United lets go of their “hold” reservations feature

United Airlines made a rather significant change to their website very quietly on Friday evening, removing the option for customers to “hold” a reservation rather than just ticketing it.  This has, as one might imagine, ticked off customers quite a bit.  The change appeared overnight on the site, with the option disappearing and their FAQ updated with the great news:

Can I hold a reservation on united.com for purchase later?
It is no longer possible to put a reservation on hold through united.com.
Please note that any reservation booked through united.com can be canceled within 24 hours of purchase for a full refund.

Most significantly, this change means that the ability to redeem vouchers – collected for just about any in-flight problem and one of the best reasons to fly UA these days – is severely hampered.  Sure, you can call in and create a booking and hold it that way, but working with the reservations agents to build a wacky routing or to take advantage of some of the other quirks in their faring systems is definitely a less than desirable option.  Or you have to actually go to the airport and deal with the pain that ticketing in person involves.  Both options suck.

At this point only American Airlines has an official “hold” feature still available, though there are still workarounds on most carriers.  For Continental is is the “pay with cash” option.  And with United it can be done by entering an invalid credit card number a few times.  But losing this sort of benefit does suck.

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Seth Miller

I'm Seth, also known as the Wandering Aramean. I was bit by the travel bug 30 years ago and there's no sign of a cure. I fly ~200,000 miles annually; these are my stories. You can connect with me on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.