Background: Flying the return of a paid full-F ticket (as in changeable/refundable) on ANC > SFO > EWR > MIA when the inbound 738 out of ORD to ANC, scheduled to turn to the SFO flight, took a MX delay. Close to original boarding time the GA working the flight made the following announcement, "...we've got a MX delay but it should be wrapped up quickly and everyone should make their connections, therefore I will *not* be rebooking people." He then proceeded into the jetway and closed the door behind him leaving the counter unmanned and did not emerge except about 30m later to announce a further delay before again going back into the jetway and quickly shutting the door behind him. (I am not sure why he needed to be in the jetway vis-a-vis the gate to help customers.) At first, due to a long connecting at SFO I was not too worried about an IRROP, however 30m turned into 1hr, and with no firm update 1hr 30m past departure, I decided to start exploring options. While ExpertFlyer showed a paucity of seats out of ANC, and no F options on UA, I was luckily able to locate AS/AA flights departing in about an hour and a half to LAX (arriving ~11:50pm) to connect to an AA flight at 6:00am the following morning - both with F and a decent amount of Y - so I called into res to start the process of sending the ticket over as the GA remained sequestered in the jetway. While the IAH-based phone agent seemed genuinely eager to help, company policy and/or his supervisor effectively tied his hands; he did offer a connection via IAH, however it was economy only (as F was sold out) and informed me his supervisor stated no OAL’s unless the delay was more than two hours. I did comment how such a policy seemed counter intuitive as here was a customer proactively trying to dodge a problem the airline created (MX) but the referenced two hour policy effectively required the passenger to actually experience the misconnect before taking action. Moreover, I also commented on the scarcity of seats (of which the IAH-based phone agent confirmed), the pending departure of the AS flight (by this time we had about 1h 20m before its scheduled departure) and how delaying for another 30m (until the 2hour mark) might limit the options currently open. Again the IAH-based phone agent agreed with me, and while I sensed he genuinely desired to help me, his hands remained tied and said there was nothing he could do until the delay reached the two hour mark. Unsatisfied with the response, and seeing as how the GA remained inaccessible in the jetway, I made my way to the check-in counter and again asked a sCO agent to be put on the AS/AA flights. After going through the usual evasions (e.g. you’re flight’s not delayed [yes, it is]; well it’s a weather issues [no, it’s not], the GA will rebook you [no, he won’t], there are no other seats [yes, there are], you should call res [already done that]) the sCO agent quires her computer and informs me the only option she has is economy IAH connection that her telephone colleague mentioned earlier…and that’s when the fun started: The conversation went something along these lines: sCO: There’s no space on anyone else out of ANC; it’s the weekend and we’re in the middle of cruise season so everyone is full. J.Edward: Hmmm, I see. Well is there any way we could check specific flights if I gave you the information? sCO: Sure, but they’re full. J.Edward: Gotcha – can you take a look at the AS flight later today to LAX? sCO: <type, type, type> Hmmmm, yes, I think they have seats. J.Edward: Great, now can you look at this AA flight LAX > MIA the following morning? sCO: <type, type, pause, type, pause, type> Mr. Edward, they show seats in the system but I cannot sell them because I don’t know if they’re available and I don’t have the number to call AA to--- J.Edward: No worries, I’ve got the number Here – I’ll give them a ring and put them on speaker. sCO: Uhh, wait, I don’t think… AA EXP: High J.Edward, and welcome back! Can I help you with your – <pushes 0> AA EXP: Okay, I’ll pass you information along to the next available agent sCO: uuhh, I don’t think AA reservations will know –- AA EXP: Good evening J.Edward, how can I help? J.Edward: Hello, I’m calling to see if you guys have space to take a ticket from Continental for the early morning LAX > MIA flight tomorrow. AA EXP: The one at 6am? J.Edward: Yes Ma’am. AA EXP: Oh yes, there are plenty of seats on that flight. J.Edward: Good to hear, the reason I ask is I want to make sure there’s inventory as CO needed to verify space before sending a--- AA EXP: There’s plenty of seats, but CO won’t do it. J.Edward: ? AA EXP: Yes, CO never sends tickets over… sCO Agent: AA EXP: …and when they do, they often don’t do it right… sCO Agent: AA EXP: Yes sir, Mr. Edward, it’s a bit of a process with them… sCO Agent: AA EXP: ...and we often times have to call back to CO to ask them to reissue the ticket correctly... sCO Agent: AA EXP: …but I can certainly confirm there’s space on the early morning MIA flight if CO decides to send you over…if you think CO is willing to do it. sCO Agent: (and signals she’s good on selling in the sector.) J.Edward: Um, yes, I think we’re good. Thanks for all your help; let me let you go and we’ll try to get this worked out with CO. AA EXP: Good luck Mr. Edward, and thanks for calling American. We value your business. So as you can probably imagine, the sCO agent was less than amused after our conversation with the EXP desk but sells in the flights and then proceeds to call the help desk to get it reissued. (As an aside since I was going from three flights to two flights, the 3 flight coupons needed to be redone to two coupons and then linked with the two new flights – a process called re-issuing for all you readers following along at home. In itself the transaction should not be that hard, especially on the sUA side when all one had to do was select what remaining flight coupon(s) needed to be used to support travel on the new sector(s) in FastAir. But even still, all that should be required in SHARES – as I poorly understand it – is a 2:1 coupon exchange to turn the three outstanding coupons into two, and then the actually reissuing of the eTicket to ensure it two eticket coupons matched the corresponding flights in the PNR – one eticket coupon for the AS ANC-LAX sector and one eticket coupon for the LAX-MIA sector.) However the sCO agent needed to call the help desk to reissue the ticket as she lacked the skills to reissue the ticket herself. And while she did get through relatively quickly, the help desk itself took about 15-20m to reissue the eTicket. But in the end the ticket was reissued, in coach, I was advised to contact customer care after I returned to request a pro-rated refund (for the downgrade from F > Y, despite there being F seats open on the flights) and I was able to check in with AS/AA. So all that said here are my questions regarding this: On the advice of the sCO agent, and the employee help desk, I still need to call into “WeCare” to request a partial refund (can anyone provide any guidance as to what is generally accepted for F > Y invol downgrades?) for my ticket as my paid F ticket was turned into an economy one, despite the fact F space existed on the AS/AA flights. . Due to tight availability of lodging at LAX, I went ahead and secured a room at my expense upon being reconfirmed and am unsure as to who, in all fairness, is responsible for this expense (I can see arguments for either side and was curious to hear what others thought.) . I was disappointed by the ANC > SFO GA’s behavior as appeared to be deliberately avoiding customers. Of course I may be mistaken (he might have been a double GA/MX and was working hard to fix the plane) but his immediate dismal to help seems a bit out of line “customer service” role. Now if he had said something along the lines of, “…at this time connections look good so for now let’s hold off on rebooking, but we’ll keep an eye on them and if things start to get tight we’ll figure something out”, while reaming at the podium is far more customer friendly then basically saying “no” and then disappearing. . I expect *any* agent of the company to be able to manipulate a ticket with common sense in a competent manner. To that end, I expect employees be given the tools/resources/access to information to do their job and help their customers, something I do not feel UA has done in a meaningful and effective manner. . The current systems (as in IT systems, customer polices, employee fear of audits/reprisals) employed by UA seems to do all but directly discourage making it easy for customers or employees to handle irregular situations and only through a combination of what I have learned on FT/MP, doing my homework to see what flights were available, the EXP desk calling out CO, and dumb luck was I able to overcome the "UA inertia" find a partial resolution to the situation. . I expect that UA's polices are made for their employees and customers, neither we nor the employees are made for the policy. Gordon Bethune burned the rule book two decades ago for a reason which has largely been lost on the current UA management. . Bottom line: the frontline needs better tools to do their job and UA management needs to once again symbolically rip up the employee manual and refocus on their main reason for existing: to take care of the customer.