Dear United Airlines Part 2: The Power of Social Media

 

 

Thanks to all the hits and responses to my post yesterday, I actually did hear from United Airlines. Don’t get your hopes up however, the response was less than satisfactory. For your reading pleasure, I will include the response and my answer to that response. I have removed names because I am not trying to get any individuals in trouble, but to ask a corporation to realize that there is a human factor in what they do.

 

 

 

Dear Mrs. Kramer:

Thank you for your reply. We send our condolences for your loss.

Your comments clearly convey how disappointed you were to learn of additional costs associated with changing your ticket.

I was glad to see that our reservation agent made an exception to our policies and waived the change fee for you due to your recent loss; however the additional fee that was assessed was applicable as your original fare had an advance purchase requirement.  The amount you paid was the difference in fare of your original ticket & the current fare level.  I regret the circumstances which required you to change your ticket on such short notice.  I accessed our past-date database to verify the inventory for the day you wished to travel. According to our records, the itinerary no longer met the advance-notice criteria for the original fare.

You state that your original return was changed and our records indicate that the change on your return travel was done when your husband called to change your ticket. I regret any confusion in regards to what happened with your return flight reservation.

Most excursion tickets are non-refundable. A service charge usually applies for changing the time or date of travel. Service charges help cover costs associated with processing ticket changes, adjusting passenger manifests, and filling empty seats.

Tickets are often reissued for a $150 service charge; however, depending on the available inventory when the ticket is reissued, an additional collection may also apply. Customers must pay the difference between the original fare and the new fare when there is reduced inventory or published fare increases.

Our published terms and conditions are designed to balance the needs of customers with the business needs of our company. We sell several types of tickets with varying levels of restrictions. Please visit our website for more information: www.united.com

Mrs. Kramer, we appreciate your business and look forward to welcoming you on board a future United Airlines flight.

With kindest regards,

XXX

Corporate Customer Care Manager

 

My response is as follows. Note that Nathan was on the phone with them about 20 minutes after my mother had been informed of my father’s passing. (which was when I heard the news):

 

 

 

Dear XXX

While I understand you have rules and regulations there is also such a thing as a bereavement fare, which (although still ridiculously high) should still have been considered in this situation. I also think it was completely inappropriate for you to cancel my return flight with my family, and then when I wanted to get back on that flight try to charge me another full fair. Yes, the agent who worked with me did the right thing, and I commend him for that. That doesn’t excuse the fact that your company put the bottom line ahead of the reality that life happens and that, just because someone shops for a less expensive fare shouldn’t mean that they get penalized in times such us this. I’m sorry that my father did not pass away in time for me to make your “advanced purchase requirements,” but that is, in my opinion a crass business tactic.

I’m sorry, but I do not accept this apology and will make every effort to never fly with United again. I have flown with you for a long time and I used to enjoy the flights, but now it is simply not worth it.  Perhaps your policies are in line with the standards of the industry, but to me they are evidence of how much more important money has become over the human factor. I am also aware of other airlines who will make exceptions and refuse to believe that you couldn’t have done the same.

Sincerely,

Lisa A. Kramer

 

Soapbox Warning

 

 

 

I realize that I may just be tilting at windmills here, but the powerful response on social media since yesterday has taught me something. We have allowed corporations to treat us like dirt for too long. We have allowed the voices of people who don’t have lots of money to get subsumed by the voices of those who do. If we want a better world, we need to stand up and say we aren’t going to tolerate being treated like this anymore. I know that United probably doesn’t care if I ever fly with them again. I know that travelling is probably going to be slightly more difficult and more expensive if I try to avoid United and all its affiliates. I also know that I can no longer support companies that do not take into account that human beings matter. I avoid the big stores like Wal-Mart etc. Now I choose to avoid a company that simply doesn’t care.

 

Honore-Daumier-Don-Quixote

Honore-Daumier-Don-Quixote (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

Freaking Myself Out

NASA Sees Hurricane Sandy as the "Bride o...

NASA Sees Hurricane Sandy as the “Bride of Frankenstorm” Threaten U.S. East Coast (Photo credit: NASA Goddard Photo and Video)

 

That’s it. I think I might have to take a break from all forms of social media for a while.

 

Why?

 

Because I can’t handle the stress or the terror that it creates in me.  Here are a few things that are frankly freaking me out:

 

  • First we have the daily inundation of political e-mails and Facebook posts that indicate the possible destruction of everything that I believe in. I am truly terrified of what will happen if Romney is elected. I know, I know, I said I wouldn’t get political anymore on the blog, but its the reality. I’m SCARED.

 

Please people, get out and vote.

 

  • Next we have the news about the Frankenstorm heading my way. Trust me, I believe in being prepared and we are doing our best to prepare. However, everyone else’s panic about every possible result is making me want to hide under the covers and cry. I am too terrified to follow the path of the storm. Add to that Mark’s brilliant, hilarious,  yet terrifying, post about the implications of the storm with election over at The Idiot Speaketh and I don’t  think I can read blog posts anymore. Is there anyplace I can hide?
  • Of course, then there are the fun forms of fear that I can’t help but watch at this time of year. I love reading stories with a creepy twist, like this one by Andra Watkins or She’s a Maineiac’s reflection on psychic experiences. Now, normally I love the chills and thrills and ghostly imaginings, but things that go bump in the night are too close to our current reality. I feel like we are living in a horror story of epic proportions, so perhaps this year I have to forgo the spooky moments and stay away from them all together.
  • Finally, I just can’t take the inordinate amount of stupid things being posted lately. I’m not talking stupid silly. Those make me smile, but the evidence about the pure stupidity of human beings. Hatred, prejudice, denying global warming, greed, stupidity about education, a girl shot for speaking for the rights of girls to be educated etc. etc. etc. I cringe whenever I look at a social media site. It makes my heart hurt for the world and makes me want to lock myself away in a fallout shelter somewhere only to re-emerge in a world that has come to its senses.

 

So what do I do? Do I continue to face the freakiness or do I hide away, sucking my thumb, hugging my teddy bear and writing about a world where things work out for the best?

 

 

 

 

The Power of Social Media, College Networks, and Support Systems

I have made a discovery!

In my panic of the past few days as I struggle to figure out how to move a family from Kansas to Massachusetts in less than a month without having to give up my dog babies, I have tried to expand my search for both housing and work. I announced the move on Facebook. I’ve updated my LinkedIn profile. I joined an alumnae group for Smith College on LinkedIn. And I’ve written posts here.

An amazing thing has started to happen. No, I haven’t found a place to live or a house yet, but suddenly I feel less alone. First came the wonderful and supportive comments on my posts here. Then came e-mails from the alumnae group–one from the CDO at Smith offering to help me find work, and one from a Smithie who lives in the Worcester area, offering to just help me in any way she can. Then came comments from friends on Facebook offering to hook me up with job possibilities and ask around for housing.

I now have plans for coffee dates and lunch dates (and possibly a tree viewing trip to Maine in the fall). I have a tentative meeting (either on phone or in person) to help find work. I have a job possibility, and two rental possibilities that are a little out of our price range but are better than nothing. I feel like I am building a valuable  support  community that will make this transition smoother and more successful.

I don’t know if I have any blogging buddies in Massachusetts, but I’d love to hear from you if I do. Or anywhere in the North East for that matter, as this network is an important one too.

I always forget the power of networking and the power of admitting that you need help. I tend to think I have to figure it all out on my own, but the world doesn’t really function that way.

“It’s all about people. It’s about networking and being nice to people and not burning any bridges. ” Mike Davidson

“The way of the world is meeting people through other people.”  Robert Kerrigan

Really, I shouldn’t be so surprised by this, as I have often written about the connections that make this world such an intricate and interesting web of life.

So, I’d like to say thank you to the miracle of networking, the power of social media, the connections from all of my educational programming, and the wonderful support that people have offered me.

Now if I could only find  a place to live that will let me keep my dogs.

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