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Dealing with Customer Care for flight cancellation/delay

Dealing with Customer Care for flight cancellation/delay

Old Nov 24, 22, 9:08 am
  #31  
 
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Originally Posted by O62 View Post
I don't get FT sometimes. If you all had a positioning flight to a long-haul transpacific flight that might get delayed you would all encourage people to proactive and find a solution. In this, the OP tried to be proactive, AC couldn't be reacbed, UA did their best to help, and ultimately screwed up the reservation. As OP says, there was no way to know they actually altered the ticket without any sort of notification.
I can understand some of the ambiguity, but details do matter. Please show an FT reference where it is advised that a traveler should insert a duplicate leg for same day travel (known as an impossible itinerary) on an outbound and not cancel the other leg. FT is also very keen on checking itineraries after calling agents (via web or app) to see if everything is synched/ticketed correctly etc. it appears this was not done by the OP. Not sure why.

Originally Posted by O62 View Post
OP boarded all of the outbound flights and arrived to the destination without a hint that the returns would be affected. So, as far as OP knows, everything with the reservation is fine.
OP didn't board the duplicate SFO-YVR flight booked on UA. Which is apparently why the reservation was cancelled. The 'hint' was that UA offered alternate flights. There seems to be more to the story IMO since the OP cannot recollect key parts of the conversations, missing emails, etc.

Originally Posted by O62 View Post
I'm not sure what sort of magic we expect flyers to know when dealing with such opaque and arcane systems. Seems like UA needs to own up to screwing up the reservation and cancelling it with no reason. The fact that is a reward flight shouldn't mater but alas, we somehow all accept that award flights get second class service when things go wrong.
this is not my experience with the system, award flights are treated the same as revenue flights (just different fare buckets and form of payments and travel/routing rules).
I think this particular case has to do with the OP making a duplicate reservation and not having it cleaned up properly. If it was all traveled on UA, then it likely would have been handled by a GA or their systems.

Some of the 'magic' is simple. Show up for the flight you are booked on, or cancel it before departure to avoid canceling the rest of your reservation. Also, check your reservations regularly, particularly after making/requesting changes. Also, save your travel documents, emails. I thought this was basic stuff. The more arcane things like avoiding the interline thing, or booking with two one-ways (which would have avoided this), that would step it up some.
Does the OP have a claim for his out of pockets? maybe, the original irrops was A/C. however if it was weather (and SFO is almost always weather) they are going to push back on that. Practically, booking less than a 3 hr connection from SFO is playing with fire anyways (and i have done more than i can count). That is also stuff of FT advice. The best the OP can do is ask for something. but not sure of the success. They would have better luck with their travel insurance provider.

Originally Posted by frappant View Post
funny thing is I cant find that cancellation email any more.
it's hard to follow the story that you were informed of this cancellation then don't have the email to show it.

Originally Posted by frappant View Post
UA agent didnt confirm anything.
still does not mean that a reservation was not made on the flight. did you check your reservation in the app/online? Surely you were looking at flight alternatives at the time.

Originally Posted by frappant View Post
unless I could get AC to uncheck me, he said he couldnt put me on the UA flight.
sounds like something you could have easily handled at the airport, or on the phone, or possibly in the AC app/website?

Originally Posted by frappant View Post
if they were right to cancel the whole booking, how was I able to board the YVR-BNE flight and why wasnt any of my miles returned for that no show.


I dont get the selective cancellation of flights on the booking or the non return of miles either.

I presume UA recognized that they still had all the miles from the redemption so they booked me in biz on their flight.
you boarded the flight because you were already checked in for it (see above). The canx happened after you had boarded/your coupons were marked used by AC for the outbound flights. You would only get a refund of wholly unused itineraries with award tickets. Since you flew the outbound, you would not be entitled to a partial refund IIRC. This is why it is FT advice to book award travel as two OW.

Originally Posted by frappant View Post
The caNcellation was back on Nov 5 the Departure date was Nov 4.
If you cannot find the canx email, how do you know the specific canx date?
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Last edited by WineCountryUA; Nov 24, 22 at 10:53 am Reason: merged consecutive posts by same member
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Old Nov 24, 22, 1:44 pm
  #32  
 
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Originally Posted by prestonh View Post
Please show an FT reference where it is advised that a traveler should insert a duplicate leg for same day travel (known as an impossible itinerary) on an outbound and not cancel the other leg.
The traveler did not insert a duplicate leg. United did. If it was wrong to do that then that is United's incompetence.

Originally Posted by prestonh View Post
OP didn't board the duplicate SFO-YVR flight booked on UA.
OP didn't know a duplicate flight existed so couldn't have boarded it.

Originally Posted by prestonh View Post
There seems to be more to the story IMO since the OP cannot recollect key parts of the conversations, missing emails, etc.
There was no reason to remember the details. They made the connection and as far as they were concerned there was no concern and problem only known two weeks later. Missing email though seems bizarre.
Originally Posted by prestonh View Post

I think this particular case has to do with the OP making a duplicate reservation and not having it cleaned up properly.
OP did not make the duplicate reservation. United did. OP also did not leave a mess of the reservation. United did. United should be the one who should have cleaned up this reservation or not left a mess in first place. Or assuming OP had requested the change then AC should not have boarded him. As stated the interactions between airlines are complex but it can't be the passenger's responsibility to avoid or fix it. While the savvy FT flyer can do that, overwhelming majority of travelers don't know how to figure their reservation has been messed up, talk less know how to clean it. Airlines should do better and not leave customers' reservations in such state.

Originally Posted by prestonh View Post
Some of the 'magic' is simple. Show up for the flight you are booked on, or cancel it before departure to avoid canceling the rest of your reservation. Also, check your reservations regularly, particularly after making/requesting changes. Also, save your travel documents, emails. I thought this was basic stuff. The more arcane things like avoiding the interline thing, or booking with two one-ways (which would have avoided this), that would step it up some.
Sage advice. That's the biggest take away from OP's experience. Problem arises if you trying to have your cake and eat it. Can't hold on to a booking and try and get a contingency change on same PNR in case original booking doesn't work. OP should have picked one flight and only called if they are definitely requesting a change ( as opposed to calling to explore the possibility). The internet is for research and planning, but you don't call the airline with hypotheticals - that as we see here can result in a messed reservation.

Originally Posted by prestonh View Post
If you cannot find the canx email, how do you know the specific canx date?
​​​​​​​OP mentioned they were told this when they inquired as to what happened with the reservation.




​​​​​​​

Last edited by ani90; Nov 24, 22 at 1:50 pm
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Old Nov 24, 22, 3:10 pm
  #33  
 
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Originally Posted by ani90 View Post
OP did not make the duplicate reservation. United did. OP also did not leave a mess of the reservation. United did. United should be the one who should have cleaned up this reservation or not left a mess in first place. Or assuming OP had requested the change then AC should not have boarded him. As stated the interactions between airlines are complex but it can't be the passenger's responsibility to avoid or fix it. While the savvy FT flyer can do that, overwhelming majority of travelers don't know how to figure their reservation has been messed up, talk less know how to clean it. Airlines should do better and not leave customers' reservations in such state.
I wholeheartedly agree with this, and, assuming that we can take the OP's report at face value, then I reject the notion that the blame should be apportioned 50/50, as suggested above. Those arguing that everything happened as it should have, because, of course, failing to fly a held segment would result in the cancellation of the remainder of the itinerary, and that it was only by a stroke of luck (or misfortune) that the OP could only fly the original AC segments because of systems updating slowly, etc., etc., may explain how things unfolded the way they did, but the man on the Clapham omnibus cannot be expected, IMHO, to know all of this. Suppose he did get on the UA flight, then would the remainder of the itinerary still have been cancelled, because he did not fly the AC segment? Could he even have boarded the UA flight, given that it was unconfirmed? I suspect the answers are YES and NO respectively, given the discussion above, but I am by no means sure.

The OP said, "Because I had checked in, UA said they could not confirm the UA SFO-YVR flight at all." Now, if this is what I'm told, then I would by no means assume that the new flight had been held for me, and I that I would need to cancel the hold. In fact, if I had a reservation for a flight that wasn't confirmed, then I would assume I couldn't fly. In the OP's case, I would have thought that I either needed to get AC to cancel the check-in and then ring UA to confirm the new flight, or simply to take the original flight, and the UA flight, being unconfirmed, would disappear without any repercussions. Clearly, I'm wrong, but the average flyer can't be expected to know the intricacies of the airlines' reservations systems. To be honest, I'm not sure what CONFIRMED means in the technical sense, but, regardless, it would not have occurred to me that that a segment that was HELD (and, by the OP's account, wasn't even aware that it had been held) but not CONFIRMED had to be flown or the remainder of the itinerary would be cancelled, since he did fly the original reservation. The mess was squarely caused by UA, as Ani90 suggested, and the onus was on them to fix it.

OP should have picked one flight and only called if they are definitely requesting a change ( as opposed to calling to explore the possibility).
Well, I think the OP did definitely pick the UA flight, but he was told it couldn't be confirmed because he had already checked in to the AC flight.
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Old Nov 24, 22, 4:00 pm
  #34  
 
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Originally Posted by RatherGhastly View Post
but the man on the Clapham omnibus cannot be expected, IMHO, to know all of this. Suppose he did get on the UA flight, then would the remainder of the itinerary still have been cancelled, because he did not fly the AC segment? Could he even have boarded the UA flight, given that it was unconfirmed? I suspect the answers are YES and NO respectively, given the discussion above, but I am by no means sure.
UA is not your travel agent. UA is not your travel agent. UA is not your travel agent. If someone doesn't want to acquaint themselves to the contract of carriage that they are agreeing to every time they purchase a ticket, or utilize the services of a travel agent to handle these issues, that is on them. This isn't even getting into esoteric things like fare rules that take some knowledge to decipher, the contract of carriage is some of the most bluntly plaint text rules the airlines publish.

But again, no one at UA is going to baby sit OP's or anyones PNR once the phone call has ended.

Originally Posted by RatherGhastly View Post
The OP said, "Because I had checked in, UA said they could not confirm the UA SFO-YVR flight at all." ... Clearly, I'm wrong, but the average flyer can't be expected to know the intricacies of the airlines' reservations systems .... To be honest, I'm not sure what CONFIRMED means in the technical sense, but, regardless, it would not have occurred to me that that a segment that was HELD (and, by the OP's account, wasn't even aware that it had been held) but not CONFIRMED had to be flown or the remainder of the itinerary would be cancelled, since he did fly the original reservation.


If the OP, as an average flyer can't be expected to know the intricacies of the airlines reservations systems then they should use a travel agent who is familiar. UA is not their travel agent. Airlines making airfare more accessible without the use of a travel agent did not change their practice, when you are booking direct with the airline you are representing yourself as your own travel agent. Also the phrases "can't be confirmed" and "holding space for you" are an oxymoron if used regarding the same flight. The segment status indicator for a confirmed reservation is HK which literally stands for "HOLD CONFIRMED".

Originally Posted by RatherGhastly View Post
Well, I think the OP did definitely pick the UA flight, but he was told it couldn't be confirmed because he had already checked in to the AC flight.
Part of the problem, is the explanation's from OP aren't clear or consistent, with some contradictions, which leaves us with needing to fill in the gaps with what would be logical conculsions. Aside from the OP stating simultaneously "couldn't be confirmed" and "1k agent held space" which aren't consistent, one other glaring example that we have to fill details in on is that OP stated they didn't know any space was being held, but then also stated that when they got the cancellation email they assumed it was for the alternative flight. It is not consistent that you would not know you had held space while also expecting the cancellation email to be about an alternative flight. To me, and based on how I've often seen these requests go:

OP called, got UA SFO-YVR added. Agent wasn't able to reisssue ticket due to being checked in, communicated that they couldn't finalize the change until Air Canada released the ticket coupon. OP, not knowing this created confirmed space, requested the space be held on the UA flight while he went to the airport to have Air Canada deal with the ticket issue (this is the only way I can reconcile OP stating he thought the cancellation email was for the alternative flight). OP got to the airport, Air Canada said no, you're fine with the Air Canada flight. And nothing got done about the held space on the UA flight.

Regardless of if that is the exact scenario, the responses here are all in context of how the airline is going to look at it for a customer care perspective. The people saying this violates Canada's air transport passenger protection regulations are wrong and OP is wasting their time with that route, because those regulations apply to flight disruptions caused by the operating carrier, which UA was not operating Air Canada flights. Then with regards to seeking reimbursement from customer care for the 2 day delay, UA is going to look at the reservation and see OP didn't deal with it when it was cancelled. The 2 day delay isn't their fault since OP waited until the day of travel to try an deal with it, despite being notified about it being cancelled, because if UA had been contacted in any reasonable time, they would have been able to provide a solution that didn't require a 2 day delay. As far as UA is going to be concerned they fulfilled the ticket contract by providing OP return transport, so anything further from CS is going to be a goodwill gesture.
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Old Nov 24, 22, 5:04 pm
  #35  
 
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Originally Posted by Lux Flyer View Post

If the OP, as an average flyer can't be expected to know the intricacies of the airlines reservations systems then they should use a travel agent who is familiar. UA is not their travel agent.
This may be your opinion, but I don't think it is practical advice in 2022. The average flyer does not use a travel agent; the average flyer certainly doesn't understand intricacies of ticketing etc; the average flyer would probably not even know where to find a travel agent.

Airlines have developed their websites to sell directly to customers. Airlines market directly to customers. Third party websites do the same. Never once have I called United to book a flight that they advised my itinerary is complicated and it is in my interest to find a travel agent. They sure act like a travel agent. They used to ask if I needed a hotel or car rental.

Besides I don't know how the OP could obtain an award ticket through a travel agent - maybe that is possible but the less savvy of us are clueless as to how.

I am sure if one goes to any United gate today and asks people boarding how many of them used a travel agent, aside from those traveling for business, it will likely be a small minority. United may not be a travel agent but they sold the ticket and they, rather than OP, were the only ones capable of creating a duplicate reservation and the muddle that ended up in cancellation of the ticket. Not sure how having a travel agent would have prevented that, as in the situation OP encountered it seems to me hard to see how the first port of call to find a solution would not have been UA or AC, but then I may just be an average flyer so don't know better. Also, not all of us have access to corporate travel agents that may be available 24/7 at one's demand so even if we went to a high street travel agent they may not be picking the phone at 8pm when the display says there is a 3 hour delay...
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Last edited by ani90; Nov 24, 22 at 5:15 pm
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Old Nov 24, 22, 5:19 pm
  #36  
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Originally Posted by ani90 View Post
,,, Never once have I called United to book a flight that they advised my itinerary is complicated and it is in my interest to find a travel agent. They sure act like a travel agent. ......
Those two statement are contradictory. A travel agent WOULD tell you you have a complicate or problematic itin. They would work with you to build a itin in your best interest -- UA provides some filtering if you know how to use it but as users on Google Flights know, UA may or may not provide the best routing or best prices. Does not sound like a TA to me. A travel agent would advice that using another carrier is in your best interest, UA will not.

UA does provide minor messages on UA about tight or excessively long connections but that is it.

Buying on united is like most eCommerce sites, self service. You may want to think of united.com as a travel agent but you will be solely mistaken. If you think UA is looking out for your best interest, you will be solely mistaken.

I rarely use a travel agent ( but have a few times to due multiple bookings --- hotels, tours, cruise, ... but even then I do the air myself). I accept online sites are self service and if I make a mistake, it is my mistake.

Considering the costs of some trips TAs make sense if you are unfamiliar and don't have the time or inclination to the research versus save a little money.
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Old Nov 24, 22, 5:54 pm
  #37  
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Originally Posted by Lux Flyer View Post
You stated this in an earlier post




YOU misunderstood. The agent on 11/4 said NOTHING to me about holding the flight. He said he couldn't get me on that flight until AC released the check in on the record.

THAT agent NEVER said he held the flight for me.

It was the 1K agent on 11/23, whom I contacted when I learned that UA had cancelled the rest of the reservation, said that she thought the other agent "held" the flight to me.

Originally Posted by prestonh View Post
still does not mean that a reservation was not made on the flight. did you check your reservation in the app/online? Surely you were looking at flight alternatives at the time.


sounds like something you could have easily handled at the airport, or on the phone, or possibly in the AC app/website?

For the UMPTEENTH time, I had trouble reaching AC. By the time I went to the airport to talk to an AC agent, I was told I should board their flight, that I should be able to make it.

The AC web site and phone support, at least on that day, was not a viable route to resolve anything.

How would I know a reservation was made on the alternate flight?

The only communication I had from UA was:

UA phone agent telling me that they could get me on their SFO-YVR flight IF I got AC to release the record so that UA could replace the AC flight with theirs.

I didn't ask AC to do that since the AC agents at SFO encouraged me to take the AC flight to YVR because I should be able to make the connection.

A postscript. I'm waiting to board UA97 at the Air New Zealand lounge at BNE.

I got email over night from United asking whether I'd volunteer to change my flight.

Turns out they downgraded the aircraft.

Well I had checked in online on Nov 24 from Brisbane for a Nov 25 departure.

At check in, the agent said they downgraded the aircraft so they went from a dozen rows in business to 7 rows, which my seat moving up.

They would give me $2250 or 125k miles to take a later flight. I would have to fly to SYD and they'd put me on the SYD-SFO flight in a day or two.

I might have taken the deal but because of this existing situation and the fact that I'm out of some prescription medication I couldn't delay my return.


Will update after I contact Customer Care after I return.

Last edited by WineCountryUA; Nov 24, 22 at 9:13 pm Reason: merged consecutive posts by same member
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Old Nov 24, 22, 6:15 pm
  #38  
 
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Originally Posted by WineCountryUA View Post
Those two statement are contradictory. A travel agent WOULD tell you you have a complicate or problematic itin. They would work with you to build a itin in your best interest -- UA provides some filtering if you know how to use it but as users on Google Flights know, UA may or may not provide the best routing or best prices. Does not sound like a TA to me. A travel agent would advice that using another carrier is in your best interest, UA will not.

UA does provide minor messages on UA about tight or excessively long connections but that is it.

Buying on united is like most eCommerce sites, self service. You may want to think of united.com as a travel agent but you will be solely mistaken. If you think UA is looking out for your best interest, you will be solely mistaken.

I rarely use a travel agent ( but have a few times to due multiple bookings --- hotels, tours, cruise, ... but even then I do the air myself). I accept online sites are self service and if I make a mistake, it is my mistake.

Considering the costs of some trips TAs make sense if you are unfamiliar and don't have the time or inclination to the research versus save a little money.
I think you misunderstood me or I did not make myself clear. What I was trying to say is that even within the airline industry they don't see it as a normal for the average flyer to use a travel agent or at some point United will advise a customer with complex needs to do so. Just like there are some activities or transactions that while you can do on your own the seller might advise that you use a lawyer or agent of some sort because that is either the norm or in your best interest. Asking an average flyer to use travel agents is not realistic in 2022.
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Old Nov 24, 22, 7:11 pm
  #39  
 
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Originally Posted by frappant View Post
YOU misunderstood. The agent on 11/4 said NOTHING to me about holding the flight. He said he couldn't get me on that flight until AC released the check in on the record.

THAT agent NEVER said he held the flight for me.
Then I'm confused by this and why you would ignore an email saying you're flights have been cancelled.

Originally Posted by frappant View Post
I saw a email that something was canceled in the subject line. This was as I was arriving in Australia. I can't find the email again.

I figured it was about the alternate flight.
Why would you be expecting a cancellation email for some alternate flight, if an agent "NEVER said he held the flight for me."? It makes zero sense to me that you would simultaneously have no idea that space was being held while also writing off an email from United Airlines stating "Your reservation has been cancelled" as being "about the alternative flight".

Originally Posted by frappant View Post
How would I know a reservation was made on the alternate flight?
Checking the PNR? The flight had to exist in there for a no show to cancel everything else out. The United website and app will always reflect any active segments in the UA PNR.

Regardless, even if I am misunderstanding when you were told the flight was held. It doesn't change the overall situation as to how CS will look at this, which most responses here have been to set reasonable expectations. At best you're looking at a good will gesture. If you go in expecting them to for sure reimburse 2 days of hotel or some over the top grandiose gesture, expect to be disappointed. Is it possible you get a generous CS agent who does? Sure, but that would 100% be far from the norm, beyond what is required of them, and you will more likely than not be disappointed if that is the expectation you're going in on. A reasonable perspective and what people are trying to get across is there is some level of shared responsibility in this, and the way they are likely to look at it is if you had given UA a chance to fix the problem when it originally presented itself (2 weeks in advance when you were notified the itinerary was cancelled), then there likely wouldn't have been a 2 day over night stay to wait for the next business flight.


Originally Posted by ani90 View Post
I think you misunderstood me or I did not make myself clear. What I was trying to say is that even within the airline industry they don't see it as a normal for the average flyer to use a travel agent or at some point United will advise a customer with complex needs to do so. Just like there are some activities or transactions that while you can do on your own the seller might advise that you use a lawyer or agent of some sort because that is either the norm or in your best interest. Asking an average flyer to use travel agents is not realistic in 2022.
I think you're misunderstanding the point WinecountryUA and myself are trying to make. Do I think the majority of people should be using travel agents? No. But the thing the airlines have made clear, just because they have made self service more accessible and you can do things directly with the airline, does not mean that it is allowed by the fare rules or by the contract of carriage, and the airlines have made clear they are not obligated to honor that, just because a direct channel allowed you to do it. When you work directly with the airline, they are not validating that what you're doing is per se permitted. When you are going a self service route, you are taking the responsibility on yourself as opposed to being able to go to your travel agent for recourse. The airlines have made that abundantly clear. You can do a ton of things directly with the airline that isn't allowed either by fare rules or by the contract of carriage. You can book fares that you aren't allowed to, you can engage in hidden city ticketing. I think the last time this debate came up here was over infant ticketing and when a child turns 2 years. As an exaggerated example of that scenario, I could call UA up right now and request to book an infant in arms ticket for a 4 year old but lie about the age. UA will issue that ticket, give me a receipt, confirmation, etc but when I go to actually travel on that ticket they will outright refuse travel due the passenger not qualifying for that fare, even though it was done through a direct channel.

Point being: if you don't want the responsibility of being self service, use a travel agent and the associated costs a travel agent has. If you want to go the self-service route, you need to accept the airlines are not transferring the liability to themselves to fix issues without the passengers intervention. They will notify you if something changes in the reservation, just like they will notify a travel agent. The difference being, when it is self service, the passenger needs to follow up on that notification. Just like a travel agent double checks a PNR after being on the phone with the airline, passengers should be double checking their PNR after working with the airline.

Originally Posted by ani90 View Post
The traveler did not insert a duplicate leg. United did. If it was wrong to do that then that is United's incompetence.
The traveler contacted UA and requested space on a UA flight due to an OA carrier experiencing IRROPs, on a PNR that was entirely OA operated. No one at UA would have been in that PNR had the traveler not initiated a direct line of contact with United. This wasn't a situation where the airport was proactively replacing misconnecting segments on UA operated flights. This was a case of the traveler contacting UA about an entirely OA operated itinerary, requesting space on a UA flight and then not reviewing their PNR to ensure it was what they expected it to be.

Originally Posted by ani90 View Post
OP didn't know a duplicate flight existed so couldn't have boarded it.
See above, the additional segment would be showing in the UA PNR.
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Last edited by Lux Flyer; Nov 24, 22 at 7:21 pm
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Old Nov 24, 22, 9:12 pm
  #40  
 
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Originally Posted by Lux Flyer View Post
I think you're misunderstanding the point WinecountryUA and myself are trying to make. Do I think the majority of people should be using travel agents? No. But the thing the airlines have made clear, just because they have made self service more accessible and you can do things directly with the airline, does not mean that it is allowed by the fare rules or by the contract of carriage, and the airlines have made clear they are not obligated to honor that, just because a direct channel allowed you to do it. When you work directly with the airline, they are not validating that what you're doing is per se permitted. When you are going a self service route, you are taking the responsibility on yourself as opposed to being able to go to your travel agent for recourse. The airlines have made that abundantly clear. You can do a ton of things directly with the airline that isn't allowed either by fare rules or by the contract of carriage. You can book fares that you aren't allowed to, you can engage in hidden city ticketing. I think the last time this debate came up here was over infant ticketing and when a child turns 2 years. As an exaggerated example of that scenario, I could call UA up right now and request to book an infant in arms ticket for a 4 year old but lie about the age. UA will issue that ticket, give me a receipt, confirmation, etc but when I go to actually travel on that ticket they will outright refuse travel due the passenger not qualifying for that fare, even though it was done through a direct channel.

Point being: if you don't want the responsibility of being self service, use a travel agent and the associated costs a travel agent has. If you want to go the self-service route, you need to accept the airlines are not transferring the liability to themselves to fix issues without the passengers intervention. They will notify you if something changes in the reservation, just like they will notify a travel agent. The difference being, when it is self service, the passenger needs to follow up on that notification. Just like a travel agent double checks a PNR after being on the phone with the airline, passengers should be double checking their PNR after working with the airline.
These are very high expectations that cannot be met by 99 percent of travelers. Many travelers lack the travel literacy, technical savviness or knowledge to even comprehend these suggestions. Most people traveling do not know what PNR means including my colleague who is a 1K. I know people who can barely figure out emails and way around the internet, and rely on others to work out travel arrangements. I know people who don't have airline apps on their phone. These folks have (misplaced) trust in the airlines to do the right thing. Travel agents are not the solution. Most people don't have access to them or don't use them. Why would OP have used a travel agent - is it unreasonable to expect that an airline issuing a ticket can competently handle potential misconnect?

Regardless, 99 percent of travelers would not or cannot use a travel agent to book award travel.

If a traveler calls an airline then there should be a duty of care by the airline not to screw up their reservation. Only an airline employee can create duplicate entries in PNR, regardless of what the OP requested. If I call United now asking for a double booking on my flight to EZE next week, in case the flight to GRU gets delayed, as it often does, and I miss connection, I won't get one. United agents can and should do better - especially for a loyal high value MileagePlus member.

Last edited by ani90; Nov 24, 22 at 9:18 pm
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Old Nov 25, 22, 2:20 am
  #41  
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I suspect people’s minds are made up, so I’m not going to invest a ton more time into pointless arguments over who’s at fault. The one thing that I will say is that OP, having made a phone call to UA to get help, needed never to look at their UA reservation again — not to check the flight time; not to check if a late checkout was needed from the hotel; nothing. A single glance at the itinerary should have shown a UA segment showing up, probably along with a warning about the ticket being out of sync. Following cancellation, which seems to have occurred about the time OP arrived down under, if OP had gone into the United app and looked at the My United section, the lack of an upcoming BNE-SFO flight should have been a ginormous red flag. Sure, your average traveler may not know what a “PNR” is, but when Lux Flyer is saying that the traveler should check their PNR — we’re talking about pulling up the app or checking the UA website and looking at the itinerary, not some technical wizardry that no mere mortal would be able to envisage.

To answer OP’s original question — there’s only one UA customer care team; if you’re 1K, as appears to be the case, you can use 1K Voice as your conduit. Perhaps they will give you something to go away.

In terms of trying to help figure out what can be learned from this lesson, both for the OP and others: What I haven’t been able to piece together from the thread is whether the connection was still valid as of the time the check-in window opened, in which case there was no need to call UA. And if it wasn’t valid, AC shouldn’t have allowed check-in. Once AC allows check-in for a valid itinerary, as the operating carrier of the potentially-delayed segment, it is AC’s responsibility, not UA’s, to get OP to their destination. If UA hadn’t been called for a situation that was not their responsibility, none of the rest would have happened.

When the ticket was canceled, an immediate phone call to UA would have fixed it. There are references to an email that got ignored — I’ve read the OP’s messages multiple times and I’m still having trouble parsing them — but, that would have been UA’s communication to the traveler.

So, the takeaway is (a) don’t call UA to fix things that aren’t their problem; (b) if you do that anyway, babysit your reservation afterwards; (c) don’t ignore emails that say that they’re canceling your flights; at a minimum, log into the United app or United.com and look to make sure everything looks OK.
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Old Nov 25, 22, 4:38 pm
  #42  
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Originally Posted by prestonh View Post
Practically, booking less than a 3 hr connection from SFO is playing with fire anyways (and i have done more than i can count). That is also stuff of FT advice.
thats even on UA. This is also AC which has among the worst (if not the worst) OTP in North America, if not the world. Probably the sage advice would be to double this recommended connection time for AC flights, especially to an international, once daily (or is that flight < daily) destination. We came back from SIN with a 2 hour connection in YVR back to SFO - we literally ran the whole way off of our international inbound, through security/pre-clearance and onto the UA plane where we were the last onboard - and probably another couple to few minutes and I highly suspect we would have missed it. I was mostly ok with this itin since it was mid-morning, and there were still several other SFO flights on AC/UA that day.


Originally Posted by ani90 View Post
This may be your opinion, but I don't think it is practical advice in 2022. The average flyer does not use a travel agent; the average flyer certainly doesn't understand intricacies of ticketing etc; the average flyer would probably not even know where to find a travel agent.
the average flyer is booking the cheapest ticket they can find, damn if it has the features they want or need - yes, Im talking about families booking BE then scrambling onboard to find seat together when they were clearly warned they may not be seated together - for example (full disclosure: I travel with my family, and have never once been tempted to save a few bucks with the possibility of my 4yo being seated several rows away from our 7yo and the rest of us - its just not worth it).

A travel agent is not that hard to find - finding someone willing to use an agent to handle things that they themselves cant is a much bigger issue. All of our travel, which is generally not too complicated, we do ourselves, but I know most of the dos/donts, what is/is not reasonable to book, etc, and also how to handle IRROPS. Unfortunately, more complicated than ever. Despite the PITA of trying to contact AC - been there, done that many times - this was something that wouldnt have been an issue if they handled it. Whether re-routing starting in SFO, or being re-booked from YVR, there was no reason UA should have handled this. Let the airline responsible do it. Just creating much more complications by bringing OAL - in this case, UA - to intervene.

Originally Posted by Lux Flyer View Post
The traveler contacted UA and requested space on a UA flight due to an OA carrier experiencing IRROPs, on a PNR that was entirely OA operated. No one at UA would have been in that PNR had the traveler not initiated a direct line of contact with United. This wasn't a situation where the airport was proactively replacing misconnecting segments on UA operated flights. This was a case of the traveler contacting UA about an entirely OA operated itinerary, requesting space on a UA flight and then not reviewing their PNR to ensure it was what they expected it to be.
this. As I said, let the responsible carrier handle.

Originally Posted by jsloan View Post

So, the takeaway is (a) dont call UA to fix things that arent their problem; (b) if you do that anyway, babysit your reservation afterwards; (c) dont ignore emails that say that theyre canceling your flights; at a minimum, log into the United app or United.com and look to make sure everything looks OK.
Or (d), refer to (a) and stop there. Involving anyone other than AC was the error that cascaded into the multitudes of issues. Let the responsible carrier handle (in case no one has heard that yet &#128512.
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Old Nov 25, 22, 6:15 pm
  #43  
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Originally Posted by emcampbe (Post # 42) View Post
thats even on UA. This is also AC which has among the worst (if not the worst) OTP in North America, if not the world. Probably the sage advice would be to double this recommended connection time for AC flights, especially to an international, once daily (or is that flight < daily) destination.
OTP = on-time performance
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Old Nov 25, 22, 7:31 pm
  #44  
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Originally Posted by Lux Flyer View Post
.Because airlines don't care what you did take, but rather what you didn't take...
Yup. Individual flights are basically perquisites for the following ones on an itinerary.
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Old Nov 25, 22, 9:31 pm
  #45  
 
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Originally Posted by emcampbe View Post
Or (d), refer to (a) and stop there. Involving anyone other than AC was the error that cascaded into the multitudes of issues. Let the responsible carrier handle (in case no one has heard that yet &#128512.
Just for my education, in case I am in this situation someday, the OP actually tried to call AC and could not get through because of excessive wait time - which is not unusual these days - so what is one to do at that point? I must say that as a 1K in same situation I would also have called UA as opposed to spending another hour waiting for AC to answer thinking they could help as they issued the ticket but from this thread I have now learned that is a bad move. So what do we do next if we can't reach the operating carrier? Or if we speak to someone at AC who (wrongly) claims it's a United ticket so call them? (I ask this partly because I have an itinerary next week also booked on UA which starts with an AC segment...).
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