United’s Generous Compensation, Yet Impersonal Reply About My Cancelled Flight

I posted last week about how I proactively rebooked myself and was able to keep my upgrade after my United Airlines Sydney to Los Angeles flight cancelled. The next day, I emailed ‘1K Voice’ asking for compensation for the 24-hour delay and subsequent expenses incurred for an extra day in Australia.

I further explained that I was a bit surprised the phone agent I spoke with didn’t so much as say “sorry” and simply rebooked me closing with, “Is there anything else I can help you with?” Yeah, it might seem petty of me considering I got my business class seat on the following day’s flight, but I still sort of expected some type of “sorry for the inconvenience,” acknowledgment even if it wasn’t sincere.

Within an hour or two I received an auto-reply from 1K Voice confirming the receipt of my email noting that due to the peak travel season, it will take longer for them to respond to me. I think that statement is always on the auto-reply email, no matter the time of year, isn’t it? And so I waited.

To my surprise, it took only five days to receive a response. Earlier this year just after United migrated to the new reservations system, I sent 1K Voice an email after being unable to use an e-certificate online. I never heard back from them, though eventually got that problem solved after multiple phone calls.

Here’s their reply – a screenshot from my email:

First, can you say “cut & paste?” A little font integrity would make it seem a bit more genuine, don’t you think? Now, while it is indeed an apology, it reads rather impersonal and canned. It covers both the cancellation and the lack of apology from the phone agent when I was rebooked, but in a rather corporate-esque manner. Yeah, I’m being critical. Maybe if the font sizes weren’t so glaring I wouldn’t have even posted about this. And if I really want to be anal, it’s MileagePlus now (the marketer inside me sorta cringed at “mileage plus,” and it not being punctuated properly). 😉

The compensation of 25,000 miles is very fair in my opinion. I was staying with a friend, so I didn’t have an additional night of hotel expense. If I had to cover another night’s hotel, though, I likely would have replied back asking for reimbursement – or had sent them a PDF of my bill with my original email asking for it in the first place.

In the end, I’m happy with the compensation and will just chalk the canned email up to a typical United experience.

Related posts:

Upgraded, Downgraded and Well Compensated Yesterday Flying United Airlines

Involuntary Denied Boarding Compensation Explained

Airfare Pricing Buckets and Airline Fare Basis Codes Explained

Comments

  1. Realistically speaking, what does a personal email do for you? As far as I am concerned, absolutely nothing. I’d rather have 10K miles and an auto response email than 9K and a personally written email.

    • @Kris: I agree the email language is secondary to compensation (to me), but they could get their act together and make it look professional and use it as an opportunity for more personal engagement. United’s brand has taken a hit and a more personalized response would help in damage control.
      @AS: I was already in business class on the previous day’s flight, so they didn’t upgrade me. I’d say losing 24-hours deserves compensation (work, time, family, etc.).

  2. I still don’t understand why compensation was even considered when they booked you on a flight in business class, and no extra hotel charges were incurred.

  3. Wow five days to get a response is really quick nowadays for UA. I’m thinking of dropping another complaint for the no response of my previous complaint at all after five weeks!!!

  4. In my experience United have never been good communicators, I have written to MileagePlus and had the letter courier delivered but they still did not bother to respond, leaving for a 35,000 mile trip this Saturday and my wife and I will make Million Mile status halfway through and then 1K again later this year, then will consider moving my business to another Airline, United need to understand real communication rather than lip service. As a chief purser on an international United flight said to me once, United is its own worst enemy.

    • @Darcy: Sorry to hear you haven’t received a response. Lots of people, if you read Flyertalk, are bailing or have already left United. Many for American, where they offered a status match for 1Ks to Executive Platinum.
      @CS: I would have made it a bit more personal than its obvious cut & paste language. Specifically apologizing for the cancelled flight causing a 24-hour delay, adding in a line mentioning they were happy I was proactive in rebooking myself, etc. Just taking a moment to read and personalize a response from the specifics I wrote them about. Again, I’m being critical (overly), I admit.
      @RamKashyap: They would have just swapped out 1K for whatever status the person who wrote in had or been even more generic, “Your feedback is valuable…”

  5. Nice of them to offer an apology and 25K miles.
    I do not like the statement, “Since you are a 1K member, your feedback is valuable.”
    What if you are not a 1K member?

  6. I had several cancelled flights one day in July resulting in missing my fathers 81St birthday party. All the cancellations (3), delays and missed connections were the result of United equipment problems. I arrived 7 hrs late and missed my fathers special day. I wrote and requested compensation as a 1K flyer. While United wrote back within 36 hrs, they dismissed my request as a policy matter. I’ve been very disappointed with United’s service ans lack of customer oriented outcomes. I’m shocked they offered 25K miles!

    • @Chris: Wow, I’m so sorry to hear you missed your Dad’s birthday party AND it’s surprising United didn’t send you some type of compensation (especially as being a 1K).

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *