A truly bittersweet change at United…

A couple of weeks ago I flew from Tampa to Seattle via Washington Dulles, Orlando, Denver, and Portland, for the same price as Tampa to Seattle via just Denver. Yes, that’s over 75% more miles for the same price. As a consumer I love it, but at the same time there’s something wrong when a company allows that.

Well, it looks like United has finally come to their senses and has realized how ridiculous their routing rules were. For the most part United allowed four transfers in each direction of travel on domestic itineraries, which was just insanely generous. I realized they didn’t intend for people to ever choose to take that many connections, but of course many of us did.

And finally United has made the change. They’re not allowing a bunch of transfers in each direction of travel anymore. As much as I absolutely, positively hate this change as a consumer and in particular mileage runner, I’ve gotta give United credit. It’s a smart business decision, and as much as I’d like to, I definitely can’t blame them. United has certainly lost their mileage run edge.

It’s a sad day for consumers and a happy day for United.

Comments

  1. I was bemoaning this earlier today on FT. I can’t blame UA, but I am really sad tonight.

    It’s going to be twice as hard to re-qualify next year.

  2. Mileage running makes sense at times, but what blows my mind is when someone values their time so little (or has nothing better to do with it) that they’re willing to spend five extra hours in airports and on flights for an extra $50 worth of miles ($10/hour). If you could earn $200 worth of extra miles for an extra 2 hours of your time, I’d understand, but such lucrative offers are rare..

  3. @Angus: You assume that someone cannot multi-task on an airplane or at an airport. I find I am most productive at 35K feet above the ground. I don’t waste time when I fly.

  4. @Angus: I totally agree. I’d say watching the same episode of Two and a Half Men eight times and eating the same salad 3 times is definitely a waste of (my) time. But then again, my poor college days are over.

    The old saying is true – when you’re young, you have more time than money. When you’re old, you have the money, but hardly the time.

    I think Matthew must be an exception if he is most productive on an airplane. I find the whole process (airport transfer, security clearance, boarding, takeoff, IFE, meals, landing, deplaning, etc) hugely disruptive to my concentration (if I’m trying to work)…. but as they say, to each their own!

  5. To all the posters saying ‘what a waste of time’ —

    Let me ask you: why do you ready Lucky’s blog? The whole point here is mileage running! If extra segments are a waste of time, than the whole concept must be waste of time to you. Yet you come here anyway.

  6. This has been a long time coming – or at least should have been – and yet I’m still a bit sad to see it go. That being said, not all routes are affected, at least not yet. MSP-GEG still permits four segments each way while TPA-ONT looks to be down to three. Considering the cooperation that Continental and United are exercising these days and the fact that Continental has long had quite restricted routing rules this really shouldn’t be a huge surprise.

    It is not all bad news but certainly a bit sad on some routes. Just means we have to work a bit harder to find those diamonds in the rough.

  7. I believe Lucky suggested 1K could be had for ~$2,000 in year’s past. What would be the estimated monetary cost post-change? $3,500?

  8. @Angus – you are assuming that people don’t do this for the enjoyment of it. For example, stamp collecting or salsa dancing could also be considered a waste of time – or sports for that matter. I enjoy the “magic” of flying and the entire experience that goes with it. This is my hobby and while for you it is a waste of time, this is how I choose to spend a lot of my recreation time. Of course I have other hobbies too, but this is a big one for me. If you don’t like it, don’t do it, but I don’t need you to judge my hobby for me. I’m sure most of your hobbies would be a waste of time to me, but I understand that it’s not my place to sit here and try to beat you over the head with that.

  9. Northwest did 2 connection limits many years ago and Delta did this a little over 5 years ago. United is slow to the party.

    MRing with United will now be confined to cheap and mistake fares, as it is with SkyTeam.

    Sorry for your loss.

  10. I agree with Matthew. I don’t find the airport security, etc. procedures too time consuming, and I have an RCC membership that I use between flights to catch up on e-mail. When I’m up in the air, I’m much more productive than I am on the ground. I don’t have people calling me, e-mailing me, knocking on my door, etc., (and I’m not wasting my times on blogs), so I can tear through a lot of work that otherwise backs up.

  11. Is this still true? I just priced TPA-SEA and in the fare rules found this:

    FOR ONE WAY FARES
    4 TRANSFERS PERMITTED.
    NOTE –
    FARE BREAK SURFACE SECTORS ARE NOT PERMITTED.

  12. @ SFO1K — Strange. While the fare rules say that, every itinerary I price out doesn’t reflect that. Hmm…

  13. Actually, a bunch of fares still have generous routing rules. It’s a bit hit and miss, though. For instance, at the end of this month I’m flying ICT-ORD-ORF-IAD-PIT//PIT-IAD-MDT-ORD-ICT on a single RT fare for a total of $245.

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