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Priceline's United Packages: First Class Bait and Switch

Priceline's United Packages: First Class Bait and Switch

Old Jun 12, 22, 10:49 am
  #16  
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Originally Posted by TerryK View Post
This is a Priceline issue, not an UA issue.
I originally thought that, but it specifically affects United Packages users, which is marketed by United. Really no different than how United Express works.
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Old Jun 12, 22, 11:09 am
  #17  
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T&Cs (in the fine print)
United Airlines, Inc. (together with its affiliates, “United”) has engaged Priceline.com, a third-party provider, to host the United Packages website. Your United Packages purchase is being made with Priceline.com, not United. United and its affiliates are not responsible for any products or services of Priceline.com or any hotel, car rental agency or other travel service provider and are not liable for the acts, errors, omissions, representations, warranties, breaches or negligence of Priceline.com or any such travel service provider or for any personal injuries, death, property damage, or other damages or expenses resulting from any Priceline.com transaction. In no event shall United or its affiliates be liable for any direct, indirect, punitive, incidental, special or consequential damages arising out of, or in any way connected with, your travel package transaction. You acknowledge that bookings, purchases and services may be subject to additional terms and conditions imposed by United.
Like the prior United Vacations that this a 3rd party and not UA is something many will miss. These 3rd party arrangements can be found at other airlines like WN, ...
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Last edited by WineCountryUA; Jun 12, 22 at 11:17 am
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Old Jun 12, 22, 11:30 am
  #18  
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Originally Posted by hotturnip View Post
I've booked business class packages on Expedia without this problem. So it can be done correctly.

I'm curious about this:

So, "they" admitted there was an error? I think there's more to this story. Could you supply the missing details? What exactly happened when you complained about it? And how can you know the hotel rate is "2x the hotel's fully flexible rate" when the hotel is part of a package price?
Priceline supervisor admitted their was a "system error" but that my my only recourse was to cancel the flight portion of my flight my + hotel package or refare the flight portion (frustratingly using only public fares, not bulk) as per their description they are totally separate travel components with separate cancelation policies.

Only at this point did they disclose how awful the cost of my hotel portion of my trip was. I fundamentally can't get behind this response as I made my decision to pay ONE packaged total based on the combined services being offered at one presented price. It can't simultaneously be a package and not a package when they make a mistake IMO.

For anyone having trouble replicating the issue:
1) You never get the option presented to upgrade a single segment in my experience, per my screen shot above you select to upgrade the whole round trip only.
2) The sign you have replicated the issue without actually ticketing is the seat maps being off during seat assignment. In hindsight I would have gone through seat selection however it is an
optional part "Conveniently select your seat now for a fee or choose on the airline's website later" of the checkout process and not where I should have to discover the system is actually selling me a mixed class itinerary.
3) Also the checkout pricing also often drops from a small to medium amount due to "additional savings found" when I replicate the issue.
4) Also if you don't get the upgrade offer during checkout you can go through an almost identical process by selecting flight details at checkout.




Originally Posted by mahasamatman View Post
I originally thought that, but it specifically affects United Packages users, which is marketed by United. Really no different than how United Express works.
Exactly, United markets this as they provide the flight component and Priceline supplies the hotel component. As a seasoned traveler I can appreciate the nuances of how Priceline being the underlying travel agent for the whole package means I paid Priceline however this is clearly a United branded experience. I'll be filing a complaint with United corporate for deceptive marketing practices under the United brand, in addition to Priceline directly.

https://packages.united.com/wl/about/


Originally Posted by RetiredATLATC View Post
Actually just below where is says CHA to IAD and IAD to ORD in your first picture it clearly says economy class. You don't have to go through the clunky seat assignments page.
The class of service under flight details in my experience always defaults back to economy if you select "flight details" on the confirmation page. Every time you return to this page you have to reselect a higher class of service from the options. The class of service on the individual segments does not update on this page, all you get is confirmation later in the process that you have successfully booked into "first or business" for the outbound and return.

Last edited by firemandan9; Jun 12, 22 at 11:48 am
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Old Jun 12, 22, 11:40 am
  #19  
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Originally Posted by TBD View Post
Where on the confirmation does it clearly say "economy" ?

On the contrary, it clearly says "first or business".
I doesnt. If one looks at Flight Details prior to selecting front cabin it does. The confusion arises when one buys a forward cabin. Then you get the screen above. OP is correct in pointing out that first segment should say Economy. Careless is probably more accurate than bait and switch or deceitful. I think Priceline knows what ill will such a practice would generate for what they hope are long-term customers.
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Old Jun 12, 22, 11:53 am
  #20  
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Originally Posted by IAH-OIL-TRASH View Post
I doesn’t. If one looks at “Flight Details” prior to selecting front cabin it does. The confusion arises when one buys a forward cabin. Then you get the screen above. OP is correct in pointing out that first segment should say “Economy”. “Careless” is probably more accurate than “bait and switch” or “deceitful”. I think Priceline knows what ill will such a practice would generate for what they hope are long-term customers.
Careless would be if Priceline empowered their supervisor teams to offer a full package refund due to a malfunction of their automated booking system. When they won't it escalates to the definition of bait and switch. "the action (generally illegal) of advertising goods which are an apparent bargain, with the intention of substituting inferior or more expensive goods."
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Old Jun 12, 22, 11:54 am
  #21  
 
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Originally Posted by firemandan9 View Post
Priceline supervisor admitted their was a "system error" but that my my only recourse was to cancel the flight portion of my flight my + hotel package or refare the flight portion (frustratingly using only public fares, not bulk) as per their description they are totally separate travel components with separate cancelation policies.
Time to start throwing around the term "Chargeback". You bought a combined product and they have failed to deliver on one critical part of that product - that is well within the bounds for a chargeback and your credit card company will almost certainly back you on that. Ideally you don't want to get the credit card company involved, and simply stating that you're going to head down the chargeback route on the grounds of fraud/bait-n-switch/system error should be enough to get Priceline to come to the party and cancel the entire reservation.
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Old Jun 12, 22, 12:02 pm
  #22  
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Originally Posted by docbert View Post
Time to start throwing around the term "Chargeback". You bought a combined product and they have failed to deliver on one critical part of that product - that is well within the bounds for a chargeback and your credit card company will almost certainly back you on that. Ideally you don't want to get the credit card company involved, and simply stating that you're going to head down the chargeback route on the grounds of fraud/bait-n-switch/system error should be enough to get Priceline to come to the party and cancel the entire reservation.
I won't delve into the details further of my personal situation other then to provide an update on if I reach a resolution. I made it clear to two Priceline.com supervisors (one from the hotel support desk, one from the airfare support desk) that I did not accept the offered resolutions.
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Old Jun 12, 22, 12:17 pm
  #23  
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The good news, Priceline does not have the same exemptions from state or federal consumer protection laws as that UA has.
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Old Jun 12, 22, 12:22 pm
  #24  
 
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This experience reinforces to me why I would not buy a 'package' vacation from United, or indeed from anyone. Much easier to handle flight issues when kept separate from everything else.
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Old Jun 12, 22, 12:38 pm
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PL is obviously taking the path of least resistance in "attempting" to provide a resolution. The Powerful Partnership of PL and UA seem to be weak in correcting a wrong they perpetrated. If, theoretically, UA were only able to deal with the airfare portion, which PL has already rectified, then the onus would be on PL to handle the hotel portion. Obviously, they are disinclined to do so, either through incompetence, sloth, greed or inexperience. I wouldn't expect a chargeback to fail.
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Old Jun 12, 22, 1:37 pm
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Originally Posted by AsiaTraveler View Post
That's the page where he selected the upgrade to first or business at the bottom. The following confirmation page says first or business below both sets of flights.
Gotcha, apologies. I'm not that familiar with United's site. Thanks for the clarification.
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Old Jun 12, 22, 1:53 pm
  #27  
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So, I attempted to replicate the issue, and this is what I found:

* When you go through the fare upgrade option, the screen does take you to the seatmap, which would allow you to figure out that you're not flying in first class.
* The flight you selected is on an ERJ-145, which does not have a first class cabin. The lower quote is probably due to the mixed cabin flights you selected.
* Agreeing that the final display is deceiving. Also, the weirdest thing is when I click on the flight details, the page place me back into Economy, with no option to upgrade.

The bonus 1000 miles is not worth the agonizing UX from Priceline.
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Old Jun 12, 22, 2:07 pm
  #28  
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I bought a UA vacation package once. Not convinced it saved me anything, and having a bulk fare made SDC impossible.

I don't think I'd do it again.
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Old Jun 12, 22, 2:32 pm
  #29  
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I think this is worth a DOT complaint against your choice of travel agent, under 14 CFR 399.79 and 80.

Separately, I think it's a bad idea for UA to put their brand on a Priceline delivered service; I've used Priceline once or twice and don't have a good impression of them.
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Old Jun 12, 22, 2:36 pm
  #30  
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Originally Posted by PTahCha View Post
So, I attempted to replicate the issue, and this is what I found:

* When you go through the fare upgrade option, the screen does take you to the seatmap, which would allow you to figure out that you're not flying in first class.
* The flight you selected is on an ERJ-145, which does not have a first class cabin. The lower quote is probably due to the mixed cabin flights you selected.
* Agreeing that the final display is deceiving. Also, the weirdest thing is when I click on the flight details, the page place me back into Economy, with no option to upgrade.

The bonus 1000 miles is not worth the agonizing UX from Priceline.
To clarify my specific situation (example above) was on mainline United equipment (737) where first class seats were being offered for sale directly by United.

I agree the 1,000 miles would not be worth it. The alleged benefit was saving around $400 by taking the package deal. One of the advertised benefits of this program is getting access to unpublished fares so it was not unreasonable to expect the still high cost was correct.
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