Thursday, June 30, 2011

The Cost of Traveling...

So this is not beautiful at all, but it is quite funny.  And yes, I did mail this to the CEO of United Airlines.  At the very least whoever at UA reads this is certain to smile.

Dear Mr. Smisek,

On Saturday, June 4, 2011, I traveled to Milwaukee, Wisconsin with a layover in Chicago, Illinois.  I travel frequently on business and when possible I always fly United Airlines.  Also because I travel frequently, I rarely check luggage in an effort to prevent delay and inconvenience.  This trip was no exception.  As I was boarding my flight (United flight 942), a United employee at the plane instructed me to check my carry-on bag.  I politely asked if there was a possibility to store it somewhere on the plane since it was not large and its arrival with me to my final destination was vital.  He became angry and refused.  In an effort to avoid making a scene, I handed my carry-on bag over to the United employee and confirmed that I would be able to pick it up in Chicago at the gate.  He refused stating that he was sending it straight to Milwaukee.  Despite my protest, the United employee walked away.  Interestingly, when the United employee instructed a man a few people behind me in line to also check his bag, he withdrew his instruction when the man became agitated and raised his voice.  Apparently had I created a scene, I would have been able to keep my luggage and would have prevented the entire inconvenience that was about to ensue.

Without reason my connecting flight from Chicago to Milwaukee was cancelled (United flight 7012).  Thankfully United was able to get me on the last flight out that evening (United flight 6745).  I inquired with the gate as to my bag and was assured that it would be on the next flight, the only flight that evening with me to Milwaukee.

However, as I approached the baggage claim, my carry-on bag did not make it to Milwaukee.  I was assured by United personnel in Milwaukee that my bag would arrive late in the afternoon the following day.  Unfortunately, because of my cancelled flight to Milwaukee and the subsequent delay on the next flight, I arrived in Milwaukee in the late evening hours without any necessities for my 7:30am deposition the next morning.  As a result, I incurred a $114.80 expense in an effort to purchase toiletries and the most professional clothes available for my early morning deposition.  Indeed, during my attempt to obtain these replacement items, I was subjected to the unmistakable sounds of someone having sexual relations in the dressing room adjacent to mine in the only retail store open at that late hour - Kohls.  Additionally, as I was leaving Wal-Mart in an attempt to purchase a few necessities, including contact lens solution, I was followed out of the store by a large man who commented on the size and sparkle of my diamond wedding ring.  I don’t think I need to further detail the anxiety and stress that this caused.

I am also sure that I do not need to remind you that your United Customer Commitment sets forth “We work hard to get your checked bags to you on time. If your checked bags are delayed or misplaced, we will make every reasonable effort to deliver your bags within 24 hours. If you have expenses because of baggage delay and are eligible to receive compensation, we will compensate you for reasonable and necessary out-of-pocket expenses.”

As a result of this extreme inconvenience and added expense that I attempted to prevent by carrying on my luggage, I was forced to incur $114.80 as a result of your airline’s negligent operations.  Copies of my boarding passes are enclosed. 

With kind regards,


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