Changes to pass travel in 2015

Discussion in 'United Airlines | MileagePlus' started by viguera, Dec 2, 2014.  |  Print Topic

  1. viguera
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    viguera Gold Member

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    United is making some changes to their pass travel policy starting next year.

    In case you don't know, there are different types of pass riders as far as United goes. There are "eligible" pass riders (an employee's parents, spouses, children and siblings) and "regular" pass riders, which is everyone else.

    Starting January 5th, regular pass riders will not be allowed to travel outside of the 48 contiguous United States unless they're accompanied by an employee or an eligible pass rider. This is a huge change from the current setup where regular pass riders can go anywhere on their own.

    The other change is starting in February, where all regular pass riders will need to be registered and "certified" at least 72 hours prior to travel.

    The registration and certification process is how an employee designates who is allowed to use passes for travel. You use the website to add people and classify them into their different "buckets" (siblings, parents, etc). For siblings the certification process even includes submitting a copy of a birth certificate, etc.

    This doesn't sound like too bad of a change for United employees that are not abusing the system, as chances are that the list goes unchanged year to year. It does seem like United is trying to clamp down on people that are selling passes or handing them off to strangers though, which is a good thing in my book.
     
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  2. sfogate
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    sfogate Gold Member

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    This is quite a change for the legacy United employees. I don't believe anyone is happy with this change as no one wishes to see changes based on the bad actions of others.
     
  3. viguera
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    viguera Gold Member

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    Well it also comes on the heels of the new policy that requires regular pass riders to pay luggage fees, so it definitely seems aimed at making pass travel more uncomfortable for friends of the employees. Things are fairly unchanged for family members though (for now) so you can argue that it could be worse :)
     
  4. lapointdm

    lapointdm Silver Member

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    Please don't make that argument! United always seems to find a way to make it worse!!
     
  5. Bay Pisco Shark
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    Bay Pisco Shark Gold Member

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    So, say Employee and Friend are traveling to Internationalville, and there's one SA seat left and Employee gets it - friend is no longer eligible to try and get out on the next flight? Employee ------------> Friendly!
     
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  6. Newscience

    Newscience Gold Member

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    +1
     
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  7. sfogate
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    sfogate Gold Member

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    Only buddy pass riders are paying checked baggage fees. I am still very grateful to have pass benefits that I can extend to my parents, husband and children. This benefit is priceless. As a legacy CO employee, the buddy pass program was started so that unmarried employees could travel with a friend. How legacy UA used or what they offered to their employees is not something I know about.
     
  8. colpuck
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    colpuck Gold Member

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    Airlines traditionally underpay compared to similar positions in other industries. Dilution of NRSA benefits is a serious concern to myself and to the others for whom these benefits make the low pay worth it!
     
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  9. Flyer1976
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    Flyer1976 Gold Member

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    Indeed however some regional affiliates don't receive buddy passes so it doesn't really impact them in any way or form however it might help if there's only one seat left and you're #3 on the list. ;)
     
  10. colpuck
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    colpuck Gold Member

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    Call it a solidarity statement on my part then. Now about getting vacation passes.....
     
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  11. Flyer1976
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    Flyer1976 Gold Member

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    Oh that's an entirely different topic and I don't always think it's a good idea to be discussing pass travel policies on a frequent flier forum anyways.
     
  12. viguera
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    viguera Gold Member

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    I agree, to an extent. But there are some that have this huge misconception about how pass travel works, and actually resent people who do it. I think some people think of pass travel as it was in the old days, and that you can just point a finger and say "YOU!" and they're automatically in the plane sitting in first putting away the Krug.

    I agree that discussing specifics might be problematic, and I'm thinking even discussing how many passes some people get might be a violation of some kind of policy, but that doesn't make the entire topic taboo -- which it almost seems to be based on how infrequently it's brought up.
     
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  13. redtailshark

    redtailshark Silver Member

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    It's unrealistic to expect NSA-style secrecy to prevail in this area. In the era of social media - or even, talkative pass rider students in my class - it's not hard to learn about the various policies.

    I must say, as a long-ago BA jumpseat/pass/standby rider, that this UA measure does suck for friends/more distant family. It's true that sale/abuse of passes happens, but not only on UA - you should see the DL lists at my home airport - but this measure dilutes the value of the employment package. Which is quite limited as it is. BA have long taken firm action against abuses of staff travel and in this respect, I think their policies are reasonable. They protect core entitlements which encouraged people to sign up for employment and dedicate their careers and they also insulate the airline from the perception that staff live a bonanza (even for staff upgraded to CW, these limitations include last entree selection if full of revenue pax; assignment to seats with nonfunctional IFE or broken reclines that would otherwise be unsold etc.).

    Yes, it's true, I said, BA policy in this area was ND: that's NOT DILBERTIAN. Unlike other aspects of their operation...but anyway...

    UA employees are not alone in experiencing such reductions in benefits/conditions. Unfortunately, in many economic sectors now, we are seeing stagnation and/or continued long-term rescissions in conditions. We all feel some of the pain.
     
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  14. scasilla

    scasilla New Member

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    And is it true that you can only travel to certain airports with the buddy pass. Is that a new rule also?
     
  15. Flyer1976
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    Flyer1976 Gold Member

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    Currently you are only allowed to travel on a buddy pass unaccompanied in the contiguous 48 U.S.
     
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  16. viguera
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    viguera Gold Member

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    Correct. If you're a "regular" buddy that's your only option. The only way to get around that is if you're traveling with the employee or their extended family. UA classifies these differently now when you book pass travel, and everyone is listed as either their Primary Friend, Parent, or Brother / Sister. If you're traveling with one of those, then you're good, otherwise you're a "regular buddy" and you can't travel outside the contiguous 48.

    The other restrictions that I know of are that children under 8 cannot travel on a premium cabin internationally while on a pass, and children 8-14 must be accompanied by the employee or one of the enrolled friends.
     

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