Go Back  FlyerTalk Forums > Miles&Points > Airlines and Mileage Programs > United Airlines | MileagePlus
Reload this Page >

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

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

Old Apr 18, 2024, 9:29 pm
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Nov 2013
Location: NYC / TYO / Up in the Air
Programs: UA GS 1.7MM, AA 2.1MM, EK, BA, SQ, CX, Marriot LT, Accor P
Posts: 6,624
A Cautionary tale -- United, GS, 1K -- Wake up call...

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....

Last edited by bmwe92fan; Apr 18, 2024 at 9:45 pm
bmwe92fan is online now  
Old Apr 18, 2024, 9:52 pm
  #2  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: Honolulu Harbor
Programs: UA 1K
Posts: 15,161
Yeah, there's a big gap between 1K and GS.

GS>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>1K>>>>>>>>> >>>Plat>>>>Gold>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>Silver>>>>>>>>>>>>> >>>>>>>>>General
IAH-OIL-TRASH is offline  
Old Apr 18, 2024, 10:00 pm
  #3  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Nov 2013
Location: NYC / TYO / Up in the Air
Programs: UA GS 1.7MM, AA 2.1MM, EK, BA, SQ, CX, Marriot LT, Accor P
Posts: 6,624
Originally Posted by IAH-OIL-TRASH
Yeah, there's a big gap between 1K and GS.

GS>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>1K>>>>>>>>> >>>Plat>>>>Gold>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>Silver>>>>>>>>>>>>> >>>>>>>>>General
After my experience today -- there is GS - and then there is cliff.... We just don't matter to UA -- even spending $7k on a one way ticket -- they just don't care.... I mean honestly -- a less experienced traveler like my wife would still be in Zurich -- how is this ok? Like i said -- today was a wakeup call for me....
Markie, restlessinRNO, nnn and 5 others like this.
bmwe92fan is online now  
Old Apr 18, 2024, 10:09 pm
  #4  
 
Join Date: May 2005
Programs: UA MM, AS MVP Gold, Marriott Titanium
Posts: 2,111
Originally Posted by bmwe92fan
After my experience today -- there is GS - and then there is cliff.... We just don't matter to UA -- even spending $7k on a one way ticket -- they just don't care.... I mean honestly -- a less experienced traveler like my wife would still be in Zurich -- how is this ok? Like i said -- today was a wakeup call for me....
Wow, that's a very telling story.

I didn't have that happen but it's kind of ironic that as I deplaned in DEN a couple days ago I heard two FA's talking about a passenger (didn't get all the details) and one of them kind of derisively shook her head and said "Yeah but he was *only* a 1K." Reflects the same attitude you just had to experience in person.
Markie, lsquare, bmwe92fan and 1 others like this.
thegingerman is offline  
Old Apr 18, 2024, 10:30 pm
  #5  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Oct 2001
Location: Austin, TX
Posts: 21,851
Originally Posted by bmwe92fan
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!
Wait, you got called to the lobby of the lounge for an update? And then you didn't get helped? Why not then go to the gate?

Originally Posted by bmwe92fan
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
What does "could never get a human" mean? You were put on hold? FWIW, I generally find late night to be the absolute best time to call the 1K line, with rarely any wait at all.

Originally Posted by bmwe92fan
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....
If you'd posted a message to the board earlier, you'd probably have had five suggestions for alternative routes with available space.

Maybe it's different in the rarified world of GS, but for most of us, UA is primarily a self-service airline. Maybe you would still have been in Europe but I don't think I would have been, because I'd have found available space and suggested it to the 1K agent and/or the gate agent. I'm not sure why your first phone call failed, but 30-minute waits are uncommon for 1Ks -- maybe the caller recognition system didn't work.
SPN Lifer, nnn, bkramt1 and 5 others like this.
jsloan is online now  
Old Apr 18, 2024, 10:32 pm
  #6  
 
Join Date: May 2001
Location: RNO, NV, USA.
Programs: UA 2MM
Posts: 5,098
Shocking! So after the UA rep assisted the 3 or 4 GS members in the lounge, are you saying she was too busy to assist the 1K members (and then the Platinum, ) or just refused to do so? I note you were on a full fare $7k ticket. So UA is saying folks like you are on your own in IRROPs! Sad. 🙁
restlessinRNO is offline  
Old Apr 18, 2024, 10:36 pm
  #7  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Nov 2013
Location: NYC / TYO / Up in the Air
Programs: UA GS 1.7MM, AA 2.1MM, EK, BA, SQ, CX, Marriot LT, Accor P
Posts: 6,624
Originally Posted by restlessinRNO
Shocking! So after the UA rep assisted the 3 or 4 GS members in the lounge, are you saying she was too busy to assist the 1K members (and then the Platinum, ) or just refused to do so? I note you were on a full fare $7k ticket. So UA is saying folks like you are on your own in IRROPs! Sad. 🙁
She point blank asked me if I was GS -- I said no I'm 1k and she ignored me after that -- I was truly shocked but in her defense she was the "GS" agent with the scarf - I was humbled....

Originally Posted by jsloan
Wait, you got called to the lobby of the lounge for an update? And then you didn't get helped? Why not then go to the gate?


What does "could never get a human" mean? You were put on hold? FWIW, I generally find late night to be the absolute best time to call the 1K line, with rarely any wait at all.


If you'd posted a message to the board earlier, you'd probably have had five suggestions for alternative routes with available space.

Maybe it's different in the rarified world of GS, but for most of us, UA is primarily a self-service airline. Maybe you would still have been in Europe but I don't think I would have been, because I'd have found available space and suggested it to the 1K agent and/or the gate agent. I'm not sure why your first phone call failed, but 30-minute waits are uncommon for 1Ks -- maybe the caller recognition system didn't work.
I love this board -- but posting a call for help at 2am US EST time I would not expect much response lol.... As an experienced traveler I know how to do things -- like getting to the D terminal and clearing security because I'm flying to the UK -- my wife -- and 99% of travelers -- not so much.... The team here at FT are the best of the best -- the top 1% -- but they also need sleep lol...

Last edited by WineCountryUA; Apr 18, 2024 at 11:10 pm Reason: merged consecutive posts by same member
bmwe92fan is online now  
Old Apr 18, 2024, 10:44 pm
  #8  
 
Join Date: May 2001
Location: RNO, NV, USA.
Programs: UA 2MM
Posts: 5,098
Originally Posted by jsloan
Wait, you got called to the lobby of the lounge for an update? And then you didn't get helped? Why not then go to the gate?
I question whether going to the gate would have helped the OP in these circumstances. There would likely be a hundred people lining up to talk to the agent, probably not a UA employee. Many would be general members with economy class tix, complex itineraries, all anxious to be rebooked.
zombietooth likes this.
restlessinRNO is offline  
Old Apr 18, 2024, 10:48 pm
  #9  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Nov 2013
Location: NYC / TYO / Up in the Air
Programs: UA GS 1.7MM, AA 2.1MM, EK, BA, SQ, CX, Marriot LT, Accor P
Posts: 6,624
Originally Posted by restlessinRNO
I question whether going to the gate would have helped the OP in these circumstances. There would likely be a hundred people lining up to talk to the agent, probably not a UA employee. Many would be general members with economy class tix, complex itineraries, all anxious to be rebooked.
Actually - I did go to the gate -- twice.... None of the people manning the desk were actual UA employees and I just got the standard response -- it's Zurich -- they are what they are... I did get all of my stamps thank goodness,,,,
bmwe92fan is online now  
Old Apr 18, 2024, 11:03 pm
  #10  
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Programs: UA 1K, Hilton ♦ , Hyatt Carbonado, Wyndham ♦, Marriott PE, "Stinking Bum" elsewhere.
Posts: 5,071
Originally Posted by restlessinRNO
I question whether going to the gate would have helped the OP in these circumstances. There would likely be a hundred people lining up to talk to the agent, probably not a UA employee. Many would be general members with economy class tix, complex itineraries, all anxious to be rebooked.
The last time I experienced IRROPS, the agent that I got on the 1K number refused to rebook me, saying that I had to wait in line and talk to a gate agent because my flight was under airport control. Well, I patiently waited in line for over 90 minutes but never got to the desk before the delayed flight boarded. Needless to say, I missed my connecting flight and UA offered no rebooking options on the app that didn't involve a 48 hour delay. I finally got someone on the 1K number to rebook me after I landed in the hub, but the only option was to another city where I rented a car and drove the final leg to my destination.

OP, I'm sorry you had to experience the poor 1K CS that I and many others have become accustomed to post-COVID. Better luck!
zombietooth is offline  
Old Apr 18, 2024, 11:04 pm
  #11  
 
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: TX
Programs: UA 1K
Posts: 745
Originally Posted by bmwe92fan
I love this board -- but posting a call for help at 2am US EST time I would not expect much response lol...
of course it would have.



as a 2 year UA 1K, and a longtime lurker prior, I can say that I actually find my attention as a 1K quite nice. Im sorry you were treated otherwise.
jpezaris, uanj, iapetus and 1 others like this.
txaggiemiles is online now  
Old Apr 18, 2024, 11:12 pm
  #12  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Nov 2013
Location: NYC / TYO / Up in the Air
Programs: UA GS 1.7MM, AA 2.1MM, EK, BA, SQ, CX, Marriot LT, Accor P
Posts: 6,624
Originally Posted by txaggiemiles
of course it would have.



as a 2 year UA 1K, and a longtime lurker prior, I can say that I actually find my attention as a 1K quite nice. Im sorry you were treated otherwise.
Well - fly to Zurich and have them cancel your flight and then leave the gate - and then youll understand just how little UA status matters. At a UA hub I know they would handle this better - at an European outpost - it seems not so much.

Im still in shock that she wouldnt talk to me because I wasnt GS.
mdbe likes this.
bmwe92fan is online now  
Old Apr 18, 2024, 11:13 pm
  #13  
 
Join Date: Jan 2024
Programs: United 1K Member
Posts: 169
Originally Posted by bmwe92fan
She point blank asked me if I was GS -- I said no I'm 1k and she ignored me after that -- I was truly shocked but in her defense she was the "GS" agent with the scarf - I was humbled....



I love this board -- but posting a call for help at 2am US EST time I would not expect much response lol.... As an experienced traveler I know how to do things -- like getting to the D terminal and clearing security because I'm flying to the UK -- my wife -- and 99% of travelers -- not so much.... The team here at FT are the best of the best -- the top 1% -- but they also need sleep lol...
Doesn't hurt to try
UAflyerwhoflystomuch is offline  
Old Apr 19, 2024, 12:03 am
  #14  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: Honolulu Harbor
Programs: UA 1K
Posts: 15,161
Originally Posted by bmwe92fan
After my experience today -- there is GS - and then there is cliff....
If I went down to Plat, I'd be realizing how much better 1K was. PPs, pre-boarding, choice of free food/booze in back, 1K phone line - losing that would not be nice. Going from Gold and E+ at booking to Silver and free E+ dregs only at check-in would be horrible.
IAH-OIL-TRASH is offline  
Old Apr 19, 2024, 12:18 am
  #15  
 
Join Date: Oct 2013
Location: SFO
Programs: UA 1K, AA EXP, Hyatt Glob, Hilton Diamond, Marriott Plat, Total Wine & More Reserve
Posts: 4,675
Originally Posted by jsloan
I'm not sure why your first phone call failed, but 30-minute waits are uncommon for 1Ks -- maybe the caller recognition system didn't work.
I recall once being on a 77W that ended up cancelling in the middle of the night at HNL, and ended up being on hold for at least that long. I could hear UA hold music while deplaning and throughout the terminal from other people's phones. Not sure how much slack the phone system has when up to 200+ people call in less than a 5 minute span.
econ is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Manage Preferences Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service -

This site is owned, operated, and maintained by MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. Copyright © 2024 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Designated trademarks are the property of their respective owners.