United Airlines Solves Stranded Passenger Problem With 20% Off Coupons

Thank goodness for United Airlines, they’ve solved the problem of what to do with grounded, stranded passengers. You know, the problem that Congress has been having hearings about? The solution: a 20% off coupon, a $10 airport meal voucher and a note of apology! The Denver Post says that United will consider anyone with a taxi-out delay of more than 3 hours or a taxi-in delay of more than 90 minutes eligible for the goodies.

United said that 324 of its flights had ground delays of more than 3 hours in 2006.

Forgive us for being cynical but if this happened to us, we’d tell them to take their 20% off coupon and shove it in their tail rudder. —MEGHANN MARCO

United pledges time limits on ground delays [Denver Post]
(Photo: Atwater Village Newbie)

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  1. FatLynn says:

    Isn’t this better than the airlines that are doing nothing? I find myself constantly defending the entire industry on here, but the bottom line is that consumers will not pay more for better service.

  2. TPIRman says:

    Yeah, the 20% coupon is terrible, not to mention the fact that $10 voucher would not buy a “meal” in any airport I’ve visited recently. I mean, come on — TEN DOLLARS? I wonder if the offer is so atrocious that it could actually backfire on United (probably not, but a man can dream). If I were a member of Congress, I would look at this and think, “Wow, they really are not taking this seriously.”

  3. rmz says:

    I knew this sounded familiar.

    http://consumerist.com/consumer/leaks/united-to-unveil-mis

    I guess it’s “official” now, but yeah, that’s a pretty pathetic compensation package for sitting on the tarmac for several hours. Not to mention that a $10 airport meal voucher will buy you almost nothing in many airports where competition between stores is low.

  4. TPIRman says:

    @FatLynn: (Sorry for the double post — I didn’t see the first comment until after I posted mine.) I definitely agree with this and your earlier remarks that “the bottom line is that consumers will not pay more for better service.” That’s a point central point that a lot of people overlook.

    But just because it’s the bottom line doesn’t mean it’s the only factor in play. This offer is “something,” yes, but it’s so little that it’s borderline insulting to the consumers’ intelligence. There’s also an implication here that United has no interest in solving the underlying (complicated) problem. They’d rather just hand out some crappy coupons and give themselves a gold star for effort. The airlines are constrained by the demand for low fares, but not to the degree that they have to disrespect their customers like this.

  5. Buran says:

    @FatLynn: It may as well be nothing. This is a lame pathetic token effect to get Congress to not pass a law that forces them to get off their asses.

    I’m taking two trips in June.

    Both are on Southwest.

    There’s a reason for that.

  6. not_seth_brundle says:

    @FatLynn: I think sometimes nothing is better than something. As Johnny said, the offer itself is insulting, and combine that with the motives behind the offer–to attempt to thwart a passenger bill of rights–ugh, I hate United.

  7. bigvicproton says:

    the sustained vomiting of a passenger has been rumored to get a whole plane to return to the gate when it looks like its going to sit there for a few hours. suddenly that teenager anorexic sitting next to you becomes good for something…

  8. orielbean says:

    I think we should just pay the exit-seat people to pop the hatch and inflate the slides, and just get off the damn plane ourselves. These people are assholes for treating humans like chickens on a truck. Get a friggin gate open, people!

  9. V-effekt says:

    Ever try to use a coupon like that? I get $99 companion vouchers every year and can’t use them because of blackout dates, can only be redeemed when purchasing tickets at the airport, etc.
    I recently had to drive to the airport to book a flight and redeem a ‘cash’ paper voucher. The fare was higher, of course, and the hassle sucked. Next time I might just throw it away. We need more than band-aids.

  10. cabinaero says:

    I’d take that 20% voucher right now… I’m looking at about $2200 for a quick-turn out of HKG. 20% off would knock that down to $1760. 20% for a non-controllable delay is actually not a terrible offer.

    Have any of the other legacies announced a compensation plan? I know B9 has — mainly to dig themselves out of a PR fiasco.

  11. r81984 says:

    A 20% voucher makes no sense. That is basically saying if you want any compensation you have to spend more money with us.

    They need to mandate a automatic 20% refund for your current ticket and the $10 meal voucher.

    $10 dollars is plenty at an airport. You can get a huge meal at any fast food place in the airport for $10.

  12. r81984 says:

    @r81984:

    What happens if you do a chargeback on your credit card to an airline if you are pissed off??

  13. poulet says:

    Is there any compensation for cancelled flights?