April 3rd, 2012
What a mess…and we haven’t even left the ground yet.
As a Premier Platinum member at United I get 2 annual confirmed regional upgrades. As I was booked as part of a party of 4 to LAX, using 2 of those upgrades split us into 2 reservations. Of course I had made sure to have everyone seated in economy plus before splitting anything. The upgrade for the return flight could not be confirmed despite the empty cabin, so that confirmed upgrade is still waitlisted.
Today when I checked in for the flight it added me to the upgrade standby list. It also had the option to rebook everyone left in the reservation on another flight for free. After checking in it split the reservation once again, leaving us with 3 reservations.
Later today we realized that we could actually be ready to fly on the 9pm flight instead of the 9am morning flight. However when I went to change the other passengers it wanted to charge $75 for that change. Additionally it was now showing no free bags for everyone else in the reservation. Back when it was Continental when a reservation was split it remembered the proper baggage allowance (3×70 pound bags for everyone booked with a Star Alliance Gold member), but no longer is that true.
I spent the next 4 hours playing HUCA, or hang up, call again. That included 3 calls back from the electronic support desk, 2 calls to the Platinum desk, of which the Platinum desk punted me to an offshore support desk that kept me on hold for an hour. I heard every excuse in the book:
-I’m right, but there’s nothing that can be done once it’s split, even if I didn’t want it to be split.
-Companions of Platinum members don’t get free confirmed standby.
-Free confirmed standby doesn’t work for flights the day before even if it’s within 24 hours.
Finally I called back the Platinum desk again and got a very kind agent who agreed with me and made the changes on all 3 reservations for free. But she wasn’t able to get economy plus seating for my companions. Which led to another hour long phone call with the electronic support desk to get that fixed again.
At the airport the lead checkin agent said that the new policy is that only one companion of a Star Alliance Gold gets 3 free 70 pound bags, and everyone else had nothing. I pulled on the correct policy from United.com on my Galaxy Nexus, but she still insisted that the United.com policy is outdated, but that she’ll make a one-time exception…
I read that United was having teething pains with the merger with Continental, so I’ll cut them some slack for now. But it’s a full month since the systems merger, I sure hope this gets fixed of they’re going to have a whole lot of defecting elites members.
Wish me luck for the actual trip!