Nonstops in May, Connections in October
I think I have an interesting story regarding United. UNITED RESERVATION MNJC59. In May of this year I went online to United’s Web site and purchased four NONSTOP coach tickets from Chicago to Phoenix for my son, daughter-in-law and my two grandchildren ages four and one. I had a choice of five nonstops between the two cities. I booked them on March 22, 2008 United #1495 leaving ORD at 2:55pm and March 29 United #1488 leaving Phoenix at 2:40pm.
I’ve made a habit of checking on my airline reservations every few months. On Aug. 1, I looked up this reservation, MNJC59, and printed out an updated itinerary which showed minor schedule changes. On Monday Oct. 15, I looked again, and was shocked to see that United had moved my family to roundtrip connections through Denver. I was never notified by United either via phone or email. I went to their Web site and found that Flt #1495 and #1488 were no longer listed, but that United still showed four daily nonstops to and from Chicago and Phoenix.
I called United and spoke with a reservations agent and with a supervisor. They acknowledged the error and were able to book my family on nonstops to and from Phoenix. They offered $25 travel vouchers, but after some negotiating I settled for four $100 vouchers.
The questions to ask United are the following:
1. Why was Mr. Kirsch not notified of the flight cancellation and offered alternative nonstop flights?
2. Why did United not just move the Kirsch party to one of the other four nonstops?
3. According to the supervisor, none of the passengers on the two cancelled flights were notified, why not?
4. These flights are during Easter Week. What would have happened had I not checked with United two days ago? What if I had found out in February, and then been told all of the nonstops had been sold out?
How does the airline expect loyalty from passengers when they operate in this manner?
I also would suggest that the $100 vouchers are not enough compensation but I was not about to argue with United personnel. I have sent a similar letter to United Customer Service.
Love your magazine,
Editor’s Note: Bob, answers to these mysteries:
1. Too busy selling Mileage Plus to get back to you.
2. They love boosting revenue at Denver: with the landing fees at Denver now inlcuded in the ticket price, it became less profitable for them (winky, winky)!
3. Not enough rollover minutes left in the United calling plan to do it this month — you’ll have to wait until next month.
4. You would have been flying another airline.