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Was United Just Nice to Me, or Was that a Dream?

Was United Just Nice to Me, or Was that a Dream?

Apr 21st, 2009, 12:36 PM
  #1  
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Join Date: Oct 2006
Posts: 709
Was United Just Nice to Me, or Was that a Dream?

I had booked a trip to Hawaii using miles that I no longer was going to be able to take. I did the research online, and saw that it was going to be $150 to have the miles re-deposited. Ouch, but c'est la vie. I logged into my Mileage Plus account online to have the information handy when I called, and there had been a schedule change on the return leg... no longer a direct flight from Kauai to LAX, instead, it connected in SFO. I decided this would be perfect ammunition for my call.

I got a customer service person on the phone, and explained the situation. I needed to cancel and blamed it partially on the schedule change, which yes, was a lie. I was going to be canceling either way. She told me it was going to be $150 to re-deposit the miles, which I told her I thought was steep given the schedule change, and I wanted to see what she could do.

She put me on hold...came back and got some information from me...put me on hold again...and then came back and told me that she had re-deposited my miles and that they were refunding me the $5.00 service fee from when I had booked the trip. Sorry about the schedule change and have a nice day.

A nice day indeed... I guess it pays to ask in situations like these, but I am curious if that actually just happened or if I dreamed it. I'm really happy I asked though, and also for that schedule change!
Kyliebaby3 is offline  
Apr 21st, 2009, 01:15 PM
  #2  
 
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 3,876
There's a column in the Sunday New York Times Magazine where people write in and ask questions about ethics in various situations. You could write to that guy if you wanted the ethical take on this.

Me? I'd say you didn't violate any rules. The terms of the purchase agreement say that a substantial schedule change allows you a refund of money or miles, whichever you used to purchase the ticket. I'm happy it worked out for you.
Jeff_Costa_Rica is offline  
Apr 21st, 2009, 01:46 PM
  #3  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 12,885
UA was just following it's own rules, nothing more, nothing less.


Also remember. Not all agents are made the same. There are some really good ones, most are average, and then there are some really bad ones. Newer agents are trained extensively but they can't memorize all the rules and regulations, T&Cs etc. They do have computer screens in front of them where they should be able to look at the rarely asked question, or like in your case, ask the supervisor who's been around the block few times, but most of the time they just quote what they know in their heads. The basic question gets asked 100 times a day and the newer agent just repeats to what she told the previous passenger.

So, it's always good to know if your question merits a call and be prepared to force the issue if you know the answer should be different. In another words, know the answer before.

Glad it all worked out for you


btw, if you ever have a chance to visit a call center, you will find out what these poor agents have to deal with everyday. People just assume this and that, then they scream, curse at the agent and finally post on Fodors what a terrible airline XX really is because they refused to make a refund on a non-refundable ticket. After all the caller had a legitimate reason. Their dog died.........
AAFrequentFlyer is offline  
Apr 21st, 2009, 02:03 PM
  #4  
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 3,050
If the schedule change caused a big enough change in arrival or departure time, then as AAFF says, you might have been eligible to cancel and refund with no penalty. Or, maybe the agent was being nice...sometimes that happens, too.

I had a schedule change a few years ago that really wasn't a big deal--basically, our return changed from a UA>US connection in Charlotte to a US>US connection in Philadelphia with a very minimal time change. I called to clear the change, as you have to do with United. I told the agent the change was fine. She was silent for a moment and then said, "Wouldn't you rather be on the non-stop United flight back to Chicago?" I told her of course we would, but it was a lot more expensive (like $250 x 3) when we purchased the tickets. "Oh, that's okay. Since there was a schedule change, I can do that for you if you'd like." She offered. I didn't refuse.
ms_go is offline  
Apr 25th, 2009, 07:34 PM
  #5  
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Posts: 126
As ms_go mentioned, if it were a significant change to your original itinerary, that could warrant allowing you to cancel. I believe UA considers 2 hours and greater to be significant. Seeing that you have gone from a non-stop flight to a connection, your total time may have exceeded what you needed to justify the cancellation. Full details can be downloaded from UA's contract of carriage here:

http://www.united.com/page/article/0,6722,2743,00.html

I personally consider going from a non-stop to a connecting flight to be significant enough for me to warrant me to cancel the trip, but UA may not.

Another thought on why they let you cancel is that both flights may have been fairly heavily booked. With one of the flights canceled due to a schedule change, they may have been severely overbooked with double the amount of passengers consolidated on one flight. So, by allowing you to cancel, they may have thought they would have less passengers that would be denied boarding.
misterfuss is offline  
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