I just finished another mileage run flying United Airlines, and this one was booked as Continental Airlines codeshare flights as I blogged about previously. A couple of differences occurred that are worth mentioning.
First, although I do usually check-in online and/or via my mobile, I always reprint my boarding passes at the EasyCheck-in kiosks at the airport. Why? Well, I just like the gold cardstock most stations still print, and have saved the boarding stubs for years. Not very green of me, I know, but until the check-in process goes exclusively electronic, I am going to keep my collection going. Anyway, I always use my Mileage Plus 1K card at the machines to locate my reservation, and this time it couldn’t find it. Ok, so the next option for me was to manually enter my Mileage Plus number. Still no luck. Third try was the charm, and I used the United confirmation number (aka record locator) from my itinerary. If the card reader only pulls your name and searches for your reservation on that day’s United flights, I can sort of understand it not finding me since I was on “Continental” flights (not really, but hopefully you get my point). When it couldn’t find my flights by my Mileage Plus number, that really surprised me since I know full well it was in the reservation.
Another difference I noticed was more behind the scenes in my reservation. When I got to the airport and was sitting in the Red Carpet Club, I pulled up my itinerary and noticed a duplicate segment for the flight I was about to take. It was out of sequence, appearing as the last segment of the trip, and even showed up as full-fare First Class. I looked more closely at my itinerary, and the separate check-in area, and everything else looked normal, so I just let it sit there without asking an agent about it. When the mileage posted for that flight, it came in as full ‘Y’ (the highest coach bucket). Oh how I miss having native access to Apollo and the reservation history… I’d really like to know how that happened. I’m definitely not complaining about this, though, since it earned me an extra 873 elite qualifying miles (EQMs) by being credited in ‘Y’.
Finally, there are also reports on Flyertalk about other out-of-synch occurrences, and problems with online check-in when reservations include both United- and Continental-operated flights. I have one of those coming up, and will be sure to blog about any issues I have. I think the programmers should really look into these issues given the volume of people who are likely experiencing the same phenomenon. I hope this isn’t a sign of a lack-of-seamless integration of two carriers as the merger progresses. Inexperienced flyers might find it too irritating to deal with and bail on the “new” United.