Speak Up When Something Goes Wrong (Resolution from Atlanta Trip Issues)
A few people have been curious about what the outcome was in regards to my recent trip back from Atlanta on United where we had documented problems with our upgrades never being processed, and our daughter being told she has to be removed from her FAA approved car seat. I'm happy to share the outcome, but also want to take this chance to remind others that it really is sometimes worth the extra effort to provide the airline or hotel some feedback when things really don't work out the way they should. This is not just because you may get compensated in some way (though you may), but also because it is the only way the company can find out there was a problem.
If you are curious, you can head to this post to read a detailed account of what went wrong on our United flight last week, but the gist was we didn't get upgrades that were available and we were eligible for as (presumably) the gate agent did not process them, and more importantly we were told we had to remove our daughter from her FAA approved car seat after it was installed on the plane. As soon as we landed I reached out to @United on Twitter, and then followed up with filling out the formal online form on the United website the next day.
United asked for my contact info via direct message on Twitter and a woman contacted me within a few hours of providing that info. She seemed truly angry and upset that both events had happened to our family. She spoke pretty candidly, and I believe her concern was genuine. In other words, it did not feel like I was talking to a faceless and/or soulless company rep who was just checking us off her "to do" list. I felt like I was talking to a real person who was proud of their company and wanted her fellow employees to do better (which is exactly what I want from "my" airline). In addition to assuring me that she was following up with the folks I interacted with in Atlanta to make sure that they were clear on the upgrade and car seat policies, she also provided us with three regional first class upgrades to make up for the upgrades we had earned, but were not given on the flight.
With those three regional first class upgrades we will be able to confirm ourselves into first class ahead of time for a trip and avoid the day-of-departure upgrade drama for that particular flight. Naturally we will likely use them on a flight that is much longer than Atlanta to Houston. I'm sure some will say that is overly generous, and some will say that isn't enough compensation, but I was happy with it. It was the best way to replace the upgrades we weren't given that day. There is no way to fix the car seat issue with any direct compensation, and truthfully that isn't what I was after. I just really don't want another family to have the same experience when flying United (or any other airline for that matter). Family travel can be challenging enough without unnecessary roadblocks like that thrown in along the way.
I know that United reaching out to me quickly and personally may well be related to this blog. However, you by no means have to be a blogger in order to receive compensation or get the attention of an airline or hotel when things go wrong. Here are a few links to some airline online feedback forms:
It usually takes less than five minutes to let the airline know what went wrong, and it can only help to bring real problems to their attention. I don't advocate complaining about every little bump in the road, but the things that really impact your traveling experience deserve to be shared. Hotels can be a little trickier as you typically need to start by working one on one with the individual property you had an issue with. If you don't get resolution there, you can then go to their corporate presence for some additional help.
Have you had success in sharing problems you have encountered during your travels with airlines and hotels?