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Thursday, February 15, 2007

United Airlines Sucks

After navigating phone menu hell in search of a person to update me with the status of my lost luggage, I felt it necessary to document the United Airlines lost baggage telephone menu options for those of us that are not content with getting spoken to by a machine.

First, don't dial the lost baggage line at 1.800.221.6903. This is a farce. It does not work. After guiding yourself through menu hell and finally breaking down (or if you decide to go right for the jugular) and asking for an "agent", you'll promptly be transferred to a non working number. If you insist on dialing the lost baggage line as you are looking for your lost baggage and it seems to make the most sense to dial the lost baggage line, lie to the automated machine. He won't know the difference. Instead of saying "delayed bag", say "other baggage questions". Before he starts in on you again, you can say "none of the above". From there, answer "no" to the question about whether your travel is within the 50 states. It is imperative that you answer "no" to this question even if it is a lie. Answering "yes" will lead you back to the non working number.

After answering "no", you'll be transferred to an international operator. After waiting on hold for quite some time, you'll be connected to an international booking agent. That's correct - a booking agent; as in reservations, not lost baggage. At this point, if you are speaking with a foreigner, you may as well hang up and dial again or risk being sent to India call center limbo. Ask about your bag. You'll be told you called reservations. Apologize and ask to be transferred to a baggage agent - specifically say "agent". With any luck, the reservation agent will bypass the menu for you and put you into a baggage agent answering queue (exactly where you need to be spending your precious time on hold).

Alternatively, you can try to call United reservations at 1.800.864.8331. From there, use option 2 and then 2 again. You'll hear the same smug bastard that recorded the baggage call menu but this time he's petering on about reservations. Say "agent", although I've found that sometimes he doesn't understand this and saying "customer service" jogs his memory. Again, answer "no" to travel within the 50 states. You'll get directed to an international agent and you can pick up from the middle of the previous paragraph.

Please note that getting frustrated and asking the reservation agent to escalate to their supervisor sometimes works and sometimes doesn't. I've also found that for some reason, calling during the day directs my calls to India call center hell while the later I called (after 9PM), the more I got in touch with actual English speaking people who understand what good customer service is all about.

United Airlines - f-ing you in the friendly skies! (And I don't mean flying.)

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