Dear Valued Guest...Adventures in Travel with United Airlines

My flight back from Japan was delayed by more than an hour, which in turn made me miss my connection, which led to me getting home about 4.5 hours later than I originally expected. This type of situation is not unexpected since I have to fly out of Chicago's O'Hare, where if you're on time you're lucky. Or as I overheard a pilot one time say, "If O'Hare sneezes everyone else catches a cold."

In this case supposedly the The Prime Minister of Thailand was on another flight that was departing at the same time to Bangkok but it had a maintenance issue. Because the PM of Thailand was on the plane they wanted to unload my flight to Chicago and use the plan to go to Thailand. Thankfully and luckily the Captain of UAL flight 882 on Sunday February 6, 2009 said "no thanks."

Truth be told, I thought is it was just an interesting anecdote to go with my travel to Japan and didn't think much of it. It was only when I received this email from United this past week that I began to think about the marketing and public relations aspect of the "incident."

From: noreply@unitedmileageplus.com [mailto:noreply@unitedmileageplus.com]
Sent: Thu 2/12/2009 8:37 PM
To: undisclosed-recipients
Subject: Your experience on UA 882 Feb 6th



Dear Valued Guest:

On behalf of United Airlines, please accept my sincere apologies for any inconvenience and disappointment you experienced with Flight 882.

I was made aware of the circumstances surrounding the delay of your flight to Chicago on February 7. I know we cannot replace the time lost while waiting, and regret any frustration with the fluctuating departure information. Although our goal is to handle these types of problems in a pleasant, quick and organized manner, we?re truly sorry if we did not provide the quality of service that you expect and deserve from United. Thank you for your patience and cooperation as we made preparations to get you safely back on your way.

Please let me assure you that we are thoroughly evaluating our recovery efforts in order to improve coordination of services for our customers on future flights. Your business and satisfaction are very important to us. It is my sincere hope that we can regain your confidence in United, and serve you in the near future.

Sincerely,

Keith Fisher
United Airlines
Customer Relations

1) First I think they have good intentions and it is apparent that they thought that it was important enough to send an email. Believe me I have been late and have missed flights many times, but I have never received an email so I miss the point overall.

2) Why can't they personalize the email? They know I was on the flight, they know my email address. Is it lazy, bad email marketing or both? Probably both.

3) They send an email apologizing for something that happens all the time, but they don't offer me anything for my lost time, which I value by the way.

So let me get this straight. They raise the late departure as an issue, don't personalize the email to indicate to me that they really care or know me and then don't offer anything?

They offer free flight vouchers for people that get bumped all the time. If they really want to engender loyalty they could in the least offer a international business class traveler what they offer a person who gets bumped flying from Charlotte to Chicago...and failing that, please personalize your future emails.


| www.jlefevere.com |


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