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      • Technology
    • The basics of booking a ticket
    • Posted Mar 13, 2012 at 5:00 PM
    • UPDATED (originally posted on Feb 2, 2012)
      We've now moved to a single reservations system and have a unified website for managing travel. We’ve prepared a number of articles that show you how to accomplish different travel-related tasks on the united.com. Here we explain the steps for booking a ticket.

      Booking a flight is a simple and quick process. There are five short steps: Search flights, choose flights, review trip itinerary, add or update traveler information, and complete purchase. Here we walk you through the booking process, exploring all the options available on the unified website. 

      Search for flights
      1.Take a look at our home page. One the left side of the page, you see a blue box with a bright yellow tab labeled Flight.
      United Airlines trip search box on united.com 
      To get started with your flight search, enter some basic travel details: your departure and arrival cities, the dates you want to travel and preferred times of day to travel.
      Tip: If you don’t have a time preference, then the flights you see after you select Search start with the first available departure on the day of travel.  
      In this example, we entered details for an itinerary that departs from Orlando and arrives in Newark. We have chosen to depart on February 15 and return on February 22 and have left the time set to Anytime for both departure and return. We want to search by price for a round-trip ticket in economy class.
      Tip: Unless you select a different radio button at the bottom of the blue box, Search is automatically set to return flight results by price — from lowest to highest. 

       Trip Search box on united.com

      1. If you’re willing to fly out of or in to a nearby airport, check the Search Nearby Airport box; if there is an airport near your departing or arriving cities, you will find alternative airports listed in the search results.
      2. Are you flexible with your travel dates? If getting the best price is important to you, and you’re willing to travel up to three days before or after your preferred dates, select the Price radio button under the Search by:  heading, and then, near the top of the trip search box, check the Find lower Fare +/- 3 Days box. When you click Search, you get the lowest fares available on your selected dates as well as three days before and after. 
      3. If you’re looking for very specific travel times, select the Schedule radio button. Flight results will appear organized by time, from the earliest flights to the latest that day. 
        If you have special travel requirements — for example, you’re looking for a specific fare type, you want to purchase an upgradeable fare or you’re traveling with a pet — you can find all these options by clicking the Advanced Search link at the bottom of the search box.
      4. Do you have a travel promotion or discount certificate? Below the boxes for selecting your travel times, you’ll see a box labeled Offer Code (optional), where you enter your promo code or electronic certificate number. The flight prices displayed on the next page reflect any applicable discounts. Note: We accept electronic certificates from both United and Continental.
      5. Are you are looking to book award travel using your MileagePlus® miles? If so, then select the Award Travel radio button and, on the next page, choose from available flights for which you can redeem your MileagePlus miles.


      Tip: To get the best results, we recommend you sign in to your MileagePlus profile before searching for award travel.   
      As you can see, there are many ways to customize your search when you’re booking a ticket on united.com.
      Choose flights
      After you select Search, the Flight Options page opens with a list of eligible flights to choose from.

      Important: Departing and return flights are listed on two separate pages. Be sure to select both departing and return flights.
      Here is an example of what a departing flight page looks like. 
      Select Departing Flight page on united.com

      From left to right you see these columns: Price, Departing times including the date and city, Arriving times including the date and city, Travel Time showing the duration of the flight and MileagePlus Miles with the number of MileagePlus miles you can earn for the flight segment. The last column shows the flight number and additional information about the flight such as aircraft type and meals, with links to on-time performance information and the aircraft’s seating chart. 

      Review your trip itinerary
      With your preferred flights and travel selected, you’re ready to review your ticket and fare details on the Review Trip Itinerary page.

      1. At the top of the page, a box provides a breakdown of the fare, the number of adults traveling, a link that you can click to review taxes, fees and any additional charges, along with the total price of your ticket.  

      Review Trip Itinerary page on united.com
      FareLock section of page on united.com

      2. Because you may need to change or make adjustments to your travel plans, we offer some fare options that give you the benefit of flexibility. In this example, you see Flexible Fare and Unrestricted Fare offers, both available at a higher purchase price than the regular ticket. 

      3. If you’re ready to purchase your ticket right away, select the Purchase your ticket now radio button. Depending on your departure date, you may be able to purchase FareLock on the Review Trip Itinerary page if you’re not ready to purchase yet or you still need time to finalize your plans. The FareLock feature allows you to hold your itinerary and the price of your ticket for up to seven days.

      Tip: FareLock prices vary based on a number of factors including destination, departure dates and the hold length. The quoted price covers everyone traveling on your itinerary. Note that the FareLock fee is non-refundable. 

      Add or update traveler information
      On the Traveler Information page, we prompt you to enter names of travelers, birthdates and gender (required by the TSA). You can specify certain seats such as aisle or window, and we provide a link with information on how we can help you if you require assistance such as traveling with, or requiring a wheelchair. If you haven’t signed in with your MileagePlus number up to this point, you have the option to do so on this page, and we ask you to provide at least one contact phone number.  
      Traveler Information section of page on united.com
      After entering the required information on the Traveler Information page, it’s time to select your seats. Click the Select Seats button to open the Seat Map page for each of your flight segments and, when available, you can make your seat selection according to the class of ticket you purchased.  
      Seat Map page on united.com

      Tip: You can go back to the seat map to view or modify your seat selection after you purchase your ticket.

      Complete your purchase

      1. Once you’ve completed the seat selection process, continue to the Payment Information page, where we summarize your purchase along with the details of your travel itinerary.

      2. You’ll be advised of the terms and conditions and any fare rules and associated fare restrictions, when applicable.

      3. There are several ways to purchase your ticket: using a credit card, the Bill Me Later service and even Western Union if you prefer to pay with cash.


      Purchase Summary section on united.com
      4. With your payment method selected and your payment details filled in, the last step is for you to provide the email address where we can send your confirmation and ticket receipt.

      5. After you select the I agree – Continue to Purchase button, you’ll receive a confirmation email message to your email address. 

      Enjoy your trip
      We hope this gives you the basics for successfully booking your travel on the united.com website. We've provided articles that help you get around the home page with ease and also manage your MileagePlus profile.
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