United Airlines / Poor customer service
On 4 Sep 08 I took a flight from Boston to Burbank alone with my two children, ages 1 and 2 (I purchased 3 tickets). Since my husband is military, he is often unable to travel with me. When I got to the gate I was surprised to find that United did not offer pre-boarding for those traveling with small children. I asked the woman working at the service counter if I could pre-board as I was alone with my children, or if I could at least have some assistance in carrying the carseats down to my row. The response I received was 'I have 2 children too and you just have to deal with it'. Needless to say, I received no assistance from United down to my seat as I gate checked my stroller, carried 2 carseats, 2 babies, a diaper bag and a backpack. We are lucky nobody got injured in the process of manuevering down the narrow aisles. I also received no help from the crew upon exiting the plane. On our stopover our flight was delayed and it was the same process all over again, no assistance from United. I was excited to arrive at my final destination and leave the whole horrible experience behind me. I retrieved my bags, only to find one was missing. They said they would deliver it by noon the next day to my home. So, off I went to my car only to find that they had somehow damaged my double stroller so it would no longer collapse. We folded down the back seats since that was the only way it would fit and rode home. Since there was no longer room for me due to the stoller issues, I rode home sitting on the floor between my children's seats (there are 2 individual bucket seats in the 2nd row). At noon my bags had still not arrived, so I called United. They stated that they were out for delivery and would be there by 230pm. By 600pm my bags were still not there. We are now at 2 days since we arrived at home and I still do not have my bag. When I call the customer service line, they put me on hold so they can call the Burbank airport. In the four times I have called nobody has picked up the phone at Burbank.
On my travel to Boston from Burbank I flew with American Airlines and they went above and beyond to help me. They pre-boarded us, carried the carseats for me, and even occupied my children while I installed the carseats on the plane. They even told me that when I needed to go to the restroom to just ring the buzzer so they could keep an eye on my children. American (and a few other carriers) also have infant changing tables in their bathrooms, where United does not.
I am a frequent flyer, as our family has never lived near what we call 'home' over the past 9 years (since my husband has been in the service). On average we fly cross- country 6 times per year (24 round trip tickets). In all my years of frequent travel, I had never had such a horrible experience as I have with United. I have never had such poor customer service and would be willing to pay more for a ticket to avoid this airline. I will definately tell everyone I know with families to never use this carrier.
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