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Topic: UA Downgrades Me
Username: TonyBurr
Posted 2002-09-10 03:57:48 and read 3446 times.

Six months ago I purchased a tkt on UA from IAD-AMS. It was an economy bases fare. I used my 1K System Wide upgrades to move to C class. I received a fax with a confirmed "Business Class" seat.

I called today to check my seat assignment. UA told me they changed the rule for the 1 K System Wide upgrade and the fare basis I purchased six months ago no longer qualified for an upgrade, and therefore they were "downgrading" me back to economy. The "rules changed".

There is no argument with them, they just did it. Why can UA make these rule "changes" at whim, in spite of a written confirmed Business Class? We cannot make "changes", but I guess UA can.

Why can UA just do this?

Topic: RE: UA Downgrades Me
Username: Hamad
Posted 2002-09-10 04:01:15 and read 3401 times.

well, this is typical of UA... i have had enough of them! dont think i am flying them again

Topic: RE: UA Downgrades Me
Username: Stretch 8
Posted 2002-09-10 04:07:42 and read 3392 times.

It is not surprising in the current travel environment. If I were you, I would call up UA, and tell them you will fly with another carrier to AMS from IAD(even if you have to connect; try BA, for example). Tell UA you would rather just let the accrued miles lapse rather than put up with their horsehit. If they tell you other aiirlines are doing the same, tell them: "that sounds like the excuse I used to give to my mother, and it still dosen't work."

Topic: RE: UA Downgrades Me
Username: Jcs17
Posted 2002-09-10 04:36:14 and read 3337 times.

That is actually really bad, usually when they do something like that they set a date where the new rule goes into effect. Thats like UA telling you, "we know you bought an upgradable fare, a more expensive one...Haha! Guess what? No business class seat, should have gone with discounted economy." Dude, that sucks. Talk to a supervisor and get pissed (I would be), they will do one of two things, 1. give you the business class seat or 2. refund some of your money for purchasing a higher fare 6 months ago. If all else fails write a letter to customer service.

I really have never had a problem with United on the 20 or so segments I've flown with them (most recently DFW-ORD-STL-ORD-DFW in July & August). An example of this is when they were asking for volunteers on the flight back to DFW from ORD. I put my name on the list, and as it turned out a lot of people missed the flight anyway so they didnt need me. Just for volunteering, they gave me a $25 gift certificate for use on future travel, I know its small, but they didnt have to give me anything.

Topic: RE: UA Downgrades Me
Username: Lowfareair
Posted 2002-09-10 04:46:17 and read 3320 times.

Isn't this a rule change that differs from when you bought the ticket? If so, then aren't you entitled to get a refund somehow b/c of it affecting you? Aren't they required to keep to their part of the contract of carriage? B747-437B might be good in clarifying this little matter.

Topic: RE: UA Downgrades Me
Username: 764
Posted 2002-09-10 04:48:54 and read 3310 times.

Normally 1K members cannot upgrade until 72 hours prior to departure, so if you upgraded before that than that was a special courtesy and they can always revoke that. Plus, your original ticket must be in H class or higher (and that has been the case forever)

Topic: RE: UA Downgrades Me
Username: TonyBurr
Posted 2002-09-10 05:11:25 and read 3268 times.

764, you are right on using the 500 mile coupons for domestic travel and the time before confirming. However, this was an International 1 K System Wide certificate which allows confirmed upgrading at the time of booking, no matter how far in advance. They are two different types of certificates.

They did not offer to refund my ticket. They said if I wanted to pay an additional fare they would honor the certificate (yea right!). Yes it is a breach of contract since I had the confirmed upgrade in writing from UA.

I did speak to 1 K CS reps. Save your breath! They acknowledged that I had flown 800,000 miles with them and hoped I would "continue" ( sounds more like a Jay Leno monologue) to fly United. They "value" my business.

What other business can you have an agreement and then six months later change the agreement one sided?

As far as telling them you will fly with another carrier, do they really care ( I can not imagine how they treat the casual traveler)

I did speak to 1 K CS reps. Save your breath! Actually I am not really surprised or "mad" about it. You have to learn to get use to it.

"Fly the Friendly Skies" "United Rising"

Topic: RE: UA Downgrades Me
Username: Ryanair!!!
Posted 2002-09-10 05:20:23 and read 3252 times.

I suppose that is why there is a clause "rules are accurate at the time of printing", or "rules and regulations are subjected to change", ... you get the drift.

try asking them for some compensation or something...

Topic: RE: UA Downgrades Me
Username: Lowfareair
Posted 2002-09-10 05:21:23 and read 3249 times.

Demand a refund. What would happen if you purchased a Daimler-Chrysler vehicle b/c of the new standard 7 year warranty, and 6 months after you bought it they said it is now three years? You would protest, especially it being an american-made car which is in shambles by the end of the 7 year period.

Topic: RE: UA Downgrades Me
Username: TonyBurr
Posted 2002-09-10 05:30:57 and read 3234 times.

I did ask for a refund. No way! I can use it for another UA flight (right!!!) or add it to a higher fare ticket. You are right there are "Lemon laws" for cars, but the airlines got Congress NOT to pass a Passengers Rights bill!

Topic: RE: UA Downgrades Me
Username: DIA77
Posted 2002-09-10 06:29:20 and read 3175 times.

Oh no! I was just about to use my 1K systemwide upgrades to Singapore. I got a really good fare, so I'm sure UA will find a way to prevent me from using my certificates. That sucks.

Topic: RE: UA Downgrades Me
Username: Jhooper
Posted 2002-09-10 07:58:47 and read 3114 times.

Hmmm.... Seems kinda shady to change the rules in the middle of the game, huh?

Topic: RE: UA Downgrades Me
Username: Zrs70
Posted 2002-09-10 08:19:58 and read 3090 times.


This is very bizzare. On the back of the SWU are the vallid fare codes. Is your fare basis listed on that code? The old SWU's were good with any fare. The new ones are vallid with most published fares. If your fare is an internet only fare, then under today's rules UA won't upgrade you.

I would speak to customer service. Explain that your upgrade was taken away in an inappropriate manner. I imagine they will work something out with you.

Topic: RE: UA Downgrades Me
Username: Sjc>sfo
Posted 2002-09-10 08:27:08 and read 3083 times.

i understand the airlines are having trouble, but these are their most loyal (and most profitable) customers. this is unacceptable.

Topic: RE: UA Downgrades Me
Username: The777Man
Posted 2002-09-10 08:43:04 and read 3070 times.

Doesn't sound right. Mail me the rec loc and I'll look at the recoord to see if anything can be done. My email address is in my profile. The777Man

Topic: RE: UA Downgrades Me
Username: SegmentKing
Posted 2002-09-10 09:12:20 and read 3074 times.

actually, what happened was someone upgraded you and didn't check the fare rules. When you called back, your fare was found to not qualify for an upgrade.

This is a rule talked about in DETAIL on FlyerTalk... but once you get your upgrade, don't bother reconfirming or they could pull it if they find your fare doesn't qualify.

Many W and T fares over the water are ineligible for SWUs and mile useage. If you want to use miles, you must be booked in H or higher. SWUs have limitations, as do some fares.

You are a 1K. You know the rules at United, just as I'm a Premier Exec and know the rules. I know that some fares aren't upgradeable and some hotwire/priceline/online fares aren't eligible either.

Be sure to ask when you book it "can I upgrade on this ticket?"


Topic: RE: UA Downgrades Me
Username: UALPHLCS
Posted 2002-09-11 04:04:53 and read 2819 times.

SegmentKing, that has to be about the BEST advise I've seen given on A.Net.

TonyBurr, I sympathize w/ your situation. I for one have been arguing that the new rules that AA and US announced will backfire on them. It would be much better for UA to appear to be the customer friendly airline. Why follow the herd of lemmings over the cliff?

UA has a damaged reputation from the pilots actions in 2000. I think bucking this latest trend would improve our reputation even more than the DOT numbers UA has been placing first in.

I like most agents I dare say do get confused by the fares that can be upgraded and which can't. This is just another example of the complexity of farestruture biting us in the ass. But as I said above nate gives the best advise and solace in this thread I can't improve on his sage comments.

Topic: RE: UA Downgrades Me
Username: TonyBurr
Posted 2002-09-11 04:19:14 and read 2790 times.

UALPHLCS with your attitude you should be PRESIDENT of UA! You are very right about now is the time for UA to appeal to FF. US has hurt themselves greatly. Even though they have changed some of the rules back, it is too late. They have angered pax with their random changes.

Segment King is right about fare rules ( and you are too, they are so difficult to keep organized). Realize I did not get into UA's res system and upgrade myself, a UA agent did, obviously. Maybe they did mess up the rules. Happens. But six months afterwards is rather incredible to downgrade someone if an agent upgraded. It does leave a very bad taste for UA. Maybe I should have known the fare rules, but certainly more so the agent should have. Even if there was a mistake, as you say it is the time to appeal to people, not alienate them, even their most FF. We have all made mistakes in business. I have. But most often I have to "eat" the mistake to keep the customer. UA doesn't, but keeps the attitude that they are "right" and the "pax" os wrong.

Unfortunately people like UAPHLCS are not the head management. THEY should work in the other positions and then maybe they would know how to work with the people who pay their high salaries.

Topic: RE: UA Downgrades Me
Username: SegmentKing
Posted 2002-09-11 07:04:55 and read 2733 times.

well some of the fares are a bit tricky, especially if you are combining fares on an intl ticket. This really isn't anyone's fault... you didn't know it wasn't an upgradeable fare, the agent you called thought it was, but when you called back, an agent with a keen eye discovered it in error.

I feel if you are given NC or NF, it shouldn't be taken away.


Topic: RE: UA Downgrades Me
Username: DutchDeltaDude
Posted 2002-09-11 08:32:57 and read 2691 times.

Interesting to see that people complain about almost everything nowadays. You paid ecomomy and you are flying economy. Nothing wrong with that. If you want to be in businessclass without a chance of being downgraded, just buy a businessclass ticket.

By the way, you weren't even downgraded. That would have been the case if you had actually paid for a businessclass seat.

Topic: RE: UA Downgrades Me
Username: Zrs70
Posted 2002-09-11 08:59:49 and read 2684 times.

Dutch Delta:

1) Buying a C class ticket does not guarantee a thing. If there is an equipment swap, even paid C/F pax can end up in Y

2) I think if you were in Tony's position, you, too, would be annoyed. I doubt your are in his position.

3) When an airline offers an upgrade, whether by miles, money, or upgrade certs, the passenger should reasonably expect to fly in the upgraded class.

Topic: RE: UA Downgrades Me
Username: AKelley728
Posted 2002-09-11 16:49:25 and read 2580 times.


I sympathize with your situation. If I was holding in my hands a 'confirmed' Business class seat and then was told otherwise, I would be annoyed indeed.

Have you tried calling the 1K service center back? I'm a Continental elite member and I know that if I call and don't like the answer I'm given the first time, a 2nd call will do the trick. Maybe you'll get a more sympathetic agent the next time you call.

Maybe when you call play dumb and refer to the fax you got originally. When the rep says you're back in a Y seat, offer to fax them the fax.

Good luck!

Topic: RE: UA Downgrades Me
Username: 737heavy
Posted 2002-09-11 17:59:12 and read 2547 times.

Doesn't surprise me. Last year I bought an economy ticket 3 months in advanced then noticed, with a month to go before the flight, that the ticket was then £100 cheaper. I contacted them about a refund to be told that this was a new incentive to get people flying United and cos I had a basic economy ticket (£600 for LHR-San Diego) they weren't prepared to give me anything back.

I haven't flown with United since.

Topic: RE: UA Downgrades Me
Username: TonyBurr
Posted 2002-09-11 18:39:27 and read 2512 times.

Two days ago I was told by 1 K that a 1K supervisor would call me back. I gave them all my phone numbers. Not surprisingly I have not heard back, and really don't expect to from UA. One of my itches with UA is they make promises and do not follow through. They admit I was confirmed six months ago in Business, but that is too bad.

Topic: RE: UA Downgrades Me
Username: The777Man
Posted 2002-09-11 21:00:50 and read 2467 times.

What's your record locator and what's the promotion code or profile name of the cert ? The777Man

Topic: RE: UA Downgrades Me
Username: TransSwede
Posted 2002-09-11 21:32:53 and read 2435 times.

After having several bad experiences with United, I now avoid flying them at all cost, whenever possible.

Topic: RE: UA Downgrades Me
Username: Patroni
Posted 2002-09-13 00:58:35 and read 2328 times.

Had the same experience on Northwest in 1999 when I had a full paid Business ticket from Newark to Amsterdam and my wife held an economy ticket with a confirmed upgrade voucher for this flight, issued by KLM Flying dutchman. KLM needed her ticket number for this and checked if the fare was eligible, then sent her the voucher, together with a seat reservation - and btw. DutchDeltaDude, we actually PAID for Business class, in her case not directly with money but with some thousand frequent flier miles, which definitely have a monetary value!

To make the whole story short, in Newark my wife was denied the upgrade because the NW agent said that you can't upgrade discount economy fares (Well, under the rules of our KLM frequent traveller programme you actually CAN!!). When I showed the agent the confirmed voucher for the upgrade, she only said "Pff... that's just a piece of paper". It took us a discussion of 20 minutes and a talk with the station manager before we could finally board the flight in business class. When I reported this story to KLM in AMS, they were very apologetic and promised to clear up this issue with their partner NW. However we have never flown NW anymore since this treatment.

Pity that the airlines never learn that an upgrade paid with miles costs them only a few dollars, but the lost goodwill of a passenger is far more expensive...So even if there should be a miscommunication within the airline or between two airlines this should rather be cleared internally rather than at the cost of the passenger.



Topic: RE: UA Downgrades Me
Username: Hkgspotter1
Posted 2002-09-13 03:01:29 and read 2268 times.

Well thats American `airline' service for you.

Topic: RE: UA Downgrades Me
Username: SegmentKing
Posted 2002-09-13 04:01:19 and read 2248 times.

Hkg, at least US airlines ALLOW for upgrades from coach.....

Topic: RE: UA Downgrades Me
Username: FutureFO
Posted 2002-09-13 04:44:47 and read 2234 times.

With all of the changes it is not only UA that has this it is also revolves around Star Alliance award Upgrades as well as tickets. These changes happenedly rather recently and we did not even find out until the last minute at work as well.

Topic: RE: UA Downgrades Me
Username: The777Man
Posted 2002-09-13 16:16:18 and read 2175 times.

Hi Tony! Checked your rec loc and it still shows that you are upgraded. In fact, you were never downgraded. Your ticket probably still shows Economy class but we don't reissue tickets when we do upgrades; the upgrade is in the reservation not on the ticket. Seems you talked to a E. Burtless at the 1K desk on 9 Sep and that person authorized you to use the upgrade for the flights even though it's not valid. It's always a good idea to talk to the 1K desk. Looking into the rules of the S+PMO/UGRADEHK-SYSTEM, you cannot upgrade on fares in T class and you cannot upgrade on internet fares. If you want, I can fax an itinary to you that will show you that you are still upgraded and your seat assignment. Take Care, The777Man

Topic: RE: UA Downgrades Me
Username: Ual777contrail
Posted 2002-09-13 16:30:49 and read 2166 times.

you have just got to feel pretty dumb, slammin united and all for the OOPS downgrade.

Topic: RE: UA Downgrades Me
Username: Goingboeing
Posted 2002-09-13 16:49:46 and read 2158 times.

In the words of Emily Litella..."Nevermind".

Topic: RE: UA Downgrades Me
Username: UA744Flagship
Posted 2002-09-13 17:02:10 and read 2144 times.

Geez what a whiner.

"OMG I didn't get my upgrade for a CHEAP ticket. I will never fly this airline again."

Topic: RE: UA Downgrades Me
Username: Greg
Posted 2002-09-13 17:17:25 and read 2125 times.

I've actually found that requesting and using ff miles, I have our corporate travel do the talking for me. Although airlines ask you call them directly for mileage rewards, our internal agency yields far more clout (since we all fly internationaly in biz class) and we have a designated corp rep you also helps us with redemptions or upgrades. I've never had an upgrade denied under any circumstances even for personal use. To clarify, I'm talking BA and AA only.

Possibly you have an agent with a good relation with the airline?

Topic: RE: UA Downgrades Me
Username: Swissgabe
Posted 2002-09-13 17:29:48 and read 2115 times.

That's definitively not the way that airlines should threat their customers like.

Normally they should give a date in advance if they change any rules and conditions of their FQT Program, Fares etc. That's at least what most airlines do anyway, especially if it is a FQT Program matter.

Topic: RE: UA Downgrades Me
Username: TonyBurr
Posted 2002-09-13 18:25:58 and read 2092 times.

777 Man I really appreciate your looking into this. I never spoke to a E. Burtless at the 1 K desk. Maybe when the agent told me I was downgraded and I told her I was not happy with that, she may have spoken to 1 K after I got off the phone. If so it ( like you taking the time) was very nice and considerate. I do appreciate it.

UA777Contrail, as to your typically blind "always pro UA" remarks, sorry man, I am not the one who feels "pretty dumb". Should be UA for even starting this whole thing.

And UAL747 Flaghsip you must belong to UA management since like so much of them they don't read the whole thing before commenting. It was not " gee I did not get upgraded on my cheap ticket", it WAS upgraded then the nice agent six months later said it was not but downgraded (her words) but then nice people like 777 take an interest. Try to follow the thread.

Again thanks 777!

Topic: RE: UA Downgrades Me
Username: Ual777contrail
Posted 2002-09-14 07:50:18 and read 2014 times.

dont point a finger tony burr, your blaming everyone ELSE for your screw up.

suck in the gut, admit you made a bad call and move on. we have all sat here watching you slam united and all you can say is you must be pro united, or belong to the united family?

you screwed up, worse things could happen. like really getting down graded, wanker


Topic: RE: UA Downgrades Me
Username: Kaitak
Posted 2002-09-14 11:33:02 and read 1985 times.

I assume you still have the fax where you were told your Business Class seat had been confirmed? Then bring it to your lawyer and have them write to UAL. They may have changed the rule, but they cannot do it retrospectively; you have a contract with UAL, which you made based on the rules they had in force at the time you made that booking. Based on those rules, they gave you the upgrade.

They cannot - or should not subsequently - downgrade and by firing a shot across their bows, you can politely tell them that they can either give you the flight you had originally contracted with them for, OR they can do exactly the same, plus $500+ in legal fees (depending on how quickly they get the message).

Topic: RE: UA Downgrades Me
Username: Sjc>sfo
Posted 2002-09-14 21:32:28 and read 1907 times.

Kaitak -

I'm really not sure of the exact rules, but the airlines put a whole lot of legal lingo into their frequent flier agreements, and the contract you are signing when you buy your ticket that makes it very difficult to prove breach of contract. They've been playing the game for too long to let that happen.

Topic: RE: UA Downgrades Me
Username: Leftypilot79
Posted 2002-09-18 03:42:04 and read 1837 times. was great. You just went above and beyond your call of duty. Now thats GREAT CUSTOMER SERVICE. We could all learn from him. Thats what brings people back....the little stuff.  Smile


Topic: RE: UA Downgrades Me
Username: TonyBurr
Posted 2002-09-18 05:10:52 and read 1807 times.

Have to give the good news about UA. I received a letter from then today (I had written them) saying that they would recognize the upgrade six months ago. That is good news that they recognized it.

(UA777 contrail this seems to go against your claim that I screwed up the upgrade. Seems like UA admits I had the upgrade granted by them six months and THEY messed it up. Sorry man, u really should read posts closer to get the facts straight).

Maybe UA actually reds Would keep them and all airlines up on what people think and problems.

Thanks for your help!

Topic: RE: UA Downgrades Me
Username: Ual777contrail
Posted 2002-09-18 05:37:46 and read 1789 times.

Sorry Tony burr,
it just absolutely amazes me that you are such a wanker, you still think you did nothing wrong. Don't you even fill stupid just a little? Why because you jumped of the handle, started this stupid thread about poor me and how UNITED is the worst. You may not have said it but look at how much time you wasted.
hope you enjoy that seat you boob.


ual 777 contrails

Topic: RE: UA Downgrades Me
Username: TonyBurr
Posted 2002-09-18 05:55:01 and read 1777 times.

Hey UAL777 contrails you must be UPPER management at UA!

Topic: RE: UA Downgrades Me
Username: Ual777contrail
Posted 2002-09-18 18:14:13 and read 1692 times.

No just a normal employee who sees someone slam UNITED because they jumped the gun. You still think it's UNITED fault you are clueless. But no, I am not upper management, just the guy who shakes my head in disbelief.

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