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Home again

and mostly recovered from my 36 hour trip. Here is the email I just sent to United Airlines, detailing some of the agony.

I have begun to go through my pictures and hope to post more in this blog, but for the most part I’ll be back at Studio Ruthe.

Dear United Airlines,

You have just gone from being my favorite airline to being the airline I hate the most, all in 36 hours. Part of the reason is that 36 hours later I am sitting in Dulles Airport still waiting for my flight to Pittsburgh. Let me tell you about this fiasco.

I went to China and Japan on one of your frequent flier tickets. I made my reservation well ahead of time, and after only three tries, we got it right. When I got to Japan I realized I had made a mistake and decided to change my return flight. I understood there would be a $100 (plus) charge. When I finally completed this transaction it cost me $150 (plus) for a total of $225. I think that transaction was highly profitable for you. That was OK. The problem was I was flying from Osaka (Kansai) to San Francisco to Washington (Dulles) to Pittsburgh. This did not make me happy, but I wanted to go home. I was also unhappy because I did not have a seat on any of those flights.

I got to Kansai early in hopes of getting a decent seat, but wound up against a bulkhead in a seat that wouldn’t go back more than 2 inches. Almost ten hours with the seat in front of me in my face did not make me happy. I was even more unhappy when my luggage didn’t show up. In fact I was looking for a non-existent United rep to make a lost luggage report when it finally appeared on an entirely different carousal. It took so long to get it I would not have made it to the next flight, but I didn’t have to worry: it was delayed an hour and a half. That connection did not allow enough time in between flights, not unless you figure out a method for prompt luggage delivery to connecting passengers instead of the current system of early in, last out.

I did not know, while I was on flight 886, that it was continuing on to Chicago. If the person who made the changes in my itinerary had given me the option of going to Chicago, even if it required an overnight stay, I would have been happy to do so. I had already figured the odds on my making it to Pittsburgh that night and was pretty sure it wasn’t going to happen. I am always happy to stay overnight in Chicago, but that offer was never put on the table.

At Kansai, when I was finally given seats on all three flights I was told only middle seats were available from San Francisco, but somehow, magically in San Francisco, I found I could change to an aisle seat. What kind of profit can you possibly make by playing games with seating?

Because you claim a weather problem delayed my flight from San Francisco, I had to pay for my hotel room. I think you should pay, because I never would have selected that itinerary if I had been given a choice.

All of that leaves you at the bottom of my list of airlines, right along with US Air. I thought frequent flier programs were supposed to generate good will for the airline. You have succeeded in alienating this customer to the point where I don’t care to be part of your program.

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