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August 31, 2004


I have flown on so many airlines and United is the worst, hands down. For an even better measure on how bad U.S. airlines have sunk, pick an Asian airline, any Asian airline, and compare their superior service. So they make you pay for food on the plane now? They don't even make you do that in Africa.

You know what I'm going to say. Use your mileage to upgrade to first or business class and watch for cheap fares online.

even i travelled from new delhi to london via zurich by air swiss and the food was horrible.not vegetarian friendly ,but we do not have to pay for the food.even the bankrupt Low cost russian airlines are providing excellent asian vege food than british airways.

I just flew United for the first time last week, from Portland, Maine to Fresno, CA and (eventually) back. My 8:05 am flight out of Fresno to Denver on my return trip, after hourly delay announcements, was cancelled around lunch time. I finally left at 5 pm, where I was sent to LAX to wait for a 10 pm flight to Dulles/DC, waited another 2 hours for a flight to Maine (which got off the ground a half hour late), and finally got to Portland at 10:30 am, only 26.5 hours later. To addinsult to injury, all we were given on the LA to DC flight was a cup of soda and very small packet of pretzels. Thank you very little, Glenn Tilton CEO. That was also the last time I fly United. The sooner they fold and make more room for the smaller carriers the better. Any company that treats its customers like disposable commodities does not deserve to survive.

Below is a letter that I just sent to United. I am betting they send me a $50 coupon. I don't want it though!

We flew on United Flight from LA to Chicago before Christmas. I traveled with my husband (6-3"/200 lbs & two children (age 3.5 & age 2 (he had his own seat) & husband. I am only 5'7: & 128 lbs. Let me start with some background info. As you know the seats are VERY narrow front to back. When the person in front of you totally reclines their seat, there is not much room left to get things off the floor or move around at all. After the THREE people in front of us reclined their seats completely, I asked them to put their seats up a little since I could not reach the bags on the floor. When traveling with children, I was CONSANTLY in the bags for snacks or games etc. I did not want to disturb the people in front of us by bumping their seats. That is why I asked them to move their seats forward. They refused, so I & the children were bumping their seats (my two year old literally had 2 inches between his foot & the seat in front of him). We were seated in row 20 (I think a,b,c, & d...on the left side facing forward). When you try to get that tray table up, there is NO delicate way to do it. Try it & you will see.
Half way through the flight, my three year old had to go to the bathroom. I took her to the rear of the aircraft & noticed that there were three people waiting, so I took her to the front of the aircraft where we waited for the bathroom there (no one was waiting). When the bathroon opened up, my three year old let out a cry. The flight attendant (James Bracken) used a stern voice with her & said "Hey". This frightened her & she ran away. I was VERY upset that ANYONE would talk to my child in that manner. I told the flight attendant that my daughter is slightly autistic & that what may appear to be bad behavior was just an overwhelmed sensory system. To an Autistic child, anything new is quite scarey. You never know when they might find something frightening until you try it. Mr. Bracken would not listen. Later on in the flight, as he passed by, I wanted to get his name again so that I could write United & let them know that they have just lost MANY future travelers. At that point, James got very offensive because he knew what he did was wrong. My husband & I tried to explain to James that it was not bad behavior that brought on Katie to cry. James insisted that "we needed to control our child". It was ONE cry. I've seen children cry the ENTIRE flight without being yelled at! I am hoping that this is not how you treat children with special needs. Katie is a very well behaved child because of all of the hard work we have done with her. What Mr. Bracken did was set her back emotionally. I am sure that your other customers (even some well known movie stars who have Autistic children) would not have been treated like this. After we finished our conversation with James, the person in front of us complained to James that we were kicking their seat. As stated above, there was no avoiding it. James' response was "they think they are special people" (I even wrote that down on a piece of paper so I would remember the exact quote).
I am COMPLETELY appauled with the lack of respect from your flight attendant. We or any of our family memeber will NEVER go on your airline again unless we get an apology from one of your CEOs & some compensation. You can refund the money we spent on this flight. James scared my daughter & she would not even go to the bathroom even after getting off the airplane. You really have to be SO careful when dealing with Autistic children. I understand that he was not aware of it before the incident, but even after the incident, he insisted that we "control our child". IT was ONE CRY for heavens sake! Maybe educate your flight attendants.

Side note: After this incident, another one of your flight attendants (I did not get her name....long blonde hair) was VERY nice & apologized for the incident in an indirect way.

I expect to hear from you soon.

United is the worst: for safety not only service. on my last flight (and it will be my last!) with United (i.e. flight 11 from JFK to SFO on Christmas evening, 2004), the flight was delayed 1 .5 hrs. "because one of our flight attendants is running late." 2 flight attendants never showed up, so they flew a 757 with 4 flight attendants (1 for the 72 passengers in coach).

there was no water on board (neither potable nor for the toilets). the purser told me he objected to his supervisor on the ground, and was told "if you don't like it, get another job." the pilot--whom I talked with as we deplaned in San Francisco--said "it's had no water for 3 days...I know I should have refused to fly...I just don't care any more."

no water means: fires which cannot be put out with chemical extinguishers (many types) will not be controllable. injured/bleeding passengers cannot be treated. food handlers (i.e. flight attendants) cannot wash their hands. flying United is indeed a life-threatening (not just life-marring) experience.

the first class toilet did not work, forcing the pilots to use the business class bathroom (i.e. walking through an entire cabin), unncessarily exposing them to potential terrorist assault.

as a physician (with 29 years' major trauma and emergency room expedrience) and as a volunteer firefighter (and medical training director of my wine country department), I was so disgusted with United's indifference to the safety (and comfort) of all passengers and crew on flight 11 that I: 1) turned them in to a uniformed San Francisco police officer working at the airport that night and 2) made a formal report to a senior FAA inspector in SF, assigned to monitor United. he told me--"the system is a joke...your complaints were considered a major safety concern, but it will take us 2 weeks to get the flight crew's names from United, several weeks more to interview them and review all the mechanical records. when my report is done--which I can summarize to you on the phone, but am not allowed to give you a copy--our legal division will decide what to do" (e.g. formal hearing, fine, criminal charges, etc...). "they'll be getting back to you, if you so request, in a few years..."
when I asked the inspector--a career Air Force fighter pilot, with 27 years flight experience, who retired from the Air Force in 1997, which airline he would fly coast-to-coast if condemned to do so, he said: "none! I'm never flying again. I've been to every continent at least 5 times, and 147 countries, and when I retire--in a few years--I'm going up to the cabin I'm building in Siskiyou County to teach my nephews how to hunt!"

I'm moving on to Jet Blue (and will write United's CEO Glen Tilton a thank-you for prodding me to move on, and my best wishes for his future long stay in federal prison!), but think coast-to-coast trains (? the Starlight Express and the Canadian train through the Rockies) are probably the best way to go!

United is not getting any better.

On a recent flight from Dulles to Munich, were were shocked at how unfriendly the cabin crew was. They practically barked at people. We also were in the back of the bus, not realizing that United has two classes of economy. We won't make that mistake again! United has lost us as a customer.

On the return trip, our United 777 was cancelled because they could not fix the engine. After the announcement that the flight was cancelled (which was made 20 minutes after we watched them remove our luggage and the food carts) we stood in line for three hours without any additional information, food or water. Even then we were not settled until we went through customs to the departure center to get in a new line for a hotel. We were told the plane would fly at 10:30 AM the next day, but of course it didn't. We then stood in line for another hour and a half before being rerouted home.

There was no accommodation for senior citizens or families with small children. It was like they never experienced a cancellation before.

Now it is August 2006 and they STILL ARENT ANY BETTER! We purchased tickets from Cheap Tickets and my husband was to fly United Airlines to Portland ME from Sacramento, CA and return on Delta Airlines with me and my 2 children under 5 (OUCH!)1 week later. At check-in, I was told that United went ahead and took the liberty of CANCELLING my husbands Delta ticket and re-issuing a United ticket. We tried to get United to change it back, but they refused!!! Needless to say, I flew back across country with my 2 kids (Praise God they were angels) BY MYSELF! When we got home, United graciously had SNAIL MAILED us an itinerary so we could see after the fact how we got in this mess in the first place!! United will go down and they are the only ones to blame NOT 9/11!!!!!

I too will NEVER fly United again. On a return trip from Greenville, SC October 13th, 13 used to be my favorite number, I and a number of other passengers were bumped from our flight. We arrived in Dulles Airport, Washington DC with 56 minutes to get to the new gate, according to the itinerary I printed at 7:00 AM that day. Plenty of time with the shuttle, right? Well, we are sitting at the gate and there is no sign of an agent or many other people. We go to the gate next door and were informed the gate was changed. Well, when did that happen? We checked the flight status board upon arrival at Dulles at 11:45 AM it still said D16 for Hartford, CT. We RAN to the new gate, arriving just before flight time and were very rudely informed the plane was overbooked and full and we would have to take the next available flight at 4:45 PM. No amount of arguing had any affect. In customer service I was told I was on standby for the 4:45 flight and confirmed for a 9:50 PM flight and I was first in line. I asked him why the flight board was not updated and that it had to have changed when we were going from one gate to another. He said "Oh, they don't keep that very up to date". HOW THE HELL ARE WE SUPPOSED TO KNOW THAT? Isn't that the purpose for the board to assist passengers? 4:45 finally arrives, I immediately approach the agent at the gate as soon as he arrived, and advised him of my situation saying I was first on the list. He was also very rude and nastily stated it "didn't look good, the flight is overbooked". I waited to the very end. They got 4 people to give up their seats for free tickets and, GUESS WHAT? There were 5 of us on standby and I was not given a seat, hmmmmmm, 1st, 5th, which comes first? No-one even had the decency to tell me I could get a refund or some compensation. I don't want a free ticket but I sure do want an apology and compensation. I have been flying for more years than I care to say and I NEVER had a problem before so I had no idea what recourse I had. Although my husband was taking me out for my birthday that evening and seeing as I got home at 12:45 AM I couldn't go, I really felt bad for the couple who were supposed to be at a wedding at 3:00PM in Connecticut.

I will be sure to tell everyone I meet not to fly United.

At least you all had the luxury of flying United. I just lost over 99,000 frequent flyer miles. I purchased a news magazine with my miles to generate some activity before my miles expired. Unbeknown to me, something went wrong with my order and my miles were wiped out. Because of the imcompitence of their system I lost my miles. I really feel cheated!

Deanne, I feel your pain. My wife recently lost some miles also -- not nearly as many, but it was still irritating. She had booked a flight before year end, figuring that would keep her miles intact.

But United said that she had to actually fly the flight, not just pay for it. That seems crazy, because you can buy something to get miles (as you did) and my wife had paid for her ticket.

You feel cheated because you were cheated.

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