RickB
Topic Author
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Joined: Mon May 19, 2003 3:11 am

Why Did I Pay For United 1st On A Domestic Flight?

Fri Jan 18, 2002 8:16 pm

Yesterday I flew ORD - ATL in Uniteds first class and I have to say it was an absolute disgrace from start to finish.

Having flown MAN - ORD on BMI's A330 in business class (excellent in everyway) I suppose I was in for a fall !!

Check in at the first class section in terminal 1 (or should I say the bus station) took 50 minutes - I was only tenth in the queue but the three check in desks quickly became one as the agents just left leaving a queue of disgruntled people. Finally got to check in and was served by the only person working for united I spoke to all day who was polite !!

]The only 2 hour flight I have ever been on (with the exception of easyjet) where no food is served (even in 1st class !!). 1st class doesn't even get you lounge access in the airport.

The 733 was grim - everything was stained, the seats covered in sugar from the previous passenger and the supplied pillow stank of body odour.

Then the pursar and the dispatch agent had a major shouting match infront of everybody - very amusing !!

So my question is this - I paid around 10 times the amount I could of got an economy ticket for - what the hell for???? an extra 6 inches of leg room??? The flight cost nearly the same as the transatlantic leg on BMI !!!

Can anyone tell me why people put up with such poor service or did I just get a bad flight?



 
TR
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RE: Why Did I Pay For United 1st On A Domestic Flight?

Fri Jan 18, 2002 8:23 pm

I normally fly first class within the US but this is actually only due to the extra comfort. Service, food, etc. etc. is not much better than flying economy. Though I must say that I have never experienced anything like your story - not with United or any other carrier. But the price certainly never matches the product given!

Regards
Thomas
 
jsuen
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RE: Why Did I Pay For United 1st On A Domestic Flight?

Fri Jan 18, 2002 8:24 pm

Sounds like a bad flight. By all means, you should write a letter to United and tell them about your experience.

Also, a good thing to do is to politely detail your problems to a gate agent. Often they can give you upgrade certificates and other goodies for problems you encounter (especially in First).
 
Skystar
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RE: Why Did I Pay For United 1st On A Domestic Flight?

Fri Jan 18, 2002 8:33 pm

Do you know how many people in the First Class cabin actually paid for first?

That might tell you why it's poor. Having said that, it shouldn't be that poor. Airline service worldwide is sliding all the time it seems. About the only airline increasing service in the world is Ansett.

Cheers,

Justin
 
Skystar
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RE: Why Did I Pay For United 1st On A Domestic Flight?

Fri Jan 18, 2002 8:34 pm

...and for paying an arm & a leg, you certainly deserve better.

Cheers,

Justin
 
UALbrat
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RE: Why Did I Pay For United 1st On A Domestic Flight?

Sat Jan 19, 2002 12:51 am

I've think domestic F is only "worth it," whether paying in miles or money, on longer routes. And I'll take transcontinental C in a widebody any day over F in a single-aisle!
 
Greg
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RE: Why Did I Pay For United 1st On A Domestic Flight?

Sat Jan 19, 2002 12:59 am

We do this just so you British can sound so superior about your airlines.

When the UK provides over 50% of the entire WORLDS rpk's like the US then you can discuss how you didn't get personalized service on a domestic flight.

P.S. I have done my share of flying 'upfront' and have never been subject to any of what you mentioned. Sounds a little like fiction to me...
 
Hoffa
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RE: Why Did I Pay For United 1st On A Domestic Flight?

Sat Jan 19, 2002 1:12 am

Domestic first class does not entitle you to lounge access, that part is certainly true.

On the other hand, paid F is a waste of money. Simply get a United Mileage Plus account and start applying all your travel (even on BMI shorthaul) on it. Then you can achieve status fairly quickly and you can upgrade to F on a space available basis.
 
Bicoastal
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RE: Why Did I Pay For United 1st On A Domestic Flight?

Sat Jan 19, 2002 1:51 am

A two hour flight and you wanted First? I only upgrade on transcons and the service on United's transcons is excellent. On short hauls, I can deal with economy. I agree with you on shabbiness of some of United's planes. I was on a 767 from Dulles to San Francisco the other day, and it was ragged inside. Their 777s and Airbuses are newer and in better shape inside. I'm very forgiving these days on any airline I fly. They're desperately trying to stay in business and cutting costs where they need to.

Airliners.net has many forums. It has spell check and search functions. Use them before posting!
 
USAFHummer
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RE: Why Did I Pay For United 1st On A Domestic Flight?

Sat Jan 19, 2002 2:09 am

I see you are British...airline service in the US, whether it be in First Class or in Economy class is a joke relative to those overseas...If your coming from a country like Britain or Australia (whose domestic flight service is excellent, and took me by total surprise), you shouldnt keep your expectations up for US airlines...you will be disappointed for the most part

Greg
Chief A.net college football stadium self-pic guru
 
RickB
Topic Author
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RE: Why Did I Pay For United 1st On A Domestic Flight?

Sat Jan 19, 2002 2:32 am

Greg,

I wish it was fiction and I wasn't using it as an indictment of US airlines - I have flown with a number of US airlines and had excellent service - a United flight from LAX to HNL last year in economy was excellent (unlike the return journey). Just this is the first time I have flown in F class domestically in the US and based on that single experience it was a joke - hence the question about whether or not this was usual.

Regardless of lounge access, I would of expected a meal on the flight be it a cold sandwich or otherwise - not just a packet of salted peanuts and pretzels.

I suppose in fairness I could say my hold luggage was first off the flight !!

At the moment I have to say I have had better service onboard ATA !!

 
USAFHummer
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RE: Why Did I Pay For United 1st On A Domestic Flight?

Sat Jan 19, 2002 2:58 am

I see where you are coming from, on a relative short haul like ORD-ATL first class isnt really worth the money, as most people say here, and I agree with them...its good for transcons, but for a short 2 hour flight like that, its not worth it really.

I fly PHL-FLL-PHL fairly frequently on US, its about a 2 hour flight and on occasion I do get upgraded, basically the upgrade entitles you to 4'' of legroom and some extra drinks, and being able to get on first and off first, thats it...prior to Sept 11 there would occasionally be a meal on the route in F but because of the cutbacks there isnt anymore.

So pretty much, your experience doesnt surprise me at all, its not an uncommon experience at all...

Greg
Chief A.net college football stadium self-pic guru
 
zrs70
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RE: Why Did I Pay For United 1st On A Domestic Flight?

Sat Jan 19, 2002 4:25 am

If everyone flying in J or F in the US had lounge access, I would rather wait outside the lounge. Those rooms are filled to the max as is.
17 year airliners.net vet! 2000-2016
 
767-322ETOPS
Posts: 319
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RE: Why Did I Pay For United 1st On A Domestic Flight?

Sat Jan 19, 2002 7:07 am

The ORD/ATL route is mostly served by 733s and 735s of older vintage. As such, you get the older shabbier looking interior and no inflight entertainment.

My recommendations when flying UA domestic:

- Avoid the 737s at all costs. Shoot for A319s or A320s if possible. The main benefit of newer a/c is that the in flight entertainment (though lame at times) helps distract you from the cutbacks in service.

- Don't bother with premium class of service (whether paid or upgrade) unless doing transcon.

- Via full paid Y OR Premier/*A status OR begging at the gate - get an E+ seat - no matter what a/c you are flying. The E+ section provides much more room than regular E. On some a/c the E+ exit rows actually have more leg room than F.
 
UAL Bagsmasher
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Joined: Wed Sep 08, 1999 12:52 pm

RE: Why Did I Pay For United 1st On A Domestic Flight?

Sat Jan 19, 2002 7:29 am

I've done my share flying in the front end of UA aircraft, I believe most of what RickB said. I always question myself on why people would pay $2000 for the mediocre service UA provides. I can't count how many times revenue F pax have been denied their meal choice...etc. It's little things like that that lose customers. I have flown AA in First quite a bit as well. It is many times better than UA's F service. AA caters for full flights in F to take Upgrades into account. UA usually caters exactly for the planned load, and many times runs out of food. AA's cabins are cleaner, paneling isn't falling off like some UA a/c, and overall the experience is just better. UA's F/As are curt more often than not which can be blamed on poor morale at UA due to lousy mangement. If you are planning on Upgrading or even buying an F ticket in the US, I'd recommend AA over UA. UA is cutting costs on the front line of service. They should trim management and their pay before taking stuff away from their passengers. I realize that I work for UA, but I am not going to lie and tell people they should take UA. Until UA gets its head out of its ass and shapes up, I cannot recommend an inferior product. Sorry.
 
L1011
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RE: Why Did I Pay For United 1st On A Domestic Flight?

Sat Jan 19, 2002 7:35 am

I recently flew Economy Plus on a 747-400 from ORD to HKG, and I noticed very little difference. I was somewhat disappointed, because I was expecting about five inches of extra legroom, and it was only about two. It was very much like American's More Room Throughout Coach. I also flew United First on an A320 from ORD to RIC, and there was very little service. I got a cup of coffee in a styrofoam cup and snack mix, which is probably the same thing they got in coach. And my luggage was one of the last to arrive on the baggage carousel, even though it had a Priority tag on it.

Bob Bradley
Richmond, VA
Fly Eastern's Golden Falcon DC-7B
 
TWA902fly
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RE: Why Did I Pay For United 1st On A Domestic Flight?

Sat Jan 19, 2002 7:36 am

I flew United First Class this summer and I thought it was awesome. My flight was ORD-SLC, a morning flight (but it was in June, which is before September 11th...) I got awesome service. Check in took less than 2 minutes. The food was awesome as well. And even the old 727-200 seats were clean and comfortable. Overall it was probably my best flight ever (and only time in F) So I think you just got a bad flight.

twa902
life wasn't worth the balance, or the crumpled paper it was written on
 
RickB
Topic Author
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RE: Why Did I Pay For United 1st On A Domestic Flight?

Sat Jan 19, 2002 7:44 am

Im happy to believe that I got a bad flight - I have the return leg (ATL > ORD) in a few days so I will be able to compare then.

But is it normal not to get a meal on a 2 hour flight?
 
heavymetal
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RE: Why Did I Pay For United 1st On A Domestic Flight?

Sat Jan 19, 2002 7:53 am

Hmmmmn.

* Every passenger jet in America is a proven favorite target of terrorists.

* The airline you chose had over a dozen employees murdered "at work" last September.

* Seems like every day we hear new and mind boggling reports of security breaches of one form or another.

* The prospect of bankruptcy and job loss has gone from abstract to tangible for these people.

And your panties are in a bind because two employees had a disagreement that had nothing to do with you, your seat didn't smell like Ralph Lauren and you didn't get a meal that you'd likely end up bitching about if you did?

I don't know why you paid the money you did, but perhaps it's best you stay up there.
 
767-322ETOPS
Posts: 319
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RE: Why Did I Pay For United 1st On A Domestic Flight?

Sat Jan 19, 2002 8:30 am

2 comments:

ATL/ORD is only 606 miles, so there will be no meal service.

Much has been said of UA going down the tubes, employees having bad attitudes etc. That had some element of truth when Jimmy the Goodwin was in charge, but since new management has taken over I have noticed a change in overall attitude for the better.

BTW, the ATL RCC is unmanned. Since you are flying F (are your *A Gold?) you can try to ask the gate agent for the 4 digit access code to get in.
 
silverfox
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RE: Why Did I Pay For United 1st On A Domestic Flight?

Sat Jan 19, 2002 8:41 am

Just my two penn'orth, but in the UK both on BMI and BA you get a full meal in cattle class on the LHR-EDI run and that is a 350mile 1hr flight. ( BA use 757 one class and BMI 737 two class.I agree with the header writer of this thread, pretzels in first class is not on. Sept 11 or no. That is just a lame excuse for bad customer service.
 
heavymetal
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RE: Why Did I Pay For United 1st On A Domestic Flight?

Sat Jan 19, 2002 9:06 am

I don't recall that it was a BMI or BA jetliner that vanished into the side of Big Ben before exploding and killing 3000 people. It is conceivable that the jaunty smiles might be a tad strained and the nerves a tad stretched if that were the case.

I agree the time will come when this event no longer merits mention in the cases of poor or unorganized service and attitude. I'll also agree with anyone who says that United 's service problems started before and continue irrespective of September 11th.

But , with images fresh in our mind and quite ominous economic headlines peering at us everyday, while I might consider a different airline, I'll cut the people this poster lambastes at least a little slack. Not permanent slack, nor without an urging to shape up...but a little.
 
SegmentKing
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Joined: Sun Aug 27, 2000 7:16 am

RE: Why Did I Pay For United 1st On A Domestic Flight?

Sat Jan 19, 2002 9:32 am

Welcome to the United States, where Southwest airlines and Southwest Airlines type service prevails. The middle class demanded it, and caused the rest of us to suffer with it. I wish we could go back to where only those who could afford to fly do, and everyone else took the train or drove...

I'm sick of seeing United's product SO downgraded... I remember flying when I was 5 years old (almost 18 years ago) and we were welcomed by name at the counter, getting on board, etc... even had a FULL meal including champagne from lil ole Kansas City to Chicago.

Now when I board United, even though i'm 22, I see First Class filled with people dressed in shorts and t shirts (pray you never get in an emergency and go down the slides!), and people in back who have a body odor so strong I smell it when I have to use the Lav in coach because some idiot can't read the curtain that says "First Class cabin" or hear the flight attendant say "The forward lav is for First Class passengers only" and comes up front to use the F lav...

At least back when I was 5, inflight service meant something, people actually smiled, the plane wasn't filled to the brim, and you could actually *COUNT* on the airlines.

Nowadays, I am ashamed to take friends into the United Red Carpet Clubrooms as most of the users are TOTAL SLOBS and refuse to throw waste in the trash cans (which are located EVERYWHERE) or can't at least keep their mess centralized.

I'm sorry you had such a horrible flight on United... I've had a number of disappointing trips on United when flying with friends.. some flights are wonderful, some I wish I never let my friends on. Good thing Alaska gave me MVP Gold.. now I can try them out instead of wondering if we'll be on a GREAT United flight, or a gawd aweful one.

I say bring back the CAB, let the airlines charge what the hell ever they want.. at least we may be able to get better service and more happy employees if the airlines weren't trying to stuff their planes with "Average Joes" and others who have never stepped a foot out of Hickville.....

-Nate
~ ~ ~ ~ pRoFeSsIoNaL hUrRiCaNe DoDgEr ~ ~ ~ ~
 
Guest

RE: Why Did I Pay For United 1st On A Domestic Flight?

Sat Jan 19, 2002 10:14 am

I say meet halfway with deregulation and regulation. Have the flights price controlled, but allow the airlines to fly where they want(no just regionals, nationals, internationals, etc.).

Maybe have two fare buckets with one being 14 day advance purchase and an unrestricted fare. The price disparity would only be about 50% more for the higher one compared to the unrestricted being 5-6 times the price of the discount fare nowadays.

Airlines like Southwest and AirTran would use their low cost structure to be more competitive and offer higher levels of service than American or Delta.
 
UAL Bagsmasher
Posts: 1839
Joined: Wed Sep 08, 1999 12:52 pm

RE: Why Did I Pay For United 1st On A Domestic Flight?

Sat Jan 19, 2002 10:30 am

This is a little bit off topic, but it will give you an idea of the morale at UA before I got laid off. In my work area, the AMT's had a customized screensaver on their computer which read: "Management sux and UAL blows." I dunno the morale situation now since I'm no longer working there, but suffice it to say it was pretty damn low when I left...
 
Bicoastal
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RE: Why Did I Pay For United 1st On A Domestic Flight?

Sat Jan 19, 2002 11:57 am

Ah, that explains UAL Bagmasher: Sour Grapes. Sorry you got laid off but don't pull a very good airline down with you. Good luck in your job search.

SegmentKing....I couldn't have said it better myself.

Just got off a United transcon in Economy Plus. Good service, smiling and attentive flight attendents, completely full flight.....United...I hope this means you're coming back stronger than ever!!!
Airliners.net has many forums. It has spell check and search functions. Use them before posting!
 
UAL Bagsmasher
Posts: 1839
Joined: Wed Sep 08, 1999 12:52 pm

RE: Bicoastal

Sat Jan 19, 2002 12:14 pm

Ahhhh.....No. No sour grapes. On the contrary, I am taking this oppertunity to finish my eduacation and go for my A&P. When I started at UA back in 1999, it was a pretty fun place to work. I enjoyed going to work. The majority of folks got along well and teamed up to get the job done. Once the summer from hell came, things went downhill. You could feel it. Tension began mounting. Fights literally broke out several times because everyone was on edge. Work became a place to count the days remaining until your next weekend. Employee groups began to turn on one another, just like management wanted. The fact that management didn't make an attempt to settle our contracts fueled the fire. The waited and waited for an excuse why they couldnt settle, and along came Sept. 11. I watched people begin to purposely delay flights and lose bags. They began not to give a damn just like UA didn;t give a damn about them. I personally have a high work ethic and gave it my all through the bad times, but many of my co-workers didn't. UA took away our perfect attendence program. That helped morale. People started calling in sick for the hell of it. They had paid sick days, so why shouldn't they use them? Morale began to resemble an air mattress with the plug pulled.
Do I miss UA? I miss it for not being around planes anymore. I don't miss the income too much, since there wasn't very much of my 1994 wages left after inflation got factored in. I don't miss the shitty way we were treated.
I have no doubt UA can once again be a fun place to work and an airline passnegers will flock to. It will take a few years and a lot of hard work and dedication though. No sour grapes here. Just telling it the way it was from an employee's point of view.
 
Hoffa
Posts: 946
Joined: Wed Nov 21, 2001 8:04 am

RE: Why Did I Pay For United 1st On A Domestic Flight?

Sat Jan 19, 2002 1:14 pm

The middle class demanded it, and caused the rest of us to suffer with it. I wish we could go back to where only those who could afford to fly do, and everyone else took the train or drove...

Aww...cry me a river. What a twerpy, arrogant, and simplistic "analysis" by some brat who got his start jetsetting on Daddy's dime. You mean the vast majority of the people in this country can actually afford air travel these days?! Unbelievable!  Insane

At least Southwest knows how to gets its customers from A to B with a minimum of fuss and delivers no less than it promises to its customers. Which is more than I can say for United or anybody else. Summer 2000 memories anyone? When was the last time Southwest pulled a stunt like that?

Besides, the bankruptcy of United and a few more big names will lead to a more sane and rational cost structure in this industry. The old axiom about "20% of people bring in 80% of revenue" is headed for a permanent grave. And may it forever be so.
 
Hoffa
Posts: 946
Joined: Wed Nov 21, 2001 8:04 am

RE: Why Did I Pay For United 1st On A Domestic Flight?

Sat Jan 19, 2002 1:17 pm


Maybe have two fare buckets with one being 14 day advance purchase and an unrestricted fare. The price disparity would only be about 50% more for the higher one compared to the unrestricted being 5-6 times the price of the discount fare nowadays.


I have a better idea. Remake all airlines with a Southwest style cost and revenue structure. That way both advance purchase and walkup fares will be reasonably priced, and the airlines don't have to balance their $150 advance purchase fares with $2,200 CVG-ALB walkups.
 
flashmeister
Posts: 2671
Joined: Fri Apr 28, 2000 4:32 am

RE: Why Did I Pay For United 1st On A Domestic Fli

Sat Jan 19, 2002 2:47 pm

I wish we could go back to where only those who could afford to fly do, and everyone else took the train or drove...

What garbage. The beauty of the air travel system in the US today is that it is so accessible. Today's economy and society depends on access to air travel. If it were much more expensive, then you'd see everyone - individuals and companies - suffer so you can get your warm towel and only associate with your stuff, arrogant upper-class cronies.

While we're at it, let's go back to the days of using US Mail rather than e-mail. Why stop there? Let's ban the Internet. Of course, we'll have to get rid of those pesky calculators and go back to slide rules.

And while we're at it, let's classify everyone. Either you are upper class or you are unimportant. And we'll put signs on everyone so it's clear from the get-go who's in what group, since obviously one group is so much better than the other.

...end of rant...
 
flightboy24
Posts: 25
Joined: Sat Dec 30, 2000 8:02 pm

RE: Why Did I Pay For United 1st On A Domestic Flight?

Sat Jan 19, 2002 2:56 pm

Guys, as an airline staff member, I often have the privelege of travelling business (no first in Australia) but we have standards on dress etc, so you can normally spot the staff passengers (well dressed) from the frequent flyer redemption pax (not well dressed sometimes). I agree that even in Australia, the product and superiority of travelling up the front is nowhere near what it was 5 years ago. Unfortunately with cost cutting, globalisation, alliances, no one's product really stands out anymore as being unique. Its always disappointing though when a cabin is tardy, and even more disappointing when the crew give you the impression they would rather be somewhere else - and that's a trait I find on most domestic/shorthaul premium products anywhere in the world in the 21st century.
 
LoneStarMike
Posts: 2802
Joined: Sat Jul 01, 2000 1:02 pm

RE: Why Did I Pay For United 1st On A Domestic Flight?

Sat Jan 19, 2002 4:34 pm

I say bring back the CAB, let the airlines charge what the hell ever they want.. at least we may be able to get better service and more happy employees if the airlines weren't trying to stuff their planes with "Average Joes" and others who have never stepped a foot out of Hickville.....

Uh... if the CAB were to come back, the airlines wouldn't be able to "charge what the hell ever they want", they'd be charging what the CAB told them they could charge.

And if the airlines were able to charge whatever they wanted, the prices would most likely go up and less people would be able to fly and then the airlines would get to lay off even more employees.

If the blue-blood aristocrats want the superior service of yesteryear, let 'em charter a business jet. Me? I just want to get to my destination without having to drive or take the bus/train.

LoneStarMike