UA filtering NH, OZ, SQ and TG???

 
Old Jul 14, 08, 4:33 am
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: LHR
Programs: UA Million Miler, Hilton HHonors Gold
Posts: 1,058
UA filtering NH, OZ, SQ and TG???

I'm desperately trying to get back from Asia to the USA in February 2008. I found five seperate itineraries all available in C cls on the ANA tool, using combinations of NH, OZ, SQ or TG. However, on the trans-pacific sector, UA sees none of these. Apparently they don't even show up on the screen and all she offers me are UA or AC, both of which are unavailable. What can I do to get them to see this? I found my outbound flights on OZ last night and they've only given me 24hrs to find a return and ticket it due to OZ restrictions...
Karter is offline  
Old Jul 14, 08, 5:54 am
  #2  
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: OOL
Programs: VA Plat, QF LTS, UA MM, Hilton Diamond, Rydges Black, ,Le-Club Gold
Posts: 3,660
Originally Posted by Karter View Post
UA filtering NH, OZ, SQ and TG???
Not filtering, that's too polite a word, they're blacking out all the premium award seats of flights that "compete" with UA routes.

Call again till you get a sensible US based agent and talk them through the individual segments, don't reveal the full itinerary at the start. SQ isn't normally blacked-out by UA as SQ itself does such a good job of rationing awards.

Are you sure you aren't asking for 1 seat on ANA and 2 seats at UA?
harryhv is offline  
Old Jul 14, 08, 6:09 am
  #3  
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Too many to count, too few to mention.
Posts: 1,480
Ask the agent to manually request the seat by flight number. I used to know how to do it (when I flew UA extensively), but I have since forgotten...

I'm sure someone here knows how to get it done!
UA 882 is offline  
Old Jul 14, 08, 6:35 am
  #4  
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: SMF - N. California
Programs: SOUTHWEST A-LIST, HH GOLD, SPG GOLD, AA EXEC PLAT
Posts: 1,939
It's pretty obvious that UA wants us all to use inflated, standard awards on UA metal only for C/F award tickets.

A bunch of thieves, I say.
CommittedLurker is offline  
Old Jul 14, 08, 7:06 am
  #5  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: LHR
Programs: UA Million Miler, Hilton HHonors Gold
Posts: 1,058
Well I did just call the US res number and got a much more helpful and proactive agent who found me an interesting combination of OZ, TG, SQ and NH. The dates are a bit changed but I'm basically happy. I got nowhere with the UK (India) res office.
Karter is offline  
Old Jul 14, 08, 9:00 am
  #6  
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: DEN
Programs: UA Plat 1MM, SPG Plat
Posts: 2,181
A search of the forum for "Starnet" will reveal much about this situation.

Here is thread to get you started (though admittedly quite a bit to wade through):
Starnet and Award availability
FortFun is offline  
Old Jul 14, 08, 9:18 am
  #7  
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: MNL
Posts: 106
When searching for Star availability, nonstop/direct flights are displayed first, followed by single-connection and then double-connection. UA's availability is displayed first, but won't supersede the categorization. (For example, if one's searching PHL-AMS, US's N/S will display first, followed by UA's single-connections via IAD/ORD and then OA's single-connections). But UA doesn't block OA availability.

We're actually suppose to search complete itineraries. For example, if a family's searching for SFO-CDG in business during the summer and I knew I could route them SFO-YYZ-YUL-CDG on AC, I can't do it unless it shows up during the SFO-CDG search. However, most supervisors won't say anything (as long as it's on the legal routing / meets MPM) and very rarely will they listen to award travel calls, anyway. Thus, I'll do it. But many agents (especially offshore) won't.

I personally discourage travel on SQ made far in advance, simply because SQ's a horrible airline to work with. It's fairly common for them to downgrade people during schedule changes... rarely will they fix this. SQ recently made a big schedule change to one of their LAX flights (for travel beginning in the fall I believe)... many people are now winding up with 12+hour overnight layovers in SIN to make their connecting flight... could be fixed by moving them up to the earlier LAX flight - but SQ won't do it.
RSSRNotInIndia is offline  
Old Jul 14, 08, 9:27 am
  #8  
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: HPN
Programs: not anymore! I'm FREE!
Posts: 3,194
Originally Posted by RSSRNotInIndia View Post
But UA doesn't block OA availability.
That's what United's phone CSRs (I assume you are one of them!) say. But we United customers can search for Star Alliance award seat availability using the All Nippon Airways web site. There are usually many seats available to ANA's customers that are not available to United's. Anecdotal evidence on FT indicates that the seats ANA shows available are also available to US Airways and Lufthansa customers. If UA is not blocking starnet availability, why are there so few seats available compared to availability for other Star Alliance frequent flier programs?
snic is offline  
Old Jul 14, 08, 9:36 am
  #9  
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: Atlántida, Canelones, Uruguay (MVD) and rarely GNV
Programs: AV LifeMiles, CM ConnectMiles, BA Exec Club. Former:ex-ASGold, ex-UA1K, ex-COPlat, ex-NWGold.
Posts: 2,673
RSSRNotInIndia (love the name!), thank you for this great information about how the options display to you when we call.

Originally Posted by RSSRNotInIndia View Post
But UA doesn't block OA availability.
I understand this is what you believe, and no doubt what you were told and trained, if it was specifically talked about in your training at all. However, empirical evidence from 100's of FTers makes it very clear that UA does in fact block certain OA availability. Just search this forum using the term "starnet filtering" and you'll see story after story of your colleagues telling us, your customers, "I don't see that flight" after we've confirming that it is available to many other Star airline programs. Even when the rare agent attempts a manual sell in the desired booking class (I or X or whatever for the award), they don't get it. Even though I could book that flight online with ANA or AC or other *A program miles.

If UA's systems are blocking some of the availability exposed across *A via Starnet, how would you ever know?

There's obviously UA-written code creating the interface between UA's own reservation system and the Starnet Award Availability application. It seems to most of us regulars here, that UA has put filtering in place there; sometimes filtering premium cabins on partners, sometimes filtering entire flights, sometimes filtering entire airlines within a region (like LH intra-europe many times each year.)

If you don't see it, how can you know that UA didn't take it away?

Again, thanks for the info - the rundown on the process you use to find flights for us is very interesting and helpful. But I for one still believe UA is filtering out many *A flights we customers want and should be able to book as awards - they're just not telling you that they're doing it.
MarkXS is offline  
Old Jul 14, 08, 9:57 am
  #10  
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: SNA
Programs: AA EXP, UA 1K (until it expires then never again), *wood Plat, Marriott Gold
Posts: 8,833
Originally Posted by RSSRNotInIndia View Post
When searching for Star availability, nonstop/direct flights are displayed first, followed by single-connection and then double-connection. UA's availability is displayed first, but won't supersede the categorization. (For example, if one's searching PHL-AMS, US's N/S will display first, followed by UA's single-connections via IAD/ORD and then OA's single-connections). But UA doesn't block OA availability.

We're actually suppose to search complete itineraries. For example, if a family's searching for SFO-CDG in business during the summer and I knew I could route them SFO-YYZ-YUL-CDG on AC, I can't do it unless it shows up during the SFO-CDG search. However, most supervisors won't say anything (as long as it's on the legal routing / meets MPM) and very rarely will they listen to award travel calls, anyway. Thus, I'll do it. But many agents (especially offshore) won't.

I personally discourage travel on SQ made far in advance, simply because SQ's a horrible airline to work with. It's fairly common for them to downgrade people during schedule changes... rarely will they fix this. SQ recently made a big schedule change to one of their LAX flights (for travel beginning in the fall I believe)... many people are now winding up with 12+hour overnight layovers in SIN to make their connecting flight... could be fixed by moving them up to the earlier LAX flight - but SQ won't do it.
Well this is easy enough to prove wrong: NZ1

and done.
ryan182 is offline  
Old Jul 14, 08, 10:03 am
  #11  
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Location: Los Angeles, CA USA
Programs: SPG PLT, AA EXP
Posts: 3,729
Originally Posted by MarkXS View Post
RSSRNotInIndia

I understand this is what you believe, and no doubt what you were told and trained, if it was specifically talked about in your training at all. However, empirical evidence from 100's of FTers makes it very clear that UA does in fact block certain OA availability.
I think what s/he is trying to say is that CSR's need to know how to search and book flights that aren't showing on their screen. Yes, Starnet can "block" certain flights from displaying at all, but there are some flights that are perfectly valid bookings that a CSR still needs to "dig" for.

Whereas there are some flights (such as the NZ LAX-LHR-LAX flight, many intra-europe LH flights, etc.) that UA simply will not allow to be booked. That limitation has existed for some time. If the FT CSR (welcome, btw!) has some time at the office, do some searches for intra-europe LH flights and you'll notice that although boatlods exist, you won't be able to see any of them. Same with the LAX-LHR NZ flight.

- T
TonySCV is offline  
Old Jul 14, 08, 10:20 am
  #12  
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: MNL
Posts: 106
Originally Posted by TonySCV View Post
I think what s/he is trying to say is that CSR's need to know how to search and book flights that aren't showing on their screen.
At least one person got my point : ). My post was largely in reference to the OP's gripe that the first person he/she spoke with only saw UA/AC options, but the second person saw many more.

That said, I still don't believe that UA blocks OA availability. However, I do believe that OA block portions of their availability to UA. It's no big secret that more than one airline has been upset with UA due to the frequency/concentration/unbalanced bookings UA flyers were making on that airline. For example, many of our Premiers will call up asking for solely SQ availability. Not too long ago we were informed that SQ wasn't happy with the unbalanced award bookings, and many of us were lead to believe SQ would cease providing its inventory to UA. And I think this may go two-ways since I've taken calls, for example, from people pondering why they can't have seats (on a specific flight/date) to SYD with their US miles, but can with their UA.

It's also worth mentioning that the average Star award booking (or booking attempt) is very time consuming... fare buckets aren't aligned and after an hour or so, many agents eyes can be fatigued. Not to mention a big difference between 5-minutes into an agent's shift and 5-minutes before the end of their shift a call that asks "I'd like to go to Asia any time next spring... what's available?" Definitely not making excuses, just explaining service differentials.
RSSRNotInIndia is offline  
Old Jul 14, 08, 10:38 am
  #13  
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: SNA
Programs: UA Platinum
Posts: 1,533
Originally Posted by Karter View Post
I'm desperately trying to get back from Asia to the USA in February 2008. I found five seperate itineraries all available in C cls on the ANA tool, using combinations of NH, OZ, SQ or TG. However, on the trans-pacific sector, UA sees none of these. Apparently they don't even show up on the screen and all she offers me are UA or AC, both of which are unavailable. What can I do to get them to see this? I found my outbound flights on OZ last night and they've only given me 24hrs to find a return and ticket it due to OZ restrictions...
I think your problem is you're trying to travel back in time
UnitedF1RST is offline  
Old Jul 14, 08, 11:50 am
  #14  
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: HPN
Programs: not anymore! I'm FREE!
Posts: 3,194
Originally Posted by RSSRNotInIndia View Post
That said, I still don't believe that UA blocks OA availability. However, I do believe that OA block portions of their availability to UA. It's no big secret that more than one airline has been upset with UA due to the frequency/concentration/unbalanced bookings UA flyers were making on that airline. For example, many of our Premiers will call up asking for solely SQ availability. Not too long ago we were informed that SQ wasn't happy with the unbalanced award bookings, and many of us were lead to believe SQ would cease providing its inventory to UA. And I think this may go two-ways since I've taken calls, for example, from people pondering why they can't have seats (on a specific flight/date) to SYD with their US miles, but can with their UA.
That's an interesting perspective, and one not often heard here on FT. I think we're operating under the assumption that UA pays the alliance carriers for the award seats (at some rate far below retail), and it's UA who doesn't want to pay. But if it's all operating as a a seat-for-seat (or seat-mile for seat-mile) exchange, then overall the number of exchanged seats should be about even between carriers, and that could be all the starnet software is doing.

Or do you think individual Star Alliance airlines designate some proportion of award seats to be available to any other carrier, and the rest are available to "anyone but carrier X"? (usually carrier X=United)

Originally Posted by RSSRNotInIndia View Post
It's also worth mentioning that the average Star award booking (or booking attempt) is very time consuming... fare buckets aren't aligned and after an hour or so, many agents eyes can be fatigued. Not to mention a big difference between 5-minutes into an agent's shift and 5-minutes before the end of their shift a call that asks "I'd like to go to Asia any time next spring... what's available?" Definitely not making excuses, just explaining service differentials.
Award booking is indeed time consuming - which is why UA should provide a tool like ANA's for doing it online (which is not to say I want UA to cut your job - I don't!). CSRs who know their jobs are invaluable to frequent fliers, but it is absurd that the star alliance award booking process is so inefficient. And it's nothing compared to trying to book an award on a non-star alliance partner like Emirates or Qatar Airways.
snic is offline  
Old Jul 14, 08, 11:53 am
  #15  
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: LAX
Posts: 9,090
Originally Posted by RSSRNotInIndia View Post

That said, I still don't believe that UA blocks OA availability. However, I do believe that OA block portions of their availability to UA.
This wouldn't surprise me.

Either way I'd love to find out the schedule when we can access the award inventory as it has been seemingly completely random in my experience.
azepine00 is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread