Reservations made on the United.com site travelling internationally with a Star Alliance partner turned into a nightmare

By tomorrow afternoon, we’ll know if I really make it to Bulgaria or not for the DevReach conference, but even though my flight, which I reserved on August 4th, is tonight, there still is no ticket.

Here’s what happened.

Reservations made (8 weeks to go)

Booked flights on United.com travelling on Austrian Airlines from JFK to SOF 8 weeks in advance.

Flight cancelled (2 weeks to go)

Two weeks before the trip, I get an email from (not Austrian and not United but ) the person I was flying with to say the flights were cancelled.

I called United and they re-booked me on flights that were highly inconvenient but I was told there was no option. When I recieved the email confirmation, they had messed up the flights, with 6 legs rather than 4 and some of them showing flights TO Bulgaria on my return date.

I decided to call Austrian and learned that their reservations actually have office hours! 9-5 est. So I waited to the next day.

Booked on new flights/new airline

Austrian fixed everything up and got me on the flights that made sense for me, though now on Lufthansa,  and sent me a link to a website where I could see that my new flights were confirmed.

No tickets? (1 week to go)

One week later I get a call from United saying my flight was cancelled.

It turned out that they were telling me finally about the original cancellation and had no clue about the new flights that Austrian had changed me to.

Again, Austrian was closed, so this time I called Lufthansa directly.

I was told that I was still confirmed on the Lufthansa flights but no ticket had been issued and only United could issue the tickets.

So back on the phone with United who said that they had absolutely no record of the Lufthansa flights, no access to the seats I was telling them about and that Lufthansa had no right to confirm me on their OWN FLIGHT, since I had originally booked through United. I asked how it was possible that Lufthansa could not promise me seats on their own airplanes!

New tickets

Finally, a supervisor found my Lufthansa reservations and said they would fix evertyhing up and issue me new tickets.

No tickets (4 days to go)

A few days later I looked on the United site and it had a trip with 4 legs over (the two old ones and the two new ones) and 4 legs returning (again, 2 old and 2 new!)

New tickets

I called united again and after a while on the phone was told it was straightened out and I should see the correct information on the site if I logged out and logged back in. But even after two more days, that wasn’t the case.

Flight info changed?

This morning, I received a phone call saying to call United about a change in my reservation. That did not make me happy. However, when I called, I discovered that this was for a completely different trip that is two months away. While I was on the phone, I asked about the fact that the site was still wrong about my trip that I”m taking today and was switched over to the international desk.

No tickets (day of flight)

After a few minutes on the phone with the next person, I learned that the new tickets had still NOT BEEN ISSUED. So I would have flown to JFK tonight (that is on Jet Blue), gone over to the Lufthansa terminal and been sent home.

New tickets

So…. now, I’m still on the phone with United being told that someone from United is talking to someone from Lufthansa to make sure it’s all fixed up becuase it’s way too late to do anything through the regular channels again.

For the amount of time I have spent on the phone dealing with this nonsense, I probably could have paid to fly in Business class after all.

I’ve learned my lesson about booking non-United flights on the United website. It’s still not settled and I’m really glad I’m not an A-Type personality or I may have self-combusted by now.

  Sign up for my newsletter so you don't miss my conference & Pluralsight course announcements!  

One thought on “Reservations made on the United.com site travelling internationally with a Star Alliance partner turned into a nightmare

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.