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Request for Refund of Dead Husbands Ticket goes IGNORED and UNANSWERED
Posted by on
Rating: 1/51
HOUSTON, TEXAS -- My husband and I had tickets to Hawaii on Continental for Feb. 21st for the birth of our grandaughter. 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 tryin 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...hardcopy along with death certificate to the mailing address..with proof of delivery. April..I check status AGAIN..now is 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 husbands 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 hardcopy ...that WAS delivered. UNBELIEVABLE. they 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 refuding 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.
     
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CrystalSword on 2012-04-16:
My condolences in the loss of your husband. I think United should get off their tails and get refund to you!! You've waited way to long!
Ben There on 2012-04-16:
The United & Continental merger is not going nearly as smooth as the Delta & Northwest one.
trmn8r on 2012-04-16:
I wonder if the biggest part of the problem is the merger and the timing of your husband's unfortunate death. This sounds even worse than Verizon's customer service, which is third-world worthy.

I don't know what to suggest. I'd keep calling and harassing them, but dealing with a husband's passing as well as sitting on the phone for hours speaking with powerless fools may not go well together. Good luck to you.

It's ridiculous that someone can't escalate your inquiry to at least look into it and get you something better than a useless online status.
clutzycook on 2012-04-16:
Email Chris Elliott. He is a consumer ombudsmen and deals with things like this all the time. You can reach him at elliottc@gmail.com.
trmn8r on 2012-04-16:
Fantastic information, clutzy! Helpful advice.
davidsonalison on 2012-04-18:
Thanks clutzy..appreciate it. and thanks crystalsword for your condolences. I finally heard from united today via canaed email..that my husbands ticket refund was "approved" and the "change fee" "approved"..(no money in acct though) but no mention of the extra 400 in fare I had to pay to change flight. sent another email..filled out online request, and sent a msg to customer services also. hopefully they will respond. I'll try Chris Elliot..thanks clutzy
aed on 2012-04-18:
thank you crystal sword for your condolences. and thanks clutzycook for the resource. I will try chris elliot. yes, the timing was unfortunate, but clearly, United was very unprepared to merge..and they've been working up to it for a full year. not good management. I finally heard from them via canned email that husbands ticket and change fee were "approved" (no money in acct though) ..but no mention of the extra 400 bucks I shelled out to change flight for dif in fare - that I was told would be refunded also.
davidsonalison on 2012-04-20:
Well, well...seems "My 3 cents" has helped me get some attention. I finally received my husbands ticket refund today (almost 2 months after first request) along with 100 of the 150 change fee. But still no mention of the additional 403 I had to pay to change my ticket. I've submitted ANOTHER request for this refund..as somehow it got lost in the abyss..or they are just not willing to tell me they are not going to refund it? I mean, I had no choice to change my ticket, as the flight date was the day of the funeral. No way I could make it - obviously.
DebtorBasher on 2012-04-20:
My condolences for the loss of your husband...
thanks for returning with an update.
trmn8r on 2012-04-20:
Thanks for the update. I understand that was the day of a funeral, but generally speaking if you change a ticket you have to pay the difference in the fares.
davidsonalison on 2012-04-30:
trmn8r: According to the posted "refund" policy on United's website, and according to the Continental representative as well as the United representative, I am eligible for a refund of the fare difference as well due to "unplanned event" beyond my control. I did not "choose" to have my husbands funeral the day of the flight - that's just how it had to be because of the VA cemetery availability. I was told verbally by both the Continental and the United rep that I would receive a refund.
davidsonalison on 2012-04-30:
Still waiting on any kind of reply from United (except for standard canned email) in response to my submitted request for the refund of fare change fees associated with change of flight. If I were not eligible for the fare difference fees, then why would they refund the "fare change" fee..less 50 dollar processing. it is on their website, and I was told by both continental and united reps that I would receive it. Because I wouldn't have gone if they had said the fare difference was not refundable. Still waiting on that. submitted 4/18 (again) ...so it has been 7 business days. they say 7 to 10 to process..but I sent all this documentation already with the original request on FEB 28th.
davidsonalison on 2012-05-03:
Well...HERE WE GO AGAIN...AFTER 11 DAYS...I CHECK STATUS AND NOW INSTEAD OF "PENDING REVIEW"...IT TELLS ME TO CALL THE 1-800-WECARE2 NUMBER..THE NUMBER THAT TELLS YOU TO GO TO WEBSITE.

COME ON UNITED..SHOW YOU CARE
davidsonalison on 2012-05-03:
THIS IS THE REPLY I RECEIVED FROM UNITED - WOW. I THINK THEY SHOULD CHANGE THE PHONE NUMBER TO 1-800-DONOTCARE. UNF*()&ING BELIEVABLE.
I WILL NEVER FLY UNTED AGAIN.
EVER.



> Date: Thu, 3 May 2012 09:32:58 -0700
> From: customercare@united.com
> To: davidsonalison@hotmail.com
> Subject: United Airlines Ref 5310929 (KMM3364841V96694L0KM)
>
> Dear Mrs. Davidson:
>
> Your email has just been brought to my attention, I sincerely regret the
> delay in our response.
>
> We regret the circumstances described in your email, our thoughts are
> with you and your family at this difficult time. We understand that the
> loss of a loved one is a time of stress and we certainly want to assist
> in this time of need.
>
> United's policy will refund change fees and tickets in certain cases.
> All requests must be received before the expiration of your ticket and
> must be accompanied by proper documentation. Once received, if
> applicable, a refund will be provided to the original form of payment
> minus a $50 USD processing fee*. This policy applies to the illness or
> death of the traveler, traveling companion, or immediate family members.
>
> We have received your refund request and processed the qualified refunds
> according to the policy. Therefore the Request ticket 13281573 for Paul
> Davidson was refunded $608.50. The Request ticket 13637367 for Alison
> Davidson was refunded $100 ($150 less the $50 processing fee). The
> Request ticket 13576552 for Alison Davidson was denied due to an
> exchanged ticket 0052186356419. I can appreciate your situation and
> would like to clarify United's position.
>
> Our non refundable policies are very specific. Non refundable tickets
> can be applied toward the purchase of another ticket for the same
> passenger named on the original ticket. However, an exchanged ticket
> does not qualify for a refund in any case. Only the exchange fee ($150)
> as stated is refundable less the $50 processing fee. Therefore, the
> ticket value can still be applied towards future travel within the 1
> year validity date.
>
> The letters from Refunds were emailed 05/03/2012. Thank you for your
> patience and understanding. We wish you and your family well.
>
> Regards,
>
> Harriet Johnson
> Customer Care
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StarStarEmpty StarEmpty StarEmpty Star
Travel ALERT to All Disabled Passengers!
Posted by on
Rating: 2/51
SAN JOSE AND DENVER, CALIFORNIA -- It was a whirl wind 2 day trip from San Jose, CA to Grand Junction, CO via Denver CO. 4 flight segments with my 9 year old daughter who is in a wheel chair. We travel a lot. When we fly we fly on South West, a fabulously handicap friendly outfit that goes out of their way to make you feel comfortable and help make the hassle of flying as easy as possible. this time we had to go United. Bummer for us. I booked handicap reservations. I called when I booked to let them know I was traveling with a child in a wheel chair, reqesting front row for ease of access. I was told 3 weeks prior to departure that they could not help me but I should call 24 hours in advance. I called 24 hours in advance (10 to be exact). I was told that they couldn't do anything about the seats (row 26) and I needed to handle it at the checking counter. The next morning at the check in counter I was told I should have called, there was nothing they could do about it, the gate would be able to help me. Well... By now you got it. They told me at the gate that the seats were full and they couldn't do anything about it!!! OK... I mentionedntherenwere four flight segments, right? I threw a fit. I told her to waren the flight crew that they would have a hostile mother on board and that I would make them setup the aisle chair in the plane 4 times if they didn't The agent, (the same lady at the first counter) beg a passenger in the front row to switch - problem resolved. Ish. I told her thank you and if she could please let the agents know that we had 3 more flights so that we could avoid this mess on the subsequent flights.
     
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onlooker on 2012-04-13:
24 hours is the opening of window for action on reservations - 10 hours is more than 1/2 a day after the window opened - maybe that is why you had problems - (more likely though that UA would have messed up no matter what you did)

Could using a travel agent have helped at all?

They put you through the wringer and it seems that it should not have happened at all.

I hope the other legs worked out OK
Alain on 2012-04-13:
You can file a complaint about this at http://airconsumer.ost.dot.gov/escomplaint/es.cfm
Anonymous on 2012-04-13:
Alain, why are you suggesting this woman be complaining to the DOT? Unlike Southwest, United doesn't have open seating and the better coach near the front are taken by passengers who either paid more (Economy Plus) or have Mileage Plus status.
It was a request, not a legal requirement.
jktshff1 on 2012-04-13:
Open seating and handicap acess are 2 different things.
I would have been mad also. Sounds like a misunderstanding.
Kudos to the agent for helping you out.
Alain on 2012-04-13:
Bete, I wrote that they can file a complaint and gave them a place to file the complaint. Whether they do or not is entirely up to them. No suggestion was offered.
FoDaddy19 on 2012-04-13:
" I told her to waren the flight crew that they would have a hostile mother on board "

Probably not the wisest move to threaten to make a scene on an airplane these days.
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UPS's way or the highway
Posted by on
PHILADELPHIA -- I live in an apartment building and work full time. I am usually not around when packages are due to be delivered. My last UPS package I received the first attempt notice and responded promptly because I know they will send it back after three attempts and I wanted that package. I initially went online to try to get them to hold it at the UPS store for me, but the location was far from me. Living in the city, I'd have to either pay 8 bucks for public trans and then walk for 15 minutes in a seedy neighborhood or pay roughly 30 dollars round trip for cab far to and from the Subway, which would have cost me an additional 4 bucks. My huge complaint is that when I called to ask if they could hold the package at the CLOSEST UPS, the one within 5 minutes of my apartment they rudely refused. Apparently there is no way to get them to save your package at another UPS store. You would think they would at least plug in your zip code and let you pick the closest UPS or automatically do that. I will avoid using UPS again. I would rather miss a deal or not be able to buy something I need than deal with their terrible service.
     
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Anonymous on 2012-01-16:
Its pretty sad that UPS won't work with you. I don't know if this would work in your circumstance but what I do when I know I will not be home to receive a package is after the first attempt I ask them to ship it to another address; usually my work address. They usually will. The only time they said no was when it was a shipment of wine.
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Terrible Service / No compassion for Travelers / Destroyed luggage / Delayed 48 hours
Posted by on
CLEVELAND, OHIO -- Coming home from a much needed vacation, my flight connected in Cleveland Ohio (United / Continental). I landed at 4:00 PM and had the next flight at 7:00 PM to home (Chicago O'Hare). There was bad weather in Newark and Philadelphia so of course there were delays (even though from Cleveland to Chicago it was beautiful). I was patient until 9:00 PM when they cancelled the flight. I paid for hotel, food, battery charger for my phone (my charger was in the luggage on the plane). They booked me a new flight for Sunday at 7:26 AM. Going on 4 1/2 hours of sleep I rushed through the airport just to see that this flight too was delayed 30 minutes. It was delayed 30 minutes at a time for the next 4 1/2 hours!! Mechanical issues. Several people sat in the gate and noticed that for 3 1/2 of those hours, no service was done on the plane. We were rescheduled until 2:40 PM...again, mechanical issues and now they will update us at 4:00 PM.....again, mechanical issues and delayed until 7:00 PM!!! Cancelled!! The same plane sat there for 24 hours with mechanical issues and they couldn't bring in a different plane? They rebooked me for a new flight for the next day at 2:40 PM! I had to book a new flight on a different airline out of pocket. I spent $500 for hotel, new flight and phone charger, and food. They do not pay for hotel unless you are international, they gave one coupon for $8 for food. They even told us regarding a couple from China (also connecting) when we requested help for them that "quote: they are in America they should speak English". They told me when I went to transfer my luggage to a new airline "why didn't you just drive to Chicago". Driving would have been a great idea had I not been delayed every 30 minutes for 4 1/2 hours and not told that I would be out of there in 2! I was a female traveling alone and I don't even drive in Chicago. United/Continental employees were rude, not compassionate, would not help you find a new flight on other airlines. Due to the merger with United, the computers were not "talking" to each other so they couldn't even tell you if United offered flights. Of course when I landed my luggage was nowhere to be found. Continental failed to deliver it to American in time for my new flight.

Once I received it at home, it was wrapped in plastic (Continental stamped all over it), 3/4 of the back of my luggage was ripped off, 3 souvenir items were broken and a sandal was missing. I lost a weeks salary due to the errors of the airline and there is nothing airlines will do for the travelers!!
     
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Mileage Plus Rip off
Posted by on
I am currently a very upset long term mileage plus united air lines customer (over 50 years). I had two major problems with my past United Flight. When I returned from my flight, I called the customer service number on my mileage plus card. They then transferred me to 3 different people with extremely long wait times (up to 25 minutes!) , after talking to the third person they told me I could only email to customer refunds, and to
to email customer solutions. I was responded to by Lynette Sinclaire,
United Airlines Customer Relations. She then told me to email customer refunds, which I already did, and to call the 800 number which was the very first number I called!


SFO to Hilo July 23, kona to SFO July30
Customer Solutions
Ref#: 12788100A

As way of background, I originally tried to use mileage for any part of the trip no “mileage” tickets were available, so purchased economy plus on tickets to Hilo. It turned out that the flight to Hilo was a Continental plane so it did not have economy plus seats!-- so I paid $ 81 for tickets that did not exist.

I also asked to be upgraded to first class on the flight from Kona to SFO July 30, on June 26. Your company took all the mileage (82,500) out of account, immediately, but when I got to the ticket booth in Hawaii, they said they didn’t have any first class left, so they would refund my mileage. When I arrived in Los Angeles, they said someone made a mistake, and there were not any regular seats left on the plane, only first class, so they would allow me to stay there, without any upgrade cost. The next day someone
deducted 60,000 miles from my account!!!! I have been trying for a full month, to get them put back that were taken without my permission. And have been trying to get my refund for the economy plus tickets I purchased that did not exist.

I have spoken several times with customer solutions many times, one time she scolded me and told me it was like buying groceries from a car dealer. When I asked her to talk to the mileage plus personnel she told me to speak with, your two employees started arguing, and even compared how long each worked at United, (customer solutions two years, and mileage plus customer service (Pam in Rapid City- 21 years). Each told the other it was their responsibility to issue back by mileage. The customer solutions person, told me she would get back in a couple of days.

Meanwhile nothing has happened.
     
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At Your Service on 2011-08-31:
Very legitimate complaint.

Let us know if they don't get you taken care of.
Anonymous on 2011-09-01:
A few things in your complaint aren't clear.
You should have transaction records - its in your PNR - crediting mileage back is as easy as taking them out with that.
How did you get from SFO to LAX?
Your mileage numbers don't add up, further how did they take the miles out of your account and not assign you a seat? Did you not get/ask for a confirmation with a PNR and seat assignment? Off hand the only airline I know that has totally open seating is GoMokulele.
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"You Can't Trust United Airlines' Word"
Posted by on
If you go by our experience, you cannot trust anything United Airlines tells you, unless it is to their advantage!

We were told by three different representatives that we could take a two day stopover in Frankfurt on our one-way flight. They even sent us a printed itinerary which the representative gave us 24 hours to confirm. We got all excited and researched what we could do, almost made hotel reservations, etc. etc.

When we called back the next day to confirm it, the representative told us that the policy is that you do not get a stopover on a one way flight. Talking to her supervisor for over an hour, he repeatedly did not take any responsibility for his three representative's incompetence in not knowing what the United policy is and his "I do apologize" sounded like it was read directly from a script, in a monotone voice. It would be better to have no apology than one that sounds so insincere.

RJ even agreed, when I asked him, that he was saying that when his company makes a mistake the customer is responsible to pay for it. What happened to the days when if a business offered the wrong price or similar to a customer, they were supposed to have the integrity to accept responsibility and give what was offered?

When we read him the United statement on their website which states that they treat their customers with honesty and integrity and seek their satisfaction, he finally agreed to give us what was promised to us but warned us that the partner airline may kick us off the flight from Frankfurt. Needing to check our schedule, we said we would call back and confirm it. He made it clear that when we called back we could get this already-made reservation confirmed.

But once again, we could not trust their word because when we called back we started back at square one, in spite of RJ's word that we could do this, with the representative (who gave us the reservation in the first place) telling us that it was not valid. She told us that the computer would not permit her to make the reservation, but by that time we couldn't believe anything they told us. I am almost positive that the supervisor could have overridden that.

Tired of several hours of hassle to get them to keep their word, we gave up our hopes of the stopover. We ended our conversation feeling like we had been talking to a brick wall.

We were offered a small compensation but I wonder if the cost of the manpower used to argue against giving us what three of their representatives arranged for us didn't cost more than just following through on their reservation would have cost them.

It also cost them some business, and the former good reputation they had in our and our friends' eyes.
     
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Anonymous on 2011-02-10:
no one takes responsibility anymore. Companies just don't seem to care about customer satisfaction anymore. Its all about the money.
Anonymous on 2011-02-10:
Just because employees make a mistake does not mean you hit the lottery and you get a free deal. A two day layover? I don't see how that would make any business sense. Do any other airlines do this? I highly doubt this.

They told you that it wouldn't go through on the computer. Did you try to book yourself to see if the supervisor was really lying? The fact that they spend hours trying to help you shows great customer service. Just because you didn't get your way surely won't stop me from using United Airlines.

Anonymous on 2011-02-10:
I think you did well receiving some compensation. A lot of airlines would have offered nada. It sounds like there was a lot of confusion, but I've never heard of a two-day layover either, unless that's the way I've arranged the trip myself in order to take advantage of the sights. In any event, thanks for the post and good luck on your future travels.
Ben There on 2011-02-10:
Did this happen to be on a frequent flyer ticket?
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All's Well That Ends Well
Posted by on
I just had to write a review on my recent flight(s) on United Airlines to Singapore to let everyone know that travel is not as miserable as everyone seems to think.

Going through security was a breeze at both Portland International and also at Narita. I wasn't groped at either security checkpoint. That leads me to believe that the searches we're hearing about are not all that common--at least where I traveled.

To start with, all of my flights (3) were on time and one even arrived an hour early (Seattle to Narita). Can't beat that. I also received upgrades to business--another bonus on such long flights. The food was edible too. The gate agents and flight attendants were all very pleasant too.

When I arrived in Singapore (finally), I had the misfortune of not receiving my luggage. The lost luggage people were very helpful and looked up my baggage information with the info on the baggage tag. They said it looked like my baggage had never left Portland. They took all my information and I went on my way. They also gave me a bag of toiletries and a t-shirt to get me through the night. The next day I checked their on-line lost luggage link and was able to see the progress of my luggage. It had been located and was to be sent on the next flight out. It arrived today--about a day and a half later, as they had promised on the on-line link.

I was really impressed at how quickly I was able to receive my luggage from so far away. In all my travels, this is the first time in about 25 years that I have had my luggage not make it with me to my destination. It could have been much worse, but United came through with flying colors. I also have to say that everything I packed was exactly as I had left it.

Mistakes happen, but it's how they're resolved that matters. I will continue flying with United.
     
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Venice09 on 2011-01-14:
Hi, sing! Glad to hear you made it back safely. And it's so good to see a positive review about air travel. Not enough people take the time to post the good stuff. So, thanks for letting us know what went right!
Anonymous on 2011-01-14:
sing and her luggage United again, a happy reunion.
Anonymous on 2011-01-14:
Sing, happy to hear you had a good flying experience. Flying that long can be miserable. Not to mention the nightmare of lost luggage. Good thing you got your luggage back quickly.
DebtorBasher on 2011-01-14:
So, in other words...you left WITHOUT ME AGAIN!!!! GRrrrrrrrrrrr! No one EVER takes me anywhere!!!!

Glad your trip was a safe one, great review!
Skye on 2011-01-14:
Nice review Sing. I'm one of those who actually enjoys travelling. Glad all went well.
Anonymous on 2011-01-14:
Very nice review! Good on United.
Anonymous on 2011-01-14:
"Going through security was a breeze at both Portland International and also at Narita. I wasn't groped at either security checkpoint." I dunno Sing...I may have marked this as a complaint at this point..for NOT being groped! :)

Glad you made it safe and sound!
Anonymous on 2011-01-14:
I trust you have a mileage plus account. Both UA and SQ (Singapore) are members of the Star Alliance. TPAC flights earn you upgrades to J class and or Star Gold status very quickly.
As to "groping" few countries other than the US and only select US stations have WBI (whole body imagers) Secondary or physical pat downs only occur when you opt out of the WBI or require secondary screening.

Anonymous on 2011-01-14:
Thanks everyone for your well wishes!

Bete, yes I do have a mileage plus account. You definitely have to take advantage of any perks that are thrown your way. Long flights garner perks quickly. I use mileage for my upgrades--12,500 per one way trip which I find pretty reasonable. But, there is still no guarantee of getting upgraded if the flight is full. (I got the last business class seat on my Narita-Singapore leg.) Since I fly between the US and Singapore several times a year, the miles do add up and I try to use them to my advantage. As for the groping, that was more of a joke in light of the recent publicity and people freaking out.
Alain on 2011-01-15:
Good review, Sing! I'm glad you had a good trip!
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United lack of service
Posted by on
OMAHA, NEBRASKA -- Dear United Airlines,

My name is Eric Smith. On Christmas day, I learned my Grandfather was gravely ill and would likely not make it very long. My girlfriend and I immediately searched for an affordable ticket from Los Angles, California, to Omaha, Nebraska. We had never flown with United Airlines before, but after asking around, heard it was a decent airline to fly with. We quickly learned nothing could be further from the truth. To start out with, our flight from Los Angles to Denver on flight 576 to Denver was delayed due to Weather. In no way do I expect United to control the weather, but there was no warning whatsoever.

When we landed in Denver, I had a voicemail telling me that flight 576 was delayed and my connecting flight had been rescheduled for a later flight. However, when I went to look for my original connecting flight, it too had been delayed an hour. Why I would be automatically re-connected without taking account of my connecting flight delay is beyond me, but it would set the tone of things to come. Not only that, we were racing the clock to get to his bedside. When we landed in Omaha on flight 977, our bags were nowhere to be found. We went to the baggage service area and spoke with the gentleman there. He said our bags were on the plane we were rescheduled for. I explained to him I could not wait an hour for the bags and told him we lived in Sioux City. He said not to worry, someone could deliver them there tomorrow. I

t was only after I told him that we were actually in a suburb of Sioux City called Sergeant Bluff that he said it would have to be handled by FedEx, but they will still be overnighted and be there tomorrow. He re-assured me this is how it would happen, and gave me a baggage report. I left and immediately drove the 3 hours north to Brookings, SD where I learned my Grandfather had passed sometime in the last hour, had there been no delay I would have made it. The next day I drove the hundred miles to pick up our bags, but there were no bags. I promptly called 1-800-221-6903 and spoke to an agent there (Did not get his name but it is on my United record).

I asked him if I could just come pick up the luggage, he informed me that it was already given to FedEd and said there was no way the luggage would ever be thereby noon the next day. He then supposedly called FedEx and they not only had the luggage on the truck out for delivery, they were making a special drop for us at 10PM on 28DEC07. He gave me their tracking numbers (790905591469 and 790905591470). I looked up these tracking numbers, they showed they hadn’t even left the airport yet, were scheduled for delivery 02JAN08, and were set for 2ND DAY DELIVERY. Hoping that the special delivery was indeed correct, I put my faith in United again. 10PM came and left, and no bags. The next morning I called again. The agent informed me that there was no special delivery scheduled and the luggage had been picked up by FedEx for 2nd day delivery at 10:30PM. This is the only truthful information I have received from United to this day. She then said she was looking at the shipping info and it was on the truck. I asked to speak with her supervisor. Instead of getting him, she also called supposedly called FedEx, and gave me the same answer the agent before had given me with the addition that the bags would be there today between 8AM and 12AM. . I again asked for a supervisor, she put me on hold and hung up. I called back and asked another agent for a supervisor. Finally she connected me with a supervisor named Lee. Lee informed me of many interesting things. One of them was that I couldn’t count, because even though I told him I had called 3 or 4 times, his system shows that I had only called twice, so I must be exaggerating. This same system that has lost my bags is now calling me a liar. Another interesting fact was that our bags were going to be FedEx’ed FOR SURE by noon. He also stated that I could only have a $250 vouchers for United. He said it in such a misleading way I had to ask again. I said verbatim “Did you say two hundred and fifty dollars?”, to which he said yes. I then asked the same question again, and he replied yes. I didn’t think $250 was enough money since it was both of us without clothes for 3 days so far, and he said either that or our clothes, toiletries, and such would be re-reimbursed by United. However, my 600 miles in gas due to this incident will not. He would also file a formal complaint on my behalf and send it to corporate. I told him the $250 travel voucher will be fine if that’s all there is, and I would look forward to my bags at noon. AGAIN noon goes by and no bags. Again I call the 800 number, This time I get Denise. Denise tells me the same thing I have been hearing the whole time, which is my bags are so close I should just hang up and wait for them. This seems to be the plot of the call every time I talk to someone. I ask to speak to Lee again and she puts me on hold. Instead of getting Lee like I asked, she calls FedEx for 10 minutes. She comes back on the line and states that before she gets Lee she wants me to know she called FedEx and my bags are on the way. I again told her I wanted to speak to Lee. She replies that she will go get him but its not going to matter he isn’t going to be able to do anything for me. I will definitely admit it is this point where I started screaming. Denise had ABSOLUTELY NO RIGHT to tell me what I wanted or needed to do, it seems as though she didn’t even read my notes. After 20 more minutes on hold, she puts me through to Cleo.

At the same time my girlfriend Kristin is on hold with FedEx. Cleo said that unfortunately there is nothing they can do. I asked her to call FedEx and ask them if we could just pick up the bags. She said they would need authorization by the baggage department at Omaha to get the order cancelled. Meanwhile, my girlfriend gets an answer from FedEx, who said the order could have easily been cancelled until 10:30PM last night, because IT WAS JUST SITTING AT THE AIRPORT THE ENTIRE TIME. Cleo then comes back to me and says she left a VM with the baggage department at Omaha, FedEx cannot give the bags back nor can they overnight them without the baggage departments authorization. So now as it stands my grandfathers funeral is tomorrow, and my military uniform is at a hub in Omaha. What do you have to say for yourselves? This entire time your company has done nothing but lie to us about where our bags are to cover your own individual agent’s asses. If you would have been honest from the very start this could have been avoided and I would have my bags RIGHT NOW.

Instead I have traveled 600 miles, spent the entire time on the phone with your company, and I will now bury my grandfather with no military rights. I don’t even have enough money in my pocket to buy clothes FOR THE FUNERAL, so being reimbursed is not an option (Although with your track record so far, I doubt that reimbursement is likely in the end). A $50 travel voucher may as well be nothing, as it isn’t cash now and its barely a dent in the monetary anguish you have cost us. Your company has taken away something that can never be replaced, and for that not only will I never fly your airline again, I will make it a point to inform EVERYONE I know that you have by far the worst possible customer service and business ethics possible. Although my heart is filled with anger and hatred at your company and they horrible acts you have committed against me, I hope you never have to experience the helplessness felt by burying a loved one during the holidays, only to have your hands tied behind you by a huge unemotional corporate conglomerate.


Sincerely,

Eric Smith
     
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jenjenn on 2007-12-29:
So sorry Eric for the loss of your Grandfather and this luggage nightmare...
Ponie on 2007-12-29:
My condolences, Eric. I think you should have waited a few days before you wrote this letter. When we lose a loved one, we want to 'blame' someone and we tend to lash out at the nearest entity, person, etc. In your case, because they lost your luggage, it's the airline. I'd bet your grandfather is looking down right now saying, 'Eric, you silly boy, don't get so excited--I'm just glad you made it.' I know you don't feel this way now but maybe 30 years from now you'll be telling your own young grandson about how the airline messed with your luggage and you had to wear borrowed clothing to attend your grandfather's funeral. It may even become a family legend!

Remember the good times the two of you had. No one, not even a cold, impersonal airline, can erase your loving memories. Hold on to them.
Anonymous on 2007-12-29:
I remember reading in the newspaper the last few days of how United had cancelled numerous flights--because they were understaffed (not enough pilots). They were the only airline to do this in Denver and Chicago.

Your situation sounds like a real nightmare and I hope they can dig into their pockets and reimburse you for your losses. In a situation such as yours, in which the travel was necessitated by a family crisis, I feel angered by United's lack of common sense, let alone their lack of compassion.

Sorry for the loss of your Grandfather and your horrific treatment by United. I will think twice before using them again. They have really gone downhill.
Anonymous on 2007-12-29:
Ponie--Sorry, but I think your comments to Eric were very insensitive. Of course he was upset--the airline screwed up big time. He has every reason to complain and "blame" the airline for their incompetence. They made a bad situation worse with their incompetence. I hope you never find yourself in a similar situation.
Ponie on 2007-12-29:
dianec, I didn't mean to come off insensitive. Been there, done that. When you lose someone, you hurt badly. Sometimes cooler heads prevail. Eleven months ago when I lost my brother, I barked out at anyone who crossed my path. Was ready to even punch out the funeral director because I didn't feel he cleared the snow properly on the sidewalk. (Bad weather) The day before the funeral, a friend took me aside and talked to me for a bit. I then understood what I was doing. I hope that's the way Eric feels I talked to him. He certainly has my empathy since I know exactly how he feels.
Anonymous on 2007-12-30:
Ponie--Your problems with the snow and Eric's luggage problem were quite a bit different in scope. It really didn't sound like (from his letter) he was "barking" unnecessarily at anyone. But, thanks for the explanation. I'm sure Eric appreciates it.
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United Sucks!
Posted by on
After sending several e-mails (copied two below) I was offered a $100 certificate for my next trip! They have got to be kidding. Like I would ever use United again!!!

I am very disappointed in your customer service and would like to take this opportunity to tell you why. This is regarding a trip I booked for four persons to Hawaii. I called and placed a reservation for four. I had enough miles to use for three tickets. I paid for the fourth. I confirmed with the agent that I was purchasing all four at that time. I had to pay taxes and such on the ones I was using miles for. I gave him my credit card number and he gave me a confirmation number. He said it was complete and I would receive the tickets in the mail. Well I received one ticket in the mail. The one I paid $950 for. So I called again to ask where the other tickets were. I was told that the request was never completed. Somehow he managed to get the one I was paying cash for completed but not the other three. And now this agent explains to me that they no longer have seats available for miles tickets on that flight. He also informs me that he can't change the ticket I purchased. So my options are to pay $950 for three more tickets or have the other three people go on a different flight. That does not really sound reasonable to me.

He also told me I could save my miles for future use - because of course they are so easy to use!! I spent two hours on the phone during this call. I took three tickets on a different flight with my miles. I was told they would arrive in the mail. Well I waited a couple weeks and they did not arrive so I called AGAIN. The agent explained to me that my reservation was on hold but it was never completed. How did this happen again?? It seems like people are trying to prohibit me from using these miles. They had no problem with the ticket I paid cash for. Well this time I spent almost three hours on the telephone. They had to book me on a completely different flight this time. So again it is still one person on one flight and the other three people on another flight. Not exactly ideal for a family vacation.

They explained that I may be able to go to the airport and have them switch the tickets but they could not do it over the phone, even though the original tickets were bought over the phone. Well after spending a total of 8 and a half hours on the telephone I received the tickets. Of course they are not for the flight I had initially wanted, because the first person who helped me did not do his job. Then I got to go to the airport so that all four of us could fly together. This is especially important because we will have to rent cars to and from the airport. We do not live close to the airport. Well I got my kids ready and took them all to the airport. I paid to park and stood waiting for my ticket to be fixed (with my children) for FOUR HOURS!!!! And do you know how the ticket was fixed? The agent called the number that I had called and had them fix it. So why could they not just do it for me?

Why did I have to spend four hours in an airport with my children for this?? This is completely and totally ridiculous. Your customer service agents on the telephone were not polite or helpful. Even when it was their fault that things were messed up they insisted they could not fix it. It seems to me that you are trying to make it difficult for customers to redeem miles. It is already hard with blackout dates and limits on each flight. Then to make it worse, people make reservations and you just don't complete them.

That is unbelievable. I am completely dissatisfied with your customer service. There are other airlines for people to choose, and when you do things like this, it encourages them to do so.

I booked travel for 4 from Phoenix to Kona roundtrip. I sent a message due to problems we had with booking travel. It was messed up several times. I will copy and paste that at the bottom for your reference. However, I want to share with you what happened on the actual days of travel. It was a NIGHTMARE!!!! Due to all of the problems we had booking the tickets, I took the tickets to my local United counter before the day of travel to make sure that everything was OK and that we were set. I was told that we were. The person acted all helpful and took our tickets and gave us electronic tickets. She sent us on our way telling us we were all set to go. On the day of travel we show up at the airport, thankfully more than 2 hours ahead of time.

We try to check in and we are not able to. We are told we do not have tickets. We show them everything we have and explain that we paid for three with miles and one with cash. We stood their while they called people on the telephone and other associates from other counters to come help. 25 minutes before our flight they manage to get 2 of the tickets straight but not the other two. So they tell us that we should pay for 2 tickets to LA where we have a connection. We are told that everything will be set when we get their and we will have no problem with the connecting flight. At this point we have no choice but to buy 2 more tickets. Our flight is about to leave and if we miss it we also miss the connection. So we buy them. Well then when we get to LA everything is not OK. We are sent from one line to the next. We are panicking because we have very little time to make our flight and there are not other open flights that day. We already booked hotels and stuff... This is supposed to be our dream vacation in Hawaii. HA!! Finally, we are told that they have located the reservation, but the tickets we have are not any good. We are told that we have to pay for lost tickets and get new ones. This is CRAZY!! We have tickets and did not lose anything. Well this is 30 minutes before departure and we have no choice. Their goes several hundred dollars more. This is the most expensive and stressful free tickets ever!

Well then we of course are told that since we paid the lost ticket fee and had them reprint everything, we would not have any problem on departure. Well at this point we did not believe them. So on our last vacation day we had to get up early and make an extra trip to the airport just to make sure our tickets were OK. Then we could leave and come back for our flight that evening. Well it is a good thing that we did. They were not correct. First we are told we have no tickets. Then we are told we go into LA when we are supposed to go into San Fran. Well we spent three and a half hours at the airport getting it straight. What a lovely way to end the perfect vacation.

I am still VERY angry. This is poor service from start to finish. Not only were our 3 mileage tickets not free, but the hassle was unbelievable. Plus, I paid over $1000 for the fourth ticket. That is $1,000 cash to get poor service. Seems like something is wrong to me.

     
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chris513 on 2007-11-19:
Sounds like a pain of an experience. One question, though...Was all of your travel on United Airlines, or were there other airlines involved? If it was on United (or United w/ any Star Alliance partner), it should have been an electronic ticket instead of a paper ticket and you should have received your confirmation via email.
Spacex on 2007-11-27:
Thank you very much looks like a classic case of extreeeeem stupidity or bait and switch either way you were screwed buy United.
What's Roman for "Fligher beware"?
kmvbs8 on 2007-12-13:
stories like these make me so sick, I can imagine how hard it is to spend extra money on something you already had, someone needs to be accountable at these airlines. did you get any names or confirmation numbers?? I would demand a refund but of course you'll end up talking to someone who couldn't care less.
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Dis-service to United Air Lines Mileage Plus Members
Posted by on
SAN FRANCISCO, MARYLAND --
I am writing to express my, disappointment, displeasure and disgust with United Airlines at the service and treatment I received on my last flight in the unfriendly skies of United. On Tuesday, April 17th I received a call from UAL reservations telling my originally booked flight for the next day had been canceled—no reason given—and I was booked on a later flight. Fine. Seating assignments were made satisfactorily. When I checked in the agent asked if I wanted to upgrade since I was confirmed upgraded on the return flight. We used 500-mile certificates. Even if I did arrive disappointed two hours later than planned, the flight was uneventful.

On Wednesday, April 25 I checked in at SEA and received my confirmed upgrades for the San Francisco leg and the Baltimore leg using 15,000 miles from my account. The flight was delayed due to weather in SFO but was uneventful as well until we landed. Instead of the customary announcement of passengers continuing on to Baltimore the gate agent informed us that the flight had been canceled and we needed to see the service center about rebooking.

The lines at the center snaked back down the terminal and were not moving. After waiting in line for a half hour and making little progress I attempted to reach the Premier Reservations by cell phone. The first agent I reached was so heavily accented and the connection so poor I could hardly understand or hear him. He did manage to explain some options to him but I decide it would be best to try another agent since I did not trust he knew what he was doing. The second agent was better and the connection better but I could not convince him I was in San Francisco and not in Seattle and I did not want to go to Dulles Airport. On to the third agent who did manage to finally give me some options that included a 6:12 am flight the next morning. I asked about the confirmed upgrade, he didn’t know, I asked about lodging and he referred me to the service center.

I then attempted to reach customer service via the number given by the agent and wound up in endless loops that took me back to reservations and the automated system. By repeating “agent” to every automatic question I would talk to someone who would forward me on—back to reservations. This went on for 20 minutes before I gave up in disgust. By now I had deplaned over an hour and half ago.

I decided to go to Premier ticket counter to see if there was a shorter line. The line was shorter but due to handling similar problems it was over a half hour before an agent was available to talk to. My seatmate, who was in a wheel chair, had been at the counter the entire time and said she had waited 30 minutes for the agent to come back with hotel information for her. Another passenger on the same flight gave up in disgust, booked a flight on American Airlines via cell phone, and left.

The agent behind the counter was polite and understanding but was at the end of her shift. It took her almost a half-hour to sort the mess out and get me boarding passes for the next morning. I asked about the confirmed upgrade I held and she told me none were available (my seatmate got hers but then United is a class driven carrier) but that I would be waitlisted. Now I am really disappointed with the way UAL was treating customers. So I asked about a lodging and agent was able to make a reservation for me and gave me a $10 voucher for dinner. Yes, ten whole dollars for dinner. How generous. The hotel I was booked into was a Red Roof Inn, barely one star hotel, but at least it was clean. I did not arrive at the hotel until after 5:45, almost six hours after I had deplaned.

The next morning when I arrived at the airport at 5:00 am for my flight I was told that I was so far down the upgrade list that I would not receive it out of San Francisco in spite of having been charge mileage and held a confirmed upgrade on the original flight. Still disappointed and displeased I went to the gate only to find out that I had been placed in the center seat of a B-777. At least it was the front exit row. Now I am really starting to get disgusted with UAL’s treatment. When I arrived in Chicago I did receive the upgrade for the flight home. But wait! We are not done with the disgust. When I arrived home I checked my Mileage Plus account a couple of days later only to find out that I had been charged an extra 15,000 miles for the Chicago to Baltimore leg. What a bloody rip for an upgraded bag of pretzels and drink served in a glass instead of styro-foam! For the really disgusting part of the whole episode my hotel voucher and ten-dollar meal voucher (yes, I said ten dollars for dinner again) listed the cause of cancellation as “mechanical.” It was the same plane we had just flown in on from Seattle! I am suspecting now that the mechanical failure was made up to justify canceling the flight since none of the crew seemed aware of the problem until the gate agent made the announcement.

If this is the way United treats its loyal customers I hate to think how others are treated. Again I am disappointed, displeased, and disgusted with this kind of treatment and I remind you that as your flight attendants say at the end of every flight: “there is a choice in air carriers.” I have always believed in loyalty to a business but United’s indifference to customers and poor customer service is making me re-evaluate my commitment.

Now, what is United going to do about this? Honor its commitment to customer service listed on the webpage? Refund the extra 15,000 miles taken out of my account for the upgrade I had already paid for would be the least I would expect. What else can United do to make up for this grievous betrayal of customer loyalty? After over 18 years of flying UAL almost exclusively and logging some 630,000 miles I am now seriously considering alternative carriers. South West Airlines did just open a new terminal at BWI, my preferred airport and I have heard lots of positives about flying South West.

     
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