i have a favorite airline--united. i fly them pretty much anytime i fly. i fly them enough to be a premier level frequent flier. i've enjoyed being premier. united has done a good job of making me feel appreciated as a frequent flier. of course, like all other airlines, united occasionally has challenges with overbooked flights. recently, i've been in the situation twice where the flights were overbooked and my schedule was flexible. the offered free tickets for folks willing to fly later. i took them up on their free ticket offer. on both occasions, by going on the later flight, i was also upgraded to first class. i felt like not only did united value my flexibity (free tix) they also appreciated my loyalty (free upgrades).
when offering to take the later flight, i asked how easy it would be to redeem the free tix. i was told, no problem...very easy. i could redeem them online or by phone. great i think. i specifically made a point of asking about this all important process because of a really terrible experience with southwest in trying to redeem a free flight. and then tonight, i tried to redeem my free flight.
first, i go online. it's about 9p and i realize i need to get booked by 10p because i have to use the tix at least 14 days in advance. i easily find the flights i want and then go to use the voucher. i can't figure out where. i try several different routes and there's no way to use it. i give up the online pursuit because i only have about 30 minutes left. i write down my flight numbers and call their 800 number. after 20 minutes of dealing with mr. automation, i finally get connected to an agent. we get all the way thru the process and it's a few minutes after 10. and then the agent says oh, i can't do this. it's after midnight. after an "arrgh" escaped my mouth, i calmly but firmly explained that i'd been online and on the phone trying to complete this for an hour. and then she responds, "oh, you're premier. i can make this work since you're premier". but no, the process isn't complete. i still have to drive down to the airport and actually complete the process in person. this time i'm able to refrain from the "arrgh" aloud.
if you recall from the beginning of this post, i mentioned i have two of these free tix. to avoid future complications, i researched the flights for which i want to use the second ticket. i'll go ahead and book it tomorrow while i'm at the airport...save myself a trip.