Shocking: Great United Customer Service!

united customer serviceI recently wrote about how I used my $300 United credit from a flight cancellation to book a flight to Atlanta for the Freddie Awards.

When I booked my flight back in January, I didn’t know much more than the date of the ceremony. I wasn’t sure what time it started or if there would be other related things going on due to it.

My original booking was flying out of Newark Airport at 12:22 pm, arriving in Atlanta at 2:45 pm. I figured that this would give us ample time to get to our airport hotel, freshen up, change and get over to the event on time.

Then I got a notification that our flight had changed.

I received a schedule change notification and didn’t think much of it initially. Our 12:22 flight departure would not be leaving at 1:25 getting us into Atlanta at 3:55.

We’d be arriving an hour and ten minutes later than we had planned. Probably not a big deal however with doors opening for the Freddies at 5:30, this didn’t give us much time.

united customer service
The original booking

I didn’t think a whole lot  about this change at first since I was preoccupied with finishing up planning our trip to Myanmar. When I got back from our two-week trip to SE Asia I then looked over the new scheduled flight to Atlanta and wondered if this was an acceptable switch.

My brother and I discussed our options.

We figured that we could try calling United and asking for a different flight but found it highly unlikely that they would help us out. (They aren’t exactly the most customer friendly airline now, are they!) Also, the same flight we had booked was now pricing out at $649! (We had paid $320.22 back in January.)

We also figured another option was to tell them that the itinerary didn’t work for our plans and thought they might be more likely to refund us our money.

The second option would cause a couple of headaches so it wasn’t one I really wanted to bother with. (We considered asking to cancel our flights but then I’d need to deal with my UA credit again + find a new flight at a reasonable price.)

We thought it over for a few days and then decided the best bet was to do a three-way call with United explaining the situation and hoping that they would help us out.

I made a call and started to explain our situation. After giving my confirmation #, the call went silent- we were disconnected from United! Oh great.

I called back right away, waited on a bit of a hold before hearing a friendly greeting from the rep.

Now it was time to again explain what was going on.

I first mentioned that I had the call on three-way with my brother who was also on an upcoming flight booked from Newark to Atlanta with a 2:45 arrival time. I then said how our flight had switched, getting us in at 3:55. While an hour and ten minute isn’t such a big deal, we had an important meeting to get to at around 5:00pm.

I went on to say how this would probably be OK but if our flight happened to be delayed, this could be a real issue since this was the purpose of our short trip to Atlanta.

I then asked about switching our flight and was beyond surprised to hear “sure, let me see what I can do for you”!

First we were offered a flight which left around 8:00 am on the same day. We would’ve been happy with this switch but figured why not just leave the day before at this point. (There is also something we figured might be nice to attend that evening…)

Surprisingly enough, again the agent’s reply was ‘sure’…

After doing a quick search, the rep said that  seats were available and the switch would be made.

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New flight but not the price we paid!

After taking care of my ticket, she then helped my brother get his ticket sorted out. She even helped us select seats, getting us two aisles right next to each other…

Once we hung up, I priced out our new flight and was beyond surprised to see it now selling on UA for $916.30! Crazy!

Lucky for us, just a friendly call with lots of thank you’s got our flight changed free of charge. I’ve always been told that it doesn’t hurt to ask. This sure has been true when it comes to travel and other situations in life…

If you ask me, when the airline changes our flight we should be able to charge them a fee much like how we are charged change fees if we need to switch or want to cancel… Yeah right, that will be the day…

Maybe someone knows:

  • Do any airlines have an official policy when it comes to a passenger’s flight being switched to a new time?
  • Is there a minimum amount of time that the flight has to be affected (in terms of when you will now be departing or arriving) for a free change to be allowed?

2 thoughts on “Shocking: Great United Customer Service!

  1. Rich- Definitely great to know! This was m first time calling to make a switch like this and didn’t expect such positive results. Have you ever tried switching it to the day before like we did?

  2. I’ve done this repeatedly and never had the slightest difficulty. When the airline changes a schedule and gives me the next flight after the originally scheduled time, and I prefer the last flight before the originally scheduled time instead, or vice versa, I just call and explain the request. I’ve never been refused or charged a fee.

    I just say “I see that you’ve had a schedule change and now I’m on flight xxx. I see that there’s an earlier flight, number xxx, at xx:xx, and that works much better for my schedule than going later. Can you switch me to that flight instead?” As I’ve said, it’s never been an issue, at least on United.

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