(By Dave Bossert) Like many business travelers, I had succumbed to the siren’s call of the frequent flyer programs offered by the airlines. How could anyone not who was flying more than a hundred-thousand miles a year. There are a number of attractive perks that come along with having “status” with an airline. But at some point, I could only take so much poor treatment in pursuit of miles and maintaining the highest level in the United Airlines program.
For me, I have a threshold when it comes to taking bad treatment. Sometimes I view that bad treatment almost as entertainment especially if it is over-the-top outrageous. Other times I just grin and bear it knowing that the flight is only a specific amount of time. Frankly, my threshold for abuse varies depending on the particular situation. With United Airlines, I admittedly took a lot of abuse over the years from flight delays, poor customer service, crappy planes, surly flight attendants, inconsistent policies, outdated terminals, ramshackle security checkpoints, computer failures, and the list goes on.
The straw that broke the proverbial camel’s back for me was on this past New Year’s Day. We were returning from the holidays in New York traveling back to Los Angeles through Denver. Now realize, we had traveled Los Angeles to Denver and then Denver to New York the week before with carry luggage. I have avoided checking luggage at all cost when I travel and have become a master of packing efficiently within the approved carry-on policies.
We had no issues with my carry bags traveling to New York for Christmas. On the return, we left New York’ LaGuardia Airport on the flight to Denver—again there was no problems. But when we got to the gate at Denver Airport for our flight to Los Angeles the gate agent decided that I would have to check my bag. No, that was not going to happen especially after carrying the bags on three at of the four legs of this round trip. I asked for the supervisor, which the gate agent got annoyed by, but complied with, my request.
The supervisor arrived and I calmly explained my situation and that having just come off a flight with my bags that I fully expected to board my next flight with them. I also pointed out the inconsistency of their policy and policy enforcement. Further, my bags fit within the luggage sizer at the gate. The policy allows for one roller bag and one personal item, which for me is a green canvas shoulder bag that easily fits under the seat as the airlines policy states. That canvas bag has been on virtually every flight with me for the last twenty-five years or so.
Read more here: Commentary: United Airlines Finally Lost My Business