Never Again, United

Taking a break from storytelling to complain [just a little bit]. I know I’m on a whole glass-half-full, always look for the silver lining, positivity kick for 2011 but sometimes, the idiocy of some people can really ruin it for me. Advanced apologies for the following rant.

Today, my baby cousin flew to Oklahoma for her second semester at university. What should have been an easy check-in at Burbank airport turned into a ridiculous back and forth over the phone between me and an uncomprehending imbecile at the United Airlines counter and then a subsequent drive to Burbank to fulfill said imbecile’s ludicrous “policy”.

I am a frequent traveler. In an average year, I fly at least once a month. My first year in university, my mom would buy my ticket to LA online, I would check-in at the airport and 1-hour later I would be in the loving comfort of my familial home. Last year, I bought my cousin Abby a plane ticket to NY, she checked-in no problem and spent a fun & crazy month with me taking the streets of Brooklyn and Manhattan alike. Three days ago, I bought Ashley her ticket to Oklahoma, this morning she went to the airport and was told she could not get on the flight without the credit card holder present to verify the purchase. Excuse me?

Apparently, United Airlines has an unwritten policy that says when the ticket holder’s name is different from the purchaser’s name, the credit card holder needs to be present or check-in at the nearest airport for security reasons. When I told the supervisor that I’d never heard of such a ridiculous policy, he tells me that I should have been told by the reservation’s agent when I purchased the ticket (he hadn’t). When I told him that I wasn’t made aware of this practice, his rude reply was, “Well, you just should have known.” There is NO WHERE on the flight confirmation or even on United’s online policy that supports this outrageous “procedure”. When I asked for his name and badge number, he responds with, “It’s not in my policy to do that.” #*&! &!@!!!!!

First of all, what happens if the purchaser is abroad? What if we couldn’t get to the airport in time? THANK THE LORD we live 30 minutes from Burbank.

When we got to the airport and we once again asked for the written policy, all he could say was, “I’m sorry for the inconvenience ma’am but I can’t show you anything in writing.” Good lord, I KNOW this is your job and it sucks to get yelled at for doing what you’re “supposed to do” but when you’re trying to enforce a policy that you can’t prove to me actually exists you really can’t expect me to take you seriously. I mean, rarely if ever, do I get worked up or speak rudely to a customer service agent or anyone really as I understand what it’s like to have to follow stupid and ridiculous procedures but lord have mercy, this guy really pushed my buttons this morning.

I GET that you want verification for security reasons but how can a credit card which can be sent to ANYONE be more valid than a government issued ID? I just don’t get how a purchaser is more important than the person who is actually on the flight. What exactly are you trying to verify?!

Thankfully, Ash was able to make her flight. All is right with the world and after writing this, I feel much calmer.

But seriously? NEVER AGAIN, United. This will teach me to cheat on Jetblue.

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