Tuesday, July 15, 2008

United Airlines is Terrible

*** Let me preface this post by saying that I had an incredible time with my new friends in Michigan and I hate that my trip was tainted by an unbelievable amount of troubles with the airlines...but such is life. Thanks to everyone who came and I tried to fit everyone into the shot below and that's why I took it sideways but if I had included everyone I would've had to modify the title ;P ***

Another terrible week as a Premier Executive passenger on United Airlines.

Conde Naste just rated United the worst airline and I have to agree. The other airlines are bad too so it's really a no-win situation.

3 delayed flights on Sunday causing me to lose my first class seat and sit in a middle seat in economy plus for 4 hours. Also forces an overnight stay in Chicago costing $300
1 canceled flight on Monday morning
1 canceled flight on Tuesday causing me to miss my connection and miss my meeting in Portland
1 flight delayed and downgraded which turned it into an oversold position by 70 passengers and bumps me from my first class seat past economy plus and into economy...I feel bad for myself but I feel super bad for the 70 people who are not gonna get on the flight they paid for! It's disgusting that this is tolerated!

...and get this - they offer nothing - absolutely nothing for their mistakes.

If this is how they treat their loyal customers I'd hate to be a "normal" passenger. I can't believe that it is legal for a company to screw its customers and offer them nothing in return. Imagine calling all your brides an hour before their wedding and saying I'm not gonna shoot your wedding and I'm not gonna refund you anything but I will offer you something different from what you booked for the same amount as you paid.

It's disgusting and I'm so glad we're taking a bus on the tour!

Airlines - you're getting what you deserve.

How many of you have had a nightmare story on United?


Andrew and Jackie said...

It just keeps on going doesn't it? I hope that you get home and have a little time to relax and recover from this trip!
Thanks for being a trooper and not only giving a great program, but hanging out later than you probably would have liked to :)
The upside to the madness is all the people that you encouraged and inspired..we are greatful to you!
Thanks again!!

Kelli Nicole said...

I hate United. The one time I flew first class on a red-eye the seat was broken and didn't recline. I think I would've slept better in coach.

Another time when a delayed flight caused me to miss a connecting flight I demanded that they pay for a hotel that night and give me food vouchers (after they didn't do it for the other passengers). The hotel was awful. They're ridiculous. And yeah, their customer service sucks!

United is the only airline I hate and I fair amount, about 1-3 times a month.

Daniel J. Watkins said...

Remove the words "first class" from this post and I'll bet the sympathy factor increases two or threefold... ;)

I know what you're saying "I paid for first class and I deserve better treatment"...when you might stop first and say "I'm grateful that I can afford to pay first class..." (and then go on your rant!)

Just some brotherly advice...

Lynn-Kai Chao said...

haha at least you can fly first class! economy is worse! i never try to fly united if i can avoid them as their cabin amenities just aren't up to spec as other carriers....im not even talking about flight cancellations or delays either!

united and american were the cheapest to fly to spain this sept for my Scott Robert workshop coming up but i chose the more expensive british airways as i know foreign airlines do better in their service as well as british airways' 747s have TVs in economy!

|| davidjay || said...

I'm not trying for sympathy.... I'm saying if they treat their best customers like you-know-what then they probably treat everyone else worse! It's sad and I'm certainly gonna stop flying them and I hope everyone else does as well. I''m doing my best to stop flying in general.

Tempting Weddings said...

oh i do so feel your pain! we flew home from a wedding in Chicago and were on the plane for an hour before they said they needed to transfer us, so we are then transfered and missed the flight home and have to stay in a disgusting hotel ( uber gross, which they did pay for, after they took an hour to pick us up at the airport) and fly out in the morning, all thanks to lovely United! I will not fly with them again- yuck.

Chris Williams said...

United has always been bad, but why bother to get first class tix on a poor airline? First class for Air France,British,Aer Lingus yes, but first class for US flights? We all know US airlines are in serious trouble, they'll cut costs anywhere right now.

I fly Southwest and Jetblue all the time, economy/coach is just fine. Now for those idiots that bring on their 4lb Mickey D's lunch they have another thing coming! Like I want to smell a nasty Big Mac!

Corey Hage said...

I was on United when I was heading home from the Freedom and Slumber, they decided to strand me at LAX by telling my connecting flight I wasn't going to make it. Which I actually did get to the gate on time but the plane was gone. I no longer fly United, I will pay more not to fly with them. I'm with you, treating your customer this way is ridiculous. Maybe we should send them a copy of "Love is a Killer App" :)

Megs said...

I just had to delurk to comment on this...

United was the lovely airline who we booked our Hawaiian honeymoon flights through. We were leaving at 6am on a Monday. Checked online Sunday afternoon, no change in flight times. Called "just to be sure" at 9:30pm Sunday night...to find out our flight was cancelled.


We were not notified AT ALL. They were the least helpful people we've ever dealt with, and we spent over 3 hours on the phone with various agents and managers, before things were remotely resolved (and only resolved due to US thinking of a solution, NOT them). I'll keep it short, b/c the details could take a while. But we'll NEVER use them again.

Danielle said...


I need you to read Vivians story on my page, we need as many prayers as possible and I am reaching out to as many brothers and sisters that will hear my voice....

we need him to hear our prayers,
thanks dj

Frank DiMeo said...

No doubt, they are the worst!
Sorry for your troubles Bud.

Deyl said...

Once again... DD Air- Redefining the Skies

Gary Fong, Author said...

i stopped flying UA a long time ago. They are the worst. I really like Continental - they have a very new fleet.

kennykimdotcom said...

Yeah, I almost expect just about every flight I fly with on United to be delayed. I've had good experiences with JetBlue and Southwest so far.

Scott Norby said...

Hey David,

I also have Premier Executive status with United and had a similar experience recently. Last month I had two canceled flights on one trip due to flight crew not showing up (who knows what that really means). I even sat on the jet way in NY for 7 hours on another trip last month before finally getting off the plane to check into the LaGuardia Airport Hotel ($280, worth about $90). I felt really bad for the people on the plane with small children. 7 hours on the jet way before a 4 hour flight isn’t ideal for someone with a baby or toddler. All the passengers and flight attendants were really cool though. It was weather related and United did the best they could.

I am also going to guess that you aren't buying First Class tickets but using your miles or 500 mile upgrade certificates. I fly First Class when I can also, but never have bought a First Class ticket.

I have had bad experiences but I have also had great experiences with United. I have dealt with customer service people that were horrific and others that were went above and beyond to help me. On the same trip I had the canceled flights on I sat in the exit row with 5 off duty flight attendants deadheaded from Miami to Washington DC. They bought me a few drinks and were super cool.

Personally, I am going to hang in there. Guess I am not willing to give up on United and start with a new airline in these tough times without any status.....I always leave home with my flight/airport expectations in check. Best of luck to you and anyone else reading this in your future travels.

Kindest Regards,


Steve Tout said...

I have no such experiences, and a lot really depends on where you are flying. Between PDX<>SFO and SEA<>SFO I have no issues, as UA is based in SFO.

Many of the airlines are suffering from cutbacks, so I wouldn't single out UA. I've been a happy Premier Executive for a couple years, no complaints.

But if it makes you feel good to bash someone, I won't be stopping you.

Jules said...

I haven't had bad experience in terms of customer service yet, but I hardly ever used United.

I've never been on First Class until this past February. What happened was United called me to see if I would be interested in a flight that was 3 hours later, and they would give me $200 voucher and bump me up to First Class (so they can fit more economy peeps). I said since t worked in my favor, because I needed a little extra time. Anyway, I was excited for First Class! Turns it wasn't that spectacular, and you can tell the plane happen to be an older one - just by how "loved" the seats were. The flight attendants were attentive, which was nice. But since my seat was so close to the front and it was a one hour flight - the pressure I felt going up made me feel uncomfortable and had a little motion sickness. Is that normal for being near the front?

I did make use of my United voucher, and will be flying to DC this Monday, later NY, and then back to CA. Now with your horror stories, I hope nothing bad will happen :P

Alway Photography said...


Thank you for coming to inspire us in Michigan. Sorry for your travel frustrations.

Thank you for all your do in our industry!

Becky Alway

Andy John said...

Hey DJ

That sucks. One of my close friends "Jal" is a pilot for Continental. Their fleet is awesome and a good group of folks.

Good luck

Christopher said...

People always say to me: oh you go such cool places. And I think. No, I get on a bus that flies with 1,000 other people and I see an airport, a hotel and an office. I don't "see" anything.

The joys of the modern world.

Grisanti said...

I never enjoyed flying, and I completely stopped flying altogether over 15 years ago. I don't miss it at all, and there's plenty of cool places to visit by car or train. Nearly all of my work is in Southern California, too.

Andres said...

I agree with Gary. Continental does well. I have had delayed flights but if I get stranded I get hotel paid for. they are wayyy better than United. But youre right US airlines just suck period!

Mike Larson said...

yo, that REALLY SUCKS! I'm a premier executive as well, I've flown 70k plus miles this year and have had one small incident, but man, getting the downgrade slap is one thing, but no compensation for anything is a real bummer. I've flown another 20k on other airlines and have had a flawless experience, but my mileage and the perks of united are really hard to beat, so i stay with them, but man, if that happned, not for long. I must say, however, EVERY time i have written in to customer service , they have sent me anywhere from $75-$150 in flight credits for a future flight, give it a try. I also always pray for favor. not that that makes me deserve it, but it reminds me to be patient, and how small I am when nothing happens, but praise the lord, cause we are more blessed than we deserve. Let us never treat our clients the same. Amen..

Jus Cowland, Photographer said...

I have to tell you i LOVE LOVE LOVE Southwest. I fly on them for personal and business occasions and love them!! I think it is the customer service that I love the most. Even when flights are delayed and we're stuck on the runway, it's not so bad - it's like they've put themselves in our shoes. I've met so many some-other-job-turned Southwest Flight Attendant; nurses, real estate agents, paralegals, and they all say they LOVE IT. I'm sure everyone has their share of worse airline stories ever, but I hope Southwest can be one of those airlines that never runs out of business. Virgin Atlantic is the same way for my family. We could buy cheaper, but we get BY-FAR the best customer service EVER on Virgin Airlines. And to be honest, that is what it is all about for me, the service. I'm gunna pay for what I get, so I better get what I paid for! :) Even though Southwest doesn't have first-class or business seating, they do have a select feature, so think about using them next time you are flying in the continental US. Ciao, DJ

Enoch Photography said...

I have to say I too hate United - I've been stranded 1 too many times with them due to delays - and they've done nothing to compensate. Who is DD Air that Deyl mentions... hmm have to look them up. //enoch

.Alli.son. said...

I plan to fly DD air extensively in the future!

hannahelaine said...

i flew united twice to eastern europe this year doing some documentary photography stuff. both times my tickets were paid for by someone else so i couldn't really complain, but seriously. northwest/klm spoils me in coach, much less first class. i can't believe they can still sell tickets on planes that are as outdated as these! and they're not that much cheaper people! boycott!!

and PS...
economy plus sucks enough, why make a class even suckier than that?!?!?!