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United Airlines Rant!!!

I have never really flown United Airlines before (well, I have, but I was 12 so I don't remember that much.) Last week, I flew from Baltimore to San Luis Obispo, via Los Angeles with them. I was NOT impressed. First of all, we checked in online the day before, thinking it would save us time. When we went online, we were told we could upgrade to EconomyPlus for $46. Not a bad deal, but I felt it was something they did to trick people – the plane was overbooked, so if you paid extra, you were assured a (comfy) seat, but if you didn’t, you had to wait till you got to the airport and hope for the best. We decided to pay extra but I didn’t like it – it seemed like if you didn’t do it, you could either lose out completely and not get on, or get lucky and get an EconomyPlus seat for free.

As you can imagine, lots of frustrated people were told they didn’t have a seat on the plane, and they started offering free tickets as incentives to stay. Since I had got up at 4am to make this flight, I was not about to give up my seat, so I am not sure what happened.

When we got to the airport, we felt smug since we already had our boarding passes and figured we’d skip the line. No such luck. United’s check-in system at BWI was incredibly poorly thought out:
1. Whether you had a boarding pass or not, you had to stand in the same line – we were just dropping off our bags but had to wait for people checking in, making chances…
2. Everyone with an electronic ticket, which seems to be most people these days, had to check in using the kiosks. I have seen this in other airlines as well and it makes no sense! Some people take so long, or have no experience using a machine like that, so they end up needing an agent anyway! Some older folks tried to go to the paper ticket only line, but were told they couldn’t.

Needless to say, “just dropping off our bags” took a lot longer than planned… The flight itself was fine, but as usual it was impossible to get a pillow. What’s up with that? I guess I need to bring one myself…

Oh, I almost forgot my last beef with United! They announce a meal service on all flights longer than 5 hours. BWI-LAX is scheduled to take 5 hrs, 26 min. As far as I can see, that is longer than five hours. Same thing going back – the scheduled time is 5 hours, 8 minutes. However, when you are in the air, they announce that there is no meal service because the actual flying time is 4 hours, 55 minutes. What?!?!?! It is the airlines that make it look like the flights are longer, to prevent being marked as delayed, but they should at least go after the hours they themselves post on their website!!!!! It is not that I am crazy about an airplane sandwich, but something would have been nice. The snack packs they sell do not constitute a meal in my book. The four choices are just different versions of stuff that’s really bad for you: “Would you like the salty, the sweet, or the fatty junkfood?”

I am happy to say that my next three trips do not involve United Airlines…


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