Executive Email Carpet Bomb, Consumerist Post, Prompt United To Solve Reader's Complaint

After being dissatisfied with his United ticket being changed without notice, and the fact that he called three times and each time there was some sort of birthday party in the background rendering the conversation incomprehensible, Bob got his story posted here. We advised him to send an executive email carpet bomb (EECB), and CC his complaints to the Department of Transportation. Now, the godly hand of United customer service has reached out of the ether and given him a scratch behind the ears, and Bob has gone from peeved consumer to pleased…

I don’t know if it was the story being posted or the email carpet bomb, but I received a call this evening from someone at United (based in the US) who was very sympathetic and who was able to fine me another flight that got me into Seattle at the same time as my original booking. I was also offered a $100 voucher for each of the two tickets I posted. She also explained how the fares work and that I wasn’t paying more for a non-stop flight but I was too late to get one of the discounted fares on a non-stop flight. She swears there is no extra charge for a non-stop flight.

I’m very happy with the outcome. I just wish someone could have done this in the first several calls.

And to clarify what many of the posters brought up, it was a non-stop flight that I had booked. I didn’t know a direct flight is different than a non-stop flight in some circles.

In the end, United came through!

The power of the public complaint. We would like to thank all of the major companies for whom Consumerist is on the required reading list. You better be reading or we’ll be wrecking you up from behind and you won’t even know it.

PREVIOUSLY: United Changes Direct Flight To One With Stopovers, Doesn’t Tell Customers, Customer Service Reps Cheer And Clap In Background
(Photo: Maulleigh)


Edit Your Comment

  1. umonster says:

    It’s sad that it takes all this to get some reasonable response.

  2. jeffj-nj says:

    I’m sorry, what? What is the difference between direct and non-stop?

  3. crnk says:

    Still skeptical about the OP’s original problems….
    like this bit: “I wasn’t paying more for a non-stop flight but I was too late to get one of the discounted fares on a non-stop flight.”
    ….Does that mean the original purchase was “too late” to get the discounted fare?

    Also, there can often be an extra charge for nonstop flights….anyone telling you otherwise is wrong. Sometimes, an airline will file a fare class, let’s call it “W”. A “W” fare may internally for the airline mean “a flight with connections” and therefore, any direct flight would not be eligible for purchase on a “W” fare. I have seen many times where EWR-SEA has been well more expensive (200 vs 300+) than JFK/LGA-IAH-SEA because of this.

  4. crnk says:

    Direct means you are on the same flight number…sometimes announced as “XXX with continuing service to XXX” when onboard.
    Nonstop means you have one single flight segment (in standard operations–emergencies can change that, obviously).
    Historically, airlines haven’t always ran nonstop flights across the country (see this late 40’s ad [www.airchive.com])
    Because of the stops, you could have a “direct” flight with stops and not get hit with taxes for each segment of one of these trips, but the flight numbers were the same.
    Now, however, airlines do not use the same plane and sometimes use different terminals for the direct flights. There are even some instances where passengers have got off a delayed flight to find out the connection for the direct flight has already left them behind.

  5. cindel says:

    That’s Great HOWEVER did they ever refund the $1800 something odd dollars they took from the couple whose son had wrote in?

    Yep, didn’t think so.

  6. overbysara says:

    YES! thank you consumerist for having united’s executive customer service e-mail address up here. a couple months ago I used it (it’s actually how I find consumerist…) to have some lost luggage of mine tracked down. if I hadn’t had that information, it would have never made it to me.

  7. Mr. Cynical says:

    I’m a 1K flier with United and even I get jerked around by poor customer service. Even calling the “elite lines” rarely result in any kind of substantial help. I’m almost excited for United’s next big screw up so i can try the EECB tactic… and since I fly almost every week, I’m sure it won’t be long before something goes wrong!

  8. XTC46 says:

    I fly a lot for both business and pleasure and for the last year have flown exclusively with United (or their partners since I’m in Hawaii and they don’t do the inter-island flights here). The reason for this is their customer service has always been good to me. I remember one time I made a mistake and confused the date of a flight I needed. I got to the airport on the day I needed to fly out, but had accidentally booked the ticket for the next day. United got me on a flight that night (it was boarding an hour after I got there) and discounted the fee to change the ticket (it was a non-refundable ticket so no changes should have been allowed). They went out of their way to fix a problem that was all my fault and charged me about 25 bucks to do it. I’ve flown with them since and haven’t been disappointed yet.