Four Things I learned about United this week

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1. B fares are often only a few dollars more than M fares.

Both can get a 1K a confirmed first class seat at time of booking, but the B fare earns 50% Elite Status miles (EQMs)

2. United can take ages to issue a ticket

I booked two tickets on Friday morning, London time. The first was just issued – about 48 hours after purchase. United put the charge through rightaway, I know as my credit card company called me to check it was really me. The confirmation only turned up this morning.

Apparently living outside of the US makes it even slower as there is a special ticketing queue for non-US credit card holders. One hopes it is just this that makes it less efficient.

The CO web site sometimes forgets the 3 digit code from the back of the card, between booking on the web site and ticket issue. Luckily one of the agents I spoke to noticed this and collected it from me. Otherwise more delays would have occurred. This seems a particular problem if you use a credit card stored in your profile.

3. Regional Premier Upgrades cannot be used as early as ticketing

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This is the wording from the UA web site. In fact the RPUs cannot be applied until after the ticket has been issued – see (2) above. I called the 1K line a few times on Friday to check whether my ticket had been issued. About 3 hours after I booked I was number 26 in the ticketing queue according to one agent. Despite this it too ages to get the ticket actually issued so the RPUs could be applied. Luckily space was still available, but my reservation was for October. If it had been closer I would have been really dismayed if, having booked, been ticketed and called back, no space remained.

Oddly, earlier in the week I found an agent who knew how to do the upgrade without the ticket being issued, but this was either (a) Luck or (b) an error. None of the 4 I spoke to yesterday knew how to make this happen.

4. The UA UK Desk is in …. Miami

Finally giving up on the cost of calling the 1K desk in the USA I called the UK desk expecting India. Instead I got Miami – Continental in Miami of course, but nonetheless I might go back to using this number now!


United has to buck it ideas up and quick, or it will continue to lose its international based members and elites. This sort of service was never what we had with old United.


  1. I booked a flight on Monday, applied a regional at booking and got the upgrade (or so it says on the website). Still waiting for the ticket to arrive. UA is all messed up – not just the over seas folks that it’s not working for. YBM upgrades don’t apply to trans oceanic flights.

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