United shoots themselves in the foot

Apr 26th, 2009, 05:49 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 10,168
United shoots themselves in the foot

This is a cautionary tale, rather than a whine.

Arrived Aprill 22 at ORD from RIC heading for SFO. There had been an equipment change, and a bunch of us got bumped. It happens. It's what happened next that didn't have to happen.

Instead of booking us on new flights using our standby order on the old flight, we were sent to the "Service Desk" [sic] where the whole process began again. The race to the "Service Desk" naturally went to the young and fleet of foot, so the rest of us did not get on the remaining direct flight but had the privilege of connecting again thru Denver or Las Vegas,

I took the Denver flight and eventually got to SFO despite another equipment change followed by mechanical problems, but it was after 3 AM EDT body time before I got to the hotel, six hours late.

A few months earlier, I had the same problem on NWA, who, knowing that we could not all make the connecting flight after the equipment change, very cleverly had printed out our new itineraries and boarding cards and handed them to us as we deplaned, along with a meal voucher. There was a problem, they took care of it, and we hardly noticed that we were arriving a couple of hours later.

United used to be my favority airline. Most of the staff were very pleasant, despite being harried. But the system stunk. Who would have believed that NWA had better customer service than United!
Ackislander is offline  
Apr 26th, 2009, 09:33 AM
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Posts: 23,074
You should call, instead of going to the "Service Desk".
rkkwan is offline  
Apr 26th, 2009, 03:50 PM
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This is why you should have the airline's 800 number - while others are running to the service desk, you call and reschedule. If you remember to call, that is
Dayenu is online now  
Apr 26th, 2009, 09:19 PM
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Posts: 15,591
Call, at the first sign of trouble and avoid the "Service" Desk. As soon as you hear "This is the pilot. The franistan has a glitch, but we should have it fixed in 10 or 15 minutes and then we will be on our way". Call the first time you hear that.
mrwunrfl is online now  
Apr 26th, 2009, 09:29 PM
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Were you on standby for ORD-SFO? I don't under stand the "using the standby order" comment.
mrwunrfl is online now  
Apr 27th, 2009, 02:02 AM
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Posts: 10,168
Not on standby. One of the many these days who don't get a seat assignment from United before arriving at the gate. Never had a problem before in _many_ years of business travel. They put everyone in my situation on the standby board and work through them. They seated 24 of 49; I was 27. Bad luck.

I have never had much luck getting through on the 800 number, but I should have given it a shot. Thanks for the reminder.

Back in the day, of course, there were travel agents . . . .
Ackislander is offline  
Apr 27th, 2009, 07:01 AM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 375
Ackislander, we had a similar problem trying to get to Aspen on United from Denver last winter. Now, Aspen is known for having difficult weather conditions plus it's a small airport. Our flight took off from Denver and was about to land in Aspen when the pilot had to abort the landing and return to Denver due to low clearance. The weather changed just as we were about to land. Our flight, and all flights after ours, were cancelled for the rest of the day. There was absolute chaos when we landed. The United staff on the ground were totally overwhelmed by the mass of people trying to rescheduled their flights. There was no order in re-booking people. It was a mess. We ended up waiting for our luggage (for 3 hours!) and then hooking up with 2 other couples and driving to Aspen from Denver, arriving at 2 AM. At least we got there!

Needless to say, we were not happy. We did get a small "credit" from United for the unused portion of our flight. I don't know if calling their 800 number would have helped us out. Our only options were to try to drive to our destination, or wait about 2 days for another flight and miss that much of our vacation.
MarieF is offline  
Apr 27th, 2009, 11:38 AM
Join Date: Dec 2006
Posts: 489
The stanby order is established by status with airline, booking class,fares, etc rather than first come/first serve. Been there, done that with United - never again. It can happen with any airline - it's how they handle it is what matters; and United is at or near the bottom. To quote some one from FT:
"I'd rather walk or swim than fly United" - count me in.
Paulchili is offline  
Apr 27th, 2009, 09:34 PM
Join Date: Sep 2004
Posts: 45,322
I quit flying United some years ago. I used them for flying to S CA. About 75% of the time the flight I had was cancelled..and I would have to hang around SFO hours for hours before I could take their next plane. Usually it was the same flying home from S CA. Safeway started giving United FF miles for certain purchases. I would call United and donate them to our troops. But I would receive an offfer from United weekly to sign up for their credit card. I received a notice a couple of months ago that I would have to register if I wanted to continue to receive their FF miles through my Safeway purchases. I didn't. And so thankfully the weekly United credit card offers stopped being mailed to me. I would only fly United if there was not any other option and I really had to fly somewhere. Having said that I almost always experienced pleasant United employees.
LoveItaly is offline  
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