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United Reservation Change or Don't Worry About Me, I'm Just A Customer

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Oct 19th, 2006, 10:07 AM
  #1
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United Reservation Change or Don't Worry About Me, I'm Just A Customer

This morning I received a recorded wake up call from United that my reservation for December had been changed, requesting that I call them for the new details.

Since San Francisco is their gateway city, we have been flying with them for many years and the vast majority of our FF miles are with them. We have always received excellent service, both when making reservations and in-flight. Things are different now, especially since they cancelled direct flights from SFO to CDG. Needless to say, that recorded call came as rather unpleasant surprise.

I called them at 9:00AM and was lucky enough to be connected to India. The agent advised me that my December 23rd connecting flight from Frankfurt to CDG had been changed from 12:10PM to 3:50PM, almost a five hour layover. These reservations from SFO were made almost four months ago.

Long story short, he would not/could not, give me an explanation, just saying that Lufthansa had cancelled our reservations for 12:15PM to CDG and then re-booked us on the much later flight.

The United agent said that we could not be re-booked as all of the earlier flights were fully booked.

After much whinning, and a falsehood or two about having to catch a train in Paris, the agent said that he would see what he could do, but since all of the earlier flights were booked, he wasn't sure that he could help.

After being on hold, on and off, mostly on, for over an hour and a half, they 'somehow' managed to re-ticket us on our original 12:15PM flight. The entire time he blamed Lufthansa, saying that they are the ones who cancelled and re-booked us without giving United an explanation.

As I always do when I am put on hold with a business call, I make sure that they have my home phone number in case we are disconnected. The agent informed me that they were not allowed to make outgoing calls if this should happen. I guess that India doesn't have a 101-6868 long distance calling plan.

Finally, United was able to re-book us on our original flight, which it turns out was not fully booked. I was made to feel that they had really extended themselves and that today was my lucky day!


When I finished with United, I immediately called Lufthansa for clarification. The agent checked, and said that we had been cancelled and re-booked because United had failed way back in July, to enter our ticket number, so their system automatically cancelled our flight after a certain period of time. I have no idea how or when United was notified of the cancellation or when or why we were re-ticketed on the later flight. I know that this was obviously done by United, with total disregard for our original earlier flight plans. They picked the later flight and assummed that we would except it as a routine airline flight change.

Let's hope that the flight goes better than the telephone conversation with United, which incidentally lasted about 15 minutes longer than our one hour and ten minute flight to CDG!!

Thanks for letting me vent.

Nina
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Oct 19th, 2006, 11:11 AM
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Be happy, Nina that

United called you at all

That they called you as soon as they did

That you got re-booked despite whose "fault" it was

That you can aofford to go in the first place

That you are a very flexible traveler.
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Oct 19th, 2006, 11:16 AM
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As a former travel agency employee and current airline employee, I would advise you never to believe a word of what they say. Airlines and travel agencies have made an industry of lying, because most people accept the lies. The best ripost is to lie right back at them, and things will usually work out, just as they have this time.
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Oct 19th, 2006, 11:21 AM
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Airlines and travel agencies Governments have made an industry of lying, because most people accept the lies.
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Oct 19th, 2006, 11:46 AM
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Oh Nina, you have not lost your sense of humor I see.."I called them at 9:00AM and was lucy enough to be connected to India". Love it, LOL!! You have my sympathy as lately I feel I have lost so much time on stupid phone calls with various companies. Thank goodness you got this worked out. And yes, thank goodness you found out in advance and not after you arrived in Frankfurt. I have talked to more people lately they have sort of "lost" their enthusiam for travelling thanks to the way airline passengers are being treated. Although I will still fly I can understand people reluctance to go through all the garbage flyers are dealing with.
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Oct 19th, 2006, 11:52 AM
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Moi lie to Big Brother ... perish the thought

Nothing works better than a good whine, a few lies, and 'pretending' to be humble.

It's sad that this has to be done so often. You start out with the best intentions and find yourself matching them lie for lie. Actually I am very good at that!

For no good reason, I just called United and insisted on talking to a supervisor and I told him what Lufthansa had told me about United failing to enter my ticket number in the system.

Well..... as luck would have it, I got the same supervisor in India that had handled my first call with the agent. First thing he said to me ...'airlines always blame each other if a mistake is made, don't believe what Lufthansa told you'!!!!!!!!

Hmmmmm, if I am lying, would you believe me if I said that I am telling the truth? Has anyone EVER told you something and then told you not to believe them because they were lying??? Hasn't ever happened to me.

You're so right Dukey about them even bothering to inform me of the change, especially two months in advance - in that respect I do consider myself very lucky. Of course I do check back periodically to see if any scheduling changes have been made, but two months out, I wouldn't have bothered to do that - yet.

Now I'm waiting for the new e-ticket that they were supposed to email two hours ago - the supervisor said that for some reason it didn't go through, but that some other department handles that - truth or lie?

Bottom line, we'll be in Paris again, and that is all that really matters. A couple of palmiers, and some macaroons, and I'll forget all about this.

Nina

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Oct 19th, 2006, 11:58 AM
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I'm totally with Dukey, and may I add this:

If, in all the years of flying with United, or any other airline, this is the WORST the OP can come up with, that she had to spend some time sorting out not having a 5 hour layover (which is not bad at all, in the major European airports, given what they have to do there for amusement of pax) then I would say the OP's life, as it were, is very very gentle indeed.

I for one, do NOT appreciate this "vent" because it points to this "all about me," demanding mentality that some people only exhibit when they book an airline ticket-it's as if that ticket gives them carte blanche to complain about any sort of nit-picking thing that the airline does or does not do to their satisfaction-and considering the tremendous pressures that major airlines are under these days, the enormous numbers of pax they carry all over the globe, the thousands of operational issues that come up each day on all of these flights which are carried off, all around the world EACH DAY WITHOUT A MAJOR HITCH, (remarkable by any measure)-the fact that that they took the trouble to call at all, and in advance, speaks volumes about their well-run, customer-service orientation.

Moreover, those who would complain over nothing also seem to forget that we, the traveling public, can get free tickets in high season to Europe that would otherwise cost well over $1000 a head, and great sale fares at any time, to boot, fares that one could not get 20 years ago-thus the carriers have contributed mightily to bringing the world together, as it were, for better or for worse, and have been a key factor in globalization.

And as to this post, let us not overlook the fact that the OP herself admits that she told a "falsehood or two" to get what she wanted - which speaks volumes about the OP, rather than the airline-I'd say SHE is the one who owes United an apology-instead of cluttering up the board with this self-centered rant.
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Oct 19th, 2006, 11:58 AM
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Hi Nina,
Interesting series of events. I'm glad you were able to get it all worked out. I had a similar "he said, she said" incident with Iberia and American Airlines a few years ago. I think they all must do it
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Oct 19th, 2006, 12:03 PM
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Well Nina dear, guess you can consider yourself chewed out and put in your place

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Oct 19th, 2006, 12:12 PM
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Nina66,

Now that it's water under the bridge (so to speak), I was wondering if you received a record locator number from Lufthansa when you originally booked this flight?

If you did received a record locator number and now that you are rebooked on the same flight, did they give you a new number?
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Oct 19th, 2006, 12:34 PM
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I also agree with Girlspytravel. This was a really minor event. Lying should be reserved for major occasions.
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Oct 19th, 2006, 12:39 PM
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I had a similiar experience with United. I strongly suspect that if you are flying using FF miles United feels they have the right to change your ticket if they have a paying customer. I cashed in all my miles recently with United and will no longer fly with them if it can be avoided.
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Oct 19th, 2006, 12:51 PM
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"The agent informed me that they were not allowed to make outgoing calls if this should happen. I guess that India doesn't have a 101-6868 long distance calling plan."

The best line in the post. ROTFLMAO, Nina!
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Oct 19th, 2006, 01:02 PM
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Hi Nina,

Have you gotten your email confirmation and your new e-ticket?

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Oct 19th, 2006, 01:04 PM
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We had tickets on United from San Jose to Munich last summer - using FF miles, so of course I booked the tickets 10 months in advance. In the interum, our flights were changed 3 or 4 times. I wasn't overly worried about the time changes since they didn't make a huge difference, although when all was said and done, we did have a 6:30 am flight from SJC, so we did have to get up awfully early in the morning.

What really bugged me though was that when I made the original reservations, I made our seat assignments - the plane had a 2-5-2 set up and we had 2 seats on the side, so 1 aisle, 1 window, no neighbors. With each change in schedule/flight that the airline made, we were reassigned center seats, once not even together. United claimed each time that they couldn't reassign our seats and each time I pressed the issue and got my original seats back. It was really weird. Not sure what was going on - perhaps since we were flying on FF miles, they thought they would reassign us the crappy seats and leave the better ones to paying customers. Have they forgotten that frequent flyers usually are the paying customers?
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Oct 19th, 2006, 01:04 PM
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Hi GST,

>..we, the traveling public, can get free tickets in high season to Europe that would otherwise cost well over $1000 a head,...<

Where do I sign up for the free tickets?

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Oct 19th, 2006, 01:08 PM
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Yes, Nina I guess you should have just acted like a good little sheep & taken whatever they dished out. You're just a lowly, faithful customer & should be grateful that they're going to allow you on any flying Greyhound/airplane.
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Oct 19th, 2006, 01:18 PM
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Girlspy, you raise the art of satire to a new level!
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Oct 19th, 2006, 02:39 PM
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I, too, wonder if they do this to people using FF miles. When I used miles on a trip to Paris a couple years ago, United changed my return flight to the next day. I wouldn't have minded an extra day in Paris, but my gripe is that they changed the return date while I was IN paris - so, no, I did NOT see the e-mail alerting me to this change until I returned home.

But the funny thing is, I showed up on the original return date (because I didn't know about the change) and was given my reserved seat, so the original reservation was still in the computer somewhere. I wonder if someone else got bumped off that flight because I showed up after all. I never did figure it out. That's United for you (but I still fly them - seems like they have the best schedule for west coast flights).
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Oct 19th, 2006, 02:44 PM
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Forgot to mention - United's e-mail "alerting" me to the change in return date was sent something like 12 hours before my return flight, which wouldn't have given me a lot of time to find an extra night's hotel.

But it all worked out - sometimes ignorance pays off.
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