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United has the WORST customer service. (2013 Edition)

United has the WORST customer service. (2013 Edition)

Old Oct 4, 12, 12:38 pm
  #1  
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Join Date: Oct 2012
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United has the WORST customer service. (2013 Edition)

My husband and I were travelling back from our honeymoon on September 12, 2012 from Buenos Aires to Newark. We each had 1 bag. One was fairly big and one was small. On our way abroad, our big bag was slightly overweight but our small bag was well under weight and we did not have any issues. However, on our way back, we had many issues. Our big bag was slightly overweight (5 lbs) and our small bag again was well underweight. The agent that was checking us in told us that each bag had to be under weight and it didn't matter that both our bags combined were under that amount. I knew exactly what was in our big bag that was causing it to be heavy, so I asked the agent if I could quickly transfer it into our small bag and he would not allow it. He also said that the only way we would get our boarding pass is if we went to another ticket agent and paid the fee. We were pretty much forced to pay an extra $200 on top of tickets that were already very expensive. When we got our tickets, we also realized that our seats were not together. I confirmed our reservations right before checking in and made sure our seats were together but when we check in, they were not together and there was nothing anyone could do and we had to sit separately the whole entire flight. They also changed our seats on our way to our honeymoon as well but that issue was fixed (even if it was 5 mins into boarding time). I expected a full refund when I came back to the states and filed a formal complaint on their online site. That ticket agent did not even give me a chance to transfer things over to our much lighter bag. I complained once on their site and apparently I had the wrong ticket number so I called someone to update the information and all a representative told me was to go online and I'd have to wait the 7 business days again after I already had waited 7 business days to begin with. On top of that, it was so hard for me to even talk to someone in the first place. When they finally replied back to my formal complaint, they said that disputes must be made at the time of the payment so nothing can be done now. How can I make a dispute in Buenos Aires when 1) I am in a foreign country and 2) we are trying to catch a flight? My husband and I will never be flying United again. My husband has been a Continental/United member for years and we also have the credit card. We will be cancelling that as well. This has not been my first bad experience with United but this will be the last since I will never fly them again.

Last edited by J.Edward; May 5, 13 at 10:13 am
JS297 is offline  
Old Oct 4, 12, 12:47 pm
  #2  
 
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Originally Posted by JS297 View Post
My husband and I were travelling back from our honeymoon on September 12, 2012 from Buenos Aires to Newark. We each had 1 bag. One was fairly big and one was small. On our way abroad, our big bag was slightly overweight but our small bag was well under weight and we did not have any issues. However, on our way back, we had many issues. Our big bag was slightly overweight (5 lbs) and our small bag again was well underweight. The agent that was checking us in told us that each bag had to be under weight and it didn't matter that both our bags combined were under that amount. I knew exactly what was in our big bag that was causing it to be heavy, so I asked the agent if I could quickly transfer it into our small bag and he would not allow it. He also said that the only way we would get our boarding pass is if we went to another ticket agent and paid the fee. We were pretty much forced to pay an extra $200 on top of tickets that were already very expensive. When we got our tickets, we also realized that our seats were not together. I confirmed our reservations right before checking in and made sure our seats were together but when we check in, they were not together and there was nothing anyone could do and we had to sit separately the whole entire flight. They also changed our seats on our way to our honeymoon as well but that issue was fixed (even if it was 5 mins into boarding time). I expected a full refund when I came back to the states and filed a formal complaint on their online site. That ticket agent did not even give me a chance to transfer things over to our much lighter bag. I complained once on their site and apparently I had the wrong ticket number so I called someone to update the information and all a representative told me was to go online and I'd have to wait the 7 business days again after I already had waited 7 business days to begin with. On top of that, it was so hard for me to even talk to someone in the first place. When they finally replied back to my formal complaint, they said that disputes must be made at the time of the payment so nothing can be done now. How can I make a dispute in Buenos Aires when 1) I am in a foreign country and 2) we are trying to catch a flight? My husband and I will never be flying United again. My husband has been a Continental/United member for years and we also have the credit card. We will be cancelling that as well. This has not been my first bad experience with United but this will be the last since I will never fly them again.
Why didn't you ask to see a supervisor? Or just walk away & say your not ready to check in? You are absolutely allowed to rearrange or re pack bags until the time they are taken by the airline & put on the belt. Do you know if it was a UA employee or a contract employee (not that it matters). You really let them get away w that crap when you didn't have to

The problem now is your trying to deal w cust relations. Their new motto is "Stall, stall, stall, no, no, no" so I doubt you'll get much satisfaction going that route. If you want to force UA to pay attention to you, tell your credit card company that you refuse the charge. I guarantee that someone from UA will contact you that way
chinatraderjmr is offline  
Old Oct 4, 12, 12:47 pm
  #3  
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
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Not wishing to be unsympathetic to your travel woes, but essentially you have two complaints - first, that you were charged an overweight fee for an overweight bag; and second that your seats were separated.

On the first issue, there's nothing stopping you moving items between suitcases BEFORE they are checked in. If you are struggling with the check in person, just leave the line, do the switch and rejoin. That is unless you are carrying some prohibited items, in which case you might have given the game away.

On the second issue, what you describe is very unlikely if you were on the same PNR. If not, you should be aware that seat allocations change, especially when equipment changes. I have never experienced anything but co-operation when this happens to me - it can't always be sorted at check in or even at the gate, but I've never known it be a major problem once on board. It's a question of attitude - be friendly and constructive and agents tend to work with you.

But you will know all this anyway as your husband is such a loyal member of MileagePlus and OnePass.....
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Old Oct 4, 12, 12:51 pm
  #4  
 
Join Date: Sep 2001
Location: Austin, tx, USA
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Let me start off by saying that you're right that the agent should've let you transfer the stuff from the heavy bag to the lighter one. This is a place where you need to take control of your own destiny and just do it. At that point if they'd still wanted to charge you the fee, assuming you'd gotten the heavy bag below the limit, then you'd be justified in throwing a fit (and disputing the charge on your credit card).

In terms of seat assignments, it happens. It sucks. Often equipment swaps to a different type of plane or different configuration of the same plane will cause seats to be shifted. Generally these things can be resolved at the gate especially if you're polite and ask nicely instead of demanding.

Expecting a full refund for this seems more than a bit excessive. You could try to dispute the baggage fee and take your chances with the credit card company to see what happens.
octopic is offline  
Old Oct 4, 12, 1:00 pm
  #5  
 
Join Date: Sep 2011
Posts: 88
United has the WORST customer service.

I thought she just wanted the baggage fees refunded. But the price of the tickets? OP please clairfy.
DHSGemini is offline  
Old Oct 4, 12, 1:02 pm
  #6  
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: BOS
Posts: 3,533
Before the board descends on this person in full perhaps additional constructive suggestions of what to ask of UA would be helpful.

Requesting a refund for the bag fee would seem to be top of the list. If contacting UA customer service is yielding no results sending a letter to your state's consumer protection agency may yield some results. I would keep things simple and leave the issues about seating out of the letter.

1. One bag was overweight. One bag was underweight.
2. The agent refused to allow the passenger to transfer items from one bag to another to comply with the weight limit.
3. A baggage fee was incurred which should be refunded.

I'm not sure what can be done at this point in time about the separated seating. It's happened to us all unfortunately. Asking for some goodwill credit in writing (postal mail) may work. But getting a "full refund" isn't likely to happen since you were transported after all.
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Old Oct 4, 12, 1:06 pm
  #7  
 
Join Date: Dec 2011
Posts: 1,185
Sorry you had a hassle flying. Two things -

1) Next time get out of line and reorganize the bags. The guy/girl won't care. They'll just move on to the next person in line. Exit out the check in screen and move some things around.

2) Seats do get changed and its unfortunate. You would think it wouldn't be a hard thing to keep to buy apparently it is, and United has been having issues with seat changes for a while.

Also, the refund/customer care process is slow and painful. Again, this is something that should be easier but it's not. Overall it doesn't sound like a terrible experience, IMO, definitely not one that warrants even a consideration of a full refund.
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Old Oct 4, 12, 1:19 pm
  #8  
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Excuse me for not having proper paragraphs in my complaint. I thought this was just a place where I could give my opinions about terrible customer service.

I don't know where I wrote anywhere in my original complaint that I wanted a full refund of my original ticket? Anyway, that is not the case. I just wanted the overweight baggage fee refunded.

I just included the changing seat things because I was already mad about the baggage and their customer service. I do not expect any changes to be done about that.

I understand that the correct ticket information is needed for them to look into the complaint. I was just frustrated that they couldn't just update my already existing complaint instead of having to go through the whole process again.

I also know that cancelling the Chase credit card doesn't directly impact United. I was just making a point that I didn't want anything to do with United anymore.

Thanks everyone for the suggestions. I will definitely look into whatelse I can do to rectify my problem. In the future if I ever come across this problem, I will definitely transfer my things even if the ticket agent tells me I can't.
JS297 is offline  
Old Oct 4, 12, 1:49 pm
  #9  
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Originally Posted by JS297 View Post
Excuse me for not having proper paragraphs in my complaint. I thought this was just a place where I could give my opinions about terrible customer service.

I don't know where I wrote anywhere in my original complaint that I wanted a full refund of my original ticket? Anyway, that is not the case. I just wanted the overweight baggage fee refunded.

I just included the changing seat things because I was already mad about the baggage and their customer service. I do not expect any changes to be done about that.

I understand that the correct ticket information is needed for them to look into the complaint. I was just frustrated that they couldn't just update my already existing complaint instead of having to go through the whole process again.

I also know that cancelling the Chase credit card doesn't directly impact United. I was just making a point that I didn't want anything to do with United anymore.

Thanks everyone for the suggestions. I will definitely look into whatelse I can do to rectify my problem. In the future if I ever come across this problem, I will definitely transfer my things even if the ticket agent tells me I can't.
You should have definitely been allowed to move stuff around between the 2 bags. But you should also take this as a lesson learned. you knew from the outbound that one was over weight and the other under. You made an assumption that the next TA would be as nice and let it slide like the first. You should never assume. If you can, make sure both bags are underweight before you check in and you will avoid all these hassles.

As for the seats, you mentioned that just before you checked in you checked online that you still had seats together, why didn't you check in online at that time? You can always reprint your boarding passes when you check your bags.

I personally think you are having a knee jerk reaction in canceling the credit card and swearing off UA for 2 issues that could have been handled by yourself before you got to the airport. What makes you think it will be better at another airline? They enforce baggage weights, they change seats. Enjoy that fact that you had a great honeymoon and are starting a wonderful life together with your new spouse. Don't let this ruin your day. Yes, try and get your baggage fee refunded but with the new UA I would not be surprised if it took months if you get it at all.
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Old Oct 4, 12, 1:54 pm
  #10  
 
Join Date: Sep 2010
Posts: 25
Originally Posted by JS297 View Post
Excuse me for not having proper paragraphs in my complaint. I thought this was just a place where I could give my opinions about terrible customer service.

I don't know where I wrote anywhere in my original complaint that I wanted a full refund of my original ticket? Anyway, that is not the case. I just wanted the overweight baggage fee refunded.

I just included the changing seat things because I was already mad about the baggage and their customer service. I do not expect any changes to be done about that.

I understand that the correct ticket information is needed for them to look into the complaint. I was just frustrated that they couldn't just update my already existing complaint instead of having to go through the whole process again.

I also know that cancelling the Chase credit card doesn't directly impact United. I was just making a point that I didn't want anything to do with United anymore.

Thanks everyone for the suggestions. I will definitely look into whatelse I can do to rectify my problem. In the future if I ever come across this problem, I will definitely transfer my things even if the ticket agent tells me I can't.
That agent was very mean to you. Remember there are ...******s everywhere; and you were just not so lucky to run into one of them. Next time (well I hope you never see those "...*****s" again but .... happens right?), just find another agent.

For seats, most people would just go straight through security and talk to the gate agent or FA seeking help. I've been asked by the FA to change seats for others, and they always get to seat next to each other even I ended up with a back row middle seat. Well who knows, someday I may need to ask for that "favor" too, right?

I just got back from our local little airport, my friends' bags were like 1 lb over the limit, and guess what, the agent just pointed it out to my friend and said I'll let you go this time. Maybe that agent just had a bad day...

Last edited by nxw152; Oct 4, 12 at 1:59 pm
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Old Oct 4, 12, 1:57 pm
  #11  
 
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Originally Posted by JS297 View Post
On our way abroad, our big bag was slightly overweight but our small bag was well under weight and we did not have any issues..................However, on our way back, we had many issues. Our big bag was slightly overweight (5 lbs) and our small bag again was well underweight.
So you learned on the outbound about the weight issue, but someone let you slide. You doubled down on the return, but didn't get as lucky as the first time?

FWIW, I do agree with everyone else, you ABSOLUTELY should have been able to re-shuffle the contents (IME, I have seen people at check-in many many many times re-shuffling between bags).
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Old Oct 4, 12, 2:08 pm
  #12  
 
Join Date: Feb 2000
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Dispute the charge on your credit card. One overzealous agent doesn't make the charge legitimate, and this isn't the first case where we've read of agents taking advantage of the "need to catch the plane" situation to coerce people to stop fighting the issue.
bmr12 is offline  
Old Oct 4, 12, 2:16 pm
  #13  
 
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Originally Posted by JS297 View Post
Excuse me for not having proper paragraphs in my complaint. I thought this was just a place where I could give my opinions about terrible customer service.
I like to think that FlyerTalk is a community where people who understand how airlines work help each other have great travel experiences.

(It's also a place where you can give your opinions about terrible customer service, but there are other places for that -- (1) you can file an airline service complaint with the DoT at http://airconsumer.ost.dot.gov/CP_AirlineService.htm, (2) you can leave reviews of the carrier at skytrax.com or yelp.com, (3) you can write to United via Twitter or on their Facebook page.)
mherdeg is offline  
Old Oct 4, 12, 2:24 pm
  #14  
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Originally Posted by mherdeg View Post
I like to think that FlyerTalk is a community where people who understand how airlines work help each other have great travel experiences.

(It's also a place where you can give your opinions about terrible customer service, but there are other places for that -- (1) you can file an airline service complaint with the DoT at http://airconsumer.ost.dot.gov/CP_AirlineService.htm, (2) you can leave reviews of the carrier at skytrax.com or yelp.com, (3) you can write to United via Twitter or on their Facebook page.)
You beat me to it!

FT is about (ideally) helping make the most of miles.

Untied.com is about fielding complaints.

I used to make fun of untied.com. But recently, flyertalk has taken on their qualities!
zrs70 is offline  
Old Oct 4, 12, 2:28 pm
  #15  
 
Join Date: Sep 2010
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Originally Posted by mherdeg View Post
I like to think that FlyerTalk is a community where people who understand how airlines work help each other have great travel experiences.

(It's also a place where you can give your opinions about terrible customer service, but there are other places for that -- (1) you can file an airline service complaint with the DoT at http://airconsumer.ost.dot.gov/CP_AirlineService.htm, (2) you can leave reviews of the carrier at skytrax.com or yelp.com, (3) you can write to United via Twitter or on their Facebook page.)
Yep. She could also get that agent's name from the name tag and just call "back" later to complain
nxw152 is offline  

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