We wasted two nights on the phone with United trying to get a price confirmation on a RTW itinerary. We spent a lot of time planning a route prior to calling. As with most big companies today, every call you place is routed through a voice driven menu system that'll have you repeating yourself nonstop. This process itself - the preamble to any actual, useful discussion - takes approximately 6-10 minutes. Once it was clear we'd be talking to the agents often, I requested a more direct line, but they had no idea where they were or how they could be reached. It's unfortunate when companies get that large. The various and gross misunderstandings are outlined in our letter below.
Mr. Atkinson: I have been trying to reserve Round-the-World tickets for my husband and myself through United. On 3/24, I spoke with an agent, Agent 1, who assured me that there was indeed a special price for trips less than 26,000 miles with less than 15 stops for $2,604. Agent 1 said that I should use the Star Alliance mileage calculator tool and plan my trip and call back with my itinerary. On 3/25, I called and spoke with Agent 2 who took over an hour to put in my itinerary. During the one-hour-plus call, Agent 2 had a lot of trouble booking a PNH to HAN flight. Agent 2 did not want to believe that the Thai Airways flight numbers that I gave her would work. In the end, they did -- they were from your website. Over the course of the call, she reiterated several times that since I our trip was less than 26,000 miles the $2,604 base price was valid. Agent 2 finally said that I would get a call from the rate desk on 3/26 with the applicable taxes and fees. On 3/26, I had not received the call from the rate desk and at 8pm, I called to make sure I wasn't supposed to call the reservations desk. I talked to Agent 3 who said that the code was incorrect and would resend it to the rate desk for the $2604 base price to get taxes and fees. Shortly after the call ended, I got an email with my itinerary. It showed one flight was to leave July 11 for a connecting June 11 flight. I called back to correct that date. Agent Erica in the Detroit office answered and let us know that our itinerary was not eligible for the $2604 price ticket. Upset and shocked, I asked to speak with her supervisor. I was transferred to Supervisor Mary Clor in Detroit. She reconfirmed that this was correct, but would be happy to book it for the base price of $4657 plus taxes and fees. The itinerary which I had taken over an hour to plan on the phone was not valid. She even pointed out that the agent had chosen flights that were not with Star Alliance members. My heart sank because I had spent that last two evenings on the phone with United. It appears to be the ultimate bait and switch. I am so disappointed with United Airlines. In the next two weeks, when I receive my cell phone bill, I plan on circling the calls and highlighting the amount of time I have wasted. Then, along with this letter, I am sending it to all avenues I have to complain through. How is this right? Is this truly how United operates? How are multiple agents so confused on the process? Is there no way to make this right? Can you not see how this is a bait and switch? Thank you for your time.