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Props to United Customer Service - 3/4 refund of flight change fee

Discussion in 'Getting There & Getting Around' started by Viva Las Vegas, Feb 1, 2015.

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  1. Viva Las Vegas

    Viva Las Vegas Ramblin' Gamblin' Man

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    It took four faxes, but I did receive most of my money $150 of the $200 "change fee" for two November flights. I had an emergency illness and could not fly on a work trip (United Round Trip)or a Vegas trip later in the month (SW one way, United back). They have a customer service fax number (FAX: 713-324-1431) and if you provide the information, they may provide a refund due to emergency / last minute situations such as an illness or death in the family.

    They credited my work trip fee (less $50), but it took another attempt before they credited my personal Vegas flight fee. I like flying out of work via SW and returning via United since I live near O'Hare. I was going to consider flying both legs out of SW due to the liberal flight change option. The only thing I don't like about SW is the cattle call. United is convenient in terms of location, but I've paid hundreds over the years for change fees since I lost my premier status.

    Flew Frontier for the first time and I would recommend with the caveat that one should reserve a seat with extra leg room, since they looked very small. RT Vegas trips from Chicago could be found for very cheap, even after factoring carry on bag fee and seat upgrade fee. They had free TV as well. Spirit is the only airline I won't fly, due to all of the horror stories told to me personally and also here and elsewhere on the interwebs.

    Anyway, it pays to ask if you can get a refund, and it's worth a slight bit of time to reclaim $150 or $300 (for my two separate flights). Hope this helps someone here in the same predicament.
     
  2. DK528

    DK528 Low-Roller

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    In 2013, a friend called off her wedding a few days beforehand. I had two one-way United tickets totaling about $550 and was looking at change fees of $400. The customer service rep took pity on me and didn't charge me either and I had that $550 to use on other United flights within a year. I was pleasantly surprised that it was handled this way!
     
  3. LadyShaye

    LadyShaye Low-Roller

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    Nice to see they have good customer service in some cases. I will NEVER fly with them again after everything I went through to still NOT get a credit, refund, or anything out of them!
     
  4. lotso-bear

    lotso-bear VIP Whale

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    Generally speaking, US carriers are pretty good about refunding money due to an illness or death in the family. I've had 100% success in getting a full refund and my most recent experience was with US.

    Asian carriers are a bit different... they're generally "by the book" so if the policy is no then it's a no.
     
  5. Piggylane

    Piggylane Well-Known Member

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    United Airlines ranks last in customer service in most surveys and from my experience they deserve it. I occasionally fly them from Hartford to Dulles and find the gate agents at both airports rude to virtually everyone, even their premium flyers. Some people at their hubs have little choice and others book flights with them without knowing. No airline is perfect but the customer service culture at United is dreadful.

    It shouldn't take four faxes and several hours to resolve your issue but I'm glad you did get this resolved. Frontier used to fly in/out of Hartford but when they left JetBlue came in, a much better choice.
     
  6. cjohnson202

    cjohnson202 VIP Whale

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    The first time I ever flew with united was in September 2012 (I'm Canadian so it's not one of the main airlines I would usually fly). Flight there was alright, Toronto > San Fran > Vegas. Slight delay in San Fran but no more than 45 minutes, no worries, fairly smooth. Flight home Vegas > Washington > Toronto, not smooth. Flight starts out normal as we are taxi-ing on the runway, but then we stop. And we're stopped for a good 45 minutes before someone comes on the intercom and says there is an engine light on in the cockpit and they are investigating. Also, air conditioning has been shut off on the plane, so we're all melting. Finally we go back to the gate. They say the problem is nothing serious but they have to reduce the weight on the plane by 30-ish people. They offered anyone who volunteered to get off a new flight the following morning, a hotel stay on them, and $500 USD. I jumped at the opportunity as my girlfriend and I each had the next day off anyways and we had already surely missed our connecting flight anyways. Unfortunately , because our final destination was in Canada, we were not eligible for this offer. We're stuck on the plane.

    Finally after 3 hours, the plane leaves and we land in Washington around 11 pm, missing our layover flight by two hours. When we land in Washington, we are told packages for hotels and food vouchers will be at our gate as soon as we get off the plane. We are also told to go to a certain website where we will be offered compensation for the huge inconvenience. Get off the plane and of course, there are no packages at our gate. We are directed to guest services, which is a 20 minute walk away. We walk to guest services, and since almost everyone on the flight missed their connecting flight, the process of getting our vouchers is a long one, and an unorganized one. Finally after an hour, my girlfriend and I get our voucher booklet. Hotel stay is in there, two $10 food vouchers are in there (which can't be used because all the airport restaurants are closed), but no flight information for my re-booked flight. I get in line again. 30 minutes later, I have my flight for 9:30 am the next morning. It's now 12:30. We are then told the baggage handlers have gone home for the night and we won't be able to get our luggage. So off to the hotel we go with nothing but the clothes on our backs and whatever we have in our carry-ons. Get to the hotel shuttle location. Shuttle for my hotel pulls up and says to the 20 of us waiting "I dont know where you people are going, but our hotel is 100% booked". Back to guest services we go. They make some calls, find us all a new hotel, shuttle comes. It's now close to 2 am. We get to the hotel, take 30 minutes to check in, hotel nice enough to give us a toiletry package of toothbrush, toothpaste, shampoo, etc. Finally get to bed at 3 am. 3 hours of sleep. Get to shuttle off 6:30 am, at the airport by 7 am, flight at 9:30 am leaves on time

    Arrive in Toronto around 10:30-11. My bag shows up, girlfriends bag doesn't. 6 or 7 pm that night, Girlfriends bag is finally delivered to our house.

    So the next day I decided to go on united's website they told us about for compensation. $25 voucher, 1000 reward points, or a $25 donation in my name to the united foundation or something. WHAT?!?!

    I call customer service, they said they don't deal with disputes like that and to write an email. I call back 3-4 more times, finally get to speak to someone.

    I tell her my story. She offers $50 voucher each ($100 total). I tell her that's crazy for what I went through. Finally, she offers $100 each. Still not worth my time to fly united again. Like I said, I'm Canadian, United is one of the lower end options, $100 discount just isn't worth it. I told her she was wasting my time, I'll never fly united again, and I hung up.

    She calls ME back. Offers $250 voucher each ($500 total). I accept. Voucher is in my email within the hour. We used those vouchers the following spring for a flight to Vegas, covered both flights to Vegas. After this experience, 5 trips later, I have never not flown direct home. Not worth it, too dangerous. The "free" united flight (Toronto > Denver > Las Vegas) had zero issues. I also have since flown United once (this past november), Toronto > San Fran > Vegas, and also didn't experience an issue. But I never prefer to fly United after that trip, as it was honestly the worst travel experience of my life so far. So unorganized on their part.
     
  7. Viva Las Vegas

    Viva Las Vegas Ramblin' Gamblin' Man

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    The key to your story is always flying direct if at all possible. Travel issues happen, and it's hard to coordinate after midnight, but United should have been more proactive for passengers missing their connection, especially due to the fact that the issue was mechanical, not weather. I wouldn't fly w/ connections to save money unless it was $300-$400, and then I would still try to switch days. Out of Chicago, there should always be direct flights. SWA sometimes have planes which stop and continue on the same plane, and those are OK if that is your best option.

    It took about 2-2.5 hours total for everything, including the initial call which featured an angry "off-shore" representative who told me I should have bought the United travel insurance and I was entitled to nothing, despite the fact that United's website did say I had the opportunity for a refund. Wasn't easy to find on the website. I clicked the phone on her, called again, and the second representative gave me the information needed to submit my request. I agree it should have taken 2 faxes tops, as I included everything they asked for the first time (they asked for my credit card statements with the charges the second request. After my second request they wrote back stating I could reapply after booking my replacement flights. I did reschedule both flights, submitted proof for both, they credited the work flight after fax three, and I removed reference to my work request and focused solely on my Vegas flight and received the credit after fax four. They still kept $100 total ($50 from me, $50 from my client), but glad I recouped the rest for myself and the client.
     
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