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Customer Service
COMPLAINT: wedding nightmare

 
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  #1  
Old May 18, 2012, 11:29 PM
gettingmarried gettingmarried is offline
 
Join Date: May 2012
Posts: 5

Earlier today I submitted this note below to customer care
Hello,

Today I had a crisis, and while the agent claims to have done everything in her power, as an airline United did not live up to its stated goal of "We are committed to providing a level of service to our customers that makes us a leader in the airline industry"

I am getting married in 9 days. I got laid off from my job 6 weeks ago. I am trying to start a business to make a living. I have a lot on my mind.

I went to check in for my flight tomorrow, the flight I am taking with my fiance to go to our wedding and also includes the tickets to our honeymoon.

To my dismay I realized that I booked for the wrong Saturday, instead of May 19th, I was booked to for May 26th. Our events start on May 25th, and we were flying down early to get everything set up.

I called United right away, and promptly was put on hold for 10-15 minutes. When I spoke to an agent and explained the situation, they put me on hold for another 15 minutes as I anxiously awaited a resolution.

The proposed resolution was to charge me over $1000 to change my tickets, even though there were seats available on the flight. Distraught since I don't have an extra $1000, I asked for a manager and asked not to be put on hold again. I was then put on hold for another 10-15 minutes.

When the manager came on I asked her what she could do, and she told me that she was doing me a huge favor, risking her job, to waive some fees and charge me $1,216.72 USD for the ticket. When I expressed my frustration she reemphasized she was doing me a big favor and could lose her job. Since I don't want to miss my wedding, I put the fee on my UNITED credit card and paid the costs.

This experience is terrible on so many levels. First the outcome, which shows that United does not in fact care about their customers. People make mistakes, but United refused to accommodate us. Second, why should the agent feel like she is risking her job to help people. How does that create an environment where customers can be served in a leading fashion?

While I hoped to pay nothing to change the ticket, I think I would have been OK paying something that was reasonable. But paying an additional $1200 for tickets that were already quite expensive left me feeling very badly about United and their supposed commitment to "providing a level of service to our customers that makes us a leader in the airline industry"

I request a refund of the money. Please forward to management in customer service, they should hear my story
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  #2  
Old May 18, 2012, 11:39 PM
cortney cortney is offline
Airline Employee (NOT OFFICIAL REP)
 
Join Date: Sep 2009
Posts: 288

first off, congratuations on your upcoming wedding.

if they waived everything for you, then heck, i want fees waived for me too because of a mistake that would be my fault. they charged you the change fee plus the difference in fare. Yes, there may have been seats available, however its so close to departure date now that fares have gone up, and the earlier flight is more expensive than a flight a week later. you admitted you made the mistake, however you want united to waive all fees for you? I see that you said you would be willing to pay something that is reasonable (and yes an additional $1200 is ALOT of money) however, it was your mistake and not uniteds. they have policies in place for reasons. I dont think you will get a refund, especially if you have a non refundable ticket. good luck though
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  #3  
Old May 19, 2012, 12:04 AM
gettingmarried gettingmarried is offline
 
Join Date: May 2012
Posts: 5

Thanks Cortney, it says you are an airline employee on your profile. Every business has a moment when they can choose to make their customer happy or point to policies and procedures. My view is that the best run businesses take these moments to treat their customers as humans and with understanding. I have flown over 1M miles, and will probably fly at least another 1 Million over my lifetime. Is $1200 worth turning me off from United forever?

Originally Posted by cortney View Post
first off, congratuations on your upcoming wedding.

if they waived everything for you, then heck, i want fees waived for me too because of a mistake that would be my fault. they charged you the change fee plus the difference in fare. Yes, there may have been seats available, however its so close to departure date now that fares have gone up, and the earlier flight is more expensive than a flight a week later. you admitted you made the mistake, however you want united to waive all fees for you? I see that you said you would be willing to pay something that is reasonable (and yes an additional $1200 is ALOT of money) however, it was your mistake and not uniteds. they have policies in place for reasons. I dont think you will get a refund, especially if you have a non refundable ticket. good luck though
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  #4  
Old May 19, 2012, 12:33 AM
cortney cortney is offline
Airline Employee (NOT OFFICIAL REP)
 
Join Date: Sep 2009
Posts: 288

I understand that. You wanted ua to make you happy, they didn't because they wouldn't waive Any fees and charged you extra due to fare increases. If they waive it for you, it's only fair they waive it for everone. I use to work the customer service desk at Transmeridian airlines in Rockford, I would listen and most often waive the fee, and your right it leaves customers loyal to that airline. Are you a frequent flyer with United? Maybe they would have waived at least the change fee?
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  #5  
Old May 19, 2012, 4:40 PM
Gromit801 Gromit801 is offline
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Posts: 745

Why is it that when a customer makes a huge mistake, they expect the business to cover it for them? It's the same thing in my business as well, a client makes a mistake, approving with a written signature some artwork I designed, it gets printed, and then they realize they missed something, and want us to do it over for free.

That's NOT going to happen. Take responsibility for your mistakes. That you were busy with your own personal crisis is irrelevant to the business. If you can't concentrate on the task at hand, then perhaps you shouldn't be doing it, like booking tickets.

Booking is done one step at a time, at your own pace. That you goofed, should not become United's problem. They have their rules as well, and has been previously said, if they make a new special rule for you, then they have to do it for everyone.
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  #6  
Old May 19, 2012, 5:41 PM
azstar azstar is offline
 
Join Date: Sep 2008
Posts: 375

It's unfortunate, but it happens too frequently. That's why it's so important to check your itinerary the minute you book it, and double check when the airline sends you a confirmation with ticket number (assuming you booked online). If you call immediately, most airlines will resolve the issue on the spot. If you discover the error days, weeks, or months later, you will usually get stuck paying a lot more money.
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  #7  
Old May 20, 2012, 3:09 AM
bah humbug bah humbug is offline
Airline Employee (NOT OFFICIAL REP)
 
Join Date: May 2008
Posts: 64

Passengers book the wrong date, or the wrong airport on purpouse everyday. You know why? Because the price is cheaper, and they think they will find some agent who will take pity on them and wave the fees. Do I think you would take that kind of a chance when it comes to your wedding? No, but the point is, how are agents supposed to weed out the true mistakes from the scams? Treat everyone the same with the same set of rules is the only way to go.
Congratulations on your wedding.
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  #8  
Old May 21, 2012, 4:59 PM
gettingmarried gettingmarried is offline
 
Join Date: May 2012
Posts: 5

Thank you for your comments:

I heard back from United after I emailed the head of customer service. Not a very satisfactory answer in my mind. I'll also post my reply to them once I send it.

---
Dear Mr. Isakow:

Thank you for taking the time to contact United Airlines. Our Executive
office is in receipt of your letter to Mr. Oleary and Mrs. Seeley, and I
have been asked to respond on their behalf. Congratulations on your
recent nuptials.

You mentioned, you booked the incorrect date for your honeymoon. Our
records indicate your reservtion was booked April 4, 2012, and an email
receipt was sent the same day. I regret you did not contact us sooner.
When changing a restricted ticket on the day before you would like to
depart; the fare will be higher. We no longer have a 7,14, or 21 day
advance purchase.

I regret you are unhappy with our fare restrictions and handling of your
concerns. We are unable to refund the fare difference as it is
applicable.

Your comments will be included in our monthly Customer Care report
reviewed by senior management throughout our company.

Thank you for the opportunity to address your concerns, Mr. Isakow, we
appreciate your business.

Kind regards,

LaRece Sykes
Customer Care Manager
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  #9  
Old May 21, 2012, 5:41 PM
stonecold_1981 stonecold_1981 is offline
 
Join Date: Feb 2011
Posts: 124

What did you find unsatisfactory about the response?

Personally, I think this was a very well crafted response. The addressed your concerns, explained their decision, and provide the rationale for the decision.

It is beginning to appear as if the only satisfactory response for you is if they refund the money or offer compensation for your own mistake. I think that is irrational. Further, looking at the current state of the airline industry, I doubt if you will find any airline that would succumb to your request here.
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  #10  
Old May 21, 2012, 10:57 PM
jimworcs jimworcs is offline
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Shropshire, England
Posts: 3,197

I have held off posting on this one, as I have conflicting feelings. The penalties for a genuine mistake are ridiculously high...in part because the so called "dynamic pricing" used by airlines is ridiculous. However, United are right. They sent you a confirmation email with the details you had booked. It would take 10 minutes of your time to have read it. You didn't and then by the time you did notice, your options were very limited. That is your own responsibility.

Last week, I made exactly the same mistake as you with Monarch Airlines in the UK, booking a flight from London to Alicante. I booked it 7 days later than I wanted. I noticed the error on the confirmation email. I immediately called the airline, but their phone lines were closed. I therefore emailed them, describing the error, and then called the following morning. They made the adjustment and waived all fees, as it was clearly an error. I think if I had waited until the week before travel to tell them, the scenario would have been very different. (Of course, if it had been Ryanair, it may have been a different scenario too, thank god I avoid them at all costs!)

I think it is unreasonable in this case to expect a refund, and I think you misjudged the tone of your complaint in your original posting.

Last edited by jimworcs; May 21, 2012 at 10:59 PM.
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  #11  
Old Nov 30, 2012, 10:33 PM
gettingmarried gettingmarried is offline
 
Join Date: May 2012
Posts: 5

So I thought I would update the list, a few weeks after my interactions with the main office, I received this from my original complaint submitted online

Thank you again for taking time to let us know about your recent experience with United Airlines.

An Electronic Travel Certificate has been issued to cccc (Mileage Plus ccccc) valid towards the purchase of one electronic airline ticket, where eligible, on United up to $150.00.
Redemption information - Total Value: $150.00 ......

The reference for this item is:xxxx


So they sent my $150, ~10% of the overcharge. But interestingly this was the reaction from the front line, not from the head office I had escalated it to.
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