Travel Waiver Blues

Discussion in 'United Airlines | MileagePlus' started by DanielleDW, Dec 20, 2011.  |  Print Topic

  1. DanielleDW

    DanielleDW Active Member

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    It should really just be a minor annoyance, but it's piled on top of a day full of minor annoyances...

    Have a flight scheduled through Denver on Thursday. UA just issued a fee waiver to change plans because of a predicted major storm. So I managed to get rerouted, but not without paying a fare difference, having to fly out of and into less convenient airports, and losing my confirmed upgrade. And that was after arguing with the reservation agent about the dates of the waiver, which were clearly listed on UA's site, and which he at first maintained were incorrect. Oh - and he kept telling me that a flight I know to be on a 3-class 777 is actually a United Express flight operated by SkyWest.

    I get why they charge the fare difference, but in the interest of getting everyone where they need to go and avoiding day-of chaos, it would be nice if they would waive that too.
     
  2. tom911
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    tom911 Gold Member

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    I have to say that I don't get why they charge that once the weather waiver is in effect. If the purpose of the weather waiver is not to strand passengers, they shouldn't be capitalizing on it.

    Is that the typical experience with UA flyers on this forum and weather waivers? I can't recall the last time I've had to utilize one of those--probably years ago.
     
  3. DanielleDW

    DanielleDW Active Member

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    I've had to reschedule travel because of weather before (fly often to and through DEN and ORD) but this is the first time I've had to pay a fare difference. I don't know if it's new, or that in the past there either hasn't been a fare difference or I've been on an award ticket.
     
  4. Scottrick
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    Scottrick Gold Member

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    Perhaps a fare difference was charged because the agent still didn't agree that the travel waiver applied. He may have waived the change fee just to placate you (although that obviously didn't work). If you are in this situation again, I would recommend that you hang up and call another agent rather than argue. I usually do this when someone from India calls about a flight change. I thank them for calling and tell them I'll call back when I have time, and when I do I get someone who's much more helpful.
     
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  5. Wandering Aramean
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    Wandering Aramean Gold Member

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    This is the actual policy:

    When was the original flight and when was the new one? If it was more than 24 hours then the fare difference should have been charged per policy (whether it actually should have been charged is a different story, but I'm focusing on the policy here).
     
  6. HaveMilesWillTravel
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    HaveMilesWillTravel Gold Member

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    Have never paid much attention to travel waivers as I never needed one, but it seems rather weak/useless. Compare to this one I pulled out of the archives:

    http://www.united.com/page/article/1,,53760,00.html

    Admittedly, it's a hurricane and I suspect the weather expected for DEN/COS isn't quite as bad, but does a same day change really help?
     
  7. AZjohn

    AZjohn Silver Member

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    Wow
    Has UA's travel waiver changed????
    I always thought you can change dates/times without any charges period (no fare change penalty and no change fee). What is this "within 24 hours" rule :confused:
    I just never heard of this before.
     
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  8. EX-LAX

    EX-LAX Silver Member

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    Waivers
    When bad weather is expected to cause large-scale travel disruptions in a particular city or region, United will often issue a travel waiver in advance of the arrival of the storm system. Travel waivers allow our customers to make changes to their ticketed itineraries in advance, without incurring the fees that would otherwise apply, in order to avoid the possibility of encountering long delays. I would assume this to mean that the change fees ARE waived, however if the same fare (code) isn't available one must buy up to that fare. If the increase in fare is not acceptable then the next option should do the trick.



    Rescheduling and refunds
    During a delay, cancellation, or diversion, our staff is focused on helping as many customers as possible to complete their travel with as little disruption as possible. If the flight cancellation or delay you experience results in your decision to cancel or reschedule your trip instead of continuing travel, our phone representatives at 1-800-UNITED-1 ( 1-800-864-8331 ) will be best able to help you.
    If you want to cancel your travel, you are eligible for a refund of any unused portion of your ticket in the event of:

    • a flight cancellation for any reason; or
    • a United-controllable delay or schedule change of more than 2 hours.
     
  9. Wandering Aramean
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    Wandering Aramean Gold Member

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    UA has always (at least in recent memory) had restrictions on what was possible when a waiver situation came up. It was never carte blanche to just do anything. This one is more limited than some I've seen, but it is not uncommon for there to be restrictions on the waivers.
     
  10. bk3day
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    bk3day Gold Member

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    The 24 hr rule has been showing up a lot lately.

    Then again, these days, it seems UA can be pretty quick in issuing these pre-emptive bad (but not horrific) weather waivers.

    As with anything else, good agents will work with you to get you what you need.
     
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  11. violist
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    violist Gold Member

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    I don't understand. Of course, I don't have to understand, because as 1KMM I get
    mostly what I want and certainly what I need. But the general rider should get
    some kindness, too. Are you saying that the waiver as written allowed you to
    make a change that was allowed under its terms, and you got dinged with a fee?
    If so, that's definitely uncool, and you should inquire of customer service (or
    solutions or whatever the hell they call it) and keep inquiring until you get a
    refund or credit.
     
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  12. DanielleDW

    DanielleDW Active Member

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    Yeah, it does seem to be allowed according to their policy (I checked it while I was still on the phone) but it's still uncool. I'm not making the change because I want to - I'm doing it to get out ahead of a problem that makes me one less person they'd have to rebook (for free, presumably) at the same time they have to rebook a few thousand other people. And it's not like I said "Oh, I might not be able to fly through Denver on Thursday? Well, then re-route me to Hawaii." I'm flying between the same 2 cities, but using different airports to avoid Denver.

    As I pointed out to the reservation agent (pointless, I know) they sort of have you over a barrel. You either pay the fee or do nothing and wait for your flight to be cancelled on the day of travel.
     
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  13. EX-LAX

    EX-LAX Silver Member

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    As hard as it is to accept, the life of a non-refundable ticket purchaser ain't easy!
    Once you pull the trigger and book your flights, you are at the mercy of the airline, simple as that. The only way around it is to purchase a "REFUNDABLE" fare. As soon as you get the 6 digit confirmation you have 24 hours to cancel or you are bound to the rules, "Lock, stock, and barrel"! Life ain't fare, but when I purchase most of my mileage runs they are in Jan, Feb, and early March to BWI and I know in advance that there is a very good likelihood of snow and blizzards. That's the chance I take and that's just the way IT GOES or sometimes, DOESN'T GO.

    I might add that being a 1K MM does seem to add something to the mix during irrop's, and travel waivers,THUS FAR, but the Full Monty Merger is only about a week away!
     
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  14. Wandering Aramean
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    Wandering Aramean Gold Member

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    Ummm....no, it isn't. ;)
     
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  15. Captain Oveur
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    Captain Oveur Gold Member

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    A lot of this is really subjective and dependent on the person on the other end of the line. There have been times that I have used a waiver, and the agent will book me in whatever is available. But there have been times that the agent sticks exactly to the letter of the law (looking to find the exact fare bucket I was ticketed in). Never encountered the 24-hour thing though.

    To the OP, unless they're calling for a 100% chance of eleventy billion inches of snow at Denver, I just usually go through anyway. Last winter in Denver, they issued waivers for days it didn't even snow.

    Now, if you have a connection after the flight from Denver, I would act on that segment, perhaps scheduling something later. The reason being, in my opinion, Denver de-icing operations are TERRIBLE and leads to a long of delays down the line.

    Now, to be VERY OCD, in the OP's situation, I would look at ops from today and yesterday to find out where the LAX-DEN aircraft has come from. It could change day-to-day, but if it's coming from DEN, then there's a good chance it could be late. If from ORD or IAD, then I would stay on that flight (and work on the later segment via waiver).

    But I would call UA back about the fare difference. This is like a sports trade, something like this must work for both parties, and for you to have to pay them to help them in reducing their load at DEN isn't right. It might fit into the rules they lay out, but it's not a good practice. I don't think you'll get a refund, but perhaps a cert in that amount might be what you could get.

    Just my two cents.

    Good luck.....travel safely.
     
  16. EX-LAX

    EX-LAX Silver Member

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    Point #1 is the total & complete answer, always has been, and always will be!

    Point #2 has NEVER EVER been mixed into the equation, because thinking or acting outside the box is NOT EVER allowed to be a determining factor, in my experience of reducing the loads. That job is done by scheduling and not reservations. Helping them with the reduction of their loads is only done in the last few minutes before departure, not a few days out, NO MATTER WHAT.

    If you don't get what you would like, after a calm and well thought out plan in advance, the best bet is to downplay your request, and call back, but NEVER EVER push the issue to where there is a comment in the record.
     
  17. demkr
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    demkr Silver Member

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    I received great service from UA on 2 flights that I had booked in October. During the weather situation in NYC before Halloween, I was schedule to fly on an evening where weather waivers were issued.

    I called and asked about re-scheduling, and I don't know if I got a good agent, but she said "You can actually reschedule these for any days that you want as long as the original booking class (W) is available. Just tell me some dates."

    I gave the agent dates in January, and she switched me and re-applied CR1s in under 45 seconds (a challenge for the modern day OPSC or CO Elite line to do-Hello SHARES!). That was something that I really appreciated, because it not only basically gave me 5,000+ EQM's for 2012, it was extremely flexible in a not-so-large weather situation.
     
  18. Wandering Aramean
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    Wandering Aramean Gold Member

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    Again, it depends on the rules in effect when the waiver is issued. I've had similar experiences many times if the rules permit such. But the rules are getting stricter in general lately.

    :rolleyes:
     
  19. HaveMilesWillTravel
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    HaveMilesWillTravel Gold Member

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    Another Denver Travel waiver for 12/31, with the same restrictive rules.

    http://www.united.com/page/article/1,,53904,00.html

    Flight changes:
    • Fees for same-day flight changes are waived within 24 hours of original departure.
    • For all other changes, the change fee will be waived, but a difference in fare may apply.
    Refunds:
    • Refunds are permitted only if your flight is canceled or delayed at least 2 hours.
    • Policies also apply to consolidator, internet tickets, and Mileage Plus® award tickets.
    United will monitor the situation and adjust ticketing policies as necessary.
     
  20. Captain Oveur
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    Captain Oveur Gold Member

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    I'm sure that GS and 1Ks would be allowed a little more leverage if needed.
     
  21. HaveMilesWillTravel
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    HaveMilesWillTravel Gold Member

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    Sure. I still don't quite understand what they are trying to accomplish with this policy. Wouldn't all the cheap tickets essentially require a fare difference? And what are same-day flight changes good for when you want to avoid having people get stuck?
     
  22. Wandering Aramean
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    Wandering Aramean Gold Member

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    It lets them move people around in the distressed inventory (not that there is much) and appear to be doing good by the customer. At the same time they are able to still sell the last seats where there is actual demand (i.e. nearly sold out flights).

    As for caring about people being stuck, I'm not sure that they really do or that they should. I suppose it would be nice if they did but at the end of the day it isn't really their problem if you're marooned from a weather issue.
     

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