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Disappointed with lack of pre-departure beverage (PDB)

Disappointed with lack of pre-departure beverage (PDB)

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Old Jan 3, 15, 12:05 pm
  #1  
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Disappointed with lack of pre-departure beverage (PDB)

Our United flight LAS-IAH on 12/31/14 was about 3 hours late. No big deal, I actually like modern airports and have no problem entertaining myself walking around, looking in shops, reading, etc.

Once boarded, the usual offer of beverage (we choose orange juice) before take off never happened. There was no beverage until after the "dinner" was served.
DH had the dinner, I declined. We eventually each got a small glass of orange juice well into the flight.

The emailed survey from United was definitely filled out and sent.
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Old Jan 3, 15, 12:41 pm
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Sounds typical for UA front-cabin service on a delayed flight these days. They usually use the delay as an excuse to dial down the service, such as no time for a PDB, which you experienced firsthand.
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Old Jan 3, 15, 12:41 pm
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I am surprised that the FA refused your request for a pre-departure beverage. What exactly did they say? If it was for operational reasons, e.g., late departure, short taxi and the like, so be it. But, if they simply refused, it's worth a complaint.
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Old Jan 3, 15, 12:41 pm
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That's par for the course. They don't reaaly care what you say on their surveys.
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Old Jan 3, 15, 12:48 pm
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Jeannietx - If lack of a pre-departure drink is your only complaint with UA, you may wish to consider yourself lucky. At least they served dinner.
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Old Jan 3, 15, 1:06 pm
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Was OP refused? I read that a pre-departure beverage was not offered, not that a request was denied.
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Old Jan 3, 15, 1:24 pm
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I had a similar experience on my last flight, but going the opposite way, from IAH to LAS. We were delayed after boarding due to some MX issue. Everyone was seated for just over 30 minutes. No offer of a PDB, or anything else. The FC FA looked extremely busy during this time. He was checking his phone, talking/laughing with colleagues, and reading a magazine. Clearly his time was much more valuable than the folks, like me, who paid for FC seats. I was just grateful that he allowed me to fly on the plane.

I did get an offer of a beverage with my "dinner" at the 65 minute mark from the time the plane was fully boarded. It was one of 2 drinks I was offered during my 4 hours or so on the plane.

"First Class Service" is an oxymoron. At least on United. Kind of like "Government Efficiency". My advice - If you want real service on a plane, charter a flight or invent a time machine. Otherwise, expect nothing whatsoever and you may occasionally be pleasantly surprised.

I actually wish that it was customary to tip FA's, at least in FC. I really wouldn't mind paying a buck or two per "free" drink, like you do at a casino. I'm guessing that the drink frequency would increase dramatically. I may try this on my next flight just to see what happens. Worst case, they will just politely refuse the tip, right?
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Old Jan 3, 15, 2:18 pm
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Worst case they take your tip and still hide behind people magazine.

Originally Posted by Soccerdad1995 View Post
I had a similar experience on my last flight, but going the opposite way, from IAH to LAS. We were delayed after boarding due to some MX issue. Everyone was seated for just over 30 minutes. No offer of a PDB, or anything else. The FC FA looked extremely busy during this time. He was checking his phone, talking/laughing with colleagues, and reading a magazine. Clearly his time was much more valuable than the folks, like me, who paid for FC seats. I was just grateful that he allowed me to fly on the plane.

I did get an offer of a beverage with my "dinner" at the 65 minute mark from the time the plane was fully boarded. It was one of 2 drinks I was offered during my 4 hours or so on the plane.

"First Class Service" is an oxymoron. At least on United. Kind of like "Government Efficiency". My advice - If you want real service on a plane, charter a flight or invent a time machine. Otherwise, expect nothing whatsoever and you may occasionally be pleasantly surprised.

I actually wish that it was customary to tip FA's, at least in FC. I really wouldn't mind paying a buck or two per "free" drink, like you do at a casino. I'm guessing that the drink frequency would increase dramatically. I may try this on my next flight just to see what happens. Worst case, they will just politely refuse the tip, right?
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Old Jan 3, 15, 3:49 pm
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I would hate to see your reaction at any of the California "drought resturants" who only serve you water upon request.
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Old Jan 3, 15, 4:01 pm
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Originally Posted by auggie doggie View Post
DING DING DING!

Do what I do. Hit the flight attendant call button. They figure it out pretty quickly.

Pre-dep - when not being served...DING it up...when the FA shows up, just state your order. You'll probably be met with a dirty look. But state your order quickly, then look away. They get the message.

Usually I use the "CO button" as you suggest, but the CO crew had that one covered on my flight the other day. Due to the alleged bumps, they were not able to provide service. Anyone who rang the call button was met with an announcement that they could not come by unless this was an emergency.

Of course it wasn't too bumpy for them to move around from back to front or to chit chat, or for them to get themselves a beverage, or use the lav. But it was too bumpy to even give the F cabin a drink.

In reality, aside from a couple minutes and the descent, it wasn't bumpy at all.

So from our pre-departure water only service (they blamed catering for that one) to gate arrival, it was 3 hours, 15 minutes without any service whatsoever.

I had an orange in my bag that I ate in F, and they didn't even pick up trash (a bonus of no service), so had to leave the peel for the cleaners.
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Old Jan 3, 15, 4:57 pm
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Originally Posted by Kurt View Post
Was OP refused? I read that a pre-departure beverage was not offered, not that a request was denied.
Just can't imagine someone who can't be bothered to ask a passing FA or hit the call button, taking the time to fill out a survey for UA and then compose and post a whine here.

If it wasn't important at the time when it was fixable, how important is it now?
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Old Jan 3, 15, 5:18 pm
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Originally Posted by auggie doggie View Post
DING DING DING!

Do what I do. Hit the flight attendant call button. They figure it out pretty quickly.

Pre-dep - when not being served...DING it up...when the FA shows up, just state your order. You'll probably be met with a dirty look. But state your order quickly, then look away. They get the message.
I've recently had a flight where the Call Button lit up but no audible sound was made and no one ever responded.

On a CO Micronesia (GUM-ICN) flight, it worked fine, F was 1/2 full (we all had an empty seat next to us) the bell and light worked, and it was summarily ignored twice over a nearly 5 hour flight.
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Old Jan 3, 15, 5:31 pm
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Domestic US first class on narrow body planes is Coach with more seat padding. Not really first class. Applies to every domestic airline I've been on.
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Old Jan 3, 15, 5:46 pm
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I usually fly up front but the wife does not. We just flew BF intl. On our return, I made sure we brought dinner despite the protestestations of my wife (also brought food on outbound). Once dinner was served, she thanked me.

My point is is that anyone who has consistently flown up front on UA over the last few years knows it's a weak product in all phases. Additionally while abroad &stayed in top hotels with superior CS, I had to mentally prepare myself for the return for potentially inferior service, which I received. My global point is no need to complain further -- use wallet & change, which is what we have done. Bye bye (paid) *A in 2015!
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Last edited by dcpdxtrans; Jan 3, 15 at 5:58 pm
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Old Jan 3, 15, 8:07 pm
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Originally Posted by Often1 View Post
I am surprised that the FA refused your request for a pre-departure beverage. What exactly did they say? If it was for operational reasons, e.g., late departure, short taxi and the like, so be it. But, if they simply refused, it's worth a complaint.
Request was made, the FA (female) never left the galley area again for duration of flight. FA (male) served the "dinner" and then got us orange juice.

Originally Posted by Often1 View Post
Just can't imagine someone who can't be bothered to ask a passing FA or hit the call button, taking the time to fill out a survey for UA and then compose and post a whine here.

If it wasn't important at the time when it was fixable, how important is it now?
You are assuming no one asked, not true.

There were a grand total of 7 FC passengers, none of whom were served a beverage of any kind until after "dinner".
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