As you know, I was on the rebound from #Qantas after they left me stranded with their whinging CEO’s decision to allow the pilots to strike, and there you were. You were truly there for me. I was filled with excitement and couldn’t wait to see you! You served me great meals, always smiled at me and I couldn’t wait to see you again!! I mean, after all, what could a boy want more right!?
We had such a great run you and I. Nearly 2 years and over 150,000 miles. Ahh, the joy that once was. I mean, don’t get me wrong, we had a couple of hiccups along the way, like the time when we had our little spat back in 2012 when you screwed up my flight booking when I was asking about a proposed date to travel from Houston to Sydney in case my son had to have emergency surgery, and he didn’t, so I kept my flight home for his 3rd birthday as booked, and when I arrived at IAH, you were quite aggressive with me, well, really rude more like it, about how I was a “no show” for our date. Once you figured out your own protocol about not being able to change a booking without paying, you so graciously put me on standby on 3 flights to get to San Fran to get home to Sydney for my son’s 3rd birthday party. I missed the first one, not a problem. I missed the second one, not a problem. I caught the last one! Woohoo I was so excited! Then, well, yeh, there was that delay. After your reassurance on the flight to SFO that they knew that I was on the flight to get my International connection, I was calm.
Well, that soon ended once I arrived at SFO. I hit the ground running, literally to catch my flight, after I was ignored by you when I sought assistance to even finding the gate, since I had never flown out of SFO before. I was ignored. I was looked at like I was crazy when I asked for a cart ride from you to assure that I’d catch my International connecting flight. So yes, I ran… not Forrest Gump ran, but more like Usain Bolt ran, dragging my suitcase and 2 carry-ons as fast as I could. When I arrived at the ticket counter to check-in with sweat pouring off of me for my flight, you were so rude and callas to me. You shunned me and said that you could not let me on the flight. I was angry. I was upset. I was devastated. I watched as the plane did not take off for 30 minutes as you reassured me convincingly that since the doors were closed that it was FAA rules that I could not board the flight.
You did try to console me, although, I didn’t really want to be consoled, I only wanted to be on the plane to be at my son’s 3rd birthday party. You offered me a couple of $10 food vouchers and even a hotel voucher to stay at Best Western you told me was in Palo Alto. When I asked how was I to get to the hotel, you smugly replied that I could just take the shuttle. Having never been to SFO before, I stopped and asked directions from several people and the last one finally assisted me in getting on the shuttle. After I went back and forth on the shuttle looking for signs as to where to get off of it to get to Palo Alto, I was approached by a SFO staff worker and they commented “I’ve seen you go back and forth now 3 times, are you lost?” and I replied “Yes, I guess I am. I’ve got this voucher to stay at Palo Alto in a Best Western because I missed my flight. Can you tell me how to get there?” and he looked like a stunned mullet and gasped “PALO ALTO? Why would they give you a voucher for PALO ALTO!!?? You’re going to have to take a cab to get there.”
I thanked him for his information and went outside and hailed a cab. Mind you, it was not your typical San Francisco weather, as a cold front had came in and it was pouring rain, windy and cold. I got in the cab van and told the driver that I needed to get to the Best Western at Palo Alto. Once we started down the highway, he received a phone call and he answered it. He began arguing and swearing at the person on the phone, presumably his girlfriend or wife, and then proceeded to role down the window to smoke. He hung up from the call and threw his phone to the floor and then it started ringing again to which he began cussing in a language that I didn’t understand while he began trying to reach his phone.
Yes, we crossed lanes on the wet highway and I was having the best time in the smoky filled van freezing to death while zipping across lanes with traffic, I mean, after all, you haven’t lived until you’re trapped in a cab with a crazy driver right?
When we finally managed to arrive at Palo Alto safely, barely, I asked for him to wait outside for me while I went into to check with the desk clerk about the voucher. Yes, I know right, you guessed it, the desk clerk knew nothing about my arrival and had no availability. So back into the death trap of a cab van I went and instructed him to just take me to the closest Best Western to the airport and hopefully I could negotiate with them. He did drive safer this time and he rolled up the pneumonia hole for me after I said that it was unacceptable. I arrived at the closest one, which was at the airport, and they did not have a room for me. So I again bravely got back into the cab with the Mario Andretti of cabbies and asked him to take me to the next closest one. About ten minutes later, I arrived at one off of the highway and they had a room for me. I went back out and yes, he was so nice to me at the point of me having to pay him over $200 out of my pocket for your stuff up!
You did email me the next day to tell me that you had placed me on a flight out for that night. I was so excited that I could check out at 11am and arrive at the airport with another $40 expense accrued for it to sit and wait over 10 hours to get on the plane. Those two $10 vouchers sure came in handy too! Wow, the bag of potato chips and can of soda I had- truly impeccable. You were truly just too kind and classy United.
I did make it home safely and I do thank you for that. Oh yeh, and I did miss my son’s birthday party that was rescheduled to fit my schedule in which over 30 phone calls had to be made to reorganise the date, which inconvenienced over half of guest list. But I mean, accidents happen right? You gave me a little $500 voucher for my problems and were so sweet and charming saying that it would never happen again.
Oh United, my fingers are just so tired already… how ever will I continue to explain to you why this break up just has to happen? Oh! I know, I’ll just pretend that I’m waiting for a flight of yours and have to walk around for a few hours while I wait. I’m so sorry that you’re having to hear this from me. I know it’s difficult, but after all, you did bring this on yourself and I’ll come back and type some more once my fingers have a rest.
And then, after a bit of thought, I had wanted to reconcile… and you were there for me again. You said you were sorry and I said we would travel to Sydney to see my 2 children on Christmas Day. Well, then yes, fo real, you did it again! So you see United, I finally have my eye on another, and they’re a bit crazy, but after all, I must be a bit crazy too after putting up with you for all of these years.
*photo credit AFP
So all in all, what was making me miss seeing my children on Christmas Day worth to United? A $500 travel voucher or 10,000 miles. Really United?
I wanted to negotiate a priceless moment in time with a realistic value, and you didn’t.
So, I figured that I would put together a couple of little websites aimed at showcasing your now infamous poor customer service. More to come soon.