Possible Downside to Keeping 3 Cabins: CO BF priced as F award!

Discussion in 'United Airlines | MileagePlus' started by tjtenor4, Jun 13, 2011.  |  Print Topic

  1. tjtenor4
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    tjtenor4 Gold Member

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    Hey guys, thought this was pretty interesting. I called CO to take advantage of Platinum benefits and make a free change to an award reservation today. Without too many specifics, the award is a C award from North America-South Asia. I actually wasn't even adding any flights - simply removing some extra intra-Asia legs that are no longer going to be used. The legs that were removed were entirely within the South Asia award region, so the origin/destination regions did not change.

    When the award was booked, it cost 125k miles/person - as expected for a C award from North America-South Asia.

    Here's the kicker: when I called today, since I was removing some legs, they had to re-ticket - at which point, they wanted to charge 135k miles. When I asked for the breakdown on why, after about 20 minutes of me on hold as the agent was on hold with a supervisor, it turns out that the reason was the one CO flight on the itinerary: apparently, from now on, the claim is that CO/UA will be charging F miles for the CO BF cabin.

    Did I miss something? Was there an announcement about this when the announcement to keep three cabins was made?

    The original phone call ended up working out - or so I thought - when they said they'd honor the original pricing (125k miles/person) - they offered to do this without my asking (though I was ready to strongly insist that they would do so if they hadn't made that offer), and I received an email confirmation with the re-ticketing at that price. However, as I was typing up this summary, I received another email confirmation - showing that it had once again been re-ticketed, this time with the 135k miles/person price. I am now back on the phone with CO, attempting to get this situation remedied. Once again, I am on hold, as the agent is on hold with a supervisor.

    To quote mwg25 (I described this problem to her in an email, before coming to MP with it) - "If CO BF is, from henceforth, to be counted as F for pricing purposes, that is obnoxious.

    If that is to pave the way for ALL *A 2-class front cabins (AC, etc) being counted as F, that is unconscionable."
     
  2. Hartmann
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    Hartmann Gold Member

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    I doubt this is in fact a real change. More than likely the agents didn't know what they were talking about.
     
  3. tjtenor4
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    tjtenor4 Gold Member

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    We can only hope you're right... though it's pretty damning that an agent, supervisor, and the "new training manual" the agent claimed to have from the merger all agreed that the award should be priced that way.

    I just got off the phone with another supervisor, who says she doesn't understand why it's being priced that way, and is going to re-ticket it at the 125k mile/person price. That's great for now, but I must pessimistically note that "I don't understand why it's 135k" is very different from "135k is wrong, and the price should be 125k."
     
  4. Hartmann
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    Hartmann Gold Member

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    With the changes in reward prices coming up in just a few days, I'm sure there are plenty of issues like this that we'll run in to.
     
  5. ssullivan
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    ssullivan Gold Member

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    I agree with Hartmann. I really think it was a case of an agent who didn't know how to read the charts. If the rules were going to be that the premium cabin on a two class aircraft prices like first, then I think that would have been shown in the recently updated award charts.
     
  6. Wandering Aramean
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    Wandering Aramean Gold Member

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    CO used to do this pre-*A days. They finally fixed it. I cannot see them going back to that.

    If you were getting the elite inventory that books into O instead of I that might explain the confusion as well; that "feature" has caused way more problems than it solved.
     
  7. tjtenor4
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    tjtenor4 Gold Member

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    Ugh, I didn't know that. Hopefully, as you say, it doesn't go back.

    Nope, this was generic saver space. Booked into I.
     
  8. cotter77
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    cotter77 Silver Member

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    how do you make free changes to award itinerary?
     
  9. tjtenor4
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    tjtenor4 Gold Member

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    It's a published benefit for CO Platinums and UA 1Ks.
     
  10. cotter77
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    cotter77 Silver Member

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    sucks to be a GM like me then
     
  11. cotter77
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    cotter77 Silver Member

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    I will need to cancel an outbound on an RT award to asia, what will they do to me for that?
     
  12. gleff
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    gleff Co-founder

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    Continental Onepass has a lot of pricing glitches. And very few agents understand them or can override them.

    It used to be that any business class award which included a United three-cabin domestic flight in coach would force the award to price as first class. I managed to get Scott to fix it, which flagged the error for them, and they worked on the pricing.

    In general I've found that CO reps only know what the computer says, and if the computer says something there aren't a whole lot of folks who can override it. They may come up with stories or excuses to justify the computer. Because the computer cannot be questioned at Onepass.

    Frequently takes moving mountains in order to fix something, like a routing that won't price even when it's clearly legal or an award that misprices...
     
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  13. tjtenor4
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    tjtenor4 Gold Member

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    gleff - thanks for chiming in here. I was wondering if that might be the case - obviously, the majority of my experience has been with the UA 1K line, who are a dream, and more importantly it seems, have the power to make things price correctly when the auto-pricing doesn't work.
     
  14. Wandering Aramean
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    Wandering Aramean Gold Member

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    You can still change the dates or routing for free so long as the O/D city pairs do not change and the new travel dates are 21+ days out. Otherwise you pay.
     
  15. NYBanker
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    NYBanker Gold Member

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    In a similar vein, for a while on DL (01-03 timeframe), quite a few posts on FT promulgated that DL agents were saying international J awards were only good for Y domestically, because J was below F, and you couldn't sit in F on a J ticket.

    In most (all?) award pricing schemes (DL's now a notable exception, offering only 2 classes for awards, even on 3 class flights), there is (i) Y pricing, (ii) "next better than coach" (J or F, whatever it's called, as long as its a two class plane) and (iii) First Class (which gets you the forward cabin on a three-class plane). I would struggle to see CO's BF product falling into anything other than category ii.

    In the case of DL, due to the number of posters who complained about this, I suspect there was some mistaken training that was given, or some supervisor sent an email to his/her staff saying this, because it was a not-infrequent theme for a while (though it doesn't seem to be raised much any longer).

    With CO, it sounds like there may be some glitches at present. Some will be coding, others will be faulty user inputs. My sense is there will be more of these types of problems rather than fewer over the next 18 months. Buckle up...and be willing to call back and play the agent lottery a few times if possible.
     
  16. Hannaman
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    Hannaman Silver Member

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    Pretty much sums it up.

    The bug that I keep running into with CO awards is that UA 2-cabin F connecting t something else prices as 3-cabin F if UA markets it as having F/C/Y, even though it's a 2-cabin airplane (e.g., a lot of domestic flights that connect).

    Their 3-cabin logic is totally whacked.
     
  17. tjtenor4
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    tjtenor4 Gold Member

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    That's what I originally thought it was - that the domestic legs, which were booking into UA domestic 2-cabin F, were causing CO to mis-price the award. However, the agents made it clear to me that it was the return segment, and specifically the CO BF flight from CDG-IAD, which was causing it to price as an F award.
     
  18. gleff
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    gleff Co-founder

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    I'd say that's unlikely, and in my experience the UA glitch has even appeared on 2-cabin aircraft where United sells both O and I (XF and XC) inventory. In other words, flights where UA shows both business and first class award space rather than just first class award space on 2-cabin domestic flights, frequently flights set up to connect from international. Booking into first class award space will trigger a first class price, 'tricking' Continental into thinking it's 3-cabin F. Just my guess here.
     

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