================================== =======================

Last edited by UA vs NW; Nov 18, 20 at 5:07 pm Reason: Format is wrong
UA vs NW is offline  
Old Nov 18, 20, 5:11 pm
  #2  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Oct 2001
Location: Austin, TX
Posts: 14,440
Originally Posted by UA vs NW View Post
Got both a text message and an email about my trip to Shanghai this Friday, where the ticket is booked using award miles. Does this sound alarming that they might bump me off the flight as a non-revenue customer?
An award ticket is not a non-revenue customer. That message makes no sense as written.

The involuntary denied boarding list is supposed to be processed first by status and then by fare class. Assuming they follow the process correctly, you'd be IDB'd before any other 1Ks or GSes, but after any general members, Silver, Gold, or Platinum members.

They'll also ask for volunteers, although I suspect even a $10K voucher might not be compelling to many people trying to get to China right now.
Spiff, uanj, MSPeconomist and 3 others like this.
jsloan is offline  
Old Nov 18, 20, 5:42 pm
  #3  
 
Join Date: Mar 2014
Location: PWM
Programs: UA Silver
Posts: 959
Covid IDBs?

Originally Posted by jsloan View Post
The involuntary denied boarding list is supposed to be processed first by status and then by fare class. Assuming they follow the process correctly, you'd be IDB'd before any other 1Ks or GSes, but after any general members, Silver, Gold, or Platinum members. They'll also ask for volunteers, although I suspect even a $10K voucher might not be compelling to many people trying to get to China right now.
Hmm. Is this IDB? I guess the answer is yes. I haven't seen any reports of US airlines thinning the herd so to speak.

But are pax entitled to compensation? According to the letter of the law, yes. But the intent of the law was to exempt airlines from paying due to unforeseen circumstances. Of course, they could choose to sell fewer tickets in anticipation of govt regulation. I suppose the shrewd move would be to cancel these flights 1 day out and rebook most pax onto a new flight number. How has UA been handling this (if at all?).
sexykitten7 is offline  
Old Nov 18, 20, 6:22 pm
  #4  
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: CLE, DCA, and 30k feet
Programs: Honors Diamond; United 1K; Hertz PC
Posts: 2,359
Originally Posted by sexykitten7 View Post
Hmm. Is this IDB? I guess the answer is yes. I haven't seen any reports of US airlines thinning the herd so to speak.

But are pax entitled to compensation? According to the letter of the law, yes. But the intent of the law was to exempt airlines from paying due to unforeseen circumstances. Of course, they could choose to sell fewer tickets in anticipation of govt regulation. I suppose the shrewd move would be to cancel these flights 1 day out and rebook most pax onto a new flight number. How has UA been handling this (if at all?).
By the literal letter of the law yes, and admittedly I am not a lawyer but I can definitely see a court interpreting "(b) The flight for which the passenger holds confirmed reserved spaceis unable to accommodate that passenger because of substitution of equipment of lesser capacity when required by operational or safety reasons;..." although the aircraft has not been substituted the lesser capacity is definitely for "operational or safety reasons" (and possibly, under the COC's "refusal to transport when it would violate a government requirement" escape hatch)

That said I can't imagine UA would actually allow a flight to be booked >75% knowing that that's a limit; revenue management would have to be insane to authorize >75% of seats for sale (plus, perhaps some small oversell margin)

And I agree the message makes no sense since MP tickets are not non-revenue tickets for NRPS/NRSB purposes... I'm guessing someone clicked the wrong checkboxes when applying that waring to specific fare classes/reservation statuses.
jsloan likes this.
lincolnjkc is offline  
Old Nov 18, 20, 6:45 pm
  #5  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Oct 2001
Location: Austin, TX
Posts: 14,440
Originally Posted by sexykitten7 View Post
Hmm. Is this IDB? I guess the answer is yes. I haven't seen any reports of US airlines thinning the herd so to speak.

But are pax entitled to compensation? According to the letter of the law, yes. But the intent of the law was to exempt airlines from paying due to unforeseen circumstances. Of course, they could choose to sell fewer tickets in anticipation of govt regulation. I suppose the shrewd move would be to cancel these flights 1 day out and rebook most pax onto a new flight number. How has UA been handling this (if at all?).
I don't think there's any question that UA would follow the VDB procedure in this case in order to try to cause the fewest headaches. When that fails, I agree that there's a possibility that they would attempt to IDB without compensation; whether or not that would hold up under scrutiny, I don't know. I'd certainly file a complaint if I were IDB'ed and not given compensation. I don't think that this would fall under the substitution of a smaller aircraft or weight & balance clauses.
SPN Lifer and lincolnjkc like this.
jsloan is offline  
Old Nov 18, 20, 7:14 pm
  #6  
 
Join Date: Mar 2014
Location: PWM
Programs: UA Silver
Posts: 959
Originally Posted by lincolnjkc View Post
That said I can't imagine UA would actually allow a flight to be booked >75% knowing that that's a limit; revenue management would have to be insane to authorize >75% of seats for sale (plus, perhaps some small oversell margin)
Good points. And howdy! Hope you're enjoying Brazil. Just had a zoom with someone there. Hypothetically RM might be selling full capacity for 11 months. China pulls this policy out of their behind tomorrow. Then what? You can't unsell those tickets! Altho in this bizarro world, it wouldn't surprise me.
Originally Posted by jsloan View Post
I don't think there's any question that UA would follow the VDB procedure in this case in order to try to cause the fewest headaches. When that fails, I agree that there's a possibility that they would attempt to IDB without compensation; whether or not that would hold up under scrutiny, I don't know. I'd certainly file a complaint if I were IDB'ed and not given compensation. I don't think that this would fall under the substitution of a smaller aircraft or weight & balance clauses.
Yes I agree. In fact, UA is likely bound by the CoC regardless of what the law says. So it sounds like this is brand new territory? Exciting!!!!!
sexykitten7 is offline  
Old Nov 18, 20, 7:18 pm
  #7  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Sep 2012
Location: SFO
Programs: AC SE MM, Bonvoy Tit, HH Diamond, Hyatt Glob, Accor Gold, UA Silver
Posts: 34,708
That flight has more than 263 confirmed pax right now, so let us know what happens.
canadiancow is online now  
Old Nov 18, 20, 7:26 pm
  #8  
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: CLE, DCA, and 30k feet
Programs: Honors Diamond; United 1K; Hertz PC
Posts: 2,359
Originally Posted by sexykitten7 View Post
Good points. And howdy! Hope you're enjoying Brazil. Just had a zoom with someone there. Hypothetically RM might be selling full capacity for 11 months. China pulls this policy out of their behind tomorrow. Then what? You can't unsell those tickets! Altho in this bizarro world, it wouldn't surprise me.
Thanks! Wish things were more "normal" for my first time here (and I had time for sight-seeing), but honestly the places I've been both in Sao Paulo and Rio feel a bit safer than at home.

Fair point re: an 11 month schedule. I wonder what % load factor at say T-90 UA would have under normal circumstances... given that Chinese traffic tanked early and we're 7ish months into this at this point is that (being booked >75% of true capacity, let alone significantly >75%) really something that is happening? Admittedly I haven't looked and reduced supply probably drives loads on individual flights higher but I do wonder. On the other hand if UA didnt' think this was a potential problem they wouldn't throw the flag up.

That said having "insider" friends sharing load details with me in the past I do know that employees can see all of the details (capacity, authorized for sale, booked, standby, etc.) so sticking with the "this was an accident for OP" theory it would make sense for NRSBs -- "Oh, this aircraft can seat 400 people but revenue management has only authorized 300 for sale... slam dunk I'm on this flight" and the notice would serve as the "no there's a reason it's only authorized to 300, don't get your hopes up" backstop
BenA and sexykitten7 like this.
lincolnjkc is offline  
Old Nov 18, 20, 7:35 pm
  #9  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Oct 2001
Location: Austin, TX
Posts: 14,440
Originally Posted by lincolnjkc View Post
given that Chinese traffic tanked early and we're 7ish months into this at this point is that (being booked >75% of true capacity, let alone significantly >75%) really something that is happening? Admittedly I haven't looked and reduced supply probably drives loads on individual flights higher but I do wonder. On the other hand if UA didnt' think this was a potential problem they wouldn't throw the flag up.
Capacity to/from China remains extremely limited; as a result, airfares remain very high and planes remain full. UA is charging -- and, I believe, getting -- $7K+ RT for Y and $20K for J.
lincolnjkc likes this.
jsloan is offline  
Old Nov 18, 20, 7:55 pm
  #10  
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Programs: SQ, QF, UA, CO, DL
Posts: 1,480
OP, China has been restricting inbound flights to 75% of capacity since some time in March, so United cannot say it is a new or unforeseen restriction. China has also severely reduced the number of inbound flights and with demand to China far higher than what is available prices are really high. Regardless, as jsloan pointed out you should not be getting communication addressing you as a non-rev passenger if you paid by miles. If reservations says you are OK as a 1K you should make this flight even it is slightly oversold.
uanj is offline  
Old Nov 18, 20, 8:05 pm
  #11  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: CTU (Chengdu, China)/ SFO (San Francisco, USA)
Programs: UA 1K/1MM; SPG Lifetime Gold
Posts: 937
Thanks everyone for sharing your thoughts and suggestions. I will try to arrive at SFO early this Friday and report back on the final outcome. Fingers crossed!
UA vs NW is offline  
Old Nov 18, 20, 8:31 pm
  #12  
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 7,157
Maybe they build some slack in for people not having the correct tests/failing the test before the flight. That said I canít imagine how upset Iíd be if after paying through the nose for the rapid Covid tests within 48 hours and getting all the docs in order, they denied me boarding.
travelinmanS is offline  
Old Nov 18, 20, 8:34 pm
  #13  
 
Join Date: May 2012
Location: ORF, RIC
Programs: UA LT 1K, 3 MM; Marriott Platinum; IHG Platinum
Posts: 3,889
Originally Posted by UA vs NW View Post
Thanks everyone for sharing your thoughts and suggestions. I will try to arrive at SFO early this Friday and report back on the final outcome. Fingers crossed!
You wonít have any problem to make the trip.
The ticket price is insane due to outbound (SFO-PVG) demand. There are plenty of saver economy tickets available for inbound PVG-SFO. No Chinese wants to come to the COVID-19 epic center.
Safe travel!

Last edited by Kmxu; Nov 19, 20 at 1:04 pm Reason: add SFO-PVG
Kmxu is offline  
Old Nov 18, 20, 10:22 pm
  #14  
A FlyerTalk Posting Legend
 
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: Minneapolis: DL DM charter 2.3MM
Programs: A3*Gold, SPG Plat, HyattDiamond, MarriottPP, LHW exAccess, ICI, Raffles Amb, NW PE MM, TWA Gold MM
Posts: 91,469
Originally Posted by Kmxu View Post
You wonít have any problem to make the trip.
The ticket price is insane due to outbound demand. There are plenty of saver economy tickets available for inbound PVG-SFO. No Chinese wants to come to the COVID-19 epic center.
Safe travel!
OP seems to be traveling to PVG, not from PVG, according to the OP of this threat ("to Shanghai").
MSPeconomist is offline  
Old Nov 19, 20, 8:06 am
  #15  
 
Join Date: Nov 2020
Posts: 31
This might be a new regulation from China, I just got out of quarantine in Shanghai and my flight (SFO-PVG) was 100% full. Cases started spiking shortly after I flew though, and I believe Chinese visas are now being revoked from Europe for that reason. I dont think they started revoking US visas yet but I could be wrong.
Expat_flyer1 is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Search Engine: