Monday, July 14, 2014

I Hate United

A couple of months ago I signed up for the United Mileage Plus Explorer credit card from Chase. I did so because I was taking a trip to Italy, and during the booking process they made me an offer to get the card. Figuring it was time for a new card, and that I could get some benefits out of it, I bit.

One of the reasons I bit was because I was told I could get a "free bag" on my flights, which at the time were many. After signing up for the card I then used miles to head from SFO to EWR to see my family. At the counter I showed my new card, figuring I'd get the free bag. Nope. No free bag. I explained the situation to the woman at the desk and she said, "Yeah, they do that to a lot of people. I hear that all the time..."

No free bag. Pay for bag.

Since I'm from Jersey, I used Continental for a lonnnnnng time. Then moving to the Bay Area I stuck it out through the merge. I knew it would be a disastrous situation for regular folks like me, but I didn't realize I would come to hate flying on United.

On the most recent flights to across the country from SFO-EWR, and back, the planes didn't have televisions. They did have a new internet program where you were billed by the hour. Even though I paid for it 2-3 times, it never worked. I filmed the entire process on my phone, in case anyone really wanted to see it, but instead it just sits on my phone. So they bilked me for $4-5. Was I going to really complain about that? I wondered how many other people were taken for a couple of bucks while their internet service didn't work. Worth noting, there were a couple of levels of service you could pay for, and after the first one didn't work, I went up to the second, and paid that. I'd have to check my bill for the exact cost, but bottom line: it didn't work.

Win for United.

No TVs. No internet. Whatever. It's only 2014, on a brand new plane.

Okay, fast forward to last week.

I'm in Las Vegas to see BJ fight. It was his last fight; he asked me to go; was a last second thing, etc. etc. So instead of forking over the high price ticket to fly a short distance, I used miles. Was like 20,000 and $75. I wasn't happy doing it, but what the heck?

I decide on the Monday, the day I was leaving, that I'd catch an earlier flight than my 6:45p. I call the airline and ask about standby, and I'm told there are 3 other flights available, but that I probably won't make the first. The woman on the phone tells me, "I can't guarantee anything, but there are seats on the next flight. You can go online and look to give yourself the best idea." She also tells me, when asked 'what else do I need to know?', "All you have to do is show up at the airport 2 hours in advance and check in with the front desk."

Mind you, my flight is at 6:45. I get there before 1pm so I can get on the 4ish flight. I'm early. I check in, and they say, "Yeah, you can use the kiosk, and they'll ask you for $75, which won't be charged to you unless you make the flight."

"$75? Since when?"

"That's always been our policy."

"No it hasn't...I even spoke to someone. She didn't say a word."

"Sorry, that's our policy. You can still fly on your original flight for no fee."


I thought to myself, 'I could be at my hotel right now, enjoying my day, playing poker, or maybe sitting by the pool. But now I'm stuck here. I just took a $25 cab ride to get here, so to go back is another $25. And then another $25. Which is $50..." Needless to say, I wasn't happy. So I ponied up the $75 to fly standby on a flight that looked to have a lot of open seats when I checked back in the hotel room because what the hell I'm already here.

The good thing is, if I don't get on the standby flight I get the $75 back. Ahhh, but there's a catch to all of this. Anyone know what it is? Anyone? Anyone?

I not only didn't get on the flight, but I ALSO DIDN'T GET MY MONEY BACK! Yep, it's still on my credit card (I just called Chase, and they tell me to call United. I figured I'd just waste my own time first writing this blog post before I dealt with their b.s.)

Allow me to backup for a second. I ALMOST got on the flight though. According to the monitor overhead at Gate 52, I was second to board if there was an empty seat. I was right behind a person named V. SAH, or some shit like that.

I see another guy speaking to a woman at the desk, and he looks determined to board, so I hop to. I tell her, "the board says I'm second if there are seats."

"Yes, sir."

So, there are seats, and a person who's last name is something like "Sahvri" is standing by the doorway, as the flight has boarded. And another person says, "Ms. Sahvri, here's your ticket." So then I step up and say, "I guess I'm next?"

"No. This gentleman is actually before you." His name isn't "Sah" anything. It's like "Park." I thought to stare at his bag tag because that's who I am.

And I said, "But I'm second over Ms. Sahvahahahahahaha...whatever..."

"No, you're after this gentleman. He was before you."

"But he's not. Look up at the board!" They hand him a ticket.

I don't get on the plane. I wait more hours. Meal 2 at the inexpensive airport cafes. Riiiiight.

I check credit card statement today. I am still billed.

I used to not mind flying. I used to fly a lot. I now fly United. I now have their credit card. I could not dislike a business that I've used more than I do United Airlines.

Every. Trip. Worse. Than. The. Next.


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