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futurestar68
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OS:"If You Book Through UA, You Can't Expect Help"

Fri Dec 20, 2013 8:01 pm

So, I booked a ticket to VIE via IAD and VIE-IAD-JAX on united.com, with the flights IAD-VIE-IAD operated by OS.

I was supposed to depart VIE on the 10th, but UA informed me about cancellations in IAD due to weather, and my flight to JAX was one of them. Calling UA resulted in getting a new ticket for the 11th, departing VIE on the same flight to IAD, and then to ORD and to JAX from there. So far, so good, weather isn't anyone's fault so I wasn't mad or anything, I was actually quite happy about how UA treated the situation and how they informed and rebooked me well ahead of the beginning of my trip.

On the next day, Chicago was expecting bad weather, so I had to be rebooked another time, this time VIE-IAD-EWR-JAX. I didn't really care whether I was going through ORD or EWR, I was again just glad UA took care of it before I would get to ORD with no other options left but being forced to spend the night there. #

When I got to the airport in VIE, I went to Star Alliance Gold-Check In with OS, but they still had the old VIE-IAD-ORD-JAX routing in their system, I showed them the eMail from UA with my new ticket, but they refused to accept it and said they can only check me in as shown on their computer. I asked them to call UA to get it verified, it's not my fault that their system is showing a ticket that isn't valid anymore. Their response was that they would only call UA in case OS has troubles with their own flight, but their flight is operating on time so there's no point in calling UA. I said that they have to take care of the situation, it's THEIR system that doesn't show actual information, but I was just told that it's my own fault, since I booked and paid through united.com, and that if I don't book and pay through their own website, I "can't expect OS to assist me in any way". Their part of the contract is to take me from IAD to VIE and from VIE to IAD and that's it, the rest is UA's responsibility. They didn't even care enough to give UA a call and ask for verification of my new routing.

I did not have seperate tickets, it was all on one ticket.

Is this how things are supposed to be with Star Alliance - Tickets? Isn't OS pretty much UA's representative in VIE, since there's no UA counter there?

What are your opinions on this experience? I really feel like avoiding OS in the future, and I can't recommend it to anyone else anymore since they just let you down in that case.

The result was that I missed my connection in IAD since I had to go to "final destination IAD" first to get things worked out with UA before I could continue on to JAX. Just glad UA could put me on a later flight to EWR and then to JAX on the same evening...
 
phxa340
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RE: OS:"If You Book Through UA, You Can't Expect H

Fri Dec 20, 2013 8:13 pm

Sorry about your experience but it doesn't sound like a Star Alliance problem, sounds like you just got a really bad customer service rep at OS. I would have just waited to talk to someone else and pressed my case.
 
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Ab345
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RE: OS:"If You Book Through UA, You Can't Expect H

Fri Dec 20, 2013 8:18 pm

Hmmm..sounds a bit rude if you ask me not to mention unprofessional. Can't really base my opinion on any rules but they should have helped you. What's the point of having alliances then? On a more ironic note..OS officials acted in a very..."german" way. Whatever is in their programm will be done without any straying from the RULES
 
rwsea
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RE: OS:"If You Book Through UA, You Can't Expect H

Fri Dec 20, 2013 8:20 pm

I had a similar instance where I had booked a LH flight using UA mileage plus award miles. LH cancelled the flight, and then refused to rebook me, saying that since it was a United ticket they couldn't help me at all. Eventually UA was able to rebook me on a TK flight to get to my destination.

I'm afraid this seems to be a common problem with codesharing, and in my experience, European airlines (LH and KL in my case, OS in yours) seem to refuse to help unless they are the ones that issued the ticket. Crap customer service for sure, and certainly breaks down all the supposed "benefits" of code-sharing.

The only advice I can offer is to book through the carrier that is actually operating the main flights of your itinerary, although in your case, I suspect this would have led to a different set of problems as you would have arrived in ORD or IAD with a mess to deal with on that end.
 
Maverick623
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RE: OS:"If You Book Through UA, You Can't Expect H

Fri Dec 20, 2013 8:30 pm

Was your ticket purchased through United or Austrian?

Quoting rwsea (Reply 3):
European airlines (LH and KL in my case, OS in yours) seem to refuse to help unless they are the ones that issued the ticket.

Only the airline that issued the ticket can make changes to it, unless control is pushed to another airline. That being said, all it takes is a phone call to do that.
"PHX is Phoenix, PDX is the other city" -777Way
 
rwsea
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RE: OS:"If You Book Through UA, You Can't Expect H

Fri Dec 20, 2013 8:31 pm

Quoting Maverick623 (Reply 4):
Only the airline that issued the ticket can make changes to it, unless control is pushed to another airline. That being said, all it takes is a phone call to do that.

Not necessarily true. KLM used to refuse to make changes to my tickets if they were issued by a travel agent. I've never had this problem with UA though. Maybe US airlines are just willing to make the call, and European ones tend to take the usual "that's not possible" line?
 
dc9northwest
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RE: OS:"If You Book Through UA, You Can't Expect H

Fri Dec 20, 2013 8:42 pm

Well, UA really wanted to refuse to help us when booked on an OS ticket in 2000, so it works both ways.

In fact, I personally have avoided booking UA on any itinerary including connections since that point, and will continue to do so. Obviously I can't control other people, but I won't book any connecting UA flights, even 13 years later.
 
Rdh3e
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RE: OS:"If You Book Through UA, You Can't Expect H

Fri Dec 20, 2013 8:57 pm

Quoting Maverick623 (Reply 4):
Was your ticket purchased through United or Austrian?

Did you read the first sentence of his post?

Quoting futurestar68 (Thread starter):
So, I booked a ticket to VIE via IAD and VIE-IAD-JAX on united.com

My 2c on this is that since this is a metal neutral JV flight it is absolutely absurd for them to refuse help, I don't care what excuse they give, it is unforgivable. But I do suspect an earlier poster is correct in saying you just got a bad agent.
 
VS11
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RE: OS:"If You Book Through UA, You Can't Expect H

Fri Dec 20, 2013 9:36 pm

Quoting RDH3E (Reply 7):
My 2c on this is that since this is a metal neutral JV flight it is absolutely absurd for them to refuse help, I don't care what excuse they give, it is unforgivable. But I do suspect an earlier poster is correct in saying you just got a bad agent.

Are you sure Austrian and United have a JV cause even if UA and LH do, Austrian may not be part of it?

Quoting futurestar68 (Thread starter):
When I got to the airport in VIE, I went to Star Alliance Gold-Check In with OS, but they still had the old VIE-IAD-ORD-JAX routing in their system, I showed them the eMail from UA with my new ticket, but they refused to accept it and said they can only check me in as shown on their computer. I asked them to call UA to get it verified, it's not my fault that their system is showing a ticket that isn't valid anymore

Actually, they gave you the correct answer. As the ticket was issued by United, it was really their responsibility to rebook you. It is always a good idea to check your (re) booking online at the website of each airline involved to ensure proper ticketing.
 
Rdh3e
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RE: OS:"If You Book Through UA, You Can't Expect H

Fri Dec 20, 2013 9:45 pm

Quoting VS11 (Reply 8):
Are you sure Austrian and United have a JV cause even if UA and LH do, Austrian may not be part of it?

The JV is the "Lufthansa Group";

The A++ multilateral, transatlantic joint venture exists between Lufthansa – together with Austrian Airlines, SWISS and Brussels Airlines – Air Canada and the new United Airlines (UA with CO). A++ emerged from previous bilateral joint ventures between Lufthansa and United Airlines and Air Canada, respectively. It covers all of the airlines’ North Atlantic routes and associated connecting flights. A++ offers customers a choice of nearly 300 transatlantic flights daily between Europe and North America (USA, Canada) to 61 destinations. These are linked to hundreds of connecting flights from the airlines’ hubs.

http://www.lufthansagroup.com/en/company/alliances/joint-ventures.html
 
VS11
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RE: OS:"If You Book Through UA, You Can't Expect H

Fri Dec 20, 2013 9:51 pm

Quoting RDH3E (Reply 9):
The JV is the "Lufthansa Group";

I guess in this case it is rather strange that OS were so uncooperative.
 
DLD9S
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RE: OS:"If You Book Through UA, You Can't Expect H

Fri Dec 20, 2013 10:12 pm

Quoting VS11 (Reply 8):
Are you sure Austrian and United have a JV cause even if UA and LH do, Austrian may not be part of it?

OS is part of the trans-Atlantic Star Alliance JV with UA and LH, as is AC, LX, SN.
717 727 737 747 757 767 777 DC9 DC10 M80 M90 M11 L10 AB6 333 340 319 320 321 ARJ CRJ EM2 EMJ SF3 146 100 BE1...
 
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Tugger
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RE: OS:"If You Book Through UA, You Can't Expect H

Fri Dec 20, 2013 10:24 pm

Quoting futurestar68 (Thread starter):

Just curious but could you have called UA yourself when you were VIE and have them fix the ticketing issue with OS?

Tugg
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tyler81190
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RE: OS:"If You Book Through UA, You Can't Expect H

Fri Dec 20, 2013 11:14 pm

I don't know OS's system, but in the UA system, if LH has control of the ticket, LH has to give UA control in order to change it. A UA agent can book flights till they are blue in the face, but the "ticket" will still reflect the original routing.

As far as the whole travel agent thing, that is usually due to the fare rules, or a "special or opaque" fare given to the agency which requires you to have the agency rebook you. (an opaque fare would be quite odd for a travel agency on an international flight though)

If people read the actual fare rules for the fare basis codes when purchasing, you would be shocked at all the restrictions. One of the most common from purchasing a ticket via Orbitz/Expedia/Priceline is must travel same routing/carrier. So, if you show put o the airport late, and you are going somewhere with only one flight a day on your routing, you wait till the next day. If there are no seats the next day, you wait till there are.

A bit off topic, but just a glimpse into fare rules, and a possibility of why they were unhelpful.

(FYI cancellations usually circumvent these rules and would require the airline to rebook you on first available, in which case, OS should have helped no matter what.)
 
futurestar68
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RE: OS:"If You Book Through UA, You Can't Expect H

Fri Dec 20, 2013 11:24 pm

Quoting rwsea (Reply 5):
Maybe US airlines are just willing to make the call, and European ones tend to take the usual "that's not possible" line?

I really think so, I remember one time when UA couldn't change a OS-ticket, but had to rebook me since the flight from IAD to VIE got cancelled. I was still at the airport in Jacksonville when that happened... But anyway, what they did was they just issued a new ticket for me and I flew JAX-EWR-FRA-VIE on the same day, of course I got to VIE a few hours later but that was fine, UA did take care of it and in the end, it wasn't their fault that OS cancelled the flight.
I wonder if OS could have done the same thing in my case or why they didn't just do it...

Quoting Maverick623 (Reply 4):
That being said, all it takes is a phone call to do that.

...and even that was too much to ask for. Not one, not two, THREE OS-agents refused to help, but instead gave me arrogant answers and told me pretty much that they don't care since I booked the ticket through UA.

Quoting VS11 (Reply 8):
It is always a good idea to check your (re) booking online at the website of each airline involved to ensure proper ticketing.

Okay so again, I got rebooked two times, do you really think I care for that? I don't have to check each airline's website to make sure they're doing their job, what's the point in alliances then? And besides, try checking in online at an airline's website, when the first flight of your trip is operated by another airline, and tell me what message you got  
Quoting tugger (Reply 12):
Just curious but could you have called UA yourself when you were VIE and have them fix the ticketing issue with OS?

I thought about that, but that would've taken too long since I was already checking in for my flight, I had to drop off my bags and didn't have the time to wait like half an hour on the phone, UA's lines were pretty busy since they were having weather related issues in IAD and ORD. And plus, I don't know what that agent could've helped me with, they can't really do anything except maybe e-mailing me the itinerary again, which would've been pointless since I already showed it to OS, but they didn't care...

The thing is, they even admitted that they COULD call UA, but they said they don't do it because it's not THEIR problem, since I have a UA-ticket.
 
gigneil
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RE: OS:"If You Book Through UA, You Can't Expect H

Fri Dec 20, 2013 11:32 pm

I have NEVER had a problem with DLH Group helping me with a United ticket, and certainly never with United helping me with a Lufthansa or Swiss ticket...

I'd say you just got a really bad rep.

Was there no Star Alliance desk? I find a lot of the European airports have them....

NS
 
Stratofish
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RE: OS:"If You Book Through UA, You Can't Expect H

Fri Dec 20, 2013 11:48 pm

It indeed is an unfortunate situation and without intending to sound rude: it is your problem and not OS ' problem.

Ticket commonality among alliance members sadly is not what most of us expect it to be. And Star aren't the only ones plagued by the problem. You'd be amazed how there sometimes is zero compatibility among the CRS of AA, AB and BA. If you ever happen to have an itinerary with flights operated by or code shared with all three of them expect big problems.

Quoting futurestar68 (Thread starter):
I asked them to call UA to get it verified, it's not my fault that their system is showing a ticket that isn't valid anymore.

They offered you to check you in the way you are in their system. Everything else is your problem, not theirs. Sure, not a pleasant situation and understandably frustrating but it is your responsibility to call UA. I fail to understand how anyone can think the OS representatives were in any way responsible to deal with the situation onward of IAD.

Quoting futurestar68 (Thread starter):
The result was that I missed my connection in IAD since I had to go to "final destination IAD" first to get things worked out with UA before I could continue on to JAX. Just glad UA could put me on a later flight to EWR and then to JAX on the same evening...

That was, given the circumstances, (a) the most sensible and (b) probably the only thing, they (OS) could do. UA again are responsible and possibly better equipped to help you.

Unfortunate, but you were treated just the way most GOMs dictate and the very same treatment might happen to any passenger at any other given airline/alliance.
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futurestar68
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RE: OS:"If You Book Through UA, You Can't Expect H

Sat Dec 21, 2013 12:01 am

Quoting Stratofish (Reply 16):
It indeed is an unfortunate situation and without intending to sound rude: it is your problem and not OS ' problem.
Quoting Stratofish (Reply 16):
Unfortunate, but you were treated just the way most GOMs dictate and the very same treatment might happen to any passenger at any other given airline/alliance.

Hey, then lets go ahead and cancel all alliances, agreements and what not, since they're all pointless, right?
 
RDUDDJI
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RE: OS:"If You Book Through UA, You Can't Expect H

Sat Dec 21, 2013 12:01 am

Quoting rwsea (Reply 3):
I'm afraid this seems to be a common problem with codesharing, and in my experience, European airlines (LH and KL in my case, OS in yours) seem to refuse to help unless they are the ones that issued the ticket. Crap customer service for sure, and certainly breaks down all the supposed "benefits" of code-sharing.

I travel US to Europe a few times a year usually through AMS (on DL/KL). I always book through DL and usually I fly them for the tatl portion. However, multiple times I've had KL rebook me due to delays or missed connections in AMS. Never once have I been told that they cannot help me with a KL leg since I booked the itin through DL.

Surely my experiences may vary from others, but I think the OP's issue is more with a "confrontational agent" than a systematic problem.
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Stratofish
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RE: OS:"If You Book Through UA, You Can't Expect H

Sat Dec 21, 2013 12:24 am

Quoting futurestar68 (Reply 17):
Hey, then lets go ahead and cancel all alliances, agreements and what not, since they're all pointless, right?

No, without the alliance you would have had way more hassle to get to JAX. OS did transport you to IAD and UA then did sort it out for you in order to get you to JAX the same day as intended. Sounds like a working alliance to me.

Quoting RDUDDJI (Reply 18):
Never once have I been told that they cannot help me with a KL leg since I booked the itin through DL.

That's true, but try asking KL to alter your itinerary/ticket/seating etc. on some intra Chinese routes on KU or so for example.

Another example where it gets tricky is when LH puts TATL UA pax on 4U flights...   
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9252fly
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RE: OS:"If You Book Through UA, You Can't Expect H

Sat Dec 21, 2013 12:28 am

Quoting futurestar68 (Thread starter):
Calling UA resulted in getting a new ticket for the 11th, departing VIE on the same flight to IAD, and then to ORD and to JAX from there.
Quoting futurestar68 (Thread starter):
On the next day, Chicago was expecting bad weather, so I had to be rebooked another time, this time VIE-IAD-EWR-JAX.
Quoting futurestar68 (Thread starter):
When I got to the airport in VIE, I went to Star Alliance Gold-Check In with OS, but they still had the old VIE-IAD-ORD-JAX routing in their system, I showed them the eMail from UA with my new ticket, but they refused to accept it and said they can only check me in as shown on their computer. I asked them to call UA to get it verified, it's not my fault that their system is showing a ticket that isn't valid anymore.

It's considered a courtesy when another airline,in this case OS,tries to help you. Also, it's worth noting that's it's internal Star Alliance policy to do so,especially for Star Gold members. What I found interesting is that you were told you did not have a "valid" ticket. Of course you didn't have a valid ticket because it was exchanged and that's what the OS agents were looking at and referring to when they said it was not "valid". Had they looked at your new itinerary it likely had your "new ticket number" on it which could have resolved the problem there and then. As I was never a witness to your story, I will give OS the benefit of the doubt in that there may have been other issues. I just don't like it when no effort or attempt is made to be helpful,had they tried,it may have resulted in a solution to everyone's satisfaction.
 
Skisandy
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RE: OS:"If You Book Through UA, You Can't Expect H

Sat Dec 21, 2013 12:29 am

Code sharing and airline alliances are the biggest scam there is in the transportation industry.

What they call "seamless service" is instead the biggest and best setup for the perfect runaround.

They claim all these extra destinations, these fantastic through fares etc.... but all that already existed before there
were any alliances. 25 years ago you could connect from airline SA)">AA to BA to SA, for example, all on one ticket,
on a "joint fare". And the fact is that they were much more helpful at that time whenever there was a problem.

At your destination, the last airline, in the case above SA, could easily just take the SA)">AA ticket and re-issue
it on their ticket stock, and all was taken care of.

I have been a travel agent for 35 years and know this to be true. 35 years ago all was under control, then came a period when they blamed the travel agent, then when they blamed each other, and now they mostly blame YOU, the traveler!
 
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A333MSPtoAMS
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RE: OS:"If You Book Through UA, You Can't Expect H

Sat Dec 21, 2013 12:35 am

Quoting rwsea (Reply 5):

Quoting Maverick623 (Reply 4):
Only the airline that issued the ticket can make changes to it, unless control is pushed to another airline. That being said, all it takes is a phone call to do that.

Not necessarily true. KLM used to refuse to make changes to my tickets if they were issued by a travel agent. I've never had this problem with UA though. Maybe US airlines are just willing to make the call, and European ones tend to take the usual "that's not possible" line?

They still do. I was to fly FRA to AMS on a ticket I purchased via delta.com and they wouldn't make any changes to the ticket. I had to call Delta, while standing at the KLM counter in order to change the time of departure. I wish things were more streamlined and capable on these airlines that claim to have joint venture and alliances. Heck, I'd be happy to even be able to have one or the other be able to change my SEAT!
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cedarjet
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RE: OS:"If You Book Through UA, You Can't Expect H

Sat Dec 21, 2013 12:55 am

Quoting VS11 (Reply 8):
Actually, they gave you the correct answer. As the ticket was issued by United, it was really their responsibility to rebook you.

And United did rebook him - it's just that OS' system didn't show the new itinerary.

I think this is outrageous, I would have called the police or something. You've paid hundreds or thousands of € for a product and they won't give it to you - would you accept it if you were buying a car and you paid for the car and the dealership try to palm you off with a Pinto or an old Mini or something? You have the confirmation to show them, either they are accusing you of fraud and counterfeiting a United Airlines e-ticket (the print out or iPhone screen, however you presented it) or they're being wilfully obstructive. Which is it?

Either way, I have never been impressed by Austrian Airlines, and thanks for the warning, as it has been some years since I flew with them and have been lately thinking I might be due. Turns out I was wrong. Which is another thing; do these lunatics - scummy airlines, useless hotels - think the internet doesn't exist? that thousands aren't reading Trip Advisor, Airline Quality, travel blogs et al? Not only should they hang their heads in shame for inconveniencing a customer but hundreds will think twice about the airline when they next travel and maybe a dozen will make a purchase on a ticket with a competing airline instead of with OS specifically because they've read this post. How is this a win for Austrian?
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prebennorholm
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RE: OS:"If You Book Through UA, You Can't Expect H

Sat Dec 21, 2013 2:42 am

This thread has been very "interesting" reading. Especially all those "excuses" for this extraordinarily low service level.

I checked www.austrian.com to see what they say about Star Alliance. Under the headline "Star Alliance Vorteile" (Star Alliance Advantages) they started with the following:

"Wir suchen stets nach neuen Wegen, um Ihre Reise angenehmer zu machen..." (We are constantly searching for new ways to make your journey more comfortable).

Those who search shall find - something like that is written in an old book which should be pretty well known in Austria. But sometimes things can hide away so they are difficult to find.

Austrian should be greatful that they have such great help for their search from a.net to find a fantastic new customer service policy to implement immediately: "When a customer presents a Star Alliance ticket with an OS flight number at an Austrian check-in counter, do not tell him to go away".
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NorthstarBoy
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RE: OS:"If You Book Through UA, You Can't Expect H

Sat Dec 21, 2013 2:29 pm

It is possible that the fault lies with UA not OS. In your story you mentioned that your Iad-Jax flight was canceled, so UA reissued the ticket for the next day via Iad and Ord. When you called in or they called you the second time and they reissued the ticket for you to travel Vie-Iad-Ewr-Jax, if that agent didnt reissue the entire ticket, including the vie-iad portion, but just the Iad-Ord-Jax to Iad-Ewr-Jax it's possible that the agent at the airport wasnt able to see the new ticket. The agent may have pulled up the original ticket and seen that the Iad-Ord-Jax was exchanged but they cant see what it was exchanged for, it may not show up on their end. I run into that all the time in my job as an after hours travel agent. A ticket is reissued by the airline, but it doesnt show up in my system so I have to call the airline and get it straightened out. Maybe the ticket agent didnt have a way to reach UA. US 800 numbers often dont work outside of the US and if they dont have a local contact number for UA, the only thing they can really do is what they did, put you on the flight and let UA deal with you at the other end.
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airDFW
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RE: OS:"If You Book Through UA, You Can't Expect H

Sat Dec 21, 2013 6:26 pm

Quoting NorthstarBoy (Reply 25):

It is possible that the fault lies with UA not OS. In your story you mentioned that your Iad-Jax flight was canceled, so UA reissued the ticket for the next day via Iad and Ord. When you called in or they called you the second time and they reissued the ticket for you to travel Vie-Iad-Ewr-Jax, if that agent didnt reissue the entire ticket, including the vie-iad portion, but just the Iad-Ord-Jax to Iad-Ewr-Jax it's possible that the agent at the airport wasnt able to see the new ticket. The agent may have pulled up the original ticket and seen that the Iad-Ord-Jax was exchanged but they cant see what it was exchanged for, it may not show up on their end. I run into that all the time in my job as an after hours travel agent. A ticket is reissued by the airline, but it doesnt show up in my system so I have to call the airline and get it straightened out. Maybe the ticket agent didnt have a way to reach UA. US 800 numbers often dont work outside of the US and if they dont have a local contact number for UA, the only thing they can really do is what they did, put you on the flight and let UA deal with you at the other end.

The OS check in agent should have mentioned all that, after all they work in the industry and could have made an effort to fix it rather than just say it is not their problem. I think it is "German" way as somebody mentioned it before is the core issue.
 
Maverick623
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RE: OS:"If You Book Through UA, You Can't Expect H

Sat Dec 21, 2013 8:34 pm

Quoting RDH3E (Reply 7):
Did you read the first sentence of his post?

Whoops.... missed it in the middle of all the city codes...

Quoting cedarjet (Reply 23):

And United did rebook him - it's just that OS' system didn't show the new itinerary.

Which is not necessarily OS's fault.

Quoting cedarjet (Reply 23):
I would have called the police or something.

They would laugh at you.

Quoting cedarjet (Reply 23):
would you accept it if you were buying a car and you paid for the car and the dealership try to palm you off with a Pinto or an old Mini or something?

Not a valid comparison. OP bought transportation from VIE to JAX. OS was subcontracted to get him to IAD at a certain time, and they did.

Still, at the end of the day it was piss poor customer service, which is not grounds for any sort of legal action.
"PHX is Phoenix, PDX is the other city" -777Way
 
futurestar68
Topic Author
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RE: OS:"If You Book Through UA, You Can't Expect H

Sat Dec 21, 2013 9:52 pm

Quoting 9252fly (Reply 20):
I will give OS the benefit of the doubt in that there may have been other issues.
Quoting cedarjet (Reply 23):
And United did rebook him - it's just that OS' system didn't show the new itinerary.
Quoting prebennorholm (Reply 24):
Especially all those "excuses" for this extraordinarily low service level.
Quoting NorthstarBoy (Reply 25):
It is possible that the fault lies with UA not OS.
Quoting NorthstarBoy (Reply 25):
the only thing they can really do is what they did, put you on the flight and let UA deal with you at the other end.

I understand that the original issue behind all that may have been something OS is not to blame for and unable to fix, but all that still doesn't change the following:

Quoting Maverick623 (Reply 27):
Still, at the end of the day it was piss poor customer service
Quoting AirDFW (Reply 26):
after all they work in the industry and could have made an effort to fix it rather than just say it is not their problem

Just ONE SIMPLE PHONE CALL could have made a HUGE difference in this case. They EVEN TOLD ME that they ARE ABLE to call United, since they have to do that whenever they have issues with their own flight and need to rebook customers with UA-issued tickets. They just refused to do it, saying that I should've booked and PAID through Austrian Airlines, because in that case they would consider me THEIR customer, not United's.

At the end of the day, I still say that I, as the passenger holding a Star Alliance-Ticket, do not have to know nor do I have to care about how things work behind the curtain. If OS has something different in their system than what is shown on my ticket, THEY have to figure out what the issue is, not me.

Quoting cedarjet (Reply 23):
I would have called the police or something.

As much as I agree with you on certain parts, but that would've been a little too much. There's nothing the cops could do in that case, if the OS agent tells them that they're checking me in on what's shown in their system. It's not like they just refused to transport me without any reasons, in that case, yes, legal action is the right answer.
 
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DocLightning
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RE: OS:"If You Book Through UA, You Can't Expect H

Sun Dec 22, 2013 2:20 am

Skyteam is similar in a lot of ways. For example, I can't use my AmEx Platinum in a DL club if I'm holding a skyteam boarding pass for the same day (at least, that's what AmEx says), even if I bought it through DL. It's not very seamless.

Honestly, the first major alliance to actually provide a uniform customer service experience across the network and really behave as "out of many airlines, one," they would gain so much marketshare it would be absurd. I can't get why they behave this way.

There really isn't a valid excuse for this. There is a customer who paid for transportation on your airline. It does not matter who he paid (as long as you got the money) or how he paid or whose flight number he's holding. If he's going on your metal, then he's your passenger and a potential repeat flyer. That's how customer service should be. If you treat him like this, he's not impressed.

And I can't believe that anyone is trying to excuse it by saying that the computers mess it up. Computers are man-made tools. We can bend them to our will. It's not like asking someone to cure AIDS. It might be expensive, but the good will and market share it will bring must pay off.
-Doc Lightning-

"The sky calls to us. If we do not destroy ourselves, we will one day venture to the stars."
-Carl Sagan
 
cedarjet
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RE: OS:"If You Book Through UA, You Can't Expect H

Sun Dec 22, 2013 4:00 am

Re my suggestion of "calling the cops" -

Quoting Maverick623 (Reply 27):
They would laugh at you.
Quoting futurestar68 (Reply 28):
As much as I agree with you on certain parts, but that would've been a little too much. There's nothing the cops could do in that case, if the OS agent tells them that they're checking me in on what's shown in their system.

Yes possibly this is true but it is not entirely inappropriate considering the airline are after all trying to get out of providing a service I have paid a lot, a LOT of money for. This isn't like getting £10 change when it should have been a £20, or buying a Gary Numan LP on eBay and it's scratched and the sender says, "sorry no returns". Perhaps the cops can't do much either but it would hopefully convey to Austrian Airlines that I am serious about receiving the product I have paid for, and maybe spur them into doing more than f*** all and instead something closer to, um, their job.

I have thought about this after having similar experiences with Alitalia, who aren't terrible all the time in the air but their ground staff have these great tailored uniforms and the girls all look like models and the guys like battleship commanders and all they do is stand around looking fabulous and giving excuses for why they can't (won't) do their jobs, or telling outright lies - "Go to desk 57 way over there" which is either unmanned and they knew it, or doesn't exist - and how overworked they are. So I have had plenty of time to evaluate various nuclear options if push ever came to shove. And getting the cops over to the desk has been a scenario I have considered, to, as I say, transmit a certain urgency if nothing else.
fly Saha Air 707s daily from Tehran's downtown Mehrabad to Mashhad, Kish Island and Ahwaz
 
Maverick623
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RE: OS:"If You Book Through UA, You Can't Expect H

Tue Dec 24, 2013 8:41 pm

Quoting cedarjet (Reply 30):

Yes possibly this is true but it is not entirely inappropriate considering the airline are after all trying to get out of providing a service I have paid a lot, a LOT of money for.

What exactly do you think they were trying to get out of? Did they not agree to transport him to IAD?
"PHX is Phoenix, PDX is the other city" -777Way
 
NorthstarBoy
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RE: OS:"If You Book Through UA, You Can't Expect H

Wed Dec 25, 2013 8:17 am

Quoting futurestar68 (Reply 28):
Just ONE SIMPLE PHONE CALL could have made a HUGE difference in this case. They EVEN TOLD ME that they ARE ABLE to call United, since they have to do that whenever they have issues with their own flight and need to rebook customers with UA-issued tickets. They just refused to do it, saying that I should've booked and PAID through Austrian Airlines, because in that case they would consider me THEIR customer, not United's.

At the end of the day, I still say that I, as the passenger holding a Star Alliance-Ticket, do not have to know nor do I have to care about how things work behind the curtain. If OS has something different in their system than what is shown on my ticket, THEY have to figure out what the issue is, not me.

As someone who has worked with passengers in your situation, it's not as simple as just making a phone call.

As an agent, i have to consider the variables of the situation:
How far in advance to the flight did the customer call in?
How long is the hold time for United? Will i be able to get through to United, speak with an agent, who will likely have to contact their support or global services desk to get the situation resolved before the flight closes 1 hour prior to departure?

If I thnk I have enough time (like it's more than 10 or 15 minutes prior to the flight closing) I'll offer to call the airline, I'll find out what the hold time is and if the hold time is just a few minutes I'll try to resolve the situation with the airline, always keeping in mind that there's a hard deadline involved. If the hold time is long (as it can be during severe weather situations when you have hundreds or maybe thousands of flights canceled), i'll get back to the customer and explain that the hold time is x number of minutes, that I probably wont be able to get through before their flight closes and that they may be better off to get on the original flight and speak with United upon their arrival to sort the situation out or call me back so I can speak with United.

People have to understand that as agents, whether it be travel agents or airline agents, there are limitations. If I cant see the ticket I cant see the ticket. I don't have a refresh button i can click that will automatically solve the problem and allow me to see the ticket. If I cant see the ticket, there's nothing I can do with that ticket other than to call the issuing airline and have them sort it out. I'm always willing to do that if the customer has arrived at the airport say 2 or more hours prior to departure. If it's 15 minutes prior to flight closing, i have to consider other options, and the customer has to be willing to be part of the solution by engaging in self help, as in, being flexible.

I accept that people dont care about what's happening on my end, they just want their problem solved in 3 minutes so they can go to the lounge before they get on the flight. Regardless of whether people care or not, I still have to work within the limitations of the system. There are no short cuts, or refresh buttons, or easy buttons to make problems go away magically. People need to be patient and flexible and accept that they may have to bear some of the burden for solving the problem. People's unwillingness to bear some of the burden if the situation merits that doesn't mean I'm providing bad customer service.

That being said, under ideal circumstances, should the agent have at least tried to reach United? Sure. We have to keep in mind however that the agent is not only working within the confines of their system, but also within the confines of company policy. If company policy says no out calls on tickets not issued by Austrian Airlines and there's a supervisor in the vicinity who will take umbrage at the out call being made and who may discipline the employee for violating company policy, then the agent isnt going to make that out call regardless of how loudly the customer is yelling.

Matter of factly, if the customer on the other end of the line from me, or standing across the counter from the agent, is yelling, ranting, raving, demanding service, (Not that I'm suggesting the OP behaved this way) I'm less likely to violate company policy than if they come to me with a "can you help me" attitude. Believe me, I will go out of my way for people displaying the right attitude, but, people who come at me with an attitude based on some belief that their frequent flyer status or their class of service entitles them to expect me to part the red sea for them will get enough service from me to get them out of the situation if I can, but nothing more.

Just two cents from a 17 year veteran of the travel industry.

[Edited 2013-12-25 00:21:57]
Yes, I'd like to see airbus go under so Boeing can have their customers!
 
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jetblastdubai
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RE: OS:"If You Book Through UA, You Can't Expect H

Thu Dec 26, 2013 6:48 pm

Quoting DocLightning (Reply 29):
Honestly, the first major alliance to actually provide a uniform customer service experience across the network and really behave as "out of many airlines, one," they would gain so much marketshare it would be absurd. I can't get why they behave this way.

I think an "Alliance FF program" would be as big. Imagine all your alliance miles going into one pot no matter which alliance partner you flew. Each airline could set their own redemption rules that might vary somewhat but you'd be working with roughly the same set of rules and only 1 pool of miles regardless of who you flew with the same alliance. StarMiles, SkyMiles and WorldMiles etc.
 
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CARST
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RE: OS:"If You Book Through UA, You Can't Expect H

Thu Dec 26, 2013 9:19 pm

Write a letter to the management of OS and UA. Name the rep if you have his/her name.
 
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DocLightning
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RE: OS:"If You Book Through UA, You Can't Expect H

Fri Dec 27, 2013 1:04 am

Quoting jetblastdubai (Reply 33):
I think an "Alliance FF program" would be as big. Imagine all your alliance miles going into one pot no matter which alliance partner you flew. Each airline could set their own redemption rules that might vary somewhat but you'd be working with roughly the same set of rules and only 1 pool of miles regardless of who you flew with the same alliance. StarMiles, SkyMiles and WorldMiles etc.

In a way, you have just described AmEx Platinum points. The only thing they don't do is give you MQMs.
-Doc Lightning-

"The sky calls to us. If we do not destroy ourselves, we will one day venture to the stars."
-Carl Sagan
 
reifel
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RE: OS:"If You Book Through UA, You Can't Expect H

Sat Dec 28, 2013 12:02 am

Sorry to hear about your experience.
This is a typical problems when different systems and GDSs are used. Imagine the chaos if the travel agent books in Worldpan, the airline which rebooks you in their system uses Sabre while Austrian just sees their booking in Amadeus... As a travel agent I can tell when we book in Amadeus and airlines which do not use Amadeus (most major US carrier do not) make some ad hoc changes when irregularities occur, we're completely clueless what they did as it does not mirror on our side. OS would have had the same issue in that instance, would have not been able to see the new itinieray in their system nor the new ticket number, BUT they should know these things happen and pick up the phone to call United and sort this out. It's not OS fault that this happened and I believe them indeed that they couldn't see anything, but the way it was handled in my opinion is pretty poor.

Regarding airlines not rebooking tickets issued by travel agents they two scenarios:
-ad hoc Irregularities, which usually airlines do handle and do not refer to agents
-voluntary rebookings made days or weeks before departure, where airlines tell passengers to contact the travel agents (often for valid reasons, i.e. when corporate fares or package fares/tour operator fares / cruise fares erc are booked, the airport counter or airline call center doesn't even have a clue about the fare rules, since they're unpublished fares)
 
L410Turbolet
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RE: OS:"If You Book Through UA, You Can't Expect H

Sun Dec 29, 2013 11:19 am

Quoting DocLightning (Reply 29):
Skyteam is similar in a lot of ways. For example, I can't use my AmEx Platinum in a DL club if I'm holding a skyteam boarding pass for the same day (at least, that's what AmEx says), even if I bought it through DL. It's not very seamless.

Tell me about SkyTeam and their "seamless travel" bs... In September I flew ROR-NRT-ICN-PRG on DL/KE/OK. For some reason I only got boarding passes up to ICN and upon landing I made the mistake of not going straight to the transfer desk because I was in a rush to catch the night city tour. When I got back to the airport around 22:00 - to my great surprise - ICN was nearly dead empty with only one KE desk open. There the lady, standing in front of a giant SkyTeam banner with OK logo among the top ones to make a point - is telling me she can't do anything for me and that I have to wait another 12 hours before check-in for the flight to PRG opens. All I needed was a freaking boarding pass... my baggage was in transit checked from ROR all the way to PRG. To put in a context: KE is a majority shareholder of OK and all flights to ICN on OK hardware are codeshared with KE.
 
blueflyer
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RE: OS:"If You Book Through UA, You Can't Expect H

Sun Dec 29, 2013 5:44 pm

Quoting AirDFW (Reply 26):
I think it is "German" way as somebody mentioned it before is the core issue.

More than the "German" way, it's probably the individuals involved.

I found myself in a very similar situation involving the first leg on Lufthansa and two more on Air Canada on a ticket sold by Air Canada. Upon checking-in Lufthansa could find the original ticket, but not the current one that had been changed due to a flight cancellation. The Lufthansa agent was more than willing to help, including spending a long time on hold to talk to Air Canada in London to get things sorted out and on my way with all my boarding passes and my luggage tagged to my final destination.

On the other hand, when Air Canada put a last-minute reservation on hold due to suspected credit card fraud, Lufthansa, that was supposed to fly me on the first leg, refused totally to help, even after the agent showed me a print-out to explain the hold, print-out that stated in plain English to call a number to get things cleared up! The only help Lufthansa was willing to give that day was sell me a new ticket on the same flights.

For what it's worth, I was Senator in both cases.

Quoting DocLightning (Reply 29):
I can't get why they behave this way.

Different CRS dating back from the stone age and definitively not conceived to talk to one another, is the one-sentence answer. The legacy carriers have invested so much in their old, inefficient systems, that patching them again and again and putting fancy graphical interface on top of their dinosaur is cheaper still than throwing them out for something more worthy of the 20th century, let alone the 21st.

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