Letters – October, 23 2009

Letters – October, 23 2009

The Friendly Skies

Gosh, so many people trash United these days, I feel like I should say something good about them. I travel a dozen or more trips a year on them, but that makes me a 1K because about half the trips are Seattle to Singapore, which earns a lot of miles. I always get my upgrades, the 1K perks are wonderful, and almost always, the attendants are wonderful. Almost never bad, only occasionally indifferent.

The meals in business class are always good to great. I haven’t tried many other airlines, but there aren’t very many that meet all my travel requirements. NWA (now Delta) works, but it doesn’t seem like I will be as able to get my upgrades as consistently. All the complaints I see in other letters have NEVER happened to me. A couple of times when my flights have been delayed, they have given me (without asking) a $350 credit.

I worry a little about the [upgrade] co-pay coming up, but because they are increasing the number of fare codes that qualify for international flights, which is what I mostly do, I am not even sure that will cost me more.

I have traveled some of the airlines that always get the good grades on various surveys, and frankly, although their planes are sometimes a little nicer (United needs to upgrade), I have actually had better service with United. For example, everyone always raves about Singapore. I love their lounges, but I can use those anyway since they are Star Alliance. Singapore’s flights are okay, but I find United’s Web site and telephone service miles better. Even though I travel United more than Singapore, I have been annoyed at Singapore more often than United. If others like United, SAY SO.
Michael A. Schemm

Untied Over United

I have not flown much lately (post 9/11). I am now nearing retirement from my ‘frequent flyer’ years. I went to check my frequent flyer miles with United and found that they have been zeroed out. They are still listed as ‘lifetime’ miles but they will not allow me to redeem them. Apparently they changed their policy back in 2007 but did not notify me of the change. Is there any way I can get these miles reinstated? It took a lifetime to accumulate them.

Editors’ Note: Sorry to hear about your not very pleasant surprise. Your only real option to get your miles back is through United at the following link: www.ualmiles.com/ReinstatementMiles.jsp

Hope this helps. It will cost you–$0.0125 per mile plus a $25 processing fee–but it might be worth it to you.
Craig’s response to our note:

Thanks for the response but it looks like I am out of luck here too. It actually would be a bit pricey even if I qualified.

I cannot believe that United would target their most loyal customer base that they have in such a punitive fashion. I remember being notified by Delta last year about mileage expiration. I was able to take care of that without a problem. I have been to the United Web site many times and saw no notifications. When I asked United about the lack of notifications, they said that I had an expired email account. I told them that I had the same email account for the last 30 years and I have not had a problem with it. I have had my snail mail address even longer.

Well … it looks like United is losing some frequent flyers. Myself, family members, business associates et al. will no longer be flying United. Again thanks for this link … it was more information than United provided.

P.S. If you ever get a consumer action going on this, please keep my email handy.

Scrooge Air

After paying thousands of dollars for two World Traveller Plus tickets, I may have to pay more money to guarantee that my wife and I can sit next to each other.

I don’t know what the airline industry is turning into. I long for the days past when all one did was phone your favourite airline, book a ticket and a seat, pay the bill and fly away. Not one worry about all of the extra hidden charges that can amount to what the original published ticket price was.

Is there such a thing as a favourite airline anymore or are they all money hungry, gouging, lecherous Ebeneezer Scrooges? I am becoming more and more reluctant to travel anywhere that requires a flight for fear of what is going to happen to me during the process of buying a ticket.
Anthony M.

Editors’ Note: This letter was written in response to British Airways’ recent announcement that customers will have to pay a fee to select their seats when booking their flight.

Valued? Hogwash!

I am a “valued US Airways Dividend Miles Premier World MasterCard cardmember.” I was appalled yesterday to receive notice that the APR for normal purchases was being raised to 22.99 percent! (Up from 19.24 percent, which I already thought was high.) The new APR for cash advances is 27.24 percent! This apparently applies to all cardholders, not just me.

After going around in circles today on the phone, the result was as follows:
Barclays Bank customer care reps (sounded like they were overseas) just kept reading a statement saying the increase is due to increased operational costs, is in compliance with the law and that it is a result of the latest Congressional actions.

US Airways says they have nothing to do with the rates Barclays charges and are powerless to speak on behalf of their loyal membership to protect them from this gouging.

Hogwash! I have excellent credit and can’t believe that I am suddenly being treated as sub prime fodder.
Vicki A.

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