United may be trying out a new revenue idea: the don’t-set-my-bags-ablaze fee. Shannon Tadel’s luggage was incinerated as she boarded a plane in Syracuse, NY on December 1st, 2008. The cool thing about this sort of story is she got to see the inside of a cockpit! The not so cool part is what happened next:
“[The pilot] said, ‘Do you see that over there? That’s your luggage,’” Tadel recalled. She looked out the plane’s window and saw a man with a hose and a big plume of smoke.
The pilot and flight crew were exceptionally nice to Tadel, actually: the pilot went down and retrieved her medicine from her smoldering luggage, and the crew upgraded her to first class.
Sadly, the rest of United ignored Tadel’s reimbursement claim for the past two months. She finally contacted the Chicago Tribune for help, and when they contacted United, the airline promptly made an offer. They also said they had only just now received the customer’s claims and were already working on it when the newspaper called, which sounds suspiciously lame.