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United on CRJ-550: "every traveler" can carry on a roller (not really if BE)

United on CRJ-550: "every traveler" can carry on a roller (not really if BE)

Old Dec 2, 19, 2:26 pm
  #1  
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United on CRJ-550: "every traveler" can carry on a roller (not really if BE)

A United Airlines executive made a statement via the media (Chicago Tribune) that every traveler on a CRJ-550 can carry on a roller bag. It turns out not to be true.

The Chicago Tribune article is titled "Welcome aboard United's new regional jet, with fewer seats, extra space for luggage - and a snack bar in first class".

United is touting this as a benefit to passengers, without mentioning that the new CRJ-550 configuration is not for passenger benefit but because of some contractual constraints (as mentioned elsewhere on FlyerTalk, thread "Will the CRJ550 be a failure?", posts 10, 21, 23). Worse, the unqualified "every traveler" statement turns out to be false.

I am posting this only to inform my fellow travelers. Contacting United resulted only in an all-talk-no-action response (included below). This is my first post and I hope it's appropriate for the scope of this forum.

My letter to United:


To whom it may concern:

An article in the Chicago Tribune
contains the following statement from a United executive
regarding the new 50-seat CRJ-550:

"Between the overhead bins and lockers, there should be enough space
for every traveler to bring a rolling carry-on, said Sarah Murphy, senior
vice president of United Express."

That sounds great... at first. In order to confirm the above, I spoke with
Xxxxxxx in United customer service, who said that some passengers will
still be denied carrying on a roller bag, depending on what ticket they
purchased (Basic Economy being the ones who will be denied). In other
words, some passengers will be allowed to bring it on, and some will not.

That contradicts the statement from Sarah Murphy, since not "every
traveler" can bring a rolling carry-on. Some will be denied. (That's like
saying "every traveler on the CRJ-550 gets a first class seat", and later on
saying "but wait, let's see what ticket your purchased").

Furthermore, Xxxxxxx confirmed that the gate agent will refuse to allow
some passengers to carry on a roller bag even if it is confirmed that
space is available. Again, I don't see how that is consistent with what
Sarah Murphy was representing about the advantages of the CRJ-550.

Another problem is that the online process says that, for the carry-on
policy, "This restriction does not apply to MileagePlus Premier members,
primary cardmembers of qualifying MileagePlus credit cards or Star Alliance
Gold members", without saying what "qualifying" means. I have a Mileage
Plus credit card.

Xxxxxxx told me that in order to escalate this issue, I should send a
message to this email ([email protected]).

I am writing to object to the discrepancy between what United
executives represent through the media and what happens in practice.

I have been a United customer for a long time, with a half million
flight miles. In recent years, I have tended to use other airlines, partly
due to various customer service failures on United's part. Sometimes
I want to give United a chance again, but this kind of issue does not help.

I purchased a ticket (XXXXXXXXXXXXX, XXXXXX) and have not yet decided
whether I will cancel it during the 24-hour refund window. In my opinion,
I should be allowed to take a roller onto the plane, if "every traveler" on
the CRJ-550 supposedly can do that. And, if Sarah Murphy's statement
was inaccurate or misleading, then a retraction should be published.

But the better option would be for United to change its operational
procedures to match what was represented by Sarah Murphy. I'm
not confident that this can happen by Dec. 4 (the date of my flight).

I hope you understand that the time I've taken to raise this issue with
you probably benefits you far more than it benefits me, as United
apparently has areas, particularly in customer relations, that need
improvement.

Regards,
XXXX XXXXXXX
Mileage Plus number: XXXXXXXX
United's response:


We appreciate you taking time to share your thoughts about our services.

We're sorry our products didn't meet your needs, and your comments are very helpful to us in understanding how to improve your travel experience.

We look forward to working toward the suggestions you've mentioned, and to welcoming you aboard your next flight.
oldnerdguy is offline  
Old Dec 2, 19, 2:34 pm
  #2  
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hi, and welcome to flyertalk.
this is pretty much exactly the response I'd expect to your letter.

what have you decided to do about your upcoming flight?
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Old Dec 2, 19, 2:38 pm
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Actually - I stand by United's interpretation. Every traveler CAN bring aboard a roll-aboard. Some will CHOOSE not to by buying a cheaper ticket that doesn't grant them that privilege.

But compared to a standard regional jet today - where even if you buy a 'regular' ticket you're often forced to gate-check your bag, that is no longer an issue.

Don't complain to United because you're trying to find a loophole to a basic economy ticket.
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Old Dec 2, 19, 2:40 pm
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Originally Posted by karenkay View Post
what have you decided to do about your upcoming flight?
Since I didn't cancel during the 24-hour window, and they haven't made any concession, I'll just do it their way (pay to check my roller bag at check-in) and avoid United in the future, to the extent that I can

I don't like airlines where words and actions don't match.
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Old Dec 2, 19, 2:43 pm
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Well -

"Between the overhead bins and lockers, there should be enough space
for every traveler to bring a rolling carry-on, said Sarah Murphy, senior
vice president of United Express."

I see nothing wrong with that statement. Nothing in that statement implies it overrides Basic Economy restrictions.

I'm actually more surprised they responded to your email.
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Old Dec 2, 19, 2:46 pm
  #6  
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Originally Posted by HNLbasedFlyer View Post
I see nothing wrong with that statement. Nothing in that statement implies it overrides Basic Economy restrictions.
Originally Posted by Boogie711 View Post
Actually - I stand by United's interpretation. Every traveler CAN bring aboard a roll-aboard. Some will CHOOSE not to by buying a cheaper ticket that doesn't grant them that privilege.
I addressed the above in my previous comment (That's like saying "every traveler on the CRJ-550 gets a first class seat", and later on saying "but wait, let's see what ticket your purchased").

Don't complain to United because you're trying to find a loophole to a basic economy ticket.
Not looking for a loophole. Just wanted to see if United means what they say.
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Old Dec 2, 19, 2:50 pm
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Originally Posted by oldnerdguy View Post
Since I didn't cancel during the 24-hour window, and they haven't made any concession, I'll just do it their way (pay to check my roller bag at check-in) and avoid United in the future, to the extent that I can

I don't like airlines where words and actions don't match.
I'm confused... did you travel on a CRJ-550 flight and were unable to bring a carry-on aboard? Or is this just speculation?

What's your objective?

The language you point to, that everyone "should" be able to bring a carry-on aboard, is a statement of probability, not of fact. It's not a warranty or promise. So, what are looking for? A guarantee that you'll definitely be able to take your unknown-sized carry-on aboard? Sorry, but none of us get that kind of assurance, even if we are totally compliant with carry-on size guidelines.

You're tilting at windmills here.

Last edited by EWR764; Dec 2, 19 at 3:22 pm
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Old Dec 2, 19, 2:51 pm
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Originally Posted by oldnerdguy View Post
A United Airlines executive made a statement via the media (Chicago Tribune) that every traveler on a CRJ-550 can carry on a roller bag. It turns out not to be true.

The Chicago Tribune article is titled "Welcome aboard United's new regional jet, with fewer seats, extra space for luggage - and a snack bar in first class".

United is touting this as a benefit to passengers, without mentioning that the new CRJ-550 configuration is not for passenger benefit but because of some contractual constraints (as mentioned elsewhere on FlyerTalk, thread "Will the CRJ550 be a failure?", posts 10, 21, 23). Worse, the unqualified "every traveler" statement turns out to be false.

I am posting this only to inform my fellow travelers. Contacting United resulted only in an all-talk-no-action response (included below). This is my first post and I hope it's appropriate for the scope of this forum.

My letter to United:



United's response:
You are most certainly the one that is off base in this case. Nothing about the CRJ-550 overrides the restrictions based on purchase of a Basic Economy ticket. When you purchased your ticket it was clearly spelled out. Don't ever expect a media event to cover every single detail. This is on you, not United Airlines.
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Old Dec 2, 19, 2:51 pm
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Originally Posted by oldnerdguy View Post
Not looking for a loophole. Just wanted to see if United means what they say.
"Between the overhead bins and lockers, there should be enough space
for every traveler to bring a rolling carry-on, said Sarah Murphy, senior
vice president of United Express."

... and there IS enough space for every traveler to bring a rolling carry-on. The fact that you purchased a ticket precluding you from doing such doesn't change the fact that the plane has enough space for every traveler to bring a rolling carry-on aboard.

It does.

And please don't be disingenuous - you're looking for a loophole and you know it.

It's complaints like this that either lead to ridiculous lawyerese around every statement, or worse -- for companies to not make statements at all.

No good deed goes unpunished.
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Old Dec 2, 19, 2:53 pm
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Originally Posted by oldnerdguy View Post
I addressed the above in my previous comment (That's like saying "every traveler on the CRJ-550 gets a first class seat", and later on saying "but wait, let's see what ticket your purchased").
But they didn't say that and the statement from United doesn't resemble that.
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Old Dec 2, 19, 2:54 pm
  #11  
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They are saying there is enough room to accommodate roller bags for everyone, not that everyone is allowed to bring one on free of charge.
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Old Dec 2, 19, 2:55 pm
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Originally Posted by oldnerdguy View Post
Since I didn't cancel during the 24-hour window, and they haven't made any concession, I'll just do it their way (pay to check my roller bag at check-in) and avoid United in the future, to the extent that I can

I don't like airlines where words and actions don't match.
The statement by the UA VP was obviously in the context of the underlying fact that on all previous regional jets, few or no roller bags can fit on the plane at all. So it's obvious that their point is that there is now enough room for every pax on the plane to fit a roller bag. It is also obvious that this has nothing to do with creating some special plane-specific exemption to the baggage restrictions on the cheapest basic economy tickets that are agreed to in exchange for a discount on the fare. This has nothing to do with "words and actions don't match", except under the most strained obviously implausible and unintended reading of the words.

EDITED TO ADD: In the time it took me to write this, a bunch of others made the same point. I don't think this thread is going anywhere further.
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Old Dec 2, 19, 2:57 pm
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It would be a long media statement if they had to include the T&Cs in them. Siding with United on this one.
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Old Dec 2, 19, 3:04 pm
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Originally Posted by st3 View Post
They are saying there is enough room to accommodate roller bags for everyone, not that everyone is allowed to bring one on free of charge.
Precisely. It’s analogous to the airline saying “We’ve catered as many cans of Brand X beer on this domestic flight as there are passenger seats.” You’re still not going to get a beer if you’re under age and even so it’s not going to be “free” unless you’re seated in a certain cabin, have a certain status with airline, or thought to bring chocolates for the flight attendants.
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Old Dec 2, 19, 3:08 pm
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Originally Posted by dmurphynj View Post
And please don't be disingenuous - you're looking for a loophole and you know it.
I'm not comfortable with being accused in such a manner.

But if we want to talk about what is disingenuous and what is not, then we should first look at why Basic Economy passengers are not allowed to carry on rollers in the first place. I don't think it's unreasonable to assume it's because the carry-on space on board the plane is space-constrained. What other reason would there be? Then, if they offer a plane that's configured to allow enough space for all passengers to carry on a roller, and they go so far as to tout that fact via the media, then it removes the original reason for not allowing the rollers, does it not? In that case, what reason remains for disallowing some passengers from carrying on the roller onto that particular configuration of plane?

And since you're quick to accuse people of being disingenuous, then should I be equally quick and suggest that the answer to my final question above is "so the airline can collect revenue on the checked-bag fee" (meaning that space-constraint is not the real reason for disallowing rollers, making United the disingenuous party in this case)?

If you have any good answers to the above questions, I'd be interested to know what they are, in all honesty.

No good deed goes unpunished.
Did you read the other thread I referenced, which discussed that the new configuration is not really a good deed on United's part, but rather United gaming some of their contractual constraints? If you disagree with that, you might try posting a rebuttal in that thread.

Obviously, there is more than one point of view on this matter, and if you don't mind, I'd suggest not getting into ad hominem characterizations of the forum members.
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