Kicked Out of Economy+ Seats and Scattered Family Across Plane

Discussion in 'United Airlines | MileagePlus' started by ColoradoFlier, Mar 23, 2012.  |  Print Topic

  1. ColoradoFlier

    ColoradoFlier New Member

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    I supposed that some of this is just to vent, so let me just apologize for that in advance.

    Booked tickets in January for the family to go to Orlando today. I'm Premier Gold (which is admitted low on the totem pole compared to most of the folks here) and we bought additional economy plus seats so the family could all sit together (we have a 4 year old and a 7 year old). I checked the flight yesterday and all is good, then went to check in online this morning and the family is scattered across the plane in middle seats in economy so that none of us are sitting together. Shock (to say the least).

    Spoke with customer service.

    The plane is full. Sorry that we gave away your seats and scattered you across the plane. These things happen. Supervisor says the same thing. No solution. No compensation. You can see at the gate if they can put you next to your 4 year old.​

    We are leaving for the airport in an hour. Any suggestions or is this S.O.P. and bad luck?

    Thanks.
     
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  2. LarryInNYC

    LarryInNYC Gold Member

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    I'm not easily shocked, but this is awful.

    Do you have an record of your original seat assignments (the original email or something)? Take that to the airport and show it to the gate agents. Be first on line at the gate if you can. Be polite, recognize the fact that they're going through a difficult transition, but be firm about the unfairness both to you and to the other passengers of the current situation.

    Two separate issues: revocation of your seat assignments, and apparently moving you out of paid E+. For the latter you can, at the very least, take them to small claims court (assuming they don't reimburse the E+ cost and probably compensate you above that level).

    Also, does United have a twitter account for this kind of stuff? Tweeting "United cancelled my paid E+, split up my family, and is making my four year old sit by herself" might get some attention.
     
  3. autolycus

    autolycus Gold Member

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    LarryInNYC has offered good advice. I'm curious though... Was there any equipment change? Did you happen to notice what type of plane the flight was showing when you originally booked and what type of plan it is showing now?
     
  4. Xyzzy
    Original Member

    Xyzzy Gold Member

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    Generally, asking an FA or GA for assistance with reseating will allow y;)u to sit next to your child. People are usually willing to move for that.
     
  5. cwpfly

    cwpfly Silver Member

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    I have held of in commenting regarding the UA/CO integration issues because I knew it was going to be rough and due to that I have intentionally booked away from UA until at least mid-April. However, it just does not seem to be getting better, and as a long-term UA and CO elite (over 3MM combined), it makes me sad to see this. I hope that your E+ fees are refunded and that you get a voucher for your inconvenience.
     
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  6. LarryInNYC

    LarryInNYC Gold Member

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    Do note that he has only middle seats to offer. I can always get someone to switch so I can be next to a child but of course I offer them the better seat. Here he's going to have to ask someone to give up a window or aisle seat for a middle seat.
     
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  7. Wandering Aramean
    Original Member

    Wandering Aramean Gold Member

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    This sort of thing happens all the time, unfortunately; blaming it on the merger is a stretch, to say the least.

    You're entitled to a refund of the paid E+ fees if they cannot get you seats in E+. Otherwise nothing. Seat "assignments" are requests and can be changed at will by the carrier with no recourse. Obviously they try to not change them, but it happens some times.

    And, as Xyzzy notes, you will have better luck dealing with a GA to address this. Inside a certain window the phone agents really do not have access to make changes in most cases.
     
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  8. viguera
    Original Member

    viguera Gold Member

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    I seriously, seriously doubt that any gate agent won't see the faults with spreading you around the plane and try to help. The fact that you have a 4 and 7 year old in tow almost guarantees that they'll move some people around to accommodate you, even if it means only sitting you or someone else from your party next to them.
     
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  9. Ygor
    Original Member

    Ygor Gold Member

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    This always bogles my mind. If switching people out after they have had assigned seats "happens", then that means someone has the power to go ahead and make it happen again to right the wrong. Someone is not going to be happy, of course, but if an elite member paid for E+ and is on the same PNR with a family, than they should move other pax to right the wrong.

    I have seen a member of a family be IDB while two others in the same PNR were able to board, and they had seats pre assigned, and checked in online.

    Saying there is nothing that can be done just does not make sense to me. Clearly if the OP was moved, it can be done ;) .

    Maybe SFOgate can enlighten us as to what she would do in this case. What she says I take as Godspel. :D

    And yeah, this happened prior to the merger, and it will happen in the future. CO is/was in fact a lot better in this regard when they numbered all the exit rows consistently across different aircraft.
     
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  10. DTWBOB

    DTWBOB Silver Member

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    What I usually say to the GA in a situation like this is you'll make everyone on the plane happier if ....

    It usually gets a laugh and the seats that are needed.

    DTWBOB
     
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  11. viguera
    Original Member

    viguera Gold Member

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    Reminds me of the AA situation with people getting bumped by retired management.

    I mean without an equipment change, what possible reason could there be for people getting moved around? Sounds as if though someone wanted some/all of the E+ seats and managed to move people around to achieve that... who has that kind of pull? :)
     
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  12. desamo

    desamo Gold Member

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    United does have a Twitter account. Mostly it's referring people to other places and marketing stuff, though.
     
  13. sfogate
    Original Member

    sfogate Gold Member

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    It is very rare for sCO to move people around prior to flight time unless there has been a change of aircraft and even then our program reseats into the same held seats. I have no idea why this happened but unless there are open seats available there isn't anything a reservation/phone agent can do. However, your gate agent can attempt to move people so that you can sit together as a family. We use the released held seats and seats vacated by upgrades.

    I have been known to "buy off" or bribe people to move to a worse seat to get families with small children together. I try to make everyone happy.
     
  14. traveltoomuch

    traveltoomuch Silver Member

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  15. NYBanker
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    NYBanker Gold Member

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    The FAs will mandatorily re-seat people so you will not have a young child sitting solo.

    It is very frustrating that airlines leave this problem for the FA, but it will be dealt with. You won't be in E+.

    I had this happen to me (on a 50 seat all-Y RJ). We had three seats in a row previously, than overnight the night before the flight, we were scattered around the plane. No equipment change.

    Very frustrating situation. I simply boarded first with my kids (DL allows pre-boarding for kids at JFK in RJs), explained the situation to the FA, and she said to take whatever seats we wanted...and she'd sort it out. That was very nice. A few pax were miffed, but the FA handled it as best she could.

    No domestic carrier will make a young child sit separate from their parent. The unfortunate part of the process in the United States is resolving this is typically left till the boarding process (which makes no sense whatsoever). The GAs should simply make the changes, and have new BPs ready for the impacted pax when they board. They've figured this out for upgraders...no reason not to do it for those involuntarily re-seated. It would be easier to sort out the situation in the terminal than in a metal tube.
     
  16. viguera
    Original Member

    viguera Gold Member

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    Yeah and that's the biggest problem right there... it looks to the unsuspecting passenger like you decided to change seats -- or your kids' seats -- so that you could seat together, and you took what was previously "their" assigned seat. All the while this was originally yours and it was the airline who gave it away.

    I'd imagine this is even worse on an RJ because of the lack of seats, or Y0 on a popular family route, with tons of families traveling together and you can't really move a lot of people around without inconveniencing somebody.
     
  17. legalalien
    Original Member

    legalalien Gold Member

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    So...I wonder if stuff like this happens because SHARES for some unknown (to me) reason auto-splits PNRs either at T-24 or at check-in.

    My family of 4 is flying tomorrow: 1k, silver, two kids. When I went online to check in this morning, the original reservation was split into 4 (3 new PNRs) and even though I selected all pax on the original reservation for check-in, I was the only one with a boarding pass at the end of the process. I had to hunt for new PNR numbers to check the rest of the family in. It had worked for 2 out of 3, but I still can't seem to check my daughter in. And, when I look at her new PNR, her original E+ seat is retained, but the system does not seem to recognize that she is part of my travel party anymore and offers E+ for $34 extra. They better not run a sweep and kick her back into E- on the return flight.

    Besides, I hate the fact that I had to manually save 3 new PNRs to my account just to be able to see the entire family's reservations.
     
  18. Photonerd71

    Photonerd71 Silver Member

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    I wonder if the OP will come back and let us know how it all turned out. As we are all speculating on the reason I'll toss my hat onto the equipment change square. I admit a don't pay much attention to aircraft type when i book (unless its a kiddie plane or 777) so they could change on me and i probably wouldn't notice either. (The 47 different versions of the 737 make my head spin :)
     
  19. desamo

    desamo Gold Member

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    FWIW, this hasn't happened to me, but it could explain the OP's issue. My mother and I are on the same PNR still.
     
  20. Minnesota Bruin
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    Minnesota Bruin Silver Member

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    I haven't tried it but isn't there a button on the website to "combine" PNRs?

    [​IMG]
     
  21. legalalien
    Original Member

    legalalien Gold Member

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    It did work, but the newly created (by the split) PNRs weren't added automatically to my account. I had to find a record locator, save it to my account, then combine it with my own PNR. Three times. 30 min later I can see the same information I had before, except if I want to move everyone to another E+ row on the return flight, I can't do that since nobody seems to be linked to my original PNR and therefore aren't eligible for E+ in advance (or ever).

    Also, this doesn't 'combine' PNRs in the true sense of the word; it just groups them together as a 'trip' on the My Reservations page.
     
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  22. desamo

    desamo Gold Member

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    Ahh, so it may be related to status difference?

    Question: was this booked before the merger? Seat assignments were supposed to be protected unless there was an equipment change. There have been a lot of those, though.

    In my case, we're in E+, but it's a ps flight, so that's the lowest category there is.
     
  23. goalie
    Original Member

    goalie Gold Member

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    Yes, as we all know, seat assignments are not guaranteed, but if the seats were changed for no apparent reason (i.e. equipment change, FAM and/or etc), then I will say that yes, this is related to a system integration issue and as others have noted, you are entitled to a refund but sadly PMCO and now COdbaUA are notoriously bad when it comes to refunds so you will have to stay on top of it (and disputing the charge on your CC would be the first step)
     
  24. Pizzaman
    Original Member

    Pizzaman Co-founder

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    I had something similar happen. I had an upgrade drop off for my daughter right after integration. They also had her seated in E-, since she doesn't have status. At integration, I was given 2 new PNRs for wife and daughter. Kept calling back periodically to try and get the upgrade re-processed, to no avail.

    Couple of days ago, I called again. I was put on hold, then when the agent came back she said I had the wrong PNRs. She gave me a THIRD PNR, this time with wife and daughter back on same record (but different than both the original UA and CO ones). The upgrade miraculously reappeared, and I saw the seat map change right after she came back on the line. I asked her to explain the second set of PNRs, but she couldn't. She said she could still see it online and wasn't sure how I had two reservations. EF seat map seemed to support both records still active. Crossing my fingers nothing else goes wrong before we fly next week.
     
  25. SEABrad

    SEABrad Silver Member

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    Yeah, good luck getting any response via Social Media from UA. They weren't good before the merger and not any better after.

    I haven't flown AA since 2008 and they have responded to every mention I've made of them. I'm about 0-20 with UA and don't see responses to questions from most of the tweeps I follow either.
     

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