Honey, guess what we lost today?

Normally my whacky Wednesday posts are funny or at least a little amusing. Today’s is far from amusing. United Airlines, who I regularly bag, bash and mock in my blog are apparently in the business of transporting luggage and people around the USA. According to Brett Snyder, they are doing worse since the merger with Continental (vale).  For example only 70.1 percent of their flights were on time in June. In addition, United lost bags at twice the rate of Delta which is a bigger airline.

Luggage being lost is annoying. On June 30, 2012 United Airlines lost a bag belonging to 10 year Phoebe Klebahn who was travelling from San Francisco to Chicago, with a transfer to Grand Rapid on June 30, 2012. The bag contained all of the stuff she needed for camp. e.g. bathing clothes, sheets etc

What is worse, is that United also lost the ten year old. Phoebe was travelling alone as an unaccompanied minor. “What is astonishing is that United outsourced a service to accompany small children without informing parents in advance of taking their children into their care—HUGE liability ( from letter to United Airlines from Annie  and Perry Klebahn).

That Unaccompanied Minor company failed to make the Chicago connection. Phoebe stuck in Chicago tried to get help from the United staff around her and her Mum was trying to get help from United via the phone, after her daughter didn’t arrive in Grand Rapids. United did not or could not help. Eventually, the family got their ten year old onto a flight.

United Airline said: “What the Klebahns describe is not the service we aim to deliver to our customers…We are redepositing the miles used to purchase the ticket back into Mr. Klebahn’s account in addition to refunding the unaccompanied minor charge.”

How many points for a lost child?

United Airlines have had massive negative publicity over this. For example, Bob Sutton of Huffington Post who knows the family wrote a detailed piece. How many customers will be lost over that child? How many people will trust United with a child again?

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  1. At what point do you call 911 if the airline loses your kid. To a lesser extent happened to someone I know (happens to be a lawyer). Turned up to DEN and the airline had no idea where his 10 year old son was. desk seem uninterested in solving th issue so he said, you’ve got 5 minutes to find him or I am phoning 911. Her attitude changed at that point and a search resulted. He was safe and well but lost in the system.

  2. +1 Levy.

    I didn’t lose a child, but just booked my first award trip through United. Checking in online the night before I couldn’t choose my seats for one of the *A legs. Called United and happened upon the information that my whole return trip had been cancelled months before. No notification, nothing. I was agape on the phone, the agent then says, “So you should look at rebooking those” as if they had nothing invested in the project. No interest nor hint that it’s part of their job to do that. I filed a complaint online, 8 days later still no word. I also filed a complaint with the DOT online and heard from United Corporate offices yesterday.


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