Retiree Pass Travel UPDATE November 28, 2012
Take action on enrolled friends; see #1
New procedures: pass riders will be cleared and given boarding passes 30-60 minutes before departure (see #3), seats will be assigned front-to-back (see #2), and airport lounge access is available for pass riders with seat assignments in Global First and BusinessFirst cabins (see #4).
1) Enrolled Friend(s) Open Enrollment Period
Designating enrolled friends for 2013 is now available and the tool will remain open until 7pm Central time on December 30, 2012. To change one or both enrolled friends for 2013, you must visit “All About Me” on Flying Together and click on “Pass Riders” no later than 7pm Central time, December 30, 2012. To keep your 2012 enrolled friends for 2013 you can either select “Keep my Enrolled Friends for 2013” in “All About Me” or leave them untouched and they will automatically roll over for 2013.
To view program details, go to “Registering an enrolled friend” in the “Program Details” box on Flying Together>Travel>Travel Programs>Enrolled Friend.
2) SHARES Enhancement for Seat Assignments
Effective November 14th, a SHARES enhancement will now assign seats to pass riders from the front section of the economy cabin, including Economy Plus, to the back of the aircraft. This change will apply to both United and United Express flights. What this means is the very first person in line may get a middle seat in Economy Plus and the person second in line may get an aisle seat a few rows back in Economy Plus.
IT is currently working on window/aisle logic for phase two of this project with an estimate of completion for first quarter 2013. Pass rider boarding priority will not change; space available riders will still be boarded by “Board Date” order within each priority group.
Your “Board Date” is shown in “Employee Profile” under “Quick Links” in “employeeRES”. Space available boarding priority groups and codes are listed on pages 3-4 of the pdf on Flying Together>Travel>Travel Policies>Boarding Priorities.
3) New Stand-by Boarding Procedures
Standby Clearance Procedures (Non-Revenue and Revenue)
Applies to: Domestic and International United and United Express Flights
Effective Date: November 19, 2012
Policy: Stand-by customers will be offered the same check-in and boarding requirements as confirmed revenue customers. Stand-by customers are not required to be present when cleared and once cleared should not be skipped. Cleared standby customers should board the aircraft at least 15 minutes prior to departure for domestic flights and 30 minutes prior to departure for international flights to avoid seat loss. Cleared stand-bys that do not board or claim their seats 15 minutes prior to departure may be unseated, and their seats awarded to the next customers on the standby list.
Procedure: Agents will clear standby customers when the flight is restricted to the gate; 30 minutes prior to departure for domestic flights and 60 minutes prior to departure for international flights. When a flight is booked at less than 75% capacity, the process of clearing standbys may occur earlier. If seats are available, clearance to premium cabins will be processed as well. Once cleared, agents will call stand-by customers to the podium to provide boarding passes. If a customer does not respond, agents will not unseat the customer but hold the boarding pass until 15 minutes prior to departure for domestic flights and 30 minutes for international flights. At 15 minutes before departure on domestic flights (30 minutes international flights), agents will check the unreconciled list and unseat customers that have not boarded. Agents will continue to assign any available seats to the next eligible customers on the list.
NOTE:If you do not board by the cut-off times your seat will be given to stand-bys without seats.
If you have boarded and a premium cabin seat becomes available, you will be notified onboard the aircraft.
4) Access to Airport Lounges
Employees, retirees and their eligible pass riders will now have the ability to enjoy access to airport lounges. Those flying positive space or space available and holding an eligible boarding pass with a confirmed seat in the United Global First or United Business First cabin are now eligible to access airport lounges just like customers. For more details and a Q&A, see the November 8th Bulletin on Flying Together>Travel (scroll down to view Travel News and Bulletins). With the implementation of #3 above there may be more time to enjoy the lounges.
5) Another IT Enhancement
The “Program Details” box for Enrolled Friends and Vacation Passes in the Travel section on Flying Together can now be accessed from home computers and mobile devices. Previously the information could not be viewed on a computer that was not connected directly to the United network.
6) employeeRES Guide UPDATED 11/28/12
The comprehensive step-by-step guide to access and use employeeRES has been enhanced. On the right side of the Flying Together>Travel home page is a “Pass Travel Tips” box; click on the “Space-Available Personal Travel” link to get a pdf of the guide. It will assist you with booking your pass travel as well as viewing passenger loads, called PBT’s (Passenger Boarding Totals) for selected flights.
Video tutorials have just been added to the Flying Together> Travel home page under “Reference Guides”. There are several to watch; most helpful for retirees are “Create leisure travel plans” and “Buy interline eTickets via ID90T”. A network recording player must be downloaded to access the tutorials; just click to download it the first time. If you prefer to read a pdf of each tutorial, click on “View all guides” (under Reference Guides) where you have the option of downloading a pdf or playing each of the video tutorials.
7) Special Leaves & Career Transitions
United has announced special LOA programs for eligible employees to return to school, perform charitable service, or attend to medical conditions for up to four years while maintaining health and welfare benefits. Participants will also maintain their pass travel benefits as if they were still working, except for travel on other airlines. If you have friends who have not retired yet, these special leaves of absence may be beneficial; some have “separation bonuses”. Details are on the Flying Together home page under “New on the Intranet” and also on Flying Together under the “Employee Services” tab.
Compiled by Kirk Moore, RAFA Travel Benefits Committee 11/28/2012