We’ve not made it a secret that we refuse to fly on United anymore (here are all the reasons why) and haven’t for well over a year and a half. Which isn’t to say we’ve 100% written them off – we still keep up on what they do and what their CEO says, to see if they’ve made any sort of turnaround. And they have, at least to an extent – they don’t seem to be killing as many pets as they used to. That’s still not enough to lure us back. And to be honest, this didn’t help, either…
California resident Krunal Patel was apparently on a United flight from Minneapolis to Denver when he tweeted United:
The plane was a Boeing 737, which means that Patels’ row, 22, was the first row of the Economy seating (note: there are actually 3 versions of United seating charts for the 737-800, but all 3 have row 22 as the first row of Economy).
Here’s what United wrote in response:
And Patel’s reply:
Here’s where things start to get sticky. United’s response to Patel:
Patel gave a response that I can totally identify with:
The Twitterverse, not surprisingly, chimed in with responses such as:
Patel, by the way, has since deactivated his Twitter account. If these were the kinds of things people were saying to/about him “in public,” heaven knows what kind of crap people were giving him elsewhere.
But back to his request and United’s response…
Frankly, I don’t see what’s so horrible about Patel’s initial question. The cabin door was closed and no one else was going to use those seats. It certainly didn’t (or rather, shouldn’t have) hurt to ask to move forward, nor would it have hurt United in any way to let him move and allow him and everyone else in row 22 have more room. They allow families to move around when they don’t sit them together. They allow people to lie across 3 seats if they happen to have 2 empties next to them. If you go to a theater show, people often sit in the empty, better (more expensive) seats during the second act. The same thing happens at concerts. Car rental companies and hotels will sometime give an upgrade, just because they can. So again, I see no harm in his asking.
United’s response, however, was absolutely unprofessional and inappropriate. Not so much their initial response – the UA rep named “^BA” simply explained that those seats cost more and him moving to them wouldn’t be fair to those who had paid for an upgrade. But when Patel explained that the seats were going to remain empty anyway, United’s mean spirited, “…If you were to purchase a Toyota, you would not be able to drive off with a Lexus, because it was empty” reply was 100% uncalled for and inappropriate. There are much nicer ways to say, “Sorry, no,” to a paying customer.
Without looking at their list of rules and regulations, I’m sure United has a policy that says you can’t change seats to a better seat. I’m equally as sure that, or some other policy/policies is/are allowed to be broken every single day. This was an opportunity for United to show some goodwill and perhaps earn some brownie points with those who won’t fly on their because of their past issues, and they blew it.
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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary