Why You Should Ask For A Refund If The Wi-Fi Doesn’t Work On Your Next United Flight

You’re sitting pretty, surfing away on the World Wide Web at 35,000 feet when the wireless Internet on your United flight stops working. And a few minutes later, it’s still not working. But even if the service for the entire plane is out for a while, United crew members won’t make a plane-wide announcement about it, so you’re on your own to ask for a refund.

Over at Untied.com — which, to be clear, is the blog maintained by a critic of the airline, and not United itself — the site claims to have obtained an United Airlines internal document instructing crew to tell passengers who complain on an individual basis that they should ask for a refund, but not share that news with everyone on board.

It reads:

“If an extended outage occurs in flight, advise any customer who brings this to your attention to request a refund for their purchase through United.com/refunds. Do not make an announcement.”

Which would mean that even if they’re aware of a plane-wide outage, you could just sit there thinking it’s your own computer’s fault and never ask about it.

The airline tells the Los Angeles Times that it does this just because not everyone on the plane will buy Wi-Fi, so why make a planewide announcement? It instead says passengers having trouble should then go to the carrier’s website to request a refund.

A spokeswoman for United added that the airline isn’t trying to cheat passengers out of any refunds they may be entitled to, and that the carrier is planning to rewrite the internal memo.

Now you know — when in doubt, simply ask about refunds. And heck, if your neighbor is having trouble too, tell her to do the same.

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