Gary Wiener’s question comes along only once in a blue moon. Did United Airlines overcompensate him after a recent flight delay?
Is an “award” ticket a real airline ticket — or something else?
It’s not just me asking; so is Greg Ho, an elite-level United Airlines customer (he’s a 1K, if you must know) who recently discovered a missing flight segment.
He needed our help recovering it.
Ho’s route was a combination of United and Ethiopian Airlines from Portland, Ore., to Seychelles. Both airlines are codeshare partners via the Star Alliance, meaning they share routes, flights and have reciprocal frequent flier benefits.
Fred Rotgers’ recent flight from San Juan to Newark was canceled because of the weather. At least, that’s what United Airlines claims.
Rotgers doesn’t believe it.
“The weather at both the origin and destination was just fine from the time of cancellation until two days later,” he says. “United called this a pre-emptive cancellation.”
Question is, what was United pre-empting? Like many passengers, Rotgers suspects it had other reasons for canceling the flight. Maybe it was having plane trouble or maybe they failed to sell enough seats on the plane.
Airlines don’t exist.
I came to that somewhat Magrittesque conclusion after hearing from Julie Eisenberg, a loyal United Airlines customer who last year spent $1,700 per ticket to fly her partner and herself from Washington to Sydney.
For just $600 more, plus 30,000 miles, United promised her a chance to upgrade into a slightly roomier seat. But the ticket agent she spoke with failed to mention that there were no guarantees and that the money and miles would be deducted from her account then and there, many months before her flight.
“The only way I can get the miles and money back is to cancel my upgrade request,” she says. “They will have possession of the money and the miles from the date I booked, on May 10, 2013.”
Glennellen Pace and her husband are missing thousands of frequent flier miles after a trip to Australia and New Zealand. Is there any way to find them?
Question: My husband and I traveled to New Zealand and Australia this past fall. Our airline tickets, which were booked through a travel agent, were purchased through United Airlines.
United, as is often the case, put us on partner airlines for portions of the journey. The airline made two changes to our flights before we left, and in the process they removed our frequent flier numbers from our reservations. We were advised to get these reinstated when we checked in. We tried to do this, but the agent finally told us he was unable to get the computer to take the numbers, so we could take care of it upon our return.
Upon our return, I contacted the United frequent flier phone number to get our miles credited. I ended up spending literally hours with this. Sparing you the details of that time spent, United ended up crediting us for both of our flights between Portland and San Francisco, and between Sydney and San Francisco, but has refused our miles from San Francisco to Auckland (6,531 miles each) and from Christchurch to Sydney (1,322 miles each). They told me, “Air New Zealand says there are no frequent flier miles in your fare class.”
Chuck Barnes tries to invoke United Airlines’ low fare guarantee. But it doesn’t quite work the way he hoped it would. Is he out of luck?
Question: I made a reservation on United’s website from Tampa to San Francisco for a total price of $180. After completing the reservation I looked up the same itinerary on Orbitz. Much to my surprise, it was $10 less than the price I had just paid on United.com.
United offers a low-fare guarantee. I read the low fare guarantee page to confirm that it covered my fare discrepancy and then I called the United reservations number. The agent I spoke with was polite, but insisted that I had to find the lower fare online at United.com only — Orbitz did not qualify.
Bethany Tully might have been forgiven for her confusion. After canceling an upcoming flight from San Francisco to Boston under unhappy circumstances, she discovered that her ticket credit on United Airlines was worth about half what she expected — an increasingly common complaint among air travelers.
Earlier this year, Tully, a chef based in San Francisco, had booked three tickets on Hotwire.com to visit a close friend. “Tragedy struck just before the trip,” she says. “He committed suicide.”
A Hotwire representative assured the grief-stricken customer that she didn’t need to worry. “I was told that I could cancel the tickets and Hotwire would issue a full credit to be used within 12 months,” says Tully. “But I have tried numerous times to use the credits — one being for his funeral service — with no luck.”