Monday, September 5, 2016

Rebuttal letter to United

September 5, 2016

Dear L.J. Rawcliffe,

I was disappointed to read your email of declination of reimbursement for our unfortunate incident that occurred last month.  Just last week your CEO, Oscar Munoz, participated in an interview with Jim Cramer.  He stated that United Airlines needs “to treat people better.”  This is a perfect example of not treating people better.  I have had lot of support on social media via Facebook and Twitter and the people from United monitoring Twitter suggested that I send a rebuttal via email to you.

You stated that I was not at the game (I assume that you meant gate) in time to be included on the flight.  My four children and I were at the gate, where a few of the boarding passes would not scan.  The gate agent called the ticket desk 4 times and not one agent came to help.  A grounds crew member came to see what the delay in boarding was.  When she saw that there was a problem with the boarding passes being scanned she also called the check-in desk.  Still no one came.  The gate agent then suggested that I send my 15-year-old on the flight since she was old enough to fly alone, and that we could meet up with her in Denver on the next flight departing at 1:20 the same afternoon.  Really?!  I’m grateful that I didn’t take that advice since it took us an additional week to get things sorted out and finally on our way to Brazil.

If needed, I can get statements from the ticket agent(s) that checked us in and got our luggage on the plane, as well as the gate agent and grounds crew member that were trying to get us on the flight.  They will be able to tell you that we were in fact at the gate and trying to board in time to be included on the flight.

Seven of our large, 50 pound suitcases made it on the flight.  They made it all the way to Brasilia on our originally reserved flights without any delays.  We had to wait 4 days for them to be returned because they could not be held that long for us in another country and they would not permit my husband, who was already in Brazil, to pick them up without the luggage claim tickets.  In my research I have found that putting luggage on a flight, without the documented passenger, is against regulations especially on international flights.

Yes, our original tickets were purchased on Expedia and then sold to TAM Airlines, who was supposed to get us from Miami to Brasilia.  When the United ticket agent entered us as “no shows” in the system, it negated the last two legs of our flight.  All that United had to do was contact TAM Airlines and tell them that we were in fact not “no shows” and they would have gladly rebooked us on the next available flight.  Only one person at United was willing to do that.  When she said that she was going to go on another line to make that call, our original call was disconnected.  That’s convenient.  And of course I could not call back and request to speak to the same person and customer service agents do not have direct lines.  Each and every time I called I had to start over telling the issues I was having.  Very, very frustrating.  Lucky for us, Expedia did refund part of our original purchase price minus $150 for each ticket ($750).  TAM Airlines would not rebook us because of the “no show” entry by United.  To rebook with TAM Airlines would have cost us over $15,000 leaving 2 days later.  That was not a viable option for us.  We had to purchase all new itineraries and wait until August 11 move to Brazil.  We had to travel to another state to stay with family since we had sold our home and to be closer to a larger airport where we had more options for travel.  United Airlines wouldn’t even help us get from Pasco to Salt Lake City, so I had to drive 12 hours with 4 children.

I will again itemize the cost of the extra week for 5 people since our passenger rights to board our flight, despite having a United Airline confirmation number and boarding passes, were denied.  If United really did want to “treat people better” you would send a reimbursement check for the following charges.  Own up to the mistake made by United, and make things right - at least financially.

I have receipts and card statements for all of the following purchases dated August 4-August 11, 2016:
Food: $201.96
Lodging: $774.44
Gasoline: $190.30
Miles: 796 x .54/mile = $429.84
Clothing, daily necessities, misc.: $356.20
Airline ticket price difference: $1,111.30
TOTAL: $3064.04

Thank you,
Gretchen Child
Case #10880330
8332 Mix Avenue
Magna, Utah 84044

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