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.
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.
CHICAGO, ILLINOIS -- This past summer I went from vancouver to la to chicago (my home destination. I had a bad connection at la to chicago due to a late flight by the vancouver to la airline company. Not united. Now let me state a few facts. I am a cardiac patient so I have to rest every now and then while walking long distances, especially between gates. Anyway, I thought I was late arriving at my gate to chicago. But in reality had plenty of time. United kept paging me to pick up a courtesy phone in the terminal. I couldn't find one.
So I walked as fast as I could to the chicago bound gate. By the time I reached the gate I was panting and puffing enough to cause another grabber. Showed the agent my ticket and went up the ramp. I was stopped by (2) airline personnel and was told that I would have to "gate check" one of my (2) carry-ons. (You are allowed 2 if one is a computer bag or smaller). I said I cannot gate check this bag because it contains all of my company's electronic equipment worth thousands of dollars. Bad friggin' mistake! The personnel said it needed to be checked because the flight is totally full and all space is taken in the bins. I stated my position again. They stated theirs.
It happened a 3rd time... they however assured me that my bag would be waiting at the carousel with all my other luggage. Needless to say when I got to the carousel, my (2) other luggage bags weren't there either or my promised ramp checked carry on. Now these baggage people know that if you carry on a bag, there must be something valuable in there. Well there was... cameras, lenses, memory cards, internet gizmos, laptop, etc., etc... everything was electronics to the tune of $5,300.00 value.
I filed the claim and because this was considered an international flight, airlines only need to pay pennies on the dollar up to about 30% maximum. If it is a domestic flight, they pay up to $3,500 based on your claim. So what did I learn on this trip?
Airlines are allowed to pay less in lost claims if it's an international flight.
Always, ask for your ramp checked bag on the ramp. Don't leave without it.
Never agree to picking up your ramp check bag at the carousel.
File claims for lost luggage asap with the carousel agent or your claim will be denied.
Save receipts for electronic equipment you buy.
Never ever fly united or their affiliates.
A message to all the united thieves... you guys are pathetic. You think that all the luggage flowing through your hands is your own personal shopping mall. You thieves are hard to catch because the luggage in your hand could be considered part of your job duties even though you are stealing it. Someday, hopefully you will get caught and lose your job.
But I hope it's when you are in your upper 50's close to retirement so you have to struggle with paying high cobra health insurance and have 5 years left on your house and lose it because you cannot pay your bills. Yes, I am bitter for all the headaches you gave me... but you have fun while you can. Technology will change to catch you.
I had the most horrendous experience flying on United from SFO to SNA with my family this weekend. The entire ordeal was like a never-ending chain of terrible service and treatment.
First, we waited in line for electronic check-in. There were literally 2 employees servicing about 12 check-in kiosks, so the wait for us to have someone take our baggage was ridiculously long. The woman at the kiosk next to us literally waited for 15 minutes after she checked-in before someone would come by and grab her bag. Also, I tried printing out my 4 boarding passes and the last one didn't print because the paper was out. I was directed to another machine. It was out of paper as well. Then finally at the third machine my boarding pass printed.
Now, we go off to go through security, and then my dad was told by the United employee manning the security line that he couldn't bring one of our carry-on bags through because it was too big. I said I had measured it and it was 45" all around, like the website stated. I had also carried on the luggage piece on a United flight the day before without any hiccups, not to mention the rest of my family got through the security line right in front of my dad with similar-sized bags!
My dad was asked to stick the luggage into that metal container they used to see whether the carry-on would fit, and it fit! Yet, the employee insisted it was too tall (it fit snugly in the container, it didn't even protrude!) Because we only had 30 minutes or so until our flight departed, we just checked-in our baggage in order to not miss the flight. But give me a break, United! What kind of customer service is that?! My brother thinks there is a conspiracy where United will just do random checks on carry-on baggage to be able to charge those hefty checked baggage fees, and I think he's onto something!
Finally, my family get on the plane, and we are one of the last ones to board due to the aforementioned baggage catastrophe. My dad is trying to stow away one of my carry-on pieces (which he had only been doing for maybe 30 seconds at the time), and a rude United flight attendant going down the aisle says to him, "Put that away now, we need to leave immediately." No "please." No smile. No offer to help.
And no, I'm not alone in thinking that United has the most atrocious customer service. Two ladies seated behind me on the flight were mocking the United employees for their treatment thus far, so I was reassured I wasn't just overreacting. Then, we were delayed while on the plane because one of the lights on the plane wasn't functioning? Right after the flight attendant rudely tells my dad we're leaving immediately?
Seriously, United. I finally know why your tagline is "fly the friendly skies." It's only once we're in flight and don't have to deal with your employees that you're "friendly." On the ground, pre-boarding, and everything else? A complete and utter nightmare.
I hope you go out of business because of the way I was treated… You won't but you should!!! Here's why: Flight from Orlando to Denver to Seattle land in Denver, plane to Seattle (11:30 am) is canceled. Get in line for customer service while on the phone with customer service, "We can't get you a flight until tomorrow morning! Oh wait jk, I guess we can put you on Alaska at 8:15 pm!"
Asked to talk with a manager about compensation for the inconvenience. I was calm and collective, I have 3 witnesses. "We don't have anything to offer you. If I can get your email address we can email you something." "What about a food voucher since we're stuck in this airport for 9 hrs?" "NO." "What about discounted airfare or another route?" "NO." "Who can I call?" "NO ONE. The number we have connects you to India so they won't be able to understand you", says your supervisor at Denver Gate 39. "Sorry supervisor I need to talk with someone else."
A guy comes up and I explain "I have a 6 month old baby at home, I just want to go home. What can you do?" "NOTHING." "OK… Well our friends flew AirTran on the way down and were delayed 2 hrs and received free roundtrip airfare." The guys response, "Pssshhhhhh (shoulder shrug). They'll go out of business if they do that." I explained that they won't because they're attempting to keep their customers happy. Apparently UNITED is such a giant that they think they can treat people like crap!!
Later my mom called and told me to look up the UNITED Breaks Guitars song on youtube and make a video. I looked up, then decided to record the line. I attempted to talk with your supervisor and she then tried to have me arrested for attempting to expose your poor customer service. I deleted the video as requested by the police and your company. I think it's pretty funny that there were 4 police officers in the Denver airport for a 5'3" 120lb female who just had a 6 month old child. I was compliant and polite.
When I spoke with the police the officer actually told me "Don't fly United, they do this a lot." I said "Excuse me, really?" And she said "Yeah, just don't fly United." Another officer came up and said "In the future just don't fly UNITED. They're a private company and think they can treat people anyway they want." I am laughing about it now as I continue to spend my entire Friday in the Denver airport.
I HATE UNITED! This will also be blogged… so I will expose the terrible customer service whether I have your associate on video or not! It will not stop me from making sure people know how you treat people. I tried to be nice, but threatening to arrest me, saying I was harassing her - WOW! What about me the one you screwed over. Thanks a lot UNITED!!! I HATE YOU!
This is generated from a recent troubling experience I had while traveling on your airline. On February 9, 2010, I traveled on flight US7202 from St Louis to San Juan, Puerto Rico. After boarding the plane we were told to expect delays due to weather, which I understand is completely out of human control.
Two and a half hours after boarding the plane we took off to our next destination which was O'Hare, Chicago where we were supposed to take our next flight directly to Puerto Rico but unfortunately we had already missed the flight we were to have been on.
So once again we were delayed and directed to yet another airport Houston Texas. From there we then went on to San Juan Puerto Rico. We were scheduled to arrive at 3:50 pm. Instead we arrived around 11:00 pm and had to find a shuttle to our resort, and pay $75.00 instead of the ride we had prescheduled with the resort. When I reached the baggage claim, I discovered after a forty five minute wait, that my luggage was lost. I immediately contacted baggage claim who told me that I could be sure that my luggage would arrive on the next plane.
I did not receive my bags for a total of three days! I did not have any of my personal things I planned to have until Thursday around two p.m., and that was only after taking two hour to drive to the airport and yet another two hours to drive back to our resort. During the course of the three days without our belongings I spent many hours on the phone trying to figure out where and when my belongings would be back in my possession. My camera was in my bag so therefore I did not get to take any pictures to bring back with me and had to cancel many events and activities we had planned due to improper attire.
Although Continental did offer to compensate me one hundred and twenty five dollars for some of the things I had to buy that absolutely does not compensate for the time we lost dealing with a mistake that should have been corrected within 24 hours of happening. Needless to say one hundred and twenty five dollars comes nowhere near the cost we spent in trying to make up for your airline's mistake. We had to take time to go buy all the things we lost not to mention it was way more than $125.00 and the stress this caused was very high.
Just during that week alone I flew with your airline four times. My boyfriend who was also with me for this trip is a pilot for Surdex and they also use your airline frequently, but after the trouble we had with this flight you can rest assure you will not be receiving a good review from us nor will we ever fly United again. Many items lost during this flight were specific to the dress codes enforced at our resort. Please contact me to discuss the compensation necessary to right this wrong.