I've been doing business travel for at least forty years and while I don't travel as much as I used to, being nickel-dimed by United Airlines this week set a new standard. After all the surcharges and the work it took to actually speak with an American representative, I'm left with the thought that their new slogan should be "We're not happy until you're unhappy!"
The good news is I was able to use up most of a credit I had with them, so I don't need to ever fly United again! However, I've got a great idea that together we could implement!
They charge for just about everything. Maybe it's time we did the same!
- If I get on a flight and I'm one of the only passengers to actually follow their instructions with my carry-on by putting a bag under the seat – United needs to pay me $25. (The same as the first bag I paid them for!)
- A screaming kid, whose parents seem to have no control or just don't care, is a $50 charge to United if they scream through half the flight and $100 if they scream the entire flight.
- For every flight attendant who pushes the drink cart by and hits my knee or shoulder it’s another $20 per hit. Seriously, if they made the aisles wider, the cart would fit through the aisle, but that might mean one less revenue seat!
- United doesn't offer wifi, but for those airlines that do, it's a $20 surcharge every time we get disconnected and need to reboot.
- Any time we have to communicate with an agent outside the United States there's a translation surcharge of $50 per call. And if the information they give us is wrong then the trip we've booked is completely credited. On this trip it took me four calls. The first I honestly couldn't understand, asked to speak with an American and was told to call back. The second call, the agent transposed my credit card three times and I gave up - again, no American to talk to. Call three, I didn't bother to even discuss the trip, just asked to speak with an American and was told there aren't any. For the last call I went to Google and found another number for United and got an office in the states.
- When calling United and asking to please speak with an American agent, each time we're told there are no Americans available, United has to make a donation to our favorite charity.
- On this recent trip I had a charge for reissuing tickets from a trip that was cancelled last year. I had charges for upgrading to "Economy Plus" seats - sorry, I'm 6'1" and don't do well with my knees up against the seat in front of me. Plus, it was a connecting flight and I was afraid of not having enough time to get from row 31 and off the plane with minimal time to make the next flight, we upgraded to move to the front. We were charged $25 per bag. Even when we upgraded we were still in Group 5 for boarding. I want a cap on the maximum accumulated charges since we're forced to fly à la carte.
- Last on the list - If nature calls and somebody needs to use the restroom on the flight, but God forbid they're not in first class and there's a line down the aisle waiting in the back, then recognize the little old lady has her eyes crossed and just let her use the front bathroom!
The biggest insult of all is pitching me to get a United Airlines credit card, which will waive the baggage fee and get me priority boarding. The error is assuming I want to put up with all the rest of their nonsense and ever fly them again. I don't need another credit card or to hear about the benefits at twice on every flight. Hmmm, there just might be another surcharge here.
And yes, I did write to them on March 1 through their top notch customer service communication system, but to date, my complaints obviously aren't valid enough for a quick response!
Years ago I heard a story about business author, Tom Peters, speaking to a group of airline executives. He showed up a few minutes late and everybody was irritated. He stepped up to the microphone and supposedly said, "By all of your standards this is an on time arrival!"
All of us have helped make the airlines the power houses they are - maybe it's time we took back a little control.