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.
DENVER AIRPORT, COLORADO -- BEWARE! BEWARE! UNITED AIRLINE. Cheap price = Cheap service. In recent economy of America. I am an American to support America. I used UA for my vacation. But I disappointed completely after used them. Their cheap price = Cheap service = Bait. When you start at airport you will start to pay more for their service for luggage, drinking water, etc. After all of those = Expensive price = Terrible service.
I had booked a flight from John Wayne. (SNA-CA) airport to Orlando International (MCO-FL) airport with one connection at Denver (DEN-CO). On December, 19. 2012. On December, 19. 2012 I had come SNA-CA at 10.00 am to check in ready by schedule. On flight UA431 depart at 1.51 pm to Denver (DEN, CO) at 5.10 pm. At that time weather in SNA-CA was good day with clear sky and temperature was 53 F. But my flight delayed 1 hour by UA operate (They delayed my flight for get more guests go to Tampa-Fl. Had come in late that day) Then flight could leave SNA at 2.50 pm (1 hour late).
UA4314 had come DEN-CO at 5.50 pm late 40 minutes by schedule and I missed my connection Flight UA353 by schedule departed 5.40 pm. After few hour waiting I feel badly by cool weather at DEN-CO airport that day (Cool-Snow & Rain) I had contacted UA customer service for a support they gave to me a phone number of their partner hotel in Denver, I tried to call them but their price was unacceptable.
I contacted UA customer service again and explain my health situation that time with them and their answer was, I must stay in airport with that situation and they will reschedule my flight to earliest flight to MCO-FL in next day. If something happen, their insurance will take care all. Late in that day under that weather condition my blood pressure went up at airport and got an emergency service to University of Colorado Hospital that night. I came back airport at 6.00 am in early morning December 20, 2012 and got reschedule my flight on UA 850Y departed at 10.15 am and came MCO on 3.40 pm.
At MCO one more time I got trouble because my luggage did not came in with my flight. After an hour looking for my luggage I knew they came in another flight earlier my flight (this is a deceitful and deceive of United Air Line Customer Services). When I got home and received a bill from University of Colorado Hospital and Emergency Service was 15.000,00 (for about 3 hour service without any treatment) After my insurance paid a co pay is 150.00 us.
I had been contacted Mr. Jeff Smisek, Chairman of UA and Insurance department of UA to pay this Co pay. Then last their answer is, they do not guarantee flight times and reserves the right to adjust flight times as necessary.
This answer show out disrespect and unreliability of United Air Line with their customer even they was wrong of all. BEWARE & BE CAREFUL with United Air Line. The worst airline company. Get away with them when you see UA If you don't.
RICHMOND, VIRGINIA -- On Friday May 4Th, I caught a red eye from California to Richmond Virginia to attend a very important wedding on May 5Th which started at 4:00 pm. I had a layover in Chicago. When I arrived in Richmond @ approximately 9:30 am, my luggage was not there. I went over to the Baggage Claim office, spoke to a representative who advised me that all she could do is file a complaint and my luggage would be delivered to me once it was located. I insisted that she get in touch with someone as I was due to attend the wedding in a few hours. She called an internal 800 number and spoke to someone who could not verify at the time that my luggage was found.
She gave the baggage claim ticket number to the representative on the other end who told her that once they had not located my luggage and there was a misconnect between flights. She then handed me a piece of paper and told me that I would have to call the 800 listed in a few hours as there was nothing else she could do and she started assisting the next passenger whose luggage was also lost. I could not accept that as I had flown into town strictly for the wedding. She brushed me off and insisted there was absolutely nothing she could do, not even refund me or was willing to attempt to refund my baggage fee of $25.
I sat in the airport in tears not knowing what my next step would be but I knew I could not miss the wedding. I sat in the airport dialing the 800 number back to back just to hear the same recording, that my luggage had not been located!! This caused me a lot of stress and anxiety. I asked the representative in baggage claim if I could have the number she called to contact the person she spoke with and she told me no, it's an internal number and went on to say the next flight into Richmond was not until 3:57 and then after 11:00 pm and "hopefully" my luggage is on one of those flights but there is no guarantee!!!
She didn't seem to understand the urgency of the matter and how limited I was on time. I finally left the airport after almost begging for some assistance. There had to be someone who could tell me that at least my luggage was located... I called the number over and over again and still no one could tell me where my luggage was. I finally got through to a representative she assured me that they had located my luggage but still could not guarantee that my luggage was on its way to Richmond. She stated there is nothing they can tell me until the plane lands and the luggage is scanned off the plane.
My issue was if it was located, someone had to handle my luggage and hand it off to the ramp guy/girl. In my case I felt it should have been treated with more care and urgency and there should be some system in place to flag lost or misconnected luggage. I decided I could not risk missing the wedding and decided I would have to re-shop. I was tired and irritated out shopping again for something to wear to the wedding. I was very upset and did not find anything to replace what was already in my suitcase!! I called the 800 number one last time and asked for a Supervisor. I was told the Supervisor was on another call and would call me back!!
I decided that I would not make it to the wedding and cried for at least an hour because that was my reason for flying into town. I received a call back from a representative at United and was told that my luggage was on the flight due to land at 3:57 pm which gave me a 3 minute window before the wedding started. I was really upset. Once I got to the airport, the President was in town and all movement had ceased. Needless to say I missed the wedding and feel that there is something that should be done for my inconvenience.
I would have at least thought there would be something documented in the data base to waive my baggage fee on my return trip maybe an upgrade to first class, a complimentary glass of wine!! Nothing. I missed one of the most important events that I will ever want to attend and am very disappointed in the way I was handled and my luggage was handled. I never got an apology or anything from anyone who represents United Airlines.
I am still upset about the entire situation and will take further action if necessary. It took a lot of preparation and planning for me to attend this wedding and I also used my PTO from work and because someone misconnected and the way my luggage was handled, I missed it entirely. Emotional distress, anxiety, anger, depression... I missed the wedding!!!
HOUSTON, TEXAS -- My husband and I had tickets to Hawaii on Continental for Feb. 21st for the birth of our granddaughter. He died unexpectedly Feb. 13th, and his funeral had to be scheduled the day we were to travel. I cancelled his ticket, and had to reschedule my flight at an additional cost of 400 plus 150 change fee. As soon as I returned on Feb. 28th, I called Continental and was told I could email all documentation and get a refund of his ticket and my change fees. Sent everything required. Then, Continental became United shortly after my request. So, I resubmitted everything to the United email address. Received a canned reply.
Waited 2 weeks, then went to check status on website. Now, there is an "online" form to fill out, which United representative did not tell me. So, I fill out online form, I also fax all required documentation (after trying to get through for days. No reply. I check the status for 2 weeks, still says "pending review" and to call the number although website says 6 days for credit card refunds. I call the number listed... go through the options, say I want refunds, finally get to "refunds" option, it says to go to the website!!!
I resubmit via email and ask for status... again canned reply. No reply. Still "pending review". I send a couple more emails with all documentation, and I fax with a cover letter showing the history that I originally submitted on Feb 28th!!! I ask NICELY for a phone call or email with status... nada. I then send everything; hard copy along with death certificate to the mailing address with proof of delivery. April, I check status AGAIN: Now it says "Error" could not process request. WHAT?!! So, I call United... ask for a reservations agent, tell her the whole story, how frustrated I am.
I need the refund as I have had to move, my husband had no life insurance, and this is putting a great deal of added stress that I don't need while dealing with my husband's death. She says no way to call refunds department... no number. She will not transfer me and will not let me speak to a supervisor. She suggest maybe they never received it. WHAT??? After I emailed at least 6 times, faxed it 3 times, and sent hard copy, that WAS delivered. UNBELIEVABLE. The only thing she will do for me is to resubmit the request. BUT she tells me, it will take 7-10 business days to process. In other words, BACK OF THE LINE FOR YOU (2 months later!!!).
HORRIBLE HORRIBLE HORRIBLE. Seems to me, this may be an intentional circle jerk to keep from refunding tickets due to merger and finances? I will think twice about flying United in the future. Because if things are this screwed up there, what in the world is happening with pilots, and plane maintenance... etc., etc? (Oh yeah, my flight to Hawaii after my husband died was 6 hours late!!!) they did give me a voucher, but I'm afraid to use it. What I really need is my refunds United.
This is what ensured on my United Airlines flight to Portland Oregon from Chicago.
So Scenario 1: My 1st piece of luggage, a small rolling suitcase, is stored in the overhead compartment. My 2nd piece is stored under the seat and there is no more space under the seat. I have a SMALL purse with me that is in my lap. The Stewardess comes by and insists that I put my bag up in the overhead compartment. I try SEVERAL times to politely tell her that I NEED my purse because it has my inhaler, and heart meds, which I need during takeoff.
At this point the stewardess gets even more rude and more insistent no matter how much I explain to her that having these items is VITAL to my health and that if I have an asthma attack I WON'T BE ABLE TO REACH THEM in the overhead compartment... Let me specify that she was NEVER even SLIGHTLY nice from the beginning. The man beside me, bless him, FINALLY suggests that I can put my purse under his seat after almost 3-4 minutes of this. She didn't even suggest that. She just kept pushing me to put my purse, my livelihood up in the top compartment where I can't reach it.
Now, I understand the need for her to have to secure other baggage, but instead of suggesting something else like the man beside me did, she kept trying to jeopardize my health by repetitively insisting I do it HER way instead of suggesting an alternative like the man next to me. To show you that I was NOT being unreasonable or overreacting, BOTH men beside me said that she was being incredibly rude to me, with her attitude, mannerisms and how she handled the situation as soon as she walked away.
Scenario 2: United Airlines seats are even smaller than OTHER airlines seats. Literally. Why is this? Well United airlines as 3 levels of seats (instead of the normal 2 types). The 1st is the economy seats, which is what I was in, the Economy PLUS seats (which is the same size as a NORMAL SEAT ON OTHER AIRLINES and only has 6 extra inches to begin with. 6 extra inches!!! OMG!!! That's sooooooo much space!!!) And a First Class section. So to give you an idea, United basically gives you smaller, smaller than ANY other airlines, hoping that you will upgrade to the Economy Plus for 50 extra dollars.
To explain that I am not joking or exaggerating about the smallness of the seats, either, I am only 5'7” and my legs are hitting the seat in front of me uncomfortably. The man beside me is about 6'3”. His legs are SO LONG that one leg is draped off to one side into the other man's leg room, and one leg is draped into my leg room because he simply can't fit his legs in front of him. I don't blame him. So due to the tiny seats, and lack of leg room, after about 45 minutes after takeoff my legs start to cramp up badly. My circulation goes bad in my legs. I have a heart problem. This is NOT good.
(To briefly explain my heart problem, I have P. O.T. S which is a condition in which something in the brain does not send the right signal to the legs in the veins and they don't pump blood right. Because of this it affects the WHOLE body, my lugs, circulation and particularly by raising my heartbeat whenever I go from sitting to standing, or any kind of posture change.) So already I am having leg problems that are affecting my heart. I attempt to explain this to the stewardess who suggests that I walk around. I explain that it will be worse, my heart beat is already up to 115 bpm (I timed it) and that doing that will make it go up even more if I stand up.
The stewardess is again RUDE no matter how many times I explain to her that I'm in distress and feel like I'm going to pass out. I finally ask to speak to someone higher up than her about getting a larger seat where I can stretch out my legs so that I WILL NOT have to stand up and she tells me to go speak to the head stewardess. After another 3-4 minute exchange and going back and forth (again to prove I'm not exaggerating at all on my claim, the two men beside me encouraged me to go up and say something).
Scenario 3: I go to speak to the head stewardess about this problem. I am in noticeable distress. It is a struggle to breathe. I have my fingers on my THROAT to check my pulse as I talk to her and explain the situation. At this point, I am very irritated at how I was treated. I explain to her the situation. She also suggests I stand and walk around (are these people STUPID?!) I explain that I cannot do this because of my heart problem, and that even right now my heartbeat is up to almost 130 bpm at this point. If I don't sit down somewhere where I can correct my circulation ASAP I am GOING to pass out, and then there might seriously be a medical emergency happening.
Woman explains that she could give me a bigger seat but would have to charge me 50 dollars. I am aghast because here I am HAVING A MEDICAL EMERGENCY and she wants to argue over pricing, and to top it all off, my heart problem is classified as a mild disability so she's basically telling me that even though I could be dying and am mildly disabled, she cannot give me this seat unless I pay 50 dollars right now. WHAT THE IS WRONG WITH THIS SITUATION?? Can anyone else tell me?! (Now, I want to state here and now that I NEVER had an issue with paying the money. The money is nothing, it's only 50 dollars.
I have an ISSUE with how I've been treated up to this point!) I tell the woman that I will pay the money AFTER talking to customer service when I get off the plane. This seems to settle it and she tells me that I can go sit in one of the larger seats. At this point, I am even more angry because the head stewardess LAUGHED AT ME while I was explaining how upset I am by this whole situation. This angers me because while I was visibly upset (wouldn't you be too??) I was NOT rude. Whatever. I go to find my seat...
Now, being a reasonable person I choose the seat closest to my luggage I stored in the above compartment. The closest seat is diagonal to that and is an Emergency Exit seat. Thinking nothing of it, I sit down, am able to stretch my legs while sitting down, and start feeling better almost immediately.
Scenario 4: 20-30 minutes or so later, when I'm feeling better and talking to the guy next to me, the Stewardess pulls me aside to talk to me. In her almost exact words she tells me that where ‘m sitting is illegal due to my disability and that the cops “authorities” are waiting to intercept me at landing. What the heck?! Let me clarify: She does NOT politely tell me that where I'm sitting is illegal due to my disability and ask me to move. She DOES tell me it's illegal and say that she's sending the authorities after me because of it. What the heck?!!
So I move, and I tell her so, to avoid that problem. She says if I want to do that to “avoid” that problem, that is fine. I move my seat from the Emergency Exit to another seat by some nice older ladies. They were awesome.
Scenario 5: 4 cops greet me off the plane. FOUR COPS for a girl who is 5'7” and weighs 115 lbs. If they wanted to intimidate me, THEY WIN, because I'm almost in tears at this point out of anger and the unjust situation. The cops are actually NICER AND MORE UNDERSTANDING THAN THE STEWARDESSES. They even explain to one person from customer service that I had a heart problem and couldn't help moving my seats.
At this point in the time stewardess had reported that I changed seats several times without authority. “WITHOUT THE AUTHORITY?” Hmm… doesn't that sound A LITTLE funny considering the head stewardess TOLD me I could get another seat after I told her I would pay the money but wanted to talk to the Customer Service first?? They finally get me to talk to a woman named **. I am in many many tears at this point. I am extremely upset and very angry. ** is nice and very understanding. ** agrees to give me extra miles for my troubles, but STILL MAKES ME PAY the 50 dollars. Let me explain why I am ANGRY about this, at this point!
Firstly, they are making me pay for a seat when I had a medical emergency. SECOND, I only sat in this seat for half of the flight and had to move. THIRD, they are making me pay for a seat I was HARASSED and THREATENED over. Let me be clear. I don't want the extra miles. In fact, considering United could have KILLED ME (worst case scenario) by refusing to let me move in an emergency and jeopardizing my health, I DON'T EVER WANT TO FLY UNITED AGAIN. All I want is my 50 dollars back for my unjust treatment on their flight.
Instead of treating me like a customer with a health emergency and accommodating my needs I was treated like a criminal. Instead of having EMTs meet me at the exit to make sure I was okay, I had the POLICE meet me at the end of the flight... what's wrong with this situation? I could have DIED!
I would like to tell you about the experience my family and I recently received from our United flight. We were on Flight UA903 from Munich, Germany to Denver, Colorado on June 3rd to return from a trip to Poland. We flew Lufthansa on the way to Poland, so this was to be my first United overseas flight. The second we started dealing with United was the second the trip became one nightmare after another.
The very first issue that we had to confront was that United offers no pre-reservation of the bassinet seats. You must do this at the gate when you get your boarding pass. Once we got to the gate and reserved the bassinet seat (we were around the 3rd people in line to get boarding passes because our layover got us there many hours early), they gave me the boarding passes and said we were set with our bassinet seat, but after boarding it ended up being regular seats. When I asked a stewardess, she told me that I'd have to talk to the person that issued the tickets and she didn't have time for it.
So, I fought my way back out of the plane and the person greeting people told me I wasn't allowed to go back up the ramp. I explained the problem and she called the ticket issuers. After a few seconds she told me that I was out of luck because those seats weren't available anymore. So I went back through all the people and found another stewardess and asked if she could have two of the people seated in the bulkhead (infant) area to move. She asked and the passenger told her that he didn't want to switch seats because he wanted to "be able to stretch his legs."
At that moment, it should become rather obvious that they should be told to move. We had a 9 month old infant with requested bassinet seats and one of the employees screwed up and didn't do what they were supposed to. It should have been fixed. Instead, she told me she'd done all she could and it was too bad. A lady on the far side of that row must have heard what was going on, so she volunteered to have her two teenage children moved to where we were sitting so we could take two of the five seats in the infant area.
Rather than help expedite that seat change, the flight attendant simply yelled at us to hurry up because we needed to get in the air. She even went as far as to tell us to leave our items under the seat where we were because she didn't want to help find overhead space. Obviously, we're on an international flight, so where would someone put important papers such as passports? In our carry-on baggage under the seat. So I grabbed the bag that had the important items anyway and we left the baby bag because the stewardess kept yelling at us that we didn't have time.
Once we were seated, we waited for around 15 minutes while the rest of the passengers finished boarding. The next problem to show up was the baby seat belt. Every different airline we've flown on has given us a baby seat belt. It is looped onto the adult seat belt and then goes around the baby (kind of like a seat belt connected to a seat belt). United apparently doesn't offer these. I understand that they are a useless gesture in the event of a crash, but what about depressurization? What about in sudden, rough turbulence? They will serve quite well to make sure the baby doesn't fall off your lap if those things happen.
Once we were airborne, the stewardess brought the bassinet. I'm not really sure what it was supposed to be when it was made, but it was essentially a baby body bag that just gets placed on the floor. Very unusual since our previous flight with Lufthansa (who is partnered with United, but seems MUCH better) actually had a bassinet that mounted to the bulkhead so that the child wasn't simply lying on the floor. It was still better than trying to hold her for the 8 1/2 hour flight though, so we just piled a couple of blankets on it and used it anyway.
Throughout the flight the service was the worst we had ever been subjected to. My wife actually received the brunt of it. When the initial drink cart came around, the flight attendant (I never was able to get his name) was completely rude to everyone. Rather than ask if she wanted a drink, or what she would like to drink, he simply said, "What do you want?" This was not done in a friendly manner. If we weren't in the middle of a long flight, I would have sat him down and explained that you do not treat people, especially my wife, like that without causing problems. The rest of the flight was the same for all situations, drink refills, the main meal, etc.
It also seems that requesting the baby meal a couple of months in advance is still not enough time. They never bothered at any point to bring it, or even ask if we wanted it. We were elated when we were around an hour away from landing in D.C. So we could get off that plane. My wife was starving, I was hungry, the baby was tired of being cooped up, and we would be able to get away from the rude flight attendants. While my wife was in the restroom, they served the snack. The same man was on her side of the isle again. He didn't bother to ask people if they wanted it. He didn't bother to hand it to the person getting it.
The right side of his isle had two seats; he'd set down 2 snacks, expecting that not only does everyone want it, but they'd see to it that it was distributed for him. The left side of his isle had 3 seats; he'd do the same. With my wife in the restroom, he simply set down 2 instead of 3. He didn't ask, didn't care. I tried to ask him for hers, but he was already gone in his race to be a jerk in record time. When my wife came back, he was at the rear of the plane finishing up so she went to ask for hers. He told her, "I don't have any." Nothing about being able to help or that he'd get her one... strange that he'd have run out without even serving everyone.
She started to tell him that he needs to go find one and he interrupted her and said he'd get one. Then the other attendant said that she'd bring one by in just a second since she was heading that way again. She asked my wife to go have a seat and she'd be right there. That moment never came.
We finally landed and deplaned and it's probably very lucky that the flight attendant didn't come off the plane while we were waiting for our stroller because by this point I was boiling mad that he could treat anyone that poorly and not have consequences. If he were anywhere other than in the middle of a flight, I think he would probably have needed police protection from half the plane.
Anyway, much to our elation, we had to change planes in D.C. For our technical stop which meant a new crew. Thank God. We were able to board our next flight with no issues and it went smoothly. We landed in Denver and were so happy to be so close to the end of our return. We were practically finished with one horrible return trip, courtesy of United Airlines. We headed to baggage claim and called our ride and told them we'd be right out. Wrong again! Seemingly just to spite us one last time, United lost one of our bags. Wait, "It's not lost; we know right where it is. It just isn't here and won't be for another few hours."
Wow... I'm glad they were optimistic about not giving us our luggage until the next day. So now, after 25 hours of travel time, we're finally home with a good dose of jet lag... and I get to go to the store since the bag they lost had all the additional diapers beyond what was in the travel bag. We did finally get the bag yesterday and are hoping that there is no way for United to reach across town and find a way to ruin another day. It remains beyond my comprehension how an airline can be allowed to operate at that level. I can understand mechanical problems, but no one should be paying good money to be treated like a prisoner of war.
I have filed a complaint with United, but given this kind of track record, I'm not sure that they'll even read it.
RENO, NEVADA -- To the complaints department, United Airlines. This is a complaint regarding our holiday travel this year which turned into a nightmare for us due to the following actions taken by your airline throughout our journey. Hope you will take appropriate actions after verifying the details I am providing here.
Our family i.e. the following passengers; (1) **; (2)**; (3) **, a seven year old child; was booked on United Airlines flight UA 573 from Reno to San Francisco on 19th December 2008 with departure time 6:20 AM with a connecting flight by Cathay Pacific from San Francisco to Hong Kong flight # CX 879 departure at 12:05 PM the same day with another connecting flight from Hong Kong to Bangalore ON CX 6710 leaving Hong Kong on the 20th December.
Your flight UA 573 got cancelled on the 19th of December 2008 morning. Other airline flights were departing around that time. We called your airlines at 3:00 AM when we got the news of the cancellation on the internet and requested that we be accommodated in the 9 AM flight from Reno to San Francisco on the 19th because of the connecting international flight we had to catch. We were informed that there was no way we could be accommodated in that flight because it was full.
When we asked what we could do because obviously we were going to miss the CX 879 flight out of San Francisco and be no showed on that flight, a Manager from United who appeared to be very helpful on the phone said she was offering us an alternate routing through Chicago via American Airlines flight AA 1750 from Reno to Chicago leaving Reno at 1:15 PM United Airlines flight 938 leaving Chicago at 9:05 PM to London and subsequently British Airways flight 119 from London to Bangalore which would let us arrive in Bangalore on the same day i.e. Early 21st December morning.
We did have onward reservations out of Bangalore on 21st December evening. We accepted the alternate routing and she gave us confirmation numbers on (1) American Airlines out of Reno # **. (2) British Airways flight **. She asked us to get FIM from the United Airlines counter in Reno to travel on the AA1750 flight. We were OK with the alternate routing and presented ourselves at the UA counter in Reno on the 19th of December at 11:15 AM. We were at that time informed that your agent might have made a mistake by rerouting us through Chicago.
We presented our confirmation numbers and said that we had accepted that rerouting. Finally, a FIM was given by United Airlines and our bags (three in number) were checked in all the way to Bangalore at the Reno American Airlines counter. We boarded AA1750 from Reno and reached Chicago. We presented our so called pass PNR: ** to the UA counter in Chicago.
At that time the worse nightmare started. We were informed by the agent in the UA counter at Chicago that we were absolutely not allowed to board UA 938 from Chicago to London because our original ticket was from San Francisco and the agent who had rerouted us with all those confirmation numbers had made a mistake, and we HAD to travel via the west coast because our original ticket was via San Francisco and it was “ILLEGAL ROUTE” to travel via the European route. When we informed the UA agent that our bags were already on their way to Bangalore on the BA flight he said he could not help that.
So, we were not allowed to go to London because of the so called “callous mistake” of your Manager who rerouted us and we were put up in a hotel in Chicago that night. Incidentally your staff in Chicago was extremely rude and did not care that we were traveling with a seven year old child. All they kept repeating was it was absolutely illegal of that Manager to have rerouted us through that route. So in your airline the left hand does not know what the right hand is doing. We got no apologies from anybody.
Next day morning we were sent back to San Francisco from Chicago on UA flight 885 (on the 20th of December). So we came all the way back to San Francisco and a day had been lost on which we could be working instead of going through the whims and fancies of your agents. We boarded Cathay Pacific flight CX 879 on the 20th of December, reached Hong Kong and boarded KA 152 (Cathay Pacific) from Hong Kong to Bangalore on the 21st of December and finally reached Bangalore on the 22nd of December 4:00 AM after an extra 24 hours of fruitless traveling as mentioned above.
When we reached Bangalore we only had handbags and none of our luggage checked in by the original UA/British Airways rerouting had reached. We had no clothes, no basic necessities traveling with a seven year old child. We had to cancel our outgoing reservations out of Bangalore that day and checked into a hotel while we had to buy everything from scratch including clothes and all basic necessities.
We were told our bags should be retrieved in 24 to 48 hours. After 48 hours we had to leave Bangalore on our onward journey in India with no luggage. The first bag was located in London and delivered after 96 hours. The other two bags were not located for a while and subsequently found in Chicago. Those were delivered in Bangalore on the 30th December after 9 days. My husband had to come back to Bangalore to collect those bags, disrupting every aspect of our travel schedule.
Now, for the crowning glory of this trip. We had our return reservation by Cathay Pacific flight CX 752 on the 10th January 2009 from New Delhi to Hong Kong, CX 870 from Hong Kong to San Francisco and UA 6588 on the 11th of January 2009 from San Francisco to Reno. When we called Cathay Pacific agents to reconfirm our return we were told our return reservation no longer existed because of no show on our starting flight on CX879 on the 19th of December 2008.
When we told the runaround we were given by United Airlines and the whole story we were informed that UA should have informed Cathay about the cancellation of flight UA 573 on the 19th which you did not and hence the Cathay system promptly no showed us on the 19th and automatically cancelled our return reservation. It sounds like a story of nightmarish proportions but after umpteen phone calls we were reinstated on our return flight on the 10th of January out of New Delhi. So the outcome of all the mismanagement by your agent was:
Loss of wages on the 19th of December and unnecessarily being shunted to Chicago with promise of rerouting only to be refused embarkation in the UA flight from Chicago to London.
The three checked in pieces of luggage going in different directions with one being tracked in London and the two others 10 days later being tracked in Chicago.
Hotel expenses, clothes, travel and every other expense while waiting for the bags to be tracked and sent to us which was done 10 days later in Bangalore even though our return flight was out of New Delhi.
Automatic cancellation of the return on Cathay because of the initial no shows on Cathay because of the UA 573 cancellation on the 19th of December.
Extreme physical and mental anguish on a vacation with a seven year old child because of multiple mistakes by YOUR AGENTS.
I hope you will check the details and get back to me with appropriate compensation. Our whole family vacation has been ruined and I am still suffering nightmares about rerouting flights and not being allowed to board. I also hope you will take action against the Manager who “WRONGFULLY” offered us the initial rerouting with the confirmation numbers AA ** and on BA **. I will be awaiting a prompt response from you.
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.
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.
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.