United’s False Award Availability

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Over the past few days I’ve been trying to help a friend travel over the Christmas and New Years holiday on a last minute trip. Of course booking now for a peak time and peak destination is near impossible if you want to use the least number of miles possible, but it is possible. And I was thrilled when I saw availability pop up on United’s website for her exact desired travel date and destination.

UnitedA saver award ticket for business class on December 20 was available! Too good to be true…

Well when you went to actually “Select” the ticket it gives the following error:

UnitedThis error actually went on for a few days for MANY partner flights and dates when the calendar view was actually showing a flight available. Upon calling United (who was unfortunately less than helpful), they confirmed that those flights could not be booked. Even ExpertFlyer showed availability on those flights as well.

The issue here is that United pulls in partner availability, but whenever two systems need to work together there is always the chance of a glitch happening. And unfortunately this time a glitch that was not in the customers favor!

So this is just a heads up that if you are using United’s search engine to book an award flight, before you get all excited that there are seats available make sure it will actually let you move forward to book the flight once “Selecting” the mileage option.



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8 years ago

It will also punch out that error sometimes even when there is availability if you have a lap child. For some reason, the system thinks that you are actually searching for two seats (even though it really knows you are searching for one) and it will pop that error. Can definitely be frustrating!

8 years ago

this has been the case for years now — my understanding is that this is because when partner flights get booked with non-United miles, the availability on the United site doesn’t update itself immediately. This lag does not happen with all partner carriers or with UA’s own flights, only with some partners (LH is one of the main culprits)

8 years ago

I’ve hit this MANY TIMES in the past year and United agents always want to blame it on the customer. Even the supervisors are horrible about it and they won’t do anything to make it right.

8 years ago

This happens even on their Own flights. they say they have availability until for a flight until you actually try to book it and then it does not work at all. I been just recently trying to do a BOS-ANC trip and this has happened so many times that I gave up

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