Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Is Sir Bonar one of Paul's aliases?

I just have to say that the article on ContactPoint written by Sir Bonar and quoted by Kim just feels like it was written by our one and only Paul.

Either Paul is writing under an alias, someone is working hard to emulate his ironic style, or somebody is writing seriously and just doesn't have an f***ing clue.

Interesting, very interesting....

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Thursday, November 13, 2008

Delayed Upgrades

One of the benefits one gets for being an elite member of United's Mileage Plus program is the ability to upgrade into the next class of service on select fares (most domestic fares qualify and some international fares qualify). Theoretically, there's also a benefit to being at a higher level in the program as your upgrades should clear sooner:

Clears at
General Member24 hours before flight
Premier Associate36 hours before flight
Premier48 hours before flight
Premier Executive72 hours before flight
Premier 1K100 hours before flight
Global Services120 hours before flight

This used to work pretty much dependably until there were very limited seats left (the last one or two seats usually were left until boarding time).

However, this fall I've noticed that United has not been clearing upgrades, even when there are a multitude of seats available. For example, I'm on a flight tomorrow (in less than 24 hours) that has 8 of 12 seats still available for purchase but my (and presumably several other's) upgrade still hasn't cleared.

This has been pretty consistent on the last 8 or 10 flights I've been on, both domestic and international. It seems that the guys in "inventory control" (the part of United that makes the seats available for upgrade) has decided to not release any seats for upgrade until 10-12 hours before the flight.

This kind of makes the cool table of when things clear pretty useless and, to some extent, a bit of misleading marketing if not an outright lie.

Here's to hoping it's just a temporary glitch in their systems and things will get back to normal soon.

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Friday, November 07, 2008

Paying for upgrades

United Airlines has announced a host of changes for their Mileage Plus program for 2009. Many of the changes involved increased mileage for award travel (other than domestic economy travel).

However, the worst change, IMHO, is that like American Airlines, United is now going to charge $$ (in addition to mileage) for mileage based upgrades from anything other than full fare economy tickets.

To me, a long term, very loyal 1K, million mile flyer, this really sucks. This was the one real benefit (upgrades without $$) that would drive business travelers to want to fly on the same airline. Now our business trips are going to cost as much as $1,000 if we want to upgrade both directions on an international flight.

United, I suggest you reconsider this change or, a bit selfishly, make an exception for your most loyal customers (1Ks/GSs) like you do for most other fees. Otherwise, I suggest that those of you who are flying in 2009 or early 2010 make your upgrade requests prior to July 1, 2009 (the effective date for the upgrade charges).

I also suggest that if this change bothers you, you take the time to let United know so. Recently, negative feedback about moving to pay for meals on international flights cause United to change their minds and maintain their current meal program on such flights. Perhaps we can do the same with upgrade charges.

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