List of Policies and Products That Have Come From UA vs CO

Discussion in 'United Airlines | MileagePlus' started by Rob, Jul 12, 2011.  |  Print Topic

  1. Rob
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    Rob Gold Member

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    After reading another thread and the comments associated with the article it linked to, I got a little frustrated over seeing yet more "UA is destroying CO" or "CO is destroying UA" blather. Below please find a list of changed policies or products and which pre-merger company's policy or product is the survivor. Please let me know of any corrections or additions. To me, a wholly biased observer, it actually seems somewhat balanced and like there are some good combinations of features from each company going forward. Having said that, there are some combinations of bad features from each company going forward too.

    Names:
    • So far, mostly United - the big ones being the company name and Mileage Plus.
    • Club name goes from Red Carpet Club and Presidents Club to United Club, kind of a wash.
    • PremierAccess is based off both the old UA branding (Premier Line, Seating, etc) and the old CO branding (EliteAccess).
    Mile earning:
    • Original Routing Credit - UA will grant ORC pretty much on request, CO will grant ORC if you get rerouted on another airline, but usually when rerouted on CO you will receive miles for what you actually fly; future status unknown
    • Miles expiration - UA will expire miles after 18 months of inactivity, CO in theory could cancel an account after some time of unuse but in practice doesn't; new UA will expire miles
    • Partner mile earnings - See http://boardingarea.com/blogs/thewa...leaves-for-mileageplus-partner-earning-rates/ for some speculative detail; for the most part, PMCO earning rates won it, which were more generous than PMUA earning rates
    Mile burning:
    • Close in award fee - UA had gotten rid of a while back, CO had it, new UA will have it
    • Award Change fee - UA had a high fee for everyone but 1Ks and GS, CO had reasonable fees with elite discounts, new UA follows CO policy
    • Award redeposit fee - UA had a high fee for everyone but 1Ks and GS, CO had high to reasonable fees with elite discounts, new UA is a hybrid of the two
    • Free Award changes - (for people who don't have elite status sufficient to waive award fees) UA only allowed date/time changes, CO allowed more flexibility to changes, new UA will follow CO policy
    • Open Jaws - UA allowed double open jaw itineraries, CO only allowed single open jaw itineraries, new UA allows double open jaws
    • Short awards - UA had gotten rid of lowered award pricing for short trips, CO had it for less than 750 miles, new UA will have it for less than 700 miles
    • One way awards - UA had them, CO didn't, new UA has them
    • Mixed Partner awards - CO allowed non-Star Alliance partners to be mixed in with Star Alliance partners in awards, UA doesn't, status unknown
    • International award routing flexibility - CO was very flexible, if you could convince the agent to punch in the segments, UA was a bit more strict, new UA looks like it's heading slightly in the more flexible direction with the recent changes to allow awards as long as the MPM+15% was met
    • Starnet Blocking - UA would state that partner award availability was not actually available, CO didn't, new UA has stated that they won't block available award space
    • Last Seat Availability - on UA if a cabin was available for sale, anyone could book a ticket into it with miles if they were willing to pay double the saver award rate, on CO this was available to elites and capacity controlled for non-elites, on the new UA this is available to elites and certain branded credit card holders and capacity controlled for others
    Elite status:
    • Million miler status - for UA, used to be 1MM = Pr. Exec, 2MM = RCC for life, 3MM = 1K with two regional upgrades per year, for CO used to be 1MM = Silver, 2MM = Gold, 3MM = Platinum, 4MM = Pres. Platinum with your spouse getting whatever elite status you have; new UA is a mix with 1Mm = Gold, 2MM = Plat, 3MM = 1K, 4MM = GS with the spouse benefit
    • 1K by segments - used to be 100 segments for 1K, now 120 segments, likely because the new 75k level from CO was 90 segments
    • Compensation - UA used to compensate people heavily for any issues, and elites more heavily, CO didn't, new UA won't
    Upgrades:
    • YBMups - CO has instant upgrades in certain circumstances to elites who buy Y, B, or M fares, UA doesn't, new UA has YBMups
    • HQups - UA files fares that look like H, or Q, or other coach classes that actually book into F or A or other premium fare classes, CO doesn't, new UA has HQups in addition to YBMups
    • Regional Upgrades - UA had them for 1Ks, awarded 2 for each quarter in which 10,000 miles were flown on UA metal, CO didn't, new UA will have them and will be awarded at the 75k EQM level and every 25k EQM after that
    • Hawaii - UA has UDU for Hawaii flights, CO only has it for certain HNL flights, regionals will be valid on flights to Hawaii, complimentary upgrades will only happen on select routes
    • SWUs - UA had them, CO didn't, new UA will have them. When first introduced, CO SWUs had no fare restrictions while at the same time UA SWUs did have fare restrictions; current CO SWUs have fare restrictions.
    • SWUs on Partners - UA SWUs can be used on LH, CO SWUs can't, new UA SWUs will be usable on LH
    • Upgrades for Cash - CO willing to sell to anyone before upgrading waitlisted passengers, UA (with some station exceptions) supposed to upgrade all waitlisted passengers first, then offer upgrades for cash
    • UDU/EUA - CO has EUA, UA has UDU; UA probably wouldn't have implemented UDU if it weren't for CO joining Star Alliance, which is well prior to the merger
    • International Upgrade Failures - On CO if you try to upgrade to BusinessFirst with Miles+Copay/SWU and it doesn't clear, you'll get the Miles+Copay/SWU back even if a domestic segment cleared, on UA if a domestic segment cleared and the international segment doesn't, your Miles+Copay/SWU are still deducted, new UA you will get your Miles+Copay/SWU back even if a domestic segment clears
    • Companion Upgrades - CO will EUA people in the same reservation at the lowest status of everyone in the reservation if everyone can clear at the same time, or at the gate can upgrade any companion (see http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/16721303-post15.html for more info from Seth) where people will clear at their own status level and not everyone has to clear at once. UA will upgrade only people on the same PNR, prior to departure everyone must clear at once at the highest status level in the party, at the gate, UA will waitlist people at their individual elite status level; new UA will do both
    • Upgrades on Award Tickets - CO offered upgrades on award tickets to branded credit card holders, UA didn't, new UA will
    • Upgrade Waitlist Order - UA used to order the waitlist by status, fare, then time added, CO used to go by full fare, then elite status, fare, time added; new UA will go GS, full fare, supported (miles/certificates) upgrades, then elite status, fare, time added
    Airport policies:
    • Boarding - UA did zone with only 1Ks across the carpet, CO did by row with all elites across the carpet, moving to a hybrid of both with zone but all elites across the carpet
    • Express ground handling - UA outsourced most Express ground handling at hubs, CO handled it mainly inhouse; if SFO is any indication, new UA will bring it inhouse (how I hope so for IAD!)
    • Clubs - UA didn't offer free alcoholic drinks or wifi to everyone at all times, CO did, new UA will. There's some complaining about the exact mix of snacks or beer being offered for free, again, some people like the changes and some don't, no one can claim that everyone is being disserviced by the changes.
    • Lifetime Club Membership - CO sells lifetime memberships to the Presidents Club, UA doesn't, new UA doesn't but will honor previous lifetime memberships
    • Club Age Policies - CO requires members to be 21, UA requires members to be 18, new UA requires members to be 21
    • VDB - PMUA ordered volunteers by status, offered a flat $400 in paper vouchers that could only be used on UA/UAX; PMCO ordered volunteers by first-come, offered varying amounts of compensation in electronic vouchers that could be used on continental.com; PMCO VDB process looks to be the survivor
    In-flight policies and product:
    • Economy Plus - UA had it, CO didn't unless you count Extra Legroom Seats which are a subset of E+, new UA will have it
    • E+/ELR Companion Access - UA allows 1 companion on the same reservation for most elites, 8 for 1Ks, CO allows (I'm not 100% sure of this) 9 companions on the same reservation, new UA will allow Platinum/1K/GS 8 companions on the same reservation and Gold/Silver 1 companion on the same reservation
    • Channel 9 - UA had it, CO didn't, new UA will have it
    • Large regional jets - UA had 70 seat regional jets with First class and E+, CO doesn't, status unknown
    • Pillows in First - UA had them, CO didn't, new UA won't; also blankets domestically switched to CO blankets
    • Magazine - Hemispheres remains from the old UA
    • Food in coach - UA had Buy on Board, CO had meals in coach up until a few months before the merger and then Buy on Board; as much as some partisans would propose, it's doubtful the removal of free meals in coach had anything to do with the merger; new UA has Buy on Board
    • Special meals - UA had special meals available all over the place, CO restricted what stations special meals were available to and from; new UA has the restricted special meals
    • Alcohol in First - CO charges for specialty mixers in First, UA doesn't have specialty mixers in First but also didn't charge for anything; future status unknown
    • IFE - CO has DirectTV and AVOD in large portions of the fleet, UA has screens domestically and in most coach internationally; DirectTV probably won't be added to PMUA aircraft, but global wifi and streaming media looks like it will be added to most aircraft
    • Cross-Fleeting - Much has been made of the fact that CO 737s are now flying out of HKG, or that IAD-CDG has a CO 757 on one frequency, or that EWR-ZRH is now a UA 767, or GUM is changing. At the end of the day though, these changes should end up being a bit of a wash for passengers, potentially better for CO fliers based in Washington who need to get to Paris or UA fliers based in NYC who need to go to Zurich.
    • Premium Service - UA has a premium service subfleet for SFO/LAX-JFK, CO didn't, new UA will but with two classes of service and the addition of normal economy in addition to E+
    • International First Class - UA had it, CO didn't, for now the status quo will be maintained but it won't be added to any existing CO aircraft and it looks like new 787 deliveries will all be 2-class
    • Meal order in First class - UA takes meal orders by a combination of status and fare paid, CO takes meal orders from front to back, with much speculation on FlyerTalk, the future status is unclear
    • Snack baskets in First class - UA started offering them fairly recently, CO didn't, new UA will offer them on less flights than PMUA, but more than PMCO
    • Coffee - UA was using Starbucks, CO I'm not sure what they were using, new UA is using a new blend called Freshbrew which is generally disliked and in the process of being replaced
    • Pre Departure Beverages in First - UA is supposed to offer water or OJ (and occasionally sparkling wine), CO offers beverage of choice, new UA will offer beverage of choice but it might take a while for all FAs to do it
    • First Class Headrests - (really?! :p ) UA's headrests in first tilt, CO's do not; future status unknown
    • Exit Row Seats - new UA no longer gives Silver members access to exit row seats at booking time, old UA did temporarily, old CO did not
    • Row Numbers - CO tried to keep row numbers like exit rows consistent across aircraft types, UA didn't, new UA will
    • Other First Catering - PMUA offered warm nuts, PMCO didn't; PMCO offered ice cream sundaes on transcons, PMUA didn't (except on p.s.); new UA will ofer warm nuts and ice cream sundaes on transcons
    Reservation policies:
    • Same day confirmed change - UA charged everyone but 1K and GS and didn't allow routing changes, CO charged everyone but Platinum and was much more flexible with routing, new UA is heading down the CO path
    • Standby - UA charged everyone but 1K and GS, CO charged everyone but Platinum, new UA will charge but with elite discounts and free for 1K, GS, Pr. Exec, Platinum, and Golds
    • Price of First - CO had somewhat reasonable prices for First class fares, UA had pretty expensive ones, future status unknown
    • Call centers - CO uses only US call centers, one common complaint is that at times of very high call volumes (widespread irregular operations), the reservations line will tell you that there are no available agents and then disconnect, UA used US call centers for 1K/GS and a mix of US and offshore call centers for everyone else. Going forward, pre-merger UA is going to use US call centers for all elites and a mix of US and offshore for general and non-members, it's unclear if the merged entity will then move all calls onshore as CO did, or retain the new mix.
    • Baggage Fees - CO charges baggage fees based on the set of segments that you're checking in for, UA charges baggage fees based on your total itinerary, future status unknown
    Parnerships:
    • Amex - CO had a partnership, UA didn't, new UA won't
    • Emirates - CO and UA both had partnerships, new UA won't
    • Virgin Atlantic - CO has a partnership, UA doesn't, new UA won't
    • Chase - both UA and CO partner with Chase, but the future products offered by Chase are only starting to take shape, first with the Mileage Plus Explorer card
    • Chase Ultimate Rewards - UA didn't allow UR transfers, CO did, new UA will
    • Amtrak - CO has a partnership, UA doesn't, negotiations are apparently under way to keep this, but currently scheduled to end at the end of 2011
    • Partner mile earnings - See http://boardingarea.com/blogs/thewa...leaves-for-mileageplus-partner-earning-rates/ for some speculative detail; for the most part, PMCO earning rates won it, which were more generous than PMUA earning rates
    Technology:
    • Website - UA's website is known as .bomb, CO's website isn't. Both websites now have expert mode. continental.com is the surviving system (albeit renamed to united.com).
    • Mobile - UA has a mobile website, CO has a mobile app and website; looks like the CO mobile app is sticking around, slightly renamed, which is great
    • Ticketing - UA is instant, CO is some time after purchase; status unknown but with CO's reservations system surviving, ticketing will probably be "sometime after purchase"
    • Backend - will be a mix of systems from each company (see badly titled upgrd summary), and it's unclear which system will help out handling irregular operations recovery
    Things that everyone complains about but don't really matter to passengers in the grand scheme of things:
    • The Premier Access boarding carpet color will be blue (CO) not red (UA)
    • Headquarters location is Chicago and not Houston
    • Management was actually pretty evenly split, CO got CEO, HR, CMO, Gov Affairs, CFO, UA got non-executive Chairman, loyalty program, CIO (although he later left), COO (though was recently fired as of 11/28/11 and replaced by a PMCO guy), general counsel; middle management was CO marketing, network planning, sales, revenue management, flight ops, cargo, line airport ops, operations planning, environmental and security, maintenance, catering, inflight, and UA got COO of loyalty unit, alliances, airport ops, tech ops, system ops and express, airport ops planning, real estate, safety. Below middle management was also pretty evenly split. As of July 2011, 15 out of 25 officers listed on the United Continental Holdings website are former CO, 9 are former United, and 1 is an outside hire.
    • Rhapsody in Blue remains the theme music of the new UA from pre-merger UA
    • Globe logo remains the logo of the new UA from pre-merger CO
    • Mileage Plus account numbers will be PMCO OnePass type
    • Ticket stock will be PMUA 016, not PMCO 005
    Things that people think have changed but probably can't be blamed specifically on this merger:
    • Customer Service - UA (in general) treats elites much better than non-elites. CO (in general) treats most people roughly the same, but better than UA treats non-elites. Different people will have different experiences. I've personally had great customer service experiences with UA, but then, I'm an elite with them. I've generally not had great customer service experiences with CO, but then, I wasn't until very recently an elite with them.
    • Prices - Capacity is down, demand is coming back, and fuel prices are high. There's much less competition in the marketplace with multiple mergers occurring, and joint ventures being approved by the relevant authorities. DL/NW, UA/CO, WN/FL, added on to the pacific joint ventures getting approved and BA/AA/IB across the Atlantic mean that competition is way down.
    • Cleveland Hublette - nothing's actually changed yet
    • Denver Hub - Denver's fate is more in the hands of Southwest and Frontier than the merger
    • Taking away Economy Plus at booking time for Silvers; this is a downgrade for both PMUA and PMCO and is tangentially related to the merger in that there's less competition and more low-level elites
     
  2. mherdeg
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    mherdeg Silver Member

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    It's not exactly a policy, but I was curious who's in the United Continental Holdings management team.

    I took a look at the team roster and compiled a table of which company they came from. I believe the numbers show CO 15, UA 8, outside hires 2. Happy to take corrections.
     
  3. mherdeg
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    mherdeg Silver Member

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    What exactly is a mixed partner award? I booked CLE-EWR-DUB/DUB-ZRH-FCO/FCO-CLT-CLT on CO/LX/US using United miles last year as a "Star Alliance award".

    Is it a "mixed" award if you book one way in F, and a return in J, and only pay the one-way F plus one-way J cost? I think UA does not have that, dunno about intl CO partner awards.

    One thing you might add -- per Wandering Aramean, CO's international award rules are supposed to be amazingly flexible. IIRC the claim is that if you just ask nicely, "could you please put it in the system and we'll see if it works?", and the flight has fewer than 11 coupons and you haven't been too libertine with the routing, you're golden.
     
  4. Rob
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    Rob Gold Member

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    Pete McDonald is pre-merger UA (PMUA).
    No idea about Brett Hart, but the general counsel was originally a very new PMUA guy.
    Another PMUA loss was Keith Halbert, who was CIO, and the slot was filled by Bob Edwards, a PMCO guy.
    Also looks like Mark Schwab, PMUA, and originally some sort of VP for alliances has now been subsumed by Hershel Kamen (PMCO).
     
  5. Rob
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    Rob Gold Member

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    Ah, I meant mixed as in, you can include Virgin Atlantic in with Lufthansa on CO, but you can't include Qatar and Air Canada on UA.

    And while I can't have a round-trip award with mixed class awards each way on partner metal on UA (as far as I know), I can do two one-way awards with different classes each way with partners, and I'm pretty sure I can do mixed class awards on United metal.
     
  6. mherdeg
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    mherdeg Silver Member

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    Good catch, thanks. I guess 15/9/1.
     
  7. Rob
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    Rob Gold Member

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    Yea, judging by seniority level though, I still consider it fairly even.
     
  8. EWR764
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    EWR764 Silver Member

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    Jennifer Vogel, CO's general counsel, was offered the GC job at UACO but turned it down. I'm not sure if Tom Sabatino (PMUA's last GC) was offered the position, which may be why they went outside with Brett Hart, formerly of Sara Lee and a UChicago Law School alumnus.
     
  9. Rob
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    Rob Gold Member

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    Tom Sabatino was not only offered it, but apparently accepted as he was listed in the initial press releases of UCH management, but now he's gone.
     
  10. EWR764
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    EWR764 Silver Member

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    Interesting. His tenure at UA was so brief that it completely escaped me!
     
  11. Rob
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    Rob Gold Member

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    His tenure at PMUA was pretty brief too, as the press release said he started in 2010, so it was under 9 months ;)
     
  12. Wandering Aramean
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    Wandering Aramean Gold Member

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    Although not announced in a press release or the like I've heard confirmation from several sources inside the company that co.com will be the surviving platform. Each site has things it does better than the other but in the grand scheme of things I believe this provides the most information and options to the customer most of the time. I'm comfortable losing expert mode for the sake of all the other features co.com has available.

    On the mobile section CO has both the app and the mobile site. The CO mobile site, which I imagine will survive with co.com, offers a pretty solid set of information. UA's mobile site offers on-time performance for all flights on a route on a single page while for CO you have to choose flights individually. CO gives you inbound aircraft information which is pretty slick.

    I do not think that either one is necessarily better than the other. Having both the app and the site is better than not having such.
     
    mht_flyer likes this.
  13. Rob
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    Rob Gold Member

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    Thanks Seth; I edited the OP. I do hope that co.com is what sticks around, perhaps with true enhancements: instant ticketing and expert mode. That seems like it would actually be the best of both.
     
  14. mikeschu
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    mikeschu Gold Member

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    One minor thing to add under partnerships:
    Amtrak: CO has a relationship, UA does not. Status unknown at this time.
     
  15. Rob
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    Rob Gold Member

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    Thanks! Edited the OP (and added some other corrections from Seth on the other board).
     
  16. Rob
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    Rob Gold Member

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    Bunch of minor updates in the past 24 hours
     
  17. unavaca
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    unavaca Gold Member

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    Nice job on the comparison!
     
  18. Misplaced Texan
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    Misplaced Texan Gold Member

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    Not true. GSes and 1Ks have been exempt from change and redeposit fees. Perhaps other elites too, not sure about that.
     
  19. Misplaced Texan
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    Misplaced Texan Gold Member

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    You should clarify that this is mixed, non-*A, partners.
     
  20. Misplaced Texan
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    Misplaced Texan Gold Member

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    It's actually MPM+15%. That's still not as good as the old CO, but can be much better than straight MPM.
     
  21. Rob
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    Rob Gold Member

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    A fair point. Other UA elites were *not* exempt from change and redeposit fees (unless it was a "simple" change).
     
  22. Misplaced Texan
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    Misplaced Texan Gold Member

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    Not true. RCC members could always log in for free just by punching in their MP number. Others qualified to access the RCC could ask for a card with a code that granted free access.
     
  23. Rob
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    Rob Gold Member

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    done
    also done, although I'm trying to stay away from precise details like "15%" in case they switch to 16% or 14% in the future
     
  24. Rob
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    Rob Gold Member

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    That's not 100% accurate. I believe it was *Gs or international business/first passengers accessing the RCC could get a wifi card, but others accessing the RCC, say Priority Pass members, could not. Pretty sure US Airways Club members accessing the RCC didn't get the scratch off card either, but I don't really remember and it's a little orthogonal from my point - not everyone got wifi access.
     
  25. Misplaced Texan
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    Misplaced Texan Gold Member

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    I'm not sure about all of the special cases. But the original statement wasn't quite right--at the very least RCC members and international premium class passengers got access for free. You may be right about folks who got access in other ways.
     

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