Question on companion EUA for CO elites with different status

Discussion in 'United Airlines | MileagePlus' started by Scottrick, Sep 10, 2011.  |  Print Topic

  1. Scottrick
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    Scottrick Gold Member

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    I am still somewhat puzzled by CO's EUA policies for companion upgrades, so sorry if this has been answered elsewhere. I searched but couldn't find it. For background, we were on the same PNR, but apparently not anymore (I don't know why). She's silver and I'm gold.

    My gf and I in SAT and flying back to SEA tomorrow. For some reason, on the way here yesterday, CO upgraded me but not her. She was NOT happy, and the GA wasn't especially helpful since they'd already given my seat away (to another couple) and were halfway through boarding. Fortunately IAH-SAT is a short flight.

    I'm not sure how this happened. My understanding is that, being on the same PNR, we should both be treated as silvers, her status. Now on the return I've already been upgraded for IAH-SEA. If I let things be, it's likely that she, as a silver, won't get the upgrade and we'll be flying apart yet again. If I sponsor her for a companion upgrade at the airport, will she be treated as a gold on the upgrade standby list and move up, or will her position remain unchanged? Can I make this request when we arrive at SAT, or do I have to wait until we reach IAH, when they may have given my seat away again?
     
  2. Hartmann
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    Hartmann Gold Member

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    IME, If you check-in and don't uncheck the "add me to the upgrade list" then the PNR is auto split and you become eligible for EUA.

    I've gotten to the point where I split the PNR so at least one of us get the upgrade. Then when I get to the airport I add my companion to the list.

    Off-topic but why was your gf upset? It's like a 45 minute flight + taxi.
     
  3. Scottrick
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    Scottrick Gold Member

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    She will have gold at the end of this year (and I'll have plat/1K). That's not the issue. I tried to give her the seat. She wants to sit together because it's "rude to fly with someone and then not sit next to them." I usually argue that intent matters, but I can understand her point. The 30 min flight wasn't too big a deal. 4 hr SEA-IAH will be. She would rather fly in coach all the time as long as we sit together.

    As I said, I didn't worry about it because I thought CO downgraded both passengers to the lower elite's status, but that didn't seem to happen here. On UA this would never happen--I've always been called up to the podium so they can ask if we want to be separated. I'm trying to figure out the CO rules so I can prevent this from happening again.

    This may have been the trigger. I didn't know that this causes the PNR to be split, so I will have to uncheck this in the future. Although my understanding is that this prevents you from being considered for any upgrade, even at the lower elite's status. People can argue about whether the lower elite should be bumped up or the higher elite should be bumped down, but I don't like the idea that people can't insist on being upgraded together (and I'm willing to accept lower odds).
     
  4. Scottrick
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    Scottrick Gold Member

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    If I may respond, I don't think I'm the one making a big deal. It matters to her so I'm trying to accommodate her. I've asked (1) why this happened so I can prevent it again and (2) how to improve her upgrade chances so we still sit together. I haven't attacked any GAs. There have been no scenes at the airport. No one is stealing anyone's EUA. But right now I don't understand the rules, because they seem to change at check in.

    I believe I have an answer to #1: uncheck the box and lose any chance at an upgrade. As for #2, I still don't have an answer to whether sponsoring her at the airport increases her position on the upgrade standby list. Right now she's lower down on the list as a silver. If a gold like me sponsors her, does she get moved up, or does it not matter.

    Please answer this riddle for me:
    If a plat member sponsors a silver (and I will be plat at the end of the month) what happens at the airport if the upgrade standby list contains a mix of golds and silvers? Will the silver "acquire" plat status and move to the top, before the golds and silvers already on the list? What if I sponsor a general member (which I will in November for the first time)? Will the GM also "acquire" plat status and move to the top, or will she be stuck on the bottom and have to wait for everyone else to get upgraded?
     
  5. IDGflygirl
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    IDGflygirl Gold Member

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    As posted on CO.com:

     
  6. TravelerRob
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    TravelerRob Silver Member

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    The general member will acquire the sponsoring member's status for that flight. It's a bit of a gray area when the person you are sponsoring already has elite status and is already on the upgrade list. I've never attempted this or seen this done before. In theory the elite member (in your case your gf who is silver) should acquire your gold status for the flight and that might move her up one or two notches on the list, depending on how many other golds and silvers are on the list.

    To answer your earlier question...CO companion upgrades can only be requested at airport of departure for the flight you are using it on and only two hours before the flight. So technically you can only ask at IAH. Having said that, it's definitely worth asking at SAT as some "other airport" agents will actually put her on the companion list.

    My guess is most agents are going to look at you funny and not do anything because she'll already be on the list. I hope you get a good agent in SAT or IAH to help you.

    I believe poster #2 answered you correctly about why you guys got split. If you didn't add yourself to the list they separated the PNR's and you got the upgrade because of your highest status. Once your PNR's are split you are run by the EUA system and a seat was open for the return IAH-SEA flight.

    Travel safe.
    -RM
     
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  7. Hartmann
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    Hartmann Gold Member

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    I add co-workers who are Gold as my companion all the time. They'll originally be #7-8 on the list and usually when I add them, they jump to the top.
     
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  8. Wandering Aramean
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    Wandering Aramean Gold Member

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    Minor quibble, but companions are after all members at that level, not intermingled. A platinum companion will be ahead of all golds but after all platinums.
    Not gray at all. They become a companion and take the commensurate status.
    Neither of these statements is correct. Any airport agent can do it at any time after both parties are checked in.
    This has never been my experience.
     
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  9. TravelerRob
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    TravelerRob Silver Member

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    I believe my statements are correct. From CO's website: "The companion may only be confirmed on the day of departure at the airport within two (2) hours of the flight."

    I have done several companion upgrades on CO. Each & every time you are told to request the companion upgrade *at the airport of departure* for the specific flight. So in the OP's situation he would have to request the upgrade at SAT for SAT-IAH and then again at IAH for IAH-SEA. It's 2 hours before departure at the airport for that segment.

    Maybe I've gotten bad agents every time I've done this?

    -RM
     
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  10. Wandering Aramean
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    Wandering Aramean Gold Member

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    I know what the website says. I also know how the process works in their systems. ;)

    I stand by my previous assertion regarding the way it works. Any airport agent can process it so long as both parties are checked in. Neither the 2 hour nor the same airport rule apply if the agent just types in the command.
     
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  11. Flyer1976
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    Flyer1976 Gold Member

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    Seth is correct, I have put my family members on the list 23:59 and they have been upgraded inside the 24 hour window as EUA sweeps versus the Airport Standby List which has been helpful...All you need is to be checked-in and find a helpful agent or make friends...
     
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  12. Scottrick
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    Scottrick Gold Member

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    "The standby lists cleared in order of Elite status" is vague as to whose status is used. This was the source of my confusion.

    Thank you. This matches what I learned after going over to FT to find their thread on the matter (which seems to be more thorough than the CO wiki here... may be time for an update once the new program rules are announced). Unfortunately the SAT agent was not especially helpful and wondered why anyone would give up an F seat for a middle in Y.

    This make sense, and is a good caveat to know.

    This is unfortunate for short connections, as I'm rarely waiting around for more than 2 h.

    Thanks for all the replies!
     
  13. TravelerRob
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    TravelerRob Silver Member

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    I don't deny you know what you're talking about. But what you say and reference is NOT CO's policy. It's really a game of semantics - but the policy states it can only be done at departure airport 2 hours before departure. Getting on the list at 23:59 after both parties are checked in (or 4 hours prior, whatever) is not the policy and any CO agent in the system can rightfully deny you.

    All the more power to you if you have friendlies in the system who will help you. There's usually someone willing to help if you ask correctly and get the right person. But by default you should expect to abide by the policy and be pleasantly surprised if you get something in your favor.

    -RM
     
  14. Wandering Aramean
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    Wandering Aramean Gold Member

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    Thank goodness it isn't actually true. ;)
     
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  15. Wandering Aramean
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    Wandering Aramean Gold Member

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    We may have to agree to disagree on this one but just because it is written that way on the website doesn't mean it is accurate and the definitive policy. I've done it several times in advance (including once not even at the airport!) and never because I know anyone special or because I convinced them to break a policy. They did it because the policies allow them to do so, not in spite of the policies.
     
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  16. jumbo_cards

    jumbo_cards Silver Member

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    I recently had the same experience traveling with my fiancee to ewr (july) and just this beginning of this month to cun.

    Apparently CO just doesn't add companions to the upgrade list automatically like United do. You'll need to "EXPLICITLY" tell the agent during checking to add your companion to the upgrade list on ALL LEGS.

    I didn't know this while traveling to cancun... our first leg from sea to iah didn't start well but fixed it when the agent manually bumped her to first class after I told the agent that she was my companion and I dont' want to be seperated.

    However the second leg from iah to cun was a nightmare, I already got upgraded and lost my seat back in economy. The agent at the gate couldn't do much.

    ===

    Coming back from cancun was the same story... we got pulled separately once more. I had a nice long talk with one of the agents in co president's club in IAH. apparently she said that "they" are aware of this problem... and they only thing I can do in the future is to put yourself off the upgrade list until both of you check-in at the airport. Unless I actually want to travel in separate cabins with my companion.

    This is one thing UA does much better... I flew countless times up the west coast on UA. My companions and I either don't get upgraded or both upgraded.

    PS. I do value sitting together more than getting upgraded. I personally thing domestic first is really not that special here in NA.. nothing compared to what they offer in Asia (domestically).

    PPS (edit): I also remember calling CO on the phone, they told me that my companion cannot be put on the upgrade list until I check in at the airport (this is inline to their upgrade policy actually). So basically if you are an elite on CO/UA and want to travel together with your companion... you need to take yourself out of the list and put you and your companion back on once at the airport.... retarded.
     
  17. Scottrick
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    Scottrick Gold Member

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    Just to update everyone, it really does seem to matter whom you talk to. The ticket agent at SAT and the gate agent at IAH both said, "No worries! Just switch on the plane. Who would give up a middle seat?" So of course we get on the plane and it's another couple. This time they were willing to be separated and one went forward to take seat 1B, but the F cabin flight attendant was apparently a stickler for the rules and sent her back because "only elite passengers are allowed to sit in F." So I took my F seat, gave my gf my credit card, and tolerated it. In her defense, the FA was extremely apologetic and otherwise great at her job (I've had her at least three other times this year). She just wasn't willing to bend the rule about people sitting in their assigned seats.

    My complaint here is somewhat petty, I know, and I'm still questioning whether it's worth a letter. The consequences for checking the little check box to add yourself to the upgrade list, which apparently autosplits the PNR, are not completely obvious (but I know them now:rolleyes:). I made several efforts to rectify the issue on the ground, to no avail. Once on the plane, I was told the earlier advice was wrong and had to take my F seat back. Finally, my gf paid for the AVOD in Y, which stopped working at her seat 10 minutes in--we were still not allowed to switch.

    The end result is my girlfriend being annoyed with me, me being annoyed with Continental's conflicting advice, a disappointed pax from Y who reprimanded for sitting in F (at CO's original suggestion), and my girlfriend with a broken AVOD she paid for when I never use mine anyway. A lot of people could have been made happier, but at the same time it wasn't quite a disaster.

    So in the future, you may be seeing MAC/S on the upgrade standby list a little less frequently as I choose to opt out and sit in Y with the person who lets me do mileage runs.
     
  18. Flyer1976
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    Flyer1976 Gold Member

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    If I was you, I'd just find an new girlfriend with realistic expectations... Whenever I travel with REI/K_12 I try to accommodate her as much as possible but she is very realistic about her upgrade expectations as a Gold or as a Platinum Companion inside 23:59. We are going to EZE twice in the next 3 weeks and I have waitlisted her for an upgrade first before me because she is a 1P and I am an 1K however the SWUs are 1K endorsed so I'd rather it be her up front than me so if your girlfriend is slightly annoyed at you I would be slightly annoyed at you too for not maximizing your elite benefits as well by knowing HOW the system worked buddy.
     
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  19. EX-LAX

    EX-LAX Silver Member

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    I've been trying to get across the same message to OP for several days, but he's so P/Wed that he will not give up on the facts and believe what has been explained to him, re THE RULES! He keeps fishing for an answer that he, and especially his g/f likes better than THE RULES that everyone else must live by. Expecting his g/f to be upgraded before others that are on the upgrade list is just not reasonable, nor is it fair to others who are attempting to upgrade at the gate when ALL final upgrades are cleared BY STATUS AND PRICE PAID.

    I know, I know, others indicated that they have been extended upgrades for their traveling companions before the 2 hour (put on the list) times that are clearly written in the rule book, and others indicated that their loved one's are upgraded prior to the 20 minute clear times. There are always exceptions depending upon load factors, but I certainly would be pi$$ed if someones better looking squeeze was upgraded ahead of my 14 year old son, just because a hen pecked dude can't handle the truth.

    Write a letter to Continental --- FOR WHAT???
    What would one say, "My g/f says I'm rude, and your airline sucks cause I spend a lot of time on your airline doing mr's and now that I need a favor, you're playing by the rules"!

    Man, I'd find a g/f that can hold her own hand for a 30 min flight and not bust my balls just because she had to sit next to a couple of strangers for a half an hour, or so.

    I definitely would not write a letter and try to get something from CO for this nonsense as that is an old FlyerTalk trick that CO isn't buying to anymore, and in my opinion for good reason!

    Additionally, I might add that I have 18 expired 1K black cards and my wife has 15 of the same, in our top desk drawer. In about 20 days the NEW UA/CO is gonna tell all of us where we can stick all of those loyalty DYKWIM cards, and if anyone thinks for a minute that being an elite carries ANY weight with the NEW complaint department you better wake up and smell the cheap coffee on your next MR.

    Sorry to seem so negative, but we've been forewarned for months now, about what's in store for loyal 1K's and before anyone dips their quill in the ol' ink well, and start a letter writing campaign to show the lil' woman who's boss, they need to realize that things are fixin' to be changed, and it ain't the good ol' days anymore, sports fans!
     
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  20. Flyer1976
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    Flyer1976 Gold Member

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    Amen Brother, You win POTD (Post of the Day) status from me and I agree with all of your finer points as well.
     
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  21. Scottrick
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    Scottrick Gold Member

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    I don't think I've been fishing around for my own special favor. That's what I keep trying to tell people. I asked two very simple questions at the beginning, in which I only asked what the rules ARE, not how to evade them. Instead of thanking people for helpful answers I have spent far more time defending myself. I have never expected an upgrade for myself and especially not for a companion. I didn't even request a companion upgrade at the airport, instead spending all my time trying to get me back in Y.

    (1) The most important thing is that we sit together. I don't care which cabin. My girlfriend wants us to sit together, for whatever reason, and I'm trying to make her happy. I have frequently turned down upgrades on United when there's only room for me, but at least they ask before they do it.
    (2) For a reason that was not clear to me, our original itinerary on the same PNR was split and I was upgraded alone. This is obviously upsetting if you don't expect it and are trying to avoid it. It has never happened when I fly United, but Continental's rules were not clear to me. In particular, it was not clear what status a companion receives when a companion upgrade is requested. I asked for clarification.
    (3) My only reason for writing a letter to Continental was to explain that their policy could be clarified and that their staff gave me contradictory solutions to resolve the issue until it came to a point when nothing could be done. I think it's fair to say that companies should be informed about ways service can be improved.

    A few helpful answers eventually surfaced, and my two questions were answered. Because this thread originated from a specific trip and some advice was provided about what to do at the airport, I thought I would provide feedback on how effective this advice was. Answer: mixed at best, but about what I expected. Again, thank you to the helpful people, particularly Seth and Rob, whose answers will help with future planning.
     
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  22. jumbo_cards

    jumbo_cards Silver Member

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    I think that was the point I was trying to make as well. I totally agree with the other posts that "don't expect your companion to be upgraded ahead of other elites". My point (which I agree with the OP) that Continental should not split me and my companion up on each leg of the trip.

    I think this is more about sitting together rather than if my companion needs to be upgraded or not. Like the OP said, it is more important to sit together (doesn't matter if it is in Y or at the front).

    On UA, there isn't a case (if you two are in the confirmation number) that you'll be confirmed for First and your partner doesn't. It is either both of you get cleared (because there isn't enough elites to fill first in the first place) OR don't get upgraded at all OR the agent at the gate tells you that there is only one seat in the front and lets you make a decision then.

    All three cases happens reguarly to me on UA which is totally not what CO does.
     
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  23. Hartmann
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    Hartmann Gold Member

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    About this. If I check-in at 23:59 and then head to the airport (to return a rental car let's say), would they be able to add my companion to the list?
     
  24. Black Cloud
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    Black Cloud Gold Member

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    Technically it should be possible. Would they do it? You're playing agent roulette.

    My biggest complaint (and I have numerous) with legacy COs companion upgrade process is that you're at the mercy of the agent. I've had a few occasions in EWR where the agents just flat out refuse to add my companion. Excuses range from "there's already 100 people on the list, there's no point" to "first is booked full" to "I don't know how to collect the fee for that." And my favorite is when they'll just type in their computer for a minute, tell you its done, and then when you check PDA site they aren't there.

    Why they can't automate this as part of the check-in process when you have a companion on your PNR is beyond me.
     
  25. EX-LAX

    EX-LAX Silver Member

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    I could NOT add my son to the list until 2 hours before our flight @ the airport and the UG list was processed 20 mins prior to departure. However, the last time that we did this, about 2 weeks ago, my son was given his first class seat in the Pres Club about 45 mins prior to departure as he was #1 on the list (due to my 1k status) and the agent informed me that 6 Non-revs were also on the list. There were about 9 open seats, therefore he was cleared before all the others & in advance and I received my F/C seat when I checked in 23 hours before our flight. I was requied to go to the airport to do this as I was upgraded on UA on the return (SWU"s) and online check-in would not work for me, for CO.

    This was a combination of UA and CO, with CO being the 1st outbound, so perhaps an ALL CO itinerary is handled differently. Like I mentioned above, in about 20 days ALL of the new rules are probably going to be announced so I see no further need for me to concern myself with which airline has the better upgrade possibilities, and how they are being processed and whether my wife or son are being discriminated against by a merging airline. For me the MR game is over and continuing on a life time quest of 3MM's ain't gonna occur because 2 MM-1K lifetime apparently isn't going to get me any more than my 2MM status is presently providing me, or may be providing me, after I find out where this MP program is heading.

    My advise to the OP --- Give it a rest, and chalk it up to experience!

    By the end of Sept every loyal elite and their g/f's are going to be pi$$ed, so don't feel like you're The Lone Ranger, Kimosabe!

    STOP THE PRESSES --- Just 5 mins ago, exactly 100 hours before our flight to DEN mucho upgrades cleared from an NF9 with 21 open seats to an NF2 situation. It's me (1K), my wife (1P), and my son (2P) on the wait-list for 1st class. Obviously, if I call the 1K line and ask them to split the records, I would move up to first, thus leaving my wife & son in 7B & 7C. My question would be, should I make a bfd out of this and write 1K voice?

    Obviously, each airline does everything differently, and a little patience is needed for a few more weeks, before we really have something to squawk about.
     

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