Changes to O/ON coming Feb 1, 2013

Discussion in 'United Airlines | MileagePlus' started by UA Insider, Dec 18, 2012.  |  Print Topic

  1. UA Insider
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    UA Insider Official Representative

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    Hi Everyone,

    I wanted to let you know about a change we’ll be making to the way we allocate MileagePlus award inventory for United Global First and United First on 3-cabin aircraft. As many of you know, we currently use the same fare class (ON) for both upgrades and Saver travel awards redeemed from MileagePlus Premier Platinum, Premier 1K and Global Services accounts. A consequence of this pairing has been fewer seats being available for upgrades.

    To remedy this imbalance, we will begin using ON exclusively for upgrades into United Global First and United First on 3-cabin aircraft effective February 1, 2013. Having a dedicated fare class for these upgrades will enable us to offer differentiated availability. To accommodate this change, we will no longer offer a dedicated fare class for Saver travel awards redeemed from MileagePlus Premier Platinum, Premier 1K and Global Services accounts. Instead, the inventory once used for ON class will be allocated to O class, which will become the sole booking class used for Saver Awards in United Global First and United First on 3-cabin aircraft.

    Between now and January 31, ON will still be used for new Saver Award bookings from Platinum, 1K and Global Services accounts, and any flights booked prior to this change will not be impacted. We’ll also continue to offer better access to Saver Awards in United First (on 2-cabin aircraft), United BusinessFirst and United Business for Premier Platinum members and above, and better access to Saver Awards in United Economy for all Premier members.

    Shannon Kelly
    Director, Customer Insights
    United Airlines
     
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  2. Captain Oveur
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    Captain Oveur Gold Member

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    Does this mean the additional Saver inventory for 1Ks is going away?
     
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  3. Scottrick
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    Scottrick Gold Member

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    It would seem so, but only for three-cabin planes. Shannon said we'll still have better access to Saver Awards in United First on two-cabin planes.
     
  4. Captain Oveur
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    Captain Oveur Gold Member

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    Heh heh heh....
     
  5. ssullivan
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    ssullivan Gold Member

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    It would be nice if they'd just add another fare class for the expanded availability for awards for elites. But, obviously, that's not the approach being taken.
     
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  6. Wandering Aramean
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    Wandering Aramean Gold Member

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    If this is the only downgrade in the new year I'll take it. But definitely a downgrade. :(
     
  7. ssullivan
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    ssullivan Gold Member

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    Agreed.
     
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  8. KenInEscazu

    KenInEscazu Gold Member

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    I wonder if Smisek ever regrets uttering the words, "Changes you're going to like." I think maybe he misread the teleprompter. He should have said, "Changes I'm going to like."
     
  9. HaveMilesWillTravel
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    HaveMilesWillTravel Gold Member

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    I am sure people would have found some other phrase.
     
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  10. CGK
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    CGK Gold Member

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    Another change that we'll like.
     
  11. TRAVELSIG
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    TRAVELSIG Gold Member

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    To be fair- if you are paying for business class longhaul (trans-atl/pac) then this is probably a welcome change.
     
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  12. Seacarl
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    Seacarl Gold Member

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    Except that (1) you cannot use your GPUs to upgrade Z and P fares, only the more expensive C and D fares; and (2) is the difference between BusinessFirst and GlobalFirst worth it for a paid trip, or is the extra inventory nice when you cannot find Saver Business for an aspirational award trip?

    I can see where it makes business sense for United to save more of the inventory for paid C and D passengers wanting to upgrade, but it makes award travel harder to find, also for those customers.
     
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  13. SFOPeter
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    SFOPeter Silver Member

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    I just used this for an F award trip to Senegal via LHR/LIS. Bummer that it won't be around anymore. United F isn't that much better than C, but it is usually so few miles more that it is worth it.
     
  14. cova

    cova Gold Member

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    Definitely a downgrade. ON is the primary reward booking that I redeem.
    For example, on some flights UA has released ON about 3 days before O - thus top tiers were able to get those rewards. These are really the premier rewards that top tier go after.

    We will likely start to see O=zero and ON=a number now. UA may now choose to not release any O inventory at all. So that most of those going to the GlobalFirst cabin are now in paid Business and upgrading via GPU or miles. We will see a drastic reduction in O class....

    Not a good change . Adding a new class code would have been the best - but UA did not want to do that. They want to eliminate or greatly reduced most GlobalFirst rewards seats - as I see it.
     
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  15. unavaca
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    unavaca Gold Member

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    I think the untold story here is that "we'd much rather go to a two-cabin product globally, but we'll reluctantly keep the three-class product if he we can get actual money for it."
     
  16. Golden Toque

    Golden Toque Gold Member

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    Who says adding the seperate fare class for awards would have meant that it ever would have had inventory available?
     
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  17. cova

    cova Gold Member

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    I think they are trying to allow more opportunity for full fare J passengers who likely buy short time before flight time the opportunity to upgrade (GPU or Miles) to F. Currently - those upgrade seats would be gone more than a week or two before. And maybe that is fine.

    But not having an extra fare code to allow releasing 2 F seats to top tiers early is the issue in my view. With 12-14 F seats - I believe they will always have the opportunity to release 2 F rewards (unless there is a special event). But now everyone in MP gets the opportunity to get at the same time and no advantage to top tiers.

    Early this year I booked tickets SYD-SFO in F and they showed ON about three days before O opened up. Thus they were easy to get. But after those 3 days ended and O opened - all F seats SYD to LAX or SFO were snapped up.

    I am pretty sure they will be able to release 2 F reward seats - but if ON = upgrade or reward then the rewards will get taken ahead of full J upgrades. Again - ,makes sense, but still needs a 3 day or so advance top elite opportunity which requires a new booking code.

    And maybe they believe the only ones that have enough miles to redeem F rewards are top elites, but that really is not so. I know many who charge alot and are not elite and always redeem F rewards when there is a 3 cabin aircraft. Also what about all the credit card churners who rack up miles and are not elite (and don't spend big).
     
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  18. cova

    cova Gold Member

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    Also - the times I have been in UA GF - there have always been "a few UA employee non-revs" - so I think they can afford to release 2 GF seats on most flights.
     
  19. ssullivan
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    ssullivan Gold Member

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    My experience out of IAD to/from LHR and FRA the past couple of years has been that the F cabin was generally a mix of the two of us on award tickets, and 1 or 2 other seats booked in advance. The rest of that cabin was filled up during the boarding process with non-revs on every single flight we've been on to/from IAD in that cabin. It happened again a few weeks ago on FRA-IAD. When we boarded the F cabin was booked with only two passengers – the two of us – traveling on an award booked into O (not ON – just checked the receipt), with one seat blocked. Halfway through boarding I saw that the cabin was suddenly filled up on the UA Android app, and then the new passengers started arriving up there. From their conversation with the crew it was clear they were all UA employees and their family members.

    I love the GF suite, but it is hard to justify it on routes where that cabin is carrying a combination of award tickets and non-revs.
     
  20. unavaca
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    unavaca Gold Member

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    What? The 763 has all of 6 F seats and the 772 has 8. Only the 747 has 12 seats. Given how scarce these are, I can completely understand the position UA is taking. "We want you to buy more C, D, and J fares so you can upgrade into F."
     
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  21. Captain Oveur
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    Captain Oveur Gold Member

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    Happens a lot out of CDG too, but a lot in C as well. Sometimes there's a wait at the lav before they close the doors because the non-revs change clothes prior to take-off. They wear their uniforms and badges through security so they can exempt themselves from the liquid restrictions and carry-on rules.
     
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  22. TRAVELSIG
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    It seems STAR in general is aligning to a standard policy. LH this year went to no mileage upgrades at all unless from D/C/J classes (no more Z or P). If they can get people to buy D I do suppose it makes sense. A couple of times I have had a last minute C purchase and not been able to upgrade as it was already full of upgrades in advance- which is a bit annoying- there are really two ways to look at this. FYI at least on Lufthansa you never see a non-rev in First unless they are a very senior captain.
     
  23. Flyer1976
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    Flyer1976 Gold Member

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    LH makes their employees pay a premium to non-rev in First or Business Class. Sure it's not your normal fare but it is pretty steep compared to other carriers.
     
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  24. cova

    cova Gold Member

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    There are still a good number of 772s (old style) with 12 F seats (particularly out of IAD).
     
  25. Wandering Aramean
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    Wandering Aramean Gold Member

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    There are only 7 of that type still flying at all. At least one is pretty much dedicated to the IAH-HNL route. SEA-NRT gets one, too.

    Three will go from the old 3-cabin config to the new "islands" config in the new year. The other four should be IPTE-config'd in the next couple months.

    Hardly a lot of them still flying around these days.
     

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