United Airlines Must Die! (Part 2)

Read Part 1

My flight is canceled.  The Frogette and I are stuck in Chicago wondering how-in-the-hell we’re going to get to Boston.

Normally one would just head over to the gate agent to get booked on the next flight, but interestingly, there is no gate agent.  In fact a quick trip around Chicago’s Concourse B (all United, of course), reveals that there are hardly any gate agents…anywhere.

United has come up with a novel tactic for dealing with their customers, angry or otherwise.  They simply don’t.  Operations, especially at Chicago, are engineered to minimizing exposure of flyers to employees.  Gate agents now show up no more than 10 minutes before passengers begin boarding and disappear as soon as the upgrade and stand-by lists are either cleared or closed.  The only person left is the poor schmuck who checks boarding passes, and he’s usually too busy to answer questions.

Need a seat change?  You’ll need to speak to an agent, except that…there aren’t any.  Want to argue about an upgrade?  Good luck finding someone to argue with.  Was you’re flight canceled?  Head for ‘Customer Service’, because your gate now resembles a ghost town.

So it’s off to ‘Customer Service’ we go only to find:  A bank of automated ticket terminals, but not an agent in sight; 50 or so people waiting to use the 2 working kiosks (of 5) or the 3 working phones (of 7).  Where most of the unfortunates find that they need to try and call United on one of the ‘non-broken’ phones (the irony of calling United from their own terminal being lost of these masters of avoidance), we find that we’ve been booked onto another flight…5 HOURS LATER!  But…with no one to talk to, what the hell are we going to do?

So we accept our lot; punch through a dozen offers, “Would you like to pay $50 for an extra 3 centimeters of leg room?”; endure a major delay without compensation, two MIDDLE-F*CKING-SEATS in different parts of the plane (where originally we were seated together), and 5 hours in ‘United Concourse Crud’ a terminal so filthy that I expect roaches to be scurrying at my feet  And then…our rebooked flight is (wait for it…) DELAYED!

Some parting observations on “Something dreadful in the air…” tomorrow.

12 thoughts on “United Airlines Must Die! (Part 2)”

  1. So, at the present time, you flight experience is less than optimum? Get a Chicago dog at one of the outlets, they suck too.

  2. Sounds as though the pogo stick should re-emerge as a major form of transport, Kvatch. Keeps you fit too!

    You’d need one with a luggage rack of course.

  3. hmmmm…I wonder, as you do how United stays afloat?? My airline, which you may be able to figure out…decided not to merge with them because they are soooooo top heavy. I think we may end up buying some of their routes. Pure speculation and rumor but should this happen you will be much happier. We are actually happy, nice Flight Attendants who enjoy coming to work. Really: )

  4. Oh, and our planes are new and clean. I can’t remember the last time I was working and a flight was canceled…I know it happens, but it’s not the norm.

  5. Kvatch… scratch what I said about United being a decent airline. My company no longer flies with them, which I learned for the reasons you state… poor customer service. I believe Chicago O’Hare is the airline’s hub. You would think the service at their “home” airport would be, relatively speaking, top-notch. I empathize with you. I’ve been there with other airlines.

  6. Dave… Though the food at O’Hare isn’t great it’s not as bad as DFW. There are actually some real restaurants on the concourse in Chicago. So we did manage to eat.

    DavidG… I walk everywhere I can (and a pogo-stick might be fun too…or…perhaps a unicycle!), but Boston unfortunately isn’t one of the places I can get on foot. ;-)

  7. Ms. Pinto… Welcome to Ragebot! My guess is that you’re with Delta, and I’m sorry to say that I don’t get much opportunity to fly with them. (A recent trip to Atlanta notwithstanding. No complaints there, BTW.) Not much Delta traffic here in Babylon by the Bay. But… with the Northwest merger, Delta’s presence here is about to double.

    Spartacus… When it comes to United, the farther you get from the hub, the better the service. The only United hub I ever traveled from that was decent was Washington Dulles–a world of difference from Denver or Chicago. Here’s a little story about a little debacle where both United and American conspired to delay us for 24 hours, and almost stranded us in the Denver airport overnight.

  8. I thought the food was disgusting. We were surrounded for 7 hours by super high calorie junk like cheesecake, Vosges Chocolate and ice cream. I can’t believe I didn’t eat away my pain. What kind of ‘Merican am I?!

  9. I believe the flying pinto is with Continental. He is a bit arrogant but the rumor does have it that UAL will soon be in liquidation. Parts to go to CAL. Not a new plan. Anything necessary to rid the world of the Union labor at United. Tilton will have the last laugh. He won’t rest until they are gone.

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