United Airlines – Fly the Unfriendly Skies

I’m not in a happy mood at all.

At about 6am on Thursday February 28th we got a telephone call from Kathy’s sister telling us that her dad had died unexpectedly.

It was obvious that Kathy, at least, needed to get back to Maine as soon as possible.

To try to make things as easy as we could we wanted a flight that took her directly to Portland, Maine, rather than leaving her at Boston and having to take the Concord Trailways bus.

United Airlines seemed to do this so we decided to book with them. Rather than use the internet Kathy phoned them. United then took lots of details, such as her fathers full name, the funeral home he had been taken to and the name of the director of the funeral home. We assumed that this meant she would get some decent treatment from United or a decent air fair.

How wrong we were. The ticket was £499 (more than it was if we’d bought it on line).

We should have realised then, as previous experience of United had shown, that it was all down hill from there.

They promised us the E-ticket would be in the email soon. Nope.. after hassling them several times it actually turned up at 2pm on Friday 29th

So Saturday morning we drive over to Heathrow. We get there and United say they need the credit card that was used to buy the ticket (i.e. MY credit card) to confirm the ticket. So Kathy gives it to them.

She goes through security and I go home.

By the time I get home which is 5 minutes after the plane has taken off the United Airlines website shows that it will be landing 30 minutes late in Washington due to “operational reasons” at Dulles. On the plane they tell Kathy that it will all be fine. A couple hours out from Washington they admit they will be late but it is OK as the connecting flight to Portland is also delayed

So Kathy gets off at Washington and gets through immigration and customs and makes it to the gate to find the flight has closed and she cannot get on.

So she has to try to get on the next flight. Which she manages to do.

That flight is then delayed.

She arrives at her parents’  in Augusta at 03:30am EST –  a mere 26 hours after leaving Cheltenham.

So we think the crap has ended there.


Mid March we get our credit card bill:

4 March : United Air US Ticket Mailed 15.00 US Dollars 29 Feb
4 March : United Air US E-TKT 871.42 US Dollars 29 Feb
5 March : United Air UK Heathrow 499.30 29 Feb

Only the 3rd transaction is the ticket we got emailed to us. The other two are phantom transactions invented by United Airlines. I mean who the hell would buy a ticket on 28/29th Feb for a flight on March 1st and ask for it to be posted – and how the hell do you post an E-Ticket?

So I phone them. They try to blame it on us booking on line. I explain that we phoned them so its all down to them. They agree a refund.

We keep an eye on the credit card… no refund comes through. They usually come through in a few days.

I phone them on Monday and I’m assured that they did process it on March 22nd but it could take “two billing cycles to come through”.

Wednesday evening it appears on our credit card.. a refund from United Airlines – for £218.30 . Now I knew the dollar was weak but how the hell can $886.42 turn into £218.30.

So yesterday I phone them … you just phone their customer line and ignore all the push button options until you fall off the end. I’m told that they cannot do anything that I need to contact the refund department. I loose it – I explain the whole situation that the fault is ENTIRELY United Airlines as they did everything and that frankly the way my wife and I have been treated by United in this whole farce is enough to put us off ever flying with them again. After about 20 minutes they tell me that they’ve pushed it forward to their refunds department and to phone back tomorrow for an update.

So this morning I phone and get someone who says they can’t see anything on their systems. Eventually they do and say “its gone to the refunds department” and to phone back “the end of next week”.

Is this really the sort of treatment you should expect from a company like United. They have basically ripped us off and kept nearly $900 of OUR money for in excess of a month and they don’t seem to want to give it back.

Fly United : fly the friendly Skies.

I don’t fucking think so.

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