United Airlines Truly Values Your Business, (CUSTOMER NAME)

No one is going to pretend that mail merge doesn’t exist. There are no longer secretaries with their fingers poised over typewriter keys who produce every piece of correspondence we receive in response to a complaint letter. Still, reader Giantreesemar just had to share this letter that he received after complaining about a problem with United Airlines’ website. A form letter went terribly wrong and ended up demonstrating how little United cares about its passengers. Maybe.

He initially shared the letter over on Flyertalk, then sent it to us. “This was the only thing in the envelope,” he wrote. “I will really enjoy my (SPECIFIC ITEM.)”

Giantreesemar let United know about the letter mistake and the absence of his (SPECIFIC ITEM.) They got back to him and apologized. The actual (SPECIFIC ITEM) is on its way, but he still doesn’t know what it is. It will be a nice (UNSPECIFIED SURPRISE).

Just got a call from United HQ and spoke to a nice woman who was very apologetic and noted that it is indeed “embarrassing.” I was laughing, and really do hope I didn’t get anyone in too much trouble because I’ve made mistakes like this myself and would be terrifically mortified if someone posted it on flyertalk.

Either way, she noted that this was supposed to be the letter that accompanies some form of compensation for my prior complaint email, not necessarily the only thing I’d receive on the matter (as I noted earlier, I did get an email in about 4 days that was sort of standard boilerplate apology, but my complaint didn’t really call for a specific action other than fixing their site). Somehow the letter went from generating the template to sending before the agent got to fill in the blanks. Whoops.

Either way, she did say that SPECIFIC ITEM is on the way (although I didn’t ask what it was). I think this whole thing is more funny than frustrating, so the suspense will have to dog me a bit longer!

Also to her credit, she did listen to me explain my issue with the bug on their site (she referred to them as the dot com department) that mis-displays how long reservations are “held” until. We’ll see if it actually gets fixed now!