Please sign in to post.

United completely changed our itinerary so now what do I do?

We had two tickets from SFO/San Francisco to CDG/Paris for Monday, June 8 with an arrival on Tuesday, June 9 which we booked with our United air miles on March 5th. Today, we received an email notifying us that our flight was now changed to, get this: departing from EWR/Newark on Sunday, June 7 with an arrival on Monday, June 8. So they not only messed with my departure city, which is ridiculous but they also changed my departure date by a day. I want my 60,000 air miles returned to my account and the $89 fees refunded but I find the United website very confusing. Am I supposed to 'cancel' this new flight that they have given me? Will I potentially lose all claim to the air miles and the fees if I cancel? Why didn't United just tell us that our original flight from SFO to CDG has been cancelled? I sure hope I don't have to call United directly and wait for hours on the phone to clear this up when it's United that is creating all the hassle. Advice would be greatly appreciated.

Posted by
6380 posts

I suspect calling is the only feasible method to resolve your situation.

When I had to do the miles and fee refund with Alaska they had a 'call back' service so I did not wait on hold forever. Hopefully UAL has the same

Posted by
7180 posts

And do you have an EU passport?? Without it you’re not going to be allowed to just waltz into the country.

Posted by
200 posts

You can cancel and receive your miles back. Don't think you will receive any of the taxes/fees. Anytime an airline changes your flights by that much you can get a refund. You can do it all online.

Posted by
2070 posts

Taxes and fees will be refunded also since what they were for did not happen. The flight you purchased is not happening, you do not have to accept what the computer gave you. I had to call United over a change in itinerary last week, was done in 5 minutes. Because of your combined issue, money and miles, do it by phone. If you try online and it does not get handled properly, it will then be a mess to fix.

Posted by
2347 posts

It will be a bit of a hassle but, yes, call. Don’t do it on a Monday, the busiest day. Deal with the robot who wants to solve your problems on the phone (it can’t) then persevere until you get through to a person. We did this for several trips and you will be refunded including fees, taxes, seat upgrades, etc. And your miles will be returned. Do not try to do this on line.

Posted by
189 posts

Thanks, everyone. I guess I'll have to make a call to United but not on a Monday. I knew I could count on this forum. Macron isn't even allowing international travelers into France until fall at the earliest so to receive an email rerouting us with a flight from Newark into Paris in June is crazy. United's handling of this is so different from Norwegian Air which recently informed us that our flight from SFO to Barcelona had been cancelled and then they made it so easy to apply for a refund online, which took us less than 5 minutes to complete. No hassle, just simple direct communication and great customer service. It's unfortunate that an airline like Norwegian that operates by honest business practices is struggling financially. Thanks again.

Posted by
524 posts

Adrienne
Where did you read that Macron is not letting international travelers into France until the fall.?
I had not heard that.Thanks

Posted by
5551 posts

Where did you read that Macron is not letting international travelers into France until the fall.?

He mentioned it briefly and confusingly in a live interview yesterday (Tuesday) from a school he was visiting. He gave zero details.

Posted by
2981 posts

The first step should always be to allow a business to fix a problem. If they don’t follow through to your satisfaction, then you have grounds for complaint. The OP got that backwards here, although I do understand her dismay at the schedule change. It was actually a good thing ,however, because it sets the stage for a full refund.

Posted by
4835 posts

While you seem to have an answer, for the benefit of others, some advice...

  1. Relax, no one is trying to rip you off. 2.Relax, you probably did not expect that you would be traipsing off to Paris in June, maybe hoped, but now about a Month out, it looks unlikely, even if they did open EU borders, they probably would not look to open them to the US.
  2. Relax, you have a month to deal with the inevitable cancellation. United is busy dealing with people who were to travel in the next week, you have a couple weeks to sit on your hands, then contact someone who will reverse your miles.
  3. Relax, this is good news, the change they made qualifies you for a refund, even on a non-refundable transaction. The change was done by an automated scheduling system that looked at available flights and tried it's best to build an itinerary. This is a sign that United has told the system that flights to Europe, at least the majority, are not happening in early June. The Newark flight is one of the few probably happening for the few people that can travel (diplomats, medical, etc). They have no idea Why you are travelling or what your need is. This is normal scheduling activity trying to work in an unusual situation.
  4. Relax, any airline will not unilaterally cancel and refund, even if that is the obvious outcome. They do not know your need for travel, do you need to work out a itinerary for critical travel? Do you need to reschedule for another date? Do you just want to cancel? They need your input, so yeah you need to call, or figure out the website.

It may be hard, but give it a week or two, then try to call in the off hours. They are doing thousands of refunds, will know exactly what to do, your miles will be returned to your account, normally the fee would not be refunded, but most airlines are also refunding that as well. If you paid cash, you might be offered a voucher or a refund. For those that like to have everything planned to the day a few months out, these are tough times, but right now is the time to be flexible and play it day to day.

Posted by
189 posts

Thank you all for the additional advice. Yes, it was upsetting to receive an email with a completely different itinerary with no clear instructions from United on how to apply for a refund. This was in stark contrast to Norwegian Air, which was forthcoming about a cancelled flight and offered very clear instructions for applying for a refund online, which we completed within minutes.

We have two additional flights on United for this trip: one from CDG to EWR which was also purchased with air miles with a $289 fee then EWR to SFO that we purchased with our Chase credit card. I suspect we will be receiving similar emails in the weeks to come regarding those flights. Based on your advice, I'm going to wait until I have all three in hand and make one phone call to United to square things away. I just wish that United would up their game with customer service. Thanks again.

Posted by
189 posts

Diane, you can find current information about France at France24 and The Local France, both of which are free although The Local France offers additional news info for a small fee. It's fun to read especially now that travel to France and air travel in general will be restricted for a while.

Posted by
4835 posts

I guess worth adding that you may have complicated things by making three separate purchases for a trip, rather than one itinerary. Maybe they will still link all three together, but the problem created is that if all three were on the same itinerary all could be cancelled at once, with the cancellation of the first. As it is, with 3 tickets, the return from CDG may not be cancelled for another month, and the third ticket, from Newark to SFO may never be cancelled, leaving you victim to whatever cancellation policy is in effect at that time. They really have no idea that there are other legs cancelled, and it really does not matter, you just booked a one way flight from EWR to SFO.

I would calmly, and nicely explain the whole itinerary when you get through. They likely will allow you to cancel everything at once, but not sure if they are under any obligation to.

Posted by
2347 posts

Don’t wait for emails. Check your itinerary daily. We never got emails about our United changes, not one. We had trips to Kauai and Rome. When I saw material changes in the flights I called. Longest wait time 25 minutes. Agent wanted to give us a credit I respectfully asked for a refund. The Kauai flight was miles and those were in the account in 3 days, the taxes and fees back on my card in a week. Rome-the seat upgrades were refunded to my card within a week. When I could not access refund status on the web page I called again and was told to wait a total of 30 days from my original call (another two + weeks). But, I think that call rattled the cage as today (2 days later) the refund is on my card. Now just call Chase and get the money.

Posted by
189 posts

Thanks for the great advice. I just called United and got everything squared away in under 10 minutes. The 120,000 points for both flights are already back in my account and I should be expecting the refunds in 30 days. The customer service representative was very helpful and didn't try to wrangle away my refunds which is a relief compared to some of the experiences of the folks on this forum and also our friends who have had to practically arm-wrestle their way to a refund. Now I feel that I'm in a better frame of mind to contact Delta in order to secure a refund for the $1250 RT ticket from LAX to CDG for our son who was to join us in Paris. Again, many thanks.

Posted by
11158 posts

I have good news about your Delta cancellation (at least, one good experience to act as a data point). A friend was booked to fly Delta JFK to Berlin in June, and his flight was canceled. He called and asked for a refund; he was prepared to argue or fight, but didn't have to. But, he was told it could take up to 60 days for his credit card to show the refund, and he was expecting it to take at least a few weeks.

He had the money in two days!

Posted by
189 posts

Now that's good to hear! It seems like the airlines might be backing off on pressuring travelers to accept a credit voucher. In March, when a friend called Delta to request a refund after her flight was canceled, she said that she had to repeatedly decline the credit offer and restate several times that she wanted a refund to her Visa card. Thanks for the good news.

Posted by
5354 posts

Maybe they are being more generous about trips paid with miles -- just an electronic credit, not $$$ out the door.

Posted by
2981 posts

Adrienne, I would consider 10 minutes on the phone to get everything squared away good customer service. That is why you always want to give a business a chance before complaining about them.

Posted by
6223 posts

"The first step should always be to allow a business to fix a problem. If they don’t follow through to your satisfaction, then you have grounds for complaint."

Excellent advice from Carol. We're in a pandemic. Patience, tolerance, and ability to "just chill and take a deep breath" is required - things are not going to be 100% to our satisfaction or work perfectly. Everyone, including businesses, are trying to muddle through and do their best. The easiest way to solve a problem is to deal with the relevant party directly on the phone. Flight changes are not worth taking personally, they are made by computer algorithms that automatically reassign a flight after a leg gets dropped or the schedule gets changed. They happened prior to COVID and will likely happen after COVID.

Posted by
45 posts

We booked tickets using United miles although our travel was going to be codeshare on Lufthansa and Swiss. We'd also booked three separate apartments in three different countries through HomeAway, each with the host family. Our travel dates were 24 May - 14 June. By the end of March we thought that this trip was not going to happen. All I can say is to repeat the best advice of others here - relax. Allow the companies to follow through on their cancellation/change policies. In our case, United has asked to refrain from calling until travel is less than 3 weeks away. That worked well for us in that it allowed time for the situation to become clear. We decided to cancel and were able to meet the cancelation deadlines on HomeAway and allow United to get their act together. When I went to the website last week, all our flights were already cancelled. All that remained was to cancel our reservation, which took three mouse clicks. The miles showed up in my Mileage Plus account the same day. The charges for fees/taxes were refunded the same week. Now we are waiting for the opportunity to travel again, which we will, but probably not this year.