Wednesday, September 26, 2007

United: Struggling and failing

I flew back from London yesterday on United Airlines. I was excited to have them offer a cheap upgrade to me at check-in so that I was able to move into a business class seat. What a disappointment though!

No wonder they have so many empty seats in business and first that they can offer cheap upgrades -- on my plane, a 747, one of the lavatories in my section was out of order, the power outlet in my seat didn't work, the seat wouldn't stay upright (it kept tipping back), and my footrest wouldn't stay up at all!

Three things that the flight attendants (who are terrific) told me that makes me wonder whether or not I should continue flying on this airline at all:

1) When United flies a "codeshare" flight with its partners, like Lufthansa, as soon as the customers of that other airline find out they are on a United plane they immediately try to change flights and the ones who can't are very upset to be on a crappy plane

2) United doesn't do its own maintenance anymore and so the problems I experienced are "common" according to one flight attendant -- and they just don't get fixed when reported

3) According to one of the members of the flight crew, that old beat up broken down 747 is expected to continue to be one of United's primary workhorses on the London-SFO route for ANOTHER YEAR.

So I am shopping for a new airline. By the look of how empty its planes are, I'll be one of the last rats to abandon ship. Which brings me to another point. Doesn't United understand that by providing a terrible product they are destroying their brand and driving away their most loyal customers?

Hello United, anyone listening?

1 comment:

Dan Brekke said...

Some family friends just flew Delta from New York to London and back and gave the airline very high marks. I just completed a trip to Paris via Air France; it was pricey, but the service, food, overall ambience and condition of the aircraft were all excellent. Don't know what to say about United; they have the best schedule from Oakland to Chicago, so I've always used them; but at a certain point, enough's enough. r