Last time I fly United Airlines
So on Sunday I made a reservation for a flight at United.com for July the 6th to fly to Los Angeles to visit my sister and take some much needed time off. Or so I thought.
I held the reservation on Sunday and purchased it on Monday afternoon. When taken to the confirmation page, I was presented with the following:
FARE DETAILS: — JUL 06 SEA UA LAX ————— UA SEA 00000 SEALAX FARE USD 395.35 ————
The blanked out parts are random text and numbers that my eyes glossed over and I have no idea what they mean, but don’t want to post them here.
At the time I saw “JUL 06” assuming that meant July the 6th, and clicked confirm. When I got the confirmation mail I looked it over and saw that the times and flight number were all correct.
Unfortunately my flight was booked for the 7th. Friday. Not the day I wanted. Now farther down the confirmation e-mail it does say July 7th, so I should have noticed it. But everything else matched, and nowhere does it say FRIDAY or FRI or anything that would have jumped out at me.
So today when I went to check-in online I realized the error that had occured, so I called up United customer support. I kindly explained my situation and was told “That will cost $100 to change your reservation, or you can talk to internet support and see if they can fix it for you.” Okay, so I tell “Nicole” to transfer me to internet support. A half hour later I give up on waiting for them to pick up their phone, and try the original number again.
Now I get a different representative who says that the reservation is for the 7th and he can’t do anything unless I pay $100 to change it. After some frustration, I give in. “So with the $100 service fee and the change in ticket price since Sunday it will now be over $200 total” I am told. Ridiculous, for a simple error on their page (I’m certain I selected Thursday in the calendar control) not helped by a misleading piece of text on their confirmation page, which I now realize meant “July 2006” not “July the 6th”.
So I asked if there was anyone I could speak to that might be able to help me, and I was offered a chance to speak to the legendary “supervisor.” Great.
So I explain the situation to her, and get the same “There’s nothing I can do for you sir unless you pay the service charge and the new ticket price.” I asked if given the circumstances they could waive the service charge and I’d just pay the new ticket price, which would at least put me close to the $100 I was originally told it would cost. “No sir, you’re wasting my time” she says very rudely. Her time? She’s being paid for this, I’m not. I’m the one that wasted an hour of my evening and had to pay $200+ to get the same damn ticket I paid $400 for on Sunday.
I’ve had airlines help me out in the past. Once even when I got lost on the way to the airport and missed a Northwest flight back from my interview at MS. They (and someone from US Airways I think it was) helped me get on a later flight at no charge. It made me think “wow, there are real people at airlines after all.”
Sadly tonight I feel quite the opposite. At least as much as it’s the money, I didn’t feel like anyone there cared that I was getting screwed. No concern for the customer. I guess they’re just used to it.