Here is my initial email I sent to the United Airlines CEO. It has yet to get a response.
United MileagePlus Number: DWA35687
United Confirmation Number A694RP
Dear United Airlines,
I have gold status with United and it didn’t help me when I really needed them to pull through for me. If I don’t stop my pace of travel and don’t switch airlines, I will easily have platinum status with United by the end of the year.
On Sunday (10/2), I left my house in the afternoon I left my house to fly to San Diego. After we boarded, we had to get off the plane because of mechanical issues. This did not rattle me too much.
United Airlines offered to change my flight to route through San Francisco. I agreed and flew to San Francisco without issue.
When I arrived in San Francisco, my flight to San Diego was delayed because we had no crew. Finally, we ended up with a pilot and flew to San Diego. We arrived about 1:30am. I awaited my luggage at the carousel. Up until this point, I chalked the delays off to normal things that happen when you travel a lot.
After figuring out my luggage was indeed gone, I went to the baggage claim office. I explained what had happened thus far. The lady checked in their computer system and found my bag was in LA. She told me I could drive to LA and get it. I shook my head. I asked her what my other options were. She said that she did not know when my bag would be in San Diego. She said they could send it to my hotel when it arrived. I told her I was only in town for one day, if the bag wasn’t here by the end of day, I would be in Denver. She said that was not her problem and asked in an angry tone, “Sir you have to tell me what to do with the bag”. At that point I was tempted to tell her what to “do with the bag”. I did not. I asked her if I could call back later in the day and check the status of my bag. She told me I could do whatever I wanted. Then she turned away from the baggage desk and walked towards the back room. It has been a long time since somebody I was talking to has turned their back on me.
Later in the morning after having three hours of sleep, I went to my meeting in Del Mar. I was wearing informal clothes from the day before. My boss asked me what happened. He laughed and told me I had to tell the story in front of the team. We kicked off our meeting with my United Airlines story so far. Everyone laughed and they asked me why I fly United. All I could say was “Today, I dunno…”
My meeting started and then my cell phone rang. It was United. My bag was in San Diego. I was pretty happy it was in town and asked for it to be sent to my hotel. The United employee told me they could not send it to me. I had to come to the airport and get it. We argued about customer service for a while. My point was it was mediocre customer service to send the bag to my hotel and they couldn’t even do that? The employee’s point was that getting the bag at the airport was my only option. I asked what would happen if I didn’t come and get the bag. I was told it would be sent to the warehouse. I did not commit to coming to get the bag. I told them I didn’t think I could leave my meeting and come and get the bag. “The reason I flew on your airlines was to be in this meeting”.
I went back to my meeting and United called me again. I stepped out of my meeting and to the call. After verify who I was on the phone, there was a pause. The United employee told me, “Mr. Williams, I am not to engage you.” I ask what that meant, she said that her lead told her not to talk to me. I asked her, “Do you know how stupid it is to call someone to tell them that you can’t talk to them? Is there anyone in the entire company that I can talk to or can help me?” I was assured there wasn’t. She terminated the call.
I then called the United MileagePlus 800 number. I retold the person the story so far. The agent asked if I told them I had gold status. I confirmed that I had repeatedly. He said they must not have understood that I had status. He said that my status gets preferential treatment and that he would call them and get this straightened out. I told him even if I didn’t have status, I should not be treated like this. He put me on hold. He came back on the line in a few minutes and told me I had to go get the bag, there was nothing he could do. He told me I had acted “aggressive”. I asked him if he could explain what I did that was aggressive. He could not. I asked him if he could describe my offending behavior. He could not. I asked him if security had been called when I was aggressive. He said they hadn’t. He said I had to go to the airport and get my bag.
So my boss had heard some of my conversations with United and I had been updating the people in my meeting as these events unfolded. My boss finally told me, “Just drive to San Diego and get you suitcase”
I drove in and was nice as could be at the baggage desk. The lady went and got my bag and I drove back to my meeting. Good thing it was an all-day meeting!
So I ask you… If you were me would you ever fly United Airlines again?