1.5 hours to change a seat!

Discussion in 'United Airlines | MileagePlus' started by estnet, Oct 12, 2013.  |  Print Topic

  1. estnet
    Original Member

    estnet Gold Member

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    The trouble started when I wanted to request a japanese meal nrt-sfo. The 1k person had to consult a supervisor since she didn't know it wouldn't take with bkk-nrt-sfo as one flight number without splitting the record (another enhancement we are supposed to "like"), THEN
    "when I split the record we lost your seats - what seat did u have?" - tell her the seats - 10 min on hold, comes back and tells me we have xxb - no I say I told you the seats and they were window seats these are aisle, tell her the seat numbers again - another 10 minutes, comes back with window seats but not the ones I had originally. Ask for an email confirm.

    One hour later - can't see seats on ual.bomb and never got an email. Call back and another half hour eventually getting to a sup again, claim they can't see the seat assign,, eventually gets sets assigned and ask for email.

    2 hours later, no email, no seats I can see...... third call gets me another sup - who does send me an email, but still can't see it on .bomb

    I TRY TO CHANGES SEATS ON .BOMB BUT IT DOESN'T WORK!

    How in the world do they expect people to stay with an airline that can't assign a special meal or do a simple seat assignment (after THEY lost it) in less than 90 minutes on the phone? Shameful
     
  2. NYCUA1K

    NYCUA1K Gold Member

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    The problem you have is that you are trying to split a single flight. The dummy booking below illustrates the issue:

    BKK-NRT-SFO.jpg

    Note (top box) that flight UA838 starts at BKK, stops at NRT for 2hr:25min, and then continues as UA838 to SFO. That one is tough to split and the reason may be that splitting would get you more PQS and PQM than not splitting...

    If you do not mind spending ~1.5 extra hours at NRT, you could do (bottom box)
    • BKK-NRT on UA838; wait 4 hr at NRT and then do
    • NRT-SFO on UA852
    Two different flight numbers so that the segments will count individually and you'd get 2 PQS and 10,898 PQM, which is more than the 1 PQS and 7,924 PQM that you'd get on your current flight. You'd also be able to do anything else that you wish to do...
     
    Last edited: Oct 12, 2013
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  3. estnet
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    estnet Gold Member

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    while I appreciate your reply it is irrelevant ;) (and I hope you are wrong about the pqm - they should be the same? - actually you are I checked - difference is 7900 vs 8100 miles (which also makes no sense) - you read it wrong b/c UA bolds the total miles on the second flight which leads to confusion), because this reservation was made MONTHS ago and confirmed on the flight b/c ug space was confirmable when I bought the ticket!

    All I was trying to do was request an obento meal - if I had any idea what it would lead to I would not have done this It is ludicrous that UA cannot manage their system - I had no trouble selecting my seats online before the agent touched it, but now I can't do anything. Sorry - but I don't think this is any way to run an airline (which is why this is my last paid flight on UA after 2mm bis over many years)
     
    Last edited: Oct 12, 2013
  4. NYCUA1K

    NYCUA1K Gold Member

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    Strange response. How can it be irrelevant if it explains the source of your problem? What you just experienced is hardly new. I had reported a similar behavior over a year ago, as it freaked me out as well, and other had chipped in. My explanation for what you experienced is correct. Whether you wish to use the info is up to you, but I am sure that this has little to do with how the airline is run...;)

    P.S.
    You're right that I made an error in calculating the PQM for the second flight for the reason you stated, which happens frequently. However, the point remains the same: the 200-PQM difference is still due to single vs. split flights, which would also earn 1 vs. 2 PQS, respectively.

    It is well known that A->B->C as a single flight usually earns fewer PQS and PQM than the same itinerary split into two segments...
     
    Last edited: Oct 13, 2013
  5. KenInEscazu

    KenInEscazu Gold Member

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    That is true on every airline I fly. It really irritates me to have to make a stop and then be penalized, whether or not it is many PQMs, for making a stop when a non-stop would be much easier any way you cut it.

    I would guess that it is an IT issue, as one flight number is probably difficult to get the system to understand as two segments. Any time I can, I split the itinerary into two separate flights with two separate numbers, even if it means a little more time on the ground. But then again, I am a miles ho. ;)
     
  6. NYCUA1K

    NYCUA1K Gold Member

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    I think that it is more a logistical issue than an IT issue. The programming of such a thing at the code level would be very simple. The logistics not so. A gedankenexperiment can readily illustrate why the system is set up to balk when one tries to split a flight with the same number into two. Let's take the present case: BKK -> NRT -> SFO. The overwhelming majority of passengers on this flight who get on board at BKK are headed for SFO and not to NRT, because it would be more economical to take "local" airlines to do BKK->NRT than UA. This means that only a relatively small number of people will get off at NRT (let's say 10%). For simplicity, let us further assume that the number of people who would board at NRT exactly matches the number of those getting off. Logistically, the optimal solution to this gedankenexperiment would be the one in which the 90% of the passengers who will simply transit through NRT keep their seats, while there will be a 1-to1 exchange for those getting off or on. There is little doubt that it would be very messy if the 90% of the people transiting through NRT decided that they wanted to change seats! That is why, e.g., upgrades for a single flight that has a stop have to clear all the way through. This ensures that the upgraded passenger would be in the same seat from the beginning to the end, thereby simplifying the logistics of handling passengers who would get off or on at the stopover point...
     
    Last edited: Oct 13, 2013
  7. estnet
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    estnet Gold Member

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    NY - no harm no foul. It is only irrelevant b/c I cannot change the flight and i am well aware of the problem that UA has not fixed.
    I did have different seats on the two legs which no one seemed to have a problem with when I booked months ago. The problem is that once the agent did something to put in the meal request my seats went away and it took hours of my life to get the original seats back! IMO this is no way to run an airline. SQ has no trouble with this problem, I have flown one flight number with two legs and never a problem with seats or meals on each leg.
     
  8. Wandering Aramean
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    Wandering Aramean Gold Member

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    This problem existed back in the CO days, too. It is not new to the system. What is new is how many agents cannot or will not split the segments (it is unclear if this is a policy change or not) and the attending issues. Not because they didn't exist before but because working around them is much harder now.
     
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  9. NYCUA1K

    NYCUA1K Gold Member

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    The problem was already there. It did not become manifest until someone tried to do something to the reservation. I did not know there was a problem initially until I went back days later and noted that I had no seat assignment.

    As for it being irrelevant because you cannot do anything about it; that is too pessimistic. Some agents or supervisors can get it done, but by the time you find one who is knowledgeable enough or is willing to do it, you might have reached the point of diminishing returns. Another solution might allow you more flexibility...

    I cannot speak about other lines, but I believe that there is good logistical reason why the UA system is resistant to splitting a single flight into two if the two resulting segments have the same flight number...
     
    Last edited: Oct 13, 2013
  10. estnet
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    estnet Gold Member

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    EXACTLY! Of note - at the RCC yesterday it took the agent 10 seconds to do the seat assignment and another 30 seconds for him to give me a printout!
     

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