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A Cautionary tale -- United, GS, 1K -- Wake up call...

A Cautionary tale -- United, GS, 1K -- Wake up call...

Old May 20, 2024, 9:39 am
  #166  
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: NYC, LON
Programs: *
Posts: 2,875
Originally Posted by halls120
Yes, it can. I've walked on to my seat in F right behind pre-boards who have put their bag in front before sitting down farther back.
Are these passengers also in F or are they in Y? If Y then seems very strange behavior to me and surely is the exceptionrather than the rule. If you preboard an empty plane, why would one not want to place your carryon above where one is sitting? Especially so for a 1K or GS who presumably travel often.

Originally Posted by ExplorerWannabe
I can recall a recent flight from HNL back to the mainland where I boarded to find the overhead bin over my Polaris window pod completely full with the carry-ons from the passengers across the aisle from me (in the center seats)..
Not sure the issue here. Those people are entitled as you are to place their carryon in those overhead bins? Besides it assumes the bins above those rows were existent, empty and suitably sized.
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Old May 20, 2024, 9:44 pm
  #167  
 
Join Date: Jul 2023
Programs: United 1k American Platinum select Marriott Titanium Hilton Gold
Posts: 38
Originally Posted by bmwe92fan
As many of you know I have been GS for many years -- but due to some life changes post COVID I travelled a bit less on UA this past year and was offered a challenge to get back to GS -- spend $18k in 4 months and you can stay GS.... Given that my wife and I live and work in both Tokyo and NYC this was a no brainer -- as the ability to upgrade economy award tickets to J on UA was an amazing perk -- even if the soft product sucks -- as we all know it does....

Fast forward to today -- I'm completing my GS challenge run and I chose my flight carefully -- I wanted to find a flight where the plane coming in would be the plane coming back -- and I spent $14k for two one ways to / from ZRH -- and then it all went sideways.....

I got to ZRH just fine -- and enjoyed a custom omelette in the E lounge (many have said that's not available - trust me the bored chef's in the lounge LOVE to make something special for those that ask).... And then -- the drama began....

United in their infinite wisdom (aka revenue management) decided to take the plane that was supposed to go back to EWR -- my plane for my flight back -- and sent my plane to ORD -- and left the ORD plane -- which was broken -- to fly back to EWR -- with a delay of 3.5 hours..... During thins time in the Swiss E lounge their were multiple announcements for pax to come to the lobby for an update -- each time I went to the lobby and the "UA" rep asked if I was GS -- I had to say no since I was temporarily 1k and I'm an honest person -- so she wouldn't even talk to me -- and this happened twice!

I've never felt less important to UA -- I spent $7k to fly to ZRH and $7k to fly back -- and I couldn't even speak to her! There were 3 or 4 other GS's that were treated very well -- and re-accommodated on the 5pm Swiss Air flight -- before they even cancelled the flight.... I was truly amazed that she wouldn't even be bothered to speak to a lowly 1k in the lounge -- it was humbling but informative....

Much more humbling was trying to get some help as a 1k! I tried to call the 1k line -- but it was 4am US time and could never get a human -- so I called the GS line -- and was immediately sent to the general members queue -- with an estimated wait time of 30 minutes.... I knew things were going to go sideways -- but I couldn't do anything....

Fully as expected -- UA cancelled the flight back to EWR after 4 hours of delays waiting for a "part" -- I was in the lounge when I got the cancellation notice -- online the rebooking options had me living in the airport for two days -- I decided to take a chance and called the GS line again and begged the person that answered not to transfer me -- I told her I was on a GS challenge mileage run and was stranded in ZRH. She took pity on me and found me a path home -- via LHR in Y - and one that preserved my J seat over the Atlantic home...

My key learnings:

1. If you aren't GS you don't matter to UA
2. See Number 1

I'm sorry if I've ever said anything negative about someone's 1K / lower experience on UA here -- today was a huge wake up call and I've never felt so worthless to UA as I did today -- if someone hadn't taken pity on me I'd still be in Europe tonight -- very humbled -- and very angry....
I created a thread last month saying exactly what you are saying United threw us 1k's in the trash. The only service I have received is from the sweetest GS agent in IAH. Sorry to hear about your nightmare, I've dealt with about 5 of those in the last 6 months as a 1k.

Originally Posted by ani90
I don't think we know enough to say this was a power trip - misinformed or otherwise - and that it was egregious. We don't know what the agent's assigned role was and I think it is very unlikely that an agent would decide unilaterally to only serve a particular cadre of passenger.
I agree with the post. The agent knew what she was doing

Originally Posted by ExplorerWannabe
I offer a counterpoint showing there are good UA agents out there.
Several years ago, I did some conservation work on Sumatra. UA wouldn't get me to Pekanbaru -- or maybe their fare to go all the way there was prohibitive, I don't remember. In any event, I flew UA to SIN then had a separate ticket on Silk (Singapore Airlines) to go from Singapore to Pekanbaru. Didn't have to leave the airport as the agents were able to transfer bags between the airlines despite being on separate tickets.
When we were done with the project, we went to the airport and were able to check in only to have every airport on the island shut down due to "forest fires" (really illegal brushfires set by palm plantations to clear land). Silk put us up overnight and we were able to depart the next day. Unfortunately, this meant I missed my United flight home which meant United cancelled my ticket.
I went to the service desk inside the terminal and the Singapore Airlines counter agent representing United refused to help me with anything, suggesting I should go outside the terminal to the United ticket office. I absolutely didn't want to get stuck outside the airport terminal. My cell phone didn't work and the payphones wouldn't dial a US toll-free number. Nor could I use my credit card to call a US toll-free number but I managed to find a phone number with area code for United CS so I could call using my credit card.
The agent I got not only understood the problem but managed to restore my ticket. He said he couldn't get me on "today's" flight since it had already departed but he had me on "tomorrow's" flight. He did all of this for a lowly Gold member. I use the air quotes above because when I got online to see if I could change seats, I found his "tomorrow" was my "today" and I had about 45 minutes to get over to the gate for boarding (and now that I had a valid ticket, the Singapore Airlines agent was willing to help me get my baggage transferred to my new flight).

Sorry for the long story but the bottom line is that CS agents are people. Some are good, some are less than good. Some are stellar and a few are awful. I find life is easier if I don't expect any special treatment for any reason.
the key point is several years ago. Even last year the service was better. Now its for the most part horrible and scott kirby has handcuffed everyone.
Worst CEO ever
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Last edited by WineCountryUA; May 20, 2024 at 11:58 pm Reason: merged consecutive posts by same member
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Old May 21, 2024, 9:29 am
  #168  
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: Chapel Hill, NC
Programs: UA GS; Former Alaska MVPG75/DL Diamond/NW Platinum/BA Gold
Posts: 953
Originally Posted by lamphs
I just don't understand the concern about this (and reflected in other threads also). I'm not GS or 1K, but always Group 1. Sometimes I am in paid F, sometimes CPUed in to F, sometimes award F, and many times in E+. I've never had a time where the F bins are full when I've boarded in my group. (And the rare occasion that I'm late, the FAs will generally make space and/or use the closet.) GSers and 1Kers have earned this status and if it means that some board, no matter where they are seated, before F, so be it. We're all going to get there at the same time!
I don’t think overhead bin problems are tied to pre-boarding - you are going to have some sort of order of boarding, bins are a limited resource, and short of an underbooked flight, it’s unlikely all bags will fit.

Rather, my issue with preboarding is just that it’s too many people for the amount of available non-queue gate space. I have no issue with 1Ks boarding before regular first class passengers, I just don’t want to have to push through a dozen of them crowding the gate when GS is called (like last night at RDU).

I also don’t think It’s a great experience for 1Ks or anyone else anytime preboarding is exceptional (such as a flight with a large number of active duty military - but they don’t seem to create nearly as much of a crowd around the gate even when the number is high).
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Old May 21, 2024, 9:56 am
  #169  
Moderator: United Airlines
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
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Posts: 67,690
Originally Posted by Manoa Chris
... Rather, my issue with preboarding is just that itís too many people for the amount of available non-queue gate space. I have no issue with 1Ks boarding before regular first class passengers, I just donít want to have to push through a dozen of them crowding the gate when GS is called (like last night at RDU).....
Perhaps choosing to go with the flow and boarding with the 1Ks is an option. Is there that much experiential difference?
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Old May 21, 2024, 7:56 pm
  #170  
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: Chapel Hill, NC
Programs: UA GS; Former Alaska MVPG75/DL Diamond/NW Platinum/BA Gold
Posts: 953
Originally Posted by WineCountryUA
Perhaps choosing to go with the flow and boarding with the 1Ks is an option. Is there that much experiential difference?
sure, I suppose going through the group one line is also an option, as is just waiting to board last.

The trade offs are measured in how much time waiting on the jetway and what happens to overhead bin space (and the probability of stowing bags near my seat). When I (or anyone else) chooses to preboard, I would just prefer it was less crowded and disorganized.
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Old May 22, 2024, 11:54 am
  #171  
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Pulled out the long discussion on crew usage of OHBs and moved to UA Crew use of OverHead Bins

WineCountryUA
UA coModerator
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Old Jun 4, 2024, 4:05 am
  #172  
 
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: NYC
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Originally Posted by WineCountryUA
Perhaps choosing to go with the flow and boarding with the 1Ks is an option. Is there that much experiential difference?
end result, no. For some, being first five on the plane is apparently some wierd ego stroke.

Last edited by LaserSailor; Jun 4, 2024 at 8:35 am
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Old Jun 4, 2024, 5:27 am
  #173  
 
Join Date: May 2010
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Originally Posted by LaserSailor
For some, being first five on the plane is apparently some wierd ego stroke.
The 'ego' thing has been thrown around before. I fail to see it.
I just see people lined up where they're supposed to, and board when they're called.

Issues arise mainly when gate staff isn't clear in their announcements, or they don't follow the standard boarding, and/or the gate space simply does not lend itself to UA's boarding procedure.
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Old Jun 4, 2024, 5:42 am
  #174  
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
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Originally Posted by LaserSailor
end result know. For some, being first five on the plane is apparently some wierd ego stroke.
I strongly doubt it's ego that makes people want to board first. In terms of hassle the best times to board the plane are first or last. Last is largely preferable and provided there is nothing to lose (such as where to stow one's bag or some predeparture service in first class (non-existent)) this would logically be the most sought after time to board. Only reason I suspect people board want to board first is to stow their bags, avoid hanging in a crowded jet way or aisle and also because it is imputed to be better (by the order of boarding placing premium passengers first). I have certainly seen airlines board premium passengers late and never seen anyone complain about their egos in being last on. For example, in FRA first class terminal they wait to chauffer you to plane till quite close to departure time so you relax in lounge as opposed to hang out at gate or in plane. I haven't flown VS in long time but they used to board their upper class passengers very close to departure through separate channel, after most Y are boarded. ET for bus gates doesn't take their Cloud 9 or *Gold passengers till Y is boarded.
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Old Jun 4, 2024, 8:38 am
  #175  
 
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: NYC
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OP is busy in Japan eating free sushi, so Ive helped him with his learnings...

My key learnings:

1. If you aren't GS you don't matter to UA
2. See Number 1


Amended to...

My key learnings:

1. If you aren't GS you don't matter to UA
2. If you are GS, you dont matter as much to UA as you think
3 See (1) and (2) if you think you are important to UA
LaserSailor is offline  
Old Jun 4, 2024, 9:21 am
  #176  
 
Join Date: Jul 2023
Programs: United 1k American Platinum select Marriott Titanium Hilton Gold
Posts: 38
Originally Posted by LaserSailor
OP is busy in Japan eating free sushi, so Ive helped him with his learnings...

My key learnings:

1. If you aren't GS you don't matter to UA
2. See Number 1


Amended to...

My key learnings:

1. If you aren't GS you don't matter to UA
2. If you are GS, you dont matter as much to UA as you think
3 See (1) and (2) if you think you are important to UA
No one matters
goofy flyer is offline  

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