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View Full Version : Calling all United Airline flyers, I need help!


StacyMarie
03-26-2012, 03:02 PM
So, I have our tickets on hold right now through United. I was able to find a somewhat decent price of 260.00. I say this is decent because everything else is hovering around 300.00 and even up to 500.00, including the budget carriers!:scared1: The reason I am just holding them right now is because I need some Diser's help! Here's the issue:

There are 7 of us in our party. When I go to pick our seats or to see what seats are open, there are only 6 open seats, not counting the available Economy plus seats that are available to purchase for an additional cost. Mind you, I need 7 seats. So, I called United and asked them about this because I want to make sure that nobody in our party is flying stand by, etc. The answer I got was there are plenty of open seats on the plane right now including all those open "Economy Plus" seats. He advised me that they will offer to move up their elite flyers into those seats which will then open up more of the economy seats. He advised us to just arrive to the airport early (which we do anyway) and let the person at the counter know that there are 7 people in your party (2 adults and 5 kids) and they will do their best to accommodate our party. I have NEVER done this before. I have always booked a flight early enough so that we could pick our seats. This is making me EXTREMELY nervous because there were only 6 available economy seats and probably about 25 Economy Plus seats. Does anybody have any experience with this with United? I really don't want to buy these tickets if there is a chance that somebody will be flying standby.

Thanks for any and all info!

seashoreCM
03-26-2012, 03:25 PM
You are not considered flying standby merely because there were no seats to select.

The airline must ask for volunteers from the entire plane before bumping someone without a seat assignment.

If, upon arrival at the airport, no plain economy seats are available but E+ seats are, you will be put in an E+ seat with no extra charge. (added later) However you may not select an E+ seat in advance without being a frequent flyer or paying extra.

My fiendish idea: Leave a child without a selected seat. The airline is not going to bump just a child.

Go for it, book the flight.

Keep checking back and reselect seats again and again if possible and desired. Aisle and window seats are easier to trade with to try to get your family seated together. Note however that United boards passengers in order of window then middle then aisle although sometimes depending on the mood of the gate agent, all those together in the same row can board with the window group.

Or you could book persons (children?) not likely to have a large carryon for aisle seats (if any). Then those with larger carryons will be more likely to board sooner.

Nebraska_Disney
03-26-2012, 04:05 PM
Book the tickets. I am a frequent United flier and what they do is push their "elite" members up into the Economy Plus and First Class, even if they did not book it this way. As you book your flights, choose your seats (if it allows you too, at least for 6 of you) and try to get your party paired up as best as possible. I took my family on United last time we went to MCO and we were assigned seats when we checked in and then did our best to get next to each other, but that was just for 1 leg of our journey.

Also, United gives you a 24 hour window to check in for flights the day before you leave. I would be sure to check in as soon as possible the day before your flights and see, during the check in process, if it allows you to move your seats then. If anything, you will have your seat assignments by then as they start pushing "elite" fliers up in class 24-48 hours prior to the trip.

I hope that helps

lost*in*cyberspace
03-26-2012, 04:53 PM
Book the tickets. I am a frequent United flier and what they do is push their "elite" members up into the Economy Plus and First Class, even if they did not book it this way. As you book your flights, choose your seats (if it allows you too, at least for 6 of you) and try to get your party paired up as best as possible.... I

Also, United gives you a 24 hour window to check in for flights the day before you leave. I would be sure to check in as soon as possible the day before your flights and see, during the check in process, if it allows you to move your seats then. If anything, you will have your seat assignments by then as they start pushing "elite" fliers up in class 24-48 hours prior to the trip.

I hope that helps

Actually, Economy Plus (E+) isn't a booking class, these are regular economy tickets. If you chose to buy up to these seats, or are at certain frequent flyer (FF) levels (1K, Premier Platinum and Premier Gold can select these seats at booking time, Premier Silver can select these at check-in), you can get these seats for free. Believe me, anyone eligible for E+ selection at booking has already selected E+ seats. There will not be a mass move of elites out of regular economy to E+ on the day of the flight.

If a United FF seated in E+ gets an upgrade, they vacate their E+ seat. These are NOT then available for anyone in economy class. You have to pay for these seats or be eligible due to your status.

All airline allow you to check in at the 24 hour mark.

OP - You have nothing to worry about. Keep checking the seating chart; seats open up all the time. You can select your seats or change them anytime up to a few hours before flight time, or at the airport the day of your flight. Just because United's seating chart shows seats are not available, does not mean the flight is overbooked.

mieuxmew
03-26-2012, 05:39 PM
I agree! Book all 7 of you on the flight. Put as many of you in seat assignments as possible. Keep checking online - you can change any seats anytime. Get to airport early and airline will move people around. I saw them moving people and seats assignments on my last 2 flights. Airfares are crazy - don't chance it with 7 tickets, as even 20 or 30 dollars per seat is 140-210$ more!

United boards by row - front to back.

StacyMarie
03-26-2012, 06:39 PM
Thank you all for the info! I really appreciate it! I went ahead and booked. I will keep watching for seats to open up and move us around as best I can. Thanks again!!!

lost*in*cyberspace
03-26-2012, 08:39 PM
United boards by row - front to back.

No, United does not board by rows. United boards "outside in," or window, middle, then aisle. Briefly summarized, first to board are military in uniform, then GS members, then 1K and Premium cabin, then lower level elites, certain credit card holders, then general boarding. First here are window seats, then center seats, then aisle seats.

NJRRK
03-29-2012, 11:05 AM
The people who told you United boards by rows, are correct, sometimes.
The people who told you United boards outside in, are correct, sometimes.

It depends on what airport you are boarding and, to a lesser extent, if it is a former Continental stronghold or Untied stronghold. Also possibly the whim of the gate agents.

You will be fine, and you MIGHT get put into E+ depending on the number of passengers, (been there done that) but if UA decides to put you there you don't get charged extra. If you ask you get charged.

StacyMarie
03-29-2012, 11:17 AM
The people who told you United boards by rows, are correct, sometimes.
The people who told you United boards outside in, are correct, sometimes.

It depends on what airport you are boarding and, to a lesser extent, if it is a former Continental stronghold or Untied stronghold. Also possibly the whim of the gate agents.

You will be fine, and you MIGHT get put into E+ depending on the number of passengers, (been there done that) but if UA decides to put you there you don't get charged extra. If you ask you get charged.

NJRRK, another couple of questions. We are flying out of Chicago O'hare. Not sure if that makes a difference. My only concern right now is that we are spread all over the entire plane because there was only 6 open seats that were not E+. I actually have 1 in our party of 7 right now that does not have a seat assignment. Any ideas how that will go, lol?

lost*in*cyberspace
03-29-2012, 11:20 AM
United's boarding policy is as I stated in post #7. They briefly tried boarding using Continental's policy, but it was a disaster. It is possible that some GAs are boarding using the incorrect policy, but that isn't going to last as former Continental employees are educated in the proper procedures.

NJRRK, another couple of questions. We are flying out of Chicago O'hare. Not sure if that makes a difference. My only concern right now is that we are spread all over the entire plane because there was only 6 open seats that were not E+. I actually have 1 in our party of 7 right now that does not have a seat assignment. Any ideas how that will go, lol?

Same advice as was given the OP. Check several times a day; seats will open up, especially at the 24 hour mark. Or bite the bullet and pay for someone to sit in E+. The buy up cost can be pretty low, depending on the flight. The only difference flying from O'Hare is that it is a very major hub and the plane might be quite crowded.

seashoreCM
03-29-2012, 04:22 PM
Call in at the 24 hour mark. They will dip into the set-aside plain economy seat allotment, if any still remain, to seat you together. Wait a few hours and try again if that failed; finally get to the airport early and make one last try to be seated together.

bumbershoot
03-29-2012, 06:45 PM
DH has had flights for work where he has to get to the airport to find out where he's sitting. It's never been a problem, not even a hint of a problem. Now he's only one person, but I doubt there will be a big huge problem for you.


I think the O'Hare area for United is lovely (assuming there's just the one BIG area). Get there early to enjoy it. We love a panini from Brioche Doree on a layover. :) (expensive, but since we're traveling it's all part of our trip budget)

StacyMarie
03-29-2012, 07:54 PM
Thank you all again for the info. I will definitely look into the Brioche Doree as we usually look for something to eat as we tend to get to the airport at least 3 hours early, lol! Ya never know about those security lines, etc.

Hannathy
03-30-2012, 02:06 AM
And just remember even if you are scattered all over the plane, you all will get there at the same time to the same place! Plus you have the whole vacation to be together, usually by the end of the time at Disney I'm glad to be seated apart from my family, lol. togetherness can be highly over rated.

Don't worry, And keep telling yourself it is only the getting there not the vacation.

If you get to O hare early there are 2 children's play areas. I have only been to the one with my kids but it is really great and they always hoped for a long time between flights when they were little. The second one opened after mine were too old. But it is worth looking for if you have younger kids (at least the older one we went to).

HeatherC
03-30-2012, 07:44 AM
I had to rebook one of our legs of our April trip with United after DirectAir went belly up.

Same thing happened...we needed five seats and they were only showing the upgraded seats available for more money. I called them and a nice lady booked the "free" seats for me on her screen. She also told me half the flight wasn't even booked. I was so mad at that.

That to me is bait and switch They lure you in on a decent fare and pull that upgrade stuff. Just not right.

I just saw a story on this yesterday on either CNN or Fox how the airlines are doing this and need to be stopped.

So...give them a call.

Hope this helps!

HeatherC
03-30-2012, 07:47 AM
Forgot to mention that United has a twenty four hour cancellation policy if you book online. I did not know this until United told me. So I basically said...give us our seats or I want to cancel. They gave us our five seats together.

Unfortunately, flying is no where near as fun as it used to be.

Lewisc
03-30-2012, 08:36 AM
The 24 hour cancellation policy is now legally required. There is no rule requiring when, or if, an airline has to assign seats. The United rep was nice. She could have just no problem. Your fare has been credited back to your credit card. Good bye. You'd be back to looking for tickets. You should never tell any business to do something or give you a refund unless you're prepared to accept same.

Forgot to mention that United has a twenty four hour cancellation policy if you book online. I did not know this until United told me. So I basically said...give us our seats or I want to cancel. They gave us our five seats together.

Unfortunately, flying is no where near as fun as it used to be.

Airlines hold back seats for gate assignment. The "nice lady" gave you seats out of that block. Absolutely nothing wrong with charging for seat assignments. Nothing wrong with charging for more desirable seats. Passengers have the option of paying up or waiting until check in or even until they get to the gate.

THIS IS NOT BAIT AND SWITCH.

I had to rebook one of our legs of our April trip with United after DirectAir went belly up.

Same thing happened...we needed five seats and they were only showing the upgraded seats available for more money. I called them and a nice lady booked the "free" seats for me on her screen. She also told me half the flight wasn't even booked. I was so mad at that.

That to me is bait and switch They lure you in on a decent fare and pull that upgrade stuff. Just not right.

I just saw a story on this yesterday on either CNN or Fox how the airlines are doing this and need to be stopped.

So...give them a call.

Hope this helps!

lost*in*cyberspace
03-30-2012, 12:37 PM
...
Airlines hold back seats for gate assignment. The "nice lady" gave you seats out of that block. Absolutely nothing wrong with charging for seat assignments. Nothing wrong with charging for more desirable seats. Passengers have the option of paying up or waiting until check in or even until they get to the gate.

THIS IS NOT BAIT AND SWITCH.

You are absolutely correct. Just as an aside, if I weren't already eligible for seating in United's E+, I would gladly pay to move to this section for a long flight.

HeatherC
03-30-2012, 08:00 PM
I dont care what you want to call it. It is still tricky and sleazy shouldn't be allowed. And apparently I am not the only one who thinks so because the news reporting that they are trying to make laws making the airlines disclose all the fees ahead of time tells me it is not only in my head. You want to charge me for a seat assignment? Fine...tell me that upfront and I can be aware of the charge. But to get people to decide on your airline and then slam you in the face with these charges after people have spent time and effort researching fares is sleazy.

At least with Southwest I know I can either pay the seat charge ahead of time or take a chance and get a seat when I get there.

Upfront business practice...don't think that is too much to ask for as a consumer.

And like I said...the plane was hardly booked...so it was NOT premium seating I would have been paying for.

How would you feel if a hotel charges you for the room and then says there is an extra charge if you want pillows and blankets on your bed. Ridiculous!

Lewisc
03-30-2012, 10:23 PM
The United rep was nice enough to give you assigned seats. I'm not sure why you see the need to attack the company by posting this nonsense.

It is in your head. United is doing nothing wrong. They offer upgraded seats. Look at flights later in the year. There are seats available to reserve, at no extra charge. A percentage is held back for gate assignment. I've heard up to a third. Add the 1/3 held back for gate assignment to the number of premium seats available and the total is probably close to half the plane. Airlines have always held back seats for gate assignment. It lets them seat families together who booked late, without having to move passengers who already have assigned seats.

I've never heard of a hotel charging for pillows and blankets, OK maybe some kind of hostel or Y. Have you? A hotel doesn't generally guarantee a specific room. An airline doesn't guarantee a specific seat. Your analogy has no relevance.

Again you didn't have to call or pay for a premium seat. You would have been able to get free seat assignments later. You got complimentary seat assignments now, with a phone call. NOT GOOD ENOUGH FOR YOU???:confused3

Sorry but this isn't an example of any of the fees being talked about.







I dont care what you want to call it. It is still tricky and sleazy shouldn't be allowed. And apparently I am not the only one who thinks so because the news reporting that they are trying to make laws making the airlines disclose all the fees ahead of time tells me it is not only in my head. You want to charge me for a seat assignment? Fine...tell me that upfront and I can be aware of the charge. But to get people to decide on your airline and then slam you in the face with these charges after people have spent time and effort researching fares is sleazy.

At least with Southwest I know I can either pay the seat charge ahead of time or take a chance and get a seat when I get there.

Upfront business practice...don't think that is too much to ask for as a consumer.

And like I said...the plane was hardly booked...so it was NOT premium seating I would have been paying for.

How would you feel if a hotel charges you for the room and then says there is an extra charge if you want pillows and blankets on your bed. Ridiculous!

HeatherC
03-31-2012, 07:38 AM
Wow Lewis...you sure like to argue! And no..it is not in my head if they are talking about passing laws that would make all the airlines post all their fees upfront. That is ALL I am saying.

A consumer should be presented with all the fees UPFRONT and decide whether to do to business with a company based upon those facts.

The woman at United even told me that if we got to the airport and the "regular" seats were already filled, we would have then had to pay "a little extra" for the upgraded seats. That little extra would have cost us several hundred dollars more. Tell me that's ok to you? It sure isn't to me. And if her information is wrong...which I am hoping it is for many flyers sakes, then they also need to retrain their employees. But since I don't fly a lot, how would I know whether that is right or not?

And by the way, I am not blasting United. I am blasting all companies who pull these sneaky little tactics.

The reference to a hotel room was a comparison of how would people feel if hotels tried to get away with that?

HeatherC
03-31-2012, 07:53 AM
Just to clarify....I wasn't initially calling even to get seats together. I called because only the $75 upgraded seats were left when I went to book online. Because we had just found out the same day that we lost our flights with DirectAir and now had to drive from MA to NJ to find afforable flights if we still wanted to save our trip, I wanted to make sure that the flight was not overbooked. i was trying to cover as many bases as possible so we didn't have any more problems. Of course anything can happen, but I was just doing my best to make sure I didn't overlook anything.


When I asked how many seats were left, she told me there were a lot. So my choice then was to either convince her to give us free seat assigmnents then or book $75 upgraded seats online or wait and if the plane was full at departure, then pay for the upgraded seats at the airport.

I chose to ask her nicely to please give us free seat assignments then. I don't think that was an unreasonable request.
That was perfectly good enough for me!

lost*in*cyberspace
03-31-2012, 12:30 PM
Wow Lewis...you sure like to argue! And no..it is not in my head if they are talking about passing laws that would make all the airlines post all their fees upfront. That is ALL I am saying.

A consumer should be presented with all the fees UPFRONT and decide whether to do to business with a company based upon those facts.

The woman at United even told me that if we got to the airport and the "regular" seats were already filled, we would have then had to pay "a little extra" for the upgraded seats. That little extra would have cost us several hundred dollars more. Tell me that's ok to you? It sure isn't to me. And if her information is wrong...which I am hoping it is for many flyers sakes, then they also need to retrain their employees. But since I don't fly a lot, how would I know whether that is right or not?

And by the way, I am not blasting United. I am blasting all companies who pull these sneaky little tactics.

The reference to a hotel room was a comparison of how would people feel if hotels tried to get away with that?

You are confused. First, the US DOT already requires airlines to include all fees and taxes in their advertised fares. They do not require them to include non-mandatory fees, such as checked baggage fees.

These fees are disclosed, right on an airline's website. If you chose not to read these, that is your fault.

You either misunderstood the UA agent about having to pay for seats, or she was misinformed. UA has a lot of former Continental workers and possibly this person was not familiar with UA policy. By the way, E+ seats are not an upgrade. As you have already been told, you should have selected the 6 open seats, not panicked and just kept checking UA's website. It's highly likely that E seats would have opened up. Even if you had to pay for E+, it would have only been for ONE seat, not 7 as you are now insisting.

UA did nothing wrong and I cannot understand why you are complaining about nothing.

HeatherC
03-31-2012, 04:18 PM
Think you are the one confused. What 6 open seats are YOU talking about? Then you say I should have booked the 7 open seats?

I bought 5 tickets as I already said and the ONLY seats available to book online were $75 extra each! Call me a fool, but I am not paying $75 extra for a seat when I buy a ticket. I expect that when I buy a plane ticket it includes a seat. Guess I expect a lot. I DID NOT CARE ABOUT SEAT ASSSIGNMENTS TOGETHER. I just didn't want to pay $75 extra for each seat.

And if her info was wrong, at the time, that is all I had to go on.

I am now done responding to this thread. All I was trying to do was help the OP a little and save her the grief of being charged a surprised upgrade at the airport.

Good grief...

Lewisc
03-31-2012, 06:46 PM
Think you are the one confused. What 6 open seats are YOU talking about? Then you say I should have booked the 7 open seats?
..........
And if her info was wrong, at the time, that is all I had to go on.

I am now done responding to this thread. All I was trying to do was help the OP a little and save her the grief of being charged a surprised upgrade at the airport.

Good grief...

The OP was the person who was able to book 6 out of 7.

I'm glad you've decided to stop posting in this thread. This will be the last time I'll have to correct the misinformation you're posting.

The fact that economy seats aren't available to select when you make your reservation doesn't mean the flight is oversold. It just means the remaining seats are being held back. You might get seats if you keep checking. You might get seats if you call. You might get seats when you check in. Worse case you'll get seats at the gate. You won't have to pay extra for upgraded seats. Either you'll be given those seats or a passenger will status will be upgraded.

I didn't try to make a test booking. I don't know if the verbiage needs to be made clearer.

I do know you only half listened to the news reports regarding fees. The policy which recently took effect requires required fees be included in the displayed fare. Formerly airlines were able to exclude some of the airport fees, security fees and even reservation or booking fees. Spirit can no longer promote a bogus $9 fare.

Absolutely no problem with airlines charging extra for passengers who want a preferred assigned seat.

Airlines can't charge extra for use of a seat. They can certainly charge extra if a passenger wants an assigned seat. I have no idea what you were talking about when you mentioned hotels charging for bedding.

lost*in*cyberspace
04-02-2012, 12:34 PM
Think you are the one confused. What 6 open seats are YOU talking about? Then you say I should have booked the 7 open seats?

I bought 5 tickets as I already said and the ONLY seats available to book online were $75 extra each! Call me a fool, but I am not paying $75 extra for a seat when I buy a ticket. I expect that when I buy a plane ticket it includes a seat. Guess I expect a lot. I DID NOT CARE ABOUT SEAT ASSSIGNMENTS TOGETHER. I just didn't want to pay $75 extra for each seat.

And if her info was wrong, at the time, that is all I had to go on.

I am now done responding to this thread. All I was trying to do was help the OP a little and save her the grief of being charged a surprised upgrade at the airport.

Good grief...

Sorry, I confused you with the OP. My mistake.

Is this your brother posting here? Sounds very much like your posts.

http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/united-mileageplus-consolidated/1331256-im-sorry-we-only-have-e-availability-now-racket.html

seashoreCM
04-02-2012, 01:56 PM
If all 6 of the regular economy seats you saw before you booked were gone by the time you finished booking then you don't select any seats for now.

As you keep checking back you may or may not see selectable seats appear, probably as ones and perhaps some twos. Select them.

When you get to the airport, you can see if any more regular seats are in twos (or threes) if all you got were ones and you want to sit somewhat together.

The nice thing about the 24 hour grace period is, if you could book some but not all of the 7 seats, (or book some but not all of the 7 seats for the price you first saw) you could cancel out rather than have half the family fly one airline and the other half fly another airline.

That to me is bait and switch They lure you in on a decent fare and pull that upgrade stuff. Just not right.

Repeat. You do not have to pay the fee for Economy plus at any time unless you you are adamant about not liking the seats you were given or not waiting for seats until flight day. Not even if you need and bring a (FAA approved) child seat and there are no regular window middle seat twosomes to install it in.
.

bumbershoot
04-02-2012, 03:40 PM
Thank you all again for the info. I will definitely look into the Brioche Doree as we usually look for something to eat as we tend to get to the airport at least 3 hours early, lol! Ya never know about those security lines, etc.

We're early-to-the-airport people too. If you end up in the area I mentioned, just take time to enjoy it. It's so bright and cheerful (even on a rainy day) and even as a supposed adult I still love the people movers. :) O'Hare is a wild, busy, crazy place, but IMO they've done the best they can to also make it lovely.