Archive

Posts Tagged ‘cars’

I miss flying Continental Airlines

I don’t know if it’s just a coincidence but it was the first time we flew Continental, under United name and we had a bad overall customer experience.

I have been a loyal customer of Continental Airlines for many years now. My family and I use it for all our vacation and business travels. Although I could find other airlines offering more competitive air fares, I would still choose Continental. I have always found comfort and satisfaction flying Continental. The merger of United Airlines and Continental was announced in 2010. This union formed the largest airline in the nation, under the name United. I still patronized Continental during the post merger transition. I was remarkably surprised that they had maintained the consistency of their service level. I continued to be a very happy customer.

Until…

Last week, my family traveled to California for vacation. Of course, we chose to travel Continental. This time, the name on the plane was noticeably changed to United. Also, it said  “Premier Access” on my boarding pass instead of the usual “Elite Access”. I expected our flying experience to be the same or better. A merger of two companies usually means the best practices of both established firms are retained. The outcome is usually the best of both companies.

I was wrong…

I flew back to Houston from Ontario, California last Monday. My wife and our twin infant boys were travelling with me. As can be expected when travelling with two infants, we had a bulky stroller with lots of baby stuff (formula, diapers, the works) in preparation for the three-hour flight.

What would you expect when boarding a plane with kids or infants? My expectation is to have a bit of consideration — maybe priority boarding. I understand that first class goes first (they paid for it), then military and passengers needing assistance — typically those in wheelchairs. But aren’t people with strollers and infant children also in need of assistance?

We were in boarding group 5. I don’t know if it was just me or because of the experience, but I feel bad about the  number tag on priority boarding. This was printed prominently on the boarding pass. So groups 1 to 4 board before us. Usually, it does not matter to me if I were to board last;  but since I am travelling with my twin babies, it certainly mattered now. I want them to be comfortable. So it became more personal.

More than half of the passengers were already boarded and we were still waiting for our group 5 to be called.  My wife went to ask the gate service attendant because normally, in any flight (and not just with Continental), the people with infants were among the first to be boarded. But she got an unfriendly response and told to just get out of the way and wait for our group to be called. During our actual boarding, I asked the same attendant and got the same rude response.

I don’t know if it’s just a coincidence but it was the first time we flew Continental, under United name and we had a bad overall customer experience.

Here is another…

Arriving in Houston, we got our baggage and were surprised to see that one of our bags had a broken handle. The handle was destroyed in such a way that you could no longer use the luggage. It was a relatively new bag that we bought last January. It was only the second time that we used it.

We went to the United Baggage Service office in the airport. We were attended to and were given a reference number and a claim number. We were given a contact number and instructed to call it for follow-up and further assistance.

My wife called the number later,  only to be referred to another office. That office asked her to call the United office at the airport instead but could not give her the contact information. On Monday, after we got home from the airport, she had received an email from the claim case that was filed and on it was contact information. She called that number and was told that the case was closed and she should call the United office at the airport if she had questions. At this point, my wife had to use a search engine to find another contact number for the Baggage Service office of United Airlines and get a clearer response to the status of our bag damage claim. She had to talk to several people and was passed on to several offices giving her conflicting information about the case. They damaged our bag and we had to go through all these just to get an answer that the claim is still in process. So far no resolution to it yet!

As you can imagine, this was such a frustrating experience for us flying United. The front-office customer experience was already bad and the after flight back-office service was just as bad!

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,432 other followers

%d bloggers like this: