I suppose this makes sense, but just found out that United gives passengers without status less compensation than for those that do. I’ll just show you the email:
Dear Mr. Beere,
Thank you for contacting Customer Care again.
Please accept my apologies for the oversight in my response as it should have communicated that our compensations are based on Mileage Plus status therefore depending on status compensation will differ. (emphasis mine)
Additionally, we regert to hear that you are still dissatisfied however we do not compensate for non-controllable cancellation or delays. (Note: my delay was mechanical. Non-controllable?) If however you did receive compensation (as you stated) then we cannot accommodate any adjustments as compensations are based on as stated above.
We ask for you understanding as we must maintain rules out of fairness to all our passengers.
Just for posterity, I’m printing a customer service exchange I had with United Airlines last month. Terrible experience.
Message: I’d like to inquire about flight 580 that was cancelled on June 23rd, 2013.
The flight was delayed over 6 hours due to mechanical difficulties, and ultimately cancelled. We boarded and de-boarded the plane twice, spending approximately 4 hours in our seats on the tarmarc. During this time, I was never offered so much as a cup of water.
On my way back into Manhattan, now over 9 hours past the scheduled departure time, I called to make sure I was booked on a morning flight. When I asked the ticket agent if there were any upgrades available or any other compensation for United’s inability to provide an operational plane, she said that there was not, and that they’d “already waived the change fee” for putting me on a new flight in the morning.
Obviously the notion that I would actually have to pay MORE money in light of an already terrible inconvenience is patently outrageous.
Fast forward to this morning. I boarded my new flight for 7am and sat next to another traveler who’d been on scheduled on the same cancelled flight I had been on (580). He told me he was a premier platimum member and had received a $250 voucher PLUS 9000 Mileage Plus miles for his compensation from cancelled flight 580.
Soon after that conversation, I received the email of “Customer Appreciation”, but found the compensation offered to be EITHER 7000 miles or a $150 voucher. Truly all due respect, but that’s unacceptable.
I’m writing to ask you to provide the same compensation to me as you provide to other United travelers. I spent over $100 in cab fare alone yesterday, and will upload the receipts as soon as I can get them scanned.
Look, commercial aviation is complicated and sometimes the airline must err toward the safety of the passengers. But yesterday’s 9 hour delay and ulitmate cancellation was especially egregious, and not only that I felt like nearly every United person I talked to exhibited little or no empathy for our situation. One man even tried to commiserate by saying he’d been at the airport the same amount of time as all of us, as if getting paid to be at your job on a rough day is the same as me paying United almost $1,000 for a flight that never happened.
Thanks you very much for considering my situation.
Justin A. Beere
Aaaaaaaaand their response. Notice the incomplete sentence indicative of a company that can’t even get a dismissive form letter right.
Dear Mr. Beere,
Thank you for contacting Customer Care and we apologize for the delayed response.
Please accept my apologies for your frustrating travel experience with Flight 580 on June 23, 2013. United recognizes how important it is to you to get to your destination on time, and we never want to disrupt your travel plans. Unfortunately, our industry faces a number of daily challenges that affect our operation like poor weather or air traffic control issues.
While I can’t undo the circumstances experienced, are based on Mileage Plus and not meant to be in comensurate with the actual inconvenient but rather a gesture of goodwill only. Our intentions are to offer you a balance of valuable options that are easy to redeem. We hope you will accept in the spirit it was offered.
We thank you for your continued patience and we look forward to serving you better in the future.
I just bought some shares in an index fund that tracks the Wilshire 5000, which means I just bought shares in the 5000 largest American companies. I did this because I wish to take substantive action against Standard & Poor’s downgrade of US credit. Standard & Poor’s, and to a lesser degree, Fitch…