Frequent-flyer woes

This item appears on page 28 of the March 2009 issue.
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I would like to add my comments to the experience that Daniel M. Mitchell had attempting to use frequent-flyer miles with United Airlines (“Frequent-flyer Seats Sparse,” Dec. ’08, pg. 25).

My wife and I had booked a round-trip cruise from Dover, England, for August-September ’09. The first day that flights were listed on the United website, we tried to obtain two business-class tickets for the round trip from Boston to London using 80,000 miles each.

We were told that no seats were available on the dates we needed and that even if we were able to change our plans by several days on each end, we would need to fly coach to either Washington Dulles or Chicago before continuing to England.

In desperation, I wrote a personal letter of appeal to the CEO of United pointing out that we had flown his airline for more than 500,000 miles each and that I had achieved Premium status. The reply that I received, not from the CEO, was almost a word-for-word copy of the one that ITN received from United re Mr. Mitchell (“seats are subject to availability,” etc.).

There was a happy ending to this sad story. Using Continental frequent-flyer miles, we were able to obtain two upper-class seats from Boston to Heathrow aboard Virgin Atlantic on the dates we requested.

As a footnote, I have canceled my United charge card and my wife will do the same shortly.

EDWARD J. DURNALL
Durham, NH

Please login or subscribe to ITN to read the entire post.

I would like to add my comments to the experience that Daniel M. Mitchell had attempting to use frequent-flyer miles with United Airlines (“Frequent-flyer Seats Sparse,” Dec. ’08, pg. 25).

My wife and I had booked a round-trip cruise from Dover, England, for August-September ’09. The first day that flights were listed on the United website, we tried to obtain two business-class tickets for the round trip from Boston to London using 80,000 miles each.

We were told that no seats were available on the dates we needed and that even if we were able to change our plans by several days on each end, we would need to fly coach to either Washington Dulles or Chicago before continuing to England.

In desperation, I wrote a personal letter of appeal to the CEO of United pointing out that we had flown his airline for more than 500,000 miles each and that I had achieved Premium status. The reply that I received, not from the CEO, was almost a word-for-word copy of the one that ITN received from United re Mr. Mitchell (“seats are subject to availability,” etc.).

There was a happy ending to this sad story. Using Continental frequent-flyer miles, we were able to obtain two upper-class seats from Boston to Heathrow aboard Virgin Atlantic on the dates we requested.

As a footnote, I have canceled my United charge card and my wife will do the same shortly.

EDWARD J. DURNALL
Durham, NH