Is this the longest reply ever from United Airlines?

I found this post on LinkedIn, in the United Airlines 1K Group. As a passenger who normally elicits a three paragraph reply from United’s Customer Service, I am astouned that United has replied in this length:


 Thank you for your recent e-mails regarding your dissatisfaction with our MileagePlus program and service in general since our merger with Continental Airlines.
In an e-mail you titled “Airport Experience,” you mentioned unhappy customers, disenchanted employees and poor ratings for on-time departures and arrivals” as key points.  We have made a concerted effort to respond to the “unhappy customers” you mentioned by empowering our “disenchanted employees” with recent customer-centric training and tools that refocuses their attention and efforts on responding positively to our customers at the first point of contact.  

It is true that our stock has appreciated considerably, from a 52-week low of $19.20 to today’s current high of $35.96.  In order to reach a state of sustained profitability that may, at some point, lead to stock dividends, we are constantly investing in our technology, processes and employees.  The worldwide economic profile is at best unpredictable, and some changes we have implemented merely reflect the higher cost of doing business all over the globe.  

We have, however, improved our on-time performance to the best it has been in ten years.  Customer service ratings have improved as well.  You mentioned “smaller seats, incredibly uncomfortable seating” a “horrendous boarding process” and “agents that could care less.”  Please share specifics with us so that we can address these issues directly with the departments and employees involved.  We cannot fix something unless we can identify its source.

Your e-mails highlight your displeasure with the lack of complimentary upgrades for Million Miler members and Premier flyers.  As we’ve shared with you in past communications, capacity is down throughout the industry, and the dividends our stockholders seek are directly related to our ability to sell our front-cabin seats whenever possible.  There is nothing wrong with our upgrade processes; our system is working correctly and has always cleared upgrades first to those passengers willing to exchange something of value — miles, certificates or money — for the front cabin seat they wish to occupy.  We have always given priority to those Premier members traveling on full-fare B- or Y-class tickets by offering them the ability to upgrade at the time of ticketing.   Although the “new” United never promised continued upgrades to our Million Miler members, we did recognize the disparity between the two programs and made adjustments to lifetime accruals and status.  
You have also expressed dissatisfaction with changes recently announced to our award levels for 2014.  This is the first time in several years we’ve increased the number of miles required to redeem some Saver and Standard awards; the changes merely reflect the increased cost to United Airlines of providing award travel, particularly premium-cabin travel, on United Airlines as well as on our Star Alliance and other airline partners.  We review our fees, such as change fees and redeposit fees, regularly so they are in line with other carriers.  Availability is still determined by our Revenue Management team using sophisticated historical projections to determine how many, if any, award or upgrade seats will be released on any particular flight.  As we’ve advised you before, we must always balance the needs of our customers with the needs of our shareholders.  
Mr. X we realize you have a choice in carriers, and we would hate to lose your business and longtime loyalty to another carrier such as Delta Airlines or Alaska Airlines.  However, United Airlines, like any other airline or company, must sometimes make difficult decisions that while unpopular with some customers, are ultimately necessary to insure our future success and profitability.

United Airlines Corporate Customer Care


  1. Same old same old…

    They cut to save money … but they then loose rev/loyal pax. They cut more to save even more because of the declining rev… and it becomes a snowball effect. I don’t think UA even hit the bottom yet either.

  2. Pretty condescending email. Best ontime in over 10 years?? They must be thinking of Continental then

  3. I think that they are starting to write longer letters, albeit with less substance. Here is the patronizing dribble that I received a couple weeks ago:

    Dear Mr. Z:

    Thank you for contacting United Airlines; we appreciate your loyalty as a Premier Gold member. I very much regret learning of your disappointment in our performance and welcome the opportunity to address your concerns.

    At United Airlines, we believe all customers and co-workers are to be treated with dignity and respect. This philosophy is deeply woven into everything we do. There is never an excuse for unprofessional behavior, and I am very sorry this was your experience of the services received from our flight attendant.

    I realize my apology cannot erase what happened, but I hope it helps to know we take your concerns very seriously. It was especially helpful that you were able to supply such a detailed description. Please be assured your comments will be forwarded to appropriate senior management within Inflight Crew Services for internal review and necessary corrective action.

    I do understand the value of your decision to fly with us and assure you we will make every effort to leave you with a better impression when we again have the privilege of serving you. I ask that you accept my apology and allow us that opportunity. I want to apologize for the inconvenience you experienced when the special meal was not provided.

    United understands the diverse dietary needs of our customers, and we offer a variety of special meals in select markets. We do our best to honor each request.

    Your candid feedback is appreciated as this allows us to improve our services. Your comments have been shared with appropriate member of our senior management so they can understand your travel experience from your point of view.

    Your business and goodwill are never taken for granted by United Airlines; please know that we will continue to strive to consistently meet your service expectations.

    With kindest regards,
    Ms. X
    Corporate Customer Care Manager

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