Rant: UA's paid upgrade system is a disaster

Discussion in 'United Airlines | MileagePlus' started by free101girl, Feb 25, 2012.  |  Print Topic

  1. free101girl
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    free101girl Silver Member

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    So frustrated with UA's online system for paid upgrades. It almost never works right.

    I have a DEN-LGA flight next week that I originally booked in E+. I noticed yesterday that an upgrade to "Premium Seating" (aka First) was available at a very reasonable price. Paid for the upgrade and then tried to select seats: they all show as occupied on the .bomb seating chart, so I can't get a seat assignment. Checked Expert Flyer and there are 9 seats open (A9/F9), including two aisle seats (which I'd prefer, of course) -- but I can't get assigned to one.

    I wish this was the first time this has happened, but no, it's more the rule than the exception. Last month I ended up paying for the same upgrade to E+ TWICE on one leg because of a similar glitch. I had paid for Premier Travel (which includes E+ on all available segments) when I booked, but the equipment changed on one leg and I was moved to a regular E seat. I tried to move myself back to an E+ seat online, but the system was requiring me to pay again. I then spent over an hour on the phone with the Indian call center, escalating the problem repeatedly to "higher ups," none of whom could fix this. They claimed it was impossible to assign an E+ seat because there were none available (untrue - both .bomb and Expert Flyer showed plenty of E+ seats open). It was a long leg and I really, really wanted to be in E+, so I finally gave up and paid $39 for the upgrade (again) in order be sure of an E+ seat.

    Same thing happened a few months back, but in that case I didn't care that much about E+ on the affected leg (it was the 17-minute flight from COS-DEN) so I just waited and the system allowed me to move back to E+ during online check-in 24 hours before the flight.

    I know I should have pursued the $39 overcharge with UA and tried to get a refund, but frankly I'd already sunk so much time into this mess already...

    Sorry for the rant. Am I the only one having this problem regularly? I don't recall seeing it mentioned, but perhaps I've missed the thread(s).
     
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  2. HaveMilesWillTravel
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    HaveMilesWillTravel Gold Member

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    United.com search for "refund" let me to

    How can I get a refund if I did not get my Economy Plus® seat?

    Economy Plus purchases are generally nonrefundable, but if a flight for which Economy Plus has been purchased is affected by a cancellation or oversale, and you cannot be accommodated in Economy Plus, we will refund fees you paid for the unused Economy Plus product upon request. Please review the refund policy in the Economy Plus terms and conditions before completing your purchase.

    "Upon request" links to http://travel.united.com/erefunds/manualRefund.action

    Might actually take less time to fill out than posting a rant here :)

    On the bright side, I am sure this will all be better starting March 3 (<suppress chuckle>)
     
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  3. free101girl
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    free101girl Silver Member

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    I think that's an evil laugh you're suppressing. :)

    I did fly in E+ -- I just had to pay for it twice -- so that section you found isn't precisely pertinent to my issue. But yes, I guess I should go on the site and request a refund. <sigh>
     
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  4. HaveMilesWillTravel
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    HaveMilesWillTravel Gold Member

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    Yeah, maybe... actually, I am sure we'll "win some" and "lose some" in that switch. Some things will work better, others won't. I am not one of those who is still (or ever, really) upset about the logo on the outside of the plane, for example.

    There's a "Duplicate Charges" checkbox in the Refund Reason section. And you have 500 characters for explanation :)
     
  5. free101girl
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    free101girl Silver Member

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    Yep, just noticed that. Kind of suggests this happens frequently... which hopefully means I'll get a refund without ten emails back and forth.
     
  6. flyingbrick
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    flyingbrick Silver Member

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    You do realize if don't pursue your refund it only encourages them, right? They like the "breakage" so they make refunds difficult intentionally. The only reason they will stop is if breakage levels fall enough so that the processing expenses and ill will are no longer worth it for UA.
     
  7. johnmontfx

    johnmontfx Active Member

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    It's absolutely obnoxious that the refund must be requested...I'm honestly shocked they can get away with that.

    Though when it comes to airlines, I also honestly shouldn't be shocked about anything. :)
     
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  8. Pizzaman
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    Pizzaman Co-founder

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    Chuckle. Kinda like the broken IFE checkbox. Not exactly a testimony to top-notch service with standard options such as this.
     
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  9. free101girl
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    free101girl Silver Member

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    Just tried again to get a seat assignment for my flight on Tuesday -- all F seats still show occupied on .bomb. Expert Flyer now shows only 3 seats available (all windows) -- obviously the other seats that were open have now been filled by upgrades. Super irritating.

    I also notice that when I pull up the seating chart, it says "choose your Economy Plus seat" -- but it displays the F section. So although I've paid for an upgrade to F, some part of the system still thinks I'm in E+ and is preventing me from choosing an F seat.

    Talk about a programming FAIL. I better be able to choose an F seat when I check in online tomorrow.
     
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  10. Pizzaman
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    I doubt it. The seat maps are usually locked down once you get to check-in time, depending on when you check in. If it's the night before your scheduled flight, I've sometimes been able to get a seat.

    And, while nowhere near a UA apologist, I'd say this qualifies as going with the flow during integration. If this is the worst thing that happens to you in the next two weeks, I think that's a pretty good run.
     
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  11. Jenny & Curt
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    Jenny & Curt Gold Member

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    Is it a CO codeshare? DH had repeated trouble with such an issue, but it was resolved very quickly and efficiently (and well in advance of travel) by a call center somewhere near the Himalayas.
     
  12. Wandering Aramean
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    Wandering Aramean Gold Member

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    See, I thought it was great service in that they have the ability to easily fix the problems later rather than solving them right in the first place. I read that on the internet once so I know it is true. :p
     
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  13. Wandering Aramean
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    Wandering Aramean Gold Member

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    Are you located somewhere in the world that lacks telephone service?

    Don't get me wrong - I love reading a good rant. But if you actually want a seat assignment it really wouldn't be too hard to make that happen. Just takes a quick call.
     
  14. free101girl
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    free101girl Silver Member

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    In light of that comment, I called United, and after a 15-minute wait on hold, a very pleasant rep got me a seat assignment. Obviously this is what I should have done right away, but past experiences with the call center on these seating glitches have been so frustrating that I have been avoiding it. At least I have an assignment now -- thanks for lighting a fire under me, even if inadvertently! :)
     
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  15. free101girl
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    free101girl Silver Member

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    Nope, all UA metal. I think the programming glitch was caused by purchasing E+ on that leg and then later buying an upgrade to F on the same leg. (The system did discount the F upgrade price by what I had paid for the E+ upgrade, so that part worked, at least.) At least the call center could assign an F seat -- in the past I've found they were hobbled in their system by the same glitch I was experiencing.
     
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  16. free101girl
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    free101girl Silver Member

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    See my recent posts and also my comments about past experiences with the call center. As I mentioned in my first post, last time this happened I spent over an hour on the phone with them and the problem still wasn't fixed.
     
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