At Award Expert, we do our best to be discerning. If a client tells us they want economy class but we see a great deal for business class, we are going to alert them.
A long-term client asked me to book a one-way ticket from Sydney, Australia to Chicago for his teenage son. We ended up booking a revenue ticket on United in economy class for about $839.
Upon issuing the ticket, the I was shocked to see this upgrade offer for Sydney to Los Angeles:
Something looked suspicious…but united.com is reliably unpredictable and I took the offer. The credit card was charged and sure enough, the Sydney to Los Angeles segment was confirmed in “United First” (D-Class). United doesn’t offer first class anymore and it should have said United Polaris Business, but the D fare class was correct. I was unable to assign seats.
About an hour later, I noticed that United had pulled a switcheroo. Now the itinerary showed economy class from Sydney to Los Angeles and first class from Los Angeles to Chicago. $365 for an ugprade from LA to Chicago is hardly a good deal…
I made several calls to United but the agents were clueless. They claimed I was mistaken and must have just misread the screen. Right…
Eventually, I reached out to United on Twitter and the following conversation ensued (I’ve redacted personal information):
United refused to honor the upgrade from Sydney, but its offer of compensation included:
- Refund of the $365
- EconomyPlus on both legs at no charge
- $100 electronic travel credit
Personally, I think United should have honored the upgrade as charged. But my client (probably wisely) decided it wasn’t worth the battle and United’s compensation offer was generous enough. I do believe United, and airlines in general, should be forced to honor mistakes since consumer’s are forced to eat their own mistakes if not caught nearly instantly.
Watch out for these glitches on united.com. If they seem too good to be true, they probably are. Always take screenshots.
I wish United would fix its clunky website…