The traveldoctor's Weblog

Travel Tips and How to Travel Smart!

Posts Tagged ‘airplane’

United Airlines Fails in Customer Service……

Posted by thetraveldoctor on June 10, 2012


A United Airlines 737 At The Gate

United Airlines new 737 at Gate

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.

 

Posted in airlines, airplane, airports, economy, first class, Las Vegas, luggage, tickets, tours, Transportation, Travel, travel agents, Uncategorized, Vacations | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

American Airlines to buy up to 100 Boeing 787’s

Posted by thetraveldoctor on October 28, 2008


 

787 Dreamliner

787 Dreamliner

American Airlines announced this past week that they plan on purchasing up to 100 Boeing 787 Dreamliners at a cost of $15 billion dollars. This purchase could make American the largest operator of the new Boeing aircraft.

 

“This state-of-the-art aircraft will offer many cost and environmental benefits, particularly fuel efficiency and customer friendly attributes and comforts” said Thomas Horton, executive vice president and CFO during the airlines October 15 conference call with financial analysts.

American plans to buy 42 of the 787 Dreamliners for delivery between 2012 and 2018, with an option for 58 more for delivery between 2015 and 2020.

The first 787 flight was scheduled for August of 2007, with deliveries to begin in May of 2008. But due to delays and a strike at Boeing, the first flight is now planned for the fourth quarter of 2008 and initial deliveries slated for the third quarter of 2009.

The new 787-9 is designed to carry up to 290 passengers, with at range of up to 8,500 nautical mailes. The 787-9 is a stretch version of the 787-8 and will use 20% less fuel then current aircraft flying today.

These are some of the airlines that have ordered the 787 Dreamliner. 

  1. Qantas – 65 planes
  2. All Nippon Airways – 50 planes
  3. Air Canada – 37 planes
  4. Japan Airlines – 35 planes
  5. Etihad Airways – 35 planes
  6. LAN Airlines – 26 planes
  7. Continental – 25 planes
  8. Aeroflot – 22 planes

Posted in airlines, airplane, airports, bags, Business Class, caribbean, Coach, disabilities, economy, first class, gas, investments, luggage, Mexico, news, seniors, tickets, tours, Transportation, Travel, travel agents, Uncategorized, Vacations | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

What Airlines Are Charging Extra For Today

Posted by thetraveldoctor on October 5, 2008


 

O'Hare Airport on a typical day

O'Hare Airport on a typical day

Here is a rundown of what airlines are charging extra for. They have raised their fares and now they charge you extra for more and more things that use to be free.

US Airways  Charges extra for: 1st Checked Bag, 2nd Checked Bag, Advanced “Prime” Seats, Soft drinks on Board, Pollows & Blankets and Headsets.

United Airlines Charges extra for: 1st Checked Bag, 2nd Checked Bag, and Advanced “Prime” Seats.

Northwest Airlines Charges extra for: 1st Checked Bag, 2nd Checked Bag, Advanced “Prime” Seats, and headsets.

Continental Airlines Charges extra for: 1st Checked Bag, 2nd Checked Bag, and headsets.

Delta Airlines Charges extra for: 2nd Checked Bag.

American Airlines Charges extra for: 1st Checked Bag and 2nd Checked Bag.

JetBlue Charges extra for: 2nd Checked Bag, Advanced “Prime” Seats, Pollows & Blankets and Headsets.

AirTran Charges extra for:  2nd Checked Bag, and Advanced “Prime” Seats.

Frontier Airlines Charges extra for: 2nd Checked Bag.

Alaska Airlines Charges extra for: 2nd Checked Bag. 

US Airways wins the award for the most additional fees charged. I guess that is why in 2007 US Airways was ranked dead last as the worst airline for customer service by consumer reports.

Also in 2007, the Today/Zagat Airline Survey rated US Airways as the worst airline overall in the United States, ranking it 10/30 for comfort, 5/30 for food, 10/30 for service, and 15/30 for its online reservations system. On August 1, 2008, US Airways ceased providing their passengers with free drinks, including water. Passengers must now purchase bottled water or soda for $2 US, or $1 US for coffee and tea.

Posted in airlines, airplane, airports, bags, Business Class, Coach, disabilities, economy, first class, Las Vegas, luggage, Med, news, pillows, seniors, tickets, tours, Transportation, Travel, travel agents, Uncategorized, Vacations | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Southwest to Launch Minneapolis flights from Chicago

Posted by thetraveldoctor on October 4, 2008


 

Southwest Airlines in flight

Southwest Airlines in flight

Southwest Airlines announced on Wednesday that it will launch new service between Chicago Midway and Minneapolis St. Paul beginning in March. Southwest is moving into the Minneapolis St. Paul market right at the time that Northwest and Delta are expected to merge. This merger is expected to reduce service for Northwest at Minneapolis.  

Southwest is a great carrier and then know what they are doing. They would not launch service into a new market if they didn’t think they could make a profit. The Minneapolis market needs a good low cost carrier as fares to that city have been very high and with the entry of Southwest, it will bring fares down in the market.

Southwest plans to release more details about the Minneapolis service in the coming months.

Posted in airlines, airplane, airports, bags, Business Class, caribbean, Coach, economy, emergency, first class, gas, Las Vegas, luggage, Med, politics, seniors, tickets, Transportation, Travel, travel agents, Uncategorized, Vacations | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

AirTran to Cancun starting in February

Posted by thetraveldoctor on October 2, 2008


 

 

AirTran 737 in Flight

AirTran 737 in Flight

For all of you living in the Atlanta area and The Baltimore/Washington area, AirTran will begin service to Cancun from your airports. The Atlanta  service will be daily and the Baltimore/Washington service will be on weekend only. The Atlanta service will begin on February 25 and the Baltimore service will begin on March 7. 

 

 

A press release states “Cancun is a premier vacation destination, and we will begin offering flights just in time to drive down fares and accommodate heavy passenger traffic for Winter and Spring Breaks,” said Kevin Healy, senior vice president of marketing and planning for AirTran Airways.  “AirTran Airways is committed to providing our customers with high quality service and low fares to the destinations they prefer.”

Here is the schedule for both Atlanta and Baltimore.

 

Nonstop Service Between Cancun and Atlanta

From   To   Flight   Departs Arrives Frequency
Atlanta   Cancun   41   10:00 a.m. 11:30 a.m. Daily
Cancun   Atlanta   42   12:15 p.m.   3:50 p.m. Daily

The following nonstop flights between Cancun and Baltimore/Washington will be available beginning March 7*:

Nonstop Service Between Cancun and Baltimore/Washington

From   To   Flight   Departs   Arrives   Frequency
Baltimore /Washington   Cancun   84   11:35 a.m.   2:00 p.m.   Sat / Sun**
Cancun   Baltimore /Washington   85     2:45 p.m.   7:10 p.m.   Sat / Sun**

Posted in airlines, airplane, airports, Business Class, cancun, caribbean, Coach, economy, first class, free, Hotels, islands, Las Vegas, luggage, Mexico, news, seniors, tickets, tours, Transportation, Travel, travel agents, Vacations | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

United TED, A Good Idea Gone Bad

Posted by thetraveldoctor on September 28, 2008


 

The end of A Good Idea - TED by United

The end of A Good Idea - TED by United

TED, was a great idea. Create an airline built on the Southwest model. One type of aircraft, one class of service. All crews can fly any flights as there is only one type of aircraft to be checked out on. Great Idea right! Wrong! United decided not to differentiate Ted and United and the public was confused. The passengers wanted to know what the difference was between the two airlines? Why should they fly TED? Unlike the Cruise industry, United did not keep the two brands separated, so there was no reason to fly TED instead of United. If United did their homework they would have made TED a separate airline and market it that way. But they didn’t and they drove it into the ground. I liked TED. It was a great idea, with friendly crews, clean late model planes and great fares. But just like the rest of the Higher UP’s in the executive offices at United, they just don’t understand how to run an airline let alone two airlines. I really hope that someday, someone with some business and customer service sense becomes the president of United. Until then, I guess we will just watch this once great airline implode piece by piece.

Posted in airlines, airplane, airports, Business Class, Coach, first class, gas, investments, Las Vegas, luggage, news, pillows, seniors, ships, tickets, tours, Transportation, Travel, travel agents, Uncategorized, Vacations, Wifi | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Southwest New Boarding System Works Well

Posted by thetraveldoctor on September 26, 2008


 

Southwest gate at Louisville Airport

Southwest gate at Louisville Airport

I just returned from a business trip to Louisville Ky on Southwest. I have to say that Southwest has their act together. I love the new boarding process they have instituted. When you check in at home on the web, or at the airport you receive a boarding pass with a letter and a number. The letter is the boarding group and the number is the boarding position within that group. So if you are in group A and position 15, you will board with the first group and you will be the 15th person on the plane. It worked so well and everyone was happy. We boarded quickly and we were closed up and out of the gate and in the air in no time. The plane was full and we were on time!

 

Southwest also does not charge you to check your first or second bag. They do not have any hidden fees. What you see is what you get. I love that. Clean, efficient transportation. I wish the other airlines got it. They should all take a lesson from Southwest. Thank you Herb! You know how to run a great airline!

Posted in airlines, airports, bags, Coach, Computers, disabilities, free, gas, investments, Las Vegas, luggage, news, pillows, seniors, tickets, tours, Transportation, Travel, travel agents, Vacations, Wifi | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Wifi Comes to the Sky on Delta Airlines

Posted by thetraveldoctor on September 13, 2008


Delta Airlines will outfit it’s entire fleet of 330 planes with WiFi by the summer of 2009. So you will be able to surf the net, send emails and read the local news at 35,000 feet. Delta is partnering with GoGo Internet service. The cost of surfing on Delta will be $10 on flights 3 hours or less. $13 on flights over 3 hours. The only thing you will not be able to do is make phone calls on the net with a service such as skype.

30,000 feet over the Pacific Northwest

30,000 feet over the Pacific Northwest

Posted in airlines, airports, bags, Business Class, caribbean, Coach, Computers, emergency, Hotels, investments, Las Vegas, luggage, Transportation, Travel, travel agents, Uncategorized, Vacations, Wifi | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

No Customer Service at United Airlines Reservation Dept

Posted by thetraveldoctor on August 30, 2008


 

United Flight Board at O'Hare Airport

United Flight Board at O'Hare

I just got off the phone with a United Reservation agent. I don’t know what country he was in, but it was no where near the United States. I was trying to use a denied boarding compensation ticket voucher I received because I was bumped off a United flight from Seattle to Chicago a few months ago. This agent did not know which end was up. I told him I was flying from Chicago O’Hare to Las Vegas. He then asked me if I was flying out of Ontario CA, I told him I just said I was flying out of O’Hare. He probably has never even been to O’Hare. I told him that I wanted to use my Denied boarding voucher. He told me I would have to mail it to a PO box and have it postmarked by Monday to use it. Well, I told him Monday was a holiday, Labor Day and there was no way I could have it postmarked by Monday Sept 1 as the post office is closed on Sunday and Monday. He said he was sorry but I had to have it postmarked by Monday. I could not believe it. I told him that he was making it very difficult for me to make this reservation and then he insulted me by telling me I was the one that was making it difficult. What a jerk! I then said, OK, I will go to O’Hare tomorrow to pick it up. He said I would have to get it ticketed at O’Hare by 7PM on Sunday as the ticket counter closes at 7PM. I told him that there are flight out of O’Hare after 7PM, how can the ticket counter close at 7PM. He told me people can check in but they cannot buy tickets. Now how ludicrous is that statement. What if you want to take a flight at 9PM but you don’t have a ticket. Well, if you talked to the agent I talked to, you could not buy a ticket. Maybe United should just close up shop and call it quits, as their employees don’t know what the hell they are talking about. Needless to say, I did not get my reservation and I just said thank you and hung up the phone in discuss. I will try this again tomorrow. Maybe I will get someone that can help me and not criticize me.

Posted in airlines, bags, Business Class, Coach, Hotels, Las Vegas, luggage, news, pillows, seniors, tickets, Transportation, Travel, travel agents, Uncategorized, Vacations | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

AA Hawaii Bound Jet Makes Emergency Landing

Posted by thetraveldoctor on August 6, 2008


 

American aircraft at the gate

American aircraft at the gate

An American Airlines jet in route to Honolulu Hawaii had to turn around over the Pacific Ocean and make an emergency landing at Los Angeles on Tuesday. 

 

The Pilot reported smoke in the cockpit and requested clearance to return to Los Angeles. The plane was about 1 hour into the flight. The aircraft landed safely at LAX and passengers and crew evacuated through the aircraft’s inflatable chutes.

The cause of the smoke is still under investigation.


Posted in airlines, Business Class, caribbean, Coach, emergency, futures, gas, Hotels, islands, Las Vegas, luggage, news, tickets, tours, Transportation, Travel, travel agents, Uncategorized, Vacations | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »