Good news, very good news: United has reinstated the 2001 companion passes on an interim basis, effective Dec. 1 through Feb. 28, 2002.
Changes in security procedures effective immediately:
- The employee/retiree or the companion must list for flights at least 48 hours in advance of travel, including a return flight, if travel is round trip. You may list by calling 800-UAL-LIST (825-5478), using WebList or Apollo.
- The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) allows only one carry-on bag and a small personal item, such as a briefcase, purse or laptop, to each traveler.
- Plan to arrive at the airport at least two-and-a-half to three hours prior to flight departure to allow sufficient time for checking in and security purposes.
- Remember to ask companions to retain ticket stubs in case they are needed for an adjustment.
For further details, read the complete NewsReal announcement. If you have any questions, you may call the Benefits Service Center at 800-482-5236 or at Unitel 482-5236, Monday through Friday from 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. Central Standard Time.
While you're dishing out the tickets and getting back to using them again, keep in mind the following quote from United's announcement, "United will continue to monitor the companion ticket travel program closely over the next several weeks and determine whether or not the program should continue beyond Feb. 28, 2002. This review includes costs, the program's impact on operations and new security regulations."
The NewsReal article has a lengthy set of reminders. However, in our own usual style, we'll cut through a lot of that a put a few gems right here:
- Tell companions to stay the heck away from the gate area once they have checked in. The agent's are not responsible for teaching companions NRSA 101 about how the Companion Travel system works. Also, agents generally leave their Flight-Boarding-Prediction crystal balls at home!
- Stay away from the gate counter yes, but not too far. Nothing's more annoying than having agents call out names for three minutes, finally move on to the next NRSA, and watch the original DEAF #1 and CLUELESS #2 come running up to the counter at the last minute. "Snooker! Were you calling Snooker?"
- Onboard: The flight attendants are not your servants. Period. And, despite much of the public's perception, together with our new uniform design, we are not your fast food drive-in clerks either. Be aware. Be courteous. And keep an eye on your own children---particularly on those all-nighter flights.
- Lastly: And his goes for everyone (revenue, NRSA, and UAL management): The aircraft galleys are our offices. They are our work areas. They are our places to organize and to obtain much needed (saying it again for the Snooker family: much needed) privacy and peace of mind. Ask for what you need, then stay out of the galley area. Bored on that long haul? Bring a book next time.
That said, let's now turn our attention back to United management:
The Companion Passes are back. Let's all make sure they stay that way.