Obsessively Checking Award Tickets to avoid last minute surprises

Discussion in 'United Airlines | MileagePlus' started by LauraPDX, Apr 20, 2014.  |  Print Topic

  1. LauraPDX

    LauraPDX Silver Member

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    I am about 6 weeks out from going to Europe with my daughter using my United Miles on partner flights (LH and AC). I booked one set of tickets and when a better schedule opened, rebooked the out-going flights a day earlier (and paid the fees/taxes that incurred about 3 weeks ago). I have seen the schedule in my UA account several times and the itinerary looks exactly as it should. Tonight I decided to try once again to get our seats assigned on LH as I couldn't do it the day I booked. The website said I had a bogus confirmation code. I called UA, they verified it was fine and gave me my ticket number and said to call LH. I called them, and they said that my ticket didn't exist, but they could see my old flight (the one I changed from) and to call UA back to rebook and reissue my ticket. By now, I was really having a good time, and called again. After an hour of being put on and off of hold, the outcome was I have to call back tomorrow when LH is open UA says my "account has been noted". Imagine if we just showed up for our flights and we didn't really have a ticket to go on our vacation!! It is bad enough that using UA miles on partners, (in economy) means we can't get econ Plus or bulkhead seats etc. (Since I matched to UA Gold this year, I still might pay another change fee if UA metal flights open up so I can use that benefit, but June is a hard month to find flights without long connections). You veterans out there no doubt know all this, but maybe my story will help someone avoid a big problem with their flights.
     
  2. NYCUA1K

    NYCUA1K Gold Member

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    The theme of UA "forgetting" to ticket *A award reservations is recurrent on this board (see also here). The rule of thumb is do not leave home without making sure that your *A award reservation booked through UA had been ticketed.
     
    Last edited: Apr 21, 2014
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  3. estnet
    Original Member

    estnet Gold Member

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    Yes. It always pays to check if the partner has you a ticketed, being able to book seats on their website (which I used to think was enough) isn't even safe.
    I had a flight cancelled by LH because Ua hasn't sent the ticket number over, and this was 4 days after I had received confirmation and 8hours before the flight!
    Now I double and triple check
     
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  4. WilliamQ

    WilliamQ Gold Member

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    Is it just UA, Star Alliance or the same everywhere?

    Is it also only award tickets or code share and airline alliances in general?
     
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  5. skyvan

    skyvan Gold Member

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    I've got the same issue with a CA ticket...it's not fun and it seems unsolvable. United really has failed their customers by not providing any method to fix these errors. UA Insider has refused to help and the Twitter team is of no use.
     
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  6. MSPeconomist
    Original Member

    MSPeconomist Gold Member

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    I double-check DL award tickets by calling the operating carrier (with name, flight number, date, and ticket number) and ask for the carrier's own PNR. I pick seats in the same call and then try to verify the itinerary on the carrier's website and print a hard copy to carry with me. At the same time, I do book the cook, chef on call, etc. meal orders.

    I also ask the phone agent to please look very carefully at both my ticket and reservation to make sure that they match and there are no problems.

    This is especially important if your award travel involves airlines that are divorcing from their alliance or bilateral partnership agreements. In this case, be sure to check the ticket while it can still be changed--before the end date for award tickets to be claimed involving the about to be ex partner--to fix any errors. Otherwise, the only remedy is likely to mean cancelling the entire award ticket.
     
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  7. HaveMilesWillTravel
    Original Member

    HaveMilesWillTravel Gold Member

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    You might want to look at this Flyertalk thread if your you had an award flight disappear that was booked with UA miles and had CA segment(s):

    http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/unit...ca-mysteriously-being-canceled-hacked-28.html
     
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  8. LauraPDX

    LauraPDX Silver Member

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    I did get flight ticketed notifications and the UA rep said it was all there when I called in about it. I don't understand how UA sees it but Lufthansa doesn't. The Air Canada flight was indeed intact (I made the rep call them too to verify and get my seats moved from the last row up to mid-plane). Even though this is extensively discussed in various forums, there are always new people joining and reading these blogs, and most of us don't have time to go back through and read each and every one. I was, in fact, aware of other bloggers posting about their own ticketing problems, but this seemed worthwhile posting as a reminder before summer vacations.
     
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  9. NYCUA1K

    NYCUA1K Gold Member

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    UA being notoriously bad about not ticketing award travel with other *A carriers after making a reservation goes back to pre-merger days. It happened to me twice that I tried to check in with a *A carrier and there was no ticket. I was lucky both times because the *A systems had not simply dropped the reservations after UA failed to ticket them, as often happens. The first time it happened (SHA to HKG on Shanghai Airlines (FM), when they were still *A) I found out how TO deal with it. To get around the missing ticket for a flight that was happening in about an hour or so, the FM agent asked me if I would allow them to issue me the ticket on the spot for a $100 fee. Since this was UA's fault and I was not sure what their policy was for a case like this, I decided to call them to make sure that they would reimburse me the $100. They said they would and they did without a fuss, as an ETC, but I did learn my lesson.

    A reservation is not a ticket. One needs the latter to travel, so one must always make sure that a reservation or PNR had been ticketed...
     
    Last edited: Apr 21, 2014
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  10. Counsellor
    Original Member

    Counsellor Gold Member

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    Remember, too, that the UA PNR is not the same as the LH PNR for the same ticket. That can lead to some of the confusion.
     
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  11. NYCUA1K

    NYCUA1K Gold Member

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    Good point. PMUA actually used to provide both their own PNR and the corresponding *A partner's, and whenever they did not provide the partner's PNR one could be pretty sure that the reservation had not been ticketed.
     
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  12. estnet
    Original Member

    estnet Gold Member

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    Having the partners PNR and making a seat reservation on their website does NOT guarantee that UA has ticketed correctly ! I had a flight cancelled after all this had been done. You have to call the partner and verify that they can see it has been ticketed. Once on a reissue I called and LH told me they couldn't see that it had been ticketed, but when I gave them the new ticket number (PNR) had not been changed, then they could see it?!?!?
     
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  13. LauraPDX

    LauraPDX Silver Member

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    So I put my air canada pnr in to their website today and indeed my new seats are listed, however, my outbound flights are still wrong (and one segment is not even mentioned). Hopefully this isn't a case where they will cancel my return tickets if they don't think I flew the first half as scheduled. (since United issued the tickets, not AC) . I don't have the patience to call UA today, maybe later in the week, if this doesn't clear up on it's own....
     
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  14. skyvan

    skyvan Gold Member

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  15. NYCUA1K

    NYCUA1K Gold Member

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    I am not sure how one can reserve seats on a partner flight if it had not yet been ticketed, and that it was then cancelled suggests that it was not for real, or that one had made changes to the reservation after it'd already been ticketed once.
     
  16. Weatherboy

    Weatherboy Gold Member

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    It's not just award tickets. I look obsessively over regular revenue tickets to keep an eye on changes that will pop up without notice.
     
  17. estnet
    Original Member

    estnet Gold Member

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    I didn't understand either! In fact i had changed TO this flight and then selected seats, so I was quite surprised when it was cancelled. One explanation I was given was that if a reservation existed (even if not ticketed) i could select seats, then when UA didn't complete the final ticketing it cancelled. No idea if this was correct but the facts are that it happened.
     
  18. IMRU

    IMRU Silver Member

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    As most have noted, this is a known problem. I made award reservations in Sept. for a trip on Lufthansa I just returned from. When my assistant called Lufthansa to verify ticketing, she said the agent just sighed and said "yes, it's ticketed; you're lucky." The fact that United refuses to even comment on why this happens and how they're fixing it always troubles me.
     
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  19. LauraPDX

    LauraPDX Silver Member

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    That's interesting. After I had posted above, I waited 2 days, rechecked my reservations, but they still showed the wrong dates/flights. Called both airlines, spent an hour or more, had it rebooked and reticketed. Check again last night, STILL not there, in fact, had dropped me entirely, so called UA and calmly explained it all, once again, and asked for a supervisor to override the system and simply put me on UA metal to Europe, which they did (no charge). When she asked if I was ok with the return on AC, I was so exhausted, I just said yes and kept it. I probably could have had that segment changed too if I asked. I am satisfied with the outcome, but I spent so many hours on the phone back and forth to ensure I was really ticketed (despite the UA site saying I was). I have never had this problem with Alaska Air, which has been my main airline up until this year (I did a UA Gold Status match), and I will probably go back to them after all this hassle.
     
  20. Jaimito Cartero
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    Jaimito Cartero Silver Member

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    I've never had problems with UA tickets booked online. I do tend to check the flight online every month or so. I'm amazed that they can consistently have so many problems booking award tickets.
     
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