TAMPA, FLORIDA -- First if all, on June 28, 2016 United Airlines lost/misdirected 1 out of 3 of my bags! OK, that happens. But in Tampa THEIR agents unable to "track". I promptly submitted info/paperwork AND sent detailed email directly to "United Customer Service"! (as website directed)
There was NO REPLY FROM THEM until almost 2 FULL WEEKS LATER (July 11 evening). Then, an email: They said "We committed to providing excellent customer service", but they were just now,1st time, asking me about the luggage - what did I lose, they would start to try & find it. I was in 1st Class, & this was their 1st contact/reply??! 2 weeks?!
I replied tactfully, but expressed dissatisfaction! Then I was sent a quick automated form: Asked if I had an contact with C.Service Rep on a specific date. It was NOT THE DATE; so I clicked "no". That was the last I heard from their "SERVICE DEPT"! What LOUSY customer relations!! I am truly sorry to have been such a long-time customer of United Airlines!!!
HOUSTON, TEXAS -- Me and my wife's vacation was largely ruined by the aggravation and inconvenience, the lack of true customer service United Airlines caused on a planned trip to Burlington Vermont. The flights were overbooked to start as we received notice the night before when doing on-line check in. We checked our bags at the counter at MCO. Unproblematic flight. The nightmare begins in Newark. We get a text message to contact an agent when we disembark from the plane as UA4894 was canceled by air traffic control.
Problem is, no one was there to deal with passengers, the few agents manning the whole terminal were facing long lines and many many counters were simply empty. Telling folks to contact an agent but not having nearly enough agents is just the start of this saga. The next text we get is to tell us we are rebooked for Saturday morning leaving at 930 am which is two days later. My wife gets in line at what seems to be a “service counter” which has 5 or 6 stations but only two agents, and in excess of 50 people in line which is not moving at all.
I call UA while my wife is in line and it is virtually impossible to get a person. This is part of the grand design, as this theme will repeat over and over again. My wife never does get through the line, but after 49 minutes per my cell phone records, I got through the endless wait time for an agent on the phone and started considering an alternate flight with a partner that would have put us in BTV around 1130 pm after flying via Washington D.C. No help form the automated kiosk for rerouting which is only telling us the Saturday flight is our only option.
However, in the meanwhile due to nearly 30 passengers being in line, my wife and I learn UA agent is offering a bus to transport to BTV (6 hour ride) but it would get us to BTV by around 800 pm. Several individuals including us asked about the baggage (my medication unfortunately was in my checked baggage).
The agents actually refused to release our baggage, offering some assurances or promises that while there was no room for us on a 500 pm flight (still not sure why our flight could not just take off later as other planes were leaving all day long), but there was room for our baggage and it would be there before our bus would arrive and we would just have to claim it. That would be the first of multiple lies. To be fair, it seems different things were told to different people at different times, with some being told they had no idea when baggage would arrive and it could well be Saturday or Sunday.
We were in the group that was refused luggage release and assured the bags would be there. This was important to me due to my medication. Well, if things went according to promises there would be no letter. We would just lose the half day and suffer the fatigue of the bus trip. Evidently the gate agents there at BTV had no idea nearly thirty people would be showing up, betraying poor organization and communication and a careless disregard for traveling passengers. They had no idea what promises were or were not made about the baggage and there were some unhappy campers arriving late and tired at BTV. We were given claim forms to file.
Our two bags got put under my wife's name and given a file number (see above). The folks at BTV could provide no information or estimate on bag arrival. We were told by the UA agent/employee/representative to contact the baggage resolution center, but to do this as soon as we could get Houston and “before the phones get turned over to India”. What an ominous warning and admission of the deliberately negligent and insufficient service delivered by UA. No such luck for us. It was immediately apparent we had India.
After multiple repetitions of the issues and even 4 or 5 tries with the file number with someone who could not understand English I requested a supervisor... lots of resistance to that, told they did not know when or if our luggage would arrive, or where it was despite my explaining this was critical to me due to the medication. Put on hold for a supervisor... 11 minutes on hold then the call was disconnected, I redialed, tried again placed on hold again for supervisor, this time 14 minutes on hold with no supervisor – exhausted, I tried calling the Houston number which is provided as a second number on the file form… no luck, obviously India again.
Sent online forms using UA system for baggage problems and due to my concern about being without meds also the personal injury claim online... so, that system is nothing but a mirage. The only thing worse than not providing customer service is making pretend you do. My vacation is now running into day two trying to get a guess of when I can get my clothes supplies and medicine. We already miss one dinner, and I spend 38 minutes Friday morning finally getting a supervisor.
Supervisor seems more understanding of the urgency of getting an answer on luggage delivery but cannot explain the initial lie, or why a second bus could not have taken the luggage, or the same bus could not have made a second trip to Vermont with a fresh driver. Supervisor tries to call Newark to find out if sending a bus with the luggage is possible, but (scroll back to how many people are actually there to make pretend customer service is important)... cant get anyone in Newark despite a long hold. We get authorization to buy some clothes, I ask for at least $150 each which he “approves”.
We cancel plans for the rest of the morning (it is now Friday around 1100 pm) and are now in the second long day in our clothing (all my clothes were in my bag along with some of my wife's as I was carrying business papers a laptop and photography equipment in my carry-ons). My wife had no carry-ons either as she does not want to lug anything. Her things are split between her checked bag and mine.
Both of us are in light casual Florida summer wear and we head off to get replace Vermont rainy cold weather clothes and shoes / some supplies we had packed in our baggage which still has no known time for delivery (We were told there were no Newark Flights to VT till Saturday) but no assurance it would be on that flight. Also told we were misinformed that Houston handles any baggage claim service, and that they (India) are the only providers or people to talk to.
I had my doubts since the small flights had been overbooked and there was no apparent room on the 500 pm flight 6/12/14. My faith and belief of anything emanating out of UA is fading and my wife complaining she would never fly UA again. Not a great start to vacation.
At the hotel lobby we get some info on where to get some clothing and told that the same thing happened to the hotel clerk and this apparently happened to a number of her friends – getting bused and no luggage sent with them. We call relatives in the area and one took a taxi on a return trip from Houston and her husband delayed for 10 hours on return from California. This was just the beginning of countless UA BTV nightmares we collected.
Get to the mall to get at least some clothes. We are now soaked in our 2 day Florida clothes. I am not a big clothes shopper, but it becomes quickly clear to me shoes suitable for the planned activities, dinner clothes, and other items are going to be a lot more than $150 each, never mind women's clothes, shoes and wife's needs. Search the UA baggage claim thing on the internet for the phone number and baggage policy limit which is $3500. I try to call Baggage claim, obviously India again. Have real trouble communicating.
I told her we were coming from Newark to BTV, then she would ask where were you coming from. Either not listening or not comprehending. She refuses to speak with me or help me, claiming she cannot find my file without my file number (a lie) and that without the file number she cannot let me talk to a supervisor (another lie, and not impossible, its either a policy or wanton obstruction).
Cannot tell me what baggage claim rights I have, a number of someone at UA to complain to, a legal department number, a complaint department number, or confirm that the baggage claim limit listed on the baggage claim website is accurate or pertains. Thus the baggage claim department cannot state or confirm baggage claim rights, rules or responsibilities.
I am continuing to be upset now since there is nothing but poor baggage claim service and deliberate obstruction in trying to get to superiors who might be able to understand English or are empowered to do anything, Its now well into Friday afternoon and we are not starting any of our “vacation”. The mall does not have anything my size (I am 2xl to 3xl) but my wife finds a few things, so we head downtown to see if we can find shoes/sneakers other needs and eventually pick up what we need before making a final stop to get some toiletries before heading to the hotel to change. We get a call on the way to the hotel that someone is delivering our baggage.
Would have been nice to know that before we spent the day running around for clothes and supplies, but I think at least don't have to stop at a pharmacy to see if I can get meds before my doctors office closes on Friday. Wrong. Wife's bag is there, but only has some of her stuff, as the rest is in my bag, and worse for me, my meds are in my bag. There is no way to call UA in BTV, in fact I learn there are no phone numbers on the internet for any UA local gates – it all goes to the 1800 system.
In short to ask if my bag got left behind in BTV while my wife's was delivered, I have to call, gulp, India again???, And India seems to have no more luck getting a hold of any UA agents at the airports than I do. This time I desperately try to get an agent and make it through to someone in the U.S. Express my gratitude for that and she seems to understand why I refuse to let her transfer me back to baggage claim in India.
She learns my bag is still in Newark and that in fact an error was made at MCO where my bag claim number was assigned to my wife's bag and her bag claim number to mine (a homeland security issue when you can't even get the bags to match up right with the passengers – careless at least) and that my bag as of Friday night when we got back to the hotel was still in Newark. She could find out exactly where it was by calling the million miles phone line. Evidently that can be done, but not by the terribly useless baggage claim service which after lots of time could tell me nothing. She could not tell me when it would be delivered.
Saturday morning still no luck with getting answers from India baggage claim “service”. Supervisor unavailable. They can't confirm the information I was provided the prior night. After holding for supervisor, told again no supervisor available. They promise supervisor will call me back, take all my contact numbers. That was another lie, NEVER got a call from a supervisor.
It's the stuff Saturday Night Live parodies are made of: Hang ups while on hold for supervisors, endless holds for supervisors, lies that supervisors will call back, internet forms to fill out that are never answered, no phone numbers for local airport UA, computer phone menus that only send you back to India, refusals of requests to speak to a department in the US or a department that can handle customer complaints, and lies about what your system can and can't tell you (such as actually knowing where the bag is; being able to look up my account without the file number), and lies that there is even another bag claim service in the US.
Without my medication I really had to limit my food intake and activities we spent the day Saturday hiking, and attending commitments since at least now we had clothes and apparel appropriate for activities. I again don't have my claim number with me but anxious about my medications and trying to determine if I need to go to a local ER or physician for an emergency supply of meds I call the dreaded baggage claim line. Surprise!!! It's Houston! Houston baggage claim!!!
Evidently the wonderful folks in India had posted an early obituary on their American competition and frankly lied to me I could not call or deal with Houston. Lying and misinformation at this level is not just one misinformed trainee – this is systematic obstruction and delay. Still no response from the on-line inquiries. Houston seems a bit confused as the system (consistent with what I could see on the computerized system) stating it was out for delivery and only noting one bag (evidently the system did not clear that my wife's bag made it). They seemed reassuring anyway that somehow it was on its way, but could not tell me where it way.
Before returning to the hotel, since we did not get a call like we did the day before, raising my anxiety, I tried calling baggage claim again. Lightning did not strike twice, I did not get Houston again. I was patient and fortunate to have a little better service from India this time. She could inform me it was my black bag that was going to be delivered and that it would “go out for delivery” at 1130 pm, and I would get a call (as we did on Friday) while it was en route to the hotel. We never got the call and as we returned late a bit exhausted from the day's activities and the endless calls and dealings with your system very much discouraged there was no call.
Fortunately the nice people at the Marriott hotel, all sympathetic as they all seem to have had personal UA nightmares or knew people who had, were exemplary in terms of great customer service. On sight, without our asking they announced my bag had arrived. So we got to enjoy Sunday without headaches of calls to your customer “service” before being cramped on return flights and having my right knee knocked by a flight attendant with a cart since though I am barely outside of normal height I cannot put my legs fully behind the seat with hyperextending my knee and suffering cramps.
So now though I had a busy day at the office after my not so restful or healthy vacation, I am spending hours filling in your claim forms, getting copies of what you require and writing this letter before I will spend some more time making copies and faxing the claim to whatever customer “service” handles these claims.
Now, the 1800 fax number for claims gives me a no signal message. Call... India again! They repeat that is the number. After getting irate at repeated attempts to make the operator understand I am not an idiot and can understand fax error messages, I ask for supervisor. No supervisor, but did get a different baggage claim fax number. My fax to them asked for them to acknowledge receipt of the fax when it arrived... nearly 12 hours later, no response. Emailed UA counsel, president and other officials last night and 3x today. No reply.
Unbeknownst to me, when making an online purchase from "Better Senior Living" apparently a part of "Taylor Gifts", I was subscribed to "Money Ahead Now" and "Travel Entertainment" and my credit card was charged $14.95 for each, monthly until I noticed it finally. I have contacted my credit card company, the Montana State Consumer Protection Services and have received credit.
What I don't understand is how this fraud continues with no federal action to shut down this practice. How many people, especially the elderly, are being scammed by this??? Is it the responsibility of the catalog companies or the credit card companies to police and shut down this practice? I continue to search for answers.
CHICAGO, ILLINOIS -- Well-managed airlines factor the lifetime value of a customer into their decisions. United apparently does not. My wife and I secured two United award tickets on 12/12/14, traveling from Cleveland to Barcelona on 9/5/15 and returning from Istanbul on 9/20/15 to Cleveland. Just this past week (first week of July 2015), United informed us that the scheduled return trip from Istanbul, with a stop in Houston, was being changed to a flight that did not provide sufficient time in Houston to clear customs and make our connecting flight. This forces us to reschedule our Istanbul flight; however, the options, at this late date, are severely limited for award ticket travel.
United refuses to place us on any of the remaining flights because they “no longer have award seats available.” This is of course a choice on their part. They could redesignate two seats as award seats if they wished. These flights did however have award seats open when we first scheduled our reservations in December.
United's response is (1) to place us on a series of flights with between 3-4 stops between Barcelona and Cleveland (as opposed to the one stop we had scheduled) and (2) to cut short our stay in Barcelona by half a day (out of a five day stay) by insisting that we depart early in the morning. Alternatively they suggested that we stay overnight in Houston at our own expense and fly back to Cleveland the next day, causing us to miss a day of work, again at expense to us. We did not cause this problem. United and its partners did this to us. They have a responsibility to fix a problem they created. United Airlines: please fix this.
GARLAND, TEXAS -- United HealthCare has AWFUL and I do mean AWFUL customer service. Since returning from Hong Kong I needed to get health insurance. What a job it has been to get them to take my money and possibly get me signed up (possibly). I won't go into details. Bottom line: NO customer service. One can NOT email them, unless you get special permission from a supervisor. They are too busy to deal with issues. If you have one it is your responsibility to follow up. You should KNOW insurance ease and know what to ask at what point. Ridiculous! Unless you must use United HealthCare run from them.
Perhaps all insurance companies are the same, I don't know. It looks like that I will go without coverage for a short time due to their incompetency and inability to get a fax from their mail room on to the system. I can, of course, pay full price to doctors should I need to see a doctor until they get this issue fixed. They will reimburse me. I am sure this would take a minimum of 6 weeks. This system is broken. I know I am singing to the choir as many of you already know this. I am seeing red. I have done what they asked me to do. Most of the time on the day the request was made, others the next day. It was not good enough. One month is not enough time to get a policy...
CHICAGO, ILLINOIS -- Just to notify I have pending complaints against United with Consumer Protection Divisions of US Dept. of Transportation, IL Atty Gen, SD Atty Gen, & TX Atty Gen, & pertinent BBBs. United solicited 55,000 Mileage Plus miles from me for available upgrades to First Class on all 6 flight segments of an R/T MKE-LIH. After deducting all 55,000 miles from my account, United then upgraded only 3 segments. Trying to be slick, United upgraded 1 segment on the outbound MKE-LIH and 2 segments on the inbound LIH-MKE.
When I complained, United's response was that upgrading 1 or more segments of outbound or inbound constitutes upgrading all segments of in or out. United tried this same thing on me years ago and the ILAG and USDOT intervened and got my miles re-credited back into my account. Will appreciate any advice, and will share any info my complaints generate that might help others.
INFURIATING BAIT AND SWITCH AWARDS PROGRAM: I am a frequent flier (Silver Medallion level) on United and have several times used my miles for international r/t business and first class tickets. When I book, the agent tells me they only can confirm my desired class on the outbound because Singapore Air does not release their partner award seats until two days before travel, so they issue the return ticket as economy class, but still deduct up to 120,000 miles from my account as if I am receiving first or business both ways.
I have been told that it is possible that Singapore would release the return award seat within a few days of departure, and I should call them to request my upgrade to the proper class. In each of the cases, I have been denied the return flight in the class that I "paid" for with miles, even though once I boarded the flights both classes nearly were empty. I was even denied entry to the first and business lounge, even though I spent 120k miles to receive the service, which was especially infuriating since my layovers were typically more than 8 hours, and I had to sit in the airport through the night (one time while very ill).
I pleaded with both airlines to accommodate me, and showed them that I paid with miles, according to their own awards program rules, but they each passed the buck to the other. Singapore told me they could not upgrade me unless United requested it, and United told me the same about Singapore -- a classic catch 22. It was recently revealed to me by a Singapore agent that they couldn't possibly authorize an upgrade or let me use the lounge because United only paid them for the upgraded class one way WHEN THEY INITIALLY BOOKED THE TICKET, which means United never intended for me to get the full value of my miles.
I then requested United reimburse my miles for the unused portion (since I was forced to return via economy) and was refused and referred to customer relations, who also stonewalled me. I know this has happened with every other awards program traveler to Asia, and probably other international destinations because it is INSTITUTIONALIZED POLICY, and I have witnessed other fellow travelers having much the same heated exchanges with airline agents. In my view constitutes CONSUMER FRAUD and should be exposed by the media.
Perhaps the airlines feel that award travelers are "getting something for nothing" and they deserve to be shortchanged, but miles are earned with loyalty and FREQUENT TRAVEL, (and I suspect higher airfares to cover the award flights), so is in effect a "volume discount" and not a "gift". It seems that there is a possible class action lawsuit that could be filed that would at least compel airlines with such hidden "bait-and-switch" policies to, at the very least, reveal them to frequent fliers before they sign up for programs or book award flights. Additionally, they should only deduct miles to reflect what the award traveler actually uses.
I would like to be compensated for all of the flights where United deducted my miles, but did not give me what I paid for. I would like to see posts from other travelers and encourage them to report similar complaints to all consumer fraud blogs, websites, and write to the airlines with your complaints.
My daughter's nightmare began Thursday Jan. 3, 2008. We brought her to the Albany International Airport (NY) to catch a 6 am flight back to Reno. She was to arrive at Reno/Tahoe International the same day at 2:58pm. She called me at 9 am, and several times after that, saying they hadn't left yet, and no one was telling them anything. The last time she called me was 1:31 pm, and they were still waiting to take off. They hadn't offered the passengers anything to eat, drink, no pillows, or blankets... nothing to make the ridiculous 8 hour delay more comfortable!
The plane finally took off around 2 pm, and arrived in Washington (Dulles). After layover there, and arriving at Denver International, way off schedule she missed her original flight to Reno. At one point she was even told they would fly into San Francisco, then to Reno. But she never heard anything about it from then on. She was rescheduled to arrive in Reno around 10 pm, then shortly after told all flights to Reno were canceled. In the midst of all this I had called United Customer Service a few times to find out what was going on and what could be done. As did many of the other passengers. The people I spoke to were.
Useless at best! I asked for an update, I asked if they could call the airports to get information and was told they could do neither! They could not help me one little bit! How ridiculous to have customer service that can't help a customer, although come to find out, they're CS aren't even in the USA. No surprise there! At this point my daughter had asked everyone she could what she was supposed to do, they just kept sending her from one desk to another and none of them would help her or had any answers, so by this time she was hysterical beyond consoling so I advised her to go to the United desk and ask for a voucher or something to stay in a hotel.
She called back saying they were not accommodating any of the passengers for overnight, and at that point all flights on Friday Jan. 4th to Reno were canceled as well. So that meant she was stranded in Denver for another day. Then they told her she had reached her final destination. By then I was livid... got back on the phone with United Customer service and told the man I was speaking to that I was NOT going to hang up, I would call back every five minutes if I had to, and he WAS going to help me find her a flight and a room, and if he was incapable, to let me speak to a manager or a supervisor.
He said he would speak to a supervisor and put me on hold. Came back a bit later and asked if I wanted him to make a reservation with US Air for her, leaving at 5:35 Friday morning I said yes, he gave me all the information, told me to have her just go to the US Air desk for her flight in the morning. She was finally able to convince one of the people at the United desk to give her a hotel room for the night, went to look for her luggage and it was sent to San Francisco. But OK, we figured the worst was behind us. Not even!
She got back to the airport in the morning and went right to the US Air desk as I was told to do, but the confirmation # he gave me was for United, not US Air, so when she went to the US Air desk, she was told she had to go to the United desk, stand in line yet again, get her ticket then back to the US Air, which she did, ran to the gate and was told it was 9 minutes to departure and she was not allowed to board! This put her as a no show, so she had to sit in Denver all morning as a stand by. She finally got home about 5 pm today.
As I understand it, there were storms preventing them from flying into Denver last night, but had she not had to sit in Albany for 8 hours first, and missed all her connecting flights she would have had no problem at all. Everything that transpired and happened to her and all the other passengers in that 36 hr. period is an outrage!! The first lady (CS) I spoke to when all this began, even argued with me the plane had already left the ground, while I had my daughter on my cell phone at the same time saying they still didn't have any idea when they would take off. Then another lady (CS) told me she had landed in Reno!
I am totally amazed, that United Airlines operates with such incompetence at the airports, and I don't care if this sounds prejudiced, or bigoted. When companies outsource to those countries that can barely speak English, for customer service, I don't want to deal with them. I don't know much about big business, but common sense says that in order for something to go smoothly, everyone involved needs to be able to work together. The representatives are mindless puppets. They read what's in front of them and are incapable of dealing with anything off the page. Why outsource at all?
There are thousands of people or physically disabled adults out there willing to work from home. Why not hire them!? There's no overhead, no taxes to deal with accept on their end, sounds pretty simple to me. At least they will be US citizens with more than half a brain! My daughter will never fly United again. I will pay the extra money for any other airlines, and if I have my way, through my right to Freedom of Speech, so will a lot of other people.
It is interesting to note that United Airlines has dropped the slogan, "Fly the Friendly Skies of United." Either United knows that they cannot keep this promise (of "friendly skies") or they simply do not care. I believe it is the latter. Throughout the 80's and early part of the 90's, I was spending a lot of time on planes flying for work. While it was difficult spending time away from my three pre-school children and my wife, it was some consolation to know that at least I was racking up frequent flier miles. United had built my loyalty with the promise that if I flew with them I would some day be able to treat my family to a nice vacation after years on the road.
I did my part. I flew almost exclusively on United Airlines. This was before the days of "expiring miles." Later, my miles were broken out separately on my statement as "non-expiring" miles. Now my kids are in their teens, and I wanted to take them on the trip I had EARNED by trusting United Airlines (i.e., that if I did my part by spending thousands of dollars with them they would provide the trips promised me).
You must be able to imagine my surprise when I called to find out my balance. Instead of the 165,000+ miles, I was told that I only had 5,000 miles in my account. I was stunned and assumed that there must be a mistake. I was later to find that the mistake was in ever trusting United Airlines.
United made the decision that they would, in fact, expire the "non-expiring" miles. Since I hadn't traveled over the past few years they would wipe away all of these miles. I do want to point out that American, Delta, and Alaska airlines had similar classifications of miles, i.e., those that expired and those that didn't. I had much lower balances on these other airlines, since I had used United for most of my travels. This is important to bring up because (unlike United) American, Delta, and Alaska air kept my "non-expiring" miles intact.
I made frequent calls to both Mileage Plus and United. Each pointed the finger at each other. The response that I got was consistent. They needed me to fly with them over the past few years and since I didn't they didn't consider me to be a loyal customer. I pointed out that I wasn't flying with anyone during that period. Apparently, they expected me to rush out and buy a ticket that I didn't need just to keep their airline afloat.
United has made it very clear that they do not intend to live up to their promise of giving me ticket rewards for my loyalty in the 80's and 90's. I feel as though my bank account was wiped out by a criminal. The bank account was my mileage account, and you know who the criminals are.
Read the complaints of others, regarding United Airlines. Don't let this happen to you. Make a conscious choice not to end up like me. I urge you to trust your flying dollars to airlines with integrity, such as American, Delta, and Alaskan Airlines.
You will undoubtedly see many complaints that United Mileage Plus members find it impossible to use their miles (i.e., planes don't have seats available for rewards travel). I find it interesting that I had little trouble getting reward travel on American Airlines to and from Miami for a cruise that I have planned. United believes airline travel is a commodity. I disagree, and I appreciate the service provided by other customer-focused airlines.
WASHINGTON DULLES/ TORONTO PEARSON -- I am writing to you in regards to an issue I have with United Airlines. I'm hoping you can help me with my story because I think that consumers should have some sort of voice as well as valuable information before they chose to fly with various airlines. My matter started on Wednesday July 25, 2007. I flew from Aruba to Washington (UA974) and then Washington to Toronto (UA7794). I was in Aruba for 2 weeks on a vacation as well as visiting a friend. When I arrived in Toronto both of my bags were not there, this is where my nightmare started. Not only did they misplace one bag but both of my bags did not arrive.
After all of the baggage was picked up from our flight I went to speak to a United representative. He assured me that one of my bags was on the next flight, landing an hour or so after mine. I waited 3 hours after my flight arrived to see if my bag was there and it wasn't. The United representative made me fill out a lost luggage report and again reassured me that they were both still in Washington waiting to be placed on the next flight to Toronto. This unfortunately was not the case at all. Since it was 2:30 am by the time I left the airport I left everything for the next day since I was exhausted.
The very next morning I called the lost baggage customer support number and again was told that both of my bags were last scanned in Washington and still waiting to be placed on the next flight to Toronto. He told me that because of weight issues they May not have been put on the plane, therefore once again left behind. He told me to call back in 3 hours and check for any updates. Following their instructions I called back again.
With every phone call I placed I had to give every possible piece of information (my name, my address, phone number, airport I filled out my lost baggage report, my baggage claim number, the flight which I flew on etc. taking at least 5-10 minutes before I could even voice my issue). After giving the representative all my information I would be placed on hold for another 5 minutes, with the explanation that they are inputting my information and checking for any updates.
The representative would then come back on the line and tell me to please continue waiting. The music they play while on hold is perhaps the most unappealing music I've ever heard; it has the potential to drive a person crazy. From the very first day I was patient and understanding with the representatives and aware that humans make mistakes (mistakes meaning misplacing my suitcases). Once the representative came back on the line for the second time he told me that he would call me in an hour because he was positive that they would both be on the next flight.
From the very beginning I was told that they were sending priority messages to the Dulles airport and would have some response within the next few hours. I waited and waited at my house because I did not want to miss any phone call regarding the whereabouts of my suitcases. Two hours later I still did not receive a phone call so I called back again to see why I didn't and check for any updates. After going through the initial information stage I was told now that it 'seems' that my bags are in the Washington airport because they were last scanned there. So I went from being assured that my bags are there awaiting a flight to it 'seems' that they are there.
With that being said I began to feel as though each representative had lied to me so they would not have to deal with the problem themselves and get me off the phone in order to place my problem on someone else's shoulder. I was told again that the rep. was sending another priority message to the Dulles airport because they still did not respond to the previous ones. I was told to call back the following morning at 9 am to check for any updates which I agreed with.
DAY 3 - DAY 6
Threw out the following days I had placed the same phone calls. I spoke to various representatives that told me the same thing; it seems they are in the Washington Dulles airport and because of weight issues on the plane they are still being held at the Washington airport. I spoke with representatives at least 3 times a day, each time I spoke with a different representative. It is torture for a person to go through the agonizing process of providing information, staying at or close to home in case of a phone call as well as hearing the same speech over and over again in regards to sending priority messages and saying that they understand.
In one phone conversation I was told again that a rep. Would call me back in 3 hours with any information good or bad therefore I stayed home waiting for yet another phone call which again never came. So once again I called back asking why I did not receive and phone call and this time I was told that someone tried to get a hold of me but I was not available. This was a blatant lie because I was sitting at home the entire time. Even if I was on the phone, which I was not, we have call waiting as well as voicemail therefore I could be reached at all times.
The rep. asked me if there was another number to reach me at which I'm not sure why because I'm fully aware that they did not try to get a hold of me. I told her that there was not because my cell phone charger was in my baggage therefore I don't have it on me but there is a voicemail that would pick up if called. In the end I did not give her my cell phone number because I knew it was useless and overall a lie that they told me. This time I asked to speak to a manager or someone with more authority and I was told that it could not be done because it was a call center.
The fact that there was no supervisor frustrated me and made me feel like the size of an ant in a big world. This caused me to take matters into my own hands, well try to anyway. I went online and tried searching for any possible information I could. I got the Dulles airport number and contacted them. I left two messages saying that I'm looking for two bags that were misplaced in the airport. I gave detailed information and said that United representatives have continuously tried contacting reps. At the airport and have not had any response.
After the second message I left a nice lady returned my call and left me a message saying that she had one bag in the lost and found that matched my description but she had already located the owner of the bag. She also provided me with the number of the United lost and found at the Dulles airport (703-572-7799). I began calling and calling that number but to this day (August 7th) no one has answered this number and there is not answering machine to leave a message. Once again I left overwhelmed with despair, hopelessness, and frustration.
In the mean time I continued calling the lost baggage center and was repeatedly told the same thing over and over again. This call center must be outsourced somewhere because each person had accents as well as ethnic/cultural names, which I have no problem with, and also had no further information to give me. I believe all they have is email and some sort of switch board to relate messages.
I've asked them numerous times to personally call the Dulles airport reps, some reps. told me that could not be done, while some put me on hold saying they will do so and come back on line saying no one is answering their call. Therefore I don't even know if they in fact tried making the call or if they just put me on hold and waited a while, came back on the line with me and said no one is answering. With each phone call I felt smaller and smaller and more helpless in the matter but I continued to be patient and kind with every individual I spoke with.
In this time I also wrote various emails to any email address I could locate on the United website as well as consumer story web pages. All I got in return, with the ones that actually emailed me back, was that they would forward my information to the lost baggage department. I basically completed one big circle and did not gain one ounce of progress.
Basically after a week of phone calls and emails I was still at a dead end. All I managed to get was lengthy conversations with unhelpful representatives, busy signals, useless emails, zero information regarding the whereabouts of my luggage, frustration, loss of employment, stress, frustration, and anger that simply no one with United cares about these issues.
My life has been turned upside down because I have no casual clothes, no work clothes, no shoes, no dresses for upcoming weddings I must attend, no personal hygiene products, no electronics, no memorable items I bought in Poland while visiting my grandparents early this year. This situation is so very overwhelming and in order to understand it one must personally go through it themselves.
One week had gone by so I decided that Maybe there is more information out there that could help me with my situation. I decided to go to a travel agency and see if they could give me any advice or contact numbers that would be useful with this matter, First, I went to CAA, I figured that since they are a travel agency as well as insurance providers they would definitely have some sort of information. This was very untrue. All they told me was to call the lost baggage telephone number and that is the only I can do. I was discouraged to hear that but I tried one more place.
I went to a local travel agency and a lady helped me as best she could. I was, and continue to be, very appreciative of her kindness. She took all of my information and did the best she could to contact the United customer service as well as find me any other numbers that could be useful for my case. She provided me with another number for the United customer service at the Dulles airport. I called this number but all I got was a recording that stated that they no longer take voicemails regarding bag descriptions because of the volume of messages left, instead they said to email the description to an address. I did as they said.
I provided every ounce of information regarding my flight, times, bags etc. All they respond back to be is that they are sorry about my missing backs, provide me with a form I need to fax or mail in and that is all. It once again gets me absolutely nowhere.
Out of the couple of hundreds of phone calls I made to the customer service department I was told a few times that one of my bags was forwarded to the Toronto airport but it was not scanned there after arrival. With that being said I thought that perhaps my one bag was sitting in the lost and found at the Pearson airport and possibly had its name tag ripped off. I phoned the Toronto Pearson Airport to see if I could speak to a United rep. from the airport but I was told they do not deal with phone calls and the best way to contact them is to personally come speak with them face to face and even then they May not be useful.
It wasn't a surprise that the gentleman at the help desk told me they are uncaring. With that information I called a friend of mine up and we drove an hour and a half to the airport. First we went into the lost and found in Terminal 1. When I saw the complete mess and lack of security in the airport my heart sunk. There were rooms of lost luggage that did not have any doors, luggage thrown and left sitting by the walls, and people everywhere waiting for their own luggage by the carousels. The lost and found was in the same giant room where travelers on Canadian flights where picking up their luggage.
Basically if anyone wanted to take an extra suitcase or two it could have been done in a heartbeat with no questions asked. I walked around to each pile and room with suitcases. I saw damaged suitcases, where the entire contents of a people's bags were lying on the ground, empty suitcases piled up at the corners of the walls in the room. Actually when I was in one room there was a man loading all the empty suitcases on a cart, most likely destined for the garbage. I was so angry to see this sort of chaos and lack of security and professionalism.
There is an incredible amount of security before boarding a plane (you cannot bring water bottles on some flights or lighters or nail files, you have to take your shoes off and your belt off while going through customs, you must place all your items through various security measures before boarding a plane but afterwards it is all out of your hands. I understand why we have such security in customs but why is it that then is comes to an individual's personal property they provide no security at all.
My one and only thought was that if Toronto Pearson is so unorganized, lacks security, and is much smaller than the Washington Dulles airport, I cannot imagine what goes on there. I'm sure it is a 100% worse with all the concourses, shuttle buses, and volumes of people. When I finally reached the front of the line at the lost and found desk (at least a half hour later) the gentleman I spoke to was very unfriendly. I questioned the security of the lost luggage and he cold heartedly told me that if I want to steal a camera then I should go ahead if I want to be placed in jail.
I was shocked by his response. I had no words to say to him because I knew if I did I would lose my cool. I simply said that I myself would never do such a thing but there are people in this world that would and because people like that exist there should be more security protecting peoples' property, especially after I saw the condition of some lost suitcases and the lack of care for them. He then said there is security at the doors but surely enough when we walked out there was not one person standing there to even look as though they have any sort of security. I honestly could not even fathom his response and the disorder of that airport.
The lost and found rep. provided me with a sheet and told me to wait in the main section of the airport and someone will escort into the international section of the airport, where I initially waited for my luggage on July 25th. My friend had to wait outside for me because only one individual can go through customs at a time. The man eventually came and took me to that section of the airport. There I found some more lost luggage, not nearly as much as in the other section, but here at least you needed to be escorted and pass customs. I looked for my luggage and nothing.
I went up to the United information desk where I found an unpleasant man. I asked him to help me or provide some assistance in locating my bags. All he did was type in my claim number and told me that they have not been located.
With all the new technology within airports it stuns me how 2 bags can be traced, misplaced, and then not located. The incredible tracing systems they have are nothing more than a joke. He told me to call the customer service number which I told him I've been doing for the past week, 3-4 times a day. And this is how he left things with me, he turned his attention to something else. I was so upset with the lack of competence any of the United employees have. The nice man that escorted me into the that section told me to go upstairs and try speaking with the manager there, so that is exactly what I did.
I went to the section of the airport where passengers were checking their baggage with United. After waiting in line with the current passengers it was obvious that it would take way too long to get to the front of the line. I told the others that I was simply asking the reps. to radio a manager and it would only take a minute to do. Most were understanding but the lady working pretty much shrugged me off until I repeated that all I would like is to speak with a manager and not her. She finally did and then told me he would be there in less than 5 minutes. A gentleman came and all he did was radio another manager.
After roughly 15-20 minutes a man by the name of **, a United manager, came. He was extremely pleasant and told me he would personally follow up with my case. He took me to a room where after 72 hour lost baggage sits. In this room there was a man opening up baggage and checking the contents, I'm assuming to help identify the owner of the bag. Here again I did not find any of my bags. ** reassured me once again that they would be found. He said that Dulles is located in the capital of USA and that it would be found. I felt confident after speaking to him that my bags would be located and safely returned.
My friend as well thought the same. He also says bags are often misplaced but 99% of the time they are always located. He said himself that he had lost a bag and it had been 6 weeks and he still hasn't found it. Again he stated that they would find the bag and I would get it back soon. He provided me with a direct number to reach him at and told me to call him the next day around 3 pm, he even told me that I might hear from him before then but if I don't and he doesn't hear from me he will call me anyway. I was overjoyed to hear his words and left the airport that day feeling sure that I would see my bags again.
** also told me at some point in our conversation, that I was responsible for my baggage in the Dulles airport. He said that I was supposed to pick up my bags and go through customs there which I know for a fact is not true. My friend that I visited never once has had to do that because you go through the US customs in the Aruba airport. I told him I did not have to do such a thing while flying down to Aruba and he responded by saying I did not have to do that because I went through US customs in Canada. That is true I did do that in the Toronto airport. But I also had to in Aruba.
It was humorous that he was trying to place the responsibility of my lost baggage on me and my failure to be an informed traveler. The way he spoke about it made me question if I in fact I did have to pick up my luggage in Dulles and go through customs there. Once I got home I spoke to my friend who lives in Aruba and I was reassured that not once have they ever had to do such a thing because there is a US customs in Aruba.
That morning I once again called the lost baggage customer service number, I never stopped checking for any updates with them, but all I was told was that they were still not located. It did not affect me as much because I was under the impression that ** was personally looking into it himself and he would have more information for me. I waited for 3 o'clock to roll around and I made my call. There was no answer all it did was ring and ring and ring. I was understanding because I knew that they are constantly busy around the airport, dealing with customers and searching for bags.
I called numerous times that day and still no answer and I did not hear from ** either. So once again I became discouraged. Once again I hit a dead end, back to square one.
DAY 10 - 12
I continued calling the lost baggage service line, once again speaking to a variety of reps. that asked the same questions and told me the exact same things; no updated information has been provided to them. Not even one bit of information has changed since July 25th. I've been wearing the same clothes repeatedly and the same shoes. I do not have money to purchase new items because I am a university student that has tuition to pay for, books, rent, bills etc. The ticket itself cost me $800, therefore leaving me with a decrease in my finances.
Day 13 (August 7, 2007)
Today I finally reached ** and he had nothing to say. I honestly do not think he even remembered who I was. This time he was very unpleasant. It seems as though the only reason he was kind to me at the airport was to get me out of the airport as fast as he could. I asked him if it seems they are permanently lost now and he said yes. I now have to fill out a claims form which takes 6 weeks to be processed again leaving me with no money or progress.
He got me off the phone as quick as he could by just saying fill it out send it in and that's all I can do. I even offered to fly down to Dulles many times to look myself for my bags and speak to representatives down there but he said, as well as the reps., that is just a waste of time. I now feel hopeless and angry. After getting off the phone with him I went online to check for the telephone number for the United headquarters in Chicago. I found it and called. First they say to punch in the extension or punch in the name of the individual you are trying to contact or wait on the line.
I waited on the line and an answering machine picked up and said to leave a message but after the voice stopped talking the machine hung up, thus making sure no one who does not know anybody within the building can leave a message.
I tried back once again and a lady picked up, I told her I would like to speak with someone with authority regarding an issue I've had with United, she did not say anything and a couple seconds later another lady came on the phone, she asked which department I would like to speak with and I told her I've already spoken with the lost baggage department but as soon as I said lost baggage she put me through to the headquarter number again. The same menu came up but instead of picking up the phone again no one answered and the line went dead. I called back again and still no answer.
Basically they do not want to deal with any complaints about lost baggage. They could not care less about their customers' issues and why would they when they are getting paid an incredible amount of money while everyone suffers. United simply does not care about its passengers. What I don't understand is how my baggage could have been lost, not one but both bags. First of all it was last scanned in the Washington Dulles airport and did not make it to the Toronto Pearson airport. Therefore it was left behind.
There is no way BOTH of my bags grew legs and walked out of the airport, so all I can say at this point either it was stolen by a traveler or employee of United or the Dulles airport or it was thrown on another flight somewhere in the world and United is not doing anything to locate it within the world by systematically tracing it. The way in which the customer service representatives handled my problem sickens me, the fact that no one, I mean no one, cares about it is discouraging and should not be allow to happen within today's time. No explanation was ever provided to me.
People everywhere should be informed of the lack professionalism and competence United has to offer. It disgusts me how big conglomerates can walk all over the 'small' people of the world and their property. By writing my story I am hoping that all travelers will be informed of United's true intentions and professional identity. I am aware of the fact that I will most likely never see my luggage again but if this story prevents someone else experiencing the nightmare that I have had to deal with than it is all worth it.
I am forwarding this story to all possible news outlets and customer report agencies and defenders in hope that someone will help me share my story, along with many others', and to eventually modify the responsibilities of airlines and in this specific case United airlines.