At approximately 7:15 am on April 20th, my traveling companion and I arrived in Washington DC after a night flight from Phoenix Arizona, expecting to get on a plane to Syracuse NY at 8:20 am. We arrived at the gate well in advance with a boarding pass AND a previously assigned seat. Before that plane started boarding, an announcement was made that the plane was overbooked and those people with seat assignments would be let on first. The man taking the boarding passes told everyone without assigned seats to step aside. When we handed him the passes he looked up our names on a print out and said, “This is one of the lowest price fares. I am not going to let you use this ticket.” He rudely told us to step aside and proceeded to take the tickets from other customers who were behind us in line.
In spite of my continued protests that I had an assigned seat, the United agent continued to ignore me. At this point, I became aware of the fact that we were part of a group of 14 people headed to Syracuse that were involuntarily bumped and were stranded in Washington. The overbooking was even more outrageous in light of the fact that the plane only held 50 people and this occurred at one of the busiest times of the year – spring break.
After wasting over a half hour standing to the side of the boarding area, we were told to go to customer service. At this point there were about 50 people waiting in a line that did not appear to be moving at all with one “customer service” representative at the desk. As the crowd of people became more and more agitated another customer service rep from United arrived on the scene, directing people to a bank of phones and promising to get a supervisor on the scene. As far as I could see, the supervisor never arrived. I walked over to the phone and followed the directions on the screen. My call was sent to someone in India who proceeded to tell me that I could call the toll free reservation number but that I would have to “go to a phone booth” to do so. This proved to be another act of futility that simply wasted more time.
After another hour and a half of waiting in line, I finally got to see a customer service representative. I was never given a written statement describing my rights and the airlines policy on involuntary bumping, as required by federal DOT regulations. I was informed that the next flight to “anywhere’ in New York state’ with open seats was on Wednesday. I explained that I work as a teacher in a school with an item in our contract that specifies that no personal time can be used before or after a vacation and that I would lose my pay for those days. It was clear that the United airline personnel couldn’t care less even if such a delay led to my death. Throughout this process I was in communication with the other bumped passengers going to Syracuse. They were all told the same thing and when a request was made for bus transportation to Syracuse for the group it was repeatedly denied.
We also told the agents that we would be willing to share a rental car or van and requested a voucher to do so. This request was also denied although one of the agents said that we could send in the receipt for compensation. In short, the response by United Airlines to our plight can best be described by the attitude – “It is not our problem. Don’t expect us to do anything about it.” When I requested a full refund for the ticket I was informed that they would only refund the part of the trip from Washington to Syracuse (a” small amount” to quote the agent) At this point I decide to save the ticket for a future attempt to receive just compensation, hopefully from someone who was more reasonable and customer friendly than the crew working at Washington/ Dulles. The airline did give us what will most likely prove to be useless vouchers for a future roundtrip flight.
All of the Syracuse passengers, having been given the same lack of service and most being desperate to get back home, decided to rent cars to drive out of Washington. My friend and I shared a car with 3 other people. We rented a Hertz full sized vehicle, one way for a cost of $320 with taxes and a tank of gas. Our share of the car was $128 plus and additional $10 each in gas. We also had to stop for lunch and dinner where we incurred another additional expense of approximately $60 for the two of us. The trip home was emotionally and physically draining. During the first two hundred miles of the trip we drove thorough blinding rain storms in extremely heavy traffic. We also got stuck in two one hour long traffic jams on Route 81.All of this was undertaken by drivers who had little to no sleep on the plane the previous evening. In light of the evidence that driving while tired is as bad as driving while intoxicated, this was a potentially dangerous situation. I did not arrive home to Boonville, NY until well after midnight. I went into work the next day after having had only 4 hours sleep in a 48 hour period.
On April 20th after about an hour of “wild goose chases” on the phone, (being kept on hold and repeatedly transferred among a multitude of recordings and people) I finally spoke to a woman in headquarters about yesterday's nightmare. She confirmed that there were indeed no flights out until Wednesday and that it is the policy of United NOT to provide any ground transportation regardless of the circumstances. These agents at the Washington/ Dulles were merely following company policy I asked for a refund for the full price of the ticket, compensation for the portion of the rental car and the expenses of meals on the way back. She called me at home later and stated that United would give me $87 for the last leg of the trip, and payment for my portion of the rental car - $74. If I chose to return the voucher, I would get another $87.
This in no way compensated me for the situation described above.
Upon further reflection of this situation I asked myself several questions:
1. What if I were very elderly, disabled or incapable of driving over 400 miles in horrendous traffic to get home? Would I still be sitting in Washington DC?
2. Why are the airlines allowed to engage in the deliberately fraudulent practice of selling more tickets
than there are seats, leaving passengers stranded for days? If any other business regularly engaged in such practices they would be sued and/or fined.
3. Why is the federal government continuing with the laissez-faire policy towards airlines in spite of the overwhelming evidence that such an approach is detrimental to the well-being of the American people?
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 hadnât 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 couldnât 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 FedExâed 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 âDid you say two hundred and fifty dollars?â, to which he said yes. I then asked the same question again, and he replied yes. I didnât 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 thatâs 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 isnât 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 didnât 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 agentâs 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 donât 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 isnât 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.
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.
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.
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) carryons. (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. We'll 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....
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.
Here's the letter I wrote to their customer relations team...I feel that everyone needs to know this information:
Dear United Airlines,
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 (11:30am) 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 8:15pm!
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 snce 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 Supervicor 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 broke my guitar 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! t 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!
Dear United Airlines,
This letter 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 at the phone number or e-mail below to discuss the compensation necessary to right this wrong.
On Jan 8, 2010 we missed a flight connection in Chicago. We were rebooked a few hours later and arrived safely in Toronto but none of our six pieces of luggage arrived.
On Jan 10th we were told 5 of our luggage pieces were found and they were looking for the 6th
On Jan 11th we were told that they still hadn't found the sixth but would release the 5 they had. Nothing was delivered.
On Jan 12th we were told they were sorry the bags weren't delivered but the 6th bag was found and all would be delivered. Nothing arrived.
On Jan 13th we insisted on speaking with a supervisor at united. He said he wasn't at the airport but would ensure a supervisor from the airport called us back to let us know what happened and when we could expect delivery. No call and no bags.
On Jan 14th we called again and were told by a supervisor that he didn't know why were weren't called back or why we were told the 6th bag was found because it was still missing. He said he would investigate why the five bags hadn't been released and would call us back. No call and no bags by 5pm so we called again. They said our bags were already sent and we should have them. We did not have them but in the middle of the night the 5 bags that were located on Jan 10th were finally delivered. The sixth bag was still missing and two wall plaques we had bought in Indonesia were broken when they arrived
On January 15th (today) we called about the missing bag and the broken items. They told us we could go to the airport to search for the missing bag in some room they have there. We went to the airport and searched the room there. No bag. The room was almost empty and the attendant said to us: " Oh I saw your 5 bags sitting there for a week and felt bad that nobody was picking them up so I finally delivered them. This was not a case of 5 bags missing for a week. It was a case of five bags sitting in the airport because the airline didn't want to pay the cost of delivering them. Their website says they usually deliver lost bags within 24 hours which is crap. Clearly no supervisor or anyone else ever told this guy to send our bags. It wasn't even a case of overwhelming volumes of lost luggage as we suspected as the room was almost empty and the attendant was very familiar with our 5 bags. United just hopes people will get so frustrated they will come to the airport themselves to pick up the luggage so they don't have to pay delivery costs.
When we discussed the two broken items we were told that thy were not responsible for contents (these were simply two wood plaques protected and wrapped). Not really contents but the whole piece of luggage. They told us the person checking us in was supposed to tell us they weren't responsible if it got damaged and have us sign a limited release form. We wanted to carry these two pieces on the flight as they were only an inch thick and about 10 inches wide and would easily fit in the spot at the front of the plane where people hang suits. Instead of allowing us to do this or telling us that they were not responsible if they were damaged, they said they had to be checked in and assured us they would be safe.
I am hoping that given that they never had me sign this "limited release form" they were speaking of I will have a case for a claim but I suspect I am screwed given the amount of "care" they have demonstrated so far.
One last thing. Two different representative told me that because of our issues they would email me a $250 gift certificate I could use against the next flight I book. Neither person actually emailed it. Not a big deal as I will never fly with them again anyway.
United Airlines repeatedly told me misinformation regarding my lost luggage. On December 22nd my daughter and I flew out of Frankfurt Germany on Lufthansa Airlines to Denver, then got on my connecting flight to Los Angeles using United Airlines. Unfortunately my two checked bags didn't make it. I made a delayed baggage report, then went home that night.
I called United's lost baggage assistance at 1-800-221-6903 first thing in the morning. The woman on the phone told me that they had located my luggage in Los Angeles and it just needed to go through customs and it would probably be delivered to me that same day. However, that day went by without a call from them. I called the next day, December 24th. This time I talked to a man. He also told me my luggage was at Los Angeles. I explained to him that all of my family's Christmas presents were in my luggage and the Christmas Eve party was that night. He said he'd put a "priority" on my luggage and that I'd be called within 2 hours to arrange a delivery. No one ever called me.
I called again after the party to complain that my luggage never arrived. This time I talked to a woman who told me my luggage was not in Los Angeles at all, but still in Germany. The first two customer service agents had simply told me falsehoods. She said it would be flown to me right away. I waited a couple of days. Again, no call.
On December 27th at 5pm, five days after my luggage was lost, I called their customer service line again. I spoke to a woman who said my luggage was in Denver and would be flying to Los Angeles on Lufthansa flight 456 and reach LAX at 1PM on December 27th. However, after the conversation I looked up Lufthansa flight 456 and saw that such a flight does not even exist between Denver and LAX. It's a flight between Frankfurt and LAX. It was also the flight that was listed on my delayed baggage report as my original baggage routing. It was the number of the flight that I missed in Frankfurt due to delays. There is no LH 456 flight from Denver to LAX.
Once I discovered that misinformation, I called the customer service line again the same evening and spoke with a man. I told him of the wrong information that had been told to me. He said he would help me. When I told him what the last person had told me, he again said that it was in Denver going on Flight LH 456. Just repeating what I had been told. When I told him that flight didn't exist, he changed his story and said my luggage is in Frankfurt. When I asked him why he originally said it was in Denver then later said Frankfurt, he didn't really have an explanation. I kept asking him "You don't really know where my luggage is. Just tell me the truth. Where is my luggage?" I kept asking him this. It was like pulling teeth to try to get him to tell the truth. Finally he admitted they don't know where my luggage is.
Every person I talked to on their customer service line had told me wrong information. Every single one of them. They all had very strong accents, sounding like they were from India. The calling centers may not even be located here in the US, which is probably why they didn't seem to care.
Will I ever see my luggage again? Even if I do get my luggage back, it is still horrible customer service.