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

A Cautionary tale -- United, GS, 1K -- Wake up call...

A Cautionary tale -- United, GS, 1K -- Wake up call...

Old Apr 19, 2024, 8:46 am
  #46  
 
Join Date: Jun 2014
Programs: UA MM
Posts: 4,310
Originally Posted by bmwe92fan
Well, tbh I really thought that life as a 1k wouldn't be that different -- It appears I may be wrong about that and after this year as GS (assuming the credit things properly eventually) I may think differently about spending to get to 1K...
I must be missing something here (not unusual!). If life as a 1K was thought to not be not all that different, why did you spend $14k on a junket to Zurich just to meet this challenge?
bbriscoe34 likes this.
JimInOhio is offline  
Old Apr 19, 2024, 8:50 am
  #47  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Aug 2017
Programs: AS 75K, DL Silver, UA Platinum, Hilton Gold, Hyatt Discoverist, Marriott Platinum + LT Gold
Posts: 10,872
Originally Posted by SFO777
I'm back as a 1K via status match (from AA). I only buy domestic F so upgrades aren't important. The primary reason I did the status match was to not have to queue 20 minutes before boarding starts or stand 50 pax deep in the "Group 1" line hoping that there is still overhead bin space in F.
You will probably have 50+ people waiting to pre board from a hub
SFO777 and wrp96 like this.
Repooc17 is offline  
Old Apr 19, 2024, 8:52 am
  #48  
 
Join Date: Jun 2019
Location: NYC/DC
Programs: AA,SPG, Delta, Amtrak, JB
Posts: 978
Originally Posted by bmwe92fan
As many of you know I have been GS for many years -- but due to some life changes post COVID I travelled a bit less on UA this past year and was offered a challenge to get back to GS -- spend $18k in 4 months and you can stay GS.... Given that my wife and I live and work in both Tokyo and NYC this was a no brainer -- as the ability to upgrade economy award tickets to J on UA was an amazing perk -- even if the soft product sucks -- as we all know it does....

Fast forward to today -- I'm completing my GS challenge run and I chose my flight carefully -- I wanted to find a flight where the plane coming in would be the plane coming back -- and I spent $14k for two one ways to / from ZRH -- and then it all went sideways.....

I got to ZRH just fine -- and enjoyed a custom omelette in the E lounge (many have said that's not available - trust me the bored chef's in the lounge LOVE to make something special for those that ask).... And then -- the drama began....

United in their infinite wisdom (aka revenue management) decided to take the plane that was supposed to go back to EWR -- my plane for my flight back -- and sent my plane to ORD -- and left the ORD plane -- which was broken -- to fly back to EWR -- with a delay of 3.5 hours..... During thins time in the Swiss E lounge their were multiple announcements for pax to come to the lobby for an update -- each time I went to the lobby and the "UA" rep asked if I was GS -- I had to say no since I was temporarily 1k and I'm an honest person -- so she wouldn't even talk to me -- and this happened twice!

I've never felt less important to UA -- I spent $7k to fly to ZRH and $7k to fly back -- and I couldn't even speak to her! There were 3 or 4 other GS's that were treated very well -- and re-accommodated on the 5pm Swiss Air flight -- before they even cancelled the flight.... I was truly amazed that she wouldn't even be bothered to speak to a lowly 1k in the lounge -- it was humbling but informative....

Much more humbling was trying to get some help as a 1k! I tried to call the 1k line -- but it was 4am US time and could never get a human -- so I called the GS line -- and was immediately sent to the general members queue -- with an estimated wait time of 30 minutes.... I knew things were going to go sideways -- but I couldn't do anything....

Fully as expected -- UA cancelled the flight back to EWR after 4 hours of delays waiting for a "part" -- I was in the lounge when I got the cancellation notice -- online the rebooking options had me living in the airport for two days -- I decided to take a chance and called the GS line again and begged the person that answered not to transfer me -- I told her I was on a GS challenge mileage run and was stranded in ZRH. She took pity on me and found me a path home -- via LHR in Y - and one that preserved my J seat over the Atlantic home...

My key learnings:

1. If you aren't GS you don't matter to UA
2. See Number 1

I'm sorry if I've ever said anything negative about someone's 1K / lower experience on UA here -- today was a huge wake up call and I've never felt so worthless to UA as I did today -- if someone hadn't taken pity on me I'd still be in Europe tonight -- very humbled -- and very angry....
Is this an accurate generalization? Or perhaps just the employee you were dealing with? In my travels to Switzerland and Germany, I have found the airport staff are hands down the rudest people on the planet. And totally different to the non airline Swiss and Germans.
CJ99 and bmwe92fan like this.

Last edited by AJNEDC; Apr 19, 2024 at 9:12 am
AJNEDC is offline  
Old Apr 19, 2024, 8:52 am
  #49  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Nov 2013
Location: NYC / TYO / Up in the Air
Programs: UA GS 1.7MM, AA 2.1MM, EK, BA, SQ, CX, Marriot LT, Accor P
Posts: 6,728
Originally Posted by JimInOhio
I must be missing something here (not unusual!). If life as a 1K was thought to not be not all that different, why did you spend $14k on a junket to Zurich just to meet this challenge?
You didn't miss it -- it is in another thread. We live in Tokyo and NYC and travel back and forth regularly (we own homes in both). The ability to upgrade economy award tickets to business class has saved us a ton of money over the years -- it's the one remaining GS benefit that has real value to us -- so spending $14k to get that ability back is worth it to us as we will use it at least 8 more times this year. With the pricing of J class tickets to Japan these days it's a financial no-brainer to us!
SPN Lifer, JimInOhio and nlf like this.

Last edited by bmwe92fan; Apr 19, 2024 at 9:14 am
bmwe92fan is online now  
Old Apr 19, 2024, 8:53 am
  #50  
 
Join Date: Apr 2018
Posts: 567
This is a great thread on what people have experienced at different status stacks.

I found having Star Alliance Gold has helped when traveling abroad.
NJSwamplands is offline  
Old Apr 19, 2024, 8:55 am
  #51  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Nov 2013
Location: NYC / TYO / Up in the Air
Programs: UA GS 1.7MM, AA 2.1MM, EK, BA, SQ, CX, Marriot LT, Accor P
Posts: 6,728
Originally Posted by AJNEDC
Is this an accurate generalization? Or perhaps just the employee you were dealing with. In my travels to Switzerland and Germany, I have found the airport staff are hands down the rudest people on the planet. And totally different to the non airline Swiss and Germans.
Of course it is probably an over the top generalization -- but based on feedback from many it's not that inaccurate either. I am 100% sure the GS rep was just doing her job -- efficiently and effectively -- it wasn't her job to worry about anything other than her GS people. It was really shocking -- and embarrassing I guess...
bmwe92fan is online now  
Old Apr 19, 2024, 9:19 am
  #52  
 
Join Date: May 2010
Location: AVP & PEK
Programs: UA 1K 1.9MM
Posts: 6,621
Originally Posted by AJNEDC
In my travels to Switzerland and Germany, I have found the airport staff are hands down the rudest people on the planet.
Originally Posted by bmwe92fan
Of course it is probably an over the top generalization -- but based on feedback from many it's not that inaccurate either. I am 100% sure the GS rep was just doing her job -- efficiently and effectively -- it wasn't her job to worry about anything other than her GS people.

Well, there's a word in Swiss German that captures the essence of that type of person perfectly. It's called a "Bünzli".
I've had my fair share of such encounters at ZRH.
narvik is online now  
Old Apr 19, 2024, 9:25 am
  #53  
22H
 
Join Date: May 2010
Posts: 25
Several 'gold scarves and ties' on welcome desk, UA Club lounge, LHR, last Sunday, Apr 14 - perhaps premium service agents?
22H is offline  
Old Apr 19, 2024, 9:32 am
  #54  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Nov 2013
Location: NYC / TYO / Up in the Air
Programs: UA GS 1.7MM, AA 2.1MM, EK, BA, SQ, CX, Marriot LT, Accor P
Posts: 6,728
Originally Posted by narvik
Well, there's a word in Swiss German that captures the essence of that type of person perfectly. It's called a "Bünzli".
I've had my fair share of such encounters at ZRH.
The worst experiences I've had with these type of people are at FRA -- especially with the security people. On the flip side I've always had pleasant experiences in MUC -- go figure? When I had to get over to terminal D the lounge staff told me to ask anyone and they could print me out my BP. Well, there wasn't anyone to ask -- just a flight boarding so I went up to the desk -- she was NOT happy with me but eventually did figure out how to print out my BP (apparently the LX system needed my arrival address in NYC before it would allow the BP's to be printed) -- at first she said that my tickets had no E-ticket associated with it and it was United problem -- I showed her my LX PNR and she sighed heavily and went to work... At my gate (which was next store) the two agents were outstanding -- I asked for a new seat as far forward as possible as I knew I would be running at LHR since my flight was delayed 45 minutes -- they were great and wished me luck - got me in to seat 10B!
bmwe92fan is online now  
Old Apr 19, 2024, 10:17 am
  #55  
 
Join Date: Feb 2012
Location: DEN
Programs: Hilton Diamond Hyatt Globalist Marriott Gold AA EXP
Posts: 1,040
But how can you spend $14K on a TATL RT from the East Coast and they don't even have a real first class? For that I would expect Suites class, caviar, and the works.
Or at least FRA F terminal access and chouffer to my plane, or AF La Premier maybe?

Awards seem so much cheaper than cash prices if you buy right (or even if you don't as long as its not on Delta). I was looking at 80K for Polaris ZHR to DEN thru LHR - which is mid-con not east coast. I value that at under $1000 cash equivalent.

But AA is even less - 64K miles in true F, though its not on the level of AF or LH tbf.
bbriscoe34 is offline  
Old Apr 19, 2024, 10:41 am
  #56  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Aug 2017
Programs: AS 75K, DL Silver, UA Platinum, Hilton Gold, Hyatt Discoverist, Marriott Platinum + LT Gold
Posts: 10,872
Originally Posted by bbriscoe34
But how can you spend $14K on a TATL RT from the East Coast and they don't even have a real first class? For that I would expect Suites class, caviar, and the works.
Or at least FRA F terminal access and chouffer to my plane, or AF La Premier maybe?

Awards seem so much cheaper than cash prices if you buy right (or even if you don't as long as its not on Delta). I was looking at 80K for Polaris ZHR to DEN thru LHR - which is mid-con not east coast. I value that at under $1000 cash equivalent.

But AA is even less - 64K miles in true F, though its not on the level of AF or LH tbf.
OP was on a status run. You could spend that much on a domestic flight even, if you wanted to. There is no universal class cabin to corresponding price level, just what the passenger is willing to pay and what the airline is willing to sell
Repooc17 is offline  
Old Apr 19, 2024, 10:45 am
  #57  
 
Join Date: Jun 2020
Location: NJ
Programs: UA Silver, Hyatt Globalist
Posts: 604
Originally Posted by NJSwamplands
This is a great thread on what people have experienced at different status stacks.

I found having Star Alliance Gold has helped when traveling abroad.
Then there's me in Silver just enjoying the thread
SPN Lifer, nnn, SFO777 and 6 others like this.
Warriorconcept is offline  
Old Apr 19, 2024, 11:12 am
  #58  
 
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 2,707
This goes back around 20 years now but I learned back then that UA doesn’t care about paid fares and only thinks about status passengers. I was on a paid F (not J) back when they stil had such a product. I think the 767 back then seated 10 in a 2 row 2-1-2 configuration. I am ready and willing to board. They kept asking “oh are you global services” and kept getting sent around whilst they boarded almost half the plane.

I still got my seat but as a full fare passenger in their highest cabin I felt like it was bad form. The cabin only seated ten so it seemed odd to wait for all these “more important” people on lower fares and lower cabins to go ahead of me.
UA_Flyer, uanj and artvandalay like this.
Schultzois is offline  
Old Apr 19, 2024, 11:35 am
  #59  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: Honolulu Harbor
Programs: UA 1K
Posts: 15,206
Originally Posted by Schultzois
...The cabin only seated ten so it seemed odd to wait for all these “more important” people on lower fares and lower cabins to go ahead of me.
Well, goes back to the argument of whatever an airline thinks "more important" is. Someone who spends $50k/yr on front-cabin tickets (F or J) or someone w/ a full-fare F ticket? Definitely a good argument on both sides - and one that has persisted for as long as frequent flyer programs have been around.

And if I recall correctly, Global First boarded with GS on int'l long-haul, so maybe your recollection is off? Or maybe you didn't hear the boarding call correctly?
NJSwamplands likes this.

Last edited by IAH-OIL-TRASH; Apr 19, 2024 at 11:50 am
IAH-OIL-TRASH is offline  
Old Apr 19, 2024, 11:38 am
  #60  
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 4,125
Originally Posted by Schultzois
This goes back around 20 years now but I learned back then that UA doesn’t care about paid fares and only thinks about status passengers. I was on a paid F (not J) back when they stil had such a product. I think the 767 back then seated 10 in a 2 row 2-1-2 configuration. I am ready and willing to board. They kept asking “oh are you global services” and kept getting sent around whilst they boarded almost half the plane.

I still got my seat but as a full fare passenger in their highest cabin I felt like it was bad form. The cabin only seated ten so it seemed odd to wait for all these “more important” people on lower fares and lower cabins to go ahead of me.
My historical experience doesn't match this. Before I was GS, I remember flying an LAX-SYD flight in F (not J) as a 1K, and when there was a problem, they brought all the GS and F cabin passengers aside to take care of us. F had access to Global Reception, GF lounges, etc. It's a shame they couldn't sustain the F product as it was a way for any passenger to basically access GS level service, and these were high value folks. 1K is a long (long) way from the old school "1K Rooms"... miss those!
HeadInTheClouds is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Manage Preferences Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service -

This site is owned, operated, and maintained by MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. Copyright © 2024 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Designated trademarks are the property of their respective owners.