I’ll start with the letter I sent to United Airlines customer relations after my airport encounter in Chicago Saturday morning:
“I’m retired and volunteer every time I fly. It works for you and it works for me. Last week a gate agent refused to put me on the volunteer list as a 1K as she had solicited volunteers, yet not worked the list. Today when flying ORD to LGA I was told the exact opposite, that status does effect your placement on the volunteer list. We have to get our story straight or I’ll quit running to the gates to volunteer when delayed on a previous segment.
My name was on the volunteer list from the initial airport TVC for all segments. We were delayed into Chicago because you made the operational choice to hold a flight for late passengers at the original departing airport. These were not misconnects, but people just late getting to the airport. Then the airport was closed down by the TSA for a security issue. If you had left on time, and closed the door 10 minutes before departure (as you advertise), there would have been no mad dash to the ORD to LGA gate to help you out. I would really appreciate a written, clear policy on how you handle the order of volunteers chosen. Is it by status? The time you first volunteer? (I try to volunteer for all segments at my first airport, again, as I am retired.) Is it solely at the discretion of the gate agent? I’ll continue to offer up my seat for your benefit and mine, but would really appreciate some clear direction.
So I got two different stories from two different agents. Status means nothing and status is the key issue. When I got to the Chicago gate Saturday, the free ticket vouchers were already printed for the first three volunteers. I saw them sitting on the desk. I inquired and was told status counts and they must all be Global Services members. I said I’ll wait to talk to the accepted volunteers to confirm that one. Well that didn’t sit very well, as the odds of those three being global services was slim to none. And they had accepted free tickets instead of cash vouchers (another dead giveaway). The gate agent put my on the list again, although I was first on the list from volunteering in Traverse City, and said she may still need my seat. She conferred with a supervisor who came over and tried to straighten things out. I told him about last week’s contrary info and the fact I was waiting to check the status of the volunteers they took in front of me.
They did end up needing me and I got my $400 voucher, but why can’t they just tell you: “OOPS I Screwed Up!” Katybug has drilled that sentence into my vocabulary and it sure make things easier when you are incorrect, just own up to it.
So we will see if I get a clear answer to the questions I sent to UA customer relations. Meanwhile it is 10 AM in Chicago Saturday and I’m #1 on the volunteer list for the 11 AM flight.
Update; The saga continued with no additional bumps that day.
I Met Jason at LGA
Even with my two hour bump delay (which we both agreed to), I got to spend about 15 minutes with a real New Yorker and blog reader before his departing flight. Jason’s advice on getting around New York was very helpful and we found many things in common regarding the frequent flyer mile addiction. We also found some differences in using our miles. I like to burn them and Jason likes to hold them. I can see saving for a vacation or two in advance, but holding too many miles risks another round of devaluations. I actually know a guy with 1.4 million Delta miles and another guy with 10 million AA miles in his account. That is a major hit in either case if a devaluation happens.
But to each his own. It was great getting to spend a few minutes with Jason and hopefully next time we can sit down and swap war stories for a considerable length of time. I’m going to the Yankee game with an old timer on Flyertalk, dream7. We met about 5 years ago and it will be nice to catch up with a frequent trading partner.