In which I beam proudly about how I was able to encourage airlines to compensate me for their many fuck-ups.
United: $250 travel credit issued; $742.33 refunded. (Plus $20.99 refunded for garbage Wi-Fi.)
During the delayed AA flight, which I mentioned in my previous post, in mid-air, I tweeted United customer service to let them know my flight to Santa Barbara was at risk because of the AA flight. (Did you know you could do this? I didn’t, but my friend Nancy suggested it. Cool stuff.) I don’t know if letting them know helped, but one day I checked my credit card statement and discovered that United automatically refunded my entire Santa Barbara airfare ($172.20), which more than covered my Lyft to Santa Barbara I was forced to take instead. Woo hoo!
Next, on March 30, I found myself on the United flight from hell. 2 hours delayed after boarding, for mechanical reasons; but then, then, 1.5 hours to get to a gate after landing. I was on the plane for 10 hours; if I hadn’t been in business, someone, perhaps me, would have ended up with a plastic fork in their neck. Even the pilot called it “completely unacceptable,” over the PA. No one was there to assist upon landing. I missed my Santa Barbara connection, even though I had over 3 hours to catch it. I was not a happy flyer.
While I didn’t feel their response addressed the horrendousness of the situation, they did give me a $150 travel certificate, so, hey. I also requested that my Santa Barbara leg of my itinerary be refunded, which they did, shockingly, at an amount that nearly met the total of the whole itinerary when combined with the certificate. So, United came through after fucking up by essentially refunding my business class flight.
When I finished all my travel with United, I sent them a nice letter complimenting those agents and flight attendants who went above and beyond to help me. I also sent them a letter describing how the customer service desk at San Francisco airport was staffed exclusively by seemingly indifferent, unhelpful people, who refused to help me make a flight change. I sent another letter detailing the timetables of my seven flights with them, pointing out how only two were on time; I received a very nice, concerned response about both issues, and a $100 travel certificate for my trouble. $100 is better than no dollars, every time.
Finally, I sent a refund request, for the $75 change fee we were each charged for our final flight. I didn’t think I had a leg to stand on here, but the fact was that we came in three hours later than we were supposed to, rather than two hours earlier which was the point of the change; and the change itself took a full hour on the phone because the ticket I was changing hadn’t been issued correctly by the agent in the first place. I politely plead my case, and this morning I found myself refunded.
I asked, I got!