United Web Site Showing False Availability of Reward Seats to Europe

Discussion in 'United Airlines | MileagePlus' started by ddd_dc, Jun 10, 2012.  |  Print Topic

  1. ddd_dc

    ddd_dc Member

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    Hi MPers,

    I tried booking online with miles from the U.S. to Venice, Italy for the end of July and found availability for first class/buisness class through Chicago & Munich (last two flights with Lufthansa) for 67,500 miles one way. (No standard or select awards were available for the flights I wanted, but were available on other flights that day and the day after for 55,000 miles). Got to the last page after selecting seats entering credit card information for the small associated fee and received an error with a message to call United. I did call and the representatives I spoke with claimed there is no availability at all for award seats that day or the next to Venice and that they're sorry. Is this possible? Is United's web site so full of wrong information? (It's still showing availability.) The representatives that United is trying to fix it, but that doesn't help me or others. What can ask United to do about this?

    Thanks.

    ddd
     
  2. Wandering Aramean
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    Wandering Aramean Gold Member

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    There are issues with the F award inventory on LH metal. There are a couple others, too. Yes, it sucks. Alas, not much that can be done other than waiting for UA to fix it.
     
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  3. EWR764
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    EWR764 Silver Member

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    I also noticed Aeroplan has similar problems with false positives for LH F awards. For some reason, ANA doesn't want to accept your Greasemonkey script anymore either (at least on my machine ;)), so together with generally stingier availability these days, LH F award searching has been a bit of a crapshoot!
     
  4. ddd_dc

    ddd_dc Member

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    Thanks for the responses. The thing that's a real problem for us (and I believe it should also be United's problem) is that we've been watching these award seats for weeks and have consistently seen them available. (The first class availability we saw today was new and we figured it was worth it.) My wife who is going to a conference for work in Munich just bought her airline ticket last week. She first verified the availability of a United awards seat for me, and she extended her stay so we could meet up in Venice and vacation together. Now to be told that the web site was and continues to show false availability when in fact no seats exist for the day or day after I want to travel does not sit well. Does anyone know of a CSR phone number where I could speak to someone at United who could actually help. The most any of the CSRs or manager in international bookings I spoke with today could do was to say sorry. I didn't give them the full back story with my wife, I don't know if that would have helped.
     
  5. EWR764
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    EWR764 Silver Member

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    I don't think there is anything they can do. On United metal, agents technically can overbook 'O' or 'ON' under certain circumstances, but they cannot do that for partners.

    While frustrating, it is not just a United problem. The web booking engines on UA and AC are displaying the same 'ghost' availability that agents can't manually book over the phone. Further, if you try to ticket the itinerary online, you'll get an error message back because the space is not available. Example:

    From Aeroplan:

    Screen Shot 2012-06-10 at 11.00.25 PM.png

    From United:

    Screen Shot 2012-06-10 at 11.01.33 PM.png

    Now, try to call in and see what they say... :mad:

    FYI, FRA-DTW/DFW and DUS-EWR/ORD/YYZ seem to be especially frequent culprits.
     
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  6. kyunbit
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    kyunbit Silver Member

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    one more quirk of UA award calendar is not showing low level awards in the calendar. I have found instances where the calendar shows no availability of saver seats. However, if you select the particular date you may see availability of saver seats via partners.
     
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  7. estnet
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    estnet Gold Member

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    Sadly this is old news and UA seems very unconcerned about it. If u get someone to do something you're luckier than many of us who have had NO help from the reps:mad:
     
  8. Lufthansa Flyer
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    Lufthansa Flyer Gold Member

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    The phantom inventory becomes real, you just have to stalk it a bit. You can also call UA and ask a willing agent to do a long sell request and sometimes that phantom seat comes back confirmed. Its worked 3 times for me this year. UA blames LH, LH says no their fault. I tend to side with LH on this one.
     
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  9. Lufthansa Flyer
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    Lufthansa Flyer Gold Member

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    You just have to call the HNL service center. :)
     
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  10. estnet
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    estnet Gold Member

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    You've been able to get them to sell a seat they can't see as available for award?
     
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  11. Lufthansa Flyer
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    Lufthansa Flyer Gold Member

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    Yes. The seat would show on UA award screen, but when I try to book, it comes back as not possible etc. I've called HNL on 5 or 6 separate itineraries and had gotten the long sell to work 3 times. Usually 2-3 weeks out. This is definitely a YMMV situation. You have to be lucky enough to find a willing agent, but the long sell reply from LH usually happens within 60 seconds.
     
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  12. ddd_dc

    ddd_dc Member

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    I'm sorry to learn today that this is old news. I'm surprised the Federal Trade Commission or some enterprising class action lawyer hasn't put pressure on United & the others to fix it. Maybe it's only a concern to regulators/lawyers if its for paid & not award fares?
    I'll try calling United again, but my window for figuring out what to do is closing. I still can't believe that I had picked my seat on the United leg, entered my United Plus Explorer credit card info for the small fee & only then did I run into a vague error asking me to try again later or call United.

    By the way, what is HNL?
     
  13. estnet
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    estnet Gold Member

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    Thanks - I got an agent a while ago (definitely NOT HNL) who told me in "no uncertain terms" "I've worked here 25 years and I have NEVER heard of a long sell" Good to know there is still some hope (altho not for me so far).
     
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  14. estnet
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    estnet Gold Member

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    HNL - Honolulu Calling late at night tends to increase the chances of getting the "good" call center
     
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  15. Lufthansa Flyer
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    Lufthansa Flyer Gold Member

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    I had one guy like that who said he was a station supervisor (or similar) and that he wasnt familiar. No problem, fifteen minutes later the next agent I spoke to knew what to do, but was unsuccessful at the time. There are pockets of helpful UA agents out there.
     
  16. Lufthansa Flyer
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    Lufthansa Flyer Gold Member

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    I don't think that legal action would work since award seat availability is arbitrary and no guarantees are ever made by an airline that a specific seat on specific flight would be open for redemption.
     
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  17. goalie
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    goalie Gold Member

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    Not only can I confirm this but I can also confirm that it will also not show saver awards on UA metal when looking at the calendar but if you scroll down, you may be surprised and see saver awards.
     
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  18. TennisPro
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    TennisPro Silver Member

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    That just happened to me too, whilst searching. I hope it isn't "phantom" availability.
     
  19. kyunbit
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    kyunbit Silver Member

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    Not sure, but with many of them, I could go to the last page before booking.
     
  20. Bay Pisco Shark
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    Bay Pisco Shark Gold Member

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    There is phantom availability because sometimes there will be the opportunity for an F award on a flight that doesn't even have an F cabin.
     
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  21. TennisPro
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    TennisPro Silver Member

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    Uh oh. I think that pretty much defines "phantom availability". :)
     
  22. Stephen
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    Stephen Gold Member

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    If it happens on both AC and UA, it seems to me there is a GDS feed error at some part on LHs part, and not all on UA. Maybe UA needs some way to filter out the bad results...
     
  23. DeacFlyer1
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    DeacFlyer1 Silver Member

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    What's the issue with the ANA tool you're referencing?
     
  24. EWR764
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    EWR764 Silver Member

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    I used Seth's Greasemonkey script for a few years to access ANA inventory (0 miles in my Mileage Club account) but for some reason, I haven't been able to get it to work for the past few months. Not sure if it's a problem unique to my browser or an issue with my account.
     
  25. Misplaced Texan
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    Misplaced Texan Gold Member

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    The availability on the UA site on UA metal is real. The calendar just has some kind of issue where sometimes the color coding gets messed up. It was that way on the pmCO site as well. It doesn't take that long to just click on individual days and scroll down the page, so I consider it a fairly minor inconvenience.
     
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