One of the primary reasons people are constantly annoyed with airlines is the unbelievable complexity involved in the operation, and how that complexity ends up as customer-facing nonsense. To wit:
I flew to Amsterdam yesterday on United, though I bought it through Continental (it’s a codeshare). (Side note: My company travel policy suggests I fly on partner airlines, of which Continental is one. It would allow me to book this ticket as a Continental flight, but if I tried to book it as a United flight, it would not let me. It’s the same flight).
Anyway, I wanted to upgrade (if that’s the word) to Economy Plus ($97, a steal), so I called United. Here’s the conversation:
Me: Hi, I’m flying on United on Sunday and I’d like to buy Economy Plus — I’m on a Continental ticket, though.
United: Oh, we can’t help you with that.
Me: Do I have to call Continental?
United: No, they can’t help you with that either. You have to call our travel agent.
Me: Really? They can upgrade it but you can’t? Are you sure (as I’m about 100% sure the travel agent will tell me to call United).
United: Yes, the travel agent can help. They have to reissue the ticket as a United ticket.
Me: Isn’t there a fee associated with making that change?
United: I don’t know, you have to ask your travel agent.
Me: No, I mean in the fare rules, doesn’t it say what the change fee is.
United: No it does not.
Me: Wait, you don’t know what the fare rules say?
United: No. You have to call the travel agent.
I’ll spare you the part about where I call the travel agent and they tell me I have to call United. In any case, good luck the next time you use a corporate travel agent to book a codeshare flight on United and want to get Economy Plus.