The cheapest fares are not always online

Discussion in 'United Airlines | MileagePlus' started by TravelerRob, Feb 17, 2013.  |  Print Topic

  1. TravelerRob
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    TravelerRob Silver Member

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    Today I bought a ticket SEA-AMS-LHR-SEA. It priced out as "V" for SEA-AMS, "H" for AMS-LHR (on LH) and "S" LHR-SEA. Realizing I screwed up and needed a W+ fare to apply my GPU to the LHR-SEA flights I called United and asked if the ticket could be changed. The agent tried to do it but failed and said she had to call the rate desk.

    While on hold for twenty minutes I went to United.com and priced out a SEA-AMS (V), AMS-LHR (H) and LHR-SEA (W) fare. It was $50 more than the fare I paid. Fully expecting the agent to come back and tell me I had an add-collect I waited...

    After the twenty minute hold the agent comes back online and tells me I'm getting a 90c *refund* to my card. Sure enough I looked online and the SEA-AMS is now booked in "H" (which is a lot higher than "V" in the UA hierarchy), AMS-LHR is still "H" and LHR-SEA is now "W". And both international segments across the pond are waitlisted using my GPU's.

    Moral...the cheapest fare is not always available online. The rate desk can apparently work some magic or just price everything out as one-ways. Not sure how the fare is constructed because the online "View Receipt" link comes up with my itinerary with the "Fare Information" section blank.

    I expected to pay $50 but instead got money back and got all necessary flights into GPU-eligible fare classes.

    -Rob
     
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  2. HaveMilesWillTravel
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    HaveMilesWillTravel Gold Member

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    I didn't know LH flew AMS-LHR. Is there a connection in FRA or MUC missing?

    (not that it matters for your overall story)
     
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  3. TravelerRob
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    TravelerRob Silver Member

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    Connect in MUC this time. I could have done a connection in VIE on the UA ticket I booked but that was 25 minutes. No thanks on that short of a connection.

    Only "main" airlines to do non-stop AMS to LHR are BA and KL.

    -Rob
     
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  4. Wandering Aramean
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    Wandering Aramean Gold Member

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    Looks like you were rebooked as SEA-LHR-SEA with an H on the outbound and a W on the return and a stopover in AMS. Basically it priced using different fare components and as a round trip rather than a circle trip.

    There are lots of issues with the UA pricing engine right now. I'm a bit surprised that they haven't had anyone come after them on the regulatory side.
     
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  5. marcwint55

    marcwint55 Gold Member

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    I had a somewhat similar incident yesterday with AA. I priced three tickets form LAX to HNL nonstop from 12/27/13 to 01/01/14 and the price was quite steep. I checked with Alaska Air and the price was approximately $300.00 less per ticket. When I called AA they told me if I booked through Alaska I would not get my exp upgrades if available. I personally think that sucks, but i am not able to change the rules. I then checked Kayak and found an even cheaper ticket on AA with a stopover in OGG on the outbound and the return. Kayak led me to the AA site and I have the tickets on hold at present, but when I tried to find them on the AA site directly as a new purchase they did not show up again.
    Since we have a certificate from the Alaska visa card that is on the old terms and allows a first class companion ticket
    for $99.00 I will probably book that as the total cost for three guaranteed first class round trips is about $3600.00 compared to the AA tickets in coach at $2700.00 with a possible upgrade. The only problem with the Alaska tickets is that we have to fly LAX-SEA-HON and HON-SEA-LAX, but if the wife doesn't object I would rather have the guaranteed first and I don't mind the extra miles as they will still credit to AA.
     
  6. BWIflyer
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    BWIflyer Silver Member

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    "Basically it priced using different fare components and as a round trip rather than a circle trip."
    I am trying to book BWI-DEN-RAP, RAP-DEN, DEN-BWI and the fare is $655. How can I get the fare down by using above trick.
     
  7. TravelerRob
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    TravelerRob Silver Member

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    That makes sense. I can't find a way to book it as such online using the multi-city. I keep getting back the fare that's $50 more instead of 90c less.

    -Rob
     
  8. Wandering Aramean
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    Wandering Aramean Gold Member

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    Not likely to work out for you. Most domestic fares don't permit a stopover, at least not at a reasonable rate.

    Back in the "good old days" the sites - both the old UA and old CO - seemed to be MUCH better at taking whatever segments you put in to the system and coming up with the cheapest way to fare it, including automatically figuring out if a circle trip or round trip with a stopover worked better. That functionality has failed a lot lately. I have some theories as to why, but I haven't gathered enough data yet to prove it.
     

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