UA Blocking Ability to Search for Upgrades and Awards (per ExpertFlyer.com)

Discussion in 'United Airlines | MileagePlus' started by J.Edward, Oct 30, 2013.  |  Print Topic

  1. J.Edward
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    J.Edward Silver Member

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    Received an email from expertflyer.com (see below) stating they are no longer able to search for UA awards and upgrades as of 10/31/2013.

    Obviously this is another disappointing development from UA but what caught my eye was that the email seemed to suggest that this policy was "universal" at united.com, which suggested to me that UA was planning on masking access to award/upgrade inventory on ua.com's expert mode.

    Anyways an FYI for everyone.

    Dear J. Edward,

    As a user of United Airlines® (UA) award & upgrade inventory on ExpertFlyer®, we want you to know about a recent development between ExpertFlyer and United.

    UA has told us that ExpertFlyer can no longer access UA's upgrade or elite award inventory. It is our understanding that this is a universal policy at UA regarding access to this data.

    ExpertFlyer and UA continue to have an ongoing good faith dialogue that we hope will result in the future re-establishment of this information on ExpertFlyer. However, we have no choice but to honor their policy at this time. As such, any pending Flight Alerts or searches for this information will no longer be processed after this Thursday, October 31st. We regret that we must take this action and any inconvenience it causes you.

    We know how much you appreciate ExpertFlyer’s ease of use and visibility of this information to heighten your UA experience. You have told us in the past how much it enhances your relationship with UA and adds value to your travel and loyalty to UA and their frequent flyer program. Should you have any questions or wish to voice any concerns to either us or UA we can be reached at the following links or through any other means with which you may be familiar:
     
  2. Mackieman
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    Mackieman Gold Member

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    I read it as they were prohibiting access via third parties like EF, not that they were removing expert mode. It's a similar move to what AA did a couple of years back with their fare pricing on external sites. The company wants to essentially control all of its information and booking channels, which I understand from a business perspective. They may call it, "ensuring a quality customer experience" or something like that but it's really a move to stem any potential loss of revenue.
     
  3. Canadi>n
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    Canadi>n Gold Member

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    Noticed this late yesterday doing a search on my flight Friday afternoon. UA site still shows availabilities (if you are logged in and in the expert mode) when you click on the fare details. Curious though, that shows R3 but thus far my CPU hasn't cleared even though it's now 72-hours.

    ------

    Suppose UA is now holding out for the same type of agreement with EF that was negotiated with AA and EF.
     
  4. Flyer1976
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    Flyer1976 Gold Member

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    CPU these days is not dependent on the R inventory buckets as that is for instrument supported upgrade availability (Miles, RPUs, & GPUs).
     
  5. NYCUA1K

    NYCUA1K Gold Member

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    Time to call CS, especially if the seat map also shows availability....
     
  6. Flyer1976
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    Flyer1976 Gold Member

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    :rolleyes:

    That's not how it works... They won't force the CPU at all however they are more than happy to take your money or upgrade instruments.
     
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  7. NYCUA1K

    NYCUA1K Gold Member

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    I believe that within one's CPU eligibility window all the upgrade instruments become equivalent...or is that true only within T-24hr?
     
  8. Canadi>n
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    Canadi>n Gold Member

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    Understand the different inventories, but R shows there are open upgrade seats for instruments, why won't CPU clear if nobody is taking those instrument seats which should also be clearing if there were any wait listed folks?
     
  9. Canadi>n
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    Canadi>n Gold Member

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    Seat map shows five open seats (small cabin 757) plus two blocked (on EF) though as we know this is no indicator of actual bookings. However, F7 is also displayed on the UA expert mode reveal, as is that number on the other front cabin fare codes (other than the R3).
     
  10. Canadi>n
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    Canadi>n Gold Member

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    I know priority is given (based on elite tier) to paid (full Ys), then instrument upgrades, then elite CPU.
     
  11. Mackieman
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    Mackieman Gold Member

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    Because CPUs don't come out of R in reality. My understanding is that they come out of a OMG SUPER SEEKRAT bucket behind the scenes whose inventory is populated by revenue management. If a CPU is given and R > 0, R is decreased by 1. If R = 0, CPU essentially force overbooks the pax into R. This was once described to me as a good, transparent way to handle CPUs. I think it's anything but transparent, but such is life.
     
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  12. NYCUA1K

    NYCUA1K Gold Member

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    You'd be surprised. I am tired of relating my recent experience where it worked that way --- twice.
    Not within the CPU eligibility window in which all the upgrade instruments become the same. Y/B always take precedence from booking on, but within the CPU eligibility window the order becomes: elite status > fare class (excluding Y/B) > upgrade request time.

    Please make the call...;)
     
  13. Canadi>n
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    Canadi>n Gold Member

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    Well, if it doesn't clear until the gate, at least at 24-hours I can check the UA app and see where I am on the pecking order! (Apologies as I seem to have moderately hijacked this thread.)

    I guess this is one of the reasons I've soured on UA. AA doesn't appear to play these same games with its comp upgrades to ExecPlats and my upgrades clear at the 100 hour mark if there's any open F seat on the flight!

    --------------

    Back on topic, I had noticed when checking seat maps on a few UA flights I had last week that on day of flight I was not able to access these maps on EF, something I had been able to do before. So there have been many games going on between the two of them in advance of this formal announcement.
     
    Last edited: Oct 30, 2013
  14. mht_flyer
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    mht_flyer Gold Member

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    This is disappointing, I have used ExpertFlyer often for this purpose of looking up reward/upgrade availability. I'm debating cancelling the subscription, but I have found it useful in many other non-"upgrade" uses as well for looking up last minute availability, trip planning, etc.
     
    Last edited: Oct 30, 2013
  15. Wandering Aramean
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    Wandering Aramean Gold Member

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    Some agents will still do it but they are not supposed to.
     
  16. Gtitan
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    Gtitan Gold Member

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    As always WA, spot on. It's possible but don't count on it.
     
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  17. NYCUA1K

    NYCUA1K Gold Member

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    Sure, that is the usual admonition; it does not hurt to call but it could help...
     
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  18. Wandering Aramean
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    Wandering Aramean Gold Member

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    Well, the most recent time UA pulled Expert Mode offline and moved it inside the logon wall one of the reasons cited was passengers calling and abusing/bullying res agents to process upgrades that the system was not handling for some reason. So, actually, it could hurt.
     
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  19. NYCUA1K

    NYCUA1K Gold Member

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    Look, if the CS people are not supposed to do it, they should just consistently refuse to do it and the calls will stop. However, what am I to think when twice in a row, my upgrades do not clear before T-24hr, and when I call CS, they are able to upgrade me immediately? In fact, there has been rumor that the U/G prioritization system does not yet work optimally or is buggy, which my experience of late seems to support. There was no reason whatsoever for my U/Gs not to clear automatically, and yet it failed twice...

    If the CSRs are not supposed to apply U/Gs "manually", they should just uniformly refuse such requests, and it will be the end of it.
     
    Last edited: Oct 30, 2013
  20. Wandering Aramean
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    Wandering Aramean Gold Member

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    There's lots of things the agents should do consistently. But when you're dealing with thousands of them and a set of rules so confusing that just about no one actually understands the full set then bits slip through the cracks. And with customers yelling at them to process upgrades sometimes it is easier to just do it than to sit there and get bullied.

    It sucks being the person on the other end of your repeated calls demanding that they "fix" your upgrades even if it actually isn't broken.
     
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  21. Weatherboy

    Weatherboy Gold Member

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    Wasn't UA also going to show the "standby" list for all those on some type of upgrade instrument or CPU eligibility on any flight you're ticketed on once it's ticketed?
     
  22. J.Edward
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    J.Edward Silver Member

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    I doubt anyone would disagree with that it's a bad spot for the agents to be in and that excess complicated rules/exceptions/etc. are not going to be learned quickly, if at all, by the thousands of frontliner's.

    But I think one of the root causes for this is the upgrade system is broken/flawed/[insert applicable adjective] as evidenced by Jeff admitting a complete overhaul of how upgrades are to be processed at SMD IV.

    Thus the sooner a comprehensive, working system is rolled out the happier *everyone* will be.
     
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  23. Wandering Aramean
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    Wandering Aramean Gold Member

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    Fair enough. But in the interim I cannot fault the company for taking steps to protect their employees from the collective "us" who make their lives miserable on a regular basis, often by pressuring them to break the rules rather than enforce them.
     
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  24. NYCUA1K

    NYCUA1K Gold Member

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    You lost me lost..:confused:. Who is "faulting the company" for "protecting their employees" and who exactly is "pressuring" the UA employees to "break the rules"?
     
  25. Flyer1976
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    Flyer1976 Gold Member

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    :rolleyes:
     

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