An Update on the Update (My 5-Hour Delay on United)

I decided I wasn’t really satisfied with the compensation offer United had made me previously for my delay, so I decided to write them another note.

In case you don’t have the whole story, you can read about my compensation request here and the delay here.

This reply was much more timely than the last one, taking less than a week.  However, the reply itself wasn’t better.  The person I was speaking with empathized with me about the delay and said:

Please understand United carefully reviews our guidelines regarding goodwill
compensation annually to make sure that they are properly aligned to
several determining factors.  Our intentions are to find a mix of
meaningful options for our customers.
I understand that our goodwill offering cannot compensate you for the
undue anxiety which you experienced throughout this incident.
Nonetheless, this certificate is provided as a tangible expression of
our regret over what transpired when you traveled with us, and our
gratitude for your interest in United Airlines. I would be happy to
exchange the certificate for 12,500 goodwill miles if that would work
better for you. Please let me know.
This strikes me as a poorly written reply to a customer saying they’re not happy with the solution.  No doubt I would have been happier with more compensation, especially since I’ve received more for less disruption on United in the past.  However, this letter just strikes me as not really saying a whole lot of anything.  I definitely think there are better ways to tell a good customer to pound sand.
Oh, and the offer of 12,500 sucks rocks pretty much about the same as $250.
I’ve probably stopped wasting time dealing with this issue.  I’m over halfway to 1K this year and I suspect I’ll make it to 100K miles this year.  But, barring some drastic change in the landscape (read, US Airways takes over American Airlines and ruins them), I will look elsewhere for my Star Alliance Gold status in 2013.  I’m working on Aegean Air status, and if that falls through I’ll figure out what plan B is.  But, United’s not really doing a whole lot to earn my loyalty, and it doesn’t seem to be improving.

About the Author

My goal in life is to fill my family’s passports with stamps, creating buckets of memories along the way. You’ll find me writing about realistic ways for normal people to travel the world, whether you’re on a budget or enjoy luxury. I also enjoy taking us on the occasional detour to explore the inner workings of the travel industry.

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  1. We recently sat on a UA plane at a gate in LHR for about six hours awaiting a repair, and then the approval of the repair, before the pilots went “illegal.” We were supposed to ride a bus to a hotel and try again the next day but through a fluke we managed to rebook as far as IAD where we overnighted (UA at IAD did arrange room and meal vouchers) and finally arrived in SEA 24 hours late. For that we got $250 as well. It seems the new UA offers CO compensation but not the level of superior service past CO customers say they enjoyed over the years.

    1. Fredd,

      Sounds like you had a worse experience than me and got the same comp. Disappointing. Did each member of your party receive $250, or was that for the whole party?

  2. Mrs. Fredd and I, both 1Ks, each received $250. I can’t help but wonder if that even complies with EU regulations but I don’t care to pursue it.

    We have an even better story though. In January flying EWR-DEL ( one of the longer flights) in “Business First” her audio (and therefore her IFE) didn’t work. The purser suggested after trying to reboot it that she write for compensation. She did and eventually got a $50 cert, which she returned with a letter indicating what an insult that was. Eventually a phone call of apology followed and her cert was upped to $200 or something similar. It’s not that we complain or solicit compensation. If an airline, e.g. the new UA is so great that it doesn’t have to provide more than minimal compensation, that’s terrific. So far we haven’t experienced that with the new UA.

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