Lousy preferred treatment at Denver checkin

Discussion in 'United Airlines | MileagePlus' started by mdtravel, Jan 2, 2012.  |  Print Topic

  1. mdtravel

    mdtravel Silver Member

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    About three weeks ago. My wife and I are Star Alliance Gold by nature of being preferreds on US. My wife was traveling separate from me with our infant daughter and used the preferred line to checkin. For whatever reason, her credit card nor confirm nor US card (understandable) would pull up her reservation on the kiosk. My daughter was acting up and the UA rep stood there. I finally said "can you please just provide a little help here;" The response: has she tried using the credit card she used for the purchase? The agent ended up getting on a walkie talkie and calling for a supervisor to help her help my wife. There were maybe 10 people total using the checking area.

    I don't tolerate stupid people when I'm a customer very well so I took my daughter and stepped away to let my wife deal with it. As I did, another UA agent who funnels people to the right checkin line asked if we'd gotten everything taken care of. I told her what happened and she said something like "oh, she doesn't work for United, she's just helping out." Really? You actually put some temp worker who can't do anything to help in the preferred area to not help your best customers (not that we're UA customers). Amazing United.
     
  2. violist
    Original Member

    violist Gold Member

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    I think your criticism is unwarranted for two reasons. First, I don't
    see that the agent did anything wrong and asked the logical question.
    And did call a supervisor. Bad service would be refusal to call a supe.
    Second, if you have a line with a hundred and a line with ten, where
    do you put the experienced people? Mind, I am not thrilled when I have
    to explain things to the elite checkin person in words of one syllable or
    less, but I certainly understand that this will occasionally happen.
     
  3. Scottrick
    Original Member

    Scottrick Gold Member

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    In my experience, there generally aren't more experienced people serving one line vs another. Instead there are one or two people serving each line. If the elite line has fewer people in it, there will be less of a wait and more time to help with complex issues. It also tends to make the staff a little friendlier because they're less stressed. That's about all you get.

    The agent you spoke to wasn't stupid. The question was the logical one. If the credit card, the confirmation number, and the elite card wouldn't work, there is clearly something wrong with the reservation that requires someone more knowledgable. A stupid agent would be a non-employee who tries to fix something herself when a supervisor is necessary.
     
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  4. Captain Oveur
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    Captain Oveur Gold Member

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    It reads to me that you had unreasonable expectations in this situation.
     
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  5. mdtravel

    mdtravel Silver Member

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    Wow...unreasonable to expect:
    1. That someone manning the checkin counter could atually...check someone in or provide more help than some stranger off the street.
    2. That prioritity / elite desks be staffed with actual employees instead of putting your worst people in front of your best customers.

    I'm obviously not an airline exec or checkin desk manager, but if I had a line with a hundred people in it who were not frequent flyers as evidenced by their lack of status, I would guess that they would more often need the type of help that my grandmother could provide, while the elite folks who do fly more often and know the drill as evidenced by their status might need more experienced help (or at least some help) when they encounter a problem...but that's just me being common sense'd!

    I shall lower expectations from poor service to no service...perhaps that's where it shoudl be though!
     
  6. gobluetwo
    Original Member

    gobluetwo Silver Member

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    I really don't see the issue. Were you in danger of missing your flight? Were they rude to you in any way? Were they just really slow? I think you're being overly harsh. For one thing, how are they supposed to know if you need help if you don't indicate that you need help? You apparently knew enough to just step up to the self-service kiosks. I've found that if something is going on, I need to let them know. They don't have flashing red lights indicating that the customer at kiosk #3 has failed twice to access their reservation and now need assistance from the agent.

    Also, many airlines use contract employees. It could be that this particular contract employee was just there to provide basic assistance, attach baggage tags, and load checked baggage onto the conveyor belt. I still really don't see the big to-do here. It seems like the employee properly escalated the issue to a supervisor and your problem was resolved, and there were no adverse effects other than you having to wait a little longer to check in.

    As a frequent traveler, this seems like one of the less significant things to complain about. If I had a thread for every less-than-perfect experience I had at the hands of US, DL, UA, etc, I'd be Milepoint Gold!
     
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  7. Captain Oveur
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    Captain Oveur Gold Member

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    By your own words, they brought somebody there to help you. What else should they have done?

    Candidly, you are NOT one of United Airlines' "best customers" (for the record, as a 1KMM, neither am I).

    If you were, you would have checked in at the podium all the way to the right, under the sign that says "Global Services."

    I would suggest extinguishing the bravado and simply vote with your wallet and not fly United Airlines.
     
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  8. HansPeter

    HansPeter Active Member

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    The problem in DEN is that there are non-UAL employees contracted to handle baggage (e.g. add destination tags) who work behind the desks. They aren't wearing a UAL uniform but it's pretty darn close so they can "look" like a UAL employee.
     
  9. JetsettingEric
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    JetsettingEric Silver Member

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    One of the things I like about the premium check-in lines is more agents willing to help you check in. I had a great experience checking in as a *Gold in the business class line @ DEN (i was also flying business on a 3 class plane): I spoke to an senior and knowledgeable agent, she handled everything (including my skis), printed an old style tulip boarding pass and I was on my way.

    In this case, it seems like there was no agent available to help you and the only option was the kisok.I really wish UA would staff their premium check-ins consistently. It's hit or miss. At EWR, I had to wait for an agent to come out and tag my luggage, while at LGA I had a great experience with an agent, similar to DEN.

    The only time when i'm not really excited about checking in with an agent is if i'm on a mileage run.
     
  10. EX-LAX

    EX-LAX Silver Member

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    I've NEVER had a problem in any of the "Premier" ticket counters in DEN as there are usually 2 or 3 very senior United (employee) t/a's standing around, waiting to assist folks. The problem me thinks is that every Tom, Dick, & Harry with a Star Alliance Gold card, by nature think they are "somebody important", and if they were anywhere near the funnel they were in the wrong place to begin with. However, taking the OP at his word that they were in fact in the Premier area, I reiterate, there are always very professional senior employees at these positions who know what they are doing, and do it well. In fact I've never been required to use the kiosk's in this area, as I am always cheerfully greeted with a smile and immediate assistance by these people.

    Making a blanket statement that people are stupid shows one's ignorance especially by anyone who fly's primarily on US :eek: and attempts to insinuate that UAL employee's are less intelligent just because his spouse's credit card ain't workin' like it outta!

    Some day I may just mosey on over to a US ticket counter and give em the ol' once over to see how durn smart they are..............................NOT!!!;)
     
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  11. mdtravel

    mdtravel Silver Member

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    Guess I hit them on a bad day and my experience disproves your "always" blanket statement; my point was not that I deserved better treatment as a US / *Alliance anything, just how amazed I was and am that they staff their premier desk with non-empoloyees.

    I take it back folks; the lady that was behind the counter was not stupid. She just had absolutely no clue as to how to do the job she was there to do unless her job was to tell people to use the kiosk even after personally watchng from 2 feet away as this was done two differen times. If that was her job, she did it with absolute amazing aptitude and she is a freaking Einstein.

    X-Lax, thank you for attacking me personally...stay classy.

    I have never had a non-employee manning the Preferred counter at a US hub; that's what I had with United. I never said that US's service was superior, but in your rage against someone who dare talk about a crappy experience with UA you have to take out the knives...bully for you.

    If you want to debate whether UA in general provides far superior service to that of US I won't debate you...we don't disagree on that point at all.
     

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