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United Airlines apologizes for Houston airport customer service fiasco

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Written by editor

A United Airlines executive has contacted me via telephone and email to apologize for the treatment that I received from one of the company’s customer service agents at George Bush Intercontinental/

A United Airlines executive has contacted me via telephone and email to apologize for the treatment that I received from one of the company’s customer service agents at George Bush Intercontinental/Houston Airport on May 19, 2012.

The response comes after a video of the incident was posted on YouTube (http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=0J2Y_G4NxN4&noredirect=1) and after my article, United Airlines Hell First-Class Style (https://www.eturbonews.com/29397/united-airlines-hell-first-class-style), was published yesterday.

While I never officially sent a complaint letter to United Airlines, I sent an email to its CEO, Jeff Smisek, containing a first draft copy of the article. In that email, I also invited the United Airlines CEO to respond. Mr. Smisek has not responded to that email, but Corporate Customer Care Manager Kimberly Thistle said during our telephone conversation that he has ordered his executives “to respond to the situation on his behalf.”

In a subsequent email, she wrote: “Allow me to convey once more our sincere regret for the disappointment you endured while traveling with United on May 19, 2012. The experience you described is certainty not reflective of our commitment to providing our customers the highest level of service. There is never an excuse for unprofessional behavior, and I am very sorry this was your experience of the services received in Houston.”

She added: “Please know our main focus and concern is and will continue to be providing optimal service to our valued customers. We work hard to correct problems brought to our attention.”

Miss Thistle also addressed the one question that everybody who has seen the video and/or read the article wants to know: what happens to that highly unprofessional customer service agent? Miss said: “Although we cannot explain the inappropriate behavior, we can work to correct it. This matter will be addressed internally and considered confidential. You will not receive further information, however, your concerns will be taken very seriously, and I am confident necessary corrective action will be taken.”

Well, here’s hoping that the words “I don’t believe you” never comes out of her mouth again when addressing a customer. This situation is a prime example of how the United States airline industry has forgotten the adage, “the customer is always right.” Whether or not the customer is really right is insignificant. The fact of the matter is, the customer is the one that pays for the service. Without the customer’s money, there would be no business, hence there would be no job.

United Airlines has also offered some compensation for the incident.

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About the author

editor

Editor in chief for eTurboNew is Linda Hohnholz. She is based in the eTN HQ in Honolulu, Hawaii.

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