Beware of Losing Your Ticketed Award Seats Due to Schedule Cuts

There’s an old journalism line about how if something happens 3 times, it must be a trend (except in the NY Times Sunday Styles section, where if something happens once it’s a trend…but that’s for another blog…)  So here’s a trend:

In the past week I’ve heard of 3 people who have booked and ticketed international business class reward seats on United only to discover later (on their own) that those flights had been canceled (one case was slightly different, but it was the same principle).  All 3 people called United and were told that they were either completely out of luck (sometimes offering to waive the cancellation fee – generous!) or that there were no business class reward seats available on other flights so they would have to accept a coach ticket.  (More annoying to me is that United made no effort to contact these people…)

This is, as you can see, nonsense.  Long story short, one of three people called customer service, pushed the issue up to a supervisor, who needed to check with someone else, but ultimately gave the person a business class seat on a different flight.  Key takeaway:  Demand to speak with a supervisor, and be very, very, very nice when you do speak to that person.

Given that airlines are shrinking schedules by roughly 10% in the coming months, it’s best to double-check that the flight you were booked on is still flying.  And if it’s not flying, harass the hell out of the airline (in a nice way) to put you in the same class of service if you have a business or first class ticket (even a reward ticket).

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  1. I had a future international flight on UA get canceled recently, and they automatically booked me on a different flight. Less convenient (connection vs. non-stop), but they did preserve my already confirmed business class upgrade without me having to yell (or even just talk) to anyone.

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