I’ve always found United to be the airline that does the best job taking care of their top tier elites, often at the expense of other customers. I see this all the time, and as a top tier, it certainly makes flying United quite pleasant. While I’m not a Continental flyer, based on everything I’ve heard, they have long had the opposite approach, treating all passengers somewhat equally. Up until a couple of years ago they didn’t even prioritize the standby list by status. At Continental a Silver elite on a full fare ticket clears an upgrade ahead of a Platinum elite on a cheaper ticket. Anyway, they’re just two radically different approaches, not that one is wrong and the other is right — it all comes down to preference.
One of the areas that United has always gone above and beyond is when it comes to compensating passengers when problems do arise, perhaps too much so. Anyway, not too long ago they did decrease the value of “apology cards,” which are handed out when there are issued aboard.
What’s most interesting to me, though, is an email that a reader got from United’s 1K customer service. He emailed customer service to complain about an awful flight. He shared with me the problems, and this really did seem to be a bad experience. The response he received from customer service was less than satisfactory, not just in terms of compensation, but the fact that the agent did nothing to even address his concerns. Actually, the extent of the response was: “We appreciate your feedback regarding the positive and negative of our service.”
Unsatisfied with the response, he emailed customer service back. The response he received from United included this very interesting paragraph:
United is working to create a financially stable company by improving its airline and focusing on the future. We expect the full integration of United and Continental to take between 12 and 18 months. However, during that time, you will see changes, and we are committed to making the new United your carrier of choice. While some of these changes may not be as generous as you have become accustomed to, we hope that you will determine that you remain our priority as a 1K customer.
I’d say that’s pretty telling…
Ultimately he was issued an electronic certificate as a “one time exception.”