UGH. UGH. UGH. Warning, long rant follows.
For the first time since I started flying CO I'm using the words "Continental" and "Pissed" in the same sentance.
I'm in MSP for business (on a trip where "the schedule would never change" breaking my normal rule of buying only full Y for business travel.
Because I'm returning on a Saturday and CO only offers one daily non-stop MSP-CLE on Saturdays at a less than optimal time, it got booked as CLE-MSP on CO, MSP-ORD on a CO-coded UA-operated flight, then ORD-CLE on a COEX flght.
Of course I had to change it by pushing the entire trip back two weeks, and I couldn't change it online so I called. I made it very clear to the agent that I wanted to preserve the itinerary exactly as it was (including being booked on CO-coded segments), just change the dates.$150 change fee and the world is a happy place.
So they still haven't sent me a recepit for the change fee which they promised and my office manager is getting a little irratable about but that's a "minor irritation".
I had some personal stuff come up on Satuday and the 4:30 PM CLE arrival poses some problems... so on my way out of town I stopped by the CO CLE CSC and asked what it would take to change the itinerary... 4 agents, a 15 minute call to the rate desk, and some discussion amongst the agents later it came out to $495 add collect + $150 change fee. I asked about the same day change option and they said that it should be no problem, but I'd need to check with the agents in MSP.
So I get to MSP, stop by the ticket counter and was given variation after variation on "its not possible" including that that would constitute a change of routing and the same day change can't be used for routing changes (when I said that I didn't think the fare broke* in ORD and the origin and destination were the same the story changed to "well, since it's United operated you'd have to pay their same day change fee and our same day change fee" followed by some mumbling about how UA now controlled the PNR they couldn't do anything unless UA released it, when I asked for a supervisor, I was told that a supervisor wouldn't be available until Saturday) -- they told me to go online and 'do the customer service form', when I mentioned WE-CARE2 they said that that didn't exist anymore and everything had to be done online.
So I called 1-800-WE-CARE2 on my way to the rental car pickup, and at that point the agent told me that IF I had been booked on the CO-coded UA-operated flight (as I was originally, and as I had requested for the change), the same day confirmed change wouldn't be a problem, but I was actually booked on a UA-coded, UA-operated flight from MSP-ORD, and all of the change options went out the window. I asked her to look at the PNR history, and reiterated her that my instruction had been to book on CO-coded flights only. I was a little irritated to find out (for the first time) that I wasn't on a CO-coded flight, and further, I was REALLY irritated if this error on the part of CO's agent was the thing that would differentiate a $50 change from a $650 change. The agent (who genuinely sounded like she understood and was trying to be helpful) said that she didn't have the ability to do anything, but offered to consult a supervisor. After a few minutes on hold I was told that because of their error they would wave the $150 but the add collect would be $460 and that was the best they could do becuase they didn't have any CO inventory available. Right as I was about to ask to be transfered to a supervisor my cell phone crapped out.
So am I screwed? Is there a way to fix CO's "mistake" realtively inexpensively? Can I find a helpful UA agent and just get the entire thing reaccomed onto UA metal since aparently UA now owns me?
There's a non-stop MSP-CLE on CO leaving at 8:40 which was my inital inclination, but I don't really care how I get from MSP to CLE as long as I get to CLE by 3:00 PM or so)
(With the exception of the MSP agents, all of the CO agents tried to be helpful, it's the system I'm fustrated with)
(* - The fare ladder/fare calculation isn't on the receipt that CO makes available, so this is conjecture -- but it was unrebutted conjecture (at least during the period of time I was under the impression that it was a CO-coded flight, now I'm not so sure), and actually mentioning "fare ladder" drew a frighteningly blank stare from the MSP agent)