Fun with Star Alliance award tickets

So, Saturday was supposed to be the beginning of my long awaited vacation.  I used my United miles to book a Business class star alliance award ticket CLT-EWR-FRA-PRG.

CLT-EWR was US Airways and everything else was Lufthansa.

CLT-EWR was delayed 1.5 hours due to mechanical issues meaning I would miss my EWR-FRA flight.  I called US Airways and they said my ticket was under airport control.  I deplaned and went to the gate and they brushed me off to special services.  The special services guy screwed up my ticket in such a way that after 3 calls to United, 2 calls to US Airways, talking to a supervisor at Lufthansa and a US lounge agent no one could figure out how to get my business class ticket back into business.  The United phone agents were all excellent.  The US phone agent quickly brushed me off saying economy is all I deserve.  The US lounge agent was excellent, but at that point I really just wanted to get to Europe so I kept the Lufthansa CLT-MUC-PRG flights in economy.

US Airways claimed that when they push a ticket to another carrier for mechanical reasons they can only send it as economy.

The economy seats on Lufthansa are not comfortable for international travel, but at least they do have seat back entertainment systems.

Now I’ve lost a day of vacation and no one can prove that my return wasn’t messed up as well. US and Lufthansa list it as economy as well, while United says they still control that ticket and it is indeed still business…


Needless to say I will be requesting miles back.


  1. Grace, you got screwed.

    US Airways was to blame for a MECHANICAL delay–you had a ticket booked into business class–not an economy class ticket upgraded to business class.

    You are due some serious compensation. Shame on US Airways.

    Enjoy Prague.

  2. It sounds to me that when US Airways says that they can only push a ticket to another carrier in Economy, what it really means is that they don’t want to have to pay another carrier for a business class seat, which may be what they would have to do if there are no awards available on the alternate flight. It seems to me that since MX delays are US Airways’ responsibility and you had a C-class ticket, that is where they were obligated to re-accomodate you.

  3. It has been said before, but it is worth repeating… Service – as in Customer Service at US Airways SUCKS! They just don’t give a crap. Hell yes! You’ve got miles coming back. Document everything and get your ducks lined up! Best wishes. C.

  4. When I was late to FRA from IAD and missed my connection on LH, they put me on EK in F on a paid class that got miles! (and with my US number on it) so a few weeks later US upgraded my status to Plat (someone was watching my account it appears)

  5. Well, this is very similar to my last award trip. Coming back from MAD on a US Airways *Alliance award, my routing was MAD>DUS>YYZ on LH. Our MAD>DUS flight was cancelled because the flight arrived late the night before and the crew didnt have enough rest time…. Uh-oh, cant connect in DUS for our YYZ flight. We were sent over to the LH ticket counter in MAD and we were told,after 45 mins of checking, that we can get to YYZ via FRA later in the day, OK?
    Oh good, I said is this in Business? No they can only give us Economy we were told. Sorry, I told LH that I have a Business Class ticket and I will return home in Business!
    Aftre another 30 mins looking, we were told we can go the next day via FRA. OK, we need a hotel room and meals then. The agent called her suprv, got appoval and off we were on another day in Madrid.
    So actually, LH did us a coutesy by giving us a hotel/meals for the night. I called US Airways since it was their ‘ticket’ and they were close to useless other than verifying the re-routing LH had already done.
    Unless someone can tell me otherwise, it appears that *Alliance members will try to reroute you into a lower fare even when its their fault………..

    1. I don’t know how much I want to post publically…Let’s just say US’s pushing the ticket as Y (and not XY) worked out in my favor and I’d rather have that than a refund of the difference between a XC ticket and a XY ticket.

      I did get to sit in Business across the pond coming home.

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