Sunday, June 6, 2010

Last update

For closure to all those who supported me this issue, nothing further came out of UAL. They never contacted me again as they promised they would. Eventhough I wanted to pursue legal aveneues against UAL, my parents did not want to pursue the matter any futher. I had become too engrossed and obsessed with it and it was affecting my personal life, and needed to get away from it all. So, I am sorry for being away for so long without any updates. I want to thank every one who supported me in any way in my fight against the unethical and irresponsible policies of UAL. I tried, and failed, but if enough of us try to fight these injustices, these mega corporations might someday learn to be just a little bit gentler and kinder to the concerns of their customers.

Sunday, February 4, 2007

Updates from last week

I spoke with the UAL lady last week to find out how the tickets became invalid. The tickets had become invalid because they have been extended by a month beyond the 3 month grace period. When I requested the tickets to be changed in San Diego, I wasn't told that the tickets would become expired by doing so. Neither has it been mentioned to my parents, and they were allowed to board the flight from Omaha without any mention of it. UAL says its too late to check and its all speculation. However, this speculation has remnants and side effects that are very real and has cost us lots of money, time and unnecessary frustrations.

I told UAL that I am tired of all this and I would like to settle this matter, but that I would like to know how much will be refunded for the unused portion of the tickets by sharing the information with the other UAL department that can determine how much can be refunded. She said that she would try her best, and I believe her. I don't think this is an unreasonable request and that UAL should be able to provide me with that information. So, hopefully I would hear from UAL next week or so about this. Whatever little refund I can get from them will be given to the charity I mentioned in a previous blog.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Much Nothing About Ado

I managed to get hold of the UAL rep today and this is what has happened. UAL is willing to refund the unused portion of the prorated amount for Singapore to Sri Lanka. But, to get that I have to send them my unused tickets. So, I wanted to find out how much that amount will be and she told me that she doesn't know that, and that she will forward it to the right people and that they will determine the amount that can be refunded.

She said that ultimately the tickets are expired, and there is nothing that can be done. That the tickets have been extended beyond the maximum 3 month period by a month. I told her that the issue was that they could have told us about those problems in multiple places, in San Diego, Omaha, and finally when my parents were to board at the airport in Omaha. Instead, UAL told me they changed the tickets, assured that the flights are confirmed all the way to Sri Lanka, told the same to my father in Omaha, and even allowed them to fly from Omaha to Los Angeles without any problems! Then she asked me what difference it would have made, that it would only have been more expensive if they caught the error in Omaha. I told her that if we had known about this then, we could have purchased round trip tickets for what UAL and Sri Lankan Airlines charged us for this one way trip. She said that the regular price they charge for a ticket from Omaha to Singapore is $962.60 and that by charging my parents only $500 per person service fee, they have actually saved us some $462 per person!

She asked me if I had contacted Sri Lankan Airlines, and I said I had not and that I will have to do that if UAL wouldn't work on my my behalf since UAL is the primary carrier. She said that when you purchase a ticket from an agent they issue other tickets under their tickets and UAL cannot be responsible about the other carrier. OK, fair enough. But the whole reason why my parents were forced to purchase new tickets was because of the errors UAL made in the first place.

The question that has remained unanswered to this day is "Why do my parents have to pay for UAL's mistakes?" It is human to make mistakes; we all do. However, UAL has yet to accept responsibility for the mistakes they have made. They have admitted problems with their computer systems, and have tried to put the blame on us by claiming that the ticket itself has been extended beyond the maximum allowed (again their error), and that what I thought I was issued in San Diego were not tickets, but itineraries with dates, gate numbers and flight numbers. Maybe so. I am not an expert in airline tickets, but when I request the tickets to be changed, I expect them to change the tickets, or to hear from them that it cannot be done. I would not expect them to give me itineraries with dates, gate numbers and flight numbers and tell me that the flights are confirmed all the way!

May be I have been too impatient to expect a solution this fast. After all, Untied has been collecting complaints since October 1998 and have compiled over 9500 complaints to date. Now, that is perseverance!

Since the beginning of this saga, I have always shown our good faith to UAL, gave them the benefit of the doubt and have given them ample opportunity to correct the wrong, only to have them come up with one excuse after another about their mistakes. As the latest gesture of our good faith, my parents will be flying UAL once again for their next trip back to the USA, scheduled for mid february. I have even given UAL a way out without loosing face. This is really a sad state of affairs. So I have come full circle, back to square one again.

The short version of this story can be read here and the complete story here

Don't forget to check out The Consumerist, a wonderful site for giving a voice to the consumer.

If anyone from Google or Blogger is reading this, can you please leave a comment about how to enable the Blog Archive tree to be expanded for all nodes? I would like to have the older archives visible, instead of having to click each node to expand. Thank you for the wonderful work you guys have done in making a great blogger. I haven't upgraded to the newest version because I didn't want to loose anything accidentally.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Weather forecast: partly cloudy with sunny skies expected.

I am sorry that I could not write for a short while. I have been busy catching up with the parts of life that I have neglected due to this.

UAL has called me last week for more questions and again late last friday evening and left a message that they are ready to make some amends. I am scheduled to be having a very busy day today, so I left a message for UAL to contact me on tuesday.

On a different front, I received this heart breaking e-mail about an innocent young boy who is fighting for his life. If UAL is willing, here is a wonderful opportunity for UAL to participate in something very special. I am even willing to give up what I was expecting of UAL if they choose to donate our money for this good cause. Yes, thats right, all $2860 of it. Here is the e-mail I received, and you can read his blog here.

From: "manjulawick"
Subject: Fw: Appreciate your help in saving a young life
Date:Mon, 22 Jan 2007 02:45:07 -0800
Dear Friends,

Piyumal Abeysinha Gunawardane, a 3rd year student at the University of Moratuwa, is suffering from a cancer in his tongue and throat area.
At the moment he is in a critical situation at the Gleneagles Hospital, Singapore and needs emergency surgery. Now he is undergoing chemotherapy prior to the surgery. Doctors have estimated a total cost of 6-6.5 million SL Rupees (US $ 60185 @ 108 SL Rs./US$). (Breakdown: for chemotherapy (2 million) and the surgery (4-4.5 million)).
Piyumal’s parents cannot afford this vast amount of money, his father being a retired stationmaster and mother being a teacher. All his four siblings are still studying.
Today (Jan. 21, 2007) we talked to Piyumal’s sister in Sri Lanka and she informed us that chemotherapy treatment is underway and surgery is yet to be performed for which they need the money most.
If you wish to donate through us, please respond to this email. We will send your contributions to Piyumal’s family;
Or else you can send your donations directly to the following account: 
Account No.: 1661497– Bank of Ceylon Bazaar Branch, Matara (current account)
Name: M.A. Gunawardane / S.Gunawardane (Joint Account)
Thanking you,
Yours sincerely,

Sunday, January 14, 2007

I had a draft here for Much Nothing About Ado, and when I published it was makred as posted on sunday instead of today, so I had to move it up by emptying this out and creating a new one.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Anonymous posts enabled.

I have now enabled anonymous posts. I was so busy with everything that I didn't have the time to explore how to turn on anonymous postings. The blog was set to use the PST, which I switched to the EST today.

I faxed the original tickets and the ones issued in San Diego to the UAL representative today after lunch.

I was reading the consumerist and ran across this article American Airlines Loves You Now, isnt this the what good customer service is all about?

Thank you everyone for all the help and support you have given me, not just on this blog, but everywhere. This is so draining, but all the kindness and the supportive comments and help I have had from people I have never met, makes it all worth while. I'll Keep on truckin, thanks to you.

Tuesday, January 9, 2007

Empire Strikes Back or The Groundhog Day?

So far, this is starting to look just like The Groundhog Day. A UAL representative had left a voice mail yesterday around 5:45 pm EST asking me to contact her today between 8:30 and 5.00 PM. I left her a message last night that I will contact her in the morning. Today I tried to call her around 9:40 EST, then again at 10:00 am EST, and left a message asking her to call back at her convinience as I couldnt get hold of her. She called me back around noon, and said that they have started an investigation into the matter and that she needs to ask me some questions. She asked me if I had the new tickets and I told her that she can get it from my blog and that I didnt have anything with me at the moment. She asked for the url and I gave her the url and appologized for the name I had chosen; told her that it was out of my frustration at the time. She wants me to fax her those tickets, because she was having trouble locating it on the blog. I told her that I will have them faxed over to her tomorrow as it takes me about an hour to get home and back. I will fax those to her tomorrow. She seemed a bit confused at first as to how I had the new tickets, and I felt confused as to her line of questioning. I told her that they were the unused new tickets issued from San Diego and Omaha, and that my father had mailed them to me after they went to Sri Lanka since UAL didnt honor those tickets.

After more questioning, she asked me if I had paid a fee for changing the tickets, and I told her that I had not, and that I would have gladly paid a fee if they had requested. Then she mentioned to me that the tickets my parents had purchased could only be changed on medical grounds for 3 months and that my parents tickets were extended one month beyond that.

No one had mentioned anything about this either to me at the San Diego Airport or to my father at the Omaha Airport at any time. This had not been mentioned in the 2 letters I received from UAL either.

This left me pondering these questions for myself; Why then did UAL issue new tickets in San Diego and later corrected the issue with the 2 reservations in Omaha, instead of telling us that it would not be possible due to the reason that was given today? Should'nt UAL have told us about these at that time? Would not my parents be in a better situation if UAL had told us that information before they started the journey, instead of telling us that the tickets have not been approved, authorized and authenticated partway during the journey? Why was UAL was telling them that their tickets were confirmed all the way to Colombo, Sri Lanka, giving us a false sense of security, only to become victims at the most unexpected way? If UAL had declined to issue those tickets when the request was made, we could have easily bought 2 round trip tickets for the price they had to pay for that one way ticket from LAX to Sri Lanka.

Whichever way you look at it, promises were made, tickets were issued, fixes were made, confirmed, reconfirmed, only to catch them with an unpleasent surprise partway during the journey, at the most unexpected point.