06 July 2017

Another United Airlines Screw-Up


I
 see in the news that United Airlines again is doing its part to make flying an unsafe and uncomfortable experience for everyone. According to its own account of events
On a recent flight from Houston to Boston, we inaccurately scanned the boarding pass of Ms. Yamauchi’s son. As a result, her son’s seat appeared to be not checked in and staff released his seat to another customer….
The result was that after Shirley Yamauchi and her two-year-old son had taken their seats she was confronted by a guy flying standby who also held a ticket to the seat sold to her for her son. The flight crew did nothing to rectify the problem. Afraid of being violently dragged off the flight like that Kentucky doctor a while back, Shirley Yamauchi gave in to the inevitable and held her son in her lap for the entire flight. All this is admitted by United Airlines.
According to the victim’s account on her arrival she received no help from customer service, but was given a hotline number to call. When she talked to them, they threatened to cancel the rest of her flight arrangements back to Hawaii.
This level of incompetence appears to me to be beyond the pale. I would expect that a company that screwed up this badly would be making a significant effort to make amends. What did United do? They are refunding the price of her unused ticket—the one they took from her son and gave away to a standby passenger—and issuing her a travel voucher of unknown value and use.
Personally I would have assumed that it went without saying that they would refund the price of her unused ticket; that doesn’t even come up to the level of the least they could do. And it seems to me that since they screwed up her flight they ought to refund the value of her ticket as well—again, that ought to be done as a matter of course. The travel voucher seems to me like an empty gesture—I mean, who would want to fly United after an experience like that?

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