Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Big Bad united Air Lines

Shame on you for taking advantage of frail, elderly people having undergone surgery.
What United Airlines has done amounts to extortion, breach of contract and abuse of the elderly!

I created this blog to broadcast to the world, the unethical and evil doings of United Air Lines (UAL) that my parents have had the misfortune of having to experience.

Their story began as any other normal international travel plan that they had undergone for the past 14+ years... purchase the tickets in Colombo, Sri Lanka through a travel agent that they had become very well acquainted with, just based on their 14+ years of annual visits to the USA to see their children. Usually they have been flying Singapore Airlines or Malaysian Air Lines, but this time, they had selected UAL as the primary carier and Sri Lankan Airlines (SLAL) as UAL's code share partner (part of Star Alliance) to fly them from Sri Lanka to the USA.

Upon arrival and having spent some time in Omaha, Nebraska, where they usually reside with relatives , my father had to undergo surgery for the removal of kidney stones. As advised by the doctors, they were forced to delay their travel plans back to Sri Lanka on medical grounds. Having failed to resolve the matter of re-scheduling the flights back to Sri Lanka, my father had asked me to contact UAL and resolve the matter.

I tried to contact UAL and tried to change the flight plans, but quickly got frustrated with the automated system that seems to discourage talking with a human being, and the one I finally managed to get hold of was very rude and the call got "cut off" before she could do anything for me. I'm not the one to give up so easily, so I found a service address for UAL and wrote them a letter, asking that the tickets be extended on medical grounds. About a week later, I received a letter from UAL stating theat they cannot do anything about it, but if I go to the UAL counter at any airport, they will be able to help me. At the time, I was in San Diego, so I went to the San Diego International airport and a very helpful gentleman made arraigements to have the flight schedule changed, without charge on medical grounds. He also changed the flight plans for SLAL as they are part of the Star Alliance and code share partner for UAL. I was amazed at how nice and considerate and helpful this gentleman was and filled out a customer survery form, stating how proud UAL should be to have employees such as him. I had forgiven UAL for the rudeness of the previous employee I had the misfortune of speaking on the phone and I was extremely pleased with UAL; however this satisfaction was short lived, at about 2 months.

My father, being very cautious of everthing, contacted UAL few weeks prior to departure to ensure that the travel plans are as they should be. There seemed to be some confusion on the UAL's scheduling system as there were 2 dates for departure. My father and an uncle promptly visited the airport in Omaha, Nebraska and finally had the issue resolved, having spent about an hour and a half working with a UAL representative. Everthing was now clear for take off, or so it seemed.

The first day of travel was uneventful; they boarded the UAL flight at Omaha and landed safely at the Los Angeles International airport, and spent 2 days with an uncle. Next leg of the flight was from Los Angeles to Singapore. My uncle had dropped them off at the airport early at 7am and headed off to his work. After the checkin counters had opened, my parents had gone to check in their baggage and collect the boarding passes. This is where the real story begins.


uj6202 said...

If UAL did not use reservation agents from India, maybe a native English speaking agent would have/ could have used experience and common sense and avoided this problem.

craig said...

I hope your issue gets resolved with UAL. Best Luck!!

Now, in reply to the baseless comment posted by "uj6202", the error in ticketing is done by a gentleman at the UAL counter at San Diego airport not by any ticketing agent from India.
BTW, I have seen more errors done by a "native" English speaking person (as you can see in this case) than a person who has English as his/her 2nd or 3rd language.

Mahesh said...

craig, in defense of the very nice gentleman at the UAL counter, he was on the phone talking to some one higher up to get the tickets changed. He was very courteous and helpful and I even filled out a customer survey form telling UAL how proud they should be to have emploees like him.

clarksburg said...

Elder Abuse is difficult to spot, however when it is found it should be heavily punished!! Families put faith in people to look after the older relatives and people tackle advantage of the persons frail nature and trust put in them by the family! if someone is found guilty of elder abusethey should punishable in the same fashion a doctor is for medical negligence, however it should be remembered that elderly abuse is intentional and maliciously carried out!