8/18/2011

Thank You, United Airlines

Thank you, United Airlines, for the stunning customer service available exclusively on your awesome website. I haven’t been provided such prolific up-selling since the last time I went to McDonald’s. But fast food joints only offer me more fries and soda, whereas your site allowed me to choose from a myriad of ways to spend hundreds of dollars.



Thank you for starting out the experience with an ad in the middle of your home page for luxurious travel packages completely unrelated to the reason that I came to your site.





Thank you for putting up an ad instead of a progress bar while you searched for flights, so that I could read about how I can now pay you $349/year so that I can check my bags for free. Imagine, only $350 to get back to the good old times a decade ago when bags were always free. Wouldn’t you pay $350 to spin back the clock hands and do it over? Wouldn’t you?




Thank you for posting a price that didn’t happen to mention the extra fees of another 10% on top of the price you quote. If there’s one thing I don’t want to be bothered with when I’m shopping, it’s those pesky details about how much things actually cost. I don’t know how many times I’ve used a Sharpie on the Denny’s menu so that I can choose my breakfast Slam with flagrant disregard to the price.




Thank you for putting up an ad for your mileage program after I chose my flights, because I know it was time-consuming for your servers to take me from the page with the flight choices to the page with just the ones I chose. Why, it probably takes a supercomputer to calculate all of those extra fees that you didn’t bother me with on the previous page.



Thank you for the sidebar ad for your credit card, which I was eager to read to take a break from all of those details about how much my $408 flight actually cost. And how convenient that you gave me the opportunity to get a credit card; I was wondering how I’d pay for these tickets.



Thank you for the offer to join your Red Carpet Club during the lengthy transition from the page that asked for my name to the page that offered me seats. If there’s one thing I want to spend money on, it’s an entry fee to a room in which I can spend my time luxuriously while waiting in airports when you've canceled my flight or made me so late that I miss my next leg.



Thank you for the opportunity to upgrade from your standard sarcophagus seats to your more roomy caged-veal seats. And for only $39 a leg, that’s less than $80 each way. Why, that’s quite a deal when you think about what a square foot of rental space costs in a good neighborhood these days. Of course, that money only buys me the space for the four hours of flying time, but I'm sure it's worth it.



Thank you for the multiple other opportunities to rent more legroom; I enjoyed getting to read the same offer on every single seat selection page. As I like to tell my kids over and over, “Anything worth saying is worth saying again.” Or even four times, as in this case.



And finally, thank you for putting up a beautiful, dedicated page of offers before I could actually purchase tickets in a last attempt to sweet-talk me into the same upgrade options that you presented me with several times already. And there's nothing more enjoyable to me than having my decisions questioned by people that don’t know me. And the best part? You conveniently selected all of the “I really want to give United more money” options, so that I could easily find myself buying those wonderful upgrades for a couple hundred bucks. It was sweet of you to offer, but fantastic for you to assume.


All in all, it was wonderful to see how such a successful company (the largest airline company in the world, according to a rousing speech by the CEO that we all enjoyed listening to on the airplane televisions before every flight) can, through the wonders of the web and a brilliant advertising strategy, prostitute itself every bit as well as those kiosks that sell mobile phone cases in the local mall.

Thank you, United, for helping me to consider using any other airline next time around. Or maybe I’ll drive.
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