Seriously, This is Customer Care?

united-airlines-logoAs regular readers know I fly a lot, so airlines can be popular foils for this blog. However, this latest adventure stunned even me. The short version of what happened is:

  1. My flight to Denver was late, but arrived 10 minutes before my connection was to leave.
  2. I got off the plane and discovered the departure gate was literally across the way.
  3. I arrived at the gate 5 minutes before departure. No plane (it had left) no gate agent (he/she had left).
  4. There were four of us trying to make this connection and they knew it.
  5. While I did not actually expect to make the flight, I did expect to find a gate agent to recommend options.

I went to the United Airlines Club and got squared away. I then decided to send an email to United Airlines customer service. I did not expect anything except their standard apology and an offer of free miles as a “make good.” My goal was to get free miles in exchange for an email, I expected nothing more based on prior experiences.

Was I surprised.

As expected, I got the standard excuse that flights may close up to five minutes before scheduled departure and that as a make good they would offer me some miles. I emailed back reminding the Customer Care person (their title, not mine) that my concern was not that the flight had left, but rather that the gate agent had left the gate area prior to the scheduled departure KNOWING that four people would mis-connect from his/her early departing flight.

I got the following response:

Our role in Customer Care is to document our customers concerns and forward them to the appropriate areas for review and attention.  Our internal actions and handling of any situation are proprietary; therefore, we cannot provide follow-up information.  Please know that your concerns were taken very seriously. I am confident appropriate actions were taken.”

Based on 30 years of flying history, what I am sure of is that no action was taken. But then if the entire industry works to keep the bar low, nobody needs work hard.


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