United Passengers Vent Frustrations Through Social Media
United Airlines switched over to a new reservations and airport departure management system on March 3, and problems are still plaguing travelers — who have been turning to social media to vent their frustrations.
A look at United's Facebook page reveals numerous complaints about call center hold times, ticketing issues, upgrades not being processed as planned, and seat assignments mysteriously changing.
United officially merged with Continental last year, but this recent systems changeover has become the biggest patience-testing event to date of the marriage between the two airlines.
One article mentions the airline added an extra 600 call center agents to handle some of the overflow, but many travelers — especially non-frequent flyers — are still experiencing hold times exceeding one hour.
The airline has been proactive in posting system issue updates on their website and providing additional details on popular frequent flyer boards such as Flyertalk, but it has done very little in terms of publicly responding to complaints posted via social media.
United Airlines spokesman Rahsaan Johnson told CNBC today, "the social media team does an immense amount of direct messaging and responds to people individually while working with a reservations team to address issues as quickly as possible." He also mentioned call volumes have been dropping as system issues are resolved, and that the average wait time today is approximately 10 minutes.
I consider myself one of the lucky ones as beyond having to wait for 20 minutes to get through to an agent the Monday following the system changeover. I've been able to check-in for my flights, my upgrades cleared and my flights have been on-time. I did experience a discrepancy with my frequent flyer miles posting correctly, but it sorted itself out in a matter of days and my balance now appears to be accurate.
My advice for travelers flying United in the coming weeks while they continue to fix their system issues is to arrive at the airport early and try to keep a cool head when problems arise. Many United employees are just as frustrated with the issues, too.