For today’s Comment of the Day, our readers took the (MILDLY AMUSING POST) about a failed attempt at sending a form letter by (MAJOR UNITED STATES AIRLINE). One comment clearly shone, though. Or maybe all of our editors just grew up in the ’80s.
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.
ANOTHER UPDATE: After several hours, the airline says things are getting back to normal.
Back in June, the parents of a 10-year-old girl say they put their child in the hands of United Airlines staff for the kid’s first solo trip to summer camp, only to soon find out that the airline had somehow misplaced the young girl — and that the airline didn’t really seem to think this was a big deal.
A fire on an airplane is never ever going to be a good thing, but at least in the case of a United Airlines plane at Seattle’s Sea-Tac Airport this weekend, the fire occurred before the plane took off and all passengers were safely evacuated.
Jarrod and his wife were returning from their vacation, flying United. Their flight was delayed, and they encountered a gate at 3 A.M. with a single employee working. They went to board their flight, and Mrs. Jarrod had a camera bag, a large shoulder bag, and a tiny travel pouch over her arm. Other airline personnel overlooked the tiny pouch, not even counting it as a “bag” for carry-on luggage purposes. Instead, the agent became just a little unhinged, not allowing Mrs. Jarrod on the flight until she nestled the little bag inside one of her other bags.
Elizabeth missed her grandfather’s funeral because of a broken seat belt. Well, that’s not entirely true. United Airlines claimed that there was a broken seat belt on the plane she was supposed to take from Chicago to Savannah, then kept pushing back and ultimately canceled the flight. By the time they finally canceled the flight, there were no more flights to Savannah for days. A broken co-pilot seat belt and a massive customer service failure is what kept Elizabeth and other passengers in Chicago.
If some people found an ownerless iPad on a plane, they would just figure “finders keepers.” But not Consumerist reader Jeffrey, who has tried several times to provide relevant information bout the device’s likely owner to United Airlines, but who just keeps getting the same useless auto-reply.
If I’ve learned anything, it’s that if a deal seems too good to be true, there’s probably a computer glitch involved. Just such a problem in the computer system at United Airlines last Sunday allowed customers to book first class flights to Hong Kong and other places in Asia, connecting through Hong Kong, for a grand total of four frequent flier miles and $33 in taxes.
When you’ve been stuck for days simply trying to board your flight back home, it’s understandable if things get a little tense. But you don’t necessarily expect it to degrade to the point where you are involved in fisticuffs with airport employees.
United Airlines has a simple enough policy regarding children flying alone (unaccompanied minors, as airlines call them.) They cannot travel on the last flight of the day. This makes sense: no one wants an unaccompanied minor to become a stranded unaccompanied minor if their flight is canceled. But when Hannah booked a flight for her 12-year-old son to travel unaccompanied, no one mentioned this rule, and United phone agents placed him on the last flight of the day. This meant that he was turned away at the airport, and his departure delayed until the next day. Hannah thinks that the family deserves some kind of compensation for this inconvenience due to United’s screwup.