Companion upgrades and splitting reservations

Discussion in 'United Airlines | MileagePlus' started by SnowDogDad, Apr 3, 2013.  |  Print Topic

  1. SnowDogDad

    SnowDogDad Silver Member

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    I have searched through some of the discussions here and I have read what is available on the UAL web site, but it does not jive with what the supervisors tell me on the 1K desk.

    Can someone explain to me what the "real" companion upgrade (CPU) policy is? I'm a 1K and on 2 different occasions in the last 5 months, I have checked in and when the question during check-in asks "Would you like to split your reservation if an upgrade seat is available for only the Premier member?" (Or whatever it says.)

    I have said "No". [Getting upgraded while your other half sits in coach is NOT a good recipe for marital bliss.]

    Yet, twice within 96 hours of the flight, I was upgraded and my other half was left in coach.

    Both times, I called the 1K desk. The first person to answer essentially said "Duh, you must have clicked "Yes" to split the reservation and you did not realize it" Both times I had to ask for a supervisor.

    The first time I called, the supervisor said, "Your companion's record is marked as being 1K status, but won't be considered for upgrade until the day of flight." She could not, however, tell me why my companion would not be considered for upgrade until the day of flight even though the ticket was marked as being 1K status. [SnowDogMom is not a Premier]

    The second time the supervisor said, "Sorry, once the reservation is split, your companion is out of luck. No upgrades period even 'day of flight.'" [This particular time, there was actually 15 seats available in first after my upgrade cleared.]

    Any advice? References?
     
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  2. edcho

    edcho Silver Member

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    Slightly confused -- are you talking about your return flight back? You can't check-in more than 96 hours out.

    You can get upgraded at the windows and if that happens, they should happen together.

    Maybe you used the auto-checkin feature for the return?
     
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  3. Wandering Aramean
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    Wandering Aramean Gold Member

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    In advance of the day of travel and assuming a single PNR you should only ever be upgraded together (or remain in coach together). If you are not on a single PNR then you can be upgraded separately from your companion.

    Once the PNR is split you can have them added to the list at the airport but nothing will happen in advance of travel. Also, once split, you will be processed starting when the CPU window opens while the companion will not be.

    As for never splitting up, my wife and I often do. Turns out spending up to 6 hours no more than 30 feet apart on the same plane hasn't ruined our marriage yet. ;)
     
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  4. SnowDogDad

    SnowDogDad Silver Member

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    Nope, I hate the auto-check in feature and never use it.

    And, yes, it was the return flight. In an effort to be succinct, I left that piece of info out.
     
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  5. Wandering Aramean
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    Wandering Aramean Gold Member

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    So once the PNR split on the outbound you were processed separately. That part actually worked correctly.
     
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  6. edcho

    edcho Silver Member

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    The key is to figure out how the PNRs were split. Somewhere along the line, it was split (when and how, there could be several ways). Like Wandering Aramean said, once the PNR is split, then you are upgraded separately. You will be upgraded at the upgrade windows + at the gate if you don't clear at the windows while your companion would be upgraded at the gate only (in theory -- sometimes this doesn't work out).

    Might help to look at what date the ticket for your wife was issued (on the receipt).
     
  7. SnowDogDad

    SnowDogDad Silver Member

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    Therein lies the rub, I did nothing to split the PNR (no auto-checkin and no "yes you can split the reservation if necessary. It was split automatically sometime within 5 days of the return flight. I know this because I looked at the seating on the return flight about 5 days before and the single PNR was still intact.

    To the best of my knowledge, SHARES decided to do it. I asked the supervisor on the 2nd call to pinpoint when it happened and she could not.

    Incidentally, my companion was then stuck in a middle seat in Economy Plus. I tried to move it and could not. The 1K desk refused to move the seat to an aisle or window until I paid for the Economy Plus seat. Even the supervisor refused to move the seat even though plenty were available and I would have had the ability to do so before the PNR was split.
     
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  8. edcho

    edcho Silver Member

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    If you can, click on the receipt link (for your wife's PNR) on past reservations tab on UA. There should be a date on when the ticket was issued.

    It is a very poor system and UA recognizes that (thankfully). At the UADo in November 2012, the IT team announced that they received funding and clearance to rebuild the upgrade system from scratch so hopefully by summer time, this will be a moot issue.
     
  9. Wandering Aramean
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    Wandering Aramean Gold Member

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    Hang up and call back. That's not the policy and the agents shouldn't have done that.
     
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  10. SnowDogDad

    SnowDogDad Silver Member

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    Summer? From the perspective of someone that has done many IT projects, methinks it will be Summer of 2015 if they are going to rebuild from scratch. :-(
     
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  11. SnowDogDad

    SnowDogDad Silver Member

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    Over the past 18 months, I have gotten such poor service from the 1K Desk that I'm just kinda used to it.
     
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  12. edcho

    edcho Silver Member

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    I was trying to be overly optimistic. :D They did promise a new customer experience by this summer though ... what that is exactly, who knows.
     
  13. BuckleandBoots

    BuckleandBoots Silver Member

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    I've had very, very mixed success and failure with this process.

    WA got most of the points right, but here is what I've noticed.

    The system has recently be enhanced/fixed/manipulated/explatived-with (we all have opinions), but declining the upgrade on the outbound leg doesn't automatically remove your CPU request for the return flight anymore.

    I have not been able to successfully check-in using the mobile app without splitting the PNR. The last time I tried a "computer issue" split the PNR.

    I did have success on multiple itineraries calling the Premier Line and getting them to put a note into my reservation that I was traveling with a companion. In one case I was even able to get the upgrade fixed by a phone agent when there was available R inventory within the upgrade window based on the record annotation.

    All that said, here is my advice when traveling with a companion to avoid being split (WA feel free to do the opposite):
    1) Book the non-elite in the preferred seat (Window or Aisle) because if you get moved, you have much better odds of convincing someone to move from a middle (to 1st, another middle, or a Window/Aisle).
    2) Don't check-in using the mobile app. Find a computer/airport/carrier pigeon instead. The app is great, but not for this. Also both BP's should auto-populate into the app. Always click no at the "An Upgrade May be Available" window. (As an aside, even when upgraded this window will still appear.)
    3) If it splits and you don't know why, call and ask them what happened. If the agent is unhelpful, hang up and call back. They won't/can't fix the PNR, but they can at least put a note into the record. (Probably won't help with CPU's, but will be clutch for SDC or E+)
    4) If one of you is upgraded and the other isn't, remember there is probably someone sitting in coach that will accept your seat in 1st in exchange for their seat in coach. (I know there are mixed views on this practice, but that's a discussion for another day.)

    One day the system will be fixed and work exactly as we expect. The next day something else will change. ;)
     

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