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United Sucks: One third the airline for the same full price, or, all your regional upgrade certs are belong to us

September 28, 2012

United CEO Jeff Smisek continues to destroy the last vestiges of hope for United airlines. I just completed a west coast run (which I have done countless times), and the flying part of this trip was just pathetic. Jeff Smisek, you need to resign before United loses all of its customers. Really. Nobody likes you—especially your flight crew employees—and your customers in particular think Unted’s decline is all your fault. I certainly do.

Remember when 100K flyers with 1.5M miles were upgraded regularly on new equipment? Well neither do I since it has been three years. My upgrade average this year is running well under 20%, even when I try to use electronic upgrade certificates “awarded” to me as a reward for suffering under United’s decline. What good does it do for me to be loyal to this airline? No good at all.

I decided to start tracking which fare class I am in to see if there is any rhyme or reason to the way I am treated by United’s computers. Here are the data from this trip:
Economy (V) upgraded
Economy (L) not upgraded (waitlist position 3)
Economy (V) not upgraded even with an (utterly useless) regional cert request (waitlist position 8)

What good are regional upgrade certificates and how do you use them? As far as I can tell, they are completely worthless and do nothing to bump you up the normal “automatic upgrade” queue. Gosh, what a phenomenal reward.

As you see, I did get upgraded on one leg of this trip (going west on the long leg) and here is how it went. I was upgraded on an ancient 757 which barely had enough seat power in the recently renamed “BusinessFirst” class to keep my laptop running. Hilariously, the seat power system was not able to charge the battery. I got some honey nut cherios (oh joy) for my trouble and a slightly roomier seat. So maybe I am complaining about nothing really.

Leg 2 (no upgrade) was a short flight on a B737-800 piece of Continental equipment with no economy plus. The seat was uncomfortable, crammed, too small, and crappy. I felt like I was flying in Europe.

Leg 3 (no upgrade) was another ancient 757-200 with no power, no wifi, no in seat entertainment, and minimal comfort. I was able to use my macbook air until the battery depleted.

Some pictures for your entertainment.

Wow, a CRT that shows a captive audience one program!

This is the kind of seat you get as a reward for flying too much.

I see that maintenance has upgraded my volume controls.

I should give a shout out to the professional flight crews who have to deal with a bunch of disappointed frequent flyers. There must be thousands of us. The flight crews put on a good face even though they have apparently drawn the short end of the stick in this situation. Thanks you guys. You deserve a better CEO and a better airline.

My friend Drew keeps sending me texts about how much better Delta is. He switched airlines last week. Says first class is better, there is real wifi net, and even champagne. Remind me why I fly United so loyally, because I don’t seem to recall.

Meanwhile Jeff Smisek shows up on the mandatory pre-flight infomercial touting the dreamliner, fresh paint, new equipment, and inflight wifi—all “coming soon.” Guess what Smisek, you have us all on 757s built 25 years ago. United’s aging fleet sucks and I am riding on it. Your marketing crap is crap. Improve operations or at least stop bullshitting about how great things are.

United Airlines sucks and I am getting fed up enough to start voting with my flying dollars.

One Response to “United Sucks: One third the airline for the same full price, or, all your regional upgrade certs are belong to us”


  1. […] href="https://noplasticshowers.com/2012/08/27/a-o-way-to-go-united/"A, O, Way to Go United United Sucks: One Third the Airline for the Same Full Price -or- All Your Regional Upgrade Certs Are… United Regional Travel Woes How United Airlines Deals with Sandy United Airlines Still Sucks: […]


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