As most of you probably know, United eliminated the ability to hold tickets on united.com back in May. I saw where they were coming from to a certain extent, but it was frustrating nonetheless. Now it’s even more frustrating.
I have some travel I need to book, and I might even take a few flights I didn’t need to take thanks to the double EQM promotion announced this evening. When I need to go somewhere and I have a bit of extra time on my hands, I like to make the routings a bit more complicated than they have to be (shocker, I know), and I have quite a stack of bump vouchers I’d like to use. In the past it was very simple. I would put the itinerary on hold on united.com and go to the airport the next day to ticket.
Now I have to call United to hold the ticket, and then go to the airport the next day to ticket. Usually it’s not a big issue, but the following scenario can get annoying: “Yes, I’m trying to go from Tampa to San Diego via Washington Dulles, Los Angeles, and San Francisco, returning via Los Angeles, San Francisco, Newark, and Washington Dulles.” Do you have any clue how long it takes an agent to price out that itinerary, not to mention the amount of scorning we’ll get once in a while, or off the wall (rude) comments we get? I’d like to remind everyone that United sets the fares and creates the fare rules, not me.
Then there’s another issue: Let’s say I’m just trying to go from Tampa to San Diego via Washington Dulles. Both flights have “L” class available individually, but when “married” only have higher fare classes. The easy workaround is to book it online via multi-city, but when you call reservations it’s not so much fun: “Sir, I could get fired for doing that, it’s called tampering with inventory.” I typically respond with “OK, I changed my plans. It’ll be on a multi-city itinerary. I’d like to travel from Tampa to Washington on the 26th, and then Washington to San Diego on the 26th as well.” The response is usually “Sir, I can’t book it that way.”
Anyway, you get my point. It’s annoying. If it were easy to book this with an automated system I wouldn’t care, but it’s not that simple for complicated itineraries.