It seems that United Airlines has "enhanced" their booking engine in the past few weeks. And, unfortunately, the net result is that they are providing far less information to customers, reducing their options. Oh, and the "Our Lowest Fares" bit they advertise on their website now would appear to be untrue, at least in several examples I’ve tested recently.
The change comes in the way United displays flight connection options. Or, to be more precise, how United does NOT display flight connection options. The united.com website has stopped displaying trip options with more than one connection. In theory this could be spun as helping customers by avoiding more complicated itineraries but that only works when the offering really is to the benefit of the customer. And when you are listing flight options as "Our Lowest Fares" when they actually are not that makes things all sorts of troubling.
Here are a couple examples showing the bias in action:
The United results are missing the $50 cheaper fares available with the extra connection which Orbitz is showing. And it isn’t just that city pair where the problem exists. Here’s another example:
In this case the fare difference isn’t as significant but it is still very much there.
This is quite misleading on the part of United. And you cannot even call them on their lowest fare guarantee with this discrepancy because the fine print says you have to choose the exact same flights. In short, the United website can no longer be trusted to provide customers with the lowest fare, even when they say they are.
Bad form, indeed.