I have been a rather frequent flyer, first on Continental Airlines, and more recently on United, since their merger. I have to tell you that I will do everything that I can from this point forward to avoid ever using this airline again. We recently completed a trip from Costa Rica (Liberia) to El Paso, Tx. It was bad enough to have to pay $200.00 for being a total of about three and a half pounds overweight, but to discover that so many things were missing from our luggage upon our arrival in Texas (we simply could not believe that so many things could have been lost from our checked bags, so we checked over and over since our arrival here in Texas), is simply not acceptable.
I certainly did not contact the airline in a timely manner (note: their rules require that you show them broken things before you leave the airport, and notify them of missing items within four hours of your arrival), nor did I make any effort to communicate with them within their short window of opportunity, first because we did not discover all the damage and missing items until hours and even days after our arrival, and because it is still so difficult to believe that things might have been taken out of our bags. And, before anyone asks, or suggests it, we found no notices from TSA regarding any search by them of our luggage.
Knowing that such things are not allowed in carryon bags or on my person, I secreted two small pocket knives inside (interior) pockets of one checked bag. They are gone. My wife had put her cuticle scissors and other cosmetic, personal care, items in a special zipped compartment of another checked bag, and they are all gone. I cannot find my Pentax waterproof digital camera. I am missing a wireless mouse (A mouse, for crying out loud; one that needs the charger/stand and a transmitter in order to work – those items made it) that was carefully packed along with those items necessary for its operation! My wife placed a recent gift (a nicely boxed cologne) inside one suitcase. It is missing.
More importantly, and more expensively, also missing is a matched set of earrings, a necklace and a bracelet that my wife had carefully packed.
To have found so many items missing is one thing, but we also had some very important ceramic/porcelain religious statues broken in handling. These items had been very carefully wrapped and placed in our bags with clothing to cushion them. One of these is irreplaceable, and I must point out that we’ve never experienced so much loss with one trip.
I estimate the combined weight of the missing items together with all the breakage their agents caused easily and greatly offsets that 3 and a ½ pound overage they charged me. So, here’s my new slogan for United Airlines: “Pay us twice when you travel with us – first, to purchase your overpriced seats, and then, when you find you have to replace your valuable personal possessions because we don’t take care of them.”
I simply cannot fully express just how badly this entire episode makes us feel. Air travel had already lost its charm for us, subsequent to 9/11, then as air fares have increased, while services have decreased, and then, as the merger took place. I – for one – really miss Continental Airlines. I felt a great need to add that mention of the merger, because United has changed so many policies that I felt were part of doing business with Continental
airlines. I also believe that many of those policies served to provide real customer service. Unfortunately, the way United operates, service has become so lacking that I no longer feel like they even want my business.