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New depths of service for UA: ICN-SFO in C

New depths of service for UA: ICN-SFO in C

Old May 10, 11, 11:46 pm
  #61  
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
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Originally Posted by 5R2 View Post
Although I have unfortunately had several experiences with UA similar to the OP, I do have a few flights that really stick out in my mind as excellent. In particular, a FRA-IAD flight in 2007 with a Paris based crew (Is the Paris crew base still open?). Between a cabin full of businessmen and a surprisingly all male crew, my wife was the only woman in the J cabin. The crew paid her ridiculous amounts of attention (which she loved), and then thanked me regularly for letting them do so. Overall, really excellent, professional crew. I wish they were all as motivated and service-oriented.

Paris crew base was closed quite a while ago. IIRC, this happened around the time when SFO-CDG non-stop flight was slashed. Some of CDG based crews transferred to FRA, and you will still see them on ex-FRA flights. I had a flight from FRA to IAD in C last year, and there were more French crews than German crews in C cabin.

Regarding SFO-ICN-SFO, FAs are not cool in general. However, a lot of them are senior crews. (I heard senior SFO crews favor this flight due to short turn around time of just one day) We all know that FA pay scale at UA is not cool at all, and they must be tired with just one day layover at Seoul. So what do you expect? No wonder why they are not cheerful to serve customers at all.

Last edited by iluv2fly; May 10, 11 at 11:56 pm Reason: off-topic
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Old May 11, 11, 12:12 am
  #62  
 
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Originally Posted by BearX220 View Post
I learned to avoid UA transoceanic flights years ago, and periodic reports like this create no incentive to re-sample. On TPAC, when I was with CO/NW-ST, I could fly NW or KE. Now that I've ended up with UA-*A, it's AC or OZ for me. I can't understand why anyone would choose to subject themselves to UA TPAC.
I've had mixed success on UA TPAC flights in C (the worse experience so far involved an FA physically pushing me out of her way on a SYD-SFO) but not all the flight crews are SFO-based and therefore not all awful. I just flew SFO-HKG and the crew was HKG based and gave spectacular service, including saying goodbye to me by name as I passed one FA leaving the aircraft (I was nowhere near my seat so she had to have remembered me by sight). I'm not sure if the return crew (HKG-SFO) was SFO or HKG based, but the service was almost as good.

I would go so far as to say that the service was about as good as a recent CX flight from SFO-HKG. But that doesn't mean I won't be keeping low expectations in the future...
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Old May 11, 11, 9:48 am
  #63  
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Originally Posted by SFOSpiff View Post
I've had mixed success on UA TPAC flights in C (the worse experience so far involved an FA physically pushing me out of her way on a SYD-SFO) but not all the flight crews are SFO-based and therefore not all awful. I just flew SFO-HKG and the crew was HKG based and gave spectacular service, including saying goodbye to me by name as I passed one FA leaving the aircraft (I was nowhere near my seat so she had to have remembered me by sight). I'm not sure if the return crew (HKG-SFO) was SFO or HKG based, but the service was almost as good.
It's the element of chance, though. If you were considering a pricey restaurant where 70% of the meals were worthy of a Michelin star but the other 30% were salmonella bombs, you wouldn't eat there no matter how tempting the 70% looked.

As for getting pushed out of the way by a crazy FA, I'd say that calls for a write-up, no matter how senior she was. If you touch her, after all, it counts as assault.
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Old May 11, 11, 11:44 am
  #64  
 
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Originally Posted by N227UA View Post

Regarding SFO-ICN-SFO, FAs are not cool in general. However, a lot of them are senior crews. (I heard senior SFO crews favor this flight due to short turn around time of just one day) We all know that FA pay scale at UA is not cool at all, and they must be tired with just one day layover at Seoul. So what do you expect? No wonder why they are not cheerful to serve customers at all.
The horrors of having to actually do your job with only one day off in between and be friendly at the same time! What do we as passengers expect? How about they do their job in a friendly and courteous manner.

If the old bags can't do this they should quit or be fired. I'm sure they are qualified to work at a Denny's or something. My girlfriend was on a SFO-PEK flight in C a week ago where one of the FA's actually yelled at her for putting her purse in the between the seat shoe holding area before takeoff then plopped a salad with chicken in front of her when she knew there was a veg meal ordered (she'd confirmed it only 5 minutes before). When my girlfriend asked if it was the wrong dish, the FA replied, "just pick the chicken off". That's what you get for an 8 grand ticket...worth every penny. I hope CO brings some better service culture to UA as it keeps getting worse and worse, especially it seems from SFO.
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Old May 11, 11, 12:16 pm
  #65  
 
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OP post is consistent with my past experiences in UA international C. This year I had great crews, including one SFO based. I was hopping this was due to the merger, but now I think I was just lucky. UA service remains consistently inconsistent.
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Old May 11, 11, 1:37 pm
  #66  
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Originally Posted by Dr_Adventure View Post
I've flown in C to PEK, PVG and HKG - and I've never experienced what was described in these posts - I've always been very happy with the service, the meals, etc. All of mine were out of SFO!
Good to hear you were lucky. My experience on those routes and others out of SFO is that the significant majority of the time, int'l service on UA in C or F ranges from mediocre to awful. It really is a shame since on the new configuration planes, the hard product is quite competitive.
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Old May 11, 11, 1:41 pm
  #67  
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It was a surreal experience settling in the 747 UD after a week in Japan. Just the way the cranky old FA asked about newspapers was shocking.
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Old May 11, 11, 5:40 pm
  #68  
 
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Originally Posted by embarcadero1 View Post

I don't know how UA manages to make their soft product so unbelievably unpleasant, but once again I got off a long-haul UA flight and felt grateful that I had not been assaulted by the FAs. That is not exactly the hallmark of good service.

/rant. But I will not soon be violating my own golden rule about TransPac on UA. Only if C is for free. Otherwise, it's SQ.

Please do us a favor and report this to Jeffrey Smisek. This crap needs to stop. I am so sick of SFO based crews, who are rotten.

State the flight number and date.
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Old May 14, 11, 12:28 am
  #69  
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So, I wrote to 1K voice... and they replied.

Originally Posted by meFIRST View Post
Please do us a favor and report this to Jeffrey Smisek. This crap needs to stop. I am so sick of SFO based crews, who are rotten.

State the flight number and date.
I did these things.

And I received a reply. I'm not sure what the protocol is on this forum, but I'd be happy to post both my note and the reply (duly anonymized, of course). The reply has me a bit puzzled, and I suspect it was either a bot or a non-English speaker.

Can I share these things here or is that considered un-cool?
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Old May 14, 11, 12:39 am
  #70  
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Originally Posted by embarcadero1 View Post
I did these things.

And I received a reply. I'm not sure what the protocol is on this forum, but I'd be happy to post both my note and the reply (duly anonymized, of course). The reply has me a bit puzzled, and I suspect it was either a bot or a non-English speaker.

Can I share these things here or is that considered un-cool?
It's fine (and common), go for it.
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Old May 14, 11, 12:45 am
  #71  
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Originally Posted by embarcadero1 View Post
I did these things.

And I received a reply. I'm not sure what the protocol is on this forum, but I'd be happy to post both my note and the reply (duly anonymized, of course). The reply has me a bit puzzled, and I suspect it was either a bot or a non-English speaker.

Can I share these things here or is that considered un-cool?
Please share it. Hope you were compensated.
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Old May 14, 11, 3:11 am
  #72  
 
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Originally Posted by DrPSB View Post
After a recent trip to Australia where even the high end wines are now going screw top I must admit my wine snobbery about cork is a bit less.
+1 ^
Bye-bye cork taint.
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Old May 14, 11, 7:41 am
  #73  
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My note to 1K voice

Originally Posted by RichardInSF View Post
It's fine (and common), go for it.
Hello,
My name is Embarcadero1 and my Mileage Plus number is 000000000. I've been a member for 21 years. I'm writing to let you know about a problem I experienced onboard flight 892, from ICN to SFO on 2 May. I was flying in the business cabin in row 9.

I'll start with the positive: the seat was comfortable and I was able to watch some movies that I hadn't seen before. I really enjoyed watching This is Spinal Tap, and would love to see more classic films on board. The purser in the business cabin was very helpful and pleasant when I had a problem, so it's nice to know that there are people like this on board the plane. Other than the FA assigned to my seat, I could see that the crew generally seemed very professional, friendly and helpful. Some of them seemed to genuinely enjoy their jobs and do them well.

The flight attendant assigned to my seat was unlike the others. From the moment I stepped onto the plane until I disembarked, she pushed service on United to a new low. While the specifics seem somewhat petty, I'm writing now (better than a week after my flight) because I think you should know that this is the reason I typically fly Singapore Airlines on this route.

I boarded the plane and situated myself in my seat. The FA came over and asked me if I wanted juice or bubbly. I took some juice. I asked for napkins and some water to clean the IFE screen, covered in some unidentifiable goop and she said "I"m busy now, you can get towels and water yourself in the bathroom." I could not do that because boarding passengers effectively blocked the path to the lavatory. Why was the screen covered in goop? And why couldn't the FA just hand me some water and napkins?

The FA came back after a few minutes and offers to hang up my jacket. I no longer have my boarding stub. "Why not?" she asks me. I'm taken aback by the question, especially after being told that I have to store everything in the overhead lockers (which are occupied, by the way, by the FA's luggage). Perhaps an hour after takeoff, the FA came by to tell me to lower the window shades (I was looking at the mountains over Japan). She even leaned over to close them as I was looking out the window. I realize why the crew want the shades closed, but doing this while I was looking out the window seems a bit much. She wouldn't back off when I told her I was looking out the window - and I actually had to tell her that I would lower the shades later before she would stop hovering.

There were no menus on this flight, but I recall ordering the fish. This is perhaps the worst food I've seen on an airplane - the purple potatoes leeched green color onto the fish. The potatoes still had dried up eyes that should have been removed in cleaning. I got the attention of the purser - who was passing by - and asked if I could have something else. The helpful purser handled this issue quickly. The next option wasn't much better but did not show signs of being tainted, so I just ate the rice. Because I was late finishing, the FAs had put away the desert carts and told me I could get desert during the mid-flight snack. I never saw the mid-flight snack, as it wasn't put out on tables when I was up stretching my legs. Maybe it was put out some other time. I did hear two FAs discuss plastic surgery experiences in Korea and Brazil. The conversations were quite loud and not really of the type I would imagine hearing at 3 AM under any other circumstances. Do they not understand that we can hear them?

During breakfast, the same FA comes by and shouts the choices at the Korean person next to me who clearly speaks no or very little English. She has taken to speaking loudly, perhaps because she's hard of hearing, perhaps because she thinks this will help non-English speakers understand. He doesn't understand and she gives him the quiche, which he does not eat. I get the same, as I don't understand the choices. FA asks me if I want tea, I say yes, she says "milk or sugar?", I say "both please" and she responds "just milk." I figure she didn't hear me. When she sets the mug down, I ask for sugar. She says "I already asked you that."

As we were approaching SFO, the FA came by my seat and announced that "you'll have to put your seat upright for landing." She pushed my newspaper out of the way and pressed the airplane button. After a few seconds, she noticed that the seat had not moved because it was already in the position for landing. She then said "it's hard to tell with these seats," but offered no apology for treating me and the person next to me like recalcitrant school children.

This FA might have been having a difficult day, but she should not have been working. I faced gratuitous, petty aggression, unbelievably poor service and a confrontational attitude. While the poor catering was not her fault, she could have handled it in a way that didn't require me to live on nuts and ginger ale for a 10 hour flight. I also resent being scolded about window shades, boarding pass stubs, asking for sugar or putting my seat upright for landing. All of these things could have been handled in a better way.

I've had many, many positive experiences with UA, and have written you about them. Negative incidents like are infrequent, but really stand out. In the future, I will continue to take Singapore airlines on this route. The food is better, and while the in-flight service is somewhat robotic and I dislike the way they treat their staff, I would prefer that service to being subjected to the the kind of treatment I experienced on this flight. I'm writing you because I think you should know that these problems exist and they're enough to drive paying customers to your competitors.

Best regards,

Embarcadero1
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Old May 14, 11, 7:47 am
  #74  
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And UA's reply:

Dear Mr. Embarcadero,

Thank you for contacting us. I apologize for your travel experience on flight 892 traveling in Business class from Korea May 2, 2011.

I am truly sorry to hear we didn't treat you respectfully in Business class. We train our In-flight service representatives to provide excellent customer service during any circumstance. I am concerned by your comments that you were faced with gratuitous, petty aggression, unbelievably poor service and a confrontational attitude and the rest of the situation you've shared. Your feedback has been given to our onboard management so appropriate action can be taken to prevent this from recurring.

I'm sorry about the poor quality meal you feel you received on your flight in Business class. Our goal is to provide an excellent travel experience for our guests, and we know that the food you enjoy on board is part of this. I apologize for your disappointment.

I appreciate you for calling to our attention your broken seat. I understand your disappointment and apologize for any inconvenience or discomfort this caused you during your flight. United inspects all cabin equipment regularly to make certain everything is working properly, but unfortunately, sometimes a problem with a seat mechanism can occur during a flight. I have given your comments to our airplane maintenance staff to ensure the repair to this seat was made. We appreciate this opportunity to respond and look forward to serving you.

I trust the included electronic travel certificate as a gesture of goodwill for the inconvenience along with the terms and conditions below for your future use on united.com and hope it will help to tangibly express our gratitude.

Mr. Embarcadero1, as a 1K member we appreciate your business and loyalty with United. At the conclusion of this email, please fill out the survey where you can rate your experience with the Customer Care department. We value your feedback and hope that you are satisfied with our service.

Regards,

Ms. Actual Person's Name
United Airlines Customer Relations

Please provide us feedback on the correspondence you have just received from the Customer Relations Contact Center. After filling out our brief survey, you will be given a chance to fill out our longer survey. If you choose to take our longer survey, your name will be entered to win a $400 certificate. Please see more details by accessing the weblink below.
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Old May 14, 11, 1:51 pm
  #75  
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: Japan
Posts: 5,565
Originally Posted by embarcadero1 View Post
Dear Mr. Embarcadero,

Thank you for contacting us. I apologize for your travel experience on flight 892 traveling in Business class from Korea May 2, 2011.

I am truly sorry to hear we didn't treat you respectfully in Business class. We train our In-flight service representatives to provide excellent customer service during any circumstance. I am concerned by your comments that you were faced with gratuitous, petty aggression, unbelievably poor service and a confrontational attitude and the rest of the situation you've shared. Your feedback has been given to our onboard management so appropriate action can be taken to prevent this from recurring.

I'm sorry about the poor quality meal you feel you received on your flight in Business class. Our goal is to provide an excellent travel experience for our guests, and we know that the food you enjoy on board is part of this. I apologize for your disappointment.

I appreciate you for calling to our attention your broken seat. I understand your disappointment and apologize for any inconvenience or discomfort this caused you during your flight. United inspects all cabin equipment regularly to make certain everything is working properly, but unfortunately, sometimes a problem with a seat mechanism can occur during a flight. I have given your comments to our airplane maintenance staff to ensure the repair to this seat was made. We appreciate this opportunity to respond and look forward to serving you.

I trust the included electronic travel certificate as a gesture of goodwill for the inconvenience along with the terms and conditions below for your future use on united.com and hope it will help to tangibly express our gratitude.

Mr. Embarcadero1, as a 1K member we appreciate your business and loyalty with United. At the conclusion of this email, please fill out the survey where you can rate your experience with the Customer Care department. We value your feedback and hope that you are satisfied with our service.

Regards,

Ms. Actual Person's Name
United Airlines Customer Relations

Please provide us feedback on the correspondence you have just received from the Customer Relations Contact Center. After filling out our brief survey, you will be given a chance to fill out our longer survey. If you choose to take our longer survey, your name will be entered to win a $400 certificate. Please see more details by accessing the weblink below.

I can confirm that this is a computer generated letter. I got the exact same note, with the exception of the seat problem, in response to my complaint about a recent AMS-IAD flight.
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