Looking for advice: Was I IDB'd?

Discussion in 'United Airlines | MileagePlus' started by tjtj, Jan 11, 2012.  |  Print Topic

  1. tjtj

    tjtj Active Member

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    TL;DR: United says I tried to check in too late, even though I met the time limit listed on their web site, save for a fuzzy holiday provision.

    I was flying SFO-ORD on December 24th. I had printed a boarding pass for the 7am flight that day, and when I got to SFO, I was trying to use the kiosk to see if I could get on any earlier flights. I click "change flight" and decline an 8:30am departure, then it brings me back to my reservation... with a 12:50pm departure instead. The agent can't put me back on my original flight or anything else earlier.

    After my trip, I email United and their response is that I was trying to check in 66 minutes prior to departure and missed the cut-off for check in. The United website says that the cut-off for SFO is 45 minutes.

    I believe I was involuntarily denied boarding, though United's contract of carriage leaves two things open:
    1. The CoC gives a cut-off time of 30 minutes, which may be superseded by United.com, which says that the cut-off is 45 minutes, though it does give the disclaimer that "additional time may be needed" around the holidays. Does that mean that they can set whatever cut-offs they want for any flight without publishing them?
    2. I would be required to be present at the gate within 15 minutes of departure. Given that I was already moved to a different flight well before the 15 minute mark, does this even make sense?

    After a few emails back and forth, I don't feel like I'm getting anywhere with United. I'm considering requesting a chargeback for the entire ticket, even though that wouldn't be for quite as much as IDB compensation would be.

    Any thoughts or advice are much appreciated. Thank you :)
     
  2. Flyer1976
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    Flyer1976 Gold Member

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    I was going to bed but this thread caught my eyes...

    I'm assuming you did Online Check-In and printed out your Boarding Passes at some point during the morning or the evening before. Proceeded to the Airport to see if you could go earlier and the only option that it offered you was the 8:30AM and you decided to decline this choice and found yourself rebooked by the chicken to a 12:50PM departure?

    If so then you were a victim of a Glitch or most likely the flight was overbooked and the computer moved you because you were using the kiosk at the time to take a look at alternative flight options...

    You would have definitely had ample time to make it to the gate 15 minutes prior to the flight departure time so to answer YES you were IDB off your flight...

    I would contact United Insider here on MilePoint about this flight irregularity.
     
  3. mherdeg
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    mherdeg Silver Member

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    You were disserved. An IT glitch stole your seat. A human being should have been able to give it back to you; any gate agent should easily have been able to look up the history of the record and reinstate your trip. Dunno what to do because you didn't ask a human for help getting back on your original flight ... good luck getting someone to admit a mistake was made / they are fixing it. You could try filing a DOT complaint saying that you were IDB'd by a machine, http://airconsumer.ost.dot.gov/escomplaint/es.cfm, and you'd like the appropriate compensation.

    This is why I am terrified to use the kiosk machines near my flight's departure time -- I am always worried that they will tell me "you are here too late for your flight. Pick one of the following options and we will automatically rebook you" when, in fact, I am just trying to change my seat assignment and am standing next to the departure gate with boarding pass in hand.

    Once this actually did offload me. I innocently walked up to the gate with my boarding pass and said "hi, just want to make sure my seat is confirmed and I'm all set ... " and he put me back on the flight.
     
  4. RestlessLocationSyndrome
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    RestlessLocationSyndrome Silver Member

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    I'm just trying to understand the logic.... you get to SFO 66 minutes before a 7 AM flight and then want to see if you can catch an earlier flight??? Does UA/CO have flights every 30 min from SFO-ORD?
     
  5. Flyer1976
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    Flyer1976 Gold Member

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    Not sure the exact schedule that day but a look for 2/8 shows...

    600A , 701A , 757A... and so on...

    Assuming he was on the 7am, he wouldn't have made the 6am but maybe he didn't know that...
     
  6. tjtj

    tjtj Active Member

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    Thanks for the support, everyone. I will contact UA Insider.

    The schedule (let alone, availability, I bet) wouldn't have allowed an earlier flight, but I was a bit tired and it made sense to my brain for about a minute.

    To clarify, I did ask a human for help; someone at the check-in counter. She said she couldn't put me on an earlier flight, or even tell me what happened. Side note-- I've always wondered what these people are called... ticketing agent? check-in agent?

    Thanks again.
     
  7. RestlessLocationSyndrome
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    RestlessLocationSyndrome Silver Member

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    I'm usually not that aware of the schedule of earlier flight schedules either. Not making any excuses for the UA kiosk because it shouldn't ever do what the OP states happened. However, if I arrive 1 hr before my flight, and still have to go through security and get to the gate, I don't think I would be thinking about catching an earlier flight unless I knew that there was a very high frequency.

    Perhaps UA built in some kind of logic around this but if it did, I would think they would never even provide the option in the first place. I have never had this issue before when checking for earlier flights 90 min+ before my scheduled flight.
     
  8. you got screwed. welcome to united!
     
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  9. bk3day
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    bk3day Gold Member

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    Some first post, eh?

    Welcome to MP, rjburns!
     
  10. colpuck
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    colpuck Gold Member

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    Short answer is yes but no. You had checked in for the original flight, apparently you had a BP. When you went to the Mr. Chicken it rebooked you against your will.

    In order for it to count as an IDB you need to be at the gate at least 10 minutes before departure. It sounds like after you got re-booked you threw up your hands instead of heading to the gate. Next time always go to the gate.
     

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