Topic of the Week: Are You Still Unhappy with United?

By most accounts, United is starting to get a handle on its phone hold times … two months after the system switch. But clearly some people aren’t happy as evidenced by this hi-larious sign that my friend saw this past weekend at a United gate in New Orleans.

Somebody in New Orleans Hates United

Let’s be honest, I was just looking for a topic that would let me post this photo. But what the heck; let your United complaints fly below …. It feels good to vent, right?

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43 Comments on "Topic of the Week: Are You Still Unhappy with United?"

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LIH Prem
Guest

Once you get on a plane, it doesn’t seem to suck so bad, but everything else still sucks and on Aug 28, the schedule changes from 4x OGG-SFO 763s to 2x OGG-SFO 753s without E+ etc. (Smisek says all planes will have E+ by the end of the year, but there’s no schedule yet for 753s.) Now, before you say Hawaii is a money losing route for the airlines, I just booked a $930 S/V fare between OGG-SFO for mid-June. (AA, was $20 cheaper, connecting flights, HA, etc were more expensive).

LIH Prem
Guest

Yes those are S fares outbound, V fares on the return. Cheap fare buckets.

Joe
Guest
Arf..I don’t like the idea of a free-for-all complaint thread, and as a UAL employee it stings a bit. I am one of those airline geek/flight attendants that still loves what I do and really try to go out of my way to make every flight a good one for my customers and other crew members. If I had one major complaint about the merger, it would be that there are SO many changes both procedurally and culturally that none of us from both the UA side or the CO side have been adequately trained to understand how the other… Read more »
Dan
Guest

Of course you don’t like the idea, you work for the airline! When you work for a publicly known company, you have to be able to take a bit of criticism. That’s the nature of the beast.

JUDY NAGY
Guest
Joe, I’ve flown with FAs like you. Please know how much your passengers appreciate a professional FA who really tries to rise above it all, especially the current whirlpool. I’m aware that many of your peers are often not very interested in doing their jobs, so the pros like you really stand out. It’s beyond me why management doesn’t grasp that passengers are really only cognizant of the gate people and the FAs, so those two categories of employee should be given as much support as they need. In 3 weeks I’m looking forward to my first UA/CO flight since… Read more »
malbarda
Member

Hear hear Joe. FA’s like you are under-rated and much, much appreciated. I for one use my compliments vouchers I get from AA and Delta to give to “above-and-beyond” FA’s and Gate Agents. Have not seen these from the old or new United, but accept this virtual one :-)

James Burke
Guest

No complaints here… Flew them two weeks ago, everything went smooth with the booking, with check-in, with connections, with my AC points getting credited and with the flights. The 757 was a bit worn, and my “window seat” on th E70 didn’t exactly match up with a window, but what can you do. I found the ground staff friendly enough, and the service in the air was fine. I am not feeling withdrawl from flying them, but everything was just fine.

Random Traveller
Guest
Last week, the following happened on the “new” United: 1) the first plane had a mechanical and they flew in a new airplane, which arrived two hours after the original departure time. we had all rebooked our connections waiting for the replacement plane. 2) the replacement plane itself had a mechanical and could only be ferried back without passengers to a base for repair. they figured this out after a hour and having boarded about half the airplane. at that point, they cancelled the flight. 3) we all formed a “long” line for rebooking. i called the 800 number and… Read more »
Jason H
Guest
Well, at least they figured out the second plane had an issue before takeoff. My wife got to experience an engine self-destruction on takeoff while flying a Delta DC-9-50 last month. Thankfully the pilot greased the landing and everything was fine, but still… As for my UA experience I have had one round trip in the past 6 months on them. Things ran fine, but given it was DEN-SFO at least I rarely fear a long mechanical delay or a wait on a new plane. In fact, that trip was so uneventful I’ve been trying to remember anything about it… Read more »
Andrew
Guest

That photo is awesome.

I primarily fly US Airways, but in the past have generally flown UA a half dozen times in a year when schedules are better, since I can credit those miles to US. However, I’ve purposely avoided booking anything on UA since the 3/3 integration. I’m probably going to wait a few more months before I tentatively wade back into the waters there…so maybe things are perfectly smooth, but the stories I’m hearing are definitely making me not book with them right now.

canuck_in_ca
Guest
I just experienced the long wait times. My trip was SAN-DEN-MSY one-way. The inbound plane (PHL-SFO-SAN) was late. I got the notice 6 hours before the trip (wonderful!) and called reservations when I saw the delay getting bigger. After a 5 minute wait the agent put me on hold about 3 times while he was getting help. I told him exactly what I wanted (SAN-SFO-MSY) but that didn’t seemed possible as he was looking at other possibilities. That went on for 20 minutes and then we got disconnected just as he got back on the line again. I didn’t get… Read more »
Bill from DC
Guest

I’m guessing it’s not too great since I’ve seen UA employees start referring to Smisek as “Smilton,” merging his name with universally loathed former UA CEO Glenn Tilton. I’m sure opinions of him will change now that his comp has been upped to $13.4 million.

Longtime biz travel columnist Joe Brancatelli thinks its pretty bad too, giving them his “Worst Airline Ever… Again” award (with all due apologies to our own Cranky who gives a similar award):

http://www.portfolio.com/business-travel/2012/05/02/united-airlines-hurt-by-passenger-and-employee-complaints

Jonathan Jesse
Guest
I’ve been flying for 6 years for work (computer consultant) and I got sick of dealing w/ delays thru ORD (I live in a smaller city and everything is a connection thru ORD) and switched to Continental and loved Continental. 2 great parts for me, the customer service at Continental was always amazing and I didn’t have to fly thru ORD, I spent a lot of time in CLE (going places). CLE is a great airport and great for connecting thru, especially since I seemed to fly CRJ’s almost the entire time up and down the East coast (BWI, PHI,… Read more »
SubwayNut
Guest

Well the Continental crews always felt different if they were from Texas or New York based on when I used to fly DEN to EWR (New York) or COS to IAH to LGA (Houston-based)

Wandering Justin
Guest

My biggest complaint is that United/Continental shorted me on miles for flights on Asiana, another Star Alliance airline. I pointed the discrepancy out to them, they agreed to update my mileage, and then never did. This all happened in October.

Hunter
Guest

I had a similar experience with them on a flight with ANA. I ended up getting it resolved by calling a friend who called a friend, but not everyone has that option. Interestingly, I sent the original email about the issue in February. Just last week (May 8) I got a response email telling me I hadn’t included the proper information, even though I had included everything (details of flights, ticket #s, copies of boarding passes, copy of receipt/invoice, etc.). Funny thing, the email didn’t even tell me what was missing. Oh so helpful.

David SF eastbay
Member
Isn’t it funny that so many people love to pick on airlines, including me, and I’ve worked for one. But when you think about it, look at what the genre must do everyday. Move thousands of people in hundreds of airplanes every single day of the week in good weather and bad. Some people freak out if they have to get one kid to soccer pratice and another to a music lesson at the same time. Try running an airline and see how you would freak out. But with the airlines business just to go from point A to point… Read more »
FRANK
Guest

……..it’s the FRONTLINE employees who bear the brunt of MIS-management mistakes! Mergers always have their issues and the employees share the frustration of policy changes and new systems to work under. It literally takes months to years to feel like you’re comfortable doing your job again. Putting to different cultures together takes alot of patience and time, unfortunately, the passenger is caught in the middle.

Red
Member

I think I could run UA better then Smisek and I am in high school!

usbeauty
Guest

My real concern is the United web site. When you search for fares, your first leg comes up with a fare quote such as “from $734”. You select your outbound leg, are taken to a new screen, where you can select your return flight. Separate fare groups are listed next to each flight. These fares are what you will be paying. It’s quite possible that your fare will be closer to $1300, making the first screen, listing your fare “from $734” quite meaningless.

Laura
Guest

I’m flying UA today for the first time since the Reservations changeover. An crossing my fingers that it all goes well. It’s only SFO->PDX with no checked bags, so there’s not really anything they can mess up. Still, I have a smidge of apprehension.

Paulstewartholte
Member

United sucks less when you get on board and realize it’s a Continental operated flight.

Paulstewartholte
Member

Also…the United E-175’s first class has a lot to be desired when you compare it to Delta’s. A Delta E-175 has a real first class meal plus snacks. A United E-175 has a snack box, I don’t know about you, but I haven’t considered a snack box to be “first class” since I was in 3rd grade. Plus, the Delta E-175’s have GoGo WiFi…that’s huge.

CP
Guest

Agreed. UA is hugely behind DL and AA on first class service on regional jets.

A
Guest

Wouldn’t know. Haven’t flown UA since I got stranded at ORD several years ago and they were, well, less than helpful. Since then I’ve avoided UA and ORD and haven’t missed them one bit. To get me to come back they would have to offer some really cheap fares through ORD, which I don’t see happening. DL and AA have been just fine for me domestically.

travlar
Member
The DL/NW merger suffered some of the same problems and are just now intergrating DL/NW flight attendents on trips; it was easy to tell the difference between them, DL more attentive, friendly NW, with one exceptional f/a on a DTW/PDX leg, were disinterested and sullen for the most part. I booked an award trip to KUL on Qatar with UA miles on line recently and found the old CO website easy to navigate, much better than AA’s; problems when I tried to change two segments from A330 with slippery 160 degree recline J seats to 777 with full 180 recline… Read more »
jaybru
Member
A UA regular, I love to complain about UA but, I must give the new company some kudus for their services thus fare. The new web site and booking tools are a great improvement over the old UA site. I don’t care much for flying on a CO plane where there used to be a UA craft. Just something doesn’t feel quite right, but probably little more than the unfamiliarity. Put in a regional jet and, of course, I’m not a happy trooper. I don’t think I can really tell the difference between a UA and a CO crew. Sometimes… Read more »
Exiled Antipodean
Guest
Decade-long UA flyer. Have flown 5 roundtrips since the merger, including a couple connecting through ORD and DEN on spring afternoons (=thunderstorm delay potential). No problems. On one trip had to call to get my wife moved into E+ with me since we’d had to book separate tickets to redeem vouchers. Waited 5 minutes for an agent after an auto message said it would be much longer, and it was sorted in a couple of minutes by a pleasant agent. No doubt there are others with problems, but personally I haven’t had any. The new/old website looks way uglier than… Read more »
Hugh Jardonn
Guest

I agree with the photo, they still suck donkey balls, as does any airline that charges bag fees.

Bag fees: hate them, always will

DesertGhost
Guest
Yet it’s interesting that Southwest is dragging its feet on combining with AirTran. Maybe it’s because Southwest likes the bag fees while it touts “bags fly free.” Living in Phoenix, I get to compare between US Airways and Southwest quite a bit. The fares are comparable even when you account for the fees. Southwest compensates by charging a bit more and obfuscating this by not being quite as transparent as other carriers. It’s a competitive industry. That provides a certain level of pricing discipline. Overall, I find one airline is pretty much like another. You have good days and bad… Read more »
gabeandino
Member
I fly UAL quite a bit, and a few times since the merger (although it’s been mostly on ex-CO metal). I haven’t noticed a drop-off in service and just a couple of minor hiccups, one of which I received an airfare credit for. I used to be based in ORD but now fly out of EWR a lot so I’ve noticed the subtle differences amongst crews. Generally CO crews tend to be a bit “sunnier” than the UA folk. I flew during the “black weekend” of the CRS changeover. No issues for me. I keep reading online about how this… Read more »
chipstah13
Member

To be honest, I flew United in March — Ottawa-Newark-LA-Sydney (Australia) return. The entire trip was seamless. Upon check-in in Ottawa, I received all my boarding passes — whereas, pre-merger, I had to collect new boarding passes in the United States — and both the ground crew staff and the onboard staff were extremely pleasant. This was in stark contrast to a similar trip at the end of 2011… I found it greatly improved from a service point of view…

BHH
Guest
I’ve flown almost two million miles on UA pre-merger. Post-merger my travel agent cannot get straight answers from UA. I requested a co-pay upgrade SFO-FRA and my travel agent was told by two different UA agents that the $300 co-pay each way would be held as a pending charge on my credit card, not charged until the actual upgrade was confirmed. Not true, as I have been charged $600 while my upgrades are still waitlisted–even though business class is totally empty at the moment. Same problem with trying to use regional upgrades and straight answers. Once on a flight through,… Read more »
Bobber
Guest

Already done an LHR-EWR/JFK-LAX-SLO-LAX-LHR earlier in the year, and soon to do two LHR-IAH-LHR over the next 4 weeks – I still hate the ‘new’ website, but the onboard service (whether on old UA or old CO metal) has been good. Chatting to both sets of cabin crew, it’s clear that it’s not an easy time for them either. But i’ve got no complaints:)

robertol
Guest
Good thread CF… made this SFO-based 1K/MM really think why I’m considering / agonizing switching to AA (the only other airline that makes sense given my travel patterns). While there is some good at the new UA (M-up and B-up for 1ks, direct TV, more LATAM destinations, E+, channel 9, end of StarNet blocking, etc.) for me, my move to AA comes down to the following elements… – limited Wifi – PNR-splitting – inconsistent companion upgrade policy – increasingly limited upgrade opportunities (yes even for 1k, lots of airbii and RJs, selling of upgrades, messed up system, etc.) – premium… Read more »
MeanMeosh
Guest

Haven’t flown with them yet, but I did make a CO award booking for December back before the cutover. My seat assignments mysteriously disappeared, and I can no longer view the seat map on the Copa leg for some reason, but at least the reservation is still there.

rjg
Member
ORD is the closest airport to where I live and I’ve been flying UA for a long time; I just got awarded 2 million mile privileges due to CO’s more lenient policy on crediting mile bonuses toward lifetime status. This has a big perk for me, in that it makes both me AND MY WIFE permanent 75K premium flyers, a huge perk for when we get older and for her when I ascend to aviation heaven. I’ve come to appreciate many improvements in the cutover to the new res system. You can hover your cursor over the “fare class box”… Read more »
Steve
Guest

Having to chase them down for credit on thousands of dollars worth of flights for almost two months was ridiculous. Worse was the ZERO communication from the airline. Smisek on the preflight video talking about how great everything was made me sick. It took less than 60 days for me to accept AA’s offer for a status match and escape.

Dan
Guest

Based in Australia, United was the cheaper option to Qantas for North America, but flying in clapped out planes with overhead screens for in-flight entertainment, perpetuating the perception of US airlines. Since Delta has started flying from SYD, thankfully that doesn’t hold as much any more.

Eric R.
Guest

I just spent 20 minutes typing about the worst UA experience ever- and when I hit enter, it was all lost because I didn’t fill in the e-mail. Damm it!!

AK
Guest

Flew Qatar last week and they said that they can’t access the United system to award miles. Given that it’s taken UA about 7-8 weeks to respond to my emails, I decided to just bank to US Airways. Ugh.

Ryan
Guest
I fly UA almost every week and have flown several times since the merger. Generally, things have been okay and I find it disturbing, at times, to see how crazy people can get over inevitable glitches during a complex merger such as this. I do have to say that I’ve heard CO crews on more than one occasion note to passengers that they don’t know what UA does because they are “Continental” and one time, even, when an FA got rather rude with an F passenger about Channel 9 being a “United thing.” CO inflight crews seem to have a… Read more »
Jerry
Guest

Im not sure what is going on with Continental crews but they have to be the worse!! I flew to Hawaii and back and unfortunately had CO crews both ways and now I know I will avoid at all costs flying with a CO crew again! United needs to retrain them or Fire them. What a disappointment when u spend extra and use miles to upgrade and receive the absolute worst First Class EVER!! :(

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