Choosing an airline for your holidays

Our flight at 1.45 p.m. on UA940 unfortunately confirmed our concern about flying UA.  The flight attendants were most unfriendly.  The plane was old and there were no monitors at the back of the seat.  The plane was like something out of the 70’s.  One of the passengers expressed surprise that for a longhaul international flight, that they’d use a plane where passengers didn’t have a choice of entertainment.  The flight stewardess said that they “were still upgrading their planes but it’s not happening quickly”.  Interesting, since the next generation of passenger planes will be in the air soon.

Tony asked for a cup of coffee, just slightly past breakfast time and the steward said that it would take some time.  When asked how long, he said it would take half an hour to brew the coffee, in a tone that was really meant to put you off  wanting a cup of coffee.  One of the stewardesses was a bit scarey and she even asked someone if they were afraid of asking her for a drink.   I don’t blame them really as she had a permanent smirk on her face.  I really thought that the crew that served our side of the plane were aggressively unfriendly.

Our Indian vegetarian meal consisted of mushy rice with potatoes and beans in a lurid yellow sauce.  It tasted of nothing and had not a trace of curry flavour.  It was the worst Indian vegetarian meal I’ve even encountered and was inedible.  Breakfast was just as bad.  It was labelled Indian vegetarian but what we had were boiled beans and mushrooms with a packet of Japanese crackers.  It beats our imagination how this could possibly pass as an Indian vegetarian meal.  It appears that the UA kitchen has no idea what Indian cuisine is.

We were really glad to be off that flight.  When we were going through Customs, the officer who was trying to get our finger prints and photos was extremely nice and joked with us as he was having difficulty in getting clear prints.  This guy had a much tougher job than the flight crew and yet he was ever so friendly.  We were relieved that our experience on UA was just an abberation and that Americans are still as polite and friendly as we’ve known them to be.

To add insult to injury, when we arrived in San Diego, we found that between LA and San Diego, UAL had managed to lose both our bags.  We were assured that they’d be on the next flight at 2:30 pm and would be delivered to where we were staying.  We were reassured that when they arrived we would be contacted.  We didn’t receive any contact so over the next few hours Tony was having numerous conversations with their customer service centres in Delhi and then Manila.  We were really relieved when our bags finally arrived at 11:30 pm, thanks to a very sympathetic courier who didn’t want us to go overnight without a change of clothes.

A quick search on Google showed a raft of websites dedicated to complaints from unsatisfied customers.  You could say that these customers were very united in their dissatisfaction at UA’s poor customer service.

Moral of the story is to insist on an airline with reputable customer service, especially on a long haul trip so that you’re not starting your holidays on a negative note.


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