Piss Poor Airline Service, and Why it will Continue

JimRSmith u

This stuff hit the headlines yesterday, but because I wasn't feeling especially perceptive, it's only just hit me that the incident involved United - my least favourite airline!

Piss poor airline service, and why it will continue

Last time I was in the US, I was attending a wedding, and these wankers lost my luggage. I'd been fortunate enough to take my suit in a holder as my carry on luggage, so that was OK. The problem was I had hardly anything else in my carry on - the rest was in the suitcase. But the suitcase did contain the shoes I was planning to wear for the wedding.

This was particularly problematic, as prior to the wedding, I had decided to take a trip up to the Canadian Rockies. So I wasted a day in Seattle, waiting for the bag to be found, which I was assured that it would be. It wasn't. Deciding that no more time could be wasted, I left Seattle, and stopped on the way at Merritt, British Columbia, to buy the clothes I thought I might need for the next day, because (stupidly) I believed them that they'd send the bag up to the place I was staying in that night. Didn't happen.

Realising by now that this wasn't going to be a quick fix, I bought a number of other clothes (and no offence to Merritt, BC, what you had in your shops on that day mainly consisted of stuff I didn't really want, and has only subsequently been worn when IDGAF about ruining said clothing. Apologies to rural Canada for the stereotyping, there are so many things I love about the place, but people don't go there for the shopping). My main issue was the shoes. Merritt couldn't provide. But not a big headache, because surely in a week, they'd have found the case, right?

Piss Poor Airline Service, and Why it will Continue

Wrong. When we got back to Seattle, no case. By now I needed a new suitcase, because I couldn't take the hire car boot with me. Got that at the airport, where clearly you pay top price. But United were going to pay (lol), so no big deal. Flew to DC, wedding in three days. One day spent getting new shoes. So two days of my trip now wasted on this shit because United had lost my bag.

Wedding went well, still no sign of my bag. Got asked to sign emailed documents to apply for compensation. Hidden in the small print? Waiving my rights to the bag and its contents, so I decided as I was returning home shortly, I could now play the waiting game, or else my bag was going to a place like this, all ready to be auctioned off.

Piss Poor Airline Service, and Why it will Continue

Bag eventually found five weeks later, and returned to me. But then United refused to pay more than 50% of what I'd spent on replacements (remember, I didn't want most of this stuff, and haven't used it much since). I went through numerous phone calls with guys who were inevitably called Roy (but who obviously weren't really called Roy), including the aptly-named Roy Burk (are United still really using this pseudonym for customer relations???), before deciding to just sue the bastards.

Piss Poor Airline Service, and Why it will Continue

I ended up getting more than double what I'd actually spent (due to some pretty crazy exchange rate fluctuations at the time, and also a little creativity on the claims form), which served the bastards right. For the record, I don't feel remotely smug about that - it certainly wasn't worth the wasted days, the stress, the hassle factor etc.

I've since flown with a good number of airlines, some of which you'd expect would be pretty ropey (JAT Airways, Taca Peru etc) and they were all better than United. Was pretty concerned about Uzbekistan Airlines, especially because it was a domestic flight originating in the delightfully-named city of Urgench, but I was pleasantly surprised. Yes, United - an internal flight in Central Asia had better customer service than you do.

Piss Poor Airline Service, and Why it will Continue

Even these guys, who can't spell their name right on their own website (click on the link, then you'll see that 'Northern' at your top tab is missing an 'r') had them beat - https://www.northernair.com.fj/

Piss Poor Airline Service, and Why it will Continue

You'd think after all this, I'd have learned my lesson, and would never fly with them again, right?

Unfortunately wrong. They had the advantage of the only direct connection between my home airport and DC, to where we're flying next month. I thought, "Hmmm, this was years ago, they must have improved, one bad experience etc etc etc". The advantages of the direct flight won out, and I booked with United.

What did they just do? Got in touch to say they were cancelling the direct route, and we can have our money back or go via Newark, NJ.

Years later, still tossers...

But they WILL continue to get away with it, because unless you use them all the time, they can afford to write off your business.

Good luck, too, if they're the only people who fly a particular route you need to use.

That's why I'm taking my hat off to the good doctor who made them drag him out of the place earlier this week - you can't beat BAD publicity.

Maybe they will start to change. Maybe pigs might fly too...

Piss Poor Airline Service, and Why it will Continue
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Most Helpful Girl

  • redeyemindtricks
    What I don't understand abotu this whole thing, is why they didn't just keep ramping up the incentives until they found takers. $1000, then $1500, then $2000 in vouchers... Obviously they would have found someone pretty fucking quick. Like, ARE YOU SERIOUS?
    Chicago to Louisville?
    My gawd, that's not even a long drive. Hell, it's not even a medium-length drive. It's like 4 hours and a few minutes. Even if they were leaving Chicago at peak rush hour, it's still not even 5 hours.

    Seriously, what the fuck? If they'd offered a $1000 incentive -- and maybe tossed in the one-way car rental (which costs random people $50 max, so, for the airline it would probably cost $10) -- then AT LEAST half the people on that plane would have JUMPED at the opportunity to just take the rental car and drive their sweet asses a few hours down I-65.

    Obviously, the negative publicity from this incident is going to cost the airline a fuckload of a lot more than a few thousand dollars.
    Like 2 People
    Is this still revelant?
    • JimRSmith

      Could not have put it better.

      It's beyond bizarre that they actually believed that the actions they took were in fact the correct ones.

    • I mean, just from what I know about how business is done by... businesspeople, I'm pretty well sure that this decision didn't make it past ANYONE who wears a suit.

      Almost without a doubt, this was primarily driven by the "security" boys and their power-mongering. Pure and simple thuggishness. Same reason why the door people at clubs are such dicks a lot of the time -- that's just what happens when otherwise low-class schmo's are suddenly invested with Such Power And Influence.
      Whoever was in charge of the voucher offers was probably some similarly inexperienced rookie.

      All of them should obviously be relieved of their jobs, and blacklisted from the industry altogether.

    • ... ^^ and United should DEFINITELY publicize their firings. That's basically all they'd have to do to make amends to the Twitterverse.

    • Show All

Most Helpful Guy

  • Waffles731
    what about Ryanair?
    how is that not your least favorite
    Like 1 Person
    Is this still revelant?
    • JimRSmith

      That, my friend, is a very good question.

      Ryanair were shocking. Now they are merely bad. Their reputation got absolutely smashed a few years back, and they started losing passenger numbers, and responded to this by improving the passenger experience.

      Worst experience ever with them was flying from Riga, where they had far too many passengers crammed into a tiny departure 'lounge' (which felt more like a holding pen for livestock). The Ryanair crew were financially incentivised to find overweight bags, so that the passengers could be then forced to pay extra luggage charges.

      And then, the flight began to taxi before everybody had found a seat (they have since gone back to allocated seats, but this was when it was a brawl to find a seat because they weren't allocated - unless of course you paid). There were five people I could see in front of where I was sitting, who had no seat, including a couple of kids, who had to sit with strangers.

      Things have improved since then...

    • JimRSmith

      But in answer to your question, Ryanair kind of revels in being what it is.

      United pretends to be a quality scheduled airline. I think it's the web of deceit and incompetence I encountered with the bag that got them into my top slot.

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What Girls & Guys Said

  • smahala1991
    I've never flown before but I have always heard the service was a"drag"
    Like 1 Person
  • Paris13
    And Maybe with More in Store Lawsuits that won't Suite them here, dear, these Animals will Learn as they Burn.
    I have Flown on United, not Delighted. xx
    Like 1 Person
    • Paris13

      Thanks for your Like.
      I think this weekend I saw where American Airlines suspended a Rude and Crude Flight attendant. xx

  • Thisperson98
    So how was the customer service? If you don't answer correctly they might transfer you to their removal team.
    Like 1 Person
  • TheFlak38
    I planned a trip to Latvia last month as I do every year. The personnel at the airport declares a strike for the two days prior to my departure date. All of a sudden they declared a third day of strike as I was on my way to the airport some 330 km from my home and no way of knowing about the strike. I wasted two days of my holidays and about 500eu for nothing and of course no compensation.
    Like 1 Person
  • OrdinaryGentleman
    Like 1 Person
  • zagor
    Yeah, I've noticed foreign airlines often have much better service than the US airlines, who use their data analysis to try to squeeze the most money out of travelers for the least effort and expense.
    Like 2 People
  • Neverrrmore
    I don't understand why they pulled 4 paying customers off so that they could transport workers. I mean if they were needed for the flight, alright, but don't they have seats already reserved for those workers? And I don't fly often so I didn't know it was legal to overbook the flight. That is some horrible customer service. Not only that but once this guy decided that he wasn't getting off why not just try a different approach? More money, a free flight to wherever good for the next 5 years, anything would have been cheaper than all of the business that they just lost with this stunt.

    That sounds like a horrible trip for you as well. Ridiculous. We went through something similar on a flight to washington. Lost luggage, car rental wasn't right, then the car was dirty. Whole thing was a disaster, but they did eventually find our luggage.
    Like 1 Person
    • meowcow

      Employee logistics dont quite work as simply as you think. If you've ever owned a small business like a restaurant, you will know that keeping the appropriate level of staffing is difficult. People call in sick, don't show up, book time off... etc... and the number of customers on a daily basis is never consistent.

      Airlines deal with this too, but at a far greater magnitude. Weather is probably the biggest unpredictable factor. A storm in one area would cause hundreds of flight delays and missed connections. Pilots expected to land in a city and jump in another plane to fly elsewhere can really throw a monkey wrench in the scheduling if they don't show up because a flight was cancelled. Connecting flights between different airlines is also another complication.

      Much of the shitty service is driven by customers who want to pay as little as possible for their flight. Airlines aren't profitable these days. They aren't going to roll out the red carpet for people in cheap seats.

  • BronzedAdonis
    Like 1 Person
  • helloitsmethere
    Like 1 Person
  • John_Doesnt
    Airlines will suck because the terrorists won a long time ago.
    Like 1 Person
  • abundantlyrich
    the airline from hell
    Like 1 Person