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United Airlines Stoops to NEW LOW in Customer Service

April 11, 2014

I switched my flight to NY on the way up to LGA to avoid a united-caused crew delay which would have made me miss a major meeting. The red carpet club was very helpful and the switch was efficient and quick. But when the switch was made, my return flight seat next to my wife was relinquished magically by the computer and I am now reassigned to 22C on a 23 row plane. This makes me unhappy. Row 22 on an EMB-145 is truly awful.

I spoke to a frankly bitchy customer service supervisor who bordered on rude about the situation. Awesome. I suppose only assholes make supervisor in customer service at United these days since they have to deal with millions of angry customers? Lady, you need a different job.

Congrats United on taking 3 legs worth of reasonable service (a refreshing and surprising change), balling it up in a tight ball, and throwing it away.

Jeff Smisek’s pathetic operational capabilities have made their way to customer service. Why so harsh? Because running an airline is about more than Jeff Smisek marketing. It’s about operations.

The most ridiculous aspect of this particular delay was that United knew about it for hours and was not able to rectify the situation. In other words, operations is about as brittle as you can get. The second most ridiculous aspect was the ever changing departure time (and the request that passengers be at the gate at the original time just in case…because everyone knows how great EWR is). We decided to stay in the city and have dinner at tre dici instead. It was a risky decision but we made the flight just fine.

Here is the email trail:

at 3:57pm
United flight UA5837 on April 11 is delayed due to a late inbound aircraft.
Now departs: 9:10 p.m. on April 11 from gate A21, New York/Newark, NJ (EWR – Liberty)
Now arrives: 10:33 p.m. on April 11 at Washington, DC (IAD – Dulles)
Please be at the gate for boarding prior to the original scheduled departure time of 7:41 p.m., as the departure time could be revised again.

at 6:08pm
United flight UA5837 on April 11 is delayed due to a late inbound aircraft.
Now departs: 9:50 p.m. on April 11 from gate A23, New York/Newark, NJ (EWR – Liberty)
Now arrives: 11:13 p.m. on April 11 at Washington, DC (IAD – Dulles)

at 8:00pm
United flight UA5837 on April 11 is rescheduled.
Now departs: 9:34 p.m. on April 11 from gate A23, New York/Newark, NJ (EWR – Liberty)
Now arrives: 10:57 p.m. on April 11 at Washington, DC (IAD – Dulles)

at 8:54pm
United flight UA5837 on April 11 is rescheduled.
Now departs: 9:26 p.m. on April 11 from gate A23, New York/Newark, NJ (EWR – Liberty)
Now arrives: 10:49 p.m. on April 11 at Washington, DC (IAD – Dulles)

FWIW, wheels up at 9:45.

By monitoring the app, I was able to see when some passengers bailed and switch my seat back. Did anyone at United do that? Nope, not even the twitter watchers. Why not?

United airlines still sucks. Jeff Smisek still needs to be fired.

The Expressjet crew was nice at least.

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