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TonyBurr
Topic Author
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Joined: Tue Mar 27, 2001 1:00 pm

United FF MP Tickets?

Fri May 03, 2002 7:48 am

Several years ago United stated that they were the number One FF program. Was to get tickets!! What has been your experience in obtaining FF tickets? In January 2002 I requested a RT on UA in F from the east coast of the USA to SYD for May 16,2002. I was told in January that Inventory Management had not realeased any FF seats at the point. I have been checking every week since then and now it is two weeks before I wanted to go and I was told today that they still have not released any seats for FF ticekts. I am on the waiting list. However, how does UA expect anyone to make plans for a trip to Australia two weeks ( or less now) of the date? If they are so faithful to their most "valued customers" ( I am 1 K) this strikes me as contrary to that. Needless to say I have very negative feelngs about UA and their FF program ( a large selling point on their point). Do other people have troubles obtaining tickets? Or is this just anohter United come on?

Before all you die hard "United is the greatest" jump on this "question" about United, I do realize they are there to make money. However, in the last 9 years I have flown over 700,000 miles on United, so they have made some money on me. It is one more question about United's relation to its customers.

What has been your experience?
 
travelin man
Posts: 3242
Joined: Tue Mar 14, 2000 10:04 am

RE: United FF MP Tickets?

Fri May 03, 2002 7:57 am

We just got back from a trip to Sydney in United First in March using frequent flyer miles (120K each). We booked LAX-SYD exactly 11 months to the day we wanted to leave. At 330 days out, that's when seats become available for booking. They only allocate a one or two award seats in First per flight, so I highly recommend booking 11 months out. Since you tried to book only 4 or 5 months out, the award seats are probably taken. That's why United is telling you they aren't releasing any more yet.

First class seats are hard to get (but I thought it was definitely worth it).

As a side note last week I was able to book 2 award tickets in economy LAX-HNL in August for the days I wanted. I thought they weren't going to be available! Sometimes it's just the luck of the draw.

Another thing you might want to try is booking an award ticket on a Star Alliance partner to SYD (either SQ, ANA, LH, or Thai would be the most likely choice). Sometimes those have availability too!
 
TonyBurr
Topic Author
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Joined: Tue Mar 27, 2001 1:00 pm

RE: United FF MP Tickets?

Fri May 03, 2002 8:02 am

I hope you enjoyed your trip. Sydney is a great city!

United told me just today that no seats have been released. It is not that I booked too late, they just have not released a single seat in F. This was from the 1 K desk, not any res agent. On the date I want to return their web site shows every seat is still available. If I had been too late I could undertsand, but two weeks in advance is too early??
 
travelin man
Posts: 3242
Joined: Tue Mar 14, 2000 10:04 am

RE: United FF MP Tickets?

Fri May 03, 2002 8:33 am

Sydney was absolutely fantastic! I want to go back...

I'm surprised they haven't released ANY seats! I'd go to and go to the United board to see if anyone has any suggestions. Sometimes I get a lot of helpful travel advice over there!
 
TonyBurr
Topic Author
Posts: 1107
Joined: Tue Mar 27, 2001 1:00 pm

RE: United FF MP Tickets?

Fri May 03, 2002 8:57 am

Thank you for your suggestion. I have been working since January with someone in the presidents office, and she can not get inventory to release seats. It is very frustrating.
 
Guest

RE: United FF MP Tickets?

Fri May 03, 2002 9:01 am

As the departure date gets closer, they sometimes release more seats to FF miles tickets as it becomes apparent that they may not be sold.

IE: I tried a few months ago to cash in miles to Hawaii, and there were no seats "open". A few weeks later, I called back again, and there were some open due to equipment upgrade (767 to 777) and more seats being released.
 
dinker225
Posts: 984
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RE: United FF MP Tickets?

Fri May 03, 2002 9:07 am

Hey Tony, when are you going to Australia. I will be going down on June 6th on United. Unfortunatly I have to fly Y Class on a paid ticket. Where are you going in Australia. Hope you enjoy your trip.
Dinker
Two rules in aviation, don't hit anything and don't run out of gas, cause if you run out of gas yer gonna hit something.
 
travelin man
Posts: 3242
Joined: Tue Mar 14, 2000 10:04 am

RE: United FF MP Tickets?

Fri May 03, 2002 9:19 am

I meant to say go to http://www.flyertalk.com for suggestions or assistance. People LIVE ff miles over there, and the people on the United board may be able to help you out.
 
Skystar
Posts: 1339
Joined: Thu Jan 13, 2000 3:58 pm

RE: United FF MP Tickets?

Fri May 03, 2002 9:29 am

I would say the reason why it appears that there are no FF seats left (esp. if in a premium class) is that they were taken prior to your inquiry (& hence would show 0). There are seats - but they've been snapped up. Only yield management can tell you how many there are (or you can try & experiment with dates far forward of now to see how many seats are available).

It is true that the FF allocation is increased as the date comes closer, but that depends on factors such as how well the flight is booked.

FlyerTalk is the place to be for these things.

Cheers,

Justin
 
TonyBurr
Topic Author
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Joined: Tue Mar 27, 2001 1:00 pm

RE: United FF MP Tickets?

Fri May 03, 2002 9:40 am

Justin - thanks for your suggestion. I will certainly try it. I can understand that the web site might not show FF seats. However, the kind agent I have been working with every week since January e-mailed me today and said NO FF seats have been released. It is not that they have been used up, inventory managemtn has not released a seat. Again, not just from the web site, but from the 1 K agent. I presume she is upfront with me. I can understand that more might become available closer to the date, but how can you plan such a trip less then two weeks before the date.

The UA agent has been tremendous. She could not have been nicer. But she admits the bottom line is, no FF seats are released! Her words, not mine.
 
UALPHLCS
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RE: United FF MP Tickets?

Fri May 03, 2002 11:41 am

The dreaded Inventory Management strikes again.

Inventory management is in a windowless bunker somewhere in the soybean and cornfields of Illinois surrounded by reality.

TonyBurr I'm sorry you have had a run in with the inexplicable reasoning of UA's Inventory Management people. I hope you realize your experience w/ the 1K desk agent is more of what you find at UA than otherwise. WE out in the real world of airplanes and PEOPLE, working the flights can't understand why these things are done, its all done by people looking at numbers and not at real people.
A little less Hooah, and a little more Dooah.
 
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clipper471
Head Editor
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RE: United FF MP Tickets?

Fri May 03, 2002 11:55 am

I used a MileagePlus award for a Sydney visit, last November, only 3 days before my planned departure. I checked a month before and was told FF seats were available, but still only made the reservation 3 days prior. I got all the flights I wanted both ways. Flights were full both ways.
 
TonyBurr
Topic Author
Posts: 1107
Joined: Tue Mar 27, 2001 1:00 pm

RE: United FF MP Tickets?

Fri May 03, 2002 11:55 am

UALPHLCS - Thank you for ur words. I can understand if I had tried to book a MP and I was too late. But when a senior 1 K agent (who could not have been nicer and more accomodating, e-mailing me regularly with updates) can not get inventroy management to clear an Int'l flt 2 weeks in advance, there is no hope. I then tried to book it in August, and again they admit not one seat has been sold or released for MP. They refuse to budge. This is my first attempt at a MP ticket. After flying over 700,000 miles ( 40,000 this year, with already another 60,000 worth of trips in my desk) I thought I might try to get a little vacation. I was stunned when the problem was not oversold, but no release.

I am abit amazed at the mentality of inventory. Yes I do understand that they want to make money. However, with the amount of int'l flying I do if this were to turn me completely off to UA, they would lose a heck of alot of future revenue if I switch to one world. Yes they might sell that one seat to a revenue pax, or they may not. They may also lose all future revenue from me. Very, very shortsighted.

The wonderful attention I have received from this agent ( who I feel a bit sorry for each week as she was sure in January it would clear) represents the helpfulness of many UA people in the field as u say. I have tremendous difficulty with upper management at UA. If they have a "business plan" I would love to know what it is. They are so short sighted. If they listened more to the employee/owners on the front line, those who deal with people and not numbers, UA would be in a much better position with the FF and their bottom line. What will it take for them to learn???
 
sllevin
Posts: 3314
Joined: Wed Jan 30, 2002 1:57 pm

RE: United FF MP Tickets?

Fri May 03, 2002 12:26 pm

Wow... interesting. I thought that most airlines allowed virtually unlimited F class trips, on the theory that only about 15% of F class were real, full-fare pax (and not upgrades). On AA domestic, I've been able to go F on miles at the last minute (for example, for sad family affairs) when there was no coach available.

Obviously, I was wrong... blah.

Steve
 
SegmentKing
Posts: 3224
Joined: Sun Aug 27, 2000 7:16 am

RE: United FF MP Tickets?

Fri May 03, 2002 3:43 pm

some United flights have NO F inventory what soever. They've also combined the XF and NF inventory, so it's now harder to upgrade or get a mileage ticket.

I don't hassel with 1P res, I just call my gals down at the CTO here in Vegas and they *always* find space on the flights I want....

maybe you should try that.....

-n
~ ~ ~ ~ pRoFeSsIoNaL hUrRiCaNe DoDgEr ~ ~ ~ ~
 
JC5280
Posts: 523
Joined: Sat Oct 06, 2001 12:06 pm

RE: United FF MP Tickets?

Sat May 04, 2002 10:30 am

I am almost positive you will get it. I dont understand the inventory thing either, but I am sure it will clear. Can you get a Business class ticket and do an FFCC up to F class on the day of? That will get you on the flight. I looked at the flight and it looks like that will happen. VERY few people move from C to F class and being a 1K, you should be right up there with the other folks.

It is true that those award tickets are hard to get. I wasnt aware that an award ticket in F class was hard to get though. I am really suprised. But as everyone has correctly stated, Inventory Management looks at numbers only, and for thousands of flights.

I sincerely hope you get a chance to fly our First Suite to Sydney and I hope you dont leave us at United. It is one of the best experiences in the world! The folks at the 1K desk will work their majic for you, someway.

Let us know how it goes!
 
trickijedi
Posts: 3201
Joined: Sun May 13, 2001 4:35 pm

RE: United FF MP Tickets?

Sat May 04, 2002 1:26 pm

I am really surprised at what you have to go through to get your miles redeemed. I can only hope to have the miles that you have logged in my Mileage Plus account in hopes of being prioritized by United when it comes time to redeem miles (since your a 1K flyer) but it doesn't sound like it gets any easier. What a pain! I myself have enough miles to in my Mileage Plus account to take a trans-Pacific flight but I'm now thinking maybe I should start concentrating on building up my WorldPerks account instead.  Smile
Its better to be on the ground wishing you were in the air than be in the air wishing you were on the ground. Fly safe!
 
UALPHLCS
Posts: 3232
Joined: Thu Jun 28, 2001 5:50 am

RE: United FF MP Tickets?

Sat May 04, 2002 11:22 pm

Based on ONE annectdotal experience!!!! Gee, I got a flat tire the other day maybe you shouldn't drivea car any more either, switch to a bus.

This is one of the reasons the airline industry is so tough. Passengers have unreasonable expectations. Now before I get jumped on, I'm not saying TonyBurr doesn't have a problem, but the Agent is being very helpful to fix it, and he seems to be reasonable about the situation. Then someone reads this simple problem and now thinks they have "Jump through hoops" to get an award ticket, so they are going to abandon the airline because of it. Thats like killing a gnat w/ an elephant gun, and the gnat isn't even bothering you Trickijedi. Amazing.
A little less Hooah, and a little more Dooah.
 
trickijedi
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RE: United FF MP Tickets?

Sun May 05, 2002 3:38 am

UALPHLCS,

I should have said "...start concentrating on building up my WorldPerks account as a backup". I understand that things like this happen, so it's good to have an insurance policy in case things don't work out with one airline. I'm a United flyer on approximately 75% of my trips, including international flights.
Its better to be on the ground wishing you were in the air than be in the air wishing you were on the ground. Fly safe!
 
TonyBurr
Topic Author
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Joined: Tue Mar 27, 2001 1:00 pm

RE: United FF MP Tickets?

Mon May 06, 2002 8:01 am

Some people asked me to let them know how it worked out with my MP ticket. Monday I have to either commit to the dates for the vacation at work or lose the time slot. I checked with UA today (Sunday) and even 11 days before the trip Inventory Management has still NOT released one, single MP seat. I don't know how UA thinks people can plan vacations or trips in such a short time. So, UA won. They can try to sell the seat. I did not have much doubt that UA would win.

Is it the end of the world? No! Is it another disappointment in UA? Definitely! This was my first MP ticket request. After having flown over 700,000 miles
( and another worth about 65,000 miles in my desk for the remainder of the year), having been 1 K for at least five years (and Premier Executive before that), after having been told in the 1 K announcement and by the 1 K agents that 1 K will get preference for MP tickets, do I think UA has a deep love for their FF? You answer that question in whatever way you think.

I have requested FF tickets in C and F international from USAirways. The average wait time till it comes through - 5 minutes. UA it has been five months. Will it make me consider in future flights? What would you do?

I tried for MP tickets for August on the same route. Again told no seats have been realeased by Inventory management. Do you think I even pursued it???

One of the big come on's for UA is their Mileage Plus FF program. When you pruchase a ticket from UA they have tons and tons of rules for that ticket. Maybe there is need for regulation of the airlines. Maybe they need to be required to offer MP seats in advance and a certain number. After all we fly them for the FF, and if u can not use them.......

I have met many, many wonderful people flying UA
( and some not so nice). My problem is not with the front line people, but upper management. If management would LISTEN to their people on the front lines the airline would be alot better. They certainly do not listen to the customer. Mr. Goodwin sent a letter around saying that they might fold. He left UA!!!! (with a generous buy out). Can UA go under? WHo would have though Pan Am, TWA, Eastern would.

Until management starts treating their customers in a different way they will continue to lose customers especially their high FF. And don't kid yourself, they have! And when that base goes .........

UA is in financial diffculty. Their "business plan" (???) needs to change. They FIRST need to address the low morale among the employees and then the customers. They are looking for a new leader. Perhaps they should look not at some person with high business experience, but someone in their own organization who understands a word they have lost - SERVICE! UA and Star Alliance offer nothing more ( and at times less) then any other airline or alliance.

Will I fly UA? It has been a very interesting experience. What would you do?

Anyhow I will not be on vacation in Sydney in May, so I can be on here seeing what other experiences people are having wit UA!
 
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clipper471
Head Editor
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RE: United FF MP Tickets?

Mon May 06, 2002 9:02 am

Was it only one leg that they couldn't find you an award seat available? What was the breakdown for each leg?
 
TonyBurr
Topic Author
Posts: 1107
Joined: Tue Mar 27, 2001 1:00 pm

RE: United FF MP Tickets?

Mon May 06, 2002 9:05 am

They were looking either SFO/LAX to SYD and back. W figured we could do any routing domestic.
 
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clipper471
Head Editor
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RE: United FF MP Tickets?

Mon May 06, 2002 9:06 am

Were you flexible on the departure and return dates? Perhaps tweeking a little ahead or after the dates your heart was set on could have made a difference as well.
 
TonyBurr
Topic Author
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RE: United FF MP Tickets?

Mon May 06, 2002 9:09 am

We tried within about 2 days on either side (so five total out of the week from two airports, so equal to anout 10 departures). No luck. UA just will not release F seats.
 
jasewgtn
Posts: 771
Joined: Sat Mar 25, 2000 5:24 am

RE: United FF MP Tickets?

Mon May 06, 2002 9:37 am

What are the loadings up the front? Maybe they are selling the F Class seats, and not having to use them for redemption tickets?

Also, why not try Air NZ? They are in Star Alliance and have rewards for through traffic DOM US - LAX - SYD????

Just my 2 cents worth.....
 
TonyBurr
Topic Author
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Joined: Tue Mar 27, 2001 1:00 pm

RE: United FF MP Tickets?

Tue May 07, 2002 1:46 am

Air New Zealand could have been a good possibility if we had gotten to it sooner. UA assured me that as 1 K I would get the seats. Too late for antyhing now, I lost the vacation slot.
 
TonyBurr
Topic Author
Posts: 1107
Joined: Tue Mar 27, 2001 1:00 pm

RE: United FF MP Tickets?

Tue May 07, 2002 9:31 am

What has been other people's experience in obtaining MP tkts in F on UA for long distance flights such as Asia or Australia. Is this just a fluke or is it UA witholding the MP seats they advertise?

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