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Reservations
COMPLAINT: United sent me fake itinerary for four months, gets me to my destination two days late.

 
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Old Sep 26, 2018, 8:22 AM
Herring Herring is offline
 
Join Date: Sep 2018
Posts: 1

Gonna copy and paste what I sent to the DOT for complaints here:

Earlier this year I purchased a flight reservation, through the united airlines website for a flight originating out of Spokane, WA, USA and terminating at Kilimanjaro, Tanzania, Africa. Separate from the the carrier ticket I also purchased a guided tour from an international tour company that used local tour guides, to help us safely get to the top of Mt Kilimanjaro and back.

I had specified to united to be contacted by email for any problems that might occur with the reservation. Throughout the year, United sent me updates via email. I received one in march that stated that a subcontractor they used, ethiopian airlines, had cancelled a flight and they would have to get me there a day late, and to call one of their customer service agents. I did. After a lengthy conversation, with me making it clear that being late was going to be dangerous to the hike up, she agreed to fix the reservation to get me there on time (when doing a high altitude hike like this, you first need some acclimatization time to get used to the thin air). She sent an updated copy of the itinerary to my email. I later learned, after my flight home by speaking with another united agent over the phone, that this problem was never fixed, and that the original agent I talked to had emailed me an invalid reservation, just to get me off the phone.

This did not stop united from emailing me this information right up until my date of departure, making me think nothing was wrong up until the
time I was leaving for my trip. When I was printing out boarding passes I noticed a long layover in chicago that I'd not seen before when looking at the reservation. I called united and asked them about it, and they told me my reservation was invalid and despite what it said (departing Spokane on the 26th arriving Kilimanjaro on the 28th), none of the flights were connecting or going to get me there on time.

After talking with my tour operator, who was not excited, I asked united if they could get me there late. They stated they could get me there a day late and rescheduled my flights accordingly.

Fast forward a day and I'm in the airport, waiting to leave. I've made it clear to the united staff at the local desk that I'm already a day late and my friends have landed in africa, and are waiting for me, and if at all possible, even using another carrier, could we get me there more quickly? After three hours and every other carrier has left for the day in our minor hub of Spokane, my United flight was cancelled.

Because they withheld the correct flight information so long, it is now impossible to get a refund from the tour operator ($5,000). I get to the
desk and ask agents there if they will refund the ticket, and the tour cost. They stated they would not. I asked if they could still get me
there a day late. They stated the best they could do now would be 2 days late to my destination.

I talk to a guy from the tour company again. He is not happy; he doesn't think I have enough time to acclimate now. He directs me to his boss
who says if you can make it, with no more delays, two days late, give it a shot. I talk with united again and they yet again reissue tickets,
this time using other carriers and going around the other side of the world: Alaska Air to seattle/Asiana Airlines to Seoul, Korea, then Ethiopian to Addis Abbaba and Kilimanjaro. I sleep for four hours and go.

I arrive in Kilimanjaro exactly two days late. I pay a gentlemen $100 to catch me up to my friends. Later that week, we successfully reach the top of the mountain. They tell me about 500m on the way back from the summit, I collapsed. They got me off the ice and onto the rock and my tour
operator stated displayed the fastest case of high altitude cerebral edema (mountain sickness) that he'd ever seen. I get my memory back about
2000m lower when they ran into someone with some oxygen; I can remember singing and laughing uncontrollably. The headache goes away when I get
below 15,000 ft. Even now, at work, I have trouble remembering where things are at (I work in an emergency department). Undoubtedly some brain
cells bit the dust up there.

I returned the U.S. without much more incident, other than my luggage being lost for a week. I talked with united afterwards about my negative
experience with their airline, and how I believe they broke several of their own customer service pledges as well as being liable for damages under the montreal convention. They offerred travel credits, and a pathetic amount of them. My travel insurance wouldn't cover the losses because they stated they fell under 'trip delay' by an airline, apparently quite the frequent thing. I don't intend further travel and don't wish to be limited by all united i's and t's under their travel credit agreement in order to use them. United didn't accept payment in travel credits from me, and I do not from them.

Here's what I'd like to see from United Airlines for the bad faith in which they seem to have interacted with me:

1. Removal the following parts of the online United Airlines Customer Committment (found here: [link removed]. They do not follow it:

"Notify customers of known delays, cancellations and diversions
We work hard to get you to your destination on time, as scheduled. There may be times when weather, air traffic control, operational or service
considerations lead to flight delays, cancellations or diversions. When this happens we will make available the most current, accurate information about your flight's status that we have. This includes providing information about a change in the status of a flight to, from or within the United States, a delay of 30 minutes or more in the planned operation of a flight or a flight diversion. When the change is made within a week of departure we will make information available within 30 minutes of becoming aware of the change. We may use one or more ways to communicate this information: providing information in the boarding gate area of a flight; on airport flight status display boards; upon request via phone with the United Customer Contact Center; in flight status updates on united.com; and in text/SMS and email alerts for customers who
provide that contact information directly to United
."

This is blatantly false and my case is evidence that they not only do not do this, but one of their agents knowingly sent me false itinerary
information for my trip. DIt didn't just get sent once; it got reviewed and updated over a number of months and no one at united was able to
detect, except after the trip when it got audited, that I was being sent bad data.

"Deliver baggage on time
We work hard to get your checked bags to you on time. If your checked bags are delayed or misplaced, we will make every reasonable effort to
deliver your bags within 24 hours. If you have expenses resulting from a baggage delay and are eligible to receive compensation, we will
compensate you for reasonable and necessary out-of-pocket expenses. If your bag is lost, we will reimburse you for any fee charged to transport
that ba
g."

They not only took a week to get the baggage to me but offerred nothing in compensation.

"Notify customers about travel itinerary changes in a timely manner
We understand that you need timely information about changes to your travel itinerary. If you provide us with your contact information, we will
notify you using information in your reservation about any travel itinerary changes prior to the date of departure. For passengers who have made
travel arrangements through a travel agent, United provides travel change information to travel agents
."

Haha. HA. Seriously. Don't expect them to do this at all. United acted as my travel agent in this interaction and all they did was actively deceive me.

"Ensure responsiveness to customer complaints
We respond quickly to our customers' complaints. If you have a complaint regarding our services or our product, we want to hear from you.
Information about where to direct your written complaint is on our website; on all E-ticketŪ confirmations; and is available upon request at each United ticket counter and boarding gate in the airports we serve. We will acknowledge written complaints within 30 days of receipt and we
will send a substantive written response within 60 days of receiving your written complaint
."

United admitted that they messed up, but only verbally. They would not do so in writing, despite my many WRITTEN emails to them.

"Provide services to mitigate inconveniences resulting from cancellations and misconnections
In order to reduce any inconvenience you experience during cancellations and misconnections, we will:

Do our best to contact you in advance regarding a flight cancellation using the contact information in your reservation;Work to confirm you on the next flight we operate that has seats available in the same class of service when rebooking is necessary; and Make available information about your rebooking through our website, at airport kiosks (when available) and through our airport and contact center agents
."

If they could have done this, that would have been nice.

2. The entire ticket refunded ($2000) They could not get me to my destination within the period of safety that I needed to leave on this trip.
If I would have known that this level of horrible customer service was possible, I would not have spent this money this year. It's retirement
money. They got me there two days later than they were origianlly contracted to. Would you pay two grand for someone to get you there two days late? I don't think so.
3. $1000 for two days lost of paid tour in tanzania (total price of the tour I think came to $5250)
4. $100 that I had to fork out to my local driver to catch me up to the rest of the hikers
5. $1000 for all the brain cells I lost. THANKS UNITED.
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