…well, besides me?
Despite doing many things wrong, and being rather customer ‘un-Friendly’, for a few reasons which I will discuss; they will remain my airline of choice, at least for another year or so.
I discussed my recent travel difficulties when my trips were affected by weather. This wasn’t United’s fault at all, but their customer service recovery is lacking is so many aspects. I was switched to flights on Delta, which was my only option to get me to my destination in upstate New York that day. United put me on a flight that had no space, with a very long layover. The Delta agent was not happy, but thankfully a red coat came to help, and even put me on earlier flights. These were delayed too, but waiting a few hours is better than the original rebooked flights.
I have no Delta status beyond a token status via Crossover Rewards thanks to my Starwood Platinum status. I got to board in Zone 1, which is the 3rd boarding group after first class and higher elites. Oddly, I was upgraded on the plane from LaGuardia. The last time I looked I was down the upgrade list, but it was a nice bonus for the short flight.
I’m trying to requalify for United 1K again, and due to slightly reduced work travel in 2013, I need a little help getting over the hump. I requested original routing credit for the flights I booked on United. I received a response within a day saying these miles would be posted in a few business days. Its been almost a week without any further contact. I’ll keep waiting. I was rather surprised to receive this email from Delta a few days ago:
I am pretty impressed to get an unprompted apology email. This flight was delayed about 3 1/2 hours from its scheduled time due to the snowy weather, but it was only about 40 minutes after the time we were provided once I was booked on it. Granted 1000 Skymiles are worth next to nothing, but I appreciate the gesture.
This paragraph is slick, but I’ve seen nothing like it recently from United. And more than just marketing speak like, “From takeoff to landing, putting you first”.
In light of the current state of the economy, and in today’s competitive airline industry, travelers expect the best value for their travel dollar. Delta strives to provide this value through a mix of safety, on-time performance, courteous and professional service, and a wide range of destination options. We want to make travel on us a convenient and trouble-free experience for our passengers and I am truly sorry we failed to do so on this occasion.
Maybe this is the norm for those Delta flyers who are affected by delays, but as a regular on United, it is not something that I’m used to. United current marketing campaigns talk all about how “Friendly” they are, but their actions seem to say the opposite. I’m still waiting for a my original routing credit to post, but these Delta miles posted already. Even pre-merger United struggled with the little things. That hasn’t changed.
So besides this recent snafu, and plenty of other issues I’ve had while flying and United’s ongoing devaluations, why am I sticking with them?
My Lifetime United balance is now over 900,000 miles. If things go as I expect, I’ll requalify for Million Miler in less than a year. That will (for now) ensure I have Premier Gold status for life.
Much of my travel is for work, and United remains my employer’s preferred carrier. I could go elsewhere, but it would likely bring more unwanted scrutiny, especially if the other tickets aren’t significantly cheaper. Plus, being based in Milwaukee, there is no one dominant carrier. O’Hare is either a short flight or relatively easy drive away.
While I usually enjoy my flights on Delta, and I think that their inflight product is the best option of the major US carriers. They have large First Class cabins, Wifi on a huge majority of their fleet, and they only fly 50 seat planes for flights under 750 miles. I wish that caught on at United! I’m somewhat nostalgic for the airline, since used to be a dedicated Northwest flyer, but despite all of these nice perks, the SkyMiles program is just awful. I still have too many Skymiles remaining in my account, and I desperately need to burn these. They announced a devaluation for early 2014, and apparently that wasn’t enough because another Skymiles devaluation was announced before the first could take effect. As always, miles should not be hoarded, they can and will devalue frequently.