Your Next United Complaint Could Score You Free… Booze

Feb 15, 2019

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Got a trivial but troublesome problem? In life, you may just have to deal with it, but onboard United flights, voicing your peeve might earn you a drink from a sympathetic flight attendant.

According to leaked internal employee communications, United recently began empowering its flight crew to offer inflight beverage vouchers to compensate customers who experience minor inconveniences onboard but “may not have a lot of time in the airport” to address the issue with ground staff upon landing.

Brian Sumers of Skift, recently tweeted a screenshot from an internal employee communications memo detailing the policy update below:

According to the memo, flight attendants will redeem the vouchers by scanning the unique QR codes in the email.

The policy doesn’t list examples of drink-worthy incidents, but that’s kind of the point: United wants flight attendants to be the judge in situations that call for reparation.

While the formal policy update is new, the behavior is not — at least for some of United’s competitors. Southwest Airlines staff members have been known to be generous with offering additional snacks and the occasional boozy beverage on the down-low when things go sideways mid-air. Meanwhile, American Airlines and Lufthansa allow their flight attendants to offer free airline miles for onboard complaints. And according to TPG‘s million-mile Delta veteran Darren Murph, Delta Air Lines crew members are authorized to offer small tokens, including food and beverage, to make things right without asking for approval from higher-ups.

At the end of the day, many of us have probably been on the receiving end of a little extra TLC from a kindly flight attendant. But it’s always nice to know that United’s policy update formalizes the action for its employees, meaning they won’t get in trouble later on for showing a bit of humanity.

TPG reached out to United to ask if the policy is part of the airline’s core4 compassion training program, but had not heard back as of the time of this post.

Featured photo by Shutterstock.

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