Saturday, July 02, 2005

I will never fly United Airlines again--rant warning

I will never fly United Airlines again and they deserve to stay in bankruptcy.  My wife and daughter flew from Kosovo to the US for a conference.  On the way into the US, one of the flights was delayed and the connection to the destination was missed.  All well and good.  But they made my wife and daughter spend the night in the airport because they “all the hotels” were full.  Right, all the hotels in the Denver Metroplex were full…every one.  Okay, that can happen.  So arrives into Colorado Springs the day the conference starts.  My daughter goes off with Grandma and Grandpa for a few days and all is good.


But then in order to leave the Springs she has to deal with United again.  One again the Springs-Denver flight is late…this time a mechanical problem.  This means that she will arrive too late to make the Washington Dulles-Vienna-Prishtina flight.  There is a direct flight from Denver to Frankfurt, but we can’t put you on that flight…sorry.  So Melissa and Madison fly into Washington Dulles late in the evening.  There they wait four hours in a line to get a hotel voucher.  Now, my daughter Madison is a real trooper, but she’s only six years old and by this time she was hungry, thirsty, tired and had to go to the bathroom.  But what can you do when you’re standing in a long line?  The United personnel certainly didn’t help.  When she gets to the front of the line the “service professional” tells her that she cannot give her a voucher because it’s not their fault.  Melissa counters tells her that it is was a mechanical problem and that they are “legally responsible to protect her” which is true, according to the travel agent.  Finally those magic words rang the lady’s bell and she said, “Okay, let me call my supervisor because we’re not supposed to give vouchers.”  Forty-five minutes later the supervisor comes and gives her a hotel voucher.  They get checked into the hotel about midnight and are told they are booked on a flight the next day, at 5:40.


Fortunately, they get a good night sleep.  They show up at the airport again and since their luggage has been checked through, they are in the same clothes for two days.  Again there is a long line at check in.  Melissa and Madison have been given priority tickets, the ticket agents are ignoring her.  Finally when talk to her they say, “Oh, you were a priority ticket…you should have had a flight on this seat, but now it’s full.  We’ll see what we can do tomorrow.  So now, at this moment, Melissa and Madison are back in the hotel room, waiting for another flight which this time goes to Munich-Budapest-Prishtina and which will hopefully arrive Sunday afternoon.


Now, all of my two readers know that Melissa also suffers from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.  Can you imagine how she’s feeling right now.  She tried to explain that to the agents at United, but there was nothing they could would do.


I can’t explain how utterly shocked I am but the customer disservice that Melissa has been getting.  This is from the United Website:

United employees around the world are committed to ensuring you and your loved ones enjoy safe, seamless travel and superior customer service every time you fly with us.

What a joke.  I’ve always been a regular customer of United’s, as has my Platinum-card-holding father-in-law.  One of my favorite uncles is a retired United pilot.  But I don’t think I’ll ever fly them again.  This wasn’t just one mistake from one ill-tempered ticket agent.  This was an near systematic, multi-airport, multi-agent royal screw-up.  I’ll post again when Melissa finally gets back. 


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