How United Airlines makes flying a miserable experience

United Airlines works extra hard to make flying a miserable experience. That’s why I stopped flying them about ten years ago. To use up some previously acquired miles I recently used United to fly my family to Europe. Every step of the way United and their employees did everything possible to make our experience a negative one.

How United made our recent International flights a miserable experience:

Everything listed below happened on a recent flight from Los Angeles to Europe and back.

Notice there are no restrooms in the rear of this United 767.

  1. Oversell the flight and then offer passengers $300 (on a $1750 ticket) to take a later flight. Make sure there are no flights until the next day.
  2. Change planes so that some passengers who upgraded to Economy Plus no longer have seats. Try to sell an upgraded seat to the same person who already paid for an upgrade and then tell them no upgrades are available.
  3. Make sure there’s only one gate agent available when there are 20-30 people in line with seat problems.
  4. Do not help the passenger you screwed over and fail to refund the $340 they paid for their seat upgrades. We were told they couldn’t do this at the airport and we needed to fill out a form on their website.
  5. Remove all of the rear restrooms so you can sell more seats. This isn’t the case on all United flights, but we encountered this on our 767 flight from Paris to Houston. I checked SeatGuru and found the seat configuration for our plane. Apparently United got those planes from Continental. They might be O.K. for short flights, but should NEVER be used on a sold-out 11 hour international flight.
  6. Remove any standing area around the restrooms in the center of the plane so people have to either block the aisle or stand in the bulkhead aisle seating area.
  7. Make sure all of your flight attendants working in coach are old and grumpy.
  8. Allow the coach seats to recline so far that passengers can hardly view a movie when the asshole in the front of you reclines.
  9. Have people at the gate who have no idea how to board an airplane.
  10. Board passengers from the front of the plane to the rear to ensure a massive traffic jam in the aisle.
  11. Make sure families are not allowed to sit together. We were scattered all over the plane. Two of our three passengers were forced to sit in middle seats, even though we paid extra for aisle seats.
  12. Turn up the pre-flight announcements so loud that deaf passengers can hear them.
  13. Pride yourself in creating the worst meals in the air. Our meal on this flight was unbelievably bad.
  14. Move the headphone jack to the headrest in front of you so the cable dangles in your food (This is a Boeing 767 flaw)
  15. Use a touchscreen to save money so passengers have to bang the headrest to change channels (Other airlines including British Air and Virgin allow you to change channels from the armrest. (Another Boeing 767 flaw)
  16. Do not serve free alcoholic beverages with meals on International flights (British Air and Virgin continue to do this along with most other airlines).
  17. Don’t offer Wi-Fi on 10-12 hour flights (in regions where it is available)

United was bad before they merged with Continental, but they seem even worse now. I will never fly them again and I recommend that you think twice before doing so.

Note: A week before publishing this article United was contacted and given a chance to try to address some of these issues, so far, no response.

– Rick

Copyright 2012 Rick Schwartz. All rights reserved. Linking to this article is encouraged.

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