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UA Fly 3, Fly Free - "Round" Vs. "Circle" Trip  
User currently offlineAndersjt From United States of America, joined Jul 2003, 390 posts, RR: 1
Posted (11 years 2 months 4 days ago) and read 4540 times:

I just got off the phone with UA Customer Relations, it seems that my last trip, LAX-SFO-ORD-IAD-DEN-LAX starting Sep 10 and returning Sep 11 does not qualify as a roundtrip under the "Fly Three, Fly Free" promotion. You can see my report for most of this trip on the "Trip Reports" board at

http://www.airliners.net/discussions/trip_reports/read.main/36104/

According to customer relations, the last trip, is considered a "circle" trip, not a "round" trip. Customer Relations also said that I should have verified with reservations that this was a qualifying "round" trip. In my mind a "round" trip means you start in one destination and return to the same destination. I felt no need to make sure this was a "round" trip, and the web site does not say there is a difference between a "round" trip and a "circle" trip. I started at LAX, and ended at LAX. I stopped over in SFO, and spent a big bag of money to take the long way back to LAX. The return on 9/11 was solely designed to show my support for UA, nothing else. I could have spent 1/10th of the money I spent on this trip, returned back to LAX directly, and that would have qualifed.

How in the world is UA supposed to recover from the mess they're in and emerge once again as a world-class carrier when they continue to disappoint their most loyal and "high-yield" customers? Over the last 3 years, I estimate I have spent nearly $25K in "F" fares to travel just over 35,000 miles. That comes out to about $.70 per mile. I'm not sure what industry average is, but I would think that this number is a bit higher than what UA earned from all passengers on the flights I took.

What is disappointing the most, is that as much as I want to support United, and stand behind them, I am the one who is the fool. As I stated in my trip report, the "F" in "F fares" must stand for fool. United, keep your free ticket, you can't afford to give them out anyway.

ElkGrove or any other United insiders, if you see this, make sure the powers that be know they have a problem with this promotion. Hopefully, you will not disappoint any other loyal customers.


Oh how I long for the day when the skies were truly Friendly!
25 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlineRichardw From United Kingdom, joined May 2001, 3759 posts, RR: 0
Reply 1, posted (11 years 2 months 4 days ago) and read 4516 times:

Did u get value for money spending $25k in F? I hope they were long flights, otherwise coach would have been ok.


User currently offlinePotomac From United States of America, joined Jul 2003, 713 posts, RR: 0
Reply 2, posted (11 years 2 months 3 days 23 hours ago) and read 4482 times:

Andersjt - Not knowing the exact rules about circle vs. round trips, it seems that round trip could be defined as having an origin - destination - origin, with 2 legs of travel, and logical connections as necessary along each leg. Even if you considered IAD as your 'destination' in this scenario, LAX-SFO-ORD-IAD is not a typical routing they would offer to get there, and probably what disqualified you.

I can understand your frustration - especially with the business you give UA, the way you showed your support for them this past 9/11, and the way you often defend them - or at least clearly give the real facts about them - in your posts. But this promotion is like any other you'd find, on UA or other airlines: they aim to draw additional business, yet they have enough restrictions so that not everyone can qualify and so that it works out in their favor.

I have to fly 3 round-trips that do not include Saturday night stays - which presumably has me buying high-priced tickets. And in doing so, UA gives me a free-round trip for a ticket that must have a Saturday night stay, and comes with logical blackout dates = a lower priced ticket.


User currently offlineAndersjt From United States of America, joined Jul 2003, 390 posts, RR: 1
Reply 3, posted (11 years 2 months 3 days 23 hours ago) and read 4463 times:

Potomac:

Yes, I am the fool, I should have read more into the fine print.

There is no way I can describe how hurt I am by this action.



Oh how I long for the day when the skies were truly Friendly!
User currently offlinePotomac From United States of America, joined Jul 2003, 713 posts, RR: 0
Reply 4, posted (11 years 2 months 3 days 23 hours ago) and read 4455 times:

Well, I wouldn't say that...though I have learned that anytime there's an offer for a free ticket, there will be a lot of fine print on how to get it and how to redeem it.

Though it sounds like you may do enough 'qualifying travel' that you could hit your 3 legitimate trips anyway...yes?


User currently offlineAndersjt From United States of America, joined Jul 2003, 390 posts, RR: 1
Reply 5, posted (11 years 2 months 3 days 23 hours ago) and read 4436 times:

The promotion ends September 30. Scheduling conflicts prevent me making another trip by then. Besides, why be a fool again and spend more money with UA?


Oh how I long for the day when the skies were truly Friendly!
User currently offlinePotomac From United States of America, joined Jul 2003, 713 posts, RR: 0
Reply 6, posted (11 years 2 months 3 days 23 hours ago) and read 4413 times:

It sounds like you're down on UA and I'm not going to try to convince you not to be. I read you trip report and concerns about customer service. But I was just thinking that their roundtrip vs circle trip requirement made sense, and that ANY airline that offers some type of promotion has certain requirements that people find out about the hard way, and can lead to disappointment.

In UAs case, there can't be all of these discussions about them needing to control costs, generate more revenue, and return to profitability, while simultaneously calling for them to be more liberal about the conditions for their giveaways.

This specific promotion is an added incentive to the business traveller to fly UA. Just like their free-upgrade for higher class fares is.


User currently offlineBrick From United States of America, joined Aug 1999, 1589 posts, RR: 7
Reply 7, posted (11 years 2 months 3 days 22 hours ago) and read 4403 times:

It also depends on how they ticketed it. Just because you leave and return to the same airport doesn't mean it's a roundtrip. One of more of those legs could have been ticketed as a one-way fare.

This is why I had to flight 6 times just to get one ticket. Three of those trips involved either a Saturday stay or I had to ticket some segments as one-way even though my trip started and ended at the same airport.

I just got my certificate in the mail yesterday. It's good for travel until December 31, 2004 (must ticket by December 17) in the 48 contiguous states.

Mark Abbott
Denver, CO



A noble spirit embiggens the smallest man...
User currently offlineAndersjt From United States of America, joined Jul 2003, 390 posts, RR: 1
Reply 8, posted (11 years 2 months 3 days 22 hours ago) and read 4390 times:

Potomac:

The problem with the promotion is that no where in the fine print does it say there is a difference between a "round" trip vs. a "circle" trip. Many of my associates are also high-yield business travelers who have to make circle trips. If I were to ask them, I am not so sure they would know that there is a difference. "Round" vs. "Circle", the debate is not worth continuing.

To you, in terms of Customer Relations, do you think it is worth it to them to risk losing a high-yield loyal customer, over a free economy ticket full of blackout restrictions?


To Mark Abbott:

You took six trips to get your free ticket, that is why the promotion works for UA. Even those some of those trips involved a Saturday night stay, you could have paid a higher qualifying fare, and made fewer trips. Under those terms, you could have paid less in terms of total paid to UA and still qualified for the free ticket.

I am not concerned about the free ticket. What concerns me is that this is again another Customer Service/Relations problem that only hurts UA even more. In my mind I thought it was a "round" trip, I made the mistake.



[Edited 2003-09-26 19:01:36]


Oh how I long for the day when the skies were truly Friendly!
User currently offlineAirbus Lover From Malaysia, joined Apr 2000, 3248 posts, RR: 9
Reply 9, posted (11 years 2 months 3 days 22 hours ago) and read 4378 times:

To my understanding, all these years of experience, when it comes to booking/ticketing, a roundtrip means departing and returning to the same airport, e.g. LAX-DEN-LAX.

Circle is like LAX-DEN-IAD-ORD-LAX.

Open jaw is like LAX-SEA//PDX-LAX.

I believe this applies across the industry and not a UA-specific problem.


User currently offlinePotomac From United States of America, joined Jul 2003, 713 posts, RR: 0
Reply 10, posted (11 years 2 months 3 days 22 hours ago) and read 4358 times:

I guess I don't see the 3/free promotion as being a factor towards keeping my flying UA. It's just a nice perk, if I qualify and if I can use it. The question for me is, should I use this free ticket - with its many restrictions - for leisure travel, or should I pay for my own, giving me added flexibility and the opportunity to accrue mileage so I can retain my Premier status?

I fly with UA because they have convenient and affordable flight options for where I live and where I need to go, and because as a Mileage Plus member, I get the benefits of elite status and frequent flier mile redemption. Though that being said, I also haven't had any terribly unfortunate customer service experiences with them, or at least none that I haven't experienced with another carrier.

Again, whenever I see 'free' anything - roundtrip tickets, complimentary upgrades, companion tickets, etc. - I know that it never really is 'free,' and whomever is providing it is not going to offer a perk/benefit who's value is greater than the value of the transaction that rendered it in the first place. That doesn't make business sense for them, and I can appreciate that.

You paid money for a trip, the primary purpose of which as you say was to show support for UA. But at the same time, you were expecting that in doing so, you'd then qualify for a free roundtrip. And as that didn't happen, it seems like you feel that you didn't get rewarded. Perhaps then, you should ask yourself (and I don't mean to be critical here), is it fair to expect a reward for such a generous, albeit unsolicited, display of support for UA? You gave them a lot of money - almost as a donation, seeing that the trip had no real business purpose for you. Under these circumstances anywhere else, would you feel slighted if you didn't get more than the recognition of a smile and a 'thank you'?


User currently offlineAndersjt From United States of America, joined Jul 2003, 390 posts, RR: 1
Reply 11, posted (11 years 2 months 3 days 21 hours ago) and read 4336 times:

Potomac:

Ow - harsh words.



Oh how I long for the day when the skies were truly Friendly!
User currently offlineAdh214 From United States of America, joined Sep 1999, 360 posts, RR: 0
Reply 12, posted (11 years 2 months 3 days 21 hours ago) and read 4325 times:

I fly with AA on business and flew six qualifying roundtrips this summer. At home, I have two vouchers for free tickets sitting on my desk. While I will certainly attempt to use these, I am not deluded enough to believe that I will be able to. In the past, when I have tried to redeem free tickets on AA with miles or vouchers they could never accomodate me without paying something or flying three days before I wanted to leave and two days after I wanted to come home. (not very convenient for a funeral)

The point is, the advertising looks great "Fly, Fly, Fly, Free." The realitity is not nearly as good. Thus, I never go out of my way to qualify for an airline promotion or earn additional miles. It is just not worth it.

Andrew



P.S. This reminds me maybe I should try to book that trip to Las Vegas for next October now and see if I can use my vouchers. I doubt it.


User currently offlinePotomac From United States of America, joined Jul 2003, 713 posts, RR: 0
Reply 13, posted (11 years 2 months 3 days 20 hours ago) and read 4296 times:

Andersjt...wait! Please don't make me a 'disrespected user'!!! I wasn't trying to be harsh - sorry. I might see the situation differently if I were in your shoes, but that doesn't at all take away from the legitimacy of how you felt you were treated.



User currently offlineFrequentFlyKid From United States of America, joined Nov 2001, 1206 posts, RR: 1
Reply 14, posted (11 years 2 months 3 days 20 hours ago) and read 4292 times:

I am not sure if this is the exact same situation but I am flying ORF-ATL-CVG-CMH tomorrow on DL. On Sunday I will return CMH-CVG-ORF. That is considered a roundtrip, so I am not sure why yours wouldn't be. The only thing I can thing of is your stopover techincally prevents it from being called a roundtrip.

User currently offlineSearpqx From Netherlands, joined Jun 2000, 4344 posts, RR: 10
Reply 15, posted (11 years 2 months 3 days 20 hours ago) and read 4264 times:

I'm not totally familiar w/ the UA promo, and I can't access the page to check, but assuming that your fare was broken in ORD and IAD, I'm really curious as to why they're making the distinction. Since I'm guessing the intent of the promo was to increase demand w/ mid week fares, they actually got MORE revenue out of you becasue of your routing. Yes, in the world of fare construction, this is indeed a circle vs round trip, but unless you were able to get a disqualifying fare on one of the legs, it would seem to me to be a case of cutting off their nose to spite their face.


"The two most common elements in the universe are Hydrogen and stupidity"
User currently offlineAndersjt From United States of America, joined Jul 2003, 390 posts, RR: 1
Reply 16, posted (11 years 2 months 3 days 20 hours ago) and read 4251 times:

Searpqx -

All qualifying "F" fares. Thank you for seeing my point.

Out of curiousity, I checked the fine print on the web site for the same promotion at American:

"Round-trip travel is defined as two one-way trips booked in a single reservation under one ticket number. A one-way trip is defined as an origination and final destination regardless of the number of segments. To qualify, the round trip must depart from and return to the same city or co-terminal. A maximum of one round-trip is permitted per reservation."

No such language appears in UA's advertising.


I'll just classify this experience as another UA customer service bungle. Not a good move for an airline struggling to survive.

[Edited 2003-09-26 21:43:56]


Oh how I long for the day when the skies were truly Friendly!
User currently offlinePotomac From United States of America, joined Jul 2003, 713 posts, RR: 0
Reply 17, posted (11 years 2 months 3 days 19 hours ago) and read 4236 times:

Searpqx - That is a good point..UA is making more money on his circle routing than had he just flown a qualifying roundtrip of LAX-IAD-LAX. However - and this is just a theory - maybe they aren't so hot on the circle routings partly because they water down the revenue on a segment-by-segment basis. A $2000 fare (for example) from LAX-SFO-ORD-IAD-DEN-LAX, vs. a $1200 ticket, but only for LAX-IAD-LAX.

Who knows, just a thought.


User currently offlineAndersjt From United States of America, joined Jul 2003, 390 posts, RR: 1
Reply 18, posted (11 years 2 months 3 days 19 hours ago) and read 4202 times:

Potomac:

This is the response I got when I queried Customer Relations this morning regarding the routing - if I had gone LAX-DEN-IAD-DEN-LAX, that would have qualified; however had I gone LAX-ORD-IAD-DEN-LAX, that would be considered a circle. In both cases the fare would have priced out the same as roundtrip LAX-IAD city-pair, FUA2FS. UA benefitted because I added SFO to get the 5th hub in the ticket, and they don't have to give me a free, highly-restricted, economy class ticket.

Had the promotion been there or not, I had planned to take the trip anyway. Considering the disappointments from the trip itself, and now to be told by UA that I should know the difference between a "round" trip vs. "circle" trip, how could I not be upset, and expect more from them?

If UAL were at least a 501(c)3 non-profit, then my "donation" could at least be tax deductible  Smile

[Edited 2003-09-26 22:05:45]


Oh how I long for the day when the skies were truly Friendly!
User currently offlinePotomac From United States of America, joined Jul 2003, 713 posts, RR: 0
Reply 19, posted (11 years 2 months 3 days 19 hours ago) and read 4196 times:

I know, I understand - you shouldn't be expected to know rules/conditions that they don't publish.

By the way, I'm sure there are many people on this forum who would happily argue that UAL is a 'non-profit'!


User currently offlineUal777contrail From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 20, posted (11 years 2 months 3 days 18 hours ago) and read 4170 times:

ANDERSJT,
You said" I'll just classify this as another united customer service bungle, not a good move for an airline struggling to survive"

How can you classify this as a ual customer service bungle? Because it is in the rules that stop overs and circle trips aren't allowed? Or the fact you didn't qualify for a ROUND TRIP that you didn't take?

My question for you is this, how could you honestly think that this was a round trip? You would hope that someone like yourself should have known what a round trip was. I imagine years of travel would warrant that kind of knowledge. It is sad that if you are the one paying for you ticket and not your company, and losing faith in us because you didn't read the fine print. I can only imagine that this has happened to many others form all the airlines that offer this perk. It is like when you board a flight and call rows 30-34 and you just happen to be in 29, you still have to follow the rules, and even though they may seem harsh, or poor customer service in some eyes it is the rules, and without rules we would have nothing to go by. I hope that you are above this" I would have taken these trips anyways" and see it in your heart to forgive UAL.

my guess is this, you saw all the ads in USATODAY and the daily publications in your city, thought wow , I can get a free ticket if I fly 3 trips with UAL. You flew the three trips and then found out, either by reading the fine print or calling our horrible customer service and they broke the news to you.

sorry you went through this and hope you can find it in your heart to forgive United for not printing it in bold letters or explaining it to you better.

UAL 777 CONTRAIL


User currently offlineThrust From United States of America, joined Sep 2003, 2690 posts, RR: 10
Reply 21, posted (11 years 2 months 3 days 18 hours ago) and read 4160 times:

Sounds strange. A "circle" trip? A "round trip"? I don't see the difference


Fly one thing; Fly it well
User currently offlineUAL777 From United States of America, joined Aug 2003, 1560 posts, RR: 5
Reply 22, posted (11 years 2 months 3 days 18 hours ago) and read 4152 times:

All I have to say is "Thanks for the Donation" and Im sorry about the ticket. This was another of our "infamous" customer service bungles due to a stupid rule. I reccomend that you call them and raise hell. I think if you talk to a manager or something you could get a ticket. Please don't stop flying UAL!


It is always darkest before the sun comes up.
User currently offlineElkGrove From United States of America, joined Jul 2003, 46 posts, RR: 3
Reply 23, posted (11 years 2 months 3 days 18 hours ago) and read 4109 times:

Andersjt- I must say that I am not familiar with the particulars of the promotion and therefore can not comment on how customer service agents are required to handle situations such as yours. That being said I myself find the way that my company distinguishes “round’ vs. “circle” trips in this instance to be quite ridiculous. The customer service agent had it in his or her authority to make the necessary changes to your MP account.

I would like to help, but unfortunately I have little influence in the MP department, no different than all other employees, to prevent the giving of perks or free miles to friends. I will however honor your request and bring this up to John Tague next week.

I apologize for what happened. I do not blame you for being upset and, bearing in mind your previous interaction with United during your trip; I can not blame you should you choose to stop flying United. I am a realistic person and will not try to convince you to do business with my company. Had I experienced what you had, I would probably feel the same way. Whatever you decide I truly hope your future travel experiences are pleasant and uneventful.

-ElkGrove


User currently offlineAndersjt From United States of America, joined Jul 2003, 390 posts, RR: 1
Reply 24, posted (11 years 2 months 3 days 17 hours ago) and read 4082 times:

ElkGrove -

Thank you for responding to the post.

I am just one of millions of United customers, but I cannot imagine that my situation is unique, and I cannot imagine how much damage is being done by customer service missteps. United may not miss what little I contribute to their business, but I would miss flying United. I also influence others on their travel decisions, including my travel agent who handles a corporate travel department with a multi-million dollar travel budget. It is hard for him to recommend UA when his customers come back disappointed.

That said, any word you get to Mr. Tague is appreciated, and if he can take the time respond, that will go a long way to making me feel less "F"oolish.  Smile



Oh how I long for the day when the skies were truly Friendly!
User currently offlineUal777contrail From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 25, posted (11 years 2 months 3 days 17 hours ago) and read 4074 times:

ELKGROVE,
Can you e-mail me, I have a question to ask someone in the finance department. If you have the time, please contact me.



UAL 777 CONTRAIL


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