An interesting thing happened on my recent 5-hour United Airlines flight. No, the internet didn’t work flawlessly, though that is the subject matter. I did what I normally do when I board an early morning flight. I took a quick nap and then pulled my laptop out to start working.
What happened next has happened dozens of times just in 2019, let alone years past. The internet wasn’t functioning. Now, I said this was an interesting story. Since I’ve talked about how poorly the Wi-Fi works each month this year (in January, February, March, April, May, June, July and August) that’s nothing new.
I asked the flight attendant if the Wi-Fi wasn’t functioning. She said they were having some problems. She then asked the guy sitting in 1B if he was able to get connected. I couldn’t hear the answer, but it was clear it wasn’t a pleasant one.
The flight attendant came back a while later to tell me they would be refunding everyone their money for Wi-Fi purchases today. I asked her about those of us with subscriptions like me. She replied that she had no idea.
A few minutes later, I felt a tap on my shoulder. It was a man sitting in 3D. He asked me if I was able to connect to the internet. I told him I wasn’t, and what the flight attendant shared with me. We shared our frustration about our lack of productivity. He finished the conversation with “It shouldn’t be this hard.”
He’s right, but he’s far from the only one who thinks this way, at least on this flight. The gentleman in 2A overheard our conversation and noted that he doesn’t even bother buying Wi-Fi on United flights anymore. I guess you could argue that helps solve United’s problem of dealing with complaints.
Without soliciting any feedback from a single passenger, I watched 3 passengers complain in a matter of minutes. Add me to the mix, and that’s 20% of the first class cabin on this flight. I’m pretty sure 1C was annoyed as well, but didn’t join in our discussion. I have to imagine that those upset passengers represent a pretty solid amount of revenue United hopes to retain.
The Final Two Pennies
It’s time to listen to your customers, United Airlines. I’m not the only one chirping about this consistent issue. It takes time to upgrade poorly functioning equipment. But, it’s been years. I appreciate that you improved our upgrades. The small gesture didn’t go unnoticed. However, it can’t make up for the lack of productivity. After all, I’m a business traveler. I expect to be able to conduct business when I travel. Apparently, so do my fellow passengers.
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