Flew in First... But Not

Discussion in 'United Airlines | MileagePlus' started by webdes03, Jun 28, 2013.  |  Print Topic

  1. webdes03

    webdes03 Gold Member

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    Just a story I thought I'd share...

    Back on 6/11 I flew an RDU-IAD leg on the originating flight of the day (a Republic Q400). I was next on the upgrade list right up until time of departure, and 2D showed as available right up until departure.

    I took my seat (second row of E+) with clear view of the galley and flight deck. Throughout boarding there was a woman leaning into the flightdeck, chatty with the pilots and flight attendant all through the boarding process. It wasn't until the boarding door closed that she said "Oh great, thanks!" and sat in 2D.

    Ironically, when I arrived in IAD and turned my phone on, I found that I had been upgraded on that flight. UA has since refunded my $14 E+ fee, and my flight history shows that I flew Z class (consistent with an upgrade) on that leg, despite the fact that I was in my usual 4C seat.

    I have a sneaky suspicion that they processed my upgrade, but instead of telling me, the flight attendant gave it to her friend.

    Now it's only a 70 minute flight, so F isn't all that big of a deal. But the fact that I appear to have missed out on an upgrade given how horrible Silver upgrade percentages are, sort of torques me off.
     
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  2. Captain Oveur
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    Captain Oveur Gold Member

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    It doesn't matter what your MP status is, if you were indeed passed up like that, you have a right to be upset.

    You mentioned the refund....is the $14 refund the product of complaining to UA?
     
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  3. webdes03

    webdes03 Gold Member

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    No, they refunded it automatically. I just noticed a "Chase Double Miles" withdrawl on my MP statement and went back to investigate my UA Chase credit card statement. They took the 14 miles back out of my MP account, consistent with the credit card refund of $14. Sure enough, a couple days after the flight in question, they automatically refunded it, consistent with if I'd paid for E+ (which I did) but not flown in E+.

    I just submitted a similar summary to my original post here to the MP Service Desk... we'll see if they respond.
     
  4. guberif

    guberif Silver Member

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    You paid for E+ even though you get it T-24? Was the flight that full?
     
  5. webdes03

    webdes03 Gold Member

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    Yes... I know you and I have talked about this before ;-)
     
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  6. KenInEscazu

    KenInEscazu Gold Member

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    It could be that your theory about your seat having been given to the FA's friend is right, or it could be that the extremely late UG failed to be communicated to the crew. I'd like to think that the latter is the case, as the former would be pretty "in-your-face" on an RJ where you could probably watch it occur from probably 90% of the seats on that plane.

    If this were 2013, you would never have heard a reply about your submitted recount of the events, but I think you'll likely hear from them with some form of minimal compensation now that most of the dust has settled. I know you didn't ask for advice, so this is just intended as my own reaction if I had been in your shoes. I would write again in 30 days if I hadn't heard back, then again in 2 weeks, 1 week and then a letter to Smisek if all of that were to go unanswered. Again, I think it's more likely that they will do something nice for your inconvenience.

    Being Silver doesn't come with many perks anymore, so I sure understand your frustration.
     
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  7. NYBanker
    Original Member

    NYBanker Gold Member

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    Write a letter to the airline and explain what you know happened and what you think happened. Interesting to see their reply. They'll invariably give you something - and hopefully give the gate agent a warning.
     
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  8. HaveMilesWillTravel
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    HaveMilesWillTravel Gold Member

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    If the GA at RDU is a UAX staffer and the seat was given to a UAX employee, perhaps UA should charge the cost of the F seat to the UAX partner and pass that on to the OP in form of a voucher as compensation :)
     
  9. webdes03

    webdes03 Gold Member

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    Still waiting for a reply to my email to the premier desk... @United told me "emails are answered in the order received and may take up to 2 weeks"...
     
  10. KenInEscazu

    KenInEscazu Gold Member

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    I think that was a misprint. It should have said, "emails are answered in the order received and may take up to 2 years" :D
     
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  11. goalie
    Original Member

    goalie Gold Member

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    Further refined to "emails may be answered and if answered, may take up to two years"
     
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  12. webdes03

    webdes03 Gold Member

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    Well this is frustrating. After two weeks, I finally got the reply, which was nothing more than a form letter it seems. Should I further pursue this? Is compensation warranted, or am I blowing things out of proportion and should just drop it?


     
  13. KenInEscazu

    KenInEscazu Gold Member

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    What I would want to do and what I would actually do are probably two different things. Worse things have happened to me this year, but I haven't bothered to write to UA about them because it takes more effort than it is often worth.

    If this had been the reply I received, I would not be satisfied. UA sells you the ticket. They market the flight. They handle the upgrades. It doesn't seem appropriate for them to try to lay the responsibility on Republic. You paid UA, so they should be the sole responsible party, IMHO.

    If you still feel shortchanged (understandably so), then you might want to write a reply that spells out how you are a UA FF who has no control over their regional contracts or operations. You might say that it seems to be UA's responsibility to handle the issues regarding the treatment of their passengers on their regional carriers, and you missed out on one of the few opportunities that you receive to get an UG. Then request specific compensation. Whatever you think would make it right for you.

    If it took UA two weeks, you might also want to wait two weeks for Republic to "follow-up" before replying to their email. That might add to your appearance of being a reasonable passenger, where you could cite Republic's failure to respond (and I'm pretty sure they won't) before escalating your complaint.

    It doesn't appear that your Silver status played a role in this mishap, as you were the next Premier passenger in line, and your UG cleared. This could have happened to anyone, regardless of status level. 70 minutes isn't a long flight, but add in taxi time and it's enough that I would be pretty torqued off, too. Whether I would expend the energy to keep fighting... Well it just depends on what else I had on my plate at the time. It's a personal decision, but I don't think it unreasonable to pursue it if it bothers you enough to decide to do so.
     
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  14. webdes03

    webdes03 Gold Member

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    In your opinion, would it be worth pointing out that most every other case I've seen where a passenger is upgraded after boarding, the gate agent comes down and tells the passenger? Is that the typical process? If so, I'm pretty confident RDU gate agents are mainline staff (or at least used to be), and if that's the process and the gate agent handed it off to the cabin crew then the buck stops with UA.

    In your opinion (obviously everyone's different), but what is suitable compensation for this? Should I be asking for mileage comp, or something like future upgrade?

    I will certainly wait the 2 weeks for RP and see if they reply, though I'm with you, I doubt they will. I know when I was at Delta, you couldn't look up PNR's that were over 2 weeks old without jumping through some wacky hoops with those that maintain the reservations system... not sure if that's still an issue, or if UA has that process of archiving them after 2 weeks post flight.
     
  15. KenInEscazu

    KenInEscazu Gold Member

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    I really don't know if the gate agents are mainline staff, but from my experience at IAH in Terminal B, I highly doubt they are. I once missed the call for Group 1, and the agent wouldn't let me go to the front of the line to board. (I went to the men's room.) He made me go to the back of the line, saying, "We don't do that over here." Doesn't seem like a mainline response to me.

    I'm not sure that they have the ability to grant you a RPU as a Silver. If that is the case, then I would ask for the miles required to upgrade based on the class of ticket you purchased. That would be up to 20,000 miles, depending on the ticket class.

    Somebody screwed up, and it wasn't you. The source of the problem isn't your problem. You are a United MileagePlus member, and you did everything required to earn that upgrade. Since you didn't get it, they owe you one. That's really not opinion. It's a fact. Now you just have to decide if it's worth fighting for, because it looks like you may have to based on the reply you received.

    Not that it should matter, but does your annual spend meet the new requirements for PQDs? They might be looking at that, even though it isn't yet official policy. They are obviously focused on higher value passengers, so if your spend is already enough to qualify for the new program, it might be worth a mention. If not, then don't mention it. ;)
     
  16. webdes03

    webdes03 Gold Member

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    Yes, I would have met the Gold PDU back in June.
     
  17. KenInEscazu

    KenInEscazu Gold Member

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    If you are spending Gold $ with only Silver status, I would think that you are a passenger they want to please. My new opinion: Raise Hell :D
     
  18. webdes03

    webdes03 Gold Member

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    Actually just totaled up my spend again...

    I'm actually closer to the Platinum spend than Gold... Now I feel used and abused.

    Those few last minute trips last month really put me over the edge...
     
  19. KenInEscazu

    KenInEscazu Gold Member

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    Wow... And we know that there are many among us who are 1K with under $5000 spend. IMHO, they need to take care of you. Post haste.

    I wouldn't say you are used and abused, however. You are buying tickets to and from destinations at times that are priced by the market. Those just happen to be high $/mile trips. Kind of like those which their new program encourages. :confused:
     
  20. webdes03

    webdes03 Gold Member

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    I'm clearly doing something wrong ;-)

    Right now I'm trying to decide if I want to M/R 12 segments to get to gold. This is the closest I've ever been, and likely the only year in the foreseeable future I'll have a chance to get to gold. My girlfriend and I are planning a trip to the UK next year, as well as a plan to either Australia or NZ, so it may very well be worth it just for lounge access and Y+ (if I can find some decent fares).

    I was able to find some 4 segment hops for ~$210... so I'd be at gold for around $650... I think that's probably close to what I'd pay for Y+ on 4 long haul segments.
     
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  21. KenInEscazu

    KenInEscazu Gold Member

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    Not knowing how many miles you have, it's hard to say if the $650 for segments is a better deal than doing some longer MRs to get the mileage difference. I did two MRs this year that earned over 10,000 miles for ~ $350.

    There are a lot of variables at play here. Your mileage total, as mentioned, the availability of cheap MRs from where you live (or from the locations to which you travel) and the value of your time. The latter seems to be affected either way. PAMs could also be an option this year.

    For long haul vacations, getting up to three free bags at up to 70 pounds each could easily pay for your shortfall. There is a lot of time left in the year, so I'd say go for it!
     
  22. webdes03

    webdes03 Gold Member

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    Unfortunately, my 36 segments YTD only total 13.5K in mileage, so I'd think going after the remaining segments is likely easier than the miles.
     
  23. mattsteg
    Original Member

    mattsteg Gold Member

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    No 500 mile minimums?
     
  24. webdes03

    webdes03 Gold Member

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    500 mile minimums were in play on most of them... some where 1.5 PQS due to being full Y fare, so 36 PQS YTD doesn't mean 36 flights @ 500 miles.
     
  25. mattsteg
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    mattsteg Gold Member

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    So the 13.5k miles that you claim are not possible, assuming you're flying on UA. I'm guessing you're spending a lot of flights on other airlines then?
     

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