Matamoros, Mexico: Washington, D.C.:

Thursday, April 19, 2012

United Airlines Sucks, Part 1

This is the first in a series of posts about how terrible United Airlines and their customer service folks are. To read all related posts, check out the tag unitedsucks.

Many of you Foreign Service-related folks are probably already aware of how terrible United Airlines' new pet policy is. It puts a huge burden on folks trying to ship their pets worldwide, including us Foreign Service officers who go abroad on government orders. I won't bore you with the typical rant about how much that pet policy sucks for us. Instead, I'm going to lay out for you step-by-step the worst experience with an airline I've ever had. Buckle up - this story is a rollercoaster ride from frustration to ridiculousness to so-stupid-it's-funny and more. Plus, I include the original emails I sent/received to/from United so that you can laugh at them with me!

A friend of mine gave me a gift certificate in the amount of $50. The certificate was issued on Sunday, February 26th. Continental's merger with United was finalized over the weekend of March 2-4. Being a reasonable human being, I assumed that this Continental gift certificate would be perfectly valid on United flights after the merger. Apparently, I was sorely mistaken.

On March 26th, I attempted to use the gift certificate to purchase a ticket on's website. When I got to the part where I enter the gift certificate, it gave me an error (unspecified) and told me that I needed to contact the reservations department at their 1-800 number. Reluctantly, I called the number and waited on hold about 20 minutes before an agent finally picked up the line. I was connected to a call center that was clearly not located in the United States. After explaining my situation, the agent tried to book the flight herself using my gift certificate - she, too, was unable to book the ticket.

She put me on hold again while she attempted to contact the Data Engineering team to figure out what's wrong with my certificate. After about 40 more minutes on hold, she comes back on the line and says that the Data Engineering team can't figure out what the problem is and that she still doesn't have a ticket for me. She promises me that she has made the reservation and that by the next day, the Data Engineering team will call me back and inform me that my ticket has been issued and the problem has been resolved. Since I had been waiting on hold for over an hour at this point, I thanked her for her help and then asked to be connected with a supervisor. After going through the whole thing again with the supervisor, I asked if there was any way I could formally lodge a complaint with United regarding my problem and the wait time. That supervisor told me the only way to do that was to fill out the Feedback form on United's website and that someone would then get back to me. Diligently, I filled out the form that very night and waited for a response.

Stay tuned for the next installment of United Airlines Sucks, coming tomorrow!

1 comment:

  1. OMYGOSH.THIS IS SO THRILLING. IM ON THE EDGE OF MY SEAT......... (for real, though)