Flying United – The Unfriendly Skies

I lived in California for 13 years and decided to be loyal to United Airlines and use their frequent flier program. Actually being able to redeem all of those frequent flier miles has always been a chore, and over the years United has gradually removed about 99% of all Super Saver flights which require only 25,000 miles, instead you have to now spend 50,000 miles to get a seat in Economy.

Today I spent over 60 minutes trying to book an award flight on their web site and had the following problems:

  1. I logged in last night and started to book the award flight, but then needed to wait until I could confirm the actual dates. When I returned to my web browser this morning I was still logged in, however their web site produced errors and could not complete.
  2. The web site gave an 800 number to call and straighten things out, however the 800 number sent my phone a text which then wanted to charge me to get support.
  3. I looked at my United Visa Card and phoned the number on the back. When they answered the phone quality was the most distorted VoIP phone call ever, I was unable to make any sense.
  4. Went back online, logged out, logged back in, tried again. Got to the final Confirm and noticed that I had selected the wrong return date, but there was no back button.
  5. Went back to the start and used the correct return date, during seat selection there were no seats to choose from, not a good feeling about that flight.


Here are some hints for United Airlines to improve their customer experience:

  • Do some QA on your web site, it isn’t working.
  • An 800 number should be free, not a per minute 900 scam.
  • Replace your phone system so that customers can hear and be heard.
  • Add a Back button to your award saver web pages.

There, I feel better now.

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