All I wanted to do was use Frequent Flier miles to buy tickets from San Francisco to Mallorca to Athens and home from Istanbul. Business class.
I spent 45 minutes on the phone with United Mileage Plus and ended up with oddball flights I would never have purchased for myself, e.g. depart SFO at 7:24 in the morning, twiddle thumbs for 3 hours in Houston, spend five hours in Munich awaiting for flight to Palma. Later, fly Palma to Athens via Copenhagen, along with a six hour wait at the Copenhagen airport. Depart Istanbul at 6:20 in the morning, spend more than three hours at Munich Airport and then another three hours at O’Hare. A monkey could pick more convenient flights.
I requested all Lufthansa flights but ended up on United (which I hate) and SAS (which routes through Copenhagen no matter what) except for two short legs.
Route after route had no seats available even though I was booking three months in advance. Business class. We will have to fly coach within Europe. Premium Economy was the best we could do for the return flight; seat upgrades and taxes cost an additional $786.
The clerk at Mileage Plus was saddled with an ineffective system. We spent a bit of time waiting for the screen to refresh. Rather than select from a menu, she had to check everything manually. “Could you go a day earlier? Two days earlier?”
For 360,000 miles and $786, I ended up with tickets that would cost $18,000 out of pocket, so I’ll keep accumulating miles. (Virtually everything we spend goes through a credit card that rewards miles.)
What I fail to understand is how United managed to set up a system that is so aggravating. People in other industries have gone to jail for bait-and-switch tactics that are everyday practice at United. I dread speaking with Mileage Plus because I know they’ll let me down. It’s bad enough when United pisses off regular customers (charging for luggage, serving pricey junk food, and an attitude of no can do.) That they cull out frequent fliers, the profit-making travelers, and hassle them with what are supposed to be rewards in unconscionable. It’s plain stupid.
Week before last, our flight from Germany to SFO arrived a few minutes early, but it took the better part of an hour for our luggage to show up on the baggage carousel.
I suggest the FAA and others change the definition of what makes a flight on time. It should include time to pick up your baggage. Alaska Air gets the suitcases off in minutes; why can’t the other airlines follow suit?