Go Back  Fodor's Travel Talk Forums > Travel Topics > Air Travel
Reload this Page >

Traveling United biz class With friend in Economy?

Traveling United biz class With friend in Economy?

Sep 16th, 2018, 08:45 AM
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 455
Traveling United biz class With friend in Economy?

i will be traveling from SFO to Lima, Peru soon on an upgrade to Business class coupon. My friend opted to fly economy. A couple of questions:
1) I'm cleared for business class on my international legs. My domestic trip legs have not cleared yet and may not until I am at the airport (or at all). Can I check in at SFO in the Business class line since I am waitlisted? I think I have done this before but can't remember.
2) Can I bring my friend into the check in line with me ( both at SFO and LIMA) since we are traveling together but on separate tickets? I had a friend do this for me once when I was in Economy and she was in Busines on a Bangkok flight and it was no problem but maybe that was just the individual service rep. who allowed it.
3) can I bring my friend into the Red Carpet lounge in Houston (our layover city before the international leg) and in Lima on our return? I have been able to do this in Narita with an Economy ticket and Business class friend but it was a long time ago.
Thanks!
ellenbw is offline  
Sep 17th, 2018, 03:25 PM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 5,341
I have read and reread your post several times. It has been years since I've flown United on an international route, so I can't give definitive answers. I do, however, have a couple of questions. You ask if your friend can check-in the business class line along with you. This is probably is something left up to the representative working. It might be easier for them to go ahead and check-in your friend rather than create a possible problem by telling them they can't, but is this fair? As someone who has traveled either Business or First Class for a number of years, I should point out that checking in through special lines is one of the perks we pay for. Arguably not an important one but, nonetheless, I asked myself if I would be bothered if someone's friend checked-in ahead of me? The answer is, I wouldn't get mad but might find it a bit frustrating especially if there was a bit of a line. You never know, they may well make your find go back to economy line. When purchasing a ticket, I pay a lot more for all those perks including access to the lounge, so having someone who has not paid for them enjoy the same opportunities does seem unfair. Essentially you are asking for your friend to be an exception to the rules and guidelines provided by the airlines. Have you thought about the possibility of everyone in your situation doing the same? Instead of asking if you can do it, ask if you should do it. Is it fair to other passengers not only those that have paid for B.C. but those in Economy that don't have a friend to provide these perks for them? You and your friend are not an exception. I can certainly understand your desire to make it easier for your friend but have to say I'm not inclined to think it a good idea. I did wonder what I would do in your situation, and I think I would check-in by myself and wait for friend until she as checked-in. A note here. Most airports have drop baggage kiosks where if you print your boarding pass before you get to the airport, you simply go the one of many kiosks and fill in a few questions and drop your baggage.This usually takes a few minutes and is quite a bit quicker than standing in line yo check-in.

Regarding access to the airport lounge I seriously doubt if they will allow your friend admittance. You should check with United. I know with BA it would be impossible. Again, this is something that Business and First Class passengers have paid for so why should they admit someone who hasn't? If traveling with a friend that did not have access to the lounge, I'd stay with them and find a comfortable spot for drinks, coffee whatever in the terminal.

Perhaps by making check-in easier for your friend ( see printed boarding pass/drop bag ) and just staying with them in terminal is the best answer. I have to say that having spent a lot of time in airport lounges, I kind of like and often prefer the terminal. More options available.

You really should contact United to get your answers.
historytraveler is online now  
Sep 17th, 2018, 03:58 PM
  #3  
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 63,532
Not addressing the ethics -- and not having flown United in Years . . . but if United runs the Lounges similar to AA's Admirals Clubs - International First Class passengers can bring one guest, Business Class passengers cannot.
janisj is offline  
Sep 17th, 2018, 05:17 PM
  #4  
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Posts: 5,506
You friend might be able to purchase a “day pass” for the United Lounge, not sure the current price but probably around $50. Call United to see if that’s available.

If you are not cleared for Business Class on your first flight you are not allowed to use the Business Class check-in line.

Do as suggested and check-in and print your boarding passes online. Have your friend do the same. If checking luggage you can both use the “luggage drop off kiosks” as suggested above. Another suggestion is to use “curb side” check-in - lines are usually short and move quickly.
RoamsAround is offline  
Sep 18th, 2018, 11:24 AM
  #5  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 91,116
I don't see why the airline would allow your friend to have Business Class level services on an Economy ticket, just because you happen to be traveling together?? Sorry but I can't follow any logic why they should be able to to that.
suze is offline  
Sep 18th, 2018, 11:56 AM
  #6  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 14,901
Do you have Premier status with United by chance? If so, you can take one guest into the lounge on the international legs. I've done it many times.
Melnq8 is offline  
Sep 18th, 2018, 05:40 PM
  #7  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 455
Thanks for your replies. I was actually trying to find out what the rules are, not trying to skirt the rules. Online, it appears that you can take a guest into the red carpet lounge in Lima, but not sure if it really works that way. They all seem to have different rules. When I was in Narita airport years ago, my friend told me that she could bring one friend into the United.lounge.
So fair or not, I was really looking for what the "rules" are without having to call the airline and wait in the often long phone cue.
and I always check in online and do a bag check online if I can, but have found for international flights that you usually have to show the gate agent your passport to check through your luggage to the international destination, but maybe that has changed recently. The flights I've taken out of the country in the last year of two have all been international on the first leg so maybe that is why I am recalling it that way.
ellenbw is offline  
Sep 18th, 2018, 06:03 PM
  #8  
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 5,341
I think the rules are fairly clear. They do not want economy passengers checking in the Business Classine. There is a reason for seperate lines for the various classes. Apparently you may be able to bring yourfrirnd into the lounge if you have Premierstatus or pzy the $50 for a day pass. Some years ago we were flying First Class on United to Alaska. butthey wanted $50 each to access their lounge. We passed. Never dreamed that 1st class passengers would also have to pay for lounge access.
historytraveler is online now  
Sep 18th, 2018, 06:11 PM
  #9  
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 63,532
One thing about Lima -t he Lounges cater to multiple airlines, and can exceed capacity. I think United uses the Sumaq Lounge (but check that - I'm not sure). When I was there in Aug last year people were being turned away from Sumaq and sent to another, smaller lounge
janisj is offline  
Sep 19th, 2018, 08:12 AM
  #10  
 
Join Date: Mar 2004
Posts: 2,612
Originally Posted by historytraveler View Post
Some years ago we were flying First Class on United to Alaska. butthey wanted $50 each to access their lounge. We passed. Never dreamed that 1st class passengers would also have to pay for lounge access.
Apparently on domestic United flights the only first class/business passengers that are eligible for lounge access at their departing airport are the ones on non-stop flights between LAX/SFO and EWR. I've read that the rules are similar for American and Delta.

I've never been one to frequently use the airport lounges, so I don't know if in the past they used to allow all first class/business class passengers (even domestic) access to them and this is a restriction brought about by overcrowding caused by selling access as a perk (e.g. through credit cards).
chepar is offline  
Sep 19th, 2018, 06:33 PM
  #11  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 455
Yes, I have had business class tickets for domestic flights and was not able to use the United Lounge. They told me only if going on an international flight unless you had a Lounge membership or wanted to buy a day pass. I did not know about the SFO/EWR option. The desk clerk in the lounge said that they could not possibly accommodate all business class passengers.
ellenbw is offline  
Sep 20th, 2018, 09:16 AM
  #12  
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 17,551
All I can tell you is that the lounge in Lima will be a partner lounge, airside in the international half of the terminal. There is an ongoing renovation and expansion program so things will have changed since most here have visited. Some of my old favorites in the mezzanine may be gone (eg 4-D Gelateria). The mezzanine has public access (landside upstairs) and is just before passport control. Starbucks used to have reliable wifi there.

If the Priority Pass website is correct, the VIP lounge is now called HANAQ. Hopefully this means it has been remodeled.

https://www.prioritypass.com/en/loun...e-f29f57076297

If you don't get free access, the Lima airport has a lot of other options for food, I note there is a branch of Pikeo which I like (but haven't been to the airport branch). If you get bumped from the VIP lounge, or can't get your guest in, I'd probably head there. Check the airport map to be sure you can find it

Be sure to select "show all"
https://www.lima-airport.com/eng/for...-services/food

Another option is to go to the Costa del Sol hotel.. there is a spa there. kja used it recently, see her very detailed trip report in the South American forum (if you haven't).

And have a GREAT time in Peru!

If you will be in Lima between 9/25 and 11/4, I'd recommend visting Cas Cor Peru (a design house). This year it is in the San Isidro neighborhood. (closed Mondays).

Details
https://www.casacorperu.com/

Last edited by mlgb; Sep 20th, 2018 at 09:24 AM.
mlgb is offline  
Sep 20th, 2018, 02:29 PM
  #13  
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 17,551
PS I have not been able to do online checkin for many recent international flights to and from the US. Not sure how this will play out for you, but don't assume it's possible. You'll find out soon enough!
mlgb is offline  
Sep 21st, 2018, 09:52 AM
  #14  
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 13,268
We had this situation on a RT AA flight to Asia. We bought a club lounge pass for them for $50. and said we were compted for it.
HappyTrvlr is offline  
Sep 22nd, 2018, 08:12 PM
  #15  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 455
MLGB: Thanks for the great info and links. The design house looks great! We only be in Lima for a short time but I would love to fit this in!
Happytrvl: that was a thoughtful thing to do for your friends!
ellenbw is offline  
Sep 23rd, 2018, 06:56 AM
  #16  
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 17,551
Better a short time than none at all, ellenbw...

If you need transfers, especially to and from the airport, I'd recommend prearranging them with https://taxidatum.com/

Super reliable.
mlgb is offline  
Sep 23rd, 2018, 12:28 PM
  #17  
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 13,268
At the end of the trip to Asia, our friend who traveled economy class said “Never again.” It is somewhat awkward when a traveling companion sits in a different airline class.
HappyTrvlr is offline  
Sep 24th, 2018, 11:56 AM
  #18  
 
Join Date: Dec 2008
Posts: 1,603
OH yes, those 'Cinderella Seats' can be pretty awful for long flights !
MarnieWDC is offline  
Feb 8th, 2019, 11:47 AM
  #19  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 455
I thought I would return to this thread and tell you my experience. Since I was on a coupon upgrade for business class, it was subject to availability. I got confirmed for an upgrade for all flights except the 1st leg of my trip SFO-IAH, so we were both in the regular line which was short & not an issue.
we both had TSA pre for security so that was nice. In Houston I went to the United Club lounge and asked about their policy. They said that I could use the lounge since I had an intl. leg next with business class but my friend could not unless she purchased a day pass. If I was a Red Carpet Club member, I could bring her in. I did go in and get a latte to go, then went in search of bbq with my friend.

Within Peru we had several connecting flights. Our guide in each city walked us through the airport line and worked some sort of mystifying airport magic that we did not understand, but moved us to the front of the check in lines in every case, signaling someone to open up closed lanes etc. This happened every time and I did not ask questions as each airport was pretty chaotic and we were just surprised and grateful. We were in regular economy seats.

Returning home through Lima I had business class both legs. I went to the 1st class lane and someone stopped me to check my ticket my friend was next to me & I said that she had an economy ticket & could she come into the line and he said yes go together. It was not busy so maybe that was a factor. The economy line was not very busy either.

We received a pass for 2 to the shared lounge. It is under construction so there was a long line to enter - took about 20 min to get
in but there was WiFi and a variety of snacks, not fancy and pretty crowded but better than sitting in the regular waiting area.

I do not have a problem flying business with a companion in economy or vice versa. I’ve done it both ways and figure everyone has their values about comfort and price points and we make our choices accordingly.
ellenbw is offline  
Feb 8th, 2019, 07:15 PM
  #20  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 8,813
Thanks for reporting back, ellen! BTW there are no more Red Carpet Clubs. They are all now called United Clubs.
Seamus is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy -

FODOR'S VIDEO

All times are GMT -8. The time now is 12:07 AM.