United Airlines Fails in Customer Service……
Posted by thetraveldoctor on June 10, 2012
I flew on United Airlines on June 8, 2012 from Las Vegas to Los Angeles and then on to Chicago’s O’Hare airport. Needless to say it was the trip that would make anyone scream!!! The letter below is to the CEO of United Airlines Jeff Smisek. I have mailed this letter to him and I will let you know what his response is.
Enjoy, as you just can’t make up a story like this one……
June 8, 2012
Mr. Jeff Smisek
CEO United Airlines, Inc.
77 West Wacker Dr.
Chicago, IL 60601
Dear Mr. Smisek,
I am a very frustrated customer. I am currently sitting in the Los Angeles airport waiting for the next flight to Chicago because I missed my connection due to no fault of my own. I have started this letter in Los Angeles at LAX airport and will finish it at home in Chicago.
Here is my story. I was booked on United 968 from Las Vegas to Chicago at 11:35PM. My reservation number is MY7XMZ. I was in Las Vegas on business and I finished very early, so I decided to catch an earlier flight home so I could sleep in my own bed instead of sleeping on the plane. So I used the United app on my iPhone and I paid $75 to change my current later flight 968 to flight 197 at 4:10PM to LAX connecting to flight 704 at 6:01PM in LA to Chicago. This would get me home just before midnight and I could have a good nights sleep in my own bed.
This is where the nightmare begins. I arrive at the Las Vegas Airport at 2PM. This is plenty of time to get through security and get to the gate area. I arrived at the gate area at about 2:25PM and I sat down in the gate area to wait for the flight. At 3:30PM I noticed that the aircraft had not arrived, so I started to become concerned. The aircraft arrived about 10 minutes later and we began to board at 4PM. I walked up the gate agent and said to her, “I have a VERY tight connection, do you think I should get on the Plane?” She looked up the connecting flight and told me, Oh, you will make it. I asked if my connecting flight was in the same terminal as my arriving flight from Las Vegas. She said, “Yes it is, don’t worry you will make it!” So I proceeded to board.
I entered the aircraft and I told the flight attendant that I had a VERY, VERY TIGHT CONNECTION, and asked if she could help me out getting off the plane when we landed? She said to me, and I quote “Oh it doesn’t work that way, when we land everybody stands up in the Aisle.” That was not what I expected to hear, in fact I was taken back by her statement. What happened to a little customer service? All I wanted was to be able to be the first one off the plane so I could maybe have a chance, slim as it was, of making my connection. I was taken back by the flight attendant, I said to here “OK” and I proceeded to find my seat in the rear of the aircraft. We sat at the gate. And sat, and sat and when it got to be 4:35PM and we were still at the gate I pushed the call button. A flight attendant came to my row and asked what the problem was. I told her that I had a very tight connection and now I know I will miss my flight. I asked if I could get off the plane and have an agent rebook me on another flight out of Las Vegas. The look I received from this flight attendant was that of “How dare you ask to get off the plane.” What the flight attendant proceeded to do was scold me for getting on the plane in the first place and that if I wanted to get off the plane that I would inconvenience this full airplane of people as they would have to match every bag to every passenger. Now I did not have any checked luggage. I had my small carry-on and my computer. So I was about to say forget it to the attendant when she says to me, I will just have to talk to the Captain and she walked to the front of the aircraft.
It is now 4:40PM and we start to push back. The flight attend comes back to me after we have pushed back and stopped and announces to me. “The Captain has stopped the plane for you.” I looked at her and I said, “FORGET IT! I AM NOT MAKING THIS PLANE GO BACK TO THE GATE.” I felt two feet tall after she scolded me. She went back up the front of the plane and we proceeded to taxi to the runway. The passengers around me consoled me and said, that was not very nice of that fight attendant to do that to you.
We were in the air at about 5:05PM. The captain came over the speaker system and said our flight time was about 45 minutes. So I looked at my watch and figured that if I could get off the flight and run I could make the flight with about 2 minutes to spare. We landed and taxied to the gate area and stopped short of the gate waiting for an aircraft to clear the taxi way. So now I am really concerned. We get to the gate area and I can see that my connecting flight is still at the gate and they were loading the last of the bags. I say to myself, well that flight is not in the same terminal, it was in the next terminal and I don’t know if I could make a mad dash for the plane once I got off. Well, we stopped at the gate and everyone popped up and left me in the rear of the aircraft. Did the flight attendant say “We have a passenger that needs to make a tight connection, please let him out first.” NO, I stood in the Aisle for 14 minutes as everyone took their time to get off the plane. When I did eventually get off the plane, I looked out the terminal window across to the other terminal and saw the jetway was pulled away from the plane. I asked the gate agent to call over to Gate 83. She did and told me the plane is ready to push back. I was furious! I just paid $75 to miss my plane. And no one at United seemed to give a dam. The gate agent said, “Walk over to the customer service desk and get rebooked.” No, “I am really sorry you missed your connection.” Just go get your flight rebooked across the hallway.
This is the worst customer service I have seen in a long time. And I watched you on the in flight TV screen saying “I wish I could greet each and everyone of you and personally shake your hand and thank you for flying United.” Well your company failed me big time. Here is what I would have done if I worked for United. I would have never let me board the plane in the first place and I would have rebooked me on another flight from Las Vegas or let me off the plane first and have one of the golf carts at LAX waiting for me to take me over to gate 83 and call over to flight 704 and tell them I was on the way. I guess what really upset me was that no one cared, no one gave a dam. The only one that had any sympathy for me was the really nice agent at the customer service desk that rebooked my flight. She was the only one that cared, but after what I went through, it was little consolation.
I was rebooked on United Flight 1451 at 7:30PM. I returned to Gate 70 to wait for my new flight to Chicago. I boarded Flight 1451 at 705PM. I was thinking of telling the flight attendant on this new flight when I boarded, “Can You please be nice to me because the last crew didn’t treat me very well.” Well, that went out the window when I saw the flight attendant crew on this Chicago flight was the exact same crew that was on the Las Vegas – LA flight that treated me like dirt. I have to tell you that when I saw the same crew again, the anxiety I experienced on my first flight returned. So I decided to just go to my seat and avoid all contact with the flight attendants during this flight.
Some people want to just complain and not tell you what they want you to do. Well, that’s not me. Here is what I want you to do. I want my $75 refunded to me by way of a credit to my credit card for $75. I had not flown United in a while because I have been flying Southwest. Why do I fly Southwest? Because they know how to treat their customers and they really do give a dam about all of there customers and the “Get It!” I decided to try United again and thought that the merger with Continental would change the airline for the better as I have always liked flying Continental. Boy was I wrong! You have a long road to travel before your service is back to just good. If you want to know what knock you socks off customer service is, look at Zappos. They also have it all right. They know how to treat their customers.
I hope to hear from you soon. And I really hope that you, Mr. Smisek will read and respond to this letter. I hope that you do, it would prove to me that you really meant what you said in your pre-flight announcement. And you really care about everyone of your passengers.
In closing, you have a lot of work to do to bring your airline back. Just remember, ”It’s all about the CUSTOMER!” If you give your customers great customer service then even when things go wrong, your customer will tell you that you went that extra mile for them to make it right! And they will be your customers for life. Let’s see if you can make that happen. For your sake, I hope you can.