Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Nurse the Hate: Hate United Airlines Again

April 24, 2017

Laura Mandile
United Airlines
Senior Manager, Contact Centers
233 S. Wacker Drive
Chicago, IL 60606

Ms. Mandile,

I hate to write you and add to your problems.  I have been watching with great interest the consumer blowback on your new "physical confrontation" style of customer service.  No matter what the public might whine about on Social media, you certainly taught that Dr. Dao a little lesson.  Kudos to not resorting to Tasers but instead giving him a "real good working over" by your goons.  That certainly sent a message.  I have increased my weight lifting in preparation for a team of thugs trying to rip me from my seat in the near future.  In a strange way, I look forward to the challenge.

The reason for my correspondence is the little matter of a 4.5-hour delay going into San Francisco on Friday April 21st and subsequent 16-hour delay on Sunday-Monday April 24.  As I understand it United continued to book flights into San Francisco without adjustments to scheduling despite the airport launching a construction project.  This project is on a runway which created limited access for takeoffs/landings and hence delays.  I am assuming the airport authority mentioned it to you and didn't just show up one morning with a bunch of guys and jackhammers closing runway A-16.  I have it pictured as a meeting at a big conference table where someone said "Does anyone want water?  Coffee?" before mentioning this major logistical obstacle.  Even just an email that contained the phrase "your flights are going to be running really late" was probably sent with one of those red flags that people tend to overuse in offices with announcements like "Melissa's birthday cake at 3:00p in the lunch room!".  Regardless, I'm thinking someone at United knew about this situation well in advance.

If I may continue to speculate, I am also thinking the same people that get enormous bonus checks based on earnings decided "Sure, everyone that flies into or out of that airport on one of our planes is going to get screwed, but if earnings go down, I might not get my quarterly bonus check to buy myself a mink tanning bed."  I, like most consumers, have noted your exciting new policy of not even pretending to care about customers any longer.  On one hand, I dig what you are doing.  Who doesn't love transparency?  Yet because of this lack of transparency in letting me know I had no prayer of arriving to my destination as per my ticket I purchased, I can't help but feeling "boned".  (Is that too strong?)

While getting into SFO on Friday at 130a instead of 900p was bad, being left for dead on Sunday was worse.  With a straight face your representatives gave me the option of flying to O'Hare overnight, landing at 6am and then waiting until 245p to get back to Cleveland.  I think having nine hours to kill in O’Hare after staying up all night was a bit much.  My other presented option was waiting in San Francisco until 145p Monday (which left at 310p by the way) without a hotel.  That was when the woman at the customer service desk smirked at me.  Do they tell them to do that in training?  I did appreciate that I wasn't pistol whipped by goons though.  Thank you for that.

Faced with those two options, I decided to stay overnight.  Your people refused to get me a hotel voucher but did provide me with a coupon to call a travel service (that you probably operate under a shell company) that told me that the only hotel available was the one star "Sunshine Motel".  I believe that the Sunshine figured prominently in a string of recent prostitution murders, so my interest in that property was “limited”.  I hung up on the travel experts and promptly booked myself into the allegedly unavailable Westin ALoft property nearby which even picked me up via shuttle.  That seemed like a better option than sleeping on a piece of cardboard in the hallway of SFO like a Calcutta orphan.  I shouldn't complain.  Certainly, at one point, I would have landed a job at Cinnabon, met a nice gal, and settled down on our combined piece of cardboard in Terminal Three.  Yet, I still harbored the dream of going home as per the ticket you sold me.

I am now sitting in a middle seat next to a couple of adult men penned in like a veal.  I will land at 1030p, another full day lost to your airline's footloose and fancy free operational policy.  I am hoping you will refund my ticket cost and hotel stay for last night as it was, by any objective opinion, completely your fault all of this occurred.  I understand that logistical issues occur, but I didn't buy a ticket for yesterday at "elevenish" to get back to Cleveland "at some point" despite that being the reality of the situation when you sold me the fantasy airline ticket in the first place.  

Can you do me a solid here?  You jammed it in me hard and now I am very sore.

Greg Miller


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home