United Airlines / Baggage Handling
When my flight got rerouted due to the United Airlines computer problem at O'Haire Airport on July 2, 2009. I was told my checked bag would arrive the next day from Newark, NJ to Honolulu, HI. When I got to Honolulu, I immediately filed a delayed baggage claim and was told the bag would be delivered to my residence somewhere between 12:30 p.m. and 4:30 p.m.
This is where the serious problems start. The customer service rep screwed up and keyed my telephone number incorrectly into the system as the number on the internet baggage status report did not match the number written on my claim form. To make matters worse, the reps on the 1-800 service line had no clue as to where by bags were and failed to rectify the situation as they continuously provided me with false updated status reports by guaranteeing the bag would arrive within specified times. I had to contact these ineffectual service reps four times to explain to them the number posted on their system was incorrect and did not match the number written on my claim form.
To make matters worse, United in Honolulu uses an unspecified third party delivery service. Initially, the delivery service, lacking any form of common sense, contacted me at the incorrectly posted number and after there was no answer (according to them), did not even bother to stop by my residence, which is within ten minutes of the airport, and abruptly concluded no one was home at the time. After waiting five hours and well past the delivery time frame, I drove back to the airport to speak to the delayed baggage reps in person since they do not have any direct contact information via telephone or internet. They informed me the bags would not be sent out again until 6:30 p.m.
Finally, after waiting nearly 8 hours, the bags arrived at 8:00 p.m. The delivery woman was extremely unprofessional and had the most difficult time in following simple instructions. First of all, she decided to park her vehicle on the road, outside the fully accessible lane to my residence. When I met her at the entrance to the driveway, she had the bags out and decided to have me wheel the bags 200 ft from that road to my door. I instructed her to put the bags back into the van and drive them to my door. Without any regard to the condition of the bags, she damaged the retractable handle on my suitcase as she threw the bag back into the van without pushing the handle back in to its resting position. The bag handle is now permanently stuck in the upright position and does not work thanks to delivery woman.
For a second time on the same day, I had to drive to the airport and promptly filed a complaint at the United baggage handling counter. The customer service manager, who initially offered an unacceptable method of reimbursement, only agreed to other forms of compensation after a half an hour of debate.
The only fortunate aspect of this farce is I had access to convenient transportation to and from the airport in via my personal auto. For those of you who decide to visit Hawaii, be wary about using United Airlines as they have incompetent and uncooperative employees at their national information line as well as at the Honolulu International Airport. Furthermore, United contracts a delivery service in Honolulu, run by local yokels, who lack any intelligence whatsoever, to handle your delayed bags while destroying them in the process. Welcome to paradise folks, enjoy your visit after a ridiculous price to pay.
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