Few things infuriate me more than brands who promise one thing in their messaging and then provide a very different, often abysmal, end user experience.
There are many other brands who do the same thing (either hoping their upbeat words will somehow entice people to forgive their lousy service or, perhaps, simply not caring one way or the other).
No business, though, can match United Airlines for the sheer hubris of their message (‘Fly the friendly skies’) or the fresh hell of their actual service.
United Flight 1271 from Las Vegas to Newark was scheduled to depart yesterday morning at 10:57 am (PDT) and arrive at 7:01pm (EDT). “That’s a surprisingly quick three-hour, 51-minute trip,” our enthusiastic captain informed us as we buckled up.
And, then, as sure as lost wages in Las Vegas, the captain spoke again: “Ah, ladies and gentlemen, as I’m sure you can appreciate United Airlines employs some of the finest flight mechanics in the world. Well, one of these eagle eyes just spotted something amiss in the cockpit. So, please pack up your belongings and de-plane. We’ll keep you posted. Oh, and thanks again for choosing United as your carrier.”
And, so we de-planed. And, we sat. And sat. And sat.
Finally, a gate attendant announced, “Well, the mechanics have found the problem. It’s a part problem. But the problem with the part problem is, well, we don’t have any extra parts here in Las Vegas. So, we’re checking ALL of our hubs to see if they have the problem part. Once we determine that they do have it, why we’ll put it on the first available flight headed this way. Oh, and once it does arrive, we figure the mechanics will need two hours to install it. We do thank you for your patience AND for flying the friendly skies.”
Trust me. Had I been holding that missing part at that precise moment, I would have whipped it right at the gate attendant’s head.
Instead, I continued to sit.
As I fiddled my thumbs, I thought of a new, unique and memorable nickname for United: ‘The Spoiler.’
United: ‘Give us the opportunity, and we WILL spoil your business trip or vacation. Give us the opportunity, and we WILL spoil your day, your week, your month or even your year.”
United: ‘The Spoiler.’