Why Leaving United Airlines is Going to be a Lot Harder Than I Thought

Last week I shared about my decision to redirect much of my travel to American Airlines this fall. That remains my goal, but I quickly realized today that old habits die hard.

I had a United e-certificate set to expire and was looking for a flight to use it on. Many destinations were running through my mind--Toronto? Cancun? Lima? Maui? Ultimately, I decided on a more practical trip--my Thanksgiving trip home from Philadelphia.

Off to ITA Software, where I ran my search, and was pleased to find this--


The United flight schedule was perfect and I even used a regional upgrade to confirm first class on the outbound trip. Generally, upgrades are not too bad around Thanksgiving and Christmas, but I was not going to risk it on a 6.5hr flight on an A319, with only eight seats in first class.

United.com was not pricing the itinerary I wanted correctly, so I had to call reservations to book the flight. Surprisingly, I reached a gem of an agent in Salt Lake City, an ex-Con who was quite jovial. Not surprisingly, it took her about 25 minutes to complete the reservation, but it honestly did not bother me, for she ended the call in this way--

AGENT: Sir, I don't know if it has been said before, but we truly appreciate your business and don't take it for granted. We thank you for your loyalty.

ME (after a long pause): Thanks...that means a lot. Thank you.

*     *     *

Hallelujah! What a refreshing attitude, especially when compared to the irresponsible remarks of United CFO John Rainey last week. As sad as it is that I would get impressed over something like that (which should happen every call), I found myself shaking my head with a big smile on my face after the call.

That's only one phone call, but this whole story illustrates that my transition to American Airlines, even if just for the remainder of the year, will be more difficult than I thought. The great phone call aside, look at the difference in price above between United and American. As much as I look forward to trying American, I won't pay an extra $300 per flight for the pleasure...


Kevin May 21, 2012 at 11:07 pm

Go ahead and leave... make those upgrades easier for me ;-).


cova May 22, 2012 at 12:37 am

Bye-Bye, Matty-Boy. Have fun riding on 35+ year old Man Dog's and fighting for fewer F seats. Your blog was lame anyways with your sense of entitlement and your "let's spoil the mileage deal" posts...so immature...at least you coulda posted more about your time in *A, but you post and ruin mileage runs for everyone. Bye-Bye! :rolleyes:

I've always had amazing service from the Salt Lake agents.

Emanuel May 22, 2012 at 02:01 am

You are such a loser, cova. Matthew said he only blogged about the RGN fare after some on Flyertalk had posted that their reservations were cancelled. Are you really dumb enough to think the airlines are monitoring his blog and not Flyertalk? Or did you just not have the balls to book yourself and are now looking for a scapegoat? :rolleyes: to you, you pathetic little creep.

Price will still be an important factor for me, too, but I'm looking forward to giving AA some biz this year (and I need to use those eVIPs).

Benjamin May 25, 2012 at 12:00 pm

I want to switch back to AA too, but their fares are invariably higher on the city pairs I fly, especially 7 days or less. And AA doesn't match UA's generous last-minute change policy.

chris June 16, 2012 at 05:59 pm

I really hate seeing that hideous globe next to all those better airiline logos and then seeing "United" next to it. That's not United! Bring back the Tulip

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