United, United, United … I was prepared to love you. I even got a Frequent Fliers Card so that I could better fall in love with you and use you more often.
Thanks to Yapta.com, I was alerted to a full $50 fare price drop for one of my itineraries. I was eligible to request a travel voucher for $50. Score! I phoned the 1-800 United number, dealt with your robotic little voice activated “No really, this is for your own good!” menu and finally got a real live person.
She informed me that she could give me my $50 fare drop but that unfortunately, she would have to cancel my $50 Economy Plus upgrades at the same time. Not to worry, I would be able to log in and easily upgrade myself back up to Economy Plus. I confirmed this three times with her and even got her to check to make sure all the legs of the itinerary had Economy Plus seats. After all, the trip from NY to Seattle is long and I’d like to have a few inches to move my legs.
But, United, your telephone person was wrong! Not only did I lose my Economy Plus seats, I am now situated near the back of the plane and cannot get my Economy Plus seats back. Despite spending another 45 minutes on the phone with yet another customer service rep (who couldn’t fix my problem because she “didn’t have access to my reservations.” Why is she even answering the phone if she doesn’t have access to my reservation!?!), I still don’t have my Economy Plus seating back.
She gave me the 1-800 number for Tech Support to spend another wasted hour on the line with Tech Support to beg to pay the $50 for my Economy Plus seats back.
What’s the point in offering a “Fare Protection” option if you don’t really want people to use it? What’s the point in allowing me to request a voucher if the experience is so negative that it negates the good feelings that the voucher engenders to start with?
For Soap Queen readers who have small businesses, think about your business practices – what do you do to just look good? Is your return policy overly generous in writing but stingy in reality? Do you claim that you send a “free sample with every order,” yet send non-saleable junk to your customers? Do you have a “Live Help” button on your web site but never staff it? January is a good time to rethink your true commitment to your customers. After all, there’s no point in promising something that you really don’t intend to deliver on.