Should I buy United Premier Access?

Old Dec 4, 2022, 10:42 am
  #1  
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Should I buy United Premier Access?

I have an international award flight in exactly two more weeks. But I'll arrive at my starting point (Austin Bergstrom airport) with another airline, barely three hours before departure. Have to pick luggage, check-in and drop bags again, security, etc. The flight I'm catching is ALWAYS on time or departs earlier and I think Premier Access could help at least with check-in if not with security.

Should I do it? Right now or at check-in?
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Old Dec 4, 2022, 11:33 am
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At AUS, three hours should be plenty for a domestic-domestic connection, short of a major weather event but if premier access makes you feel more comfortable, it is not that expensive. But the likelihood you will make this connection plenty of time to spare. There will be some increase in activity due to the year-end holidays, but three hours should not be an issue if you arrivial is not terrible late.
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Old Dec 4, 2022, 3:17 pm
  #3  
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Originally Posted by TMetanova
I have an international award flight in exactly two more weeks. But I'll arrive at my starting point (Austin Bergstrom airport) with another airline, barely three hours before departure. Have to pick luggage, check-in and drop bags again, security, etc. The flight I'm catching is ALWAYS on time or departs earlier and I think Premier Access could help at least with check-in if not with security.

Should I do it? Right now or at check-in?
In exactly two more weeks, so Sunday, December 18? What time of day?

AUS has a bevy of kiosks for self-tagging bags. At the times I fly — typical departures are Friday evenings, but I’ve also done Sunday afternoon / evening departures and it’s much the same — Security Checkpoint 3 (no TSA Pre) is rarely more than 15 minutes even without premier security. I assume you’re arriving domestically and not going through customs and immigration at AUS? If so, I’d save the money for Premier Access and use it for dining instead. . If your inbound aircraft even approximates being on-time, you’ll be fine… unless you’re coming in on Frontier or Allegiant, whose use the South Terminal and which would require a shuttle to the main terminal.
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Old Dec 4, 2022, 3:18 pm
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1. If you are arriving on another United (or other star alliance) flight, you can get your checked bags checked through to your second flight. If it gets checked through, no need to head outside of the secure area and no need to go through security again.
2. You can probably check in online. For document checks, do try to do everything in the Travel Ready Center.
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Old Dec 4, 2022, 3:40 pm
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Originally Posted by angetenar
1. If you are arriving on (other star alliance) flight, you can get your checked bags checked through to your second flight.
Not necessarily, it would be up to the other *A carriers policy if they check through separate tickets. UA will do it under their policies, but there is no *A requirement that a *A carrier check through to another *A carrier on separate tickets.

Ignoring that it would also be unusual for OP to be arriving in AUS on a *A carrier to then connect to a separate ticketed UA international itinerary, since it would imply they're arriving from an international point in AUS.

Still would be worth researching if whatever OA carrier they are on though checks through separate tickets to UA, since some will still do that (usually depending on your status with the OA carrier)
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Old Dec 4, 2022, 4:21 pm
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Originally Posted by jsloan
In exactly two more weeks, so Sunday, December 18? What time of day?

AUS has a bevy of kiosks for self-tagging bags. At the times I fly typical departures are Friday evenings, but Ive also done Sunday afternoon / evening departures and its much the same Security Checkpoint 3 (no TSA Pre) is rarely more than 15 minutes even without premier security. I assume youre arriving domestically and not going through customs and immigration at AUS? If so, Id save the money for Premier Access and use it for dining instead. . If your inbound aircraft even approximates being on-time, youll be fine unless youre coming in on Frontier or Allegiant, whose use the South Terminal and which would require a shuttle to the main terminal.
Yes, Sunday 18. With everything on time I should be landing at 11 am via Southwest and departing at 2:17 pm in United (I have been following flights for months now and they seem to be earlier).

TSA stats are usually under 30 min but I do need to check in at the counter (Travel Ready Center says so).

Last edited by TMetanova; Dec 4, 2022 at 5:41 pm
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Old Dec 4, 2022, 5:39 pm
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I sometimes buy things just for the feeling of security. If that takes the worry out of it for you then go for it. AUS is my home airport. Unless there is a major meltdown somewhere 2hrs is more than enough time for check in and security. 3hrs should have you spending lots of quality time in the terminal or lounge hopefully.
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Old Dec 4, 2022, 7:16 pm
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Not needed at AUS. But for peace of mind, sure.
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Old Dec 4, 2022, 10:50 pm
  #9  
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Originally Posted by TMetanova
Yes, Sunday 18. With everything on time I should be landing at 11 am via Southwest and departing at 2:17 pm in United (I have been following flights for months now and they seem to be earlier).
Thats not particularly a peak time of day, in the few times Ive had flights scheduled around that time. Southwest arrives into the main terminal, so youll be exiting past security, going down to baggage claim, picking up your bags, taking them back upstairs to the ticket counter, checking them with UA, and then going through security.

Originally Posted by TMetanova
TSA stats are usually under 30 min but I do need to check in at the counter (Travel Ready Center says so).
30 minutes would qualify as a long wait at AUS.

As a 1K, I do get Premier Access for free, but I can tell you this: I regularly arrive at the AUS airport parking garage less than an hour before my flight (no checked bags). Recently, on a trip when I did need to check bags, I arrived 55 minutes prior to my flight (baggage cut-off time is 45 minutes). I havent missed a flight yet, and I dont have pre-check or CLEAR. On peak travel days, I have seen long lines at the UA counter, but mostly for the 6 AM bank of departures, and rarely after that.

Buying Premier Access would basically be insurance against Southwest arriving 2 hours late. If they arrive less than 2 hours late, you should be fine.
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Old Dec 5, 2022, 9:20 am
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Originally Posted by jsloan
30 minutes would qualify as a long wait at AUS.

As a 1K, I do get Premier Access for free, but I can tell you this: I regularly arrive at the AUS airport parking garage less than an hour before my flight (no checked bags). Recently, on a trip when I did need to check bags, I arrived 55 minutes prior to my flight (baggage cut-off time is 45 minutes). I havent missed a flight yet, and I dont have pre-check or CLEAR. On peak travel days, I have seen long lines at the UA counter, but mostly for the 6 AM bank of departures, and rarely after that.

Buying Premier Access would basically be insurance against Southwest arriving 2 hours late. If they arrive less than 2 hours late, you should be fine.
Good to know. I'll keep looking for the Southwest flight a bit more (today is delayed second time in a row) and then decide.
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