Why do so many UA flyers think that US sucks?

Discussion in 'United Airlines | MileagePlus' started by redtailshark, Sep 20, 2012.  |  Print Topic

  1. redtailshark

    redtailshark Silver Member

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    I use US as a second option and I've had good experiences with irop and US accommodating me. For instance, last time UA was late arriving into LAX (from NRT) and I had a separate US reservation LAX-PHX-TUS, I missed my scheduled flight. I expected the riot act but when I presented apologetically at the LAX T1 rathole, the US CSR was most helpful, first standing me by for the next at no charge and then at T-30 confirming me with BPs.

    Actually, they put me onboard, and then upgraded me! My UG was taken away at the gate when the GA asked me if I was Gold on US, or just Star, and when I confirmed Star, she apologized and downgraded me. I had no issue with this, since I had not expected and was not entitled to such UG.

    I was prompted to write this by reading the BA board over on FT and seeing comments like this:

    "US Airways looked after me very well a few years ago. The CS staff were wonderful, and all my non flexible / non refundable flights were changed to whatever I needed with no fees and I did not have to pay the fare difference"

    Although US doesn't meet my needs for program and coverage, which is why I stay with UA for my primary affiliation, I've had good CS experiences with US as a dirt member. I find them better at that level than most other airlines and especially BA, who as the poster above noted, were a nightmare for soft product. As a dirt member, UA doesn't do as much for its flyers.
     
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  2. KenInEscazu

    KenInEscazu Gold Member

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    US personnel have always treated me very well, even though I'm star gold and flown them only on "dirt" cheap fares. My problem with them has been the "dirt" in the cabin. The interiors on the few flights I have had with them were worn out, dirty and cramped. IME, service has not been an issue at all. It's just that I felt like I needed a shower upon arrival.
     
  3. mattsteg
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    mattsteg Gold Member

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    US ends up being my backup program, particularly for ticketed flights within 2 weeks of departure. Cleanliness can be somewhat iffy, although flying mostly on the A321s they're pretty decent. Service up front is somewhat on the sparse side, FAs can have a little less polish/finess in policing regulations, but overall they do a fine enough job. Most ground personnel I've dealt with have been great.
     
  4. redtailshark

    redtailshark Silver Member

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    That's what I mean. I really feel that for nonelites they provide a little extra when almost every other airline tells you, no way Jose, restricted fare, suck it up etc. If I need some help and have no status, there's more chance of US providing it than any other airline. There's value in their philosophy in the harsh market and I wanted to call it out to UA folks.
     
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  5. marcwint55

    marcwint55 Gold Member

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    As a platinum and former chairman on Us I been treated okay by the FA's, although I did get tired of hearing about the merger after six years. I don't personally think the company is all that concerned about it's customers and the idea of flying 6 hours across the country with no movie in F is absurd to me.
     
  6. unavaca
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    unavaca Gold Member

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    No E+ = No Go.
     
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  7. violist
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    violist Gold Member

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    Why do so many UA flyers think that US sucks?

    Because it does? Actually, it doesn't so much any more by comparison,
    but it certainly used to. It was like watching the Bowie Baysox vs.
    watching the Orioles. Now it's like watching the Bowie Baysox vs.
    watching the Boston Red Sox, i.e., not that much difference.

    Now that it seems that US was the model for Smisek's race to the
    bottom and profitability, demonizing US doesn't seem to be as
    realistic as it once was, but it once was.
     
  8. HaveMilesWillTravel
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    HaveMilesWillTravel Gold Member

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    Did I just find the last person flying without an iPad? ;)

    Flying six hours across the country with those fine CRTs on United's 757 showing blurry junk shows and movies and commerials is even more absurd IMO.

    Personally, I don't hate US. It has its issues, like most airlines, but in the end they've always gotten me to my destination without a lot of drama. E+ is a concern, but most of my flights have been reasonably short... Plus I have survived longer flights on other airlines like LH or AA or BA or CX without permanent damage.

    And earning UA miles/PQM is helpful.
     
  9. Scottrick
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    Scottrick Gold Member

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    From the OP's description of the UG situation, it sounds exactly why I don't fly US. It's just inconsistent. I can't imagine UA accidentally upgrading someone because they can't tell the difference between Gold and Star Gold. I don't mind being kicked now and then. I just want to know why I'm being kicked so I can expect it and brace myself.

    First time I flew US, they changed the gate every 20 minutes and kept giving away our plane to someone else. After two hours we finally departed. On my second trip, our flight was cancelled with no explanation. On my third trip, I was in a seat with NEGATIVE 5 inches of legroom. I usually dont' have trouble even in standard economy, but on a trans-Atlantic flight my knees touched the seat in front of me the entire time. Return flight was fine. Inconsistencies like this drive me away from an airline.
     
  10. unavaca
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    unavaca Gold Member

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    On the upside, US has Wi-Fi; all UA has is empty promises. :rolleyes:
     
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  11. gamecock

    gamecock Silver Member

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    I have been quite satisfied with my handful of US flights. Maybe it's because I have low expectations.....
     
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  12. Art234
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    Art234 Milepoint Guide

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    Up until recently, the answer would have been "because they do", but unfortunately for other airlines that is no longer the case. It had been a relative assessment, comparing service and product on US to other major carriers, but the perception of US being inferior is no longer valid.

    While US has improved somewhat, and I acknowledge good experiences on them, their anti labor anti customer management still hinders them. The sad part is that the "leveling of the playing field" is more due to the decline of service on other carriers than it is a quantitative improvement on US. I had an excellent experience on UA this past week or two, but they are also becoming inconsistent and not handling issues properly in the minds of many customers. The carrier with the most to gain here is going to be DL, as most people I speak to (including myself) who fly them are more satisfied with their service than Star members at the moment...and we won't even mention AA.

    Some of you may recall that about 5 years ago FFOCUS actively helped a couple of hundred top level fiers move to CO. For a few years the grass actually WAS greener on the other side, but since the merger and res transition, UA has sunk to the level that US was back then in some respects. Time for $mi$ek and crew to realize they are jeopardizing their loyal customer base....

    That said, it remains to be seen how this plays out in the long term....
     
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  13. DeacFlyer1
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    DeacFlyer1 Silver Member

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    I'm a US elite, and I don't really have any real complaints. The biggest positives to me have been:
    • I'm not top-tier elite, yet I still end up sitting in F 95% of the time. I feel like US has waaaay less elites (even proportionally based on overall airline size) to UA or DL, for example, and I feel like my upgrade chances are much better on US.
    • I've flown almost 200 flights on US in the last 2.5 years, and I haven't had a single cancellation or a single missed connection. I realize that may've still been the case at other airlines, but I do feel that US has really put a focus on operational reliability the last few years, and that matters to me.
    No, they don't have TV screens at every seat, and I wish the window for serving full meals in F was a little shorter, but overall, they get me where I need to go on time, and they do it in a friendly manner.
     
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  14. traveltoomuch

    traveltoomuch Silver Member

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    For me it's because of a very few bad experiences, mostly dating to 2006 and 2009. (Note: I was US Gold in 2003 before switching to UA, and I was pretty happy with them.) The memo that kept floating through my mind following 2006 was "this is not a real airline".

    The details are ordinary, everyday customer service issues: getting turned away from a US lounge because "Belize is not an international destination", getting downgraded on an international F award without compensation, and having them refuse to check bags through on an overnight layover.

    Maybe that's too few experiences to go on, and maybe my expectations were too high (I've been 1K on UA for most of 2004-onward). But the "this is not a real airline" mantra has been strong ever since.

    On the other hand, I like what redtailshark has to say about non-elites on US. I almost never try to sell UA to non-elites, and US might be a better place for them.
     
  15. bucketlist
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    bucketlist Silver Member

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    Have flown US a couple of time (MSY-phl-MAD) in the last 10 months - it's not so bad. Food in Y was barely OK, the lounge in PHL isn't the Envoy lounge, but nicer than United club. Crews pleasant, phone agents cordial and helpful, to someone w/out status on US.

    AA probably has to merge w/ somebody, US would be a reasonable match. Much prefer AA's upgrade policy (100% upgrades on last 6 weeks 30K domestic miles on AA) and 8 Evips or SWU's that can be used on any fare, as compared to US's more restrictive intl upgrade instruments, but US seems to be a better airline than it was just after their merger w/ Am West, when I mostly left.
     
  16. Scottrick
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    Scottrick Gold Member

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    If you're flying to MAD from PHL, why aren't you using the Envoy lounge? Unless you mean on the return. I agree, the domestic PHL lounge was pretty awful (and that was my first experience with a domestic lounge anywhere).
     
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  17. lhrsfo
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    lhrsfo Silver Member

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    Domestically, I think that they are perfectly ok - there's no E+ but I'd certainly rather be stuck in a US seat than an E- UA seat. TATL I find the whole experience to be worse than UA - the food, the intrusive equipment boxes and the lack of even a modicum of polish - UA at least attempts to show some polish.
     
  18. Flyer1976
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    Flyer1976 Gold Member

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    I used to be an US Platinum/Chairmans and I have to say I preferred the old US Airways before they merged with America West Airlines. I live in PBI so I had no choice between Delta or US Airways and US Airways won out until I moved to DC for college and eventually switched to Continental because of meals at mealtime, decent upgrades, better reward availability, and a CEO that seemed like he cared actually.

    However I still fly US often as an NRSA and I will say they have improved since 2006-2008 but there's still a lot of work for an airline with a NYSE stock symbol LCC.
     
  19. thegrailer
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    thegrailer Silver Member

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    I was a US person for years. Poor service made me leave. I still fly if the price is right (really really right) but I don't look forward to it. Riding in Y is akin to flying Greyhound (IMO)
     
  20. bucketlist
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    bucketlist Silver Member

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    It is no longer an Envoy lounge - nicer than typical US or United clubs, but no self serve beer, no free premium booze, nice "heavy" appetizers as opposed to more extensive food offerings. Still nice, same location, but no longer an (the?) "Envoy" lounge.

    There may be some incidental benefit - on an intl trip, w/ return thru PHL, US should now allow *G's w/ another *A flight from PHL to have access, in contrast to prior practice, the dragon ladies said it was only for international departures.

    There's a thread about it on the "other" board - title is: PHL Envoy lounge is going away (Becoming a regular US Club Nov. 1 2011)

     
  21. Scottrick
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    Scottrick Gold Member

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    Darn. I guess I lucked out.
     
  22. RestlessLocationSyndrome
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    RestlessLocationSyndrome Silver Member

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    US sucks to this UA elite because no E+, no entertainment and a network that is weak from LAX. However, I do agree that UA's moves in the last year or so to follow US's lead in regards to the rewards program have made the programs fairly equal. If I ever did lose my elite status, I might switch to US membership for the discount awards to Europe.
     
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  23. Explore
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    Explore Silver Member

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    UA's program is generally better given OW awards and typically more intelligent CS staff, even if the mileage requirement on US is sometimes a little less.
     
  24. mattsteg
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    mattsteg Gold Member

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    55k for off peak biz w/the DM MasterCard (which can give 10k miles just to renew) and the regular opportunity to top off your account for under 2cpm are certainly strong arguments for the value of the US program. OW awards are great and all, but when a round trip can be about the same miles, albeit for limited time windows, a strong case can be made for Dividend Miles.
     
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  25. Explore
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    Explore Silver Member

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    Thanks....I'd forgotten about US off-peak discounts and and credit card tie-in.
     

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