Wednesday, April 2, 2014

A United Nightmare - One of the many reasons NOT to fly with United Airlines

A United Nightmare - One of the many reasons NOT to fly with United Airlines

My husband Sean and I had a lot of problems flying with United Airlines in the past but, before canceling our United Plus Explorer credit card and never flying with United again, we decided to give them one more chance on our last London to Las Vegas trip. BIG MISTAKE.

Though the first issue wasn't with United, our problems started early on when we boarded the airport express subway to terminal 1 at the London Heathrow Airport. Everything was going fine til the subway suddenly stopped just before the terminal saying they were awaiting a place to pull up to. They apologized for the unexpected delay but it was awhile before they got us to our destination. What happened from there is why we'll NEVER fly United again.

When we finally got to our terminal, we had to run all the to United's ticketing/check-in area, arriving there around 8:24am. We tried to go to the counter to check Sean in, since the fact he wasn't a US citizen made it impossible to do online or at the kiosk, and drop off our bags that needed to be checked but an agent manning the kiosks insisted that we check in there. We tried to explain that it wouldn't work but she kept insisting that it would and wouldn't let us through without trying. She spent 5 minutes trying to help us before realizing and admitting we were right and finally allowing us to go to the ticketing counter.

It was 8:29am then, our flight was at 9:30am, and bags for international flights, at least with United, have to be checked in at least an hour before the flight. The agent at the counter was quick to get us checked in but then tried to charge us $100 each for our second checked bag. I told her I have a United MileagePlus Explorer account entitling me to 1 free checked bag (or 1 additional for a total of 2 for international flights where 1 is already included with the flight) for both myself and a guest. She wasn't aware of that policy so she asked me for proof which, luckily, I'd brought with me just in case the United agents were uninformed.

This is the baggage info I received immediately after booking our United flights:

I shouldn't have had to provide proof but I did. Even after showing her this, however, she didn't know what to do about it. She had to ask her co-workers who were equally out of the loop. She spent precisely 10 minutes sitting around working out what to do and looking flabbergasted before she finally said she'd go ahead and put it in for us but didn't bother apologizing for the delay, inconvenience, or hassle. Imagine if I hadn't planned for the worst and didn't have that photo. I'd be out another $200!

So after this ordeal was sorted, the agent told us we'd really need to high-tail it since our gate was a 15 to 20 minute walk away and we still had to get through security. We ran the whole way to security.

Finally trough security, we had 30 minutes before our flight's departure and probably a 15 minute walk ahead of us. Instead, we then ran the entire way to our gate too. The gate was about to close when we arrived and we were dripping with sweat with a 10+ hour flight to Los Angeles (LAX), 9 hour layover (which wound up being WAY longer), and 1+ flight to Vegas ahead of us.

After landing in Los Angeles, we planned to get the most out of our 9 hour layover and use the once per year free admission to the United Club lounge area that comes complimentrary with the United Plus Explorer credit card. (As a cardholder of the United Plus Explorer credit card, you're given free admission to the lounge once per year.)

Inside the Club, things weren't quite as fancy or luxurious as I'd expected. They had a lot of cozy chairs to sit on but none that reclined and nowhere to lay down. They had a bar but you had to pay for the drinks. (I'd been under the impression that at least some alcoholic beverages would be included with admission into the Club.) They had a lot of snacks but cheese was the closest thing to food available. It was nice but anyone who's walked by and wondered what they're missing shouldn't be jealous. It's not much more than you'll receive on your flight. See for yourself!

I'm aware that some of the United Club locations have more amenities (such as showers) than others but I can't help thinking it's all a bit overrated for those who actually pay for it unless it's a one-off type of thing and they're really in need of something unattainable from other areas of the airport.

Anyway, Sean and I quickly chose comfortable seats in the darker tv room and scooted our seats closer to one another to relax with some snacks and then get some rest.

It was 10:20pm when we exited the club. Our flight's departure time was 10:50pm but our gate was literally just around the corner from us, about a 3 minute walk away. We had PLENTY of time. We could've crawled to the gate if we'd wanted to. That's when we got screwed again though. The security check point we'd come through earlier that day was adjacent to the corridor we needed to walk down to get to our gate. As we approached, however, everyone at the check point stood motionless, staring in our direction. It was freaky! We proceeded towards the corridor but were suddenly stopped by a TSA agent who said no one was allowed in or out of the terminal we were in, even to go to the adjacent terminal where our gate was. I explained to her that we needed to get to our gate because our flight would be departing in half an hour but she told us no flights would be departing til whatever issue was at hand was resolved. She assured us that our flight would not leave without us and that the entire airport was aware of what was going on. I asked her just what WAS going on and she stated that she didn't know but that the police had ordered that no one be let in or our of their respective areas til they'd found a person they were looking for in our terminal.

You can see the TSA agent who'd stopped us on the far right with her arms crossed:

We saw the police rush down the terminal and return several minutes later but it didn't seem they'd found who they were looking for. They finally reopened the terminal entries and exits and Sean and I took off running.

We were at our gate a moment later but there was no one there except for one other female passenger. It was 10:43pm and the plane was at the gate but the gate door was closed and there wasn't an agent in sight. An agent by the name of A. Ruiz finally showed up but wouldn't let us on the flight. We explained the situation to him and he said he was already aware but had not received instruction to delay the flight so he couldn't let us on since they had to prepare for takeoff. Apparently there were 6 total passengers in our situation. Same deal for all of us. I told him it wasn't right, that TSA had assured us our flight wouldn't leave without us, that they shouldn't leave when they know their passengers can't get to the gate, and that we'd been waiting for our flight all day. He said there was nothing he could do. He said there were no more flights to Las Vegas that night but that he could rebook us for a flight the next morning. I told him we had an event that we'd paid a lot of money for the next morning and that we couldn't afford to miss it. I tried everything but he just stopped listening and said he had to close out the flight so everyone on the plane would be able to make it to Vegas on time. Seriously?! He told us to go to their customer service desk and stopped responding to me except to occasionally tell me that he was closing the flight.

A minute's walk away, we reached the customer service desk where we spoke to a Ross McKinley. Minus the "having to close out the flight" line, mostly everything we were told there was the same. We explained everything over again but were told again that all they could do was rebook us for a flight the following morning. We told him it'd be too late and that we'd miss the event we'd paid a lot of money for. He said there was nothing that could be done. I asked if they could provide a rental car in place of our flights so that we could drive ourselves home. He said United doesn't have affiliations or deals with rental car companies and that it'd be impossible. We were then directed to TSA to ask them to help or compensate us since they'd told us our flight would be held for us which, according to the gate agent and customer service representative, was only the policy if the gate agent received such an order or 8 or more people were missing the flight because of such an event.

We got back to TSA and spent another 10 or so minutes arguing with them about why they'd told us that our flight would be held. They said no flights should've been permitted to leave and that they should've waited. They said they don't know why United chose not to wait but that we'd have to take it up with them. We explained that we had and that we'd spoken to the gate agent and customer service representatives to no avail already but they insisted that TSA was not in the wrong for holding us up, that they were just doing their job and following the orders they were given by the police, that it was between us and United if United decided to allow our plane to takeoff without us, and that our best bet was to go to the United ticketing counter and ask for a manager.

We had to go back outside the security check point to reach ticketing. We stopped at the first United counter we saw after that. It was the United Premier Access ticketing counter. At first, we didn't see anyone there so we thought it was closed but then we noticed a couple of agents sitting down on the checked baggage conveyor belt behind the counter and chatting. They stood up a moment after we arrive at the counter and we explained everything to them again after which they simply said we'd need to speak with a supervisor, that they didn't have a supervisor present, and that we'd need to go around the corner to the main United ticking counter.

It's hard to see but these were the two United Premier Access agents sitting down behind the counter:

 We finally reached the correct counter to speak with a supervisor but first had to deal with an agent telling us twice to use a kiosk to check in. We told her we weren't trying to check-in and that we needed to speak with a supervisor. She asked why so we gave her a summary and she went to get her supervisor, Charles Hayes. Charles was assisting another customer off and on so he only half listened to everything we had to say while typing on his computer, trying to help the other customer rather than handling one customer's issue at a time. I tried waiting for him to finish with the other customer but rather than getting back to us he finally just sent us a few windows down to speak to his "ticketing team leader" Hilda Jimenez saying she could help us instead. He relayed the message that we didn't want a simple flight rebooking for the following morning but left the rest of the details and explanation as to why in our hands. Yet again, we were forced to explain the situation and told there was nothing that could be done aside from taking a morning flight. Yet again, we explained why that wasn't good enough til Jimenez finally had to bring over another ticketing supervisor, Cathleen Lopez, to whom we told our story for the last time that night. After the redundant "your only option is an early morning flight tomorrow" speech, she heard us out, addressing our concerns to what she claimed was the best of her ability. We told her we'd spent a lot of money on an event we'd be missing the following morning and asked if United was prepared to compensate us for that. She said United wasn't responsible for us missing our flight so they wouldn't compensate us. We, of course, disagreed but debating with her for another 5 or so minutes about it got us nowhere. We asked for a rental car instead as it was the least they could do for us to get us home for our event. We were again told that it'd be impossible since United doesn't have agreements with rental car companies. I asked if we could rent a car with our own money and be compensated by United afterward. She said it was highly unlikely but that we'd have to contact customer care online to see if there was anything they'd be willing to do to compensate us for our losses after the fact. After our prior dealings with United's online customer care, which we then related to Lopez and you can read about here:

we didn't like our odds. Finally, we got her to check if there were any earlier flights than theirs but it turned out the 6:10am United flight was the earliest. As to not be out any additional funds, we finally had to cave in, opt for the 6:10 flight, and just hope we could make it to our event the next morning if we rushed. In her attempt to make all things right for us, Lopez upgraded us to Economy Plus seating so we'd have power outlets and slightly more leg room for our 1 hour flight. In the meantime, I desperately needed to wash airport and airplane off of me. I felt disgusting and needed a shower and a bed for at least a couple of hours. I agreed to save my other concerns for online customer care later but asked that they at least provide hotel accommodation for us in the meantime. Again, we were denied and told that since it wasn't considered United's fault that we missed our flight United wouldn't be able to provide us with hotel accommodation either. What happened to owning up to fault and taking responsibility for actions? What happened to valuing and wanting to go the extra mile for your customer? How can you decided to leave your passengers behind but not be prepared to accommodate their needs after? How inconsiderate can a company that runs on consumers be towards those consumers? It was insane. They wouldn't even provide transportation TO a hotel! I asked what we were supposed to do, where we were supposed to sleep, and how we were supposed to shower. She suggested a group of chairs a few yards away from her counter, saying we could spend the night there.

The chairs we were directed to:

Wow.. What about our personal belongings? She just expected us to stay up all night in some chairs or risk falling asleep and leaving our things unguarded? Finally, we got her to hand over a voucher for "lowest hotel rates for airline passengers" as if that would help.

Our flight was in 5 hours and we didn't have transportation. We weren't about to pay out of pocket for a hotel we'd have to pay for transportation to and would only have a couple of hours at. Also, where were our checked bags? We'd forgotten all about that. Apparently, they'd sent our checked bags on the flight back to Vegas without us. Those bags would be rotating around the baggage claim drop til a United agent realized no one was coming for them or someone else picked them up and took them home. Very reassuring. I was trying so hard not to scream or cry at this point but I finally just had to take the hit for the night, walk away from the counter, and follow up another day, hoping it would get us further than it did the last couple of time.

Sean and I finally managed to find an empty bench to lay down and collect ourselves on after that. It was cold but we cuddled up under a throw blanket with our jackets on, bags under the bench, and we were able to get a few good hours of sleep.

A few hours at 4:34am, we were rudely awakened and told to give the bench up to some handicapped lady who wanted to sit down. If only they knew what we'd been through and why we were sleeping on the bench in the first place! We only slept on that particular one because it was the only one we could find with outlets and I had to charge my phone if I wanted to be able to arrange transportation from the Vegas airport to our house since our flight had been delayed and I'd had to reschedule everything! There were about a dozen other free benches nearby but we were woken up and being forced to move, still half asleep, because handicapped lady wanted the particular bench we were on.

We gave up sleeping at that point and went back trough security for the third time in the last day.

We were at our gate again minutes after that and sat there waiting til it was time to board. Finally, 6:10am rolled around and we were in the air!

During the flight, Sean found some interesting, fictional reading material in his seat-back pocket:

What felt like moments later, we were suddenly over Vegas and coming in for a landing! We could hardly believe we'd made it home when we got inside the airport.

Sean went to baggage claim to retrieve our bags while I went to the restroom but we were in for another slight disappointment. The good news was that the bags were being held for us in the baggage claim office. The bad news was that the office was unattended with the door wide open. Anyone could've taken the luggage! Sean stood around wondering what to do and whether to just take our bags and go when someone finally showed up. He asked her if he could take his bags and she simply asked his last name and helped him out with both his and my bags without checking that his name actually matched the baggage details or the last names attached to the bags or even noticing that he was removing bags under someone else's name (mine) as well! He could've given any name, grabbed any bags, and she wouldn't have known the difference! Well, at least we all know how to get our hands on free stuff if we want it now, right?

Anyway, I took a deep breath and walked with Sean towards passenger pickup where our friend was waiting to retrieve us. We'd had a REALLY rough time but Sean and I are both too optimistic to let the worst of times ruin things for us if there's any way we can help it. Besides, at least now we have a lot of words for all the future travelers, friends, family, and everyone we meet looking for advice on what airlines to trust..or not to.

Sign the Petition Against United

United Airlines Complaint - How United Stole $1500 From Me!

United Airlines Complaint - United Stole $1500 From Me!

This is a complaint log with United Airlines and how the airline stole $1500 from me. As you may or may not be aware, United Airlines offer an EMAIL-ONLY Customer Complaint Service. That means, no angry phone calls, no knocking on their door, nothing! You have to express your anger, frustration, feelings and all those emotions within an email or postal mail. You can also leave a voice mail, but don't expect a response! I feel they simply offer this as a means to meet certain business criteria (ISO/CMMI) expected from the company to meet various quality standards.
Not that is out of the way, here is my complaint log...

1. On the 21st August 2013, I submitted the below complaint to United Airlines. I sent two copies by postal mail and left a voice mail on the Post-travel feedback line (as a phone number for complaint does not exist). I also used the United website feedback page and submitted a third copy online. The complaint addresses I used (and had to dig deep for) were...

Customer Care
United Airlines, Inc.
900 Grand Plaza Drive NHCCR
Houston, TX 77067-4323

Customer Relations
United Airlines
PO Box 66100
Chicago, IL 60666

Post-travel feedback line (voice mail inbox)

Original Letter of Complaint
Sean G

Date: 21st August 2013

MileagePlus Number: XXXXXXXXX
Reservation Number: XXXXXX

To whom it may concern,

On the 29th of July 2012, I booked a roundtrip flight to Las Vegas from London Heathrow Airport. My flight was due to return back to London on the 11th of August 2012 to complete my two week vacation. On the 11th of August, in Las Vegas, the morning of my return flight, I called United and asked what my options were with postponing my return flight until a later date. I was actually told by a representative that this couldn't be done because I booked through a travel agency. I argued this fact, and they proceeded to help me with my issue. I was told by the same representative that the ONLY option would need to pay a change fee to change my return flight to a different date. I didn't know at the time that I was actually able to postpone my reservation by up to a year until I decide on a date I would like to fly back.

Given this advice, I paid an unnecessary fee of £96 GBP (~$150 USD) as I was almost certain that I would not be returning on this new date. It simply provided me time to arrange a definite date to complete my roundtrip. After paying the change fee, my new return date was August 25th 2012... Low and behold, and not surprisingly, this date was no longer feasible to complete my roundtrip. I proceeded to call United on the morning of August 25th 2012 and arrange a different flight back to London. I was told by this representative that I was actually able to put my reservation on hold for a year starting August 25th 2012 (The new return date of my flight after paying the change fee). I wish I was given this advice earlier! On March 13th 2013, I called United to ask some questions with regards to my return flight. My plans had changed and I first asked if I could be refunded. I was told this was not possible. I also asked if I could use this flight credit towards a different flight completely (I.e. USA to Spain for example). I was told I had to complete my roundtrip back to London Heathrow only before July 29th 2013. So that's two sets of conflicting information now. I argued what the original representative told me when I called on August 25th 2012. She simply said "Well that's wrong. I'm sorry you were given incorrect advice", Great. I asked to speak to a supervisor. I waited on the line for just over 18 minutes, and then hung up. I don't believe it takes that long to talk to somebody who could explain and clear matters up! This is an absolute disgrace!

On March 14th 2013, I called United again with the same request as above. I would like somebody to explain why I had until the 29th of July to book my flight back to London, instead of August 25th 2013. I was told that despite the change process and paying the change fee, "the original date of the booking is taken by the computer". So I was given incorrect advice when I called on August 25th 2012? Who knows what to believe anymore! I asked another question while I was still on the line. My question states "If book my return flight to complete my roundtrip before July 29th, can I book the flight for a later date, travelling back on December 11th 2013 for example". I was told that this was not a problem by the representative. She said that as long as I book the flight before the deadline, it would be fine.

After the phone conversation on March 14th 2013, I made many plans with family, friends and spent a great deal of time arranging my affairs with regards to this piece of information. My wife even signed up to the MileagePlus Explorer Credit Card (XXXXXXXX) so we could use the introductory miles to fly together in December. It wasn't until later that I realised that this was completely incorrect. Do advisors really lack the simple training it requires to inform customers of their options? Do you think about the effect it has on customers by providing them with completely false information? This is completely outrageous!

On the 22nd of July 7:45am PST, I called United to book my return flight back to London, completing my roundtrip. I was informed by the representative that I actually had until August 25th to book my flight as I had already paid the change fee and changed my reservation. I spent around five minutes explaining my situation and the fact that many United representatives had given me incorrect advice. I told him that I explicitly do not want to attempt to make this booking in August, only to be told that the 29th of July was the deadline. He was reassuring and explained the situation. I asked to speak with his supervisor as I was very hesitant to call back in August with no options available. After much hesitation, he unwillingly told me to wait on the line. I waited around 15 minutes and still no answer. Awful! I didn't want to call back and explain the whole process again; I was very busy at the time and took his advice as truth. Understandably (and completely unnecessarily!) I was keeping a rigorous call log as a security precaution by this point! I called United on the 20th of August 2013 3:45am PST, a clear 5 days in advance of the deadline, to complete the booking. Low and behold my worst fears became apparent. The representative told me that I could not make my booking as July 29th 2013 was my deadline and I had missed it. ARE YOU KIDDING ME?! I asked to speak to her supervisor immediately, this was absolutely ridiculous!!!! Around seven minutes later, I actually was able to speak with somebody in a position of authority. Christopher (Agent ID: FW) explained that July 29th was indeed my deadline but he was willing to look into exemptions and asked me for my intended date of travel. I said around December 10th 2013. He told me to wait on the line. After two further minutes he returned and told me that this was not possible. I would have to travel before August 25th 2013. He told me to visit the United website and offered no further assistance on the matter. I hung up the phone and very angrily proceeded to take this matter further.

My wife and a mutual friend were sitting next to me for the entirety of these events as we were planning to make flight arrangements together. They are both willing to testify to the complete accuracy of these events. At the moment, I have a flight valued at £939.79 GBP ($1473.12 USD) which I am unable to use due to the incompetency and ill-trained customer service representatives at United. I have also paid an unnecessary change fee of £96 GBP (~$150 USD) due to further incompetency. As previously stated, my wife also applied for the MileagePlus Explorer Card due to the sole reason that I had existing credit with United and we could benefit from flying together.

I am demanding a full investigation into all of these events whereby a suitable resolution is provided. I expect correspondence within 14 days of the date stated at the top of this letter.

Strong Regards,

Sean G

2. I never actually received a response from either postal mail copy or the voice mail. I did, however, receive an email response on the 6th of September 2013. I received a response from a United Customer Care representative: Mary Ulander ( by email...

On Fri, Sep 6, 2013 at 7:39 AM, wrote:
Dear Mr. Greasley:

Thank you for your patience. I have just reviewed your recent experience that resulted in disappointment with our reservations information regarding your ticket.

The behavior you described is not reflective of our commitment to providing our customers the highest level of service. I apologize for the negative impression this situation created. We intend to provide a high-quality experience, tailored to meet the individual needs of our passengers.

Based on your comments, we did not meet your expectations, and I regret you were not satisfied with the service provided. Your feedback will be used in future coaching and training as we continue to improve our service. As a gesture of goodwill I am crediting your account 4,000 miles to post within 10 days. For additional concerns please contact Reservations.

We appreciate your business and look forward to welcoming you on board a future United Airlines flight.


Mary Ulander

Customer Care

3. If you are familiar with air miles, you will know that 4,000 miles gets you a trip to the local grocery store (Plus taxes and fees, of course!). I was out by £900 GBP (~$1500), as you can imagine, I was very annoyed! I did not receive a postal response, a phone call, simply this short email. As this is an EMAIL ONLY facing customer service center, one cannot simply express their annoyance enough! I responded with the following message...

to customercare


I assume that this is not the end of the matter? I say this because I still have a ~£900GBP flight that I would actually LIKE TO FLY ON! I don't care about the 400 miles, I would like to fly on the flight I was promised. I will not lose £900GBP over something that United is responsible for.

I would like a full response WITH REGARDS TO MY COMPLAINT, not a very poor excuse, ignoring the issue at hand and some small points as change.

Please reply as your earliest convenience,



4. No response... So I tried again....

to customercare
I'm still waiting for my response, I can only assume you are still looking into this?



5. Almost immediately (I can only assume United were not looking into this), United responded with this email...
Sep 6

to me
Dear Mr. Greasley:

Thank you for your prompt reply.

I regret you were unable to use your ticket within its validity period. Expired documents have no value and cannot be reissued or extended. You have one year from the date the ticket is issued to use the ticket. When tickets are not used within the validity period, the tickets are archived and are no longer available in our reservation system.

I noticed you purchased your ticket through a travel agency. Travel agents are responsible for advising ticket policies.

I am sorry that we are unable to extend the validity of your ticket.

We appreciate your business and look forward to welcoming you on board a future United Airlines flight.


Mary Ulander

Customer Care

6. So, Mary concludes that given the lousy advice from the United Customer Service representatives, there is nothing they can do, I will not receive my $1500 back because that is the rule! So what about exceptional circumstances as I was lied to? and given incorrect advice? I still hadn't forgotten about those lousy 4,00 miles! I wrote...

to customercare

You gave me 4,000 miles for a flight I would have otherwise taken worth at least 30,000 miles. It is actually an insult and I am ASKING for your manager to look into this.

If you do not refer me to your manager directly then I will take this matter along with your name to a higher point of authority



7. So I asked to speak to the manager. I asked Mary Ulander directly, as it was clear we were getting nowhere with the issue at hand. Mary came back with this...

to me
Dear Mr. Greasley:

As we have addressed your concerns and already provided you information to support our decision, we have nothing else to add. It seems we have reached an impasse. We at United wish you the best and hope to someday regain your confidence.


Mary Ulander

Customer Care

8. An "impasse".... Wow! So I have been denied access to Mary Ulander's manager/superior and my issues have still not been addressed. I was given 4,000 miles as a "gesture of goodwill" which I clearly stated I did not want. So what happens now? I send a complaint about the complaint team? My wife and I responded with this...

to customercare
Please direct this message the department supervisor or manager:


As your employees have left me no acceptable alternative, it appears I'll have to take matters into my own hands. I've compiled a vast amount of evidence to file suit against United including the audio recordings from the phone conversations mentioned in my original complaint as well as all correspondence between United's customer service representatives and myself. I've spoken with a lawyer who is more than happy to take my case and says that, given the current standings of United's customer service ratings (as reported by surveyed consumers nationwide) and the evidence I've collected, a successful lawsuit is definitely plausible. He's advised that I do not bother attempting further correspondence with United HOWEVER I would prefer not to deal with the hassle of filing suit, hiring a lawyer, appearing in court, discontinuing business with an airline I've flown with for years, having to take my business elsewhere, and further tarnishing United Airlines' name if there's any chance that a person of authority in your company is willing to come to a reasonable and just solution so that neither I nor United will suffer any further loss, financially or otherwise.

As my issue still stands: I do NOT believe it is unfair of me to expect to be able to take a flight I've paid for, particularly after being told by numerous United employees (including supervisors) that I would be able to do so in the time frame I was attempting to. Not only am I shocked and appalled at the lack of concern United has shown towards the poor training of its representatives or inconsistencies in information those representatives are providing to its customers but I feel the way United has failed to take responsibility for such actions and attempts to weasel out of putting its wrongdoings right let alone show any concern for the loss the company is forcing its customers to suffer clearly negates everything United claims to be - from mission statements to empty promises printed within the in-flight magazines. I want to be proven wrong and to be shown something other than disappointment.

I'm sure it is not much expense on United's part to free one seat on a flight - especially one that's already been paid for - in order to not only avoid a lawsuit we both know the company cannot afford but also to provide the quality of customer service the company preaches that they strive so hard for and claim to go so far out of their way to provide.

I hope that, unlike my last several emails, this request for remuneration won't fall on deaf ears or be brushed off with another impersonal, generic response but that we can actually handle the issue at hand professionally and come to some terms of agreement. I appreciate your time and hope to receive some positive news from your end as well as be able to continue business with United in the future.

Thank you,

Sean G

9. As of today, I have received no response at all. My original complaint has been completely disregarded by United. I'm sure it's been marked as "complete" in their system, but I am VERY UNHAPPY. As frequent flyers and MileagePlus members, this was an absolute disgrace to us. Given our patronage over the years, United really just does not give a ****

Message To United

You can reach me at, I am still waiting for your response from my complaint I submitted last year. In the meantime, I am sharing my experiences with your airline as I fear for anybody else in my situation.

See our other blog posts on:

Blog Updates
As of the 1st of April 2014, United has not responded.

SAY "NO!!!" to United Airlines MileagePlus Credit Card!

SAY "NO!!!" to United Airlines MileagePlus Credit Card!

Today we discuss the pitfalls of the United MileagePlus Credit Card. This is based from both fact and many disappointing experiences. The last place you want to find out the small print is at the check-in desk where you will be charged extra. So please read and do not become a victim of these so called club "benefits"!

First Checked Bag Free (Save $100)

Small Print: There isn't one, but you will be told it's for Domestic US flights only!
Bad Experience: We arrived at the check-in desk at London Heathrow with an extra luggage case. They informed us that a MileagePlus card free checked bag does not apply on international flights. We presented the United Representative with an email confirmation which clearly outlines the fact that we are entitled to a free checked bag (It doesn't mention domestic or international at all!). She demanded $200 for the 2 extra bags or they would not let us fly. This seems to occur on every international United flight we take. We have been denied to fly twice out of ten times. See a copy of the MileagePlus free checked bag terms and conditions below.

Source: United In-flight Magazine (Hemispheres) - November 2013

You must pay for the flight using the MileagePlus card to receive this free checked bag benefit! I wish they would have mentioned that on the United/MileagePlus website beforehand.
Despite having the card in your possession, you must wait TWO WEEKS to be eligible for the benefits. I overheard an angry lady at LAX forcing over $100 for a checked bag despite the booking system allowing her to pay for the trip using her MileagePlus card. Wow!

Priority Boarding

Small Print: Basically before the first economy passenger.
Bad Experience: That is, after First Class, Business, Elites, Special Needs and every other sole (aka Boarding Group 2) but directly in front of economy. You might as-well fly economy and sit next to the desk at the gate, you are no better off.

30,000 miles after spending $1000 in the first 3 months

Small Print: True. However, see below for the BIG CATCH!
Bad Experience: This will get you a ONE WAY flight to Europe. Don't even think about purchasing your return journey separately! The reason being is that United Airlines are typical for charging MORE for a one way flight than a complete round trip! CRAZY!!! See a classic example below...

$1,245 For a ONE WAY TRIP from US to Europe
Source: Booking Website

$1,027 For a ROUND TRIP from US to Europe
Source: Booking Website

$1,245 For a ONE WAY TRIP from US to Europe
$1,027 For a ROUND TRIP from US to Europe
This doesn't add up!
This is very typical for United. They charge more for one-way trips over round trips, so if you have 30,000 miles saved up (like the nice introductory offer for example!), you really need to boost that to 60,000 so you can book a round trip with your miles. This is 60,000 MINIMUM! (Of course, that DOES NOT include the booking fees and taxes!)
So 60,000 miles will get you a return to Europe on SOME select dates (You need to get lucky with those dates!) and those extra 30,000 miles take a LONG TIME (AND MONEY) to build up!
Also, these introductory 30,000 miles DO NOT allow you to qualify for Premier Silver Membership at 25,000 miles (Priority Seating benefits etc). You actually have to accrue these miles yourself by paying for flights.
Last but not least... When booking a flight using your hard earned miles, you must PAY EVEN MORE TAXES AND FEES! So what is actually free United? Anything!? Take a look at the example fee breakdown below. For a round trip from USA to UK, you are paying $272.40 IN BOOKING FEES AND TAXES!!!

US to Europe Round Trip Example: Outbound: 30,000 miles + $80 in taxes and fees

Source: Booking Website

US to Europe Round Trip Example: Inbound: 30,000 miles + $192.40 in taxes and fees
Source: Booking Website

2 United Club Lounge Passes

Small Print: True. However, see below for the catch!
Bad Experience: The MileagePlus website boasts many benefits of the United Club Lounge. These benefits include: Meeting rooms, free Wi-Fi, workspaces, refreshments and more! However, this largely depends on the airport you visit! United give the impression in their advertising that all Club Lounges include all these amazing facilities. However, this is simply not the case. When you land in Vermont with nothing but a chair and a lemon water dispenser, you would naturally feel a little ripped off.
The United Club Lounge is located past security, meaning you require a booked flight to use the facilities. The club is closed overnight, so useless if you are waiting for an early morning flight. Furthermore, to really benefit from the lounge, you should arrive for your first flight transfer really early. Wi-Fi is also NOT free in the club at certain locations. At other locations, LAX for example, there is no club network, you are using the airport Wi-Fi alongside everybody else!

The card is operated and managed by Chase Bank. If you wish to dispute any of the United Airline benefits at the check-in desk, they will simply tell you to contact Chase. It appears nobody will take responsibility and will pass you between companies and departments. This is a VERY common trait of United Airlines. They will generally refer you to their EMAIL ONLY CUSTOMER SUPPORT You CANNOT call for ANY reason regarding a complaint. VERY POOR customer service indeed! United will simply stop replying to your emails and there is no number to call, just a voice mail inbox. This is why United was named was placed dead last in customer service poll of all major airlines, naming them 2013's worst airline.

Message To United

You can reach me here, leave a comment, I am still waiting for your response from a complaint I submitted last year. In the meantime, I am sharing my experiences with your airline as I fear for anybody else in my situation. See my blog post about my complaint here

Blog Updates
As of the 1st of April 2014, United has not responded.