After reading the Consumerist post "United Sells Family's Tickets To Someone Else, Ruins Once-In-A-Lifetime Vacation, Then Won't Admit It To Insurance Company," I am only more firm in my conviction that the sooner United Airlines goes out of business, the better off American airline travelers will be. Check out what United Airlines did to one family who had booked a trip to Hawai'i to see their father, who was dying of cancer:
-- When the family was like, "Um, no, because one of our family members who booked under a different reservation just checked in," United claimed they had lost the $5000 reservation. (This after emailing the family the day before to tell them they could check in online.)
-- After getting called on their second lie, United then admitted they had overbooked the flight and sold the seats to someone else.
-- United then said they'd be happy to a) split up the traveling party, and b) deposit them on several different islands five days later (it was to have been a seven-day trip). By the way, one of the proposed splits included separating a developmentally delayed 9-year-old girl from her parents and refusing to let the three of them travel together on the child's first flight.
-- And then when the family finally cancelled the trip because everything -- housing reservations, visiting plans, all of it -- was hosed, United refused to write a letter to the travel insurance company explaining the circumstances for cancellation.
United's actions cost the family more than $10,000 in nonrefundable fees and reservations. And the father died before his children could see him and say goodbye.
I don't know what is more mind-boggling -- that United sold the seats out from under people who had booked them six months ago, or that their customer-facing employees persistently made the exact wrong choice every time they were faced with an opportunity to fix their company's mistake.
Think this sucks? Feel free to contact United's CEO:
United Airlines, 77 W Wacker Dr, Chicago, Il. 60601
or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The takeaway message, however, is that you can't trust United to honor the basic idea that you exchange money for goods and services. And every time I see the United commercials during the Olympics, I'll be thinking of that.